Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Maria Stehle

Committee Members

Sarah V. Eldrige, Stefanie Ohnesorg


Early in the 1990s, feminist Judith Butler wrote in her book Gender Trouble over the idea that gender is a performance. Through this idea, I analyze through media examples how the pantsuit or the German equivalent, der Hosenanzug, is depicted through media outlets in relation to women in power. This thesis aims to answer the question if women are scrutinized over the pantsuit or clothing more than men are, especially those in power or with a powerful spouse. Though the answer can seem to be an obvious yes, I delve into how the media outlets treat the pantsuit as a clothing item of progression, even when on the one hand, women of power in the conservative spectrum use their dress as femininity, even when running an ‘alt-right’ platform, but on the other hand, women of power on the liberal spectrum tend to dress more conservatively. This analysis covers the past 150 years of history from the USA and Germany, as well as other instances where women were victimized from wearing pants in a western context. The goal of the thesis is to see in which ways the media either boast or victimize women in powerful roles, even when one is the spouse of the one in power.

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