Last month, President Barack Obama was reelected to a second term in the White House. Why? Because more women vote than men, and a majority of women voted for Obama. Why did women lean Democratic in this past election? I don’t have all of those answers, as each vote is an individual act of preference, but in general, the Republican party this past election cycle has portrayed itself as particularly antagonistic toward women. However, according to some evolutionary psychology nonsense, Mitt Romney should have won the women’s vote.
In a Yahoo! News article from Election Day, Liz Goodwin identifies three myths about women voters. The third myth, “women vote like they date,” references the idea that women are going to vote for a president that would make a more attractive mate, thus Romney should be the logical choice. He is the epitome of the white male provider, with five sons and wealth and a beautiful wife. He has privilege, he has power, and he comes from the dominant racial group. Women should be attracted to Romney and his image, therefore they should vote for him.
In light of my previous post about The Beauty Myth, this attitude shows the impact of Beauty Myth culture on men in the United States. The myth goes that women vote like they date, and they date based on image. The image that Romney presented — successful both financially and reproductively — should have been enough to sway women voters away from Obama.
Of course, women don’t actually vote based on how they would date, and how they would date doesn’t necessarily infer that they would choose Mitt Romney. The women’s vote went to Obama. But could image still be at play in this vote? Here’s a photo of both of them:
Is one man more attractive than the other? Can we make such a judgment? Barack Obama is taller than Mitt Romney, but conversely, Mitt Romney has more hair. Did Barack Obama’s image as a father of daughters supercede that of Romney as a father of sons? Either way, I think this is open to interpretation. Did Mitt Romney lose the 2012 election because of his image? Did Barack Obama win because of his? Are their images more appealing to one sex than to another? These questions always makes me think about Fahrenheit 451, in which the characters discuss the candidates entirely based on their looks and appearance. That book ends in war.
So what do you think about the images presented by these two men and the election?