In this installment of On the Bias, I discuss the gendered dimensions of displaying authenticity in political campaigns, noting the questions raised in recent coverage and ways in which candidates seek to meet expectations of both candidacy and gender. I also return to the discussion of Hillary Clinton’s age, a topic she addressed most directly in her recent campaign rally, to consider the ways in which Clinton’s seniority might help instead of hinder her candidacy.
In this issue of On the Bias, we highlight multiple sources of potential gender bias, moving beyond “mainstream” media to consider how other outlets and individuals, including the candidates themselves, contribute to the gender dynamics of the presidential race.
The mission of Presidential Gender Watch 2016 is to track, analyze, and illuminate gender dynamics in election 2016. Those gender dynamics include, but are not limited to, evidence of gender bias in perceptions, media coverage, or candidate behavior. As we explain in our FAQs, we plan to examine the presence, claims and impact of sexism, recognizing variance in how it is defined, measured, and/or applied to or by candidates, voters, or media. We will rely upon scholarship on gender bias to provide a thoughtful framework for analysis, recognizing that there are no universal rules for what is or is not sexist. As part of this task, we will post a bi-weekly On the Bias to identify potential examples of bias and place them within the context of research, precedence, and comparative treatment of male and female candidates. In this first installment, we will identify cases of potential gender bias over the past month’s presidential election coverage.