He or She? The gender role-play in the Presidential election

MDIA2002 Media Article
Ives, Elise z5016678 H12A

By Elise Ives

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton: stereotypical portrayal in the Presidential election media coverage


With the US Presidential election looming, and what the World seems to be deeming the two most controversial Presidential candidates America has had, it is no surprise that the worldwide public is watching this election like a hawk and passing judgements on both candidates (even if they say they aren’t). Mia Freedman’s ‘Mia Freedman writes: Why I’m so obsessed with Donald Trump’, Mike Fewster’s ‘Give thanks to Donald Trump, because we could do a lot worse (and probably will)’ and Jessica Valenti’s ‘Hillary Clinton’s problem? We just don’t trust women’ are a collection of views journalism pieces that offer personal insight and a general overview of how the population feels about the two in the heated and controversial upcoming election on November 8 2016.

The media portrayal of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton can be on multiple ends of the spectrum. It is common to find media articles that hold some kind of incline toward opinion for either or of the candidates, whether or not it be directly stated or not. But why is this the case? Why does the media so love to brutally attack these individuals? Surely it cannot be solely for their policies and promises for the future of the United States of America. It is instead, a matter of opinion for personality. In this modernised world that we boast of with equality and feminism, the gender roles of both candidates are subtly implied through some news sources. But in some cases, the individuals are picked apart piece by piece until what is left is nothing but their soft core. This could be seen as a forthright entitlement of the public; after all, these are the potential leaders of one of the most powerful countries on Earth. Why shouldn’t they be torn down until they run for the hills and prove themselves clearly unworthy leaders? Each public US voter will have the opportunity to put forth their opinion on Election Day, and in the leading moments until then; it has become an absolute must to sway the opinions of those who wish to listen.

Author and co-founder, Mia Freedman creates a highly one-sided argument in her article ‘Mia Freedman writes: Why I’m so obsessed with Donald Trump’ published in Mamamia. In analysing the news source for what it stands for, the source is highly new age feminist and stands for equal rights and diversity. The article is undoubtedly an opinion piece, as the context clearly stands in its entirety to be against Trump and everything he stands for. Although, the article harbours some argumentation in justification due to the claims of Trump’s opinions on women, specific races and religions, and his overall policy for his term as a potential US President.

Freedman begins the article with addressing the issue of why her followers have been asking why she is so fixated on Trump and the US election campaign. As Mamamia has been noted to be a feminist, left-wing source, it can be understood immediately that despite the headline of this article in reference to the authors “obsession” with Trump, this is not a positive obsession in the slightest and the readership of this article are much aligned with the authors views, therefore the article is merely a “flag waving” article and intends to poke fun at Trump in a coherent and feminist way.

Freedman intends to voice her opinion on the personality of Trump as well as his policies. Her use of language such as “loathing for this repugnant, buffoon-like Oompa Loompa of a man” and “he is the worst type of human. A misogynist, a racist, a bigot”, so very clearly states the authors distaste for Trump and support for Hillary in this manner. These claims are interpretative and cannot be universally implied to all.

The article overall states the author’s hatred for Trump and his policies and views Hillary in a positive light. This can be seen through language in reference to Hillary such as, “the most qualified person ever to run for President”. It can be analysed that the article appeals to ethics and morality of feministic terms, as well as consequential due to the author’s notion that if Donald Trump is elected President, the world as we know it will end… basically. So, if her claim is that Donald Trump is an unworthy winner let alone a candidate, and her justification for this claim is that Hillary is a diverse and strong leader whom will lead the country to success, her warrant is clearly stated in which she quotes, “Donald Trump is a hater.”

Although, aside from the left-wing nature of this article, the author herself becomes the “name caller”, ironically quoted in the article about Trump. The author offers entirely negative opinion on the individual and in doing that, creates the contrast of gender roles in media coverage. Although opinions on Trump are likely to be aligned with this article as readership of Mamamia, the author is creating a one-sided argument on Trump and Hillary in comparison, and therefore adds fuel to this stereotypical gender role-play of the US Presidential election candidates.

