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(Auto) Représentation du conflit et du pouvoir au féminin

Madam President : the Representation of Female Political and Military Power in Commander in Chief and in Season 7 of 24

Zachary Baqué
p. 285-294

Abstract

Cette analyse de deux séries américaines contemporaines incluant des femmes présidentes cherche à montrer que l’attention narrative exclusive sur le sexe de la présidente tend à renforcer les stéréotypes classiques sur l’impossibilité d’un pouvoir féminin (dans Commander in Chief) alors que, lorsque la présidente est un personnage parmi d’autres et qu’elle est jugée en fonction de ses capacités politiques, elle gagne en efficacité ce qu’elle perd en féminité (saison 7 de 24).

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  • 1 24 was first broadcasted in September 2001. David Palmer is an African-American senator running as (...)

1It has often been said that Barack Obama’s election was partly helped by the portrayal of a successful African-American president in the first seasons of 24 (See, among others, AFP and Ogunnaike).1 Even if the nature of the link between a successful work of fiction and a real-life political event is hard to establish, it is nevertheless worth noticing that this fiction, all the more when it is broadcast on television and published on DVD, thus potentially reaching a large audience, preceded what became real. Taking into account this potential foreshadowing power of television series in shaping the mind of the American electorate, it is important to analyze how female politicians are portrayed on TV screens if we believe in gender equality in terms of access to political power. It is thus interesting to see if fictional female politicians can have access to the highest American political office and to study how they exercise their power, in other words if they are bound to become what Joshua Alston has called an "idealized version of a nonwhite-male president" in an article comparing fictional presidents at the onset of the 2008 presidential election (Alston).

2Commander in Chief is the first series to feature a female president as the main protagonist. It was first broadcast on ABC in the fall of 2005. After a change of show runner and of time slot, the series was finally cancelled in June 2006 after 18 episodes mostly due to declining ratings (Maynard). Some conservative commentators accused the series of being a veiled attempt at promoting the then-potential campaign of Hillary Clinton (Sec, for example, Johnson). However, a close textual analysis of the series clearly shows that the Democratic Senator could not have gained from this portrayal of a female president. I will argue here that the lack of success of the series, despite the potential popular appeal of Geena Davies, is due to narrative shortcomings in the sense that the series fails to represent a viable female president.

  • 2 Season 6 was first broadcasted from January to May 2007. 24 : Redemption was aired in November 2008 (...)

3After the presidential election, Fox broadcast 24 : Redemption, a made-for-TV movie which was meant to bridge the narrative gap between seasons 6 and 7 and which also introduces a female president, who remains in office for all of season 7.2 Though the series is not centered on the character of the president, it nevertheless offers interesting insights on how to portray a female president. I would like to compare these two recent portrayals of female presidents by taking into account narrative elements, such as their structural position within the fiction and their access to power, but also ideological leanings, which can be perceived in the aesthetic representation of female political and military power.

4The formal address to the real-life president is obviously male. Part of the pleasure of watching these two series lies in the feminization of this phrase. McKenzie Allen, the president in Commander in Chief, is addressed as "Madam President". So is Allison Taylor in 24. Redemption shows the gradation in addresses to the president-elect. The movie takes place just before her formal taking of the presidential oath of office. Just before the ceremony, she meets with outgoing president Noah Daniels, who uses the expression "Senator Taylor", then "Mister President" with an ironic grin on his face. Just before she is about to exit the room, he finally uses the feminine form, thus acknowledging the transfer of power. If the term seems to be a given for McKenzie Allen, despite her troubles and her doubts before becoming president (which are limited to the first half of the first episode), it is earned with difficulty by 24’s Allison Taylor. This is due to the different ways they gained power.

