1. says

    If I were petty and sexist, I could find examples where all those Republican women look “ugly”, and all those liberal women look “beautiful”… for various bullshit patriarchal values of “ugly” and “beautiful”.

    But that, of course, would both miss the point and be… well… misogynistic.

    And don’t get me started on the subtle homophobia.

    And frankly, it’s their ideals I care about, and Republican ideals are absolutely, horrendously, disturbingly ugly. I don’t care whether or not the people holding those ideals fit misogynistic, patriarchal visions of “beauty”.

  2. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Beauty in the mind, not the skin. Liberals have pretty minds. Conservatives should consider wearing tin foil over their minds to avoid environmental contamination.

  3. Nepenthe says

    I think what they’re really getting at is that only very young women and those wealthy enough to afford regular dye jobs and botox are Republicans. Presumably once they age enough to gain perspective, they’ll move to the lower end of the card.

  4. Menyambal says

    Fox News has really been featuring a lot of young, attractive, female hosts, all dressed almost alike in short skirts and high heels. The male hosts are older, and fully dressed. The camera keeps pulling back for full-length shots of the females. This is so blatant that I haven’t even needed to watch Fox News to notice, just channel-surfing past is enough.

  5. magistramarla says

    I agree with Nate. Most of the head shots of the conservative women were professionally photographed and probably airbrushed.
    The pictures of the liberal women looked much, much more real. My hubby considers Rachel Maddow to be very attractive, both in facial features and in her formidable intellect.
    The conservative idea of beauty is very, very shallow.

  6. throwaway, butcher of tongues, mauler of metaphor says

    I have it on good authority that there are a lot of attractive liberals in this one place called Hollywood. I mean, isn’t Clooney one of their favorite examples of Liberal Hollywood? So, yeah… “What the fuck am I doing looking for consistency in their ‘logic’?”, is, I suppose, my question of the day.

  7. throwaway, butcher of tongues, mauler of metaphor says

    Don’t know if this was picked up on, but “who has” indicates that each side owns the women, rather than the women are on either of the sides. Simple objects to make a ‘point’, for lack of better word.

  8. scott says

    Just about all the “liberal” women are in positions of authority; the “conservatives” are just commentators, pundits, or professional shit-stirrers. I know whose side I’d rather be on.

  9. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You know who else has a collection of pretty young ladies?

    Who needs young ladies? Only the insecure and posturing epsilon males.
    I’ll settle for my Redhead, who is only *HHOONNKK* year younger than me. And she prefers me to the hired help. I’m sure that PZ is happy with Mary.

  10. Georgia Sam says

    Who’s stupid enough to care which side has the most physically attractive women? Liberals or conservatives?

  11. doubtthat says

    Look, it’s a stupid point to be made, I get all of that. How meaningless, shallow and insulting.

    But – and this is the thing that gets me about this trope every time it comes up – conservatives believe these two things:

    1) Liberal women are ugly; conservatives are hot.
    2) Hollywood is a disgusting den of liberalism.

    The vast majority of women who are considered “hot” by the standards they’re relying on are socially progressive Democrats cavorting in modern day Sodom. All the sex-workers these red-state porn addicts are salivating after are California liberals. I just don’t get how they hold those two thoughts in their heads at once.

    The difference is that superficial attractiveness is not a requirement for a woman to advance in the Democratic Party or be a respected commentator/writer/thinker/judge… If you want to be a successful woman on the right, you better cater to the ridiculous political ideology and disgusting, chauvinistic needs of the ancient, necrotic white dudes who compose the Republican Party.

  12. doubtthat says

    Notice throwaway made the same point at #6. It’s bizarre that they keep trotting that nonsense out.

  13. anteprepro says

    Because not only do appearances matter so super much, but when it comes to the value of women, it is ALL that matters! Count on Republicans to take a fucked up element of our culture and then amplify it, glorify it, embrace it fully and push for even more of it, everywhere and always.

  14. bargearse says

    Ah yes, women are wallpaper and ours is nicer than yours. Stay classy conservatives.

