Importance of appearance in western society/cultural differences
It is a well-established fact that physical appearance is of great relevance in our modern society. We consider attractiveness to be either almost as important, equally important or even more importance than other qualities, such as intelligence or charisma. Thus, attractiveness must also have some significance in politics.
Increased mediatisation of politics
With all of the recent advances in technology, politics has been increasingly present visually. This means that the first impression people may get of politicians is usually on a visual basis, as they are instantly presented with the image of a politician instead of his or her ideology or projects. The media and political parties often exploit this fact. For instance, during the 2008 American presidential campaign, it came out that the Republican Party had spent over $150,000 on expensive, designer outfits for Sarah Palin to wear to public events, interviews, etc (Nytimes, 2008).
Voter ignorance/lack of knowledge about politics
Increasing voter apathy has been a problem in the majority of countries in the world, notably the UK and the USA, of which the past elections have had a relatively low turnout for the past few decades. This is for a number of reasons: disillusionment with politicians or political participation, a lack of interest in politics, thinking that we are unable to make a difference, but mostly a lack of political knowledge. This leads people to make uninformed decisions during elections.
This is one of the main reasons that people make political judgments based on physical attractiveness, because according to research, it makes politicians seem more appealing, better candidates. When people have a limited amount of information but have to make a decision, they use what they have, and the obvious step is what they see: physical appearance. Therefore, if they find a candidate attractive, they are...
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