In the article linked below, the Daily Show’s Samantha Bee gives her take on a UCLA study showing that women in the GOP have more stereotypically feminine faces than women in the Democratic Party. The study was based on women serving in the House of Representatives. The women’s faces were rated based on actual measurements of facial structure. They were then rated according to “gender-typical feminity” and shown to undergraduates who were then asked to guess which party the face in question belonged to. According to the report, “The students guessed correctly with surprising accuracy.”
The researchers called their results the “Michele Bachmann Effect.” The implication would seem to be that female Republican candidates are selected in part because they look more stereotypically female. I’m assuming there was a control against students actually recognizing the faces in question. If it did not I would be suspicious of the whole test.
But the article provokes a larger question about women and power, as Samantha Bee puts it:
“But this U.C.L.A. study contains measurable scientific data collected by actual professional scientists who have just basically given us the green light to go ahead and judge a book by its cover. And though the data offered no evidence as to the relative “attractiveness” of either party’s representatives (as the face-modeling software controlled for superficial markers like makeup and hairstyles), why would that stop anyone from conflating gender typicality with sex appeal? The answer is ha ha, of course it wouldn’t, but I adore your innocence.”
Not surprisingly, the study did not find the same correlation with male representatives.