  15. Ice Swimmer (was Nakkustoppeli) says

    Some bullies, one ditz, one grifter, some tv hosts and a few I don’t know enough about. The finest of the Republican party.

    I’m not saying that all the liberals are all that great in the picture (e.g. Hillary Rose Law Firm Walmart Wall Street Clinton, who would be a right-winger here). However none of them brings out the kind of disgust that even one statement from Ann Coulter brings.

  16. John Pieret says

    Because, of course, when it comes to having the best public policy … having the best vision for America … pretty is the most important qualification. Well, I guess that makes The Donald the best Republican presidential candidate … After all, he can choose his Cabinet from the Miss USA contestants!

  17. llyris says

    They put a man in? Couldn’t they find any other unflattering pictures of female liberals?

  18. Kristof says

    “Look at the shiny-shiny!” *dangles keychain* “Look at the shiny-shiny!”

  19. randay says

    What is Bernie Sanders doing in the picture list? Also, how perverse do you have to be think Ann Coulter is pretty except for pretty stupid.

  20. Menyambal says

    As I should have said in my #4, and as Scott said in #8, most of those conservative women are TV hosts, on Fox. Fox has been really pushing the pretty, lately. The only one who was not likely selected for her job by her appearance is Sarah Palin, and she made up for that by joining Fox. Palin, the only one with a job as a politician, quit her job.

    Almost all of the liberal women have jobs in political office (I don’t recognize some of them). Rachel Maddow is the only one that I know is a TV person, and she is very good at her job (and has written a book).

    I’m not saying that being a TV person requires no skill, but it does require looking presentable. Comparing a horde of TV people to a pile of politicians is just wrong.

  21. says

    @#19, llyris
    @#21, randay

    That’s not Bernie Sanders, that’s Barney Frank. Frank is (or was) the only openly-gay Congress member. So, you see, using Republican-think, he must be effeminate and/or female in some unspecified way. (Because, of course, gay men don’t want to partner up with other gay men, who are attracted to male cultural behaviors and sexual characteristics, they want to partner up with heterosexual men, and thus they “obviously” act like women to try and trap the poor, innocent straight people… Just trying to follow the “logic” kind of makes my head hurt.)

    Sadly, Barney Frank is not a very progressive Democrat; the most famous piece of legislation he is currently associated with is the bill which was created as a “replacement” for Glass-Steagall in the wake of the 2007 bank meltdown. This bill is a bipartisan effort, and is so weak that it seems plausible that it was written by the banks to enable further depredations. He has recently criticized Elizabeth Warren for her anti-bank stance and attempts to reinstate Glass-Steagall. In other words, he’s such a puppet of Wall Street that every time he opens his mouth, you can see James Dimon’s hand.

    Naturally, he is in the tank for Hillary Clinton, and has recently said that Bernie Sanders is just a wild radical who is making her inevitable coronationnomination more difficult.

  22. jefrir says

    Also, how perverse do you have to be think Ann Coulter is pretty except for pretty stupid.

    Seriously? Could we not, please?

  23. says


    Also, how perverse do you have to be think Ann Coulter is pretty except for pretty stupid.

    You don’t disagree with conservatives, you only disagree with their choice of eye candy. Do better.

    Yeah, if you think that the only women worth anything are conventionally attractive young women, you end up with only conventionally attractive young women. If you think that women are people who come with individual qualities, talents and the ability to meanigfully contribute to all levels of society, you’re going to end up with a pretty diverse group of women. And every single one of them is probably the most beautiful and attractive woman on earth to somebody else. And for the rest of us she’s a kick-ass lawyer, journalist, politician, professor…
    It’s like asking “who has the better runners, the chess club or the track team*?”

    *Only that it’s not inherently bad to have a track team where the people who like running get together.

  24. rietpluim says

    I don’t think the liberal women are ugly.
    Now we can all forget I wrote that because it’s completely irrelevant.

  25. cartomancer says

    It’s obviously regressive dreck, but my question would be what exactly is this little graphic? Where is it from? Does it come from official US Republican Party promotional materials or has it been put together by a lone idiot on the internet? Because if the former then it’s considerably more worrying than the latter.

