Award Date

5-1-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

First Committee Member

Thomas Burkholder

Second Committee Member

David Henry

Third Committee Member

Tara Emmers-Sommer

Fourth Committee Member

Joanne Goodwin

Number of Pages

139

Abstract

Some first ladies are often condemned for being too involved with the presidents' power in politics while other first ladies find themselves condemned for the lack of involvement. First ladies, it seems, are damned if they do and damned if they don't. Consequently, Michelle Obama faces rhetorical problems that in some respects are similar to those of previous first ladies and in other respects are quite different. Along with the criticisms encountered by previous presidential wives, Obama faces the stereotypes African American women have endured since the inception of the nation. Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign serves as a rhetorical attempt to overcome those rhetorical problems. Her speeches from the "Let's Move" campaign exemplify the strategic use of the rhetorical persona to form the image of the archetypal mother and use of identification to create a constitutive audience of American families.

Keywords

African American women; First ladies; Let's Move; Obama, Michelle, 1964-; Persona (Literature); Political oratory; Presidents' spouses – Political activity; Stereotypes (Social psychology); United States

Disciplines

African American Studies | American Politics | Rhetoric | Women's Studies

Language

English


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