Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


The Snyder 5: Are female politicians marketed differently from men?

The upcoming political season has brought to light the interesting differences between how male and female candidates are presented to the public by their campaigns.

Tuesday was primary day in Minnesota.

(No worries, I am not going to go all political on you out of the blue, bear with me…)

Driving around town the past few weeks, I have been struck by something.

There seems to be an innate difference in how many of the male and female candidates position and market themselves that boils down to an incredibly simple detail. 

How they use their names.

The male candidates, from either party, tend to have billboards and yard signs and brands that are either their full name… John Choi.  Mark Dayton.  Or, or their last name.  Emmer.  Entenza.

The women? Here are two examples.

They brand themselves using their first names. And this wasn’t the first time we saw this.
Now this isn’t an all the time thing.  Of course we all know it wasn’t like it was McCain/Sarah (well it kind of was, but not on signage), or here in town, Entenza/Robyne.  So at least it’s consistent.

But I have been going back and forth on what I think about this.  On the one hand, it seems that they are grabbing onto a key differentiating factor.  Sure, we as women have come a long way.  But are still underrepresented in politics.  Currently, at quick glance, there are 6 female governors, 17 female Senators and 92 women in the House of Representatives.

And we do make up just over 50% of the population.  So in some ways saying, “Hey, I am a woman!” even in such a simple way seems like a good thing. 

Perhaps it also suggests and conjures up those things that can be great about women.  It’s more personable.  It’s human.  It’s, perhaps, a bit softer.  It’s like a friend.

On the other hand, it bothers me.  Maybe it’s because it conjures up just those things.

Not sure I have the answer.  In fact, I am sure I don’t.  But I do know this, November sure seems a long ways a way.

This post was written by Molly Snyder and originally published on The Snyder 5. Follower her on Twitter: @MollyinMinn