Collins (2011) suggest in her study of gender stereotypes in the media, that women are often portrayed as the weaker sex and are often objectified. Of course, in relevance to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the audience can look back on Trump’s comments about women and see the blatant sexism. Although, if looking at the position of Trump in this article, he is brutally picked apart by the author for all his flaws and in doing so is objectified in a manner that Collins (2012) is stating that women are subjected too.

“Thus, the overwhelming pattern of under-representing women begs the question of how this affects consumers of media content… Does the under-representation of women constrict societal perspectives and information in important ways?” (Collins, 2011 p. 292) suggests that the portrayal of powerful women, let alone all women in the media can affect the viewers and create propaganda of influence. This can be shown heavily in this article, but in juxtaposition to the role of Hillary.

Diversely, Mike Fewster’s, ‘Give thanks to Donald Trump, because we could do a lot worse (and probably will)’, published in New Matilda, offers an opinion article that although the author does not wholeheartedly trust and admire Trump, he insinuates disappoint at the potential of loss for Trump and his presidential campaign. The article acts as an argumentation piece although it is underlined with opinion. The article does not intend to annoy or provoke readers, nor so does it act to persuade them, but almost acts as an article that is completely passive and offers only an informed evaluation on the situation and any further consequences that will come from the election results.

Fewster states initially that with Trump, what you see is what you get. He refers to him as “a caricature with pitchfork in hand, horns on head and breathing smoke”. Fewster almost applauds him for how is he and his honesty when campaigning. The insinuation suggests that Trump is a worthy candidate not due to his radical policies and large personality, but more so his blatant uprightness in how he holds himself. Personally, I believe that due to the gender and nature of the author, this claim is justified only due to gender roles and Trump is seen to be honourable in this manner, where as it may not be the case for a controversially head strong candidate like Trump in female form.

The author offers a very two-sided opinion on the matter of Trump’s foreseen loss. It becomes clear that Fewster is neither pro-Trump nor pro-Hillary, but again offers insight into the dilemma at hand and the future of the US after Election Day.

What can be deduced from this very passive article, is that Fewster’s primary claim is that candidate Trump is a force to be reckoned with, but at the same time, does not suit the role of US President well due to his policies even though his campaign has been strong and admirable. The claim can be considered as evaluative, and offers an insight into how the author believes the aftermath of the election will play out for all involved, including Hillary.

The author quotes, “the storm awaiting President Clinton will sweep over those policies as well.” This suggests the notion that a potential President Clinton could crumble under the pressure of what is to come as a leader of the United States. In saying this, I do not believe this can be considered to be a sexist remark, but more so an outlook on how the United States situation would affect any new president, male or female.

The article overall appeals to ethics and morality in a sense that oversees the results of the election and how it will affect all involved, as well as potential consequence. As mentioned, although the article provides an appeal to morality and offers a very passive ideal on the outcome of the election neither in favour of either candidate, I do believe some of the language used by the author views Trump in a light that differs to Hillary.

“Unfortunately, the man will be defeated not because what he stands for has been weighed and rejected, but because the man himself is unsellable”, is a quote from Fewster and this suggests that voters will choose not to vote for Trump based on policy (regardless of whether they are morally and politically correct or incorrect), but instead focuses on the personality of Trump. This again is a blatant portrayal of election coverage of the media, and focuses on the candidates as individual personalities rather than what they bring to the country as a reckonable force of power and success.

Finally, Jessica Valenti offers an opinion piece left-wing opinion on the matter of Hillary as an overlooked powerful candidate due to her gender. ‘Hillary Clinton’s problem? We just don’t trust women’, published in the Guardian acts as a rally in favour of Hillary and her policies, as well as her as a woman in power. The demographic of the audience for the Guardian would clearly be left-wing supporters, so this article appeals to an audience that do not need persuading and have similar outlooks to the author. Alternatively, the article can act as an offer of opinion to persuade readers into agreeing with the author, but this notion is open to interpretation as to readership and audience reach.

The primary claim of this argument can be considered to be evaluative as the overall notion of the article states that the view of Hillary in opposition to Trump is that of negative purely based on her gender, rather than her policies and promise.

