Date Thesis Awarded

4-2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

Sociology

Advisor

Thomas J. Linneman

Committee Members

Judith Hand

Michael Leruth

Abstract

Using content analysis, this thesis explores the creation and presentation of gender identity in the political campaigns of female candidates for the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections. Through qualitative and quantitative analysis of online media sources and social media content, including websites, advertisements, and Twitter feeds, I examine the ways both experienced and inexperienced Democratic and Republican women make presentations of themselves to voters, as well as how they access and approach women’s and feminist issues. A major finding of this study is that Democratic women present their gender as an integration of masculinity and femininity, whereas Republican women keep these two elements of their gender identities separate. Additionally, Democratic women utilize social media more frequently and engage with voters online in more significant ways. This thesis makes contributions to the field of sociology, specifically the subcategories of political sociology and gender studies, by offering a greater understanding of an understudied population of politicians, women, and how they operate in the understudied space of online media.

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