Year of Publication

2019

Season of Publication

Spring

Paper Type

Master's Thesis

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. School of Communication

First Advisor

Berrin Beasley

Second Advisor

Margaret Stewart

Department Chair

John Parmelee

College Dean

George Rainbolt

Abstract

Stereotypes play a vital role in the perception of gender roles in American society. This concept is illustrated through low representation of female leadership in the U.S. Women are overrepresented in roles that are communal, which causes backlash when they display agentic traits (Arnold & Loughlin, 2019). Olivia Pope, the main character in the television series Scandal, was a leader who displayed an agentic leadership style and was revered for doing so. Agentic leadership traits are competitiveness, independence, and assertiveness (Arnold & Loughlin, 2019). This study analyzes how Olivia Pope was framed and the potential impact of those frames. Using frame analysis, Olivia Pope’s character in each episode of the television series Scandalwas analyzed. The analysis revealed that Olivia Pope’s character was framed using themes such as power, reverence, fixer, conflicted, sexualized and dysfunctional family dynamics. The framing of a character as rare as Olivia Pope is significant. Though Olivia Pope’s character is based on the life of an African-American woman who owned her own crisis management firm, many viewers would have never known this type of woman existed without the development of this show. Oliva Pope is a complicated character whose role in American television is progressive and has the power to expand its viewers’ perception of leadership.

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