GOP and masculinity
October 1, 2012 Leave a comment
I think one of the reasons that my dad moving towards the Democratic party has never been all that “sticky” is that on a temperemantal level, he’s just more Republican. Many more Republicans than Democrats would happily proclaim themselves a “male chauvinist pig” with no shame. Hence, this latest research really made me think of my dad. Via HuffPo:
Republican congresswomen appear more “feminine” than their Democrat counterparts, according to a new study by UCLA psychology researchers.
“Female politicians with stereotypically feminine facial features are more likely to be Republican than Democrat, and the correlation increases the more conservative the lawmaker’s voting record,” said study author Colleen M. Carpinella, a UCLA graduate student in psychology, in an article posted to the UCLA Newsroom website.
So what makes a woman “stereotypically feminine?” …
The program, called FaceGen, allows the researchers to measure more than 100 subtle dimensions including the shape of the jaw, the location of eyebrows, the placement of cheek bones, the shape of eyes and the contour of the forehead, to create a score ranging from -40 (highly male-typed) to +40 (highly female-typed).
For the study, the researchers had FaceGen analyze the portraits of members of the111th House of Representatives, measuring how closely the facial features of each face approached the average for their gender.
The findings for female representatives were more telling, however. Republican women rated more “extremely feminine” or more “sex-typical,” according to Johnson. The connection was so strong, the press release notes, that when photos of the same politicians were shown to a batch of undergrads, the students were able to guess with very high accuracy the political affiliations of those women who had been rated most and least “sex-typical.”
The article points out that this is not about physical attractiveness. Rather,
After analyzing the findings, Johnson concluded that the differences in facial features of the congresswomen reflect the ideals and values of their constituents.
“If you look at the Democratic platform, they strive for equality (salary equity, gay rights),” while the Republican’s platform “enforces and advocates for more traditional gender roles,” Johnson told HuffPost. To be electable, Republican female candidates must therefore reflect their party’s ideals in both ideology and physiology, Johnson added.
Interesting stuff. I tried my own utterly failed study on facial width a while back. Really cool idea but went nowhere. It was based on the fact that wider male faces seems to indicate more testosterone. Anyway, interesting stuff.