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  • Sad but true    May 15 
It takes as little as 380 milliseconds to tell if a woman is pretty enough to be elected to office, study says

Confirming what cynics have long suspected, women are more likely to win public office if they look traditionally feminine, according to a Dartmouth study released Thursday. More shocking though, the study found it was possible to predict whether a candidate would be successful after people assessed her appearance for less than a second.

The study showed 300 people the faces of winning and losing candidates from a decades-worth of Senate and gubernatorial races. Participants were asked to quickly say whether each politician was male or female, and researchers then compared the level of "gender-category competition" — how often participants answered correctly — to election results.

Though the study saw no link between facial sexual ambiguity and male politicians' success, it found that "female politicians who activated the male category to a greater extent received less electoral support." And, the study added, voting behavior could be predicted "only 380 [milliseconds] after the presentation of a female politician's face"

As an interesting aside, the study also found this tendency to be more pronounced in redder states: "[M]ore feminine female politicians... were more likely to win the more traditionally conservative the state."

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