May 18, 2011

Native women = second ugliest?

An article in Psychology Today has received a lot of scorn this week. It purports to prove that black women are "objectively" the ugliest (least attractive). I mention it because Native women came in as the second ugliest.

Here's the article and its key finding:

Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?  Why black women, but not black men?

Published on May 15, 2011 by Satoshi Kanazawa in The Scientific Fundamentalist

A critique that puts this study in context:

Racist Psychology Today article claims black women are objectively less attractive than other womenSo Psychology Today published an article yesterday titled “Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?” Wow. It disappeared from the website after massive, overwhelming outcry about it being obvious racist pseudo-science bullshit. The fact the article ever went up at all is appalling, though, and unfortunately must be called out.

The author, Satoshi Kanazawa, is known for racist junk science. He works in the field of evolutionary psychology, which sadly is full of folks passing of their deduction as objective fact to prove their racist and sexist views. He’s obsessed with attractiveness and linking race and intelligence in work that’s been repeatedly debunked. He’s also said he wished Ann Coulter was president on 9/11 so we could have nuked the entire Middle East. Yeah, wonderful guy.
And more criticism, including a comment about the study's role in racial politics:

Voices:  The Satoshi Kanazawa StudyPerhaps at another point in my life, I would laugh this off as the musings of someone too stupid to realize how racist he is. But we live in an environment where the President of the United States is repeatedly forced to produce his birth certificate to prove that he was born in this country and where one of the leading candidates on the Republican side repeatedly characterizes the President’s attitude as “Kenyan anti-colonialist” and produces dog whistles like “food stamp president looking to make the entire country like Detroit”. This is not an isolated event by an insulated individual. This is a nasty undercurrent that simmers below the surface all the time and that has been bubbling up more and more frequently.

Nicole Belle, Crooks and Liars
Comment:  I'm not sure how Kanazawa made his calculations. It sounds like he took them from mostly white Americans who grew up in a culture where fair-skinned blonds are the standard of beauty. You know, the people featured in most movies, TV shows, and magazines. I can't imagine how that's not a completely biased pool of subjects.

Note that the results are about what we'd guess with zero data. Asian women, considered the most "exotic" minority, are ranked close to whites in beauty. Native women--at least, alluring Indian "princesses" like Audrey Hepburn, Cher, and Disney's Pocahontas--are third. And black women--widely criticized in our society as fat, loud, and sassy--are a distant fourth.

This is basically a ranking of America's racial prejudices, not of women's "objective" beauty or anything else. It's ridiculous.

For more on Native beauty, see Male Warriors and Female Princesses and Native Girls Judged on "Poise," Makeup.

Below:  An Indian princess working hard to surpass those sexy Japanese geishas and China dolls.


none said...

I'm horribly offended that Ann Coulter gets to be classified as a woman. ;-)

What a bunch of horsepuckey!

dmarks said...

This is as bad as phrenology! But what do you expect; a lot of psychology always has been pseudo-science.

Anonymous said...

This study is bullshit. The Indian Princess stereotype/fantasy would not exist if Indian women weren't hot hot hot.

Anonymous said...

Apparently when we aren't prancing around in loincloths and headbands we aren't attractive.

Anonymous said...

L.E., please keep Ann Coulter in your gender. Mine doesn't want her!

"Evolutionary psychology" is just a politically correct term for sociobiology, and the first sociobiologists, you may remember, were trying to argue that there was an evolutionary advantage to being a serial killer.

There is, of course, the flip side of this. What about male attractiveness? Certainly in mammals, the male has more reasons to be attractive than the female.

Anonymous said...

Another thing: What is not explained is why white women go to tanning salons, risking skin cancer. And go to get collagen injections. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

Haven't we seen this study before? It was called Eugenics, and it was very popular in the US, or should I say, it still is? Here is what you'll find in Wiki;

Eugenics was practiced around the world and was promoted by governments, and influential individuals and institutions. Its advocates regarded it as a social philosophy for the improvement of human hereditary traits through the promotion of higher reproduction of certain people and traits, and the reduction of reproduction of other people and traits.

Today it is widely regarded as a brutal movement which inflicted massive human rights violations on millions of people.

The "interventions" advocated and practiced by eugenicists involved prominently the identification and classification of individuals and their families, including the poor, mentally ill, blind, deaf, developmentally disabled, promiscuous women, homosexuals and entire racial groups -- such as the Roma and Jews -- as "degenerate" or "unfit"; the segregation or institutionalisation of such individuals and groups, their sterilization, euthanasia, and in the extreme case of Nazi Germany, their mass extermination. (WIKI)

Sound familiar? Now apply this to American history and its past, or current policies and popular culture towards native peoples here keeping the mascot issue and other racial anti-Indian views in mind!

Rob said...

There's a difference between a pseudo-study on female beauty and eugenics, Anonymous. Kanazawa may have racist beliefs, but that doesn't mean he wants to kill or sterilize anyone.