What We Can Learn From Fictional Female Presidents


As the race for the 2020 presidential election kicks off in the United States, two big questions are emerging: Who will go head-to-head against President Donald Trump, and will that person be a woman? Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) have all announced their bids for the White House, along with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii).

Regardless of the result come November 2020, the upcoming election is already a historic one simply by the number of women who’ve entered the race. The idea of a woman taking the Oval Office, however, is not so historic — at least in pop culture. In fact, though we haven’t had a female president in real life, film and TV audiences have seen roughly 30 fictional depictions of a woman in the White House going back nearly 100 years.

You’re probably familiar with the most recent female presidents on screen: Robin Wright as the ruthless Claire Underwood from Netflix’s “House of Cards,” and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the hilarious ruler in HBO’s “Veep.” But did you also know that Betty Boop was once president? The famous cartoon character campaigned and won on a promise of kisses for all — a promise we hope she didn’t keep …

These silly, surprising and often cringeworthy portrayals of a female president actually reflects women’s real-life power struggle in the United States during their respective time periods — modern days included.


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