5When it is revealed in the first segment of Commander in Chief that President Teddy Roosevelt Bridges suffers from an aneurism, his close advisers warn Vice President McKenzie Allen that she should resign since she does not belong to the same party as the dying president. She is told that it would be unwise to show the world "a soft indecisive woman commanding the troop". Immediately her potential political credential is questioned. Later on, Nathan Templeton, the Speaker of the House, who, even though he is surrounded by tough women (his chief of staff), embodies the figure of the misogynist, tells her that it is impossible for a woman to be the "leader of the free world". It appears that her choice as a VP candidate was merely a political stunt to attract female voters. This remark is further confirmed by a flash-back in episode 5 revealing that she was handpicked by men to run for Congress. Even if she is constitutionally entitled to become president thanks to section 1 of the 25th Amendment, many people advise her that this bold "social advance" would be too dangerous in the current state of world affairs and also considering that the dying president is a hardcore Republican as opposed to her being an Independent. Even her own daughter, who would "rather see Pat Buchanan in office" than her mother, urges her to step down if she "cannot deliver". As the political establishment wishes for her resignation, including the president on his death bed, she seriously considers writing a resignation letter. It is only after a bitter argument with Templeton that she decides to take the oath of office. He indeed derides her activism in freeing a Nigerian woman who "could not keep her legs together" and hints at her impending menopause. Stung by these misogynous attacks, Allen decides not to resign. Her political decision is thus based on a reaction to an attack on her being a woman.

6In Redemption it is made clear that Allison Taylor has won a divisive popular vote as evidenced by a conversation with the outgoing president about their different campaign strategies. Even if the people remain largely off-screen in 24, she is president by the will of the people, not by a stroke of luck and a constitutional provision. From this premise derive the two major opposite narrative strategies at work in the two series : on the one hand, the female president is popularly elected and does not have to prove her political credentials ; on the other hand, she has to show that she can handle the position since, even if she was elected as a VP, she was not meant to reach that office. In 24, the female capacity to govern the nation is backed up by the will of the people. The process of electoral campaign during which Taylor, as a candidate, probably had to fend off misogynous attacks and prove that she had the capacity to be a president, remains off-screen. In Commander in Chief even though the campaign is only referred to, it appears that the president must woo the electorate, the administration she inherited, and Congress, all over again. In episode 9, a media consultant is introduced to bolster her public image. From that episode on, one of the most important running decisions the president has to make is whether she wants to declare her candidacy for the forthcoming presidential election or not. The series suggests that in an ever-tightening electoral schedule it becomes necessary for presidents to be constantly campaigning. This constant justification of her policy is what differentiates McKenzie Allen from Allison Taylor.

  • 3 Split screen : the screen is divided into two (or more) screens edited next to one another.

7These two strategies of portrayal arc made explicit in the two oath scenes. 24’s aesthetics is based on fragmentation as shown by the constant use of split screens.3 The oath scene is indeed shown with a split screen, which shows that the actions and words of the President have direct consequences on the other side of the globe (the evacuation of refugees at the American embassy in a fictive African country). Interestingly, the split screen also shows that there may be a potential gap in the chain of command. The very simple editing of this scene in shot/reverse-shots and the perfect symmetry of most of the shots (with the vanishing point on the Washington Memorial) imply that her very presence entirely depends on the mass of people gathered on the Mall. The symmetry also foreshadows that she will endeavor to create a balanced form of government. After the oath, she makes a powerful speech recalling the fundamental inalienable rights that govern America (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, quoting from the Declaration of Independence). She then warns that apathy, greed, and fear (with a portion of the split screen showing the face of a character complied in these human defects) may endanger the torch lit by the Founding Fathers. She concludes by quoting De Tocqueville : "in every democracy, the people get the government they deserve", and she asks the people to join in the effort of building this government. This inclusive speech suggests that, far from revealing the potential discrepancy between her words and her actions, the split screen is a visual metaphor of her popular appeal. This logic of a fragmented unity is directly challenged, in Commander in Chief, by an opposite logic, that of a united fragmentation.

  • 4 Diegetic camera : the camera is framed in the same space as the characters.

