Body Language and Gender Stereotypes in Campaign Video
We examine the impact of candidates’ gender on the body language that they employ in their political advertisements. Using data on over 1,600 candidates appearing in almost 5,400 political ads that aired in the U.S. between 2017 and 2020, we employ automatic pose detection to trace the movement of their hands. We find, consistent with gender stereotypes, that male candidates use more assertive hand movements than female candidates. We also find evidence of more assertiveness among Democratic candidates and among candidates running for U.S. House, U.S. Senate, and governor.