Gender In The Digital Election

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With Barack Obama's victory today being attributed to women voters, it looks like we still live in a quasi-patriarchal world as far as the alpha male territory of social media is concerned.

In the 2012 US presidential election the traditional ways of campaigning- canvassing, fund-raising and character assassination, played the same part they always have. However, this time the tools were the top social media networks and content optimised for mobile devices.

The Gender Divide

Facebook and Twitter were the top names and weapons of choice for Romney and Obama, with Tumblr also gaining increasing momentum to distribute images which reflected election trends. Tumblr's animated gif images make it the perfect medium to ridicule, as the jokes loop on and on.

However, it seems that very few female voices triumph amongst this onslaught of channels, which serve to accentuate male prowess. To some extent this is true both in the design of many types of new media and the gender of those who are top influencers amongst their peers.

Throughout the election, both candidates used their wife's image as a way of capturing the hearts of Americans. Most of this played out on Pinterest, though there were no bold statements on economics or foreign policy, just recipes and home-making.

Maybe this appeals to the 79% of women who use the pinning site but it begs the question - are women's views marginalised in politics when social media is largely a dog eat dog world?

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