Women in Politics

Bullying Women Out Of Positions Of Power

Media's Focus on Physicality, Not on Content

"No Wonder Bill's Afraid"

"Clinton Criticized For Long Hours And Travel Because It Supposedly Made Her Less Pretty"

"Elena Kagen v. Sonia Sotomayor: Who Wore It Better?"

"Katie Couric, CBS, and clickety stiletto heels"

"Hillary Forgets Her Makeup?"

"Meet Katie Couric's Young New Boyfriend"

"Wigged Out: Hillary Gives Up Hair Battle"

"Top 15 Sexiest Female Politicians"

"Hillary Clinton Cries in Connecticut"

"The Top 19 Hottest Newscasters in America"

"MSNBC Interrupts Hillary Clinton's Speech To Complain About Her Voice"

As long as women’s bodies, fashion choices, and mannerisms are making headlines, their achievements, actions, and beliefs are ignored. Men in politics are not talked about in this way, enhancing the idea that men belong and women do not. This idea is supported not only by the feminine focus, but also with the language used to talk about women in politics.

Media Message from Men

"She's irresistibly cute..." - Chris Matthews

"When men hear Obama speak they hear "take off for the future" and when Hillary Clinton speaks they hear (in shrieking voice) "take out the garbage!"" - Neil Cavuto

"Sarah Palin looks really hot in that hat." - Glenn Beck

"Both you and Sarah Palin are good looking women. I mean you're attractive, young - I mean relatively young - women." - Bill O'Reily

"Look at these skanks that make up the female leadership of the Democratic party." - Lee Rodgers

"Do you know that ugly hag, Madeline Albright, you remember her? A psycho. She was the Secretary of State, remember? Like a fat moron?" - Michael Savage

"She's the American dream. Women want to be her, men want to mate with her. I want her layin' next to me in bed!"

Imagine female commentators speaking about male politicians in the same way... What do you think would happen? Would their comments be accepted by listeners? Or would they be accused of behaving inappropriately or out of the female norm?

Influencing Girls to Strive for Less

Where Women Stand:

  • Women make up for 51% of the population, but only 17% of Congress.
  • US ranked 90th in the world in terms of amount of women in national legislatures.
  • There have been over 2,300 male governors in the US, compared to less than 40 women governors.
  • 67 countries in the world have or have had female leaders.
  • At 7 years old, 30% of both boys and girls say that they want to be President when they "grow up." By 15 years old, the number of boys wanting to be President increases significantly, while the number of girls who want to be President drops to almost none.
  • We are told to search for role models like ourselves, but for girls who wish to be President, there are next to no role models.

How We Are Affected:

  • Objectification of girls leads to a lower level of political efficacy.
  • Media portrays women as objects, and by portraying women as having no power outside of their bodies, girls believe that our voice doesn't matter and we lack the influence to bring about change.
  • Women are told that their value lies in their bodies. If we are worried about our bodies, we neglect our minds that can think, create, and act.
  • When there are no women in power positions and things must be decided for women, the men deciding lack the insight, perspective, and experience to decide for us.
  • Men have historically held the positions of power, making it seem like women are incapable of holding powerful positions.
  • Media and other sources pit women against one another. It then makes it even harder for women to gain support when striving for a powerful position.
  • Stereotypes of women (emotional, irrational) are used against women in power to "prove" that they are unable to handle the job as well as men.

Why would a young girl want to be President after seeing how female presidential candidates are treated? By accepting the oppression, harassment, and dehumanization of women in politics, we are sending a message to young girls that they must either be prepared to deal with hate, or they should choose a different to pursue an alternative dream.

Groch-Begley, Hannah. (2016, February 5). A Comprehensive Guide To Sexist Attacks On Hillary Clinton From The 2008 Campaign.

Newsom, J. S., Scully, R. K., Dreyfous, G. W., Johnson, S. E., Congdon, J., Holland, E., Cvetko, S., ... Ro*Co Films Educational (Firm). (2011). Miss Representation. Sausalito, Calif.: Ro*co Films Educational.

SLATTERY, M., & STANTON, L.. (2012). THE FP SURVEY: WOMEN IN POLITICS. Foreign Policy, (193), 85–87. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/23242432