Study Claims Palin’s Appearance Hurt Her Electability

Does this study strike anyone else as weird? Did Palin’s looks hurt?.

How many studies have there been of the effects of male politician’s looks on their success? And didn’t this study basically simply determine that being female hurt her electability? Why wasn’t McCain’s appearance tested in the same way?

And what’s with the Angelina Jolie part of the experiment?

Also, one obvious flaw is that the researchers are drawing universal conclusions based on what a group of college students, presumably all at the same college, think about Palin. What college students think and what everyone else thinks may not always correlate. Anyway, what are your thoughts on this study?

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5 thoughts on “Study Claims Palin’s Appearance Hurt Her Electability

  1. That article reads like a celebrity gossip column. Thank you Yahoo for bridging the gap.

    Though your looks shouldn’t matter in the political realm (ex: McCain is not a looker..comb over…jowls) I wonder if the $150,000 Neiman Marcus spending spree had anything to do with the focus on Palin’s looks. Regardless, McCain lost the race and it had little or nothing to do with Palin. Just like Obama winning had little or nothing to do with Biden.

  2. I would wonder how much of the highlight on her being the “hottest gov. from the coldest state” had soething to do with it, combined with some of the sexism she experience. I believe it’s been proven in other studies that the more people view a woman as her looks and body the more they are objectifying her and the less they respect or recognize her identity as a real human being.

    I feel that many people, on both sides started to view her as a caricature and not as a real person. Once again this is an article that could have made a great point about our society but just misses the boat

  3. @Travis
    The spending spree I feel is somewhat tangental to what this study is talking about. I think this study is talking about “her looks” in isolation from a specific “looks-related event” such as the spending spree, which was more about bad judgment and appearing hypocritical than anything.

    @mzbitca
    You’re right, there was a study done at Princeton that claims men are more likely to objectify women in bikinis than fully-clothed women. I tend to find stuff like this to be mostly junk/pop science and not really useful when I’m contemplating sexism in society. Same with this Palin study. It’s just quite odd that they don’t seem to correlate that her “looks” are highly contingent on her gender and that ultimately it’s probably her gender and not her specific appearance that would lead people to dismiss her as a candidate. And that in addition, they made no mention of the role sexism plays here, though ostensibly if a handsome man of her age ran for office and lost, no one would blame it on his “looks”.

  4. i remember seeing some things with john edwards about his looks, but i don’t recall seeing anything about how his looks caused him to lose.

    its frustrating how much attention is payed to women’s looks instead of their positions on important issues. i know i was frustrated this past election with the focus on clinton and palin’s looks (the men did not receive this kind of attention) when more focus should have been given to their platforms. its a lose-lose situation for women in these positions – no matter how you look, you will be judged harshly (too ‘mannish’, too glammed up or ‘sexy’). but as you point out, its interesting that when it is kept on an individual level (its palin’s image that is the problem and thus an individual thing) and the larger social issues are ignored.

  5. @Shannon:

    I think you’ve struck at the issue. The article (and study mentioned in the article) individualizes the problem and deliberately refuses to connect this issue with the larger one of a sexist focus on women’s looks. I say “deliberately refuses” because I feel it is rather common knowledge that this happens, and so to leave it out of an article dealing with that very topic can only be deliberate.

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