How a first gentleman may change everything for first ladies


At first glance, the role of the first lady has drastically changed over time. Until women like Eleanor Roosevelt and Lady Bird Johnson, the role was ceremonial at best, but when examined closely, has that role really changed even with the rise of gender equality and feminism? For the last eight years, even Michelle Obama, the poster child of the “modern woman” and brilliant lawyer that was a superior to the future president of the United States, has not been able to expand that role. When Hillary Clinton attempted to expand the role of the first lady as a political advisor to her husband in the late 1990s, she faced backlash, and over time she backed down from such an active role. It is not until now that the United States may have its very first First Gentleman that the role may be forever changed for all future first ladies.

Hillary Clinton has already had a difficult enough time creating and navigating the rhetorical script a female presidential candidate of a major political party should use, and Donald Trump has had an equally difficult time responding to that script in appropriate ways. In this election, the gendered scripts and roles of not only the president may change, but now the role of first lady/gentleman may change as well. If the genders of these roles are reversed then how does that change the expectations of that office? If Donald Trump were to win the election, surely Melania would do everything previous first ladies have done: host state dinners, run charities, appear ever faithful to her husband. However, if Hillary Clinton wins, Bill Clinton will not be found picking out entrees for guests and new drapes for his bedroom. He will be right alongside his wife working on economic policy. Having a first gentleman could very well remove many of the expectations that belong to the spouse of the president of the United States.


Rhetorically speaking, I think that a first gentleman will change the gendered language that is used in presidential elections in the years to come, and I think the media will play a big role in that. Especially since this election has focused on sexism and gender equality so much, I think that many media outlets are desperate to appear more egalitarian and I think that four years of a woman president and a first gentleman would allow them to do just that. Though the actual jobs will still be the exact same, the change in rhetorical scripts and expectations will change so dramatically that I think the roles have the potential of being gender neutral, especially if the liberal media encourages that. ­­I think that if that happens, every first lady in the 21st century and beyond will have more power and opportunity to work and be a policy maker in a way no previous first lady has been able to do so.

Warren to the Rescue?

On Monday, at Saint Anslem College, Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren held a rally together. Warren is the Senator for Massachusetts. Clinton decided to team up with her because of her strength to stand up to Wall Street, as well as Trump. This paring is ironic because in the beginning of the election they were competing with one another. What brought them together was their fear of Trump taking over the White House. Now the both of them are going to do whatever it takes to keep him out.

Warren used the deplorable remarks Trump has previously said in the past to get the crowd going. At the rally she stated ; “Get this, Donald: Nasty women are tough, nasty women are smart and nasty women vote, we are gonna march our nasty feet to cast our nasty votes, to get you out of our lives forever.” She is standing up for the women across the United States who were depicted by these remarks.

As you can see Warren has used an alliteration and repetition of the word “nasty” to form her speech. She is using a challenger strategy, by attacking previous things Trump has said. Just like Freud said, emotion is driven by people’s values, fear, and wishes. In this case for Warren, she is afraid of Trump taking office, as are so many other Americans. Warren is a very influential women figure in the political field, and can help Clinton win the women over in the last stretch of the election. Just like the core Clinton objectives in the debate, Warren attacked Trumps record. She was able to turn something “nasty” into a positive message.

Warren also stated; “I am the daughter of a maintenance man who ended up a U.S. senator. Hillary Clinton is the granddaughter of a factory worker and she is going to be elected President.” Here she is directing her speech towards families who have lower level incomes. She is using ethos to hinder on peoples emotions and values in order to connect with them. She is also lamenting the present and celebrating the future by saying that Hillary is already president.

With all of this being said, by bringing in Warren, I believe this will help Clinton win the election. However, on the other hand this could end up with people looking at the new political relationship between the two as fake. They could look at their past relationship and see right through it. Warren has said that she is on the same page with Clinton now, as well as after the election. However, she could end up turning her back on her.

