Beauty and Politics

4 October 2006 at 7:30 am 5 comments

| Nicolai Foss |

Most of us classical liberals tend to think of politics as largely ugly. But apparently beauty is more important in politics than competence, intelligence, likability, or trustworthiness (not that it is surprising that these may not be that important ….).  Check this fascinating new paper.

Entry filed under: - Foss -, Classical Liberalism, Papers, Recommended Reading.

Reflexivity Bleg Schmoller Revisited

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Bo  |  4 October 2006 at 12:00 pm

    This would be consistent with findings from social psychology that attractive people are more successful in general and in business in particular. If there is (as suggested by some studies) a negative relationship between beauty and intelligence then this basically confirms what we already know – people in power are un-intelligent. Or – I rather be good looking than smart? (or was it lucky than good?)..

  • 2. Jung-Chin Shen  |  4 October 2006 at 3:52 pm

    Another thing that might also be of interest is to consider the role of celebrity in politics. On the one hand, we probably will see Segolene Royal, who has been named as one of the sexiest women alive by a French man’s magazine, to be the most beautiful French President in the near future. On the other hand, we are also very likely to see Norika Fujiwara to be a Japanese Parliament member in the near future. Japanese ruling party is trying very hard to nominate her. For those of you who are not familiar with Norika Fujiwara, she is basically as Japanese Angelina Jolie. What if after American has Arnold Schwarzenegger as California Governor, they get Angelina Jolie as Massachusetts Governor? What would happen after Ronald Reagan, American get Will Smith as the next President?

  • 3. Bo  |  5 October 2006 at 3:25 am

    Yes..and what is the name of the Italian (former?) porn star who also made it into politics? Maybe Anna Nicole Smith is next?

    On a more serious note, I read this morning that Nordic researchers have found evidence for a positive relationship between number of teeth and memory in humans! Japanese researchers already knew this from studies with mice (who could not remember where the cheese was after having their teeth pulled!). So, the Swedish and Norwegian researchers replicated this study with humans (although I don’t think they actually pulled the teeth…) – the were able to prove that when you loose your teeth you may also loose part of your memory as the nerves are apparently connected. Perhaps this is why they are called “wishdom teeth”?

  • 4. Jung-Chin Shen  |  6 October 2006 at 12:08 am

    Can beauty not become an asset but a liability? Bo says that some studies suggest a negative relationship between beauty and intelligence. I have ever heard a very beautiful and smart female professor complained that such stereotype, associated with gender inequality, sometimes make her feel a beauty discount rather than a beauty premium in academia. Do not know if Laurence Summers will endorse this argument. :)

  • 5. Bo  |  6 October 2006 at 6:57 am

    Not sure if I get your point here, but I have indeed been lucky enough to meet a few very attractive and extremely smart female professors (although you will appreciate that my argument above was not gender sensitive – males can also be good-looking and smart) who told me that it sometimes becomes a problem for them because they feel they have to perform even better than others in order to prove that they are not all looks. It also (apparently) becomes an issue in the classroom, where especially the male students seem to have difficulty following the lectures instead of staring at the legs or whatever). Evidence of this was given to me by a female colleague, who reported that several of her male students had mentioned it on her evaluations with comments like “I had difficulty concentrating due to the attractiveness of the professor” or “I may have missed important points due to the distraction of having a beautiful professor”…

    So, yes beauty can certainly be a liability and evoke costs for the individual…as with everything else it may be a matter of balancing – too much of one or the other extreme may lead to undesirable consequences.

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