The Politician/Celebrity and Fan(Girl) Pleasure: The Line Between Queen Hillary and Presidential Candidate Clinton

Jocelyn Smith

Abstract


Whenever there is a major political event and the #TheBachelor live-tweeting continues, or popular online media outlets such as Jezebel go ahead with their pre-planned celebrity gossip coverage, there is outrage: seemingly, it is impossible to keep up with—and care about—both the Kardashians and election campaigns. During the 2016 United States’ election, however, this outrage emerged from within campaign coverage, drawing a line between “serious political supporter” (who is interested in facts and policy) and “emotional fangirl” (who is interested in memes, feelings, and “girl power” above all).

Despite Donald Trump’s history of reality TV and non-political celebrity, Hillary Clinton’s supporters were called “fangirls” and accused of celebrity-worship, of solely getting their news from “pop” media like BuzzFeed—where foreign policy coverage is found alongside discussions of how “dead” we are from a Clinton eye-roll—and of allowing fandom to cloud political judgment. This paper is not engaging in the “fake news” debate; rather, this paper explores the intersection of political celebrity and politician in a moment when governmental politics, celebrity, social media, and reality TV are overlapping in unprecedented ways, as well as the intersection of “serious” political campaigning and fannish pleasure in an historic moment for women in American politics.


Keywords


Political Persona; Social Media; Fandom; American Politics; Hillary Clinton; Postfeminism

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21153/ps2017vol3no2art711

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