Trump’s Continual Failure to Persuade Women

According to the most recent average of polls, Donald Trump is losing right now by about 5.5%. Honestly, that’s not as bad as one would expect following the avalanche of sexual assault accusations after the second presidential debate. Now, of course, it’s not good for team Trump, but if there’s one thing Donald has consistently done this entire campaign it’s coming back from the brink. And with two weeks to go before election day, the only thing that should be coming out of his mouth is his often persuasive argument that he is the candidate for true change in the American political system. Instead, when he should be talking about policy, he seems to be intentionally trying to lose as many female voters as possible.

An excellent summary of the problems with Trump’s rhetoric when it comes to courting female voters was displayed in his speech at Gettysburg on Saturday.

Now, in many ways this was a very good policy speech by Trump that will only further energize his base. Except for that part at the very beginning when he: 1. Brings up the sexual assault accusers, 2. Calls them all liars, and 3. Promises to sue them all after the election. In a speech that should have been nothing but policy, Trump needlessly inserts this scandal into the speech (as well as his foot in his mouth). So, what does the media cover from this extensive and specific policy speech?

That part at the beginning where he continues to alienate the vast majority of female voters. And can we blame them? Of course they’re going to cover the most provocative things the candidate says. Which means that what could have potentially been a very compelling argument to a segment of viewers will now, because of Trump, be seen as yet another reason why a large percentage of women are repulsed by him.

In short, Donald Trump gets in his own way far too often for him to be able to mount a miracle comeback. The smartest move for Trump when it comes to winning over females who are afraid of him is to hammer on his core principles: Trade, immigration, and national security. Instead the message they’re hearing from Trump is: The numerous women who have accused me of sexual assault are all lying and I will sue them all after the election.


The New Role of Women Married Into Politics


Melania Trump has been by Donald Trump’s side every step of the way in his campaign. She has defended him and explained his more extreme antics and aggressive language. Her and her family have been his best and most loyal supporters, through the thick and thin.

However, she was put into a tough corner when the sexual harassment tapes were leaked of Donald speaking very vulgarly about women. This is an extremely awkward position to be in as the wife of a man that you need to publicly support through and through.

Although she has not proven to be the absolute role model of a wife and caretaker that we tend to gravitate towards, she has remained in Trump’s corner and always provided words of encouragement and support, even when she may have copied a few from Michelle’s past speeches.

But when given the opportunity to speak out and give her opinion about the tapes, she admitted that the language her husband used was unacceptable. She said, “I said to my husband that, you know, the language was inappropriate. It’s not acceptable. And I was surprised, because that is not the man that I know.”

But later on she once again went on to defending her husband, claiming he was “egged on” by Billy Bush and that this was all just “boy talk.” This has been a controversial topic, along with the multiple women that have come out saying the Trump sexually assaulted them. Melania shut down these rumors stating that these women were in it for the money and fame and that they had claimed to have known herself as well when she had never met them before.

With all of this in mind, Melania has received a great deal of backlash because of her overwhelming support for her husband. In our progressive day and age when women’s rights have reached their pinnacle, it is more than ever imperative to be respectful and courteous. Melania did come out and scold Trump, but she also defended his actions, which has proven to be an interesting and controversial move.

But as tradition has shown in politics, women are taught to stand by their husband’s sides no matter the offense. So, has the new progression of women’s rights influenced a new change in the way that women married into politics should act when controversy arises? Or will past actions and traditions stand the test of time?

Michelle Obama vs. Hillary’s Opponent




In a blistering speech given last week in New Hampshire, Michelle Obama gave the best surrogate speech the Hillary Clinton campaign has seen to date. The First Lady spoke for 25 minutes, and did not utter the name “Donald Trump” a single time. Instead, she just referred to him as “Hillary’s opponent” and let her audience fill in the blanks. Despite not using his name, Obama structured her argument to specifically pit women against Trump by shifting the entire narrative of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. For Michelle Obama this is no longer an election for change or consistency. This is an election between good and evil.

Obama alluded to the comments Trump made about sexually assaulting women and then juxtaposed them with the past successes of women in American history, saying that again it is time to “roll up our sleeves, and get to work.” She begged her audience to again become women warriors, fighting for decency and morality by voting for Clinton on November 8th. She made it clearly known that women in states like New Hampshire were the deciding vote for her husband in 2012, and further empowered her audience saying “women have all the power they need this election,” to win the election.

