Violators, virtuous, or victims? How global newspapers represent the female member of parliament

Devin K. Joshi, Meseret F. Hailu, Lauren J. Reising

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Previous research finds mass media often frames female members of parliament (FMPs) as novelties, violators, or deviants intruding in a masculine domain. However, most of these studies have focused on a small number of primarily Western nations. Inspired by new research on the normalization of women in politics, intersectionality, and violence against women in politics, this study undertakes a broad examination of how global newspapers represent FMPs to the public. Taking an inductive approach and drawing on a collection of 772 articles drawn from 265 newspapers in 48 countries over thirty years (from 1985 to 2014), we assess how media framed the “female member of parliament” as being violators, virtuous, or victims and whether it made (in)visible their various intersectional identities. We found general support for the normalization thesis, but observed significant differences between Western and non-Western countries and between Asian and African media framing of FMPs as violators, virtuous, or victims.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)692-712
Number of pages21
JournalFeminist Media Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 3 2020


  • Framing
  • mass media
  • parliament
  • representation
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Communication
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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