Much has been written on whether female candidates "run as women" in their campaigns. This study explores the role of gender in political advertising through a systematic analysis of campaign commercials from U.S. House, Senate, and Governor races from 1964 to 1998. I hypothesize that candidates will use "femininity" in the commercials as a marker of "outsider" status. This theory considers image differentiation and branding as they relate to gender in political advertising. Advertisers typically use branding for two reasons: (1) to manufacture illusory differences to differentiate nearly identical products (such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi); and (2) to emphasize and expand real differences (7-UP, for instance, tries to differentiate itself from both Coca-Cola and Pepsi by branding itself the "Un-Cola"). Female candidates who correlate feminine character traits and women's issues with an outsider presentation in their campaigns are trying to be the "Un-Candidates." The data in this study reveal the importance of contextual factors in determining whether a female candidate will undertake an "un-candidate" strategy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Gender Studies
- Sociology and Political Science