Last year, Newsweek magazine was criticized for its photo choice featuring Michele Bachmann on its cover. In the 2008 presidential election season, the looks of Sarah Palin and Hillary Rodham Clinton had a media presence as well.
Now, a report from the University of California-Los Angeles has taken a look at female politicians from both parties to judge their femininity and how it could be linked to pre-judgments about them made by voters.
What the research found was that Republican women were more likely to have what would be considered feminine facial features, whereas Democratic women “strayed from stereotypical gender norms,” as the UCLA press release described it. The researchers found that students, who were not informed as to the voting records of female politicians, when shown portraits, identified those with more feminine faces accurately as conservatives.
“I suppose we could call it the ‘Michele Bachmann effect,’” Kerri Johnson, a senior author for the study and assistant professor of communication studies and psychology, said in a statement. ”At least when it comes to female politicians, assessing how much a face reflects gender norms may be one way of guessing political affiliations.”
Bachmann was among the female Republican politicians included in the study to rank as highly feminine. Representatives Kay Granger (Texas–District 12) and Cathy Rodgers McMorris (Washington–District 5) also were reported as some of the most feminine looking.
Read more here.