Genuskrockar, klavertramp och fadäser. Anteckningar om konstruktionen av statsrådet Ulla Lindströms politiska persona

Gunnel Karlsson


Gunnel Karlsson, »Gender clashes, clangers and faux pax. Notes on the construction of cabinet minister Ulla Lindström’s political persona«

The political diaries of Ulla Lindström caused a great sensa- tion when published in 1966, three years after her resignation as minister without portfolio. She was the only female minister in the Swedish government from 1954 to 1966 and, according to the press, her career had been characterized by faux pas or, as one reviewer of her diaries wrote: »(t)he silly Ulla […] of the botches, bodges, and gaffes«. He added that he himself had helped to put her down »with both malice and recklessness«. Surprised, he found her recently published political diaries impressing, written by an intelligent and humorous politician.

He was, however, not the only journalist putting Ulla Lindström down. A particular discourse or way of describing her political persona was developed in the Swedish press during her ministerial career. She started as the good-looking »pin-up girl« of the Parliament and ended up as the »shrew« of the party, the faux pas queen who was too talkative and thus in need of a muzzle. She was constructed as deviant, both as a woman and as a politician.

In her political diaries Ulla Lindström herself compared the way in which she and her male colleagues were portrayed in the press. She created her own political persona and tried to show that the political persona created by the press was a false persona, built on prejudices against women and misogyny. In my paper I will compare Lindström’s own political persona with the one created in the press.

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