Is the United States Ready for a Female President? An Examination of American Media Culture and Current Political Evaluations

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The 2016 presidential election was a pivotal moment for the United States of America. For the first time in history, a woman ran as an elected major-party candidate in the race for President. Despite her deep political background, Hillary Clinton lost the election to Donald Trump, a man who had only recently entered the world of politics, and whose brash character is analyzed more than his actual policies. To fully understand the outcome of the election requires an examination of American culture. In particular, the victory of Donald Trump, and more importantly, the loss of Hillary Clinton cannot be explained without discussing the role in which gender played in the election, and more broadly, the role in which gender continues to play in American culture. By assessing America’s long history with traditional gender roles as well as how media has continued to reinforce those roles over time, this paper demonstrates how crucial the genders of these two candidates were in 2016. More specifically, gender provided a framework by which Americans evaluated the presidential candidates throughout the campaign. Despite critiques and other potential explanations, it is necessary to include gender when discussing the campaign and subsequent outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Before a woman can successfully hold the office of the President, American society and all of the institutions within it must commit to challenging and expelling traditional gender stereotypes.


Type of resource text
Date created June 2018


Author Sorenson, Kylene
Advisor Iyengar, Shanto
Degree granting institution Stanford University, Department of Communication


Subject Stanford University
Subject Stanford University Communication Department
Subject media studies
Subject media culture
Subject media representation
Subject presidential election
Subject gender politics
Subject political evaluations
Subject gender stereotypes
Subject female presidential candidates
Genre Thesis

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).

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Sorenson, Kylene. (2018). Is the United States Ready for a Female President? An Examination of American Media Culture and Current Political Evaluations. Stanford Digital Repository. Available at:


Masters Theses in Media Studies, Department of Communication, Stanford University

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