MPs with Skirts: Or How the Popular Press in Bulgaria Portrays Women Politicians

Elza Nistorova Ibroscheva, Maria Raicheva-Stover


This study focuses on how the changes after the fall of the Berlin Wall have affected the presentation of female politicians in Eastern Europe. Textual analysis of top two circulating daily newspapers in Bulgaria, Trud and Standart, was used to examine how female politicians were portrayed during the 2005 parliamentary elections. The analysis indicates that press coverage of female politicians is refracted through the prism of gender stereotypes, which, in turn, exhibits signs of the post-communist masculinization of democracy. What is more, this study found that women politicians as well as the female reporters who cover them willingly partake in the gendered mediation of the Bulgarian female politicians, therefore acting, as Julia Kristeva argued, as the strongest supporters of the existing, albeit oppressive, social order. The overall conclusion is that gendered media portrayals of female politicians lead to the creation of a social climate tolerant towards and perhaps, encouraging, of sexism in all aspects of social life.


gender, media and politics, Eastern Europe

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