When a major political sex scandal occurs, it occupies as much as 25 percent of all news coverage in the United States. Even if people may deny it, they enjoy “consuming” and talking about political sex scandals. Written by a former journalist who has frequently explored the intersections of politics, sex, and gender in the United States, Sex Scandals, Gender, and Power in Contemporary American Politics investigates how political sex scandals contribute to the mistrust of government and why these titillating events have great significance in our frenzied media environment.
The book makes use of comprehensive descriptive data (including statistics) to explain how political sex scandals are a representation of society’s broader gender dynamics, conveying subtle messages about power and morality. It addresses the roles of men and women in political sex scandals over time, the increasing tabloidization of politics, and the often-overlooked consequences of sex scandals for the political system. Readers will see how the types of sex scandals that politicians are typically involved in differ by political party, and that all major political sex scandals have involved male—not female—politicians engaged in bad behavior. Author Hinda Mandell also documents how scandals’ multiple negative effects for the politicians themselves and for society include turning politics into a spectator sport, contributing to the mistrust of government, the questioning of politicians’ competence and judgment as a group, and politicians’ diminishing effectiveness in office.
- Explains how sex scandals regarding political figures significantly impact people's opinions of politicians and government as well as how sex scandals harm the U.S. political process
- Demonstrates how political sex scandals are a representation of society's broader gender dynamics, conveying subtle messages about power and morality
- Offers data and statistics about political sex scandal occurrences, including breakdowns of political scandals by party lines and the most common type of political sex scandals
- Supplies extensive analysis of how voters respond to different "types" of political wives (such as the supportive political wife versus the absent political wife)