Fat man for president?

Over at Ezra’s, Dylan Matthews has an interesting post on some PS research which finds that voters punish a hypothetical female candidate for being obese, but not a male candidate.  The gendered impact of body size, does not surprise me. What does is that apparently male candidates who were obese were rated more positively than normal weight candidates.  Given that there’s lots of studies that show that more attractive candidates are preferred; and given that we know humans generally consider non-obese people more attractive than obese people, this simply does not make a lot of sense.  Of course, historically in many cultures, being fat was seen as a virtue since it is a clear sign that one has excess resources.  That however, does not seem to apply at all to current American culture where being overweight is quite significantly correlated with lower SES.  So, I’m at a loss to explain this result (to the point where I’d like to see it replicated).  Feel free to offer an explanation.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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