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Palin Too Pretty to Prosper Politically

John on March 5, 2009 at 7:35 pm

Back in August of last year, a few days after she was picked as the running-mate, I wrote the following about Palin’s looks:

On paper, this probably seemed like just one more plus for the McCain camp. In reality I think Palin’s attractiveness could backfire. I have to be careful what I say here, but I think it’s possible Palin is a bit too attractive for McCain’s own good. While it’s true that beauty draws attention, something McCain wants, it’s also true that attractiveness, like gravity, has a way of distorting everything around it.

That spawned some disagreement in the comments at the time. I never really got the feeling anyone but me was convinced.

Well today the LA Times blog reports on a new study about this very topic:

[R]ecently completed research at the University of South Florida indicates that, at least among a select group of students there, those who found the hockey mom more attractive also judged her less competent, less intelligent and less capable…the finding, being published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, does conform with previous research that found attractive women in high-status jobs were perceived as less competent.

According to Nathan Heflick, a psychologist and one of the research authors, it wasn’t Palin’s appearance per se that turned off the research subjects. “It was the effect her appearance had on their perception of her competence and humanity,” Heflick said. “Those variables made people less likely to vote for her.”

All of which would seem to suggest that, for any hope of success in 2012 or beyond, the 45-year-old governor needs to whack off that hair, pork up a bit and get some cheap, baggy pantsuits over at the Wasilla Wal-Mart. And instead of that come-on wink that many thought they liked, she’d do well to develop an uncontrollable facial twitch.

I actually think all she needs to do is drop the glasses. Again, I have to watch what I say, but the librarian glasses with the up-do and pencil skirt are all part of the American male’s collective unconscious. The nearly ubiquitous fantasy in which they feature does not, to put it politely, involve executive competence.

Am I wrong guys?

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