If a new academic study is to be believed, Republican women politicians look more feminine than their Democratic counterparts.
The study, by two UCLA researchers, found that female politicians with what are described as stereotypically feminine features tended to be Republicans, and the reverse was also true for Democratic women. GOP women rated, on average, twice as stereotypically feminine as Democrats.
In fact, the authors said the correlation was so strong that undergraduates were regularly able to guess someone’s party affiliation just by the way she looked.
“I suppose we could call it the ‘Michele Bachmann effect,’” said Kerri Johnson, an assistant professor at UCLA and the study’s senior author, said in a statement announcing the research — a reference to the well-known GOP congresswoman from Minnesota.
When it came to men, however, Democratic politicians were more masculine, the study found. But the researchers said that was not as revealing a finding.
The study authors said the feminine appearance issue may leave Republican women politicians at a disadvantage, because other research shows women are generally viewed as either competent or feminine, but not both.
The study is to be printed in the peer-reviewed Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.