Is it a good idea to have such a cute President?

by on February 11, 2007 at 7:14 am in Political Science | Permalink

Royal

Was it Megan Non-McArdle who said that women are judged by their looks from day one to the grave?  Royal would make a good character on Lost, so I see a few possible political effects:

1. French men will swoon, roll over, and play dead while she passes further protectionist measures.

2. Other women will never trust her.

3. Men, at the meta-level, know that beautiful women trick them all the time, so they will never trust their trust in her.

4. She needs to prove she is tough, and that implies hawkish, nationalistic behavior.  She will be especially constrained.

5. She provides a national and global public good, but the Modigliani-Miller theorem holds and each part of her persona is evaluated separately, and accurately.

6. She will be an especially effective diplomat on the world stage.

7. No one cares, or is influenced by looks.

8. If the median voter model were true, the President would be so beautiful every election.  Some other model must hold.

We haven’t had many beautiful top female leaders, so most of the data is for attractive male leaders; I doubt if the two cases are symmetric.  Overall I opt for #8, with a dose of #4 and a bit of #3 and #2.

Wikipedia notes: "For the recent campaign for the Presidential nomination she changed
from wearing dull clothing to stylish suits and reportedly had work
done on her teeth."

1 Steve Sailer February 11, 2007 at 7:37 am

Margaret Thatcher was highly attractive as a young MP, although in a very English way that Americans don’t always appreciate. I’ve read accounts by Alec Guinness, David Lean, and Kingsley Amis about how they swooned over her looks when she came on the political scene.

2 Hei Lun Chan February 11, 2007 at 8:30 am

My theory is that people, both men and women, think that good looks is positively correlated with intelligence in men, and negatively correlated with intelligence in women, hence one of the reasons for fewer attractive women politicians.

She does look kinda like the French woman on Lost.

3 adrian February 11, 2007 at 10:17 am

Despite its reputation as the spiritual home of all leftism France remains quite a macho society, much like Italy. Laurent Fabius, a dogmatic leftist if ever there was one, wondered ‘who will take care of her children?’ So the manly society work against her, which may make #4 even more likely.

4 dWj February 11, 2007 at 12:08 pm

I offer another prediction: her looks offer no insight into how she will govern, but will be used to explain however she governs after the fact.

I’m more confident in the second part of the prediction than in the first, mind you.

5 rod stirling February 11, 2007 at 1:18 pm

Fortunately this is not a problem America will face in
the intermediate term. None of the heavy lumber is even
remotely easy on the eyes. There are a couple of minor twigs
that might not cause immediate blindness. Unfortunately the
process of being born again and again has caused irreversible
brain damage.

6 shecky February 11, 2007 at 1:35 pm

Wonder how Katherine Harris’ looks affected her political career?
http://webpages.charter.net/timandlauren/harris.png

7 am February 11, 2007 at 2:53 pm

Independent of her looks, it would likely not be good to have her in particular as a president, I’d say. She defined her political agenda by asking people on her website to fill in a poll and then adopted the most popular opinions. Obviously, politicians are supposed to represent the people’s opinion but I would never trust anyone with so little integrity and authenticity. Not that she has much of an agenda anyways… I also don’t believe France needs more socialist politics. But that’s just my opinion.

I second Adrian on 6.

8 Casey February 11, 2007 at 4:58 pm

I think the Joan of Ark mythos might come into play for France. I think Joan of Ark is often thought of as having been pretty in popular culture. Her ability to have lead her troops courageously is somehow linked with the idea that she was this inspirational figure of beauty and passion but also vulnerability and delicateness. It would be a different type of female political figure then a Thatcher or say a Hilary.

9 Jenna Johnson February 11, 2007 at 11:18 pm

To have a president that is “cute” would not matter. I beleive that women are based on their looks for the most part. People do not take as much time to get to know a women if they are not some what pretty. On the other hand people are willing to listen to men no matter what they look like as long as they look presentable. In all to be the president is such an important job that people need to take him seriously. I think that people are not going to be quick to judge the president not matter what they look like becuase people are more conserned with diplomatic issues. They are going to judge the president on how he handles the issues of war, money, welfare, and other important issues that deal with the United States.

10 jon o February 12, 2007 at 11:08 am

Men are judged by their looks their whole life as well. I think what she means though is that women are judged by their looks in terms of how much any given man (or woman) would like to have sex with them, whereas men are also judged by their looks pertaining to other criteria – how much power he exudes, how closely he fits in with his group, etc.

cheers!

11 gab February 13, 2007 at 5:37 pm

I wouldn’t put much stock in the teeth thing. All Frencmen need work on their teeth.

12 Ghazi Khan October 29, 2007 at 8:31 pm

It is a sad day in Pakistan when Benazir takes over the rigns. I have always liked musharaf but i guesss the best of the lobbyists got to him. He doesnt need benazir and she will without a doubt destroy pakistan like she did last time she was in power.She left the treasury dry last time. In the name of Democracy, she will squeeze any $$ out of the progress pakistan has made under musharaf and for those who call musharaf a dictator; first time in the history of pakistan is their so much freedom that 6-7 channels are hosting anti-musharaf shows on air calling him a control freak, a one man show and a dictator. Pakistanis, come to your senses, do you forget so easily, how they kidnapped andraped openly when she was in power last time, have you forgotten the scandal when her men accidentally kidnapped and raped a generals daughter. It will be a black day if she is not gotten rid off

13 jad games February 9, 2010 at 1:19 pm

thank you very much for this articl

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