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Female political candidates in 2010 face, confront sexism October 28, 2010

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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Recent research conducted by Democratic pollster Celinda Lake found that sexist attacks by male candidates against their female opponents are amazingly effective. In Lake’s study involving 800 likely voters, support for female candidates criticized with sexist language fell 21 percent compared to the 10 percent drop in support for those ho were criticized merely for their policy positions.

With this bad news what are female candidates to do? Although the conventional wisdom has been to ignore such language in order to avoid appearing whiny, experts are now using the examples of California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman and U.S. congressional candidate Krystal Ball from Virginia to demonstrate that fighting sexism may actually be beneficial.

To see how Meg Whitman confronted her opponent for calling her a “whore” during a private discussion that was accidentally recorded, watch the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  What constitutes a “sexist” attack against a political candidate?

2.  What examples of sexist attacks on political candidates have been widely covered by the news media in the 2010 campaign?

3.  How should female candidates respond to sexist attacks by their opponents? Are there different standards for front-runners and challengers?

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