From Product Reviews to Political Commentary: Performances in Reviews


  • Brenda M. Helmbrecht California Polytechnic State University
  • Meredith A. Love Francis Marion University


Amazon, Product Reviews, Wendy Davis, Mitt Romney, Binders, Mizuno, Running Shoes, Women’s Rights, Activism, Social Media, Performance


NOTE: We would like the abstract to mimic the conventions of an review, which includes both the language and the visual presentation.  Please see the abstract on page 1 of our manuscript.

Do you want products or politics? Or BOTH?!

By LoveHelm on March 15, 2015

If you’ve been searching for an article that combines rhetoric, politics, and shopping… this is it!  The authors address the rhetorical and political nature of product reviews.  More specifically, they focus on Amazon reviews circulating shortly after Mitt Romney talked about his “binders full of women†during the 2012 Presidential Campaign (who says that?!), and reviews written after Texas State Senator Wendy Davis filibustered for 11-hours in her sassy pink Mizuno running shoes in summer 2013 (I seriously want those shoes!).  The authors argue that we need to look for argumentation in unlikely spaces—like  I mean, I buy all kinds of stuff on Amazon, but I don’t get all political while I am there….but apparently some people do.  Weird, right?  But for reals: the authors include examples of Amazon reviews that while pretty hilarious, actually deal with serious political issues.  As always, battery life could be better, but still worth checking out.

Author Biographies

Brenda M. Helmbrecht, California Polytechnic State University

Brenda M. Helmbrecht is an Associate Professor of English at California Polytechnic State University, in San Luis Obispo, CA.  She teaches courses in Women’s Rhetoric, Visual Rhetoric, Documentary Films, First-Year Writing, and Composition Pedagogy and Theory.  She directs the university’s first-year writing program and also chairs the General Education Program.

Meredith A. Love, Francis Marion University

Meredith Love is an Associate Professor of English at Francis Marion University in Florence, South Carolina where she teaches courses in Gender and Rhetoric, Composition Theory, First-Year Composition, and Professional Writing.  She also serves as the Coordinator of the Composition Program and as the Co-Director of the Center of Excellence for College and Career Readiness.





Issue #15