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3: I gathered from the photo that she is an old, unmarried, childless woman. That led me to believe she is a lefty. And alas, she is.

And I don't care what Ron Howard would say.

How did you gather those three things from the photo?

It's really just that she has short hair, isn't it?

"I gathered from the photo that she is an old, unmarried, childless woman. That led me to believe she is a lefty. And alas, she is."

I gathered from this that you believe a woman's sole purpose is to marry and raise children.

"I gathered from this that you believe a woman’s sole purpose is to marry and raise children."

Well then, I guess we've learned that I'm a keen observer, and you can't see past your blinding rage.

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I'll admit, I don't get any intuition at all about her politics by looking at her picture. She looks like a random middle-class 40s-ish woman with short hair and a relatively nice figure.

Indeed, albatross -- she looks about 40, and yet is very slender, which gives a higher probability to childlessness. And being 40 without kids gives a higher probability to being unmarried.

Unmarried, childless women north of 35 have a high correlation with leftism.

No matter what the hair-obsessed might say.

> No matter what the hair-obsessed might say.

Oh come on. You'd know "about 40" just from the hair. And you'd have a strong intuition of "unmarried."

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Slender and 40 could translate as easily to "rich" as to "left wing."

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Where's Daniel Kahneman when we could really use him?

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slender, 40, rich, and childless still translates to "left wing"

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If she's 40, she had kids, who are probably adult or nearly so. Her face is way too worn for her to be 40 and childless, but for her neutral expression to be at least something of a smile. I'd guess 50 or so, at which point I can't guess childless or not.

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I massively disagree with Careless's statement. The only difference between her picture and my mom's rich conservative friends is her smile. Which I'm not about to say her smile says she's liberal.

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I'm well north of 35, single (never wanted to be married, never liked nor wanted kids), keep my hair short... and I am basically the opposite of a leftist.

You know who else is unmarried (& never wanted to be), childless (hates kids), and even further to the right than I am? Florence King. Stereotypes are often true... except when they aren't.

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haven't looked at website...but I bet she drives a suburu

Are you nuts? She's obviously a Volvo owner. Probably vegan, and owns two cats.

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....and plays ultimate frisbee? Does Bikram yoga?

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So if an observer looked at a photo of a man and said "I gathered from the photo he is jobless" you would say that you gather from this that the observer believes a man's sole purpose is to work?

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Hairstyle, makeup, clothing, and physique that you are more likely to see among those in artsy professions in big cities.

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I guessed that she was a lefty too. Although, I am having a hard time putting my finger on why. In my experience, short hair among young women seems to trend left. But, with 40ish women like in this photo it seems like a lot go for short hair for the low maintainance regardless of politics. She is unusually thin looking for her age, but I am having a hard time putting a political spin on that. Some makeup but not a lot, nothing there. Earings, nothing there. Good teeth, I don't know. T-shirt? Maybe.

Perhaps it's the combination of a basically cheap T-shirt combined with a well kept appearance. In other words, maybe it's the apparently intentional avoidance of dressing like a woman of status in the photo she chooses to present to the world without any other indication that she might actually be poor. With the acception of the t-shirt, I would guess she is at least comfortable financially.

I generally associate the really thin with being on the left. Maybe something about vegetarians and being skinny? That sort of hipster fashion - skinny jeans, looking androgenous - is also a lefty thing. Athletes/jocks and the obese (at least among whites) are usually associated with being on the right.

Also, the hair.

I think I'm missing a sentence somewhere. May not be clear. She's not in skinny jeans and looking androgenous, but people that do often look very thin, and thinner than you would expect given their age/healthiness/whatever. Sentence 2 is more backing up the skinny = left thing rather than commenting specifically on the photo.

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Correct. This could be my wife if you saw her on a random Saturday while hanging around the back yard. But, BUT...she would never consent to have this photo posted online, least of all as the primary picture of a blog. The deliberately casual pose, working class clothing selection, and short hair point up a non-traditional, I-doesn't-care-about-my-looks-but-wants-to-choose-the-best-among-50-photos style that almost dares you to complain about her appearance.

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I think her name is Linda and she is a feminist bank teller.

+1

if I could +1 this comment a million times, I would

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+1

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I know it's rude to just mindlessly +1 a comment, but this is the exception.

+1.

I'm going to add a "+1" to Phil's +1 ... but not mindlessly.

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I had to Google that one to find the reference. Here's a link to any other clueless readers.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjunction_fallacy

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This is not a conjunctive fallacy.

A: set of physical characteristics (some innate, some selected)
B: liberal

The question isn't asking us whether the P(A ^ B) > P(B)

The question is asking for P(BlA).

This probability will be high whenever P(A ^ B) is a large relative to P(A). If she is selecting certain characteristics through identification as a liberal, or if her innate characteristics increase the likelihood of becoming liberal, this will be high.

Appearance and political affiliation are matters of choice, not chance. We aren't drawing characteristics at random.

The real question is P(BlAlTyler presented this to us).

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P(Fallacy l Claim Fallacy) ~ 0

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I think I love you a little.

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I thought she looked more right than left. Of course, my faith in my intuition is undiminished.

What is the context of Tyler's mini-rant, anyway?

my faith in my intuition is undiminished.

+1 and me, too.

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I got a left feel from the picture -- hair, clothing, physique -- but I can see how one could vote right. Regardless, I don't get what Tyler's point is. What is the question about our own beliefs and what is WWRHS?

RH would be Robin Hanson, at a guess. And the point would be that there's a linkage between political leanings and the sort of thing you would think would be uncorrelated. The look appears to be an epiphenomenon of the leaning.

The thing is, to the extent appearance tells you about relevant stuff (income, type of occupation, marital status, children, religion, ethnicity), it may very well tell you a lot about political party affiliation, even though appearance itself has nothing much to do with politics.

To use a really simple example, I show you a picture of a middle-class, middle-aged black guy from 1950, and one from 2012. How'd he vote in the most recent presidential election? Might there be a reason behind your ability to guess the answer with pretty high probability?

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Thank you.

Why should that make us less confident about our own political beliefs?

My guess is that the correlation of of income, type of occupation, marital status, children, religiosity, etc. are all correlated to political party affiliation and also to each other, which would make you wonder if there isn't a common cause for all them. Personality and heredity come to mind, and I believe that Haidt, as well as others, have done some work linking the big 5 personality traits to all of these things.

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If you believe that you arrived at your political beliefs solely through the use of objective reason, then maybe the fact that people can guess better than randomly what your political views are just by looking at a picture of you might suggest that you aren't quite the intellectual free spirit you think you are. (Of course, how you wear your hair and dress can send a conscious message: pictures of Louis XIV intentionally suggest by how he dressed that Louis believed in the divine right of kings).

Personally, I think politics is mostly about whose side you are on.

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3. How exactly do we know, from the photo, that she is on the political left rather than right?

a) not a clue
b) why should I care?
c) I see females that look like this in my very orthodox and conservative church every Sunday. Every Sunday.
d) are libertarians left or right?
e) who cares?

Libertarians can be either left or right, mostly depended on their social leanings. I called myself a Left Libertarian before I actually met several self-proclaimed libertarians. I had an urge to argue with them over the definition once, then I realized it's better to just distance myself from the term entirely.