Valenti uses language that justifies her claims of sexism through quotes such as, “when it comes to sexual assault or domestic violence, victims – the vast majority of whom are women – are still widely disbelieved”.

It is this form of media perspective that has influenced audiences to view women as a specific gender stereotype. The notion of sexual assault clearly does not relate to Hillary in this instance as a presidential candidate, but instead inclines that negative portray of women in the media acts as the justification that women (and especially women in power) can be viewed as poorly or as a threat.

Galdi et al (2014) suggests in a study on women objectified in the media that women are seen to be inferior to their male counterparts and more so influenced by appearance and sexuality.
“Across many TV genres, women, in contrast to their male counterparts, are typically presented as decorative elements whose value is based solely on their physical appearance.” (Galdi et al, 2014 p. 399) suggest that in claims made by Trump in regards to women in general as well as Hillary, the sexualisation or mockery of such in this notion is a blatant example of this.

Galdi et al (2014) also suggests that women are objectified heavily on the television.
Galdi et all quotes, “objectification of women in television not only is visual but also is expressed by explicit as well as subtle verbal acts.” (Galdi et al, 2014 p. 399)
This statement links closely with the notion that Hillary is judged on her appearance on television and how she expresses herself in this manner. Of course, this statement also refers to Trump but can be a clear indication of the media portrayal of the candidates and their success in campaign.

The justifications made in Valenti’s article appeal to a notion of ethics and morality. This justification is shown in allowing equal voter opinion to be based on policies only rather than content of character of the candidates. It appeals to the notion that neither of the candidates should be promoted through their gender but instead by their ability to lead.

Valenti states, “it’s impossible to divorce the way that voters view her from the misogyny she’s faced over decades. She’s considered “guarded” – but how could she not be after years of sexist smears and slights? Trump, on the other hand, is lauded for “telling it like it is” even as so much of what he says is shown to be untrue.” This notion applies closely to Fewster’s article in terms of Trump being applauded for his honesty through negative constructs.

The warrant of this article is clear in the underlying notion of equal rights for the candidates and offering a fair consideration for both before passing judgment.

The overall connection between the articles is the offer of opinion in relation to each candidate. All offer multilayered views and this links closely with the ideal of negative or positive media portrayal purely based on the characteristics of each individual.

When it comes down to the future of the election on November 8, it will rely much on opinion. Much like the articles in terms of their offering of personal opinion to sway the reader or just to offer evaluative aspect on the situation, the results of the election are driven purely by voter opinion. Media coverage and influence can only act as an intentional affect for the voter, but of course, it all boils down to the voter beliefs.


Collins, R. 2011, “Content Analysis of Gender Roles in Media: Where Are We Now and Where Should We Go?” Sex Roles, Vol. 64, Springer Science and Business Media pp. 290-298

Freedman, M. 2016, “Mia Freedman writes: “Why I’m so obsessed with Donald Trump” Mamamia, accessed 31 Oct 2016 <http://www.mamamia.com.au/mia-freedman-donald-trump/>

Fewster, M. 2016, “Give Thanks to Donald Trump, Because We Could Do A lot Worse (And Probably Will)” New Matilda, accessed 31 Oct 2016 <https://newmatilda.com/2016/10/26/give-thanks-to-donald-trump-because-we-could-do-a-lot-worse-and-probably-will/>

Galdi, S. Maass, A. Cadinu, M. 2014, “Objectifying Media: Their Effect on Gender Role Norms and Sexual Harassment of Women” Psychology of Women Quarterly, Vol. 38 No. 3, Sage Publications pp. 398-413

Valenti, J. 2016, “Hillary Clinton’s problem? We just don’t trust women” The Guardian, accessed 31 Oct 2016 <https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/22/hillary-clinton-women-trust>

Photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/24564574914

Media Analysis 2 Proposal: Elise Ives 5016678 H12A

Elise Ives 5016678 Media Proposal 2

For the second media article, I would like to focus on the portrayal of powerful women in the media and in this instance focus on Hillary Clinton and her role as a candidate in opposition to Donald Trump.

