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From Ferraro to Palin: Sexism in Media Coverage of Vice Presidential Candidates

Caroline Heldman

Occidental College

August 22, 2009

Print media coverage of vice presidential candidates is examined from 1984 through 2008 to determine whether gender differences exist in the amount, type, tone, and content of coverage. We find persistent gender differences in mention of dress/appearance, mention of candidate family, gendered policy coverage, and negative tone that disadvantage female candidates. Additionally, female candidates are four times more likely to receive sexist media coverage, and the intensity and volume of sexist coverage increased dramatically from Ferraro’s run in 1984 to Palin’s run in 2008. We also compared Palin’s coverage in Old Media (print) and New Media (blogs) and found that sexist coverage and negative coverage are more pronounced in this new medium. This does not bode well for female candidates considering that New Media is eclipsing Old Media in readership.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 57

Keywords: Vice president, gender, media coverage, Ferraro, Palin, sexism

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Date posted: September 3, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Heldman, Caroline, From Ferraro to Palin: Sexism in Media Coverage of Vice Presidential Candidates (August 22, 2009). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1459865 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1459865

Contact Information

Caroline Heldman (Contact Author)
Occidental College ( email )
1600 Campus Rd
Los Angeles, CA 90041
United States
(323) 259-1309 (Phone)
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