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This Article explores the lack of formal guidelines governing the First Lady by first considering the history of the role and how the three branches of government have typically dealt with the role. Attention is also given to the possible intersection with the anti-nepotism statute when and if the First Lady acts as an advisor to the President. This Article then goes on to suggest that this lack of formality has allowed gender norms to govern the role. In an era where women’s rights have resurfaced as a central theme in political discourse, this Article concludes by suggesting some possible guidelines that may displace the gender norms that have been governing the role for far too long. Upending these gender norms from the White House would send a message that not only redefines the First Lady’s role but also redefines gender roles for the American public.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Presidents' spouses--Political activity, Gender mainstreaming, Nepotism