Edited by Angela Smith and Michael Higgins
[Journal of Language and Politics 19:1] 2020
► pp. 30–47
A stairheid rammy
Female politicians and gendered discourses in the Scottish press
This article explores the mediated representation of gender in the Scottish public sphere during the independence referendum in 2014. In particular, it focuses on a media sample drawn from the Scottish press that centres on two key political figures, Johann Lamont and Nicola Sturgeon, who took part in a televised debate during the campaign. Using critical discourse analysis, it looks at how language is used to construct overlapping discourses of gender in a specific cultural and national context. Findings show representations pivot on expectations that female politicians should embody a specific feminised style; and when gender norms appear to be violated, this is represented in negatively gendered terms. Though there is evidence of contestation of male-dominated politics, discourses still reify traditional gender norms and situate women as outsiders to the political sphere. This study shows how specific discursive frames can contribute to a cross-cultural practice of gendering women in politics.