    It is also quite revealing to hear that this represents something distinctive about US political culture – the fact that the most recognisable faces on at least one side are partisan TV pundits and commentators. The existence of a substantial class of such people in the public eye seems peculiar over here in blighty – when our broadcast media wants commentary on Tory or Labour policies it generally gets an MP or party spokesman in, rather than relying on a partisan journalist. Sure, that’s what most of our newspapers do, but we know that those are hopelessly compromised by their political affiliations. To see TV coverage done in the same way is highly jarring to our sensibilities.

  26. Freodin says

    It’s true: republicans have all the pretty women!

    That must be the reason why there are so many republican pretty women running for president in 2016!

    (Hm, the only woman running for republican nomination is not on this graphic. Why not?)

  27. Saad says

    Even if we play by their rules of “ugliness”, how many of those conservatives pictured are politicians and how many were hired by a shitty organization for their appearance?

  28. komarov says

    My suggestion to get the Conservative Message (TM) out:
    Broadcast white noise on all channels.

    This would be far less embarrassing to conservatives everywhere and less offensive to everyone else, if that’s important to them.* Hopefully it should also be just as effective as the ‘real thing’, i.e. not at all.

    *I can’t tell. Maybe conservatives / republicans really want to be nice people but are hampered by their stunning lack of self-awareness. And perspective. And empathy. I’ll stop there.

  29. says

    It’s quite likely that among pundits and politicians, conservative women are more attractive than liberal women. (At least by conventional western beauty norms.) The reason is simple: In conservative circles, a woman is unlikely to succeed unless they’re pretty. I’m not saying that liberals are immune to this problem (they’re not) but it’s much worse with conservatives.

  30. Snarki, child of Loki says

    Interesting that the put Coulter in the same position in the lineup as Barney Frank.

    Are they trying to tell us something?

  31. bargearse says

    Interesting that the put Coulter in the same position in the lineup as Barney Frank.

    Are they trying to tell us something?

    Aaaand it’s obviously not just Republicans who need to cut this shit out. The whole Man Coulter meme really needs to die, it’s fucking obnoxious.

  32. rietpluim says

    It seems plausible that conservative women feel obliged to adhere to mainstream beauty standards. If beauty is defined by those standards then yes, conservative women are more beautiful than liberal ones, but I can hardly see that as a drawback. Personally, I prefer a politician to be his or her genuine self, not the subservient to an arbitrary standard.

  33. emilybites says

    @7 Exactly, who is “having” these women? “We has the women” implies that women are a resource that belongs to someone, rather than humans, or politicians, or belonging to a movement rather than to the men of that movement. It’s like the othering of “our wives and daughters” – “we” are clearly men who have female relatives.

  34. drst says

    It’s noteworthy that the majority of the Republican pictures are of talk show hosts and tv personalities, where the majority of the Democratic pictures are of actual members or former members of the government.

  35. says

    I hope the conservative women represented there are as offended by this “joke” as I am. That’s just sad.

    They’re part of the “joke,” and they surely knew it from the day they were offered their jobs. Their job is to be the eye-candy that keeps aging, frustrated, bitter white men glued to Fox and obediently swallowing their hateful stupid swill. That’s even sadder.

  36. tbp1 says

    Hmm, no pictures of conservative goddesses Ayn Rand or Phyllis Schafly?

    And frankly, I find most of the liberals more attractive. Their faces are real, lived-in and human while the conservatives are attractive only in a Barbie doll, adolescent fantasy kinda way. Since most conservative males are emotionally adolescent I guess it’s not surprising they find this look attractive. The rest of us mostly outgrow that.

  37. says

    This reminds me of a time back around 2002-4, when certain (European) conservatives on Salon Blogs were babbling about which of Venezuela’s political factions brought the hottest “protest babes” to their respective rallies. They seemed to think it a good sign when the anti-Chavez folks started outdoing the pro-Chavez folks in the protest-babe contest.

  38. daved says

    I personally found it encouraging that I could identify most of the faces in the lower half of the picture, but only a couple of those in the upper half (I assume most of them are Fox News or something similar — they look vaguely familiar, partly because they look so generic).

