‘FRENCH EXCEPTION’ OR FRANCE-NEW ZEALAND CONNECTION? MEDIA REPRESENTATIONS OF WOMEN IN HIGH POLITICAL OFFICE IN FRANCE AND NEW ZEALAND (AUBRY, CLARK, SHIPLEY)

in New Zealand and Europe
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This paper asks whether the ‘French exception’ (as a unique, traditional, strongly differential relation between a man and a woman, between the masculine and the feminine) continues to hold in the representations by the press of the place of women in French politics. Or does this change with the new exceptionalism of parity democracy? Media representations of Prime Minister Edith Cresson and of Martine Aubry, number two in the French government until November 2000 are compared with representations of Jenny Shipley and Helen Clark, prime ministers of New Zealand from 1997 to the present. The argument is made that the traditional ‘exception francaise’ continues to work to undermine the presence of women in high political positions in France, whereas, in New Zealand, a space is being opened up in the media for benevolent representations of deviance or gender-bending.

New Zealand and Europe

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