This thesis explores sexism's impact on the results of the 2016 presidential election as it relates to Hillary Clinton’s loss. Two primary explanations reflect on how American misogyny led to Clinton's shocking loss, despite her being an obvious frontrunner throughout the election. Firstly, the environment that developed when the prominent female politician historically won a major Party nomination was discouraging for a Clinton victory. Secondly, Donald Trump presented himself as the masculine antithesis to Hillary Clinton through emphasizing traits stereotypically associated with men. Additionally, Trump’s tactics primarily consisted of frequent gender based attacks against his opponent. Despite Clinton’s vast qualifications, and Trump’s inexperience, he managed to win the U.S. Presidency, making clear implications about gender bias in politics.
Throughout history women have continuously faced gender discrimination in all aspects of life, and particularly within politics. This stems from a belief that women are better suited in the private sphere, while men excel in public life, including holding office. It has proven to be significantly harder for women to win, and maintain political positions, due to harmful gender stereotypes. Women are assumed to be less qualified, untrustworthy, and continuously are held to a higher standard due to social norms put in place for women. Hillary Clinton had served in the public eye for over three decades by the time she ran for president in 2016, and established a reputation as a woman who was unwilling to conform to gender norms. Clinton was the first woman to have this great of a chance at winning the presidency, which immediately resulted in massive sexist backlash. Trump took advantage of this, constantly associating Clinton with multiple negative traits believed to be held by women, including weakness, instability, and appearance based insults.