Female Politicians Face: Gender Stereotyping by Voters Essay

Female Politicians Face: Gender Stereotyping by Voters Essay

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A subject that has drawn a great deal of scholarly attention are the burdens of female politicians. Women seeking office have to deal with a host of issues that may affect their political campaign and chances of being elected. There are several theories that address some of the obstacles female politicians face: gender stereotyping by voters have detrimental effects for female candidates (Kahn and Goldenberg 1991), male candidates have access to political resources that just are not as accessible to the female politician (Deber 1982), the portrayal of the female candidates as less than male candidates by the media damages her chances of winning (Cohen 1963), and those differences in turn shape public perceptions with the effect of ruining her fate politically (Heldman 2005). Some of the dialogue centers on the media’s role instilling the image of women politicians and its ability to shape public perception. Consequently, “nor have we escaped the sexist prism through which women in politics are portrayed in the media and viewed by the public” (Potts 2012). I must specify that the media does not control the outcome of elections, more so, directly influence public perceptions. Such a debate becomes important when the media perpetuate gender stereotypes that directly influence voters in a political context. So, the focus of this paper is examine to what extent the role of the media effect the image of women running for power positions by enforcing stereotypes in modern politics.

The Origins of Gender Roles
A great place to begin is by investigating when and where or even how did our society, the United States, become socialized to the point where roles and expectations are defined by gender. How have theorists or researchers expla...


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...super delegates (Carlin & Windrey 2009). The analysis in this paper proves that sexist portrays in the 2008 political campaign were far from subtle. No matter how the media portrayed either woman, it is evident that the 2008 campaign for both women were plagued by gender stereotypes perpetuated through mass media.
“Both women came from completely different political points of view. Both women presented themselves in completely opposite ways on the national political stage. But, both women experienced the wrath of a society seemingly afraid to see a woman in power…. While there has been no lack of critique, analysis, and conversation about how sexism played a role in both Senator Clinton and Governor Palin’s campaigns, one thing that has not been well-identified is the resolution of how society will proceed and one day elect a female commander-in-chief” (Nedeu 2008).

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