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The politics of pointing fingers: Party identification, gender performance, and the Kavanaugh sexual assault hearing

Authors:

Gina Kaye Kelley ,

Pacific University, US
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Jim Moore

Pacific University, US
About Jim
Politics and Government, Associate Professor
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Abstract

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2018 to testify about Ford’s allegation of a previous sexual assault by Kavanaugh. This thesis asks and answers the question of what does this hearing reveal about the relationship between party identity and gender performance in male senators. Structural power and gender performativity built a theoretical context for this question, while pre-existing research on the intersection of nonverbal behavior, gender, and politics outlined a path to answering it. Fifty randomly selected clips from each testimony were coded for facial displays, gestures, and mirroring. Previous research would hypothesize that all men would employ the same behaviors, regardless of political affiliation; however, the results of this coding revealed that Republicans conformed to traditionally masculine behavior, while Democrats did not. These findings demonstrate the way in which party identity influences gender behavior.
How to Cite: Kelley, G.K. and Moore, J., 2020. The politics of pointing fingers: Party identification, gender performance, and the Kavanaugh sexual assault hearing. International Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities, 12(2), pp.1–26. DOI: http://doi.org/10.7710/2168-0620.0297
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Published on 03 Sep 2020.
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