Obama gave her audience an outline of a picture of Donald Trump and let her audience color in damning traits like weak, degrading, and morally indecent without once using one of those terms. In doing this, took a note right out of Trump’s playbook. Obama “otherized” him by pointing out characteristics that portray him as a candidate that cannot be both for America and for women. Trump has done this countless times in the campaign talking about Muslims and other minorities that he excludes with his rhetoric.


The day after Obama’s speech, Hillary Clinton appeared on The Ellen Degeneres Show supported her most effective surrogate. Her appearance confirmed what Obama said, again restructuring the argument to be Trump versus women instead of new leadership versus change. I think the implications of this partnership between Obama and Clinton are devastating for the Trump campaign. Trump is still floundering for women supporters, and without women surrogates, he is not likely to recover. It is incredibly apparent that women will decide this election, and women surrogates are more important for both campaigns now more than ever. They will be the ones that influence the most women electorate, and they will be the ones to decide this election.

Melania To The Defense


Melania Trump has been under the radar ever since she gave a speech at the Republican National Convention. That speech was allegedly plagiarized from Michelle Obama. Melania finally surfaced on Monday and decided to do an interview to confront the latest audio tape scandal.In this interview she goes on to defend her husband to a certain extent.

When having the interview with Anderson Cooper, she tell him that she is not surprised that she is giving an interview on the subject. She said “I’m not surprised because a lot of people, they are against my husband“. She goes on to acuse the media of portraying both of them, and their marriage in a negative way. Further into the interview she said that it was just “boy talk” like we heard from Trump to defend his choice of language on the tape. Melania herself was shocked at what Trump had said in the tape, but was not surprised that it leaked. By saying this she is relating to the thousands of women who have heard the tape.

Melania also addresses the fact that she told him not to talk to people like Howard Stern and Billy Bush because they try and pull inappropriate things out of him and encourage him to use offensive language. Also, in this interview, nothing but the mic was on and that her husband was“egged on” to talk about aggressive behavior towards women. The media has played a major role in this scandal. By using junkyard journalism, journalist are twisting things that Trump has said making it the topic of discussion. They know what sells to people, and they jump on any opportunity for their article to get attention for their own benefit.

Having the wife of the candidate come forward to talk about this controversy, directly affects the women voters. I believe that with this interview, it gives them an insight on their relationship and I think that wives can relate to this. However, she did blame women, saying that they were the ones acting inappropriately towards Trump. She is blaming the media, as well as women for the scandals that have formed about her husband.

What affect will this have on the election you might ask, well the fact that Melania blamed women for the scandal may play a negative role. Undecided women voters want to hear her blame her husband for the demeaning things he has said toward women. That is one way you could look at it. Another way, which is how I look at it, is that these voters may emphasize with Melania and agree with her. Women, and wives all deal with men somepoint in their lives. They all have experienced men demeaning women at some point.  Melania, just like many others are not getting blinded  by the media scandals and are looking at the bigger picture which is what everyone should be doing.

The Subtle Yet Powerful Influence of Michelle Obama



Michelle Obama has been an extremely effective speaker and supporter throughout President Obama’s eight years in office. Although she was initially frowned upon for her choice of clothing and a few misspoken words, she did a quick turn around and will most likely be remembered as on of the more influential and well-liked First Ladies we have ever had.

So, with this idea in mind, I began to look into the overall influence that Michelle Obama has had on not only her husband’s campaign, but also that of Hillary’s prior and present campaign, along with Trump’s current campaign as well. In all three of these campaigns she has been extremely effective framing her opponents, or the people she has supported, in a particular and manipulative light.

In the 2008 primaries, Michelle Obama would speak out against Hillary in order for her husband to clutch the Democratic party nomination. She has been recorded saying that Hillary is, “not fit to run the white house” and went on to bash her ability to run her own household. Because of the contrast between the overwhelming negative publicity around her husband’s affair, and Michelle’s unscathed record, America immediately sided with Michelle and her husband. As we have discussed in class, the way people and political candidates are framed by others is extremely important to the public’s overall opinion. Michelle was attacking Hillary’s ability to be an effective mother, which is an extremely important and traditional role of women in society, and a commonly discussed theme in political rhetoric. For these reasons, Michelle was extremely effective in her arguments against Hillary.