8The oath is shot in one take : the camera stands behind the control panel of a diegetic camera,4 pans left then right before moving in front of the diegetic camera to frame the oath in a frame that is highly similar to that of the image in the screen (that of the control panel) within the screen. It clearly indicates that her presidency is going to be closely scrutinized, she is about to become the center of attention. This camera movement also translates the actualization of something that had so far remained entirely potential (her being president). It shows that there is an inherent suspicion about her presidency, as if it first had to be framed at another level of "reality" before becoming real. The pans and the tracking shot do not create a single space but, on the contrary, designate different spaces that can hardly be reconciled : the space of the media center stage, the space of political oppositions on the left, and the space of her more or less supportive family and staff on the right. The ambiguity of this scene will be partly lifted in subsequent shots of the pilot.

9Indeed, her political power is finally affirmed by a medium close up of her sitting behind her desk in the Oval Office with the small sculpture of an eagle framing the lower part of her face, and later on by a speech made in front of a joint session of Congress in which she advocates values of unity. It is interesting to notice that she quotes from President Harry Truman’s 1945 State of the Union address, given a couple of days after Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s death : "The responsibility of a great state is to serve the world, not to dominate it." By choosing a real-life quote uttered in a political context similar to that of the fiction (a VP becoming president after the President’s death), the series tries to make this event historically believable for the audience, as if the fictional premise of the series were too weak to hold as such. She also explains that she feels "humbled" by the task awaiting her, an expression found in Truman’s address when he called upon the people to help him keep the nation united. Allen also uses the expression "in this house united" which may be a reference to Lincoln’s 1958 speech in which he warned that the country and its institutions could not hold much longer ("in this house divided"). These references to two war speeches (one before the Civil War, one at the end of World War II) are a means to prove her military credentials as the camera lingers on army officials in the audience. Similarly to 24, the series expresses the desire to show that decisions have consequences as the camera crosscuts to the liberation of the Nigerian adulterous woman who was sentenced to be stoned. So her first action as a president (which also happens to be what she was sent away for in order to keep her out of Washington) is to preserve the integrity of women. If, in 24, the president is left with wide margins of power, in Commander in Chief, her future power is circumscribed by the necessity to please everyone.

10So far, only the opposite ways in which these two fictional presidents gained office have been analyzed. However, these two portrayal strategies also operate in the rest of the two series. They can best be summarized as follows : Allen is a woman who happens to be president while Taylor is a president who happens to be a woman. This is partly due to the goal of these two series : if Commander in Chief aims at representing the everyday life of a female president, 24 only deals with special circumstances during one single day. Each episode of Commander in Chief can be seen as a self-enclosed autonomous TV movie with a major crisis and several hard decisions opening each one and being resolved at the end. The narrative links that connect the episodes arc those that deal with political questions (her nomination of a new VP, her decision to run) or family matters (her relationship with her husband) but never those of the crises she has to face. This tends to prove that the series is more interested in showing what it would be like to govern as a woman on a daily basis than in showing what any president would do in a situation of conflict, which is what 24 does. It is indeed quite impossible, despite the short segment which recalls what happened previously during the show, to watch an episode on its own. This is obviously due to the fact that the series is supposed to occur in real time, one hour of screening being equal to one diegetic hour. If Taylor always postpones until the very last minute her decisions, there nevertheless comes a moment in the series when she is forced to make the final call. On the contrary, the exact moment of Allen’s decision is always suggested by an ellipsis between the moment when the problem is raised and the moment when the consequences of that decision are made public. Strangely enough, these consequences are almost never clearly visible : except for the shots on helicopters rescuing an African woman in the first episode, all the audience can witness is only shown on TV screens or with computer diagrams or even orally through the telephone. The effect of her policy remains highly virtual, whereas the effect of Taylor’s own policy is always made visible thanks to the numerous narrative threads (each with different characters who are equally important to the story) which ultimately connect to each other.

