Linking Gender, Language, and Partisanship: Developing a Database of Masculine and Feminine Words

Abstract

Seemingly, gender, language, and partisanship are intertwined concepts. We believe that the use of gendered language in political settings may be used strategically by political elites. The purpose of this paper is to craft a tool for scholars to test the interconnection between politics, gender, and language—what we refer to as being the gendered language and partisanship nexus. We test our prediction using original word rating data. From our test, we find significant variation across seven hundred words in ratings as masculine and feminine and discover that words rated as masculine are more likely to be rated as dominant and negatively valenced. We additionally find that Republican men are most likely to rate words as more masculine. Using this dictionary, we find that Republican presidents are more likely to use masculine language than Democratic presidents in their State of the Union addresses and that the Republican Party uses more masculine language than the Democratic Party in their official party platform.

Publication
In Political Research Quarterly