How effective is ‘femininity’?
Media portrayals of the effectiveness of the first Spanish Woman Defence Minister
Keywords:language and gender, female leadership, women’s linguistic performances, media gender construction
This paper studies the linguistic performances of Carme Chacón, the first Spanish woman Minister of Defence, as interpreted by the media. The corpus analysed is composed of 63 press columns and reports spanning her first year in office in which Chacón’s traits or performances are valued or assessed. Chacón’s success as a politician seems to be proportionate to her closeness to the powerful social roles of minister and military officer, performed from hybridly gendered identities, whereas her attempt to be a ‘coming-out’ feminine military leader meant a serious reverse in her popularity.