11Even though Allen is a character among a large group of people who work or live in the White House, she nevertheless remains the main protagonist as all actions revolve around her decisions. Quite on the contrary, Taylor is never given that prominent position : she is not given more screen time than other characters at other levels of the plot. What thus remains to be seen is whether the politics of gender in the two series work in the same way because of the respective positions of a female president in the general narrative economy of these fictions.

12Allen’s gender is one of the main ideological themes tackled by Commander in Chief if not the only one. She keeps on acknowledging that, being under the constant scrutiny of the media, she has to fight more than if she were a man. For example, in episode 10, she asks : "Does the military distrust me that much ?" thus suggesting that because of her gender her military capacities might somehow be diminished. After all, the series is called Commander in Chief referring to the main military power of the American president, as expressed in Article 2 section 2 of the Constitution. With this very title, it is possible to suggest that what the series mainly wants to show is that a woman can very well be the president and run the military in an efficient way. However, the many references to her gender also imply that her capacity as a commander in chief may be questioned, not because of a potential lack of experience in the field but due to the very fact that she is a woman.

13For example, in episode 4, after a harsh question from a journalist about her ability to lead the nation when, on the very day of a summit with Russia, her national security adviser resigns, the Russian president intervenes and suggests the journalist should not question "this woman’s ability to lead" but the adviser to follow. Once in the hallway, the White House press secretary gets upset and exclaims "she is not a woman, she is the president". What is made explicit here is the necessity to observe what type of president she is besides being a woman. In the series there arc constant appeals to sec her as something else than merely a female president. But it appears that it is quite impossible to make a clear distinction between what characterizes the president and what defines the woman. In episode 5, as her children become the center of media attention since she has decided that they would attend a public school, she warns some members of the press that her children should be off limits from media scrutiny. She tells them not to mess with her kids but she exclaims that she speaks not as "Mac the president but [as] Mac the mother". There it appears that the female part of her character and the presidential part seem to coalesce. In a strange reversal, the presidential function is made similar to the maternal function : in episode 5 when terrorists threaten the country, she reassures her youngest daughter that "it’s [her] job as a mommy to see that you’re safe". If the series insists that the audience should judge her as another fictional president (in order to prepare her first State of the Union address in episode 13, she watches on TV extracts from former real presidents’ addresses, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan), there are constant reminders that her gender should somehow weigh in this appreciation. As mentioned before, there are times when the character casts aside her presidential role in order to express herself as a woman. In episode 15, which is dedicated to anti-crime protests, she talks in front of a group of parents who have lost children in gang warfare and she tells them she understands their grief "as a woman and as a mother". In this ongoing dialectics between president and woman, it remains quite unclear which one gains the upper hand. If her femaleness is sometimes toned down in order to prove her presidential stature, it is at other times what is put forward as when her husband suggests in episode 7 that her "presence is larger than the presidency".

14Since Commander in Chief heavily relies on the gender of its main protagonist, it can only describe the specific problems which a female president would have to face, thus establishing the very stereotype it was endeavoring to destroy, i.e. that women can be leaders but only with extreme difficulty. As McKenzie Allen is constantly described as the first female president, it is necessary to show that she can be a good leader and also a woman capable of running her private life, which the series equates with being a good mother and wife. Elizabeth Ann Haas explains that female politicians on screen have "to prove themselves both competent and still somehow ‘all woman’" (Haas 272). The expression "all woman" implies a certain degree of femininity to counter the argument that powerful women on screen tend to be overly masculine and figures of potential emasculation for men around them. Fictional female politicians, much like their real counterparts, have to be both feminine and strong without endangering the masculinity of their male colleagues. In the very last episode of the series, Allen has to choose what she will wear for her official portrait that will hang in the National Gallery. A young political consultant who specializes in polls and electoral politics suggests that she should wear a dress or a skirt in order to show that she is "strong but feminine". Although the audience never knows her final decision, this remark is symptomatic of the special attention female politicians get about their appearance. In other words, the series tries to prove that a female president can be an efficient president while still complying with public expectations about her femininity and with traditional gender roles, in the sense that she has to be a loving mother and wife.

