Gender and the development of a political persona: the case of Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
MetadataShow full item record
HIGGINS, M. and MCKAY, F. 2016. Gender and the development of a political persona: the case of Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. British politics [online], 11(3), pages 283-300. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/bp.2015.44
Much recent research has focussed on the manner in which women political leaders are portrayed in media. This article examines the press discourses around Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, beginning before her participation in the 2004 Scottish National Party leadership contest, after which she was appointed deputy leader, and continuing through to her appointment as First Minister in 2014. Starting before her deputy leadership, a variety of definitional strategies positioned Sturgeon as aggressive and shrewish. Subsequently, in keeping with the obligations of a more 'intimate' politics, we find a softening and domestication of Sturgeon's media image, alongside discourses of political competence and professionalism. Yet, the article shows how these shifts took place in a manner that continued to call upon established gendered discourses, often with newspapers using tactics of distancing. We suggest this illustrates the competing pulls of media logic, where the mediatisation of Sturgeon's image produces a marketable political persona, but accompanied by those residual gendered discourses long associated with the political press.