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He Runs, She Runs

He Runs, She Runs: Why Gender Stereotypes Do Not Harm Women Candidates

Deborah Jordan Brooks
Copyright Date: 2013
https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt2jc8n0
Pages: 216
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2jc8n0
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  • Book Info
    He Runs, She Runs
    Book Description:

    While there are far more women in public office today than in previous eras, women are still vastly underrepresented in this area relative to men. Conventional wisdom suggests that a key reason is because female candidates start out at a disadvantage with the public, compared to male candidates, and then face higher standards for their behavior and qualifications as they campaign.He Runs, She Runsis the first comprehensive study of these dynamics and demonstrates that the conventional wisdom is wrong.

    With rich contextual background and a wealth of findings, Deborah Jordan Brooks examines whether various behaviors--such as crying, acting tough, displays of anger, or knowledge gaffes--by male and female political candidates are regarded differently by the public. Refuting the idea of double standards in campaigns, Brooks's overall analysis indicates that female candidates do not get penalized disproportionately for various behaviors, nor do they face any double bind regarding femininity and toughness. Brooks also reveals that before campaigning begins, women do not start out at a disadvantage due to gender stereotypes. In fact, Brooks shows that people only make gendered assumptions about candidates who are new to politics, and those stereotypes benefit, rather than hurt, women candidates.

    Proving that it is no more challenging for female political candidates today to win over the public than it is for their male counterparts,He Runs, She Runsmakes clear that we need to look beyond public attitudes to understand why more women are not in office.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-4619-1
    Subjects: Political Science, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. CHAPTER 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)

    When Hillary Clinton ran in the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries, she seemed to have trouble connecting effectively with the public. After months of a campaign that emphasized her toughness and experience, she underperformed in the polls relative to her biggest competitors. While some observers argued that her strong emphasis on experience caused voters to think she was “trying too hard to be ‘the smartest girl in the room,’” others maintained that the focus she had adopted was dictated by the politics of gender: although a male candidate like Barack Obama could be seen as credible without much past experience, a...

  2. CHAPTER 2 Theoretical Foundations
    (pp. 15-38)

    When Barbara Boxer first ran for office in 1971, gender stereotypes and gendered expectations seemed to be part of the playing field to her. During one of her first races, her neighbor replied to her pitch by saying: “Barbara, I don’t think you should do this. Your kids are young and it doesn’t seem right.” In response, Boxer remembers:

    I convinced myself that had I gone over to my next door neighbor’s house to tell her I was going to nursing school she would have cheered. But because I was trying for a job traditionally held by men, even though...

  3. CHAPTER 3 How to Study Gender Stereotype Usage and Double Standards in Campaigns
    (pp. 39-58)

    If the goal of this book were simply to assess whether people hold candidate gender stereotypes to which they were willing to openly admit, the process would be relatively straightforward: people on a standard national survey could be asked whether male or female candidates would be more likely to possess various strengths or weakness. Alternatively, if the goal was to assess whether people perceive real male and female candidates to be different, I could achieve that by asking people their views of current-day politicians on a national survey and then compare the responses for male and female politicians while trying...

  4. CHAPTER 4 Descriptive Candidate Gender Stereotypes and the Role of Candidate Experience
    (pp. 59-81)

    When Geraldine Ferraro ran as the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 1984, gender was front-and-center in the campaign. As the first-ever female vice presidential nominee for a major party, it was an historic campaign for women by definition. Ferraro recounts that the novelty of being a woman on a national ticket had some important advantages; most notably, her campaign stops “drew huge crowds. The Secret Service told me that we had the largest crowds they’d seen since JFK. But many of those people came to bring their daughters to see the first woman nominated for a national office. I would...

