Italian Female Ministers: A Test for the Celebrity Politics?

Donatella Campus, Elena Giammaria

Abstract


The so-called celebrity politics is a well-known general and global phenomenon, common to most Western democracies. The celebrity politicians have become leading actors in tabloids, gossip magazines and entertainment TV programs. The paper aims at investigating the impact of those developments on women politicians and attempts at evaluating if they advantaged or disadvantaged by the increasing celebritization of politics. By referring to the case of the Italian female ministers and through a content analysis of the most read Italian gossip magazine, the paper tests the hypotheses that female ministers receive more coverage than their male colleagues and that this coverage gives more space to trivial details, like appearance and attire. The paper argues that the celebrity politics may give women more visibility, but offers also some occasions for activating the most common and unfair gender stereotypes. Therefore, in the case of male politicians, the coverage of gossip magazines can simply “humanize” their image by showing them in more private settings and allowing them to express their feelings and emotions. In the case of women, the same kind of coverage could reinforce an already biased treatment due to the fact that they usually receive more media coverage mentioning family life, dress and appearance than male politicians.

 

 


Keywords


female politicians; gender stereotypes; celebrity politics; gossip magazines; Italian politics.

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