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Women over 35 come to your very orthodox, very conservative church in t-shirts every Sunday? I don't believe that, assuming you are using conventional values for "orthodox" and "conservative." There are occasionally young women (i.e., under 30) in our very orthodox, mostly conservative church dressed casually on a Sunday, but all the women over 35 dress for church at least as nicely as they dress for work.

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We know because we aren't as far along on the autistic spectrum as you are.

And yet you made a comment like that?

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Tyler, what's the context for item 3?

Seconded. Context, please!

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He's trying to figure out how explain his girlfriend's political views to his wife, consistent with her appearance?

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I couldn't tell anything from the photo. But Tyler's phrasing of the question made me think she must be on the left.

What can you guess about this woman? https://twitter.com/#!/DrPamelaZuker/status/44565880780230656

Hot and rich?

I'll grant you hot, but she's not rich. Middle class income.

I'm guessing she's on the right or libertarian. But I read her comments about urging donations before really getting to look at her picture, so that's not really based on her looks. Not sure what I would have thought had I only seen her picture.

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You can't "know" from the photo. But you can come up with an intuitive Bayesian probability estimate.

My gut would say that she looks kind of bohemian, which means not conservative. So, probably left but maybe libertarian or something fringe-y.

Just from the picture, my guess would be:

50% left
40% centre-ish
5% libertarian
5% right

This is off the top of my head, and takes into account my gut feeling about base rates.

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People use their appearance to signal certain traits about themselves, and often from these signals we can deduce political beliefs, in part because political beliefs frequently divide according to status rivalries (and again the appearance is advertising status).

So: the woman has short hair, it's got different colors in it, and she's chosen to take her picture reclining in a yard, wearing a casual shirt. These things signal a rejection of traditional status hierarchies, which is typical among the left. It's of course not guaranteed she's liberal, but that's a good guess based on the signals.

This. Another tell-tale is minimal/tasteful make-up, rather than the clownish Tammy-Faye Baker or Michelle Bachmann style. Because Jebus loves drawn-on eyebrows.

Yeah, that's a pretty good cross sample of the Jesus-loving right.

I don't often +1, but when I do it's for insightful comments like this.

Stay thirsty my friends.

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"Yeah, that’s a pretty good cross sample of the Jesus-loving right."

+1

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agree with this, and not sure why so many are fighting the fairly obvious proposition that we use appearance to signal membership in social groups, beliefs, etc., which means people should use appearance to try to assess such things. yes, stereotyping can lead you astray, you shouldn't be surprised to be wrong, you shouldn't use this to judge people as people, etc. but you can also be led astray by being blind to signals people are deliberately putting out (not saying we can tell if this woman is, just in general, that's how many people choose their look -- based on the group to which they wish to belong, the politics they wish to support, etc. -- assessing their potential leanings based on their look is what they're looking for, not something somehow offensive).

Because noticing patterns is the most evil thing in the world: it's stereotyping!

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The different colours in the hair! That's it. Now I know why I keep pegging her as "trendy, non-conservative"

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If I were forced to guess, I'd guess left. Either
a) because she doesn't seem to place much importance on her appearance (based on her clothes, hair, makeup). I tend to associate that with the Left, possibly as a leftover from the 60s.
b) because you primed us by saying up front that she's on the Left.

However, I wouldn't be surprised to find out that guess was incorrect.

Yep, most of the stupid comments here are coming from people confusing "probably" with "is"

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Definitly seemed lefty to me. Hair cut old lady style befor old age. Says feminist . According to okcupid, liberals have harder times getting dates, too.

And maybe it's stupid, but I perceive conservatives to have "stronger" faces. A sign of testosterone?

Liberals tend to be more androgynous. Women more masculine, and men more feminine in appearance; vice versa for conservatives. Whether this is biological or cosmetic/sartorial choices is up to debate.

Are you crazy? I'm very liberal and incredible masculine. Very, very masculine -- not at all feminine, like some envious people insinuate. And I can get a date very easily. i can get a date any time I want to -- just like that. You right-wingers make me sick.

I hope this is an instance of Poe's Law.... if not, I hope that your excuse is drunkenness as opposed to stupidity.

That was clearly sarcastic. Not even close. You really need to tune up your sarcasm detector.

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3. I really miss Phrenology.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phrenology

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Spoiler alert! Living in San Francisco with her gay male BFF blogging the existential ennui of being unmarried was my tip-off.

+ many

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3. - I can't tell anything about her economic views from the pic. She could be a socialist, a neoliberal, or a libertarian.
Given how she cuts her hair, has her picture taken, and uses make-up it's pretty clear she doesn't subscribe to a value-conservative image of traditional womanhood. I have no idea what that should tell me about intuition? Telling people's value from their dress and styling is pretty easy.

As for single - I know a bunch of moms who look just like that. Go to any liberal center - Bay Area, Boulder, NYC - and a lot of middle-class women in their 40s have a similar look. Some of them married with kids, some not.

I was under the impression that there were no libertarian women.

I was also under the impression that women were more likely to be liberal and less like to be conservative relative to men, but that if you don't know the gender you should guess conservative because there are about twice as many of those as liberals.

See http://www.gallup.com/poll/120857/conservatives-single-largest-ideological-group.aspx , for example.

I've quickly looked at some ANES data and white women are still much more likely to be conservative than liberal (about the same share is liberal, some fewer are are conservative, some more are moderate (that's self identification)).

No, I think you are right. I wouldn't disagree. If all you knew was "white woman," guess conservative. If all you knew was "white man," guess conservative. "Woman" makes you less confident in your guess, but it's still the way to guess.

That said, I don't think people are too far off in interpreting her style.

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Self-identification of conservative is more common than 'liberal' by a large margin, but that doesn't actually speak to their politics. A lot of those white women don't self-identify as 'liberal', probably equating it with some kind of radicalism or activism, but would never imagine not voting Democrat and are full-steam ahead for everything the DNC wants.

What people call themselves isn't particularly relevant to what their actual political beliefs are because we don't have a common definition of what those labels actually mean.

To me, it seems that women tend to be most concerned about health care issues and entitlements. That is the core of their liberalism insofar as the liberalism of today seeks to provide such things in a universal manner. Makes sense if we hold an Evo Psych view of the sexes. Women place health and safety above other priorities.

I may be jaded on this because my mom is a pretty conservative person but would never not vote Democrat because of their supports for these types of programs. So I believe that most women hold conservative values but consider themselves liberals when it comes to these entitlements and health - which has come to include abortion rights.

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There are libertarian women, but very few in there 40s. Most are very young. Thanks RP!

My wife is a libertarian woman.

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3. Shirt, hair, face, expression. They're all sort of feminist-y in a "I'm not going to any trouble to try to impress a man" sort of way -- utilitarian shirt, very short hair, not especially pretty face and not working the makeup or looking at all flirty. Any one would correlate somewhat weakly, but all four together would give one a pretty strong likelihood of being leftist.

On the other hand it's very easy to tell apart conservative men, because they're they're the pricks who feel it's OK to judge the appearance of every woman they see. I'm sure you're a true adonis Dave.

