Conservatives Are Prettier Than Liberals
A study says the voting record of a female politician is written on her face.
Just in case anyone is concerned that the differences between Republicans and Democrats are being debated in terms too lofty or substantive, the divide is now being drawn along the same lines used between competing pep squads: Which side has the prettier girls?
Psychologists and social scientists at UCLA not only asked the unlikely question, but came up with an answer.
“Female politicians with stereotypically feminine facial features are more likely to be Republican than Democrat,” said the lead author of a UCLA study due to appear in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, “and the correlation increases the more conservative the lawmaker’s voting record.”
It’s not much of a leap to say that stereotypically feminine is code for pretty. Cracking the rest of the code here, the study is concluding that the prettier a politician is, the more conservative her stand on issues. We’re tempted to cite GOP eye candy like Chris Christie as further proof but, alas, the theory applies only to female members of Congress.
The researchers found that the inverse is true as well: Female politicians with less stereotypically feminine features were more likely to be Democrats. Analyzing features with a computer modeling program, the study determined that the faces of the Democratic women were only half as “sex-typical — or feminine —” as Republican faces. Determining political affiliation based on looks, as 120 undergraduate subjects did with surprising accuracy, is chalked up to what the researchers call “the Michelle Bachmann effect.”
The Daily Show’s Samantha Bee lambasted the UCLA study in a New York Times editorial, calling it “unforgivably retro” and saying the social scientists have “just basically given us the green light to go ahead and judge a book by its cover.”
Bee is right, though the fact remains that physical appearance plays a real role in electoral campaigns, and uninformed voters are prone to choosing a candidate based on looks. A final ugly truth comes in a sidenote from the UCLA researchers, who explain that prior research has demonstrated people tend to view women as either competent or feminine — but not both.
Photo: Rubberball/Mike Kemp/Getty Images
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Human beings naturally gravitate to people and things that attract them. But what concerns me is that this article is implying that people would actually be hollow-brained enough to put the Michele Bachmanns and Sarah Palins above the Condoleezza Rices.
Oh...and for the record, I'm liberal, and not to toot my own horn, but I'm lucky enough to have been told my entire life that I'm very attractive.
It would be interesting to read UCLA's report, without the MSN's typically vapid and incendiary headline.
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