However, in our current election, Michelle and President Obama have chosen to support Hillary in her campaign. She has gone on to say that she is the only candidate that is fit to be President along with pointing out different positive qualities that Hillary posses due to her feminine touch and past experience. The people, and democratic public, immediately rallied around Hillary after Michelle’s speeches. This again exposed how important Michelle’s backing is considering that people are saying that these speeches were the most influential surrogate speeches of Hillary’s campaign.

Lastly, Michelle has been extremely outspoken about her dislike and overall disgust of Donald Trump. After the release of the sexual assault tapes, Michelle gave a speech in which she spoke out about how bothered she was by tapes and the fact that he was in the running for the Presidency. Because Michelle is already an incredibly persuasive speaker, and Trump has been criticized for his vulgar behavior and language, this was a large hit to Trump’s campaign.

So, after reviewing Michelle’s impact on all three of these campaigns, one can only infer that even though her speeches have not been called the most important pieces of rhetoric in campaign history, Michelle Obama’s rhetoric has been some of the more influential pieces in the past three elections.

Just Locker Room Talk

Once again, we have Trump making headlines over the way he treats women. Many would say they aren’t surprised by his male chauvinist behavior or more so, that at this point, this behavior is almost expected. For those who want to shrug this story off as being non essential to the election, I want to argue why you might want to take a second to look and think about the implications this has for his campaign, us as U.S. citizens and in general, women’s role in the future.

Whether or not you believe that Trump’s personal views on women affect his ability to be a successful president is still a valid argument for his constituency. However, what is no longer arguable in the wake of these remarks and his apologia statements is his character. Donald Trump has quite simply proven himself to be a male chauvinist pig that finds women’s value in their appearance as sexual objects. Not only is it not arguable that he said these vulgar derogatory remarks but it is also not agreeable that his apologia statement did not affectively display remorse for what was said nor proved that he didn’t believe in what was said. In fact his apology statement did quite the opposite. It reaffirmed his belief in a society dominated by hegemonic masculinity through dismissing his comments as “locker room talk”. The sports world is widely considered a male dominated realm of society. Trumps use of sport as a scapegoat for his vulgar misogynistic behavior, only reaffirms his belief that patriarchal constructs exist as pillars of our society and furthermore, that these views are justified in the arena of sport. Trump excusing his comments as nothing but “locker room talk” suggests that although these ideas might be “politically incorrect” and taboo to admit publicly, they are still valued by men and are acceptable to be discussed behind closed doors, in a male dominated setting. Even then, his attempt to justify his comments as “locker room talk” seems to be outdated. According to the Red and Black, the University of Georgia’s student newspaper, athletes “believe that Trump’s comments are misrepresentative of themselves and the behavior in locker rooms”. The article noted that Chris Conley, former UGA football player, tweeted “The guys I know and respect don’t talk like that. They talk about girls but not like that. Period”. Another former UGA football player, Rennie Curran said, “I’ve never heard any conversation like that.” A.J. McDonald, also a football player admitted to stories being told involving women “but it wouldn’t be used to ‘down-grade a woman.” These young athletes found this comparison frustrating “that they associate that with locker rooms” and that “it makes us look bad” agreeing that the sports world is trying and has made strides away from its hegemonic past, one that Donald Trump is clearly still stuck in.


Giambavio, Emily. “Former Georgia Athletes Respond to Donald Trump’s Lewd Comments.” The Red & Black [Athens] 13 Oct. 2016: n. pag. Print.

Just “locker room talk,” or sexual assault?

Since tapes of Donald Trump making predatory comments about women were released over the weekend, the businessman turned politician has faced crippling backlash. Trump has been on the defense in an attempt to control the damage and repair his image, largely in the eyes of women voters. Though Hillary Clinton has not made many comments on the tapes, these events have largely played to her favor, and she has taken the opportunity to use Trump’s biggest weakness against him with more force than ever.