15The political role of her husband is precisely the source of many troubles. Called the "First Gentleman", he has to deal with the role traditionally devolved to the First Lady, that is mainly choosing the menus of the White House and performing traditional female roles. His chief of staff inquires how he would like to run the East Wing, hinting that Hillary Clinton’s decision to have her office in the West Wing did not go down well with the public. The president’s husband is thus demoted from Chief of Staff (since it could give the impression that he runs the presidency behind closed doors) to First Gentleman. The series relies heavily on this blurring of the line between husband and personal advisor, implying that a female president needs the backing of her husband, no matter how mocked his new status can be.

  • 5 It should be noted that the series tends to oppose two roles that cannot be reconciled : Allison Ta (...)

16As mentioned before, the representation of a female president in 24 is radically different : Allison Taylor is indeed a woman but she is also a president. In 24, the gender of the president is almost never addressed as a political issue. In fact the only time her gender is taken into account is not political but physical. In episode 12, the leader of a group of African mercenaries who have invaded the White House slaps her, a gesture which would be entirely impossible in relation to a male president. By slapping her, General Juma attacks her more as a woman than as a president. But she soon regains her composure and maintains a presidential posture. Apart from this reference to her gender, nothing in the series points at her being a woman. As explained before, her political and military capacity as a leader is never questioned. She is described as "decisive and even downright martial" (Stanley). Contrary to McKenzie Allen, Allison Taylor does not have children to take care of. Her son was killed in the interval between Redemption and the beginning of season 7 and her daughter has been estranged due to her ill-advised dirty politics tactics during her mother’s campaign. The daughter appears for several episodes but she is an adult whom her mother is highly suspicious of. The president’s husband is also a secondary character who does not appear to have troubles adjusting to his role as "first lady" since he investigates on his own the murder of their son. All in all, Madam President’s relation with her husband and daughter appear quite professional rather than wifely or maternal. She even places national interest above her family (she does not waiver when terrorists blackmail her by threatening her husband, she does not hesitate to repudiate her daughter at the very end of the season). It is almost as if she toned down her gender, but she does not appear masculine—which is the general feminist criticism of the traditional representation of powerful women—but quite feminine in a benevolent grandmotherly way.5 However, it is necessary to recognize that her soft femininity is entirely non-threatening to her male colleagues. In an article published before the series aired, Joshua Alston expects Taylor to "be stereotypically feminine, pretty, empathie and family-oriented, but also extremely knowledgeable and tough on defense issues" (Alston). Although it is true that Allison Taylor is shown as a strong woman, even if she is frontally attacked by some of her advisers (though not more than other fictional presidents in the other seasons of the series), she does not embody the "stereotypically feminine, pretty" politician. Rather, she corresponds to another form of female stereotype, one for which the necessary femininity of her appearance is no longer a real issue. If Taylor can be said to be more politically successful than Allen, she is also less feminine.

17In this analysis of the representation of female power, a final question needs to be tackled. In episode 2 of Commander in Chief, Allen says that she is not "acting as a representative of women but as a representative of the human race". The very fact that she feels the need to justify herself implies that there is an inherent suspicion of female power. In a way, the question becomes : Docs the fact that she is a woman influence her policy ? Or even worse : will a female president automatically enforce a feminist policy ?

