I chose this photo from Michele Bachmann’s campaign website as it highlights many of the features that Barthes mentions in his essay about electoral campaigns, and also much of what we discussed in class last Wednesday.
This photo highlights what Barthes says as it “offers to the voter (Bachmann’s) own likeness, but clarified, exalted, superbly elevated into a type” (91). Many voters can relate and recognize with Bachmann as a “noble” and strong woman. Although, contrary to Sarah Palin’s style of masculinity, Bachmann appears to be more of the “businesswoman”, dressed in a neutral dress suit with some pearls. She “elevates herself into a type” by creating a recognizable figure by society, a businesswoman. What kinds of characteristics does a strong, woman of business bring to the table? People will know that she will be direct, well organized, and have a unfaltering opinion with a willingness to get things done.
Some other things that I noted while looking at this photo is how she already has the presidential pin of the American Flag on her lapel. We discussed in class how Obama received some criticism for placing the pin on himself perhaps maybe a little too early during his campaign. Noting here how Bachmann is doing the same, she is displaying a sense of confidence and pride in her country. As we look to her gaze and stature, not much can be singled out directly such as dark/light contrast or wrinkles that show experience. But one thing that is clearly evident is the “look to the future” that Bachmann has in this photo. Wearing a bemused/all-business smile that could be seen as both happy and all business, she is looking off the screen almost, towards an audience that is not only present, but watching through a television or the computer screen. She regards the rest of America with a calming sense of confidence that has me feeling ensured that she will get things done.