He Said She Said: An Analysis of Gender Differences in Mayors' Statements Following Mass Shootings
The United States is one of six countries, roughly 10 percent of the global population, that make up half of all gun deaths that happen worldwide each year. Gun violence is a widespread issue in American life, especially as mass shootings seem to be happening more and more frequently. This study analyzes gender differences in public statements made by mayors following mass shootings in their towns. Using content analysis of 70 mass shootings from 2009 to 2019, I selected all 8 shootings with a female mayor, and 8 shootings with male mayors that most closely align with each. I collected three statements from each mayor about the shooting in their city, and coded them based on the frequency with which they referred to: the shooter, the victims, the community, law enforcement, policy failures/proposals for change, and any other recurring themes. I find that as the identities of the shooters and their victims are released, the issue of gender slowly moves to the front of the discourse- as it should. However, there have not been studies into the effect that gender has on the language used by politicians, more specifically mayors, in the wake of these horrific events. This study reveals patterns in mayoral statements, contributing data to the ever-raging debate concerning whether there are inherent differences between how men and women communicate.
Jenn Freitag, Anya Galli Robertson
Primary Advisor's Department
Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work
Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
"He Said She Said: An Analysis of Gender Differences in Mayors' Statements Following Mass Shootings" (2020). Stander Symposium Projects. 1865.