Date of Award

May 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Media Studies


Carol M. Liebler


femininity/competency bind, Hillary Clinton, Meta-meme, political communication, social media, social presence

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


In the age of viral social sharing, memes have become an increasingly important way for the public to engage in political debate and discussion. Through social media, politicians have an opportunity to participate in meme sharing with their followers, and to gain valuable likeability points with them by doing so. Hillary Clinton is one such politician, who created a meta-meme by participating in a viral meme about her, and was able to have some control over the narrative about her image as a result. The present research examined the uses of and responses to political meta-meming through analysis of both Hillary Clinton’s meta-memes and the reactions to them in the news media as shared on social media. This thesis used a theoretical foundation of social presence theory, which in recent years has come to be used in a social media setting and can predict likeability based on effective participation in social media norms. Analysis was conducted through the lens of the femininity/competency bind to center an understanding of Hillary Clinton’s image.


Open Access