Republican women politicians look more feminine than Democratic women, a study has found.
Republican female politicians look more feminine than Democrats, study finds
Republican women politicians look more feminine than Democratic women, a study has found. Two UCLA researchers compared faces and political stances of the U.S. House of Representatives - and also found volunteers could deduce the women's political leanings through their pictures. 'I suppose we could call it the Michele
Bachmann effect,' said Kerri Johnson, an assistant professor at UCLA in a statement-
referring to the primped GOP congresswoman from
Minnesota. The researchers considered the faces of the 424 Representatives by feeding their pictures into a computer modeling program that measures the different features and how close they are to the average for either gender.
Who is the fairest? A study has found that
Republican women have facial features that are more feminine than
Democrats, like Hillary Clinton (R). Michelle Bachmann (L) has highly
feminine features, they found
It considers more than 100 dimensions, including
the jaw line, the placement of cheek bones, the shape of eyes,
measurements across the face and the fullness of the lips. Through
these assessments, each face was given a score based on how close they
were to female or male norms; scores ranged from -40 (male typical) to
+40 (female typical).
No extra considerations - including hairstyle, jewellery or make up - were made, the researchers said. As
well as comparing these scores with the person's party affiliation,
they also looked at how conservative or liberal the lawmaker was through
voting choices they have previously made. They found that, for women, Republicans' faces were twice as 'sex-typical' as those of Democrats.
Ladylike: They compared facial dimensions of the
House of Representatives members with averages for the two genders.
Reps Kay Granger (L) and Cathy McMorris (R) were among the most feminine
Republican representatives with highly
feminine features including were Kay Granger (Texas), Cathy Rodgers McMorris
(Washington) and Michele Bachmann (Minnesota). Among
the Democrats with the least gender typical faces were Stephanie
Herseth Sandlin (South Dakota), Rosa DeLauro (Connecticut)
and Anna G. Eshoo (California). Interestingly, among conservative lawmakers of both
genders, women were 13 points more feminine than men were
masculine while among more liberal politicians, women were five points more
feminine than men were masculine, the research found. '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,' added lead author Colleen M. Carpinella, a UCLA graduate
student in psychology.
Findings: The researchers claimed Democratic
Reps Anna Eshoo, left, and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, right, had faces
that were not gender typical. Jewellery, make up and hair was not
'Non-traditional': Rep. Rosa DeLauro, pictured,
was also a Democrat with less gender typical features, based on
assessments of the jawline, eyebrow position and eye shape, among others
As the GOP is associated more
often with traditional gender roles, he researchers also expected to
find that male Republicans would be more masculine than their Democratic
counterparts. But in fact, they found the faces of male Republicans scored, on average, as less masculine than the faces of their Democratic counterparts. 'It
may be unnecessary for Republican men to exhibit masculinity through
their appearance,' Carpinella said. 'Their policy advocacy and
leadership roles may already confer these characteristics on them.' After
this initial research, they then showed 120 undergraduates the photos
of the politicians and asked them to guess the person's political
affiliation. Their guesses for the Republican politicians became more accurate the more feminine the face.
Study: The researchers at UCLA, pictured, then
asked students to say the political affiliations of a person based on
their facial features - and found the correlation continued
'The Democratic Party is associated with
social liberal policies that aim to diminish gender disparities,
whereas the Republican Party is associated with socially conservative
policy issues that tend to bolster traditional sex roles,' Johnson said. 'These policy platforms are manifest in each party's image - apparently
also in the physical characteristics exhibited by politicians.'
The study is to be printed in the peer-reviewed Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.