When a man debates a woman: Trump vs. Clinton in the first mixed gender presidential debates

Tsfira Grebelsky-Lichtman*, Roy Katz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Televised political debates have attracted intensive research interest. Here we examined the effect of mixed-gender televised political debates on the candidates’ multimodal gender communicative accountability structure. The 2016 election campaign in the United States introduced for the first time a new factor into the presidential political contest: gender. This study is grounded in a theoretical and analytical framework that maps gender accountability structures of verbal/nonverbal communication patterns. We analyzed the televised debates during the 2016 US presidential campaign with the candidates: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The findings indicated that during mixed-gender debates, contenders present conduct that correspond to their gender communicative structures, primarily nonverbal patterns. Trump mainly expressed masculine-communicative patterns, while Clinton displayed mostly feminine-communicative patterns. The theoretical and analytical framework highlights the effect of gender on political communication. The novel perspective delineates and explains the implications of multimodal gender communicative accountability structure of contenders in mixed-gender political debates.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)699-719
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Gender Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - 18 Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Gender
  • nonverbal communication
  • political communication
  • televised political debates
  • verbal communication


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