Negative Effects of Calling Attention to Female Political Candidates’ Attractiveness

Mary Kate Lizotte, Heather J. Meggers-Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Given the focus of the media on female candidate appearance in the 2008 presidential election, this research investigates the effects on voter evaluations of calling attention to female candidate attractiveness. The current research hypothesizes that pointing out candidate attractiveness likely has a negative effect on subsequent evaluations and reports of vote likelihood, particularly for female candidates. Role congruity theory, which argues that evidence of prejudice against female leaders is the result of a discrepancy between people’s stereotypes of women and their stereotypes of leaders, provides an explanation for these findings. This study establishes the negative influence of calling attention to a candidate’s attractiveness. In particular, a female candidate described as attractive are evaluated more negatively than a male candidate described as attractive and compared to male and female candidates, who are not described as attractive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-266
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Political Marketing
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2019


  • Candidate appearance
  • candidate evaluations
  • candidate gender
  • candidate stereotyping
  • role congruity theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Marketing


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