There has been no shortage of gender bias in the presidential race since our last installment. Donald Trump’s attacks on women (and men) in the race continue to evoke gender tropes and sexist tone. But Trump’s comments are not alone in their reliance on, or reinforcement of, gender stereotypes. In fact, in responding to Trump, some candidates and commentators fall into the same traps of gendered rhetoric.
While much of the “gender” dialogue about the latest GOP debate has focused on who said what about women and which women were suggested for the $10 bill, there were gender dynamics threaded throughout both debates in more covert, but pervasive, ways. These dynamics may alter expectations about who can and should lead the nation, so it’s worth paying attention.
Hillary Clinton officially launched “Women for Hillary” this weekend, prefacing her New Hampshire event with Senator Jeanne Shaheen (the first woman Senator from the state) with outreach to women voters online and via email. That outreach celebrated the twentieth anniversary of Clinton’s 1995 speech at the United Nations’ Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, where she stated clearly, “Human rights are women’s rights … and women’s rights are human rights.” Her message was consistent with an idea featured formally at the Beijing meeting to move gender equality to the forefront of policy and political agendas: what the UN has titled “gender mainstreaming.”
In this On the Bias, we discuss if, when, and where double standards exist for women running for office. From debate rules to evaluations of authenticity, do men and women face the same hurdles? And, what does the masculinity of presidential campaigns mean for men and women’s behavior, treatment, and evaluations?
Lessons from past women’s presidential races remain salient for 2016, the first presidential contest featuring prominent women candidates in both major parties. Still front and center: the lack of role models for a woman president; the challenges of raising money; the frequent focus on appearance and image; stereotypes and assumptions that dog even the best-credentialed women.
This week’s On the Bias highlights missed points, masculine norms, and the gender dynamics of vice presidential discussions.
For days after the Republican debate, Donald Trump’s sexist comments, candidates’ and pundits’ reactions to them, and forecasts on how they might influence the trajectory of the presidential race dominated the news. Nearly every presidential candidate was been asked about and/or responded to them, with varying degrees of condemnation and denunciation. Even the most conservative pundits – some of whom have been accused of similarly sexist commentary — called out Trump for crossing the line. But what comes next? As the news media moves beyond Trump’s comments about Megyn Kelly, what’s the second-day (or week) story on gender politics in the 2016 presidential race? Will the collective ire evoked toward Trump’s comments elicit any more substantive conversation about the gender realities they made evident? Here are a few ideas for conversations we should be having to elevate the gender dialogue in the race.
Presidential Gender Watch asked Dr. Niambi Carter, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Howard University and co-author of “Gender and Black Presidential Politics: From Chisholm to Moseley-Braun” (with Paula D. McClain and Michael C. Brady), to weigh in on race, gender, and presidential politics historically and in the 2016 campaign. See our conversation here and share your thoughts in the comments section or on social media.
Donald Trump’s sexist comments in and since last Thursday’s debate are enough to fill this week’s On the Bias post. However, while Trump’s behavior (which we will analyze in greater detail in a forthcoming post) is a clear reminder that we are not operating in a “gender-neutral” world, his comments are not the only evidence of gender dynamics at play in the 2016 race.
Brendan Nyhan in New York Times’ the Upshot makes a smart case for why media coverage of Hillary Clinton’s favorability ratings fails to tell the whole story. It’s true that in past presidential elections, early favorability polls have not predicted the winner, especially not 16 months before voters fill out their ballots. There’s a key difference, however, for Hillary Clinton: Her gender.