Appearance discrimination in politics

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Southern New Hampshire University
The purpose of the research paper is to inform the reader of the impact a political candidate’s appearance has on his or her electoral success. The author cites sources that confirm role-independent traits (appearance, personality, other non-political traits) play a more crucial role in people’s voting decisions compared to the role-relevant traits (experience, political record, proposed plans) of politicians. The research paper cites evidence that proves role-independent traits are more important to voters by referencing research that explains how quickly individuals subconsciously identify the winner of an election after watching 10-second silent clips by observing candidate body language. The race and gender of politicians also influences the perceptions of voters, as voters have been proven to identify and relate different characteristics to different races and genders while other factors are held constant. Research also proves that certain appearance features like babyface and posture can either benefit or harm certain candidates depending on the circumstances. Finally, various media outlets like Facebook and YouTube influence people’s perceptions about political candidates in different ways. In conclusion, appearance discrimination in politics is a very complex topic, and it takes place in several different ways. Not much research has been done on why this takes place, but there is enough evidence in previous research that allows the author of this paper to conclude that people do vote for political candidates based their respective appearances. (Author abstract)