Sexism in News: A Comparative Study on the Portray of Female and Male Politicians in The New York Times


Adopting a comparative and descriptive case study of The New York Times, this paper aims to probe into the gender discrimination against female politicians in the news media. The New York Times, one of the most authoritative newspapers in the world, can be a convincing representative to expose the universal ideologies like sexism in the news media. The authors attempt to analyze the sexism in news from two dimensions, namely, horizontal dimension (synchronic) and vertical dimension (diachronic). Horizontally, the news reports concerning Barack Hussein Obama and Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton, two rivals of the Democratic Party in the 2008 American presidential election, are chosen. By analyzing the difference in speech reporting, it can be seen that female politicians’ speeches are more controlled and interfered. Vertically, based on Markedness Theory, we explore the development and change in formal marking, distributional marking and semantic marking. It is observable that in spite of the current subtle sexism hidden in news reports, news media have made great efforts in preventing gender discrimination over the past century and sexism against women in the current news reports appears to be less direct and more subtle compared with the past.

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Dai, H. and Xu, X. (2014) Sexism in News: A Comparative Study on the Portray of Female and Male Politicians in The New York Times. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 4, 709-719. doi: 10.4236/ojml.2014.45061.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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