Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Political Science


Mark Ungar

Subject Categories

Political Science


Misogyny, Populism, Authoritarianism, Policy, Narrative


The regression of rights for women and the LGBTQ community, as well as the freedoms of religious and ethnic minorities are coinciding with the global rise in populist authoritarianism. However, the link between misogyny, gendered narratives, and populist authoritarianism remains understudied and requires further elaboration. There can be no full investigation of modern populism, nor the political leaders who utilize it, without an understanding of the gender dynamics that permeate populist and authoritarian politics. I argue that misogyny is interwoven in populist authoritarianism, and that it is a defining characteristic observable in the ways in which leaders manipulate the emotions of their constituency, silence their political opposition with regressive gender policies, and violate democratic norms with illiberal, undemocratic practices. These strategies — emotional manipulation through misogynistic rhetoric, silencing through policy, and the misogynistically-coded justification of undemocratic practices, are explored in this thesis as politically salient features of contemporary populist authoritarianism. This thesis draws connections between the sexist expressions of populist leaders in four parts of the world: the United States, Brazil, Turkey, and India. Rather than focus on the individual pathologies of Trump, Bolsonaro, Erdogan, and Modi, I emphasize how their similarities in style, affect, and strategy subsequently influence their politics while perpetuating and reinforcing misogyny.