Women with feminine features are more likely to succeed politically in predominantly Republican states, according to a recent, and controversial, study conducted at Dartmouth University.
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In the study, feminine features were defined with physical characteristics such as big eyes, longer hair and rounder faces. Additionally, femininity was not necessarily the same thing as beauty.
“Attractiveness is definitely related to the femininity of a face but they’re not the same thing,” said Eric Hehman, lead author of the study, as quoted by The Daily Beast. “There can be females who have masculine facial features that are still considered attractive … and controlling for attractiveness — removing it from the equation essentially, doesn’t change the results.”
A similar study conducted by UCLA in 2012 found that female politicians in the Republican Party have more feminine faces than their Democrat counterparts, which seems to coincide with the Dartmouth study.
Kerri Johnson, a senior author of the UCLA study, believes that studies such as these incriminate more than just a gendered view of physical traits.
“Prior research reveals that women are viewed as either feminine or competent — but rarely both,” said Johnson in a 2012 letter to the editor. “If the leadership of the G.O.P. is consciously or unconsciously putting forward and promoting only the most feminine of lawmakers, it is unwittingly undermining its political agenda. That’s no trivial matter.”
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