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How has gender played a part in the 2016 United States election cycles and campaigning?

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Future historians will probably look back on the 2016 United States election as a landmark in bringing gender issues to the forefront in both campaigning and media coverage. The first thing we should note is an increasing gender gap in voting patterns, with women tending to support Democratic candidates and men supporting Republican ones. 

Next, scholars have been noting over the past few decades that media coverage has been strongly biased in favor of male candidates. Men receive more coverage and are portrayed more positively. In candidate debates, women speak less and are interrupted more. In the presidential election, in particular, there has been far greater coverage given to Trump than to Clinton. 

One can also look at descriptive words used to discuss political candidates. For example, negative terms such as ambitious, shrill, bossy, pushy or bossy are words applied to women seeking power in a negative way but rarely applied to men. This sort of language bias operates on an emotional rather than a rational level to the advantage of male candidates. 

On an even more interesting note though, this election has been one in which gender bias and misogyny were placed at the forefront of the political arena. While many Americans had become complacent, considering misogyny, patriarchy, and racism issues of the past, that is no longer possible. The degree of overt misogyny and racism in the campaign brought the issue to the forefront of media coverage and revealed a widespread and deep-seated amount of gender bias and tacit approval of gender discrimination and even rape culture in our society. 

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