Tyler did request it...

nope - he requested to guess her politics, not to make irrelevant and moronic remarks about whether or not she's pretty.

It's quite relevant, as a prettier woman is more likely to be conservative. This probably happens partly because the prettier a woman is, the more she benefits from a traditional male-domimated power structure in which high-status men compete for her, and partly just because women who are into the lefty feminist thing are less likely to care about being pretty. That's not to say liberal women can't be pretty or that the difference is all that big on average, but since Tyler asked for all the factors going into a snap judgement...

And for the record, I have sixpack abs and was rated a 9.9 on HotOrNot.com, so there ;) Besides, everyone knows libertarians are the best looking (ducks).

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"It’s quite relevant, as a prettier woman is more likely to be conservative."
I would like to see any evidence for that. I looked and couldn't find a single study even suggesting that. I think it's one of those silly tribal believes that Fox News and friends like to foster. It's probably true that it's more important to be attractive as a woman to make it in (US) conservative politics and punditry.
On the other hand - if you look at the list of most attractive people from People's magazine or so - what share do you think are liberal? 80%? 90%?

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"It’s quite relevant, as a prettier woman is more likely to be conservative. This probably happens partly because the prettier a woman is, the more she benefits from a traditional male-domimated power structure in which high-status men compete for her, and partly just because women who are into the lefty feminist thing are less likely to care about being pretty. That’s not to say liberal women can’t be pretty or that the difference is all that big on average, but since Tyler asked for all the factors going into a snap judgement…"

Pretty girls would still benefit from their attractiveness even in a female-dominated power structure. A "traditional" power structure is just leverage for females--you gain more from being pretty, but you "lose" more by being ugly.

And also, on "women who are into the lefty feminist thing are less likely to care about being pretty," I would say the lefty feminist types are just less likely to admit caring about being pretty, as they tend to be less pretty in the first place. It's much easier for these types to say "I don't care about being pretty, unlike those vapid conservative sluts," than to say "I'm ugly and no man wants me."

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I recall some studies from a while back, I haven't tried to find them. I think they were from dating services. Anyways I'm surprised anyone dsputes it at all, it's usually something I hear from both sides.

Miley -- pretty girls benefit much more in a traditional male-dominated society because powerful men are less likely to pursue unattractive women, whereas attractiveness is obviously a much smaller benefit between women.

I think it's really more of an intellect vs. beauty thing for lefty women -- more "I'm smarter than those stupid prom queens." The more interesting piece of this is that being conservative also benefits pretty women -- if you're attractive it's beneficial to get one of those high-status men to marry you!

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TallDave,

We are mostly in agreement here. I was clarifying and expanding upon what you said.

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You mean like the guy above discussing Michelle Bachman's appearance?

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I think you meant to post that piece of sanctimonious butt-hurtery on Jezebel.

that seems about right.

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Sebastian,

Tyler asked.

The point being that human snap judgements are very often CORRECT about complex aspects of character.

This should teach you something, but you probably find the science of human cognition to be politically threatening to many of your beliefs. If you want to become an effective analyst / commentator, you need to overcome your naturalistic errors and lack of self control.

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Conservative women wear those horrible St. John dresses. Liberals wear hippie/funky. Not sure what the point is though. Does this connect to another post somewhere?

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Edit. I mean suits.

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People dress and act the way they do, to signal their affiliations and beliefs, not the other way around, Tyler. Thus my confidence in my own political beliefs remains undiminished.

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You don't *know*. C'mon, Tyler.
As for what evidence of the photograph one could use to argue that she "must" be a liberal, I imagine you're alluding to the fact that her photo is obviously retouched/photoshopped?
Tyler, you're going to lose at least one fan if you start becoming a crank.

Who's the crank, now? Photoshop?

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We don't "know" that she's on the political left rather than the right just from her picture. That's the way to bet, because she's a woman and women are more likely to be on the political left than the political right, but, really, that's about the only clue we have.

Sorry, Thomas, we've got lots more clues than just her being a woman.

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Without question she chooses to present as mildly bohemian.

Hair Coloring: intentional unnatural streaking suggests she wishes to project artsy non-conformism
Hair length: short hair before age induced hair thinning requires it suggests she wants to project a willingness to challenge female beauty standards
Earings: wearing them at all almost certainly rules out very conservative christianity. They also present as artsy/crafty/bohemian on account of their largish size, do not attempt to appear to be made from precious metals, and are sculpted into irregular hoops.
Shirt: You don't just buy a shirt like that anywhere. That is a youthful t-shirt cut (fitted, scoop neck, capped sleeves) of the type one might buy at American Apperal, H&M, or Zara. Wearing such a shirt suggests she lives in an urban area or takes urban fashion cues. Wearing such a youthful shirt at her age projects a desire to be seen as mildly non-conformist.
Phisique: the somewhat leathery skin and thin phisique along with the rest of her ensamble makes her look like she runs marathons which also suggests a higher chance of lefty views to me.

Or:

Hair: short hair suggests the presence of young children, who leave little time for caring for hair and who make a habit of pulling it or putting things in it. The streaking is a mild rebellion against the short hair, an insistence that she really does care about beauty norms, even if she temporarily doesn't fulfill them. Earrings: Plain hoops, of the sort one can get at Macy's. Practical, inexpensive, but present, which indicate, again, that she cares about her presentation and wants to be perceived as traditionally feminine. The scoop-neck t-shirt is easy to care for, which, again, suggests the presence of children. It's a youthful cut suggesting the high-energy position she has a mother of young children, but isn't extravagant--it's the sort of product available at middle America places like Target and Land's End. Physicque are suggestive of someone with high energy levels, good genetics, or very high income. All of these sugget a higher chance of right-wing views.

"short hair suggests the presence of young children, who leave little time for caring for hair"

Nope, if she had multiple children and didn't have time to take of longer hair, she'd weigh more.

Red state superwomen, like Sandra Bullock's character in The Blind Side, who have multiple children but who also have time, energy, and money to work out to be skinny, almost always also go for a lot of hair. They usually have desirable high income husbands and want to keep them around: longish hair helps fend off the the potential trophy wives chasing their husbands.

You should meet my wife, who has 5 kids and weighs approximately nothing at all. Her hair is not this short, but was nearly that short when the kids were younger.

There's a danger in piling on the inferences, you know.

One of you managed to accurately guess. One of you either failed that or is trying to pretend he couldn't.

The first (Steve) wins.

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Thomas: B-b-but I know a genius black guy who grew up in the ghetto! The exception excepts the rule!

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@Careless, you think correctly guessing is the important part? Random guessing (at 50% no less) is an entirely valid approach in that case. As every high school STEM teacher says, showing your work is the important part.

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Daniel: I think that if we extended this game, Thomas would thoroughly embarrass himself by showing how intentionally bad he is at stereotyping.

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This reminds me of a Sherlock Holmes short story:

http://www.sherlockian.net/acd/thetrick.html

Yes, and I would have guessed that she's recently returned from Afghanistan.