18As seen before, she manages to liberate a Nigerian woman accused of adultery and sentenced to stoning. In episode 9, she commutes the death sentence of a mentally retarded woman who has been accused of shooting a cabdriver. If she does so, it is not because the accused is a woman or even because she has a low IQ, but because it would be morally untenable not to commute that woman’s death sentence to life imprisonment, on the very same day she pardoned a turkey for Thanksgiving. But these actions are grounded on a moral vision of the world rather than on a purely feminist agenda. In the very last episode of the series, however, the sudden death of the Illinois Speaker of the House gives her the opportunity to push the ratification of the famous Equal Rights Amendment. First written in 1923 by Alice Paul, this amendment to the Constitution would have read : "Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction" (Evans 187). Following the second wave of feminism in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the ERA was passed by Congress but lacked three states to be ratified. Although this return of the amendment on the national stage appears quite improbable in 2005, President Allen intends to use her power to push for this ratification : she summons the Florida Senate majority leader, who is a Republican woman opposed to the ERA, to have her reconsider her position. In this fight for the ERA, she faces heavy criticism, from Templeton’s derogatory remark that she has a "suffragette’s agenda" to her own poll consultant who warns her that this might remind the American people that she is a woman. At the end of the last episode, the ERA has not been ratified but Allen makes a passionate plea for gender equality at a town-hall meeting. In fact, the whole episode seems to be devoted to a new definition of feminism.

19McKenzie Allen places herself in a long genealogy of feminist women such as Alice Paul who wrote the original amendment and Gloria Steineim who lobbied for it in the 1970s. With three generations of women in the White House, the last episode offers a reflection on the transmission of feminist history. McKenzie reminds her mother of her feminist past. The latter seems to be amazed by the incredible social advances made possible by feminism as she recalls a time when she could not open up a bank account without the approval of her husband. On the contrary, the president’s daughter fears that a ratification of the ERA would force her to be drafted. She tells her grandmother that she does not define herself as a feminist. The grandmother then offers a simple definition of feminism which is a belief in equal rights for both genders. If we are to judge the series and Allen’s policy with this definition, then she is a feminist president. However, it seems to be difficult for her to enforce any real policy as she is encumbered by the fact she is an Independent with no political base. While the series wishes to be based on post-partisanship (rather than bipartisanship), this political affiliation hinders the president’s capacity to act.

20Furthermore, Commander in Chief is based on a stereotypical representation of women. Her first executive order in episode 7 is an education initiative. Later on, she visits schoolchildren who tell her that they "like it more with a girl president". In fact, the scries creates a stereotypical woman when it claims to do the exact opposite : "women arc environmentally friendly" as she is told by the Secretary of the Interior in a flash-back in episode 4. Although Allen recognizes with humor that this is a stereotype when she admits that indeed "women tend to pick up after themselves", the series does not destroy that stereotype. As expected, the president praises compassion, is against torture (a characteristic she shares with Allison Taylor in 24 even if the latter cannot counter the Machiavellian logics of Jack Bauer), and she is accused of being soft on crime (in episode 14). Strangely enough, this representation of women as sentimental idealists is mixed with a centralized vision of power. As a true federalist, she quite often uses federal prerogatives over states’ rights. Women may be compassionate but they are also strong-willed characters.

  • 6 Audio commentary of the pilot by show creator Rod Lurie in the Buena Vista DVD boxset.

21However, this will of steel, to use the word of one of the executive producers,6 is undermined by the way decision-making is represented. Allen always tries to take into account both political points of view before reaching her conclusion. In episode 11, she claims that she refuses the "either/or" option. In a way, she tries to please both sides. For example, in episode 6, a sinking oil tanker threatens the coast of Florida after the state was hit by a tropical storm. The president has to choose between ordering the boat to anchor in a Florida harbor, a solution which the governor refuses, or telling the ship to sail to a state further north, thus polluting the coast of several states. The solution she comes up with is for the boat to sail into port at a federal navy base in Florida. If her vision of a centralized power is clearly visible, she manages to put it into practice by dealing with Florida’s specific demand. Ultimately, the woman McKenzie Allen embodies is the great reconciler of opposites, thus replacing a past stereotype (castrating powerful women) with another one (powerful women so high above partisanship that they become the incarnation of morals).

