Good and pissed: gendered emotional appeals on Twitter

Annelise Russell, Heather Evans, Bryan Gervais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Persistent gender stereotypes portray women as pleasant and polite, but in the wake of the #MeToo movement and polarized politics, female candidates are turning to Twitter and they aren’t hiding their frustration. Congressional candidates use Twitter to connect with voters, but political stalemates over health care, reproductive rights, and pay equity are the fodder for female candidates’ emotionally charged rhetoric on Twitter. Women are running and winning at rates comparable to men, but female candidates are relying on emotional appeals in distinct ways from their male counterparts. We use a dataset of tweets by candidates for the U.S. House from 2016–2020 to evaluate gender-based differences in the emotional appeals candidates make on Twitter. We find that women running for office adopt a unique style of angry emotional appeals on Twitter, as female candidates defy stereotypes by incorporating more angry rhetoric in their tweets. These differences persist after accounting for differences in party, electoral success, district competitiveness, and other potential confounds. Our research demonstrates that women seeking congressional office act differently than men in their self-presentation online, and offers insight into how anger has become central to online messaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)422-436
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Information Technology and Politics
Volume20
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Taylor & Francis.

Keywords

  • Twitter
  • communication
  • congress
  • emotion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration

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