These two candidates have been a media frenzy within the news, more so than any other presidential candidate, just due to the people that they are and the policies that are upheld.

I want to focus the article around the internal sexism within some news stories and how so the public’s vote may be swayed with each article.

Focusing on Clinton as a highlight and using news articles that portray Trump in a certain way in comparison to her I believe will offer insight into the any sexist connotations behind personality and policy.

Some articles I am considering to use:

Should we get married? Please tick the box

Should we get married? Please tick the box

By Elise Ives

Ives, Elise z5016678 Media Article 1 H12A


The battle for equal love has been a tried and tested issue in Australia and the world for as long as many of us can remember. As multiple countries around the globe have jumped on the bandwagon of same-sex marriage equality, Australia continues to lag behind in the issue due to political uncertainty and negligence.

Aside from the multiples bills attempted to be passed on this issue in Australian history, the most recent movement within the political agenda has been the plebiscite, which encourages the Australian public to vote for or against the same-sex marriage law to be passed. Similarly to most controversies in history, the issue cannot technically have a correct or incorrect answer indefinitely, but the opinions can often favour to one direction as “the fair thing to do”. The parties involved in this issue all have agendas on the matter, which provide for interesting analysis in argumentation and opinion pieces. Three political news articles provide insight into the whereabouts of the plebiscite to date and the opinions on where important parties stand behind them for the same-sex marriage bill to be passed. The two timely articles by Tom McIlroy and Jared Owens provide insight into the plebiscite standing in the current period and political opinion on this, which I believe to be interestingly contrasted by an opinion article by Michael Jensen, which although taken from 2015, opposes same-sex marriage and works in alignment with the proposition of an opinion poll on the matter.

The collection of articles provides insight into the generalised opinion on the passing of the same-sex marriage bill within Australia from political as well as individual viewpoint. In relation to the plebiscite, the viewpoints correlate in line with one another as the overall vote in the plebiscite will be individual, and so this is why it is important to consider a variety of attitudes.

Jared Owen’s article ‘Greens to block same-sex marriage plebiscite’ published in ‘The Australian’ in late August 2016 provides an insight on where the Greens party stands in terms of the plebiscite and their opposition to it. The article uses opposing opinions from member of the Greens party, Richard Di Natale and Liberal MP Tim Wilson to create an argument against specific party views. Richard Di Natale states:

“The Greens won’t support this waste of money that is designed to delay equality and give a megaphone to hate and homophobia.”

“We should never put questions of human rights to an opinion poll.”

This use of quoted language here connotes the plebiscite as a negative thing on the Greens behalf. It appeals to the notion of consequence, as the fate of same-sex couples in the hands of the Australian public is not a good thing.

Owen also quotes Tim Wilson who says:

“This is a betrayal of all their supporters who want to see a change in the law and shows they would rather use couples as political pawns rather than see them get married.”

The use of such words as ‘betrayal’ and ‘political pawns’ suggest the difference of opinion between the two. They suggest a sense of interpretative ‘name calling’ which provides to portray the opposing party in a negative way.

The entire article itself is tentative with the issue and acts as an informant to the reader, allowing them to create their own perspective of the ideal. The primary claim of the article analyses to be a factual representation of views between both parties and the consequences they might hold for the future. Typically, in this day and age the majority of the public vote in favour of same-sex marriage, so the argument can be classified as an audience that does not need persuading, but instead to inform on the current movements throughout the political agenda towards the finalisation of the same-sex marriage bill.

Tom McIlroy also creates an informant argument in his article ‘Three-quarters of Australians would oppose a popular vote on their own right to marry: poll’ written for ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’ in August 2016. The article creates a formation of research that shows that:

“36 per cent of respondents support a popular vote on same-sex marriage when asked to consider their own right to marry.”

“76 per cent of respondents [from 1000 surveyed] would not be happy if they needed popular support before getting married.”

This use of opinion poll differs from the first article as it proves itself to be a useful tool in understanding the public vote for the readership rather than heavily political viewpoints. McIlroy creates a factual argument that appeals to ethics and morality as well as popular opinion of Australians surveyed.

As ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’ holds a wide readership of multiple ages and standpoints, the argument comes as an interesting piece as it will reach various individuals, and potentially influence any decision making during a potential plebiscite in the future.

When quoting PFLAG national spokeswoman Shelley Argent, the article states:

“This poll shows Australians are against judging other people’s relationships and reject a plebiscite when they realise this is exactly what a plebiscite is about.”

This quote acts as a summary of popular Australian opinion of the plebiscite, and can be analysed as the underlying opinion for the article’s basis. McIlroy warrants that the Australian public are the contributing factor in political change for Australia’s same-sex marriage laws, and by use of poll results, the article examines the general consensus of the public aren’t pleased with this as it can lead to a difference of opinions which will only extend the issue further and decrease movement toward the future in a positive way.

Lastly, an opinion piece to analyse in alignment with public opinion and result is ‘I oppose same-sex marriage (and no, I’m not a bigot)’ by Michael Jensen for ‘ABC News’ in May 2015. Although this article is not timely in this manner, it relates heavily to the topic matter and the analysis relates heavily to the issue of Australian public views on the movement of the bill.

The article states that Rev Dr Michael Jensen works within the church, so this is a contributing factor to the direction of the argument. Jensen states:

“I prepare many couples for marriage each year. Most of them already cohabit. When I ask them about marriage, they almost always indicate that it is for them the beginning of a new family unit open to welcoming children.”

“To remove the sexual specificity from the notion of marriage makes marriage not a realisation of the bodily difference between male and female that protects and dignifies each, but simply a matter of choice.”

This can be offered as the underlying basis of the argument Jensen is proposing. The sanctity of marriage between male and female offers the ideal of children made by a mother and father legally bound in matrimony, and the ideal is somewhat lost when it refers to same-sex marriage.

When analysing Michael Jensen’s argument, it can relate to the audience agreement/not in agreement but I do not believe it is in the nature to provoke or annoy. The argument relates to personal opinion but does not intend to provoke negatively but instead provide personal insight into the issue. Although the argument can be viewed as inherently “discriminative”, Jensen argues against this notion:

“The case has been made almost entirely in terms of “equality” and its alleged opposite: “discrimination”. The argument is that applying the word “marriage” to some relationships and not to others is unequal treatment, and thus discrimination. These are both apparently self-evidently bad.”

This use of language connotes the misconception of correct and incorrect and how this issue should be viewed, without analysing it in a way that equally allows both ends of the opinion spectrum to be plausible.

The article implies the primary claims as evaluative and interpretative as the piece is left in the reader’s discretion to analyse it in their own way. Jensen states:

“It will be called marriage, but it won’t be marriage as we know it. It won’t be “marriage equality”: it will be an entirely new thing.”

It is here that the reader can gather the meaning behind Jensen’s argument and what the issue is. The justifications offered for this opinion piece relate to ethics and morality in an opposition to same-sex marriage. It relates to precedent and customary practice as well as how people will react emotionally (due to the negative backlash this article would receive from strongly pro same-sex marriage advocates).

The warrant for the article can be analysed as same-sex marriage will not be attributed as equality, but instead a choice, which in turn shifts the entirety of marriage through all sexual orientations, and child bearing is primarily focused toward heterosexual couples. The article aligns well in comparison to the other articles mentioned because it relates to Australian public vote and the difference of opinion from a pro same-sex vote rather than against it, which is a contributing factor to whether or not the bill will be passed and if the rights of same-sex couples should be held in the fate of the public which clearly hold very different opinions to each other.

To conclude, the three articles mentioned in this analysis provide insight into the same-sex marriage vote as they all argue and inform in different ways opposing to the other. The intended audience of the articles are those who are on both ends of the opinion spectrum, as it will affect the audiences in different ways depending on their belief systems. The articles all provide informative stance on Australia’s position when it comes to same-sex marriage equality, regardless of the different opinions. They will persuade the readership in different ways in relation to their personal stance on the issue as well as the outcomes and how it will affect them overall.