  5. CHAPTER 5 Tears and Anger on the Campaign Trail
    (pp. 82-109)

    A woman had not mounted a bid for a major party’s presidential nomination since Representative Shirley Chisolm ran in 1972, but Representative Patricia Schroeder felt like 1987 might be the right time to try again.² To that end, she ran a serious exploratory campaign to consider pursuing the Democratic nomination. In an exhaustive—and exhausting—attempt to assess her chances for the nomination, she visited twenty-nine states during the year. Vowing to run only if she could drum up enough money for a serious bid (“no dough, no go” was her motto), Schroeder ended her campaign in the fall of...

  6. CHAPTER 6 Unbinding the Double Bind
    (pp. 110-131)

    There has long been a common perception that women face a double bind in politics: they must prove that they are strong enough to lead (because people will assume that will not be the case without evidence to that effect), but they will be viewed as unfeminine when they demonstrate strength and will therefore be disliked. To succeed on one front is necessarily to fail on the other; as such, women politicians face an extremely difficult task in winning over voters. Yet, of course, we know that many women do manage to win over the public, and there are many...

  7. CHAPTER 7 Knowledge Gaffes
    (pp. 132-142)

    In both business and politics, many have claimed that women leaders face double standards for their behavior that produce disproportionate penalties for errors and gaffes they commit. Whereas men can be excused a slip-up (or two or three), women are frequently seen as facing a much higher threshold for their competence.

    In the corporate world, one female Wall Street executive describes the issue as follows: “We have to know everything before we take action. A guy can be more brazen. If he gets caught with his pants down, he just laughs and says, ‘No big deal,’ whereas a woman looks...

  8. CHAPTER 8 Reassessing the Parity Problem
    (pp. 143-162)

    After decades of protests by advocates for women’s political rights, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution became law in August 1920 and guaranteed women the right to vote. Not until fairly recently, however, has there been anything resembling a critical mass of female legislators. The U.S. has never had a woman president or vice president and is still not even near gender parity in the percentage of women holding elective legislative positions; it is likely to be many years, at best, before parity can even be on the horizon. The conventional wisdom suggests that a key reason that...

  9. CHAPTER 9 A Bright Future for Women in Politics
    (pp. 163-176)

    My results come together to suggest a very promising future for women in politics. The key challenge to resolving representational inequities, then—as many scholars have argued long before me, and scholars long after me are sure to continue to argue—is in encouraging more women to run. Although this dynamic is not going to be changed with any single, simple solution—most of its causes are too deeply rooted within society, culture, and individuals to be so easily rectified—I argue here that a recognition that the public at large is entirely willing to support female leaders may help...

  10. APPENDIX 1: TEXT OF NEWSPAPER TREATMENTS
    (pp. 177-184)
  11. APPENDIX 2: QUESTIONAIRRE
    (pp. 185-187)
  12. APPENDIX 3: HOW THE PUBLIC RESPONDS TO EACH BEHAVIOR (NOT CONSIDERING CANDIDATE GENDER)
    (pp. 188-190)
  13. APPENDIX 4: HOW THE PUBLIC RESPONDS TO CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE (NOT CONSIDERING CANDIDATE GENDER)
    (pp. 191-191)
  14. APPENDIX 5: RESULTS FOR CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE * CANDIDATE GENDER
    (pp. 192-193)
  15. APPENDIX 6: RESULTS FOR CANDIDATE GENDER (CONTROL GROUP ONLY)
    (pp. 194-194)
  16. APPENDIX 7: RESULTS FOR CRYING * CANDIDATE GENDER
    (pp. 195-195)
  17. APPENDIX 8: RESULTS FOR ANGER * CANDIDATE GENDER
    (pp. 196-196)
  18. APPENDIX 9: RESULTS FOR TOUGHNESS * CANDIDATE GENDER
    (pp. 197-197)
  19. APPENDIX 10: RESULTS FOR LACK OF EMPATHY * CANDIDATE GENDER
    (pp. 198-198)
  20. APPENDIX 11: RESULTS FOR KNOWLEDGE GAFFE * CANDIDATE GENDER
    (pp. 199-200)