From Women of the Year to “Soccer Moms”: The Case of the Incredible Shrinking Women

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In the 1992 U.S. election year, mainstream print and television news coverage was replete with hosannas for female politicians, praised as strong and politically powerful figures during this so-called ''Year of the Woman.'' Just 4 years later, 1996 election news reports relied upon a very different image to describe women vis-à-vis electoral politics: “soccer moms.” “Soccer mom” was the term used most recurrently in mainstream television and print media to refer to an aggregate of women, vis-à-vis electoral politics, who were described as crucial to the success of either presidential candidate: President Clinton or Robert Dole. This period of time represents a dramatic shift in news discourse: from discussing women as political power wielders (Women of the Year) to discussing women as a group of swing voters defined primarily by their filial obligations. This article considers some possible implications of this shift and argues that it represents a discursive connection between women voters — reduced to a demographic category characterized by women’s relationships to their children — and an ideology of consumerism that reduces electoral politics to personal choices around product consumption and “lifestyle.”

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-213
Number of pages21
JournalPolitical Communication
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2000


  • Political women
  • Soccer moms
  • Swing voters
  • Year of the Woman


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