(She's a soldier. Note the way she wants to pose in front her home, to which she's recently returned. She's pale, meaning she's stayed out of the sun, or has been wearing a uniform with long sleeves -- so as not to offend the locals -- and a helmet. She's happy with her lawn, because she hasn't SEEN a lawn that wasn't hardscrabble dirt and rocks for months. Her short hair is regulation length, but she has celebrated coming home by adding discreet highlights. She likes simple but well made cotton t-shirts because she's used to them.)

PS -- I know many many soccer moms in my neighbourhood. Most are 30 to 45 in age, and as slim as her. They are not wealthy but are securely middle class. They will be Conservative in the Canadian sense: fiscally conservative but fairly broadminded and hence socially centrist, or moderately liberal. Mind you, this is urban Canada we're talking about.

she wears long sleeves over her face? You can construct plausible right of center scenarios for her, everyone agrees on that. They're just not AS plausible.

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I raised this with my wife, who I thought would be in a better position to judge. She immediately said liberal. I raised a few counterexamples, which she insisted could be distinguished.

At Catholic Mass this morning in suburban Kansas, across the aisle and up two rows, a woman with a similar hair style (almost exactly the same length) and appearance, three kids in tow. (No highlights, just jet black hair, for those wondering, and I didn't see any jewelry.) My wife smiled at me, leaned over and laughed quietly and said, "obviously a liberal."

When even my wife concedes I'm right, I'm right.

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I knew instantaneously from her photo that she was a liberal. The only thing that caused me any second thoughts was the post headline that suggested it might be a trick.

She is wearing the "uniform" of a left wing, childless, godless feminist with a Masters degree in some BS liberal art. She probably does not use her college major in her current profession. She probably drives a Subaru, Volvo, or a Prius if she has a car at all. Odds are good she has a dog. Odds are better she owns and frequently rides a bicycle. Odds are best she has a foul mouth and a disdainful attitude against conservatives and religious folk. She rates her intelligence more highly than society values it.

Sure, looks can be deceiving, but if I put a gun to your head and threatened to kill you if you got her personal characteristics wrong, I'll bet all of you would get it right. Those of you who say "I don't know" are being intentionally coy to demonstrate your superior willingness not to prejudge people.

Yes, I would prejudge her, and within 5 minutes of knowing her I would have several reasons for confirming or rejecting my initial hypothesis. And just because I prejudged her politics, attitude and behavior doesn't mean I would be unfriendly to her. I have friends across the political spectrum.

"Odds are good she has a dog."

And odds are very good that if she has a dog, she expects you to humor her while she acts like it's a human being.

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Could you reprint that without the bile spilling all over my monitor?

"Bijoodle"

Fawning dog owner and a pompous snob.

I own a dog. Its breed is "dog."

If the picture and post was not contrived to be deceptive, this woman went to Ross, bought a liberal stereotype on sale, and wore it home with the price tag still on it.

I'll bet she likes Pinot Noir because a movie told her to. 100% probability she has a Macbook, an iPhone, and an iPad. She had Ethiopian or Middle Eastern food sometime in the past week. She ran in the Race for the Cure, but donated $75 to Planned Parenthood yesterday. She buys groceries at Trader Joes or Whole Foods, whichever is closer. She has at least three flavors of hummus in her refrigerator. She watches Jon Stewart.

Lived in New York, and is now in SF. A bi-coastal - imagine that.

The clothes we wear and the hair styles we choose are part of a uniform we use to communicate to the world around us. Why is this an astonishing fact?

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Ding. Best overall post in this thread.

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short hair at that age correlates very highly w/ leftist

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Over here in the UK, you would not be able to tell that from the photo. But then our politics isn't clinically insane.

I first thought left, and then thought, well, if she was British I wouldn't think that. Not sure why. Maybe there's something a little modernized-Thatchery?

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Obviously, nobody "knows," but she looks (and is) Jewish so, as Damon Runyon once suggested, that's the way to bet: left. Combine that with expensively tinted short hair and you come up with somebody sexually a bit confused -- not a butch lesbian, but probably not trying to please a straight man either by having long hair. As it turns out, she lives with a gay man named William.

Yeah, I was waiting for someone to bring up the Jewish thing.

It's pretty funny to watch Tyler's commenters tiptoe around the single most obvious clue -- if Jews overall vote, say, 75-80% Democratic, then add in being a woman, likely unmarried, sexually a little vague looking, kind of artsy looking, and the odds have to be >90% that she votes Democratic or further left.

So, are Tyler's readers too oblivious to notice the Jewish angle or too terrified to mention it?

Count one for too oblivious. I never even thought about Jewishness.

Steve,

I think the most immediate clue to her Leftism is that she's a woman rather than her being Jewish. If we're just looking at the picture, I see a woman - a single one or a lesbian - before I see a Jew. And single women voted 70% Obama in the last election. If I'm just formulating a knee-jerk probability, I see those factors doing more of the heavy lifting than the fact that she might be Jewish (yeah, she looks Jewish, but, to me, not overwhelmingly so - at least not as clearly as she looks to be a woman or single).

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Generally, with anybody who feels a strong need to comment on public affairs and has some success at doing so, the probability of being Jewish is way above random chance. For example, Jews make up about 2% of the U.S. population, but in 2009 The Atlantic Monthly picked its "Atlantic 50" of most influential pundits: half were Jewish by ethnic background. That's even higher than the Jewish Telegraph Agency's 2009 analysis showing that about 35% of the Forbes 400 were Jewish.

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I've never actually seen a Jew in person that I know of. I literally don't go through the logical prejudgment thought processes. Never have. I'm sure there is something subliminal, but it's minimal.

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Chuck Rudd says:

"If we’re just looking at the picture, I see a woman – a single one or a lesbian – before I see a Jew. And single women voted 70% Obama in the last election."

Let's look at the 2008 exit polls:

White women voted 53-46 for McCain. Clearly, she is a white woman.

White Jews voted 83-16 for Obama. It's not overwhelmingly obvious from her looks that she's Jewish, but there's definitely a good chance just judging from her looks (maybe one out three or fifty-fifty). Add in the fact that she has a media presence and a definite political tilt to her media presence and the chance of her being Jewish goes up.

Women with no children went 56-43 for Obama, but among white women with no children, I'd guess that Obama had a narrower margin.

Married women with no kids (all races) went 53-44 for McCain.

Unmarried women with no kids (all races) 69-31 for Obama. This one looks pretty likely for her -- the combination of skinniness and short hair is not common in Red States.

Gay, lesbians, and bisexuals voted for Obama 70-27. I don't pick up a heavy lesbian vibe, just a little sexual vagueness.

If you asked me which bet I'd rather take -- Jewish or lesbian -- I'd definitely pick the former. I might rather bet childless than Jewish, though.

Add them all in together: sizable chance of being Jewish, likely no children, likely from blue state metropolis, perhaps unmarried, modest chance of being a lesbian and, yeah, I'd say were up to 85% to 90% chance of voting for Obama or farther left in 2008.

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@Steve:

I think you could generalize that even more. When somebody simply has had success (anywhere) the probability of them being Jewish is high. Take music, banking, math, physics, law, medicine, journalism.

The one sector where being Jewish seems to be non-conducive to success is politics.

