Introduction: Gender, Media and the 2016 US Presidential Election



Portwood-Stacer L & Berridge S (2017) Introduction: Gender, Media and the 2016 US Presidential Election. Feminist Media Studies, 17 (3), p. 505.

The central roles of gender and race in the 2016 US election were undeniable. Aside from Hillary Clinton being the first woman to win the popular vote in an American presidential election, questions of gender and difference along multiple vectors loomed large in other aspects of the political campaigns: the blatant misogyny and white supremacy of Donald Trump and many of his supporters; the stereotyping of immigrant and religious groups; gender-inflected conflicts between Clinton supporters and so-called “Bernie Bros” during the primary season; discourse around “women’s issues” such as equal pay and family leave; the roles of high-profile women who worked on the campaigns and served as candidate “surrogates” in the media; and many others. Leading up to the election, and particularly in its aftermath, media platforms have been sites not only for the representation of gender politics but also for the building of community around gender identities and gender issues. In the weeks following the election, hate crimes and harassment in US cities spiked, with an attendant influx of media coverage; the targets have often been represented as women of color, especially Muslim women. Globally, populist sentiments have also found expression fortifying exclusionary forms of nationalisms, which have serious gendered and raced implications. How do we, as feminist scholars, make sense of the complex political and social issues unleashed by the 2016 US elections, in both national and global contexts? The five essays collected here offer some provisional thoughts: on reporting of sexual violence (Blumell and Huemmer), on hegemonic masculinity (Albrecht), on media coverage of protest (Phruksachart), on political polarization and digital spectacle (Duncan), and on satire’s role in politics (Weinhold and Fisher Bodkin). We are certain that the 2016 US election and its aftermath will be the subject of feminist media scholarship for years and decades to come. There is much more to be said by feminist media scholars, especially on the intersection of race, nationality, and gender; this is just the beginning.

Feminist Media Studies: Volume 17, Issue 3

Publication date31/12/2017
Publication date online25/04/2017
Date accepted by journal25/04/2017

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Dr Susan Berridge

Dr Susan Berridge

Senior Lecturer, Communications, Media and Culture