How to Avoid Sexist Media Tropes During Campaign Season, From Jess McIntosh

Jess McIntosh wants voters to look out for media gender biases on the 2020 campaign trail.

“What we’re looking at is a gigantic field of Democratic candidates. We’ve never seen a field before where we had multiple women running against multiple men,” the Signal Boost co-host explained.

McIntosh says that there are certain red flag media tactics to look out for that are disproportionately unfair to women — one of them being arguing if a candidate is “likeable.” Candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand have gotten called out for their “likeability” when candidates like Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders were automatically awarded the term without seemingly any scrutiny from the media.
McIntosh also warns voters about women candidates being grilled for their “authenticity.”

“When you hear the word authenticity remember how authentic women are actually allowed to be before you praise men for doing it, or criticize women for not doing it enough,” she said.

McIntosh says we also subjectively decide that a candidate is “electable” because they look like people who have been elected before.
“We’ve never had a woman president so we can’t tell you what she looks like,” she explained. “It means that the criticism comes a lot faster, a lot quicker.”