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You know, I've lived in moderately to heavily Jewish areas my entire life (current hometown 45% Jewish) and I still am no good at telling by looks if a woman is Jewish (unless it's really obvious).

Rahul, a lot more than 2-3% of Congress is Jewish.

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Jews are over-represented in politics as well; at least in the US, just not at the highest executive levels. As far as executive staff goes though, it's disproportionately Jewish.

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@Rahul

Or sports.

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Oh Rahul!

Two percent of the population is Jewish, but 11 senators and 27 members of the House is Jewish. The 111th Congress had a record high 45 Jews. Of nine Supreme Court justices, three are Jewish.

They do quite well politically. As for pro sports, Wiki Jews in Sports: there are more than you think. Since blacks and Hispanics dominate sports and few of them are Jewish, that might be a factor.

Jon Stewart played soccer at William and Mary.

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I don't see much PC blindness around here.

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It didn't occur to me whether she was Jewish or not until just now.

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Re: "So, are Tyler’s readers too oblivious to notice the Jewish angle or too terrified to mention it?"

Steve, Steve. Do you really expect that, given a group of mostly men, shown a picture of an unknown woman, "looks Jewish" is going to jump out more readily than things like "in her 40s," "still has a nice figure," "likely to be unmarried and childless," "isn't dressing to please men," or "might be lesbian"?

You seem to be seeing political correctness where I see ordinary heterosexuality :-).

"Steve, Steve. Do you really expect that, given a group of mostly men, shown a picture of an unknown woman, “looks Jewish” is going to jump out"

Tyler's specific question is about her politics. Judging from the 2008 exit polling data I posted above, being Jewish moves the needle on voting more than anything else that could be guessed at from this picture, even homosexuality.

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It's true that Tyler's specific question concerned the woman's political affiliation. But, in parsing why one might guess a photo to be of a left leaning woman, one works with whatever intuitions one has had most occasion to develop. And, since most men spend far more time attempting to develop the ability to guess at a woman's sexual availability than attempting to develop the ability to guess at a woman's ethnicity, intuitions that relate to her sexual availability will dominate intuitions that relate to the more subtle ethnic distinctions, such as that between someone who looks Jewish and someone who looks Gentile.

If Jewish women were way more or way less easy to get into bed than other women, *then* more men would pay attention to "looks Jewish" cues in women. As it stands, I think there are a lot of people to whom "looks Jewish" is indistinguishable from "any old white person," and a lot of other people for whom "looks Jewish" is indistinguishable from "looks like one of those sorts of white people who aren't quite WASP."

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If Jews tend to notice who is Jewish and who is not; and if Jews make up about 35% of the Forbes 400, 35% of the Nobel Laureates in Economic Sciences, and 50% of top pundits; then that suggests that Jews are doing something (or several things) right. Perhaps tending to notice who is Jewish and who isn't is one of those useful things that Jews do more of than gentiles?

Okay, seriously, I'm just kidding. We all know that ignorance and obliviousness are better for you than knowledge and awareness.

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Pretty much the only people who correctly identify the ethnicity of my last name are people of my ethnicity. And you probably can't tell my ethnicity from that fact :-).

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FWIW, I actually do think that she looks Jewish. I just don't think that fact is something most people would have to work at all hard to miss.

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Jewishness escaped me. But I live in a country where Jews are not that common.

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Straight man are only pleased by low hair? Hmm... maybe I'm gay??

Hair is a quick way to judge health and age. It's not so much that you're pleased by long hair, it's that long hair gives you a chance to judge health and age whereas short hair does not.

Hence older women may cut their hair short so that people may not so easily infer their health and age. Short hair then becomes an indirect indicator of poor health and old age.

One study found that uncut hair grows to about a foot longer on white women than on white men, suggesting that long hair is a biological as well as cultural secondary sexual characteristic, but I've never seen that result replicated.

That's interesting. Though I wonder what would cause it to stop? How does the follicle know how long the hair is?

I find it odd that people seem to question short hair in a women of her apparent age, as if that's early to start hiding your hair... Female hair noticeably ages much earlier than 40. The difference between 20 year-old hair and 30-year old hair is usually obvious.

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"How does the follicle know how long the hair is?"

Obviously, different people's follicles produce hair of different lengths. I once noticed two 30-something black women walk past an East Asian man about 50 who had waist-length hair. As soon as they got by him, they started talking about how cruel God was to give them short hair and him long hair.

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Hair has a lifespan and a growth rate. Your hair isn't going to get longer than the average of inches per week times week alive.

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> Obviously, different people’s follicles produce hair of different lengths.

Sorry, I'm not playing dumb. I really didn't know that. I just supposed it continued to expel hair at some rate and that the length was determined either by cutting, abrading, or being pulled out.

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Finch:

You should watch Chris Rock's documentary "Good Hair." The best part is when Rock goes to India to find out where most of the hair that African-American women buy in vast quantities is harvested. Left uncut, the average maximum length of hair of women in India is several times greater than the maximum potential average hair length of African American women. (Oddly enough, American Indians also tend to be able to grow their hair very long.)

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Thank you Steve.

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Might it be more likely that men's hair breaks before it reaches those lengths as men tend not to spend as much effort in caring for their hair?

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Hair follicles grow hair, and sometimes stop. When they stop, the hair falls out. The more stress your body is under (both general health and psychological stress), the more often the follicles stop. Each follicle is on a random schedule relative to the others, thus all your hair doesn't fall out all at once. The length of the growing cycle is proportional to the length of the hair, unless the hair is cut. Some people's follicles never turn off, and their hair will just keep growing.

Thanks.

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Older women may also cut their hair short because their current job and family responsibilities leave them less time for combing and brushing hair than they had when they were younger. Or because, already being married, they now have the luxury of valuing staying cool in the summer heat over attracting a new man.

Most women in the circles I move in start to cut their hair short well before they reach the age where their hair itself is actually showing much sign of age (beyond, perhaps, a few gray streaks that can easily be dyed away).

agreed that many women get the mom cut before biology is necessarily messing with their hair, but the cut in the picture is not the stock mom cut i've seen (which is a bit longer, as though long hair cut in half). that of course doesn't establish anything with any certainty, i'm not insinuating anything about her sexuality, etc. (my mom had that same cut forever because she couldn't be bothered with hair).

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My guess is that Ms. Baitman spends a lot of resources on getting her hair to look like oh-she-can't-be-bothered.

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Not *only* -- eg evening dress often means the hair is up, exposing the neck. But if you absolutely had to guess...yeah. Waist length = single, mid back = married, shoulder length = kids.

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Can't speak for all straight men, but in my eyes, cutting hair short knocks off 2-3 points on a ten-point scale. I can't recall that I've ever seen a woman with hair that short and thought her pretty.

Reverse for me. I think the logic chain is short hair->less conventional->more likely to do something a normal woman would not do->such as go out with me.

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how did i know *she* was a lefty?

yeah, the "she" part nudged me in that direction. then the short hair, the hippie look. she looks like she eats a lot of granola. for a moment i wondered if it wasn't a setup and she was actually a right-winger who'd co-opted the lefty look - kind of like an s.e. cupp type (with the hipster glasses thing going on).