-Image from The Star

Trump has utilized multiple strategies to try to reconcile with woman voters. Almost immediately after the tapes were released, he offered an apologia, choosing to differentiate between what most people are calling “sexual assault” from “locker room talk.” This stance has received massive push back as men, especially athletes, have used social media to point out to Trump that his comments were not permissible.

Women have also used social media to make known how Trump’s apology meant nothing to them, and how his “locker room talk” sounds a lot more like rape culture to them. Internet personality, Kelly Oxford, tweeted about her experience with sexual assault and encouraged other women to tweet her their experiences using the hashtag #NotOkay. Thousands of tweets poured in recounting horrific accounts of women being sexually assaulted, which for Trump equates thousands of lost votes to his opponent.

Other women, like actress America Ferrera, have also taken a stance to donounce “locker room talk” spearheading the twitter movement #pussygrabsback. The actress also tweeted a picture of a map projection created by Nate Silver that showed what the electoral college would look like if Trump received no support from women. The result? 100% blue states which again proves just how important women will be in determining this election.


Trump is still trying to recover from this devastating blunder since his attempts at apologizing and differentiating sexual assault from locker room talk have been largely ineffectual. As the leaked tapes were the dominating topic of the first portion of the debate, Trump was forced to use the debate to rally his home base, especially Republican women, as opposed to expanding his voter pool. During the debate, Trump relied heavily on the women who claim to be sexual assault victims of Bill Clinton to restore credibility among women voters. This has not seemed to have had much of an impact for a majority of voters, conservatives included. Though Hillary Clinton has not made many comments on the tapes, these events have worked in her favor. She has recently released ads that portray Trump as misogynistic and womanizing, which in light of the leaked tapes, have been even more powerful.

Moving forward, I think this will have a devastating impact on Trump’s campaign. I’m sure that a percentage of Republican women will vote for him no matter what he says or does, but I think that the majority of the demographic as well as independents will be driven to vote for Clinton. I don’t think Nate Silver’s projection will come true because I don’t think Clinton is capable of winning all 50 states, however I think that the role of women in this election will be to decide the vote, as well as to take a stand in renouncing rape culture.

Sexual Assualt or Locker Room Talk?

The debate of Sunday is a debate that will be in political history books forever. Before the debate on Sunday, an audio recording of Trump was leaked. This audio tape revealed that Trump hit on married women and even would go as far as assaulting them. He also mentioned his power over people, and how he could use this to his advantage. During the audio, Trump used very vulgar language when talking to a reporter from Access Hollywood .The middle age women group, are the main group that needs to be focused on. After the scandal that had occurred, many are very unhappy with Trump.

This was a major hit to the Republican, however do you think voters expected this? When he was asked in the debate about the tape, he said that this was just “locker room talk”. Every time Trump is accused of mistreating women he tends to just rub it off. Even Governor Chris Christie thinks that what he said was unacceptable. She also said that he was unable to apologize to the public affectively. However she does believe that he is embarrassed and would like to apologize for it.

Is Chris Christie correct? Are voters worried about the larger issues at hand or more focused on immature comments made. Many conservatives tend to ignore issues like this because of being loyal to their party. All of this is just junkyard journalism. Everything that we have seen in the news is trying to damage each candidates campaign. Voters are blinded by the media to recognize the candidates message, especially Trump. He had been unable to get a decent argument across because he always interrupts Clinton or makes immature jokes. These small things affect the voters.

Hilary Clinton addressed her opinion, by saying that Trump was not fit for president. Clinton is now using this topic to build her campaign around women. However, women are still saying they are going to vote for his despite the demeaning rhetoric used. Those women are focused more on the larger pictures. The part that stumps people when women say this, is that women have been fighting about equality for years.

As the election goes on voters will have to pick and choose what they want to hear from the candidates. They will have to choose a leader who they believe will fit the spot. The poor use of rhetoric of Trump and the over scripted Clinton had throw the people of the United States off. I believe that the undecided voters are still undecided and will be until voting day.