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    Success of ‘going negative’ changes campaign strategies
    Are Blogs Feminine?

    Whoever you are, female Gender Studies grad student, Republican male politician, male Marine in Falluja, you probably blog (partly) in the feminine style….What do I mean?

    Let me get theoretical on you.

    Blogs are about personal relationships. Interaction. Even intimacy.

    Now, intimacy between leaders and the group, even if historically it has been part of male-to-male fellowship in war, sports, or politics, has elements of what students of political communication have called the “feminine style” in campaigns and elections. While this sort of classification scheme can often devolve into stereotypes of sensitive women and tough men, there is a considerable weight of research that suggests that a feminine style of public speechmaking includes the following:

    (a) the address is made person-to-person, intimate, with personal pronouns;

    (b) the speaker relates personal experiences that intentionally connect with probable personal experiences of the audience;

    (c) the speaker offers anecdotes and stories as justifications for positions held

    (d) the speaker invites the audience to actively participate in some sort of quest or venture

    (e) the speaker’s logic of reasoning offered for arguments in speech is inductive, proceeding from the particular example to the general condition.

    In contrast, the classic masculine style of speechmaking deploys deductive logic, making general policy positions and then deploying examples and ideas to support them. The masculine speaker is concerned with asserting his authority on a subject, of declaiming expertise and citing other authorities to back him up, e.g., government statistics or concurring experts. Masculine speakers will use examples drawn from history or science that may not have any personal connection to their own lives or that of the audience.

    No politician today, male or female, is classically 100 percent masculine or feminine in style. Whatever their innate tendencies, political professionals understand the need for what I call “counter-typing,” fostering a public image that encourages positive stereotypes held about your candidate and that deflects negative ones. For example, a female Democratic politician running for governor of, say, Texas, knows very well that she needs to appear “tough” on crime and so on; likewise the male politicians will try to appear “caring.” Again these might be stereotypes, but the politician who ignores prejudices and preexisting beliefs in the electorate will not have a long career.

    It is clear that for at least a generation, the masculine and feminine styles have been employed by male and female office-seekers and holders employing and mixing both styles, but perhaps with a greater emphasis on the abilities of feminine style elements to build trust and kinship with audiences.

    One need look no further than the now standard rhetorical device of the State of the Union Address or Presidential Nominating Convention Speech, where the political leader references major national or international policies by introducing grandmothers, Marines, and boy scouts placed in the audience: “Among those our new American Safe Home Act will help are heroes like firefighter Hector Rodriguez, sitting right up there…”

    Blogs are perhaps the ultimate merger of the feminine style into political discourse–whoever or whatever you are.

    Posted on Sunday, December 25, 2005 at PolicybyBlog. 

    Reader Comments (1)

    I have no argument with blogs being called “feminine.” There is more and more research and technology that show how male and female brains develop and function differently. But one things for sure, blogs are NOT feminine.
    As previously mentioned, in another blog, this is a way for people to put in their two sense. Give their political opinion without actually interacting in politics.
    Using one of the descriptions of a female speech, that is supposedly like a blog, there is no face-to-face interaction. You can not misconstrue a blog as one either. Example: Carrie47 and Bigmomma19 don’t know anything about each other and never truly will. You are only reading this person’s opinion and not how they came to this decision, where they live, their SES. Nothing else, but their raw opinion. This is not nearly enough insight. You can easily learn the basic information about a politician.
    January 23, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterharrison72

    Read the Comments

    [ # 12 ] Comment from Antibush [February 14, 2007, 1:12 am]

    Bush goes ballistic about other countries being evil and dangerous, because they have weapons of mass destruction. But, he insists on building up even a more deadly supply of nuclear arms right here in the US. What do you think? Is killing thousands of innocent civilians okay when you are doing a little government makeover?
    If ever there was ever a time in our nation’s history that called for a change, this is it!
    The more people that the government puts in jails, the safer we are told to think we are. The real terrorists are wherever they are, but they aren’t living in a country with bars on the windows. We are.

    Write a comment

    The Dole Institute of Politics is a bipartisan facility. Our mission; to encourage political and civic involvement, especially among young people; to encourage civil discussion on important issues; to emphasize that politics is an honorable profession; and to provide opportunities for all to interact with political leaders, practitioners and writers.
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    A Summary of the 2006 Blogger-Reader Survey

    Fall 2006 Blogger/Reader Survey Details and Research Reports
    In December of 2006 Dr. Dhavan Shah of the University of Wisconsin and his “Blogclub” of graduate students and Dr. David D. Perlmutterof the University of Kansas conducted a survey of major political blogs and their readers. The project was partially sponsored by a grant from the Knight/Carnegie Foundation’s Future of Journalism initiative. The summary of the results are posted here--please fully cite us if you refer to the findings.

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