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Lots of other clues: for example, she's very skinny for her age, so that suggests she has had no more than one child and probably none, which in white women, especially in Jewish white women who very seldom have illegitimate children, correlates with never marrying. And single women vote dramatically more for Democrats than do married white women. The conventional wisdom goes on and on about the Gender Gap, but the Marriage Gap is usually significantly stronger.

Also, her skinniness suggests she probably lives in a blue state metropolis where the norm for whites is skinnier than in most red states.

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My guess is that we each make a subconscious decision about whether we approve of the way she looks. If we approve, we project our own views onto her and if we disapprove we assume she disagrees with us.

I think she looks quite nice for her age. But, I would never mention any of my political views to her in person because she'd probably have an aneurysm.

More generally, I'm fascinated by how many Tyler commentators are proudly proclaiming their cluelessness in these comments. Why? Is that some kind of Aspergerian cognitive deficit? Or are many of you just so thoroughly indoctrinated in the contemporary demand to be Oblivious to the Obvious that you have intentionally made yourself less bright than you ought to be?

Aspies may not be as good at facial recognition tasks, but that's not really what's required here (aside from the fact, again, that I can't tell Jewish women apart)

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Other than the Jewish thing, which, honestly I don't see, most of these people are over-reading the clues. Including you. If I came across this woman at my wife's bunko game (red state Catholics), I wouldn't be shocked. Some of us have a broader set of experience.

You "wouldn't be shocked." Which also means you don't exactly expect a woman like her to show up.

C'mon Thomas. Just because your wife had short hair for a while doesn't mean you should do mental backflips to deny that this woman looks like a single coastal urbanite. The unisex t-shirt, the unorthodox earrings, the haircut that obviously requires some forethought and maintenance and yet doesn't conform with traditional gender expectations...

DPG, maybe I should have been more clear: I see women like this all the time, in my social circles, in Kansas. And I know that, with some of them, their politics aren't anything at all like this woman's.

Maybe we all look like single coastal urbanites. That wouldn't shock me. It was just a few years ago that we all became hipsters.

BTW, that's not a unisex t-shirt (you must be a man--scoop neck and cap sleeves, and definitely not square), and the earrings are not unorthodox. Why does someone who insists he's attentive demonstrate that he's not?

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OTOH these skills must get honed with practice; so the more you use them the better you get.

Which begs the question, in what modern profession is "identifying a Jew by his face" an asset and would a particularly talented individual at this art be sending out any useful signal?

"Which begs [raises] the question, in what modern profession is “identifying a Jew by his face” an asset"

Rabbi? AIPAC fundraiser? Former employee of Madoff and Sons? Mossad sleeper cell recruiter?

I'm always struck by how many commenters feel the urge to point out that they, personally, are obtuse.

Correct me if I am mistaken, but aren't you Jewish? Might that not be why you look at her and immediately think that she is Jewish, but all of the gentiles don't really, because they didn't grow up in a community where it was important to be able to identify Jews? I mean, my impression from interacting with Jewish people in prep school was that Jewish people care a lot about Jewish people and Jewishness. My impression from attending a Catholic school is that, outside of neo-nazis, non-Jewish people are completely apathetic in regards to their concern for Jewishness.

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+1 to Paul. I didn't grow up around a lot of Jews, but I've met and worked with plenty of them since going off to college. Nonetheless I never notice it about someone unless they do something overt like wear a Yamaka. It just doesn't occur to me. Why is that so hard to accept?

I've even dated Jewish girls but never known they were Jewish until after we'd slept together. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

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@Paul @Original D

Exactly right. The part of the brain that deals with such pattern recognition seems awfully well developed in some guys like Steve Sailer. Whether out of nature or nurture I don't know. But these talents certainly are't ubiquitous; perhaps because most of us have no aspirations to be neo-Nazis nor AIPAC-fundraisers.

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At a wild guess:
1. Some feel that judging people by their appearance is morally wrong.
2. Some feel that knowing much about women's clothing/hair/makeup/earings is less masculine.
3. Some are pleased to have a forum in which their cluelessness about appearance is the norm.

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Nothing told me she was a lefty other than Tyler's blurb, at which point confirmation bias made me believe it was all the things people mentioned above. If Tyler had asked "How do we know she is on the right, rather than the left," people would have been just as confident in the other direction.

I agree. Once you process the question, the inference that she's on the left makes itself.

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My first thought whenever Tyler writes something like that is that it's a trick. Remember, Tyler does troll his readers.

And indeed, the way he asked the question itself is an example of him trolling his readers.

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Relevant to link 3: http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lx3cbrJ2p71qdw706o1_500.jpg

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whatever strained point TCCC is getting at with #3, it's becoming a scientifically established fact that yes, indeed, many personal characteristics can be gleaned from physical appearance. criminality, for instance. trustworthiness. and dominance.

what about political ideology? i don't know of studies looking into the relationship between facial features and politics, but i can draw upon personal experience and the collected wisdom of general public perception. leftie women tend to look more masculine: thinner lips, smaller boobs, manlier jawlines, and that intense gaze of the eye that hints at a storehouse of resentments bubbling underneath. leftie men tend to look more feminine, and empathetic. big, watery eyes, doughy faces, receding chins and the scrunched posture of a man who knows he won't ever win a street fight.

these are averages and loose correlations, and plenty of exceptions exist. i've dated some very feminine girls with full lips and curvy hips who were raging leftists. being unmarried is probably a better indicator of a woman's leftie politics than her looks. however, a good rule of thumb: conservative men and women tend toward the ideal of their sex's physical dimorphism. liberal men and women tend toward androgyny. that old adage that you can't judge a book by its cover may very well be wrong.

but we don't just have the face or the facial structure. we have the hair which is the biggest indicator. hair is styled - as in, it is an external manifestation of something internal. styles are very important. just like a kid with a mohawk is probably countercultural, antiestablishment, or an anarchist, a woman with short hair and a really slender body is probably in favor of Big Government redistribution and 'social justice'.

Right. Hair is a huge sign of affiliation. Think of "suburban Dallas businessmen's wives" and what kind of hair do you see?

But if you were to see big hair and, without more, think, she must be the wife of a suburban Dallas businessman, you'd be doing pretty poorly in your thinking, and you'd likely be wrong.

Duh.

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Which is pretty much what it takes to conclude that this woman, based solely on the picture, is a liberal.

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Thomas, I don't think that's right. It's much harder to predict what someone's occupation or other specifics would be than it is to predict a binary left-right ideology. There are just too many possibilities for that to be feasible.

But guessing at the woman's general worldview isn't really quite as hard as there are really only two big ones.

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Thomas, "conclude" implies a final decision being made. People here were just guessing based on what they saw. I don't think anyone here would have gone into denial if they learned she's a die-hard conservative Republican. There'd just be some mild surprise.

But it turns out people were generally correct

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If they'd have been only mildly surprised to be wrong in their guess, they didn't "know" in any relevant sense. Guessing and being right is not knowing.

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We don't know from the photo. We know because you said "she is on the political left". Once we know that, we could be shown an anonymized picture of Margaret Thatcher and come up with some explanation that makes sense to us.

