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Gender Stereotyping of Political Candidates

An Experimental Study of Political Communication

Toril Aalberg and Anders Todal Jenssen


Electoral research has demonstrated how men and women sometimes have different political preferences. Men are typically thought to be more concerned about taxation, business policies, etc., while women care more about issues related to the welfare state. Thus, it seems obvious that stereotyping influences candidate evaluation with regard to issue competence. In this article, we investigate whether stereotyping also influences how the electorate views the communication skills of the candidates. We ask whether the gender of politicians affects the way citizens evaluate various aspects of the qualities of a political speech, and thus their support for political parties. The experiment used in this study is based on a pre- and post-stimuli questionnaire. Stimuli are videotapes of genuine political speeches (originally given by party leaders in October 2000) performed for the experiment by one female and one male actor. Our main finding is that the male “politician” was believed to be more knowledgeable, trustworthy and convincing than the female “politician” even though they presented the same speech verbatim. These differences in scores were the result of the male part of the audience consistently rating the female lower and the male higher than did the females in the audience. Among the female audience, the two politicians received almost identical scores on all traits. The candidate’s popularity and the popularity of the candidate’s party were also affected by the gender of the politician who performed the speech.

Open access

Steven Willemsen and Miklós Kiss

Press. Smith, Jeff. 1999. Movie Music as Moving Music: Emotion, Cognition and the Film Score. In Passionate Views: film, cognition and emotion, eds. C. Plantinga & G. M. Smith, 146-167. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Smith, Jeff. 2001. Popular Songs and Comic Allusions in Contemporary Cinema. In Soundtrack Available: Essays on Film and Popular Music, eds. P. Robertson Wojcik & A. Knight, 407-432. Durham: Duke University Press. Spelke, Elizabeth S. 1979. Exploring Audible and Visible Events in Infancy. In Perception and

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Youth as Producers

Digital Stories of Faith and Life

Birgit Hertzberg Kaare

læring omkring Computeren’, in Holm Sørensen, B. & Olesen, B.R. (red.) Børn i en digital kultur - forskningsperspektiver. København: Gads Forlag, pp. 147-161. Johansson, B. (2002) ‘Daddy is Second on the High Score List - Constructions of Childhood and Adulthood in Computer Contexts’, in Hauan, M.A. & Heggli, G. (ed.) Younger than Yesterday, Older than Tomorrow. Cultural Perspectives on Contemporary Childhood and Youth. Åbo (NFF Publications 11.) pp. 101-130. Johnsen, B.H. (1993) Konfirmasjon og erindring. Konfirmasjonens betydning i et

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Sounding the Media

An Interdisciplinary Review and Research Agenda for Digital Sound Studies

Klaus Bruhn Jensen

. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Hargreaves, D. J., & North, A. C. (Eds.). (1997). The Social Psychology of Music. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Harvey, D. (1989). The Condition of Postmodernity. Oxford: Blackwell. Hatten, R. S. (1994). Musical Meaning in Beethoven: Markedness, Correlation, and Interpretation. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Havelock, E. A. (1963). Preface to Plato. Oxford: Blackwell. Hawkins, S. (2002). Settling the Pop Score: Pop Texts and Identity Politics. Aldershot