Words: 1633


Reference list / Articles:

Jared Owens: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/greens-to-block-samesex-marriage-plebiscite/news-story/f1d371d12ada235940bd22955e0b3ae1

Tom McIlroy: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/threequarters-of-australians-would-oppose-a-popular-vote-on-their-own-right-to-marry-poll-20160811-gqq473.html

Michael Jensen: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-28/jensen-i-oppose-same-sex-marriage-(and-no,-i’m-not-a-bigot)/6502850

MDIA2002 Tute Prep 4 Edit (Elycia Paredes and Elise Ives H12A)

MDIA2002 Tute Prep Week 5 #2

Elycia Paredes and Elise Ives H12A

  1. What is the nature of the text’s central argumentative point? Is it a claim of fact, causality, evaluation, interpretation or recommendation, or some combination of two or more of these – or something entirely different? (Provide a few sentences here.)

The nature of the article is a claim of evaluation and interpretation due to the central direction of the argument as sleep deprivation is torture. The author positions his own opinion in contrast to those of authority in attempt to influence reader perspective to a moral understanding

  1. How much simple opinion (the expression of the author’s viewpoint without any supporting argumentation) is there is the text? Would you classify the text as being more opinion or more argumentation? (a few sentences)

The argument is argumentative because it highlights the opinions of official personalities justified by authority and facts. It is also opinion based as it uses author perspective and moral consequences without supporting factual justification

  1. Does the author offer an explicitly asserted statement of the text’s principal argumentative point? (briefly discuss)

The author offers a very one sided argument in debate against sleep deprivation as a reasonable tactic for enemies rather than a torture, although he uses statements and facts to support his argument.

“Interrogation is an important tool in the fight, but politicians shouldn’t try to justify torture and therefore lower us to the level of our enemies”

“The war against terrorism is about defending a way of life and a set of values”

The author argues over the definition of torture, constructing a readership to possess the same opinions and ideas on sleep deprivation

  1. Are there any contentious terms in the text and, if so, does the author offer any stipulative definitions of these? To what extent are any such definitions supported with their own justification? (a few sentences)

By appealing to authority as argumentative support, the author uses the United Nations definition to contrast his own understanding and opinion.

“The war against terrorism is about defending a way of life and a set of values that we argue sets us apart from the Islamist fundamentalists we are fighting”

The author promotes morality and striving to better the situation in handling the problem in a different way than enemy practise

  1. What types of justificatory support (secondary claims) does the author employ and does he seem to favour one type of these? (Express these justificatory claims as a single sentence and set out below in the order win which they occur in the text.) Also see if you can classify each of the justifications as involving one or more of the following justification types.
    Appeal to ethical, legal or other social norms
    Appeal to consequences (good or bad)
    Appeal to emotion
    Appeal to precedent, customary practice
    Appeal to popular opinion
    Appeal to authority
    Appeal to comparison, analogy
    Appeal to “facts”

Article’s primary claim here: Using sleep deprivation as a form of torture lowers us to the level of our enemies and should not be justified

Justification 1: appeal to facts

Sleep deprivation causes negatives physical and mental affects on the human body

Justification 2: appeals to ethical and social norms

We should not become as bad as the Islamist fundamentalists we are fighting

  1. Take the list you have just presented as to the text’s justifications, and then state the warrant by which each justification supports or lead to the primary claim of the article. Indicate if any of these are explicitly stated. Also indicate if any of the warrants are supplied with their own argumentative support – i.e. with additional “backing” .

Article’s primary claim here:

Justification 1:

Warrant for Justification 1: Interrogation that causes negative affects on the human body is torture

Justification 2:

Warrant for Justification 2: Islamist fundamentalists are wrong in their form of torture

  1. Does the text contain any informal fallacies? If so, list these and present your justification for negatively characterising them in this way.

Slippery slope: arguing that if sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture, we too become as bad as terrorists

Ad hominem argument: in the context of sleep deprivation of torture as the primary argument, the author states that Ruddock has no real knowledge of the situation as he has not experiences such things