Nah, some of us are pretty good Bayesians about our fellow human beings.

It's funny how the dominant orthodoxy of today demands that we all be as obtuse as possible and not notice patterns in humanity. A lot of people think that claiming to be ignorant shows how smart they are.

it's a funny discussion, because the question isn't what you can know, but which way you'd bet. i'm pretty sure folk wouldn't be particularly offended if it was a somewhat jowly white guy with combed back hair, some preppy clothes, and people were guessing republican country club, even if he also might be an urban dandy. if people are saying they couldn't even begin to guess, that's just silly. if people are saying we can't know from the picture alone, that's just obvious.

"somewhat jowly white guy with combed back hair, some preppy clothes, and people were guessing republican country club"

Lemme guess - David Frum?

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Re: #3, I'd guess "no kids", which increases the likelihood of "unmarried". The hair's a little edgy, which indicates a less conservative and more urban crowd. None of those are conclusive, by any means, but they point in the direction of a lefty outlook.

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#3 - I don't' understand this at all. Who is she? Why is this person of interest?

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What's more amazing to me is how I can always identify Europeans in the U.S. without hearing them say a word.

That's harder than it used to be. Their clothes used to mark them, and that's changed somewhat. Their shoes were a big marker, but much less so. (Take that Steve. I'm not obtuse.)

Facial expressions tend to vary from country to country in subtle ways that are hard to put into words but are somewhat recognizable.

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i'll go out on a limb here and say that european men, at least, look more, for lack of a better descriptor, "old world" than american men. chalk it up to a lack of hybridization.

Along those lines, I'd say that Margaret Thatcher looks more English than almost anybody in America.

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if by old world you mean effete, i'd agree (you could also say classier, if that seems less offensive, though i don't mean offense).

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#1- Am I the only one who read the description and anticipated something about rotting goats?

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What brought on the link to the picture? Did Tyler just decide to do a picture test with her? I guess we'll never know, as we'll be moving on to the next cryptic post.

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because she is ugly. right wingers are hot

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I was hoping for more discussion on bitcoins.

This is a discussion on bitcoins.

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I tend to think that conservative women are a little less aggressive about their conservatism than are men, and a little less aggressive our outward about their conservatism than liberal women are about their liberalism. If a woman is leaning towards one side enough to identify with an ideology, I'd say that she'd be of the Left.

If Tyler weren't trying to play a jedi mind trick on us he'd have asked which ideology we believe she adheres to.

Maybe being conservative axiomatically requires women to be non-aggressive?

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Obviously Left, I thought it was a trick question.

Short hair in a 40-something woman is a very strong indicator. Plus, doesn't look like she has kids - another indicator. Finally, and I'm reaching a bit here - the face is notably masculine in jawline and ovoid. I feel there's a correlation between women with masculine facial appearance and both lesnbianism/bisexuality and/or left wing beliefs.

That was my wife's reaction -- she has a bit of a horseface, which correlates with being less feminine, which correlates with being more feminist, which correlates with being more leftist.

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No wonder politicians in the US like to pick a mythical supporter...like a soccer mom, Joe the Plumber, etc. You all were such eager students. Answer the question, provide your reason in detail. Then (and here's the political part) you started forecasting all this other stuff about her...car, dog, etc. you painted a rich profile with little info...mainly drawing on your experiences. What struck me was the range of positive to negative words attached to the descriptions. I bet I could rank order many of you on the political spectrum just from these comments...even those wily libertarians.

Many of you neglected the second question about Hanson. He would argue for signaling. I am not sure about the relative weights but I think emulating her peers and the people she respects could be playing a big role too. To me a signal is a form of communication with others. Not sure an act of self definition is a signal.

A funny sketch on politics and the federal deficit from economist Yoram Bauman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cW9dxFrAk-I
His description of the political spectrum even covers libertarians.

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Did you spend as much time on her blog seeing who was correct in their beliefs as you did spewing your righteous indignation? I'm quite sure you can guess our political affiliations from our writing, just like we can guess hers from her photo. A picture speaks a thousand words.

I spent an hour on her blog (after my initial post) and it pretty much confirmed my priors. There was nothing refuting them. She has been deliberately apolitical on her blog and even says that was her goal, but she lets her political preferences leak out here and there.

She is a person whose company I would probably enjoy. She looks OK for her age - that's not her problem. She seems nice, but if I were single I'd probably not have a lot of interest. I've dated women far more liberal than her who were less insipid.

Her tastes are eccentric and bourgeois, and she seems to love everything with two X chromosomes. The most obvious reason she is single is that she doesn't understand men in the slightest. There is something inherently selfish or self serving about all her posts; she offers NOTHING to men except her body. If she's not a lesbian, she should be. Her behavior and attitude, as far as I can tell from her writing, are repellant to any man worth having. She hasn't failed to find a man; she's driven them all away. And that's too bad because she probably has the capacity to make a man happy and herself in the bargain. She desires love and passion, but she's self-defeating toward that end. She has good qualities and potential, but somewhere along the line she either never learned or rejected what she needed to do to get and keep a man. A few posts ago I derided "life coaches," but she needs one badly.

She's a foodie, which probably explains how Tyler knows her. She doesn't know sexy shoes when she sees them.

It took me a while to pin down that she was Jewish, but my immediate reaction from her photo was that she reminded me of Gaby Giffords.

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So by your metrics Gaby Giffords can't get or keep a man worth having?

Non sequitur.

This woman's blog posts led me to believe she doesn't do what it takes to earn a man worth having, NOT her photo. They provide context for the observation that she does not have a man worth having. I already stated that Wendy looks pretty good, and that's not her problem.

My comment about Gaby Giffords was merely a first impression based on some inexplicable similarity of facial characteristics. It is interesting to me that they are both Jewish. A similarity of appearances doesn't imply a similarity in ability to attract a mate.

I'm well aware that Gaby Giffords is worthy of a man worth having because she has one. If I didn't know she was married to an astronaut, and if I had an hour to peruse Giffords' personal thoughts on relationships, I think I could figure out whether or not she was in a relationship, whether she was worthy of it, and whether he was a man worth having.

The raison d'etre of Wendy's blog is the inability to find a compatible mate, and her coming to terms with it. Her posts either represent a repudiation of her prior goal or an open window to understand why her continuing goal has been thwarted. I merely stated I understand why she has failed. If a law school graduate failed the bar exam, and I had the benefit of knowing his study habits, lifestyle, background, and other personal habits and traits, I'd probably know why he failed.

The "First Person, Singular" pronouns are I, me, my, mine and myself. I said she seemed selfish, and that is probably why she is still single. She doesn't understand he, him, his, or himself. She only understands us, we, and our with women, gay men, and dogs. Her blog demonstrates her problem and her situation, and she either consciously or subconsciously knew that when she started it.

Yes, feminism and some other left of center ideologies / fashions have stranded a lot of women in spinsterhood. They don't give women the conceptual tools to understand men, and, worse, they tell women that shouldn't have to try to understand men.

An article written about her says she has had romantic relationships with plenty of men. So she either sells herself too cheaply or they unanimously found her unworthy of a commited relationship.