22At a time when female presidents have become a reality in some parts of the world and an electoral possibility in others, the representation of female presidents onscreen remains rare. Commander in Chief and season 7 of 24 aim at filling this representational gap. While the femaleness and femininity of the main protagonist of Commander in Chief is the main argument of the show, in 24 the female president is part of a long list of presidents who have governed the country in several seasons of a well-established series. Thus a series based on a female president focuses entirely on her gender and thereby reinforces the idea that running the country and remaining a "true woman" seem to be mutually exclusive. The political (and thus narrative) efficiency of a female president works better when her gender is not an issue. Commander in Chief seems to imply that it would be very hard for a woman to govern the nation if she also wanted to remain a feminine woman and a mother. Anyway, these series should pave the way for a more complex representation of female power.

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Bibliography

DVDs

Commander in Chief. Buena Vista/Touchstone. 2007.

24 : Redemption. Fox Pathe. 2009.

24 : Season 7. Fox Pathe. 2009.

Books and articles

AFP, "Hollywood shows way for first black US president" June 29, 2008, found at http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gn9WaALxlM7hQFkGzWBQtFTGdBbw

Alston, Joshua, "Diversity Traning", Newsweek, Feb. 11, 2008, found at http://www.newsweek.com/id/107572

Evans, Sara M., Born for Liberty, A History of Women in America, [1989] New York : Free Press, 1997.

Haas, Elizabeth Ann, "Women, Politics, and Film. All About Eve ?", Terry Christensen and Peter J. Haas eds., Projecting Politics : Political Messages in American Films, Armonk, NY and London : M.E. Sharpe, 2005.

Johnson, Ben, "‘Commander in Chief’: Hillary’s Infomercial", FrontPageMagazine.com, September 28, 2005, found at <http://97.74.65.51/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=7109>

Maynard, John, "Pulled After Approval Ratings Fell, ‘Commander in Chief Returning", Washington Post, March 30, 2006, found at <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2006/03/29/AR2006032902168.html>.

Ogunnaike, Lola, "Black presidents nothing new to Hollywood", CNN.com, June 5, 2008, <http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/TV/06/05/black.presidents/index.html>.

Stanley, Alessandra, "For the Seventh Time, His Country Calls", New York Times, January 9, 2009, <http://tv.nytimes.com/2009/01/09/arts/television/09twen.html?_r=1>.

Thornham, Sue ed., Feminist Film Theory : a Reader, [1999] New York : New York University Press, 2006.

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Notes

1 24 was first broadcasted in September 2001. David Palmer is an African-American senator running as a candidate for the presidency in season 1. He is the American president in seasons 2 and 3. Even if he is no longer president, he is killed by a sniper in the first episode of season 5.

2 Season 6 was first broadcasted from January to May 2007. 24 : Redemption was aired in November 2008. Season 7 premiered in January 2009.

3 Split screen : the screen is divided into two (or more) screens edited next to one another.

4 Diegetic camera : the camera is framed in the same space as the characters.

5 It should be noted that the series tends to oppose two roles that cannot be reconciled : Allison Taylor cannot be an efficient president and fulfill a maternal role at the same time. In Commander in Chief, Allen's maternal role either hinders or coalesces with her presidential role.

6 Audio commentary of the pilot by show creator Rod Lurie in the Buena Vista DVD boxset.

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References

Bibliographical reference

Zachary Baqué, « Madam President : the Representation of Female Political and Military Power in Commander in Chief and in Season 7 of 24 », Caliban, 27 | 2010, 285-294.

Electronic reference

Zachary Baqué, « Madam President : the Representation of Female Political and Military Power in Commander in Chief and in Season 7 of 24 », Caliban [Online], 27 | 2010, Online since 13 December 2016, connection on 20 June 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/caliban/2191 ; DOI : 10.4000/caliban.2191

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About the author

Zachary Baqué

Université Toulouse-Le Mirail

By this author

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Copyright

Licence Creative Commons
Caliban – French Journal of English Studies est mis à disposition selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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