Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Barbara Pickering


This study examines Laura Bush, Elizabeth Dole, Teresa Heinz Kerry, and Jennifer Granholm's 2004 national convention speeches to explore the rhetorical strategies employed and determine how their remarks promoted the presidential candidates, Senator John Kerry and President George W. Bush. Using Karlyn Kohrs Campbell’s feminine style as a rhetorical lens, this analysis examines the women’s discourse and draws implications about their role in conventions and political parties. From the analysis, I conclude that Heinz Kerry, Granholm, Bush, and Dole constructed different identities, not only for themselves but for their political parties, through their convention remarks. Although the women used many of the feminine style elements, some were emphasized more than others. Heinz Kerry and Granholm utilized a feminine style rhetoric that constructed the Democratic Party as one that empowers people. Alternatively, Bush and Dole used a feminine style rhetoric to emphasize the Republican Party’s ideals of family and values. This analysis provides two key contributions to feminist and political rhetorical scholarship regarding perspectives of feminine style: 1) that feminine style should be interpreted as a rhetorical strategy which rhetors can utilize in varying degrees, and 2) use of a feminine style does not always equate to the speaker’s promotion of women’s empowerment.


A Thesis Presented to the School of Communication and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Michelle L. Gauchat May, 2005