"I wonder why that is?" he said rhetorically.

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For me, it was a few things. The hair didn't look rigid. The smile looked more natural. The pose was relaxed. The neckline and the sleeve length both showed a bit of skin. Foundation didn't seem to be pancaked on.

A hairstyle that looks like not even a hurricane could budge it, clothes with high necklines and long sleeves, very upright pose, a smile where the face muscles look locked in place...those are the things that scream "right-leaning" to me. Oh, and pearls. Pearl earrings and pearl necklaces strikes me as more conservative.

eg:

http://media.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/congress/members/photos/228/B001256.jpg

http://news.msu.edu/media/photo/2009/10/1414b65b-11dd-4a91-b1f4-95510ddb7128.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/18/Nancy_Reagan.jpg/200px-Nancy_Reagan.jpg

People who, if I didn't know them, I'd likely guess wrong, proving my rules kind of suck: Hilary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Christine O'Donnell, Ann Coulter.

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Favorite comment thread of the year to date. If I could +1 this thread and slave it to the Debt Clock I would.+

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"Oh, and pearls... pearl necklaces strikes me as more conservative."

Trust me when I say that organic, local, and sustainable pearl necklaces are the province and the pleasure of the left.

Lisa Simpson. World famous lefty who wears pearls. At the age of eight too.

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As for the second question: "And that we know — should it make you less confident in your own political beliefs?" Is this a way of getting at the fact that political beliefs are tribal? Sure, they're tribal, and people advertise their tribe in various ways, including but not limited to their political positions. But we already knew that, right?

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Not exactly. A few tribes like to pretend they're the only ones here.

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Her smile seems smug rather than contented ergo she is a leftist ..

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I guessed Jewish liberal just from the picture, and after reading her blog, that appears to be right.

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I'm 40, childless, well-proportioned though not skinny, and wear short hair and no makeup. I often wear a T-shirt like that, but not in the same way as that. None of the similar components are done the same way. If I ever came out of the beauty shop with hair like that, I would hate it intensely and change it immediately. I'm pretty sure she'd feel the same way about being given my current short hairstyle. (Which is very cute, btw.) I think most women on the right would at least wear an everyday necklace with that outfit, unless it was right after exercise or something.

I notice that those stupid sleeves don't fit her right, either. Is there anyone who actually likes that cut of sleeves?

And I would sure as heck never have a large picture of myself as the centerpiece of a post, unless perhaps I were receiving an award or Looking Really Fine in formal or evening clothes. It's a strange choice.

(Almost as strange as declaring oneself bonded forever to a gay man instead of just saying he's her best friend or like a brother to her. It sounds like she's forcing romantic intensity onto a relationship, or the intensity exists and they're in deep denial of its nature.)

My point is that people like to look like the people they admire or identify with. They don't want to look like people they don't like. So divergent fashion trends often tend to emerge. This even applies to things like costumes at Halloween or for costume parties. I look like a woman of the right who is living her life; she looks like a woman of the left doing the same.

You don't know the half of it. In a post she wrote in 2009 she said, "I am madly in love with my dog, Rose, a bijoodle (part bijon, part poodle)"

I understand people having a deep connection to their pets, but saying you are "madly in love" with an animal is sick. It explains her inability to connect with men. In one post, she recommends a book by a Jewish authoress who wrote about single dog owning women. The book talked about "bedroom etiquette" with the dog and what to do if your boyfriend doesn't like the dog. The comments suggested she dump the boyfriend.

I've already commented that I think she's a pompous snob for being so proud of her eponymous "bijoodle." Designer dogs have replaced purebreds as the new big thing for Pinot sipping BoBos. And a lap dog of all things.

Liberals already share a profound hatred of self and humanity. The adulation and personification of animals is another symptom of misanthropy.

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I'll bite: What other way is there to wear a t-shirt? As a headscarf? Wrapped around a knee?

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I figured she was left leaning based on the phrasing of the question. Her Twitter feed confirmed that. (I think anyone who Tweets as frequently as she does is narcissistic, whether left or right leaning.)

What is WWRHS? Would that be the Will W. Rogers High School?

Frankly, I don't understand how any of this would make me less confident in my own political leaning.

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A little searching shows that she's 58, which is certainly older than I would have guessed from her picture. Why bother worrying about whether you are married or not at that age? I had four great aunts who never married, and worked as teachers or nurses. I don't know if they regretted how their lives turned out or not.

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Gosh, it looks like multinationals are gaming the H1visa system to deliberately underpay US employees. Hoocoodanode?

http://blog.buzzflash.com/node/13305

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What exactly did this woman do to invite this kind of scrutiny?

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Not one of you have questioned why in the hell Tyler Cowen has picked out one woman and chosen to show her off to the world and ask a bunch of men (are there any women on this thread? Three, in 216 comments. At least McMegan reads Marginal Revolution?) about her political leanings.

Why? Is this appropriate? How has this woman asked to have her image, life and writing examined by this crew of educated males of limited life experience?

Tyler owes us (and her) an explanation.

Many people asked why Tyler presented this woman. You just weren't paying attention. They wondered if it was some kind of trick or social experiment. People have been commenting on biases and logical fallacies.

I believe she chose to show herself off to the world. She invited friends, enemies, and gawkers to her door. Tyler owes her nothing, and neither do we.

As for how Tyler found her, I suspect it's because she is a fellow foodie. In any case, he asks an interesting question: can we tell a person's political beliefs from a photo. The question within the question is how sure we can be of our prediction. The question within that is how sure we can be of ourselves.

Limited experiences? Speak for yourself.

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Interesting, how much a culture differs in Europe and in the USA.

I am a long-haired guy, which would probably automatically give me a "lefty hippie" label in the USA.

On the other hand, in the formerly Communist country where I grew up, long hair on boys was precisely the way to induce a seething, spitting rage of the Reds. You just weren't the model happy young citizen, and you were also suspected of listening to some banned music (like heavy metal). There was a time when the Bolshevik police actually carried scissors to cut the unruly hair of the "dirty hooligans" on the spot.

So, a 5-hour flight, and the meaning of your bodily attributes changes completely.

No, long hair for men seems to be part of rebellious counterculture to conservative orthodoxy in several places, with "conservative" meaning the status quo of the power structure. Your mistake is not recognizing the differences in the cultures, and hence you misconstrue the significance of the rebellion. The meaning of the bodily attributes are identical.

When I had long hair, I was into Heavy Metal and was a hooligan although I wasn't dirty.

Some people get tattoos to express rebellion. Others get tattoos to support the establishment. The tattoos are similar in that they represent a more or less permanent commitment to a cause. The TYPE of tattoo defines the cause.

The point of the whole post is that physical attributes convey information. Occasionally the interpretation of the signals is wrong, but often it is right. I described her appearance as a "uniform."

In a psychology class, we were shown various photos of people and were asked to describe them. It turns out that many of the photos were the same people dressed in different ways. The intended lesson was not to prejudge people. The real lesson is that the exercise was contrived to raise doubts about our ability to read information - a skill we are quite good at in regular practice. When we are wrong, the question is how we determine we are wrong, how long it takes, and how readily we incorporate new information to adjust from our priors.

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