Here’s an article summarizing the study below regarding femininity and the Republican Party. It’s a fascinating read, and one that is difficult to adequately explain — so I’ll let the researchers who conducted the study do that.
The research is part of a burgeoning new field in the social sciences called “social vision,” which is dedicated to understanding how others are perceived based on subtle visual cues. The field has implications for prejudice-formation and understanding stereotyping, as well as for generally understanding human experience.
Johnson’s past research has looked at subtle cues in body type and motion that serve as cues to sexual orientation. The researchers next plan to look at how the gendered nature of a politician’s appearance may relate to the judgments of political competence and to real-world political success once elected to office.
“With the increasing emphasis on television and Internet video as a source of political news, a candidate’s physical appearance is an important part of politics, especially political campaigns,” Johnson said. “A considerable portion of the electorate may not be well-informed, and they may be making decisions based on subtle cues that need to be revealed and understood.”