  39. moarscienceplz says

    Strange, I don’t see Phyllis Schlafly there. She’s still alive, still a hardcore conservative, and still active in party politics, I believe. How come she got left out? I can’t be because she’s old and wrinkled can it? Right-wingers aren’t shallow like that, no sir, nuh-uh.

  40. throwaway, butcher of tongues, mauler of metaphor says

    alternatively you could ask who has the most bimbos

    Sure, if you wanted to be stereotyping based on the same looks-based premises the people you’re trying to mock use to justify their sexist stereotypes. But why would you want to do that if you disagree with the base assumptions? Unless… you didn’t disagree that successful, attractive, blonde women are deficient in brains… I mean, all that bleach and everything, amirite?


  41. opposablethumbs says

    throwaway @ #7 said it first, “Who has” vs “Who are

    It’s made of ugly-minded paradigms, all the way down.

  42. says

    @7 (throwaway)

    Don’t know if this was picked up on, but “who has” indicates that each side owns the women, rather than the women are on either of the sides.

    But as conservatives always tell us, STRONG women don’t mind being had, rather than being. And that the only form of objectification is sexual desire.

  43. Alverant says

    I noticed that nearly all the women on the liberal side have their mouths open while those on the conservative side are just smiling saying nothing.

  44. Amphiox says

    I notice that most of the so-called conservative women are media personalities (ie looking good is in their job description and they probably have a staff of people devoted to ensuring just that), while most of the so-called liberal women are not.

  45. says

    Ann Coulter thinks she is pretty, and she has said so in public. She is the one who also said that the government should reject all fat women who try to immigrate to the U.S. Coulter is big on fat shaming, she does it all the time. Successful women, like Lena Dunham, who do not meet Coulter’s standards of beauty are shamed, as are the women in the Democratic Party and poor people:

    The “backbone of the Democratic Party” is a “typical fat, implacable welfare recipient.” — Coulter’s column, 10/29/99

    “When I’m in charge of immigration (after our 10 year moratorium), I will not admit overweight girls,” she wrote.
    She followed up later with a “no cripples and no fat chicks” statement.

    Coulter has internalized the retrograde view that women are most valuable when they are good looking. One wonders what will happen to Coulter’s mental health as she ages.

    Rachel Maddow looks great, but that’s not her most important feature. I wouldn’t even put her looks on my list of traits I respect. However, her looks may have played a part in her landing the job at MSNBC. The most important, admirable aspect of Maddow is her intelligence. She’s a beacon of reason and intelligence.

  46. says

    Coulter has internalized the retrograde view that women are most valuable when they are good looking. One wonders what will happen to Coulter’s mental health as she ages.

    We’ll just see more of the same — losing their own good looks (or never having any to begin with) never stops people like her from lashing out at other people over their looks. She’s nothing more than an overgrown middle-school mean-girl, saying whatever hateful shit she wants to just because that’s how she makes herself feel good. The only thing that will (hopefully) change as she gets older, is how much attention she gets.

  47. Gregory Greenwood says

    So… the Republicans think that their arguments are stronger and they are more fit to wield political authority because ‘their’ women (because in the world according to Republican arsehats women are a class of publicly displayed property) are notionally ‘prettier’ than prominent liberal women?

    They really don’t understand that women are actually people at all, do they?

    As for the ‘joke’ of including a man amongst the list of liberal women (which really is an indictment on the Republican concept of humour), misogyny, homophobia and transphobia have always been intertwined with one another, so it is no surprise at all that the Republicans have gone for the bigot trifecta.

  48. Tethys says

    I don’t know where you found this bit of sexist internet propaganda, the only hits I got when I did an image search are for right-wing hate blogs. (no clicks for you!) Four of the photos in the top row of conservative women come from the 2011 “Great American Conservative Women” calendar put out by the Clare Luce Booth policy institute. , which does in fact promote and provide funding specifically for women in stem fields, and does not focus on their physical appearance as a marker of their worth. They are professional quality photos, complete with makeup, hair, and post processing. The liberal women photos are all candid