This study investigated the role of gender in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 televised presidential campaign advertisements. Specifically, this study examined how these advertisements depicted her with regard to gender roles and stereotypes, especially the gender and leadership double bind. To carry out this study, I used feminist rhetorical criticism, as well as the tenets of muted group theory, to examine fifteen of Clinton’s televised ads from the 2016 general election period. The analysis indicated that these ads portray Donald Trump as unfit to serve as president due to hypermasculine, irrational characteristics. They also show Hillary Clinton as generally feminine by featuring her use of the feminine rhetorical style and separating Clinton from traditionally masculine issues and rhetoric, thereby marginalizing her as a woman seeking the presidency. These rhetorical choices in Clinton’s televised political advertisements created a focus on two candidates who did not fully embody the popular concept of a president as physically and rhetorically representative of hegemonic masculinity, and they may have had negative impacts for Clinton’s perception among voters.


Bostdorff, Denise


Communication Studies


Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Mass Communication | Social Influence and Political Communication | Speech and Rhetorical Studies


Hillary Clinton, gender, presidential campaigns, campaign ads

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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