Date of Award

Summer 8-6-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in History


History & Political Science


College of Arts & Humanities

Committee Chair

Dr. Kelly Jones

Second Committee Member

Dr. Aaron McArthur

Third Committee Member

Dr. Brendan Toner

Program Director

Dr. Kelly Jones

Dean of Graduate College

Dr. Sarah Gordon


Through the 1970s and into the 2000s, Hillary Clinton and Janet Huckabee served as first ladies. Their husbands were elected and ran campaigns for Arkansas Governor and President of the United States. While the two men were the elected officials that constituents cast their votes for on election day, Hillary and Janet were beside the men playing a tremendous role in securing or discouraging votes. Third wave feminism ran rampant throughout these two decades and resulted in higher numbers of women in the workforce, later years of marriage, less children, and greater awareness of sexual harassment and sex discrimination. Hillary Clinton and Janet Huckabee served alongside their husbands on opposing ends of the political spectrum— Clinton, a registered Democrat and Huckabee, a registered Republican. The Clinton’s and Huckabee’s served as state leaders not only during a contested political party struggle, but during the height of what is referred to as “third-wave” feminism. Hillary Clinton and Janet Huckabee’s presentation of feminism and femininity affected their husbands’ public approval and dissent among Arkansan and later Americans at large. Each woman’s response to the public scrutiny they received while serving as first ladies was also consequential. This thesis examines how the feminism and femininity of Hillary Clinton and Janet Huckabee influenced their husbands’ political campaigns, shaped their own political ambitions and responded to public scrutiny.