Leading the antifeminist movement : a feminist analysis of Beverly LaHaye's rhetoric

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Enck, Suzanne M.
Messner, Beth A.
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Thesis (M.A.)
Department of Speech Communication
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This study examined gender portrayals in the rhetoric of Beverly LaHaye. As the president of America's largest women's organization (Concerned Women for America), LaHaye has generated an enormous pool of rhetoric which is steeped in traditional gender expectations and conservative values. The thrust of LaHaye's perception of appropriate gender roles conceives of females as submissive and males as dominant. Despite her seemingly derogatory stance toward females, LaHaye's rhetoric and organization have proven remarkably popular and satisfying among American women.This analysis explored the schism between the feminist movement and antifeminist movement (as led by LaHaye) to determine how to best serve women. This study found that LaHaye holds a predominantly male worldview. This examination also found that LaHaye blends typically male and female communication styles to render an effective method of conveying her ideas.LaHaye's formula for helping women provides insight into the need for expansion of both the feminist perspective and feminist criticism as a method of rhetorical analysis. Further, this analysis presents the feminist movement with a challenge to offer women more choices about how to best conduct their lives in a manner that is personally fulfilling. This study maintains that among those choices should be the equally-respected option of being a "traditional" wife and mother.