Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Voting 2008 - Are you making your decision based on looks?

We are drawn to good looking people, which is sort of common sense, right? A 2007 study by Florida State University showed that good-looking people capture our attention nearly instantaneously and render us temporarily helpless to turn our eyes away from them.

Interestingly: “If we’re interested in finding a mate, our attention gets quickly and automatically stuck on attractive members of the opposite sex,” said Jon Maner, an assistant professor of psychology at FSU, “If we’re jealous and worried about our partner cheating on us, attention gets quickly and automatically stuck on attractive people of our own sex because they are our competitors.”

So what does that mean for the presidential election?

Well, for the first time in a long time, we've had people of both genders seriously vying for the top (or 2nd to top) positions. Some of us are staring at the candidates because we're jealous, others of us are staring because we're attracted, but we're all staring because these candidates are under a microscope right now.

There has been a lot of attention paid to the candidates' looks, especially the female contenders, Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. I swear, if I hear one more thing about Mrs. Clinton's pant suits and "cankles," I'll scream.

Interestingly, however, it has recently come to light that the Republican National Committee spent about $150,000 on clothing, hair styling, makeup and other "campaign accessories" in September for the McCain campaign after Palin joined the ticket. They are planning on donating all clothing after the campaign is over, but does that make it ok in the eyes of the law?

Perhaps the RNC was trying to capitalize on Palin's famous good looks (named America's Hottest Governor by Alaska Magazine) - afterall, if we're drawn to [at least look at] attractive people, it couldn't hurt, right?

What are your thoughts? Should candidates spend $400 on haircuts? Is it (or should it be) legal for campaign committees to spend funds on their candidates' clothing?



17 comments:

jackie said...

With close to a trillion dollars being spent on this election, seems pretty trivial to discuss $150k.

jackie said...

*billion*

Casey said...

Whether it's $1 million spent incorrectly or $1, it's important. There are some pundits raising questions about the legitimacy of the identity of the multitude of donors Barack Obama's campaign who are donating very small amounts of money (relatively speaking). Because it's smaller dollar amounts, is it less wrong if true?

Anonymous said...

I think it's irrelevant. If you wan to strengthen your point, then you'd have to compare it to how much they spend on male candidates, in both parties. Then of course you deal with the obvious - women require more to "pretty" themselves, so it would be expected that it would be more than a male candidate. But I'm guessing all that data isn't there.

I don't think it really matters though.

jackie said...

It's all a waste in my humble opinion... how can decorative columns or confetti be considered necessary campaign expenditures and clothes questionable?!?!? It seems to be the most rational and necessary use of funds that I have heard in a while... especially in this 'shirts required' society that we live in!!!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of 'shirts required'...

http://jimtreacher.com/archives/001780.html

Anonymous said...

The world would be a better place is we all were not required to wear shirts - and it would make for a much more interesting election

Casey said...

Hmmm good point Jackie. Women are expected to look good (and young). I suppose because it's on her person (versus confetti which is not) and considered personal property, that is where the issue is.

Not wearing shirts would just be a distraction. No one wants to look at McCain's or Biden's scary wrinkles!

Casey said...

The issue is who paid for the clothes, not how much was spent.

Anonymous said...

As long as she doesn't keep them, no rules were broken. Why is this an issue?

a lawyer said...

"The issue is who paid for the clothes, not how much was spent."

The RNC paid for the clothes so all the people who donated $ to the MaCain Palin ticket paid for the dresses.

No different from the Dems who paid for Kerry's $400 haircuts...

When you donate $ to campaigns it goes to all sorts of things that make the campaign run

Casey said...

Then why is there some sort of legal issue at stake then? Or isn't there?

Anonymous said...

The only legal issue at stake is what happens to the clothes after the campaign. If she keeps them, she's broken the rules, if they give them to charity (like they are going to) all is ok.

I think what you're running into here is a case of the media making a bit deal out of nothing because, well, it's Palin, and the media hates her. And you bought into it.

Krystle said...

My question is why are they spending so much money on clothes/ hair cuts to appear to be the "working class" americans they proudly say at each campaign stop?

To me that doesn't say "Average American".

Anonymous said...

If the "average American" had the money to spend on nice clothes, would they?

Do you expect her to stump in jeans and a t-shirt?

Are you suggesting that because BO dresses nicely, he's speaking only to the elite rich, and doesn't care about the "average American"?

I guess I'm not really sure what is expected of a political candidate in your mind.

Krystle said...

Dam straight I would love more money to spend on clothes! :)

I understand you need to look presentable, but what kind of message are we sending if we can only look presentable if we wear clothes from expesive designers?

Isn't it possible to achieve this look at lesser expensive stores, such as JC Penny? Target? TJ Maxx?

Anonymous said...

In browsing the entry it seems that at the bottom you identified the picture posted as Sarah Palin when it is Tina Fey - who is arguably more attractive, but who played Palin on SNL...

Although after the fact, it seems like identifying the person correctly is a little important...