Category: Analysis

#GenderWatch2016 Pre-Debate Reading

Getting ready to watch tonight’s debate? Check out these articles on gender dynamics to watch for as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump take the stage tonight (9pm EDT). Additional analyses, facts, and insights will be shared via Presidential Gender Watch’s facebook and twitter accounts throughout the day.

Be sure to live tweet the debate with us tonight, following #GenderWatch2016.

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Before there was a woman nominee, women moderators provided gender diversity on the presidential debate stage.

In the summer of 2012, three high school students from New Jersey – Emma Axelrod, Elena Tsemberis and Sammi Siegel – launched a Change.org petition to demand a female moderator for at least one of that year’s presidential debates. They were successful. Of the four debates sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates in 2012, two were moderated by women; Candy Crowley moderated the second presidential debate at Hofstra University and Martha Raddatz moderated the vice presidential debate at Centre College. In only one other presidential election year had more than one woman sat in the moderator’s chair. In 1976, Barbara Walters and Pauline Frederick each moderated a presidential debate; men moderated one presidential debate and the vice presidential debate that year. Importantly, and particularly motivating to Emma, Elena, and Sammi’s petition, 2012 marked 20 years since the last woman had moderated a presidential debate. In 1992, Carole Simpson moderated the second presidential debate at the University of Richmond. In the intervening years, Gwen Ifill moderated two vice presidential debates in 2004 and 2008.

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Sexism or Not? The Danger of this Dichotomy in Election 2016

 

In a recent tweet, former Clinton advisor Peter Daou argued, “Make no mistake: the media’s obsession with forcing a Hillary press conference is ALL ABOUT HER GENDER.” The tweet sparked a swift and harsh response, with many – reporters foremost among them – discrediting Daou’s claim. They were right. A very basic measure of gendered double standards is whether or not the same questions would be asked of women and men. In this case, there is little evidence that a male presidential contender who had not held a press conference for over 250 days would be free from criticism.

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For 227 years, looking presidential has meant being a man. Perhaps that’s what stumping Trump.

Does Hillary Clinton “look presidential?” Donald Trump says no, and he’s been making this point for at least the past three months of the presidential campaign. As early as May of this year, Trump asked a California audience, “Do you think Hillary looks presidential? I don’t think so.” He added another gender cue for good measure, “And I’m not going to say it, because I’m not allowed to say it, because I want to be politically correct. So I refuse to say that I cannot stand her screaming into the microphone all the time.” In June and July, he took to Twitter to reaffirm that Clinton (and the Clinton/Kaine ticket) doesn’t look presidential to him. On message, he used the same line of attack in Ashburn, Virginia and Des Moines, Iowa in August, telling audiences Clinton “doesn’t even look presidential” to him. This week, Trump’s comments garnered more attention, in part because he doubled down on them in an interview with ABC’s David Muir. On Labor Day, he asked a crowd of supporters in Cleveland about Clinton: “Does she look presidential, fellas? Give me a break.” Muir pushed Trump to explain what he means when he delivers this message. Trump responded, “I just don’t think she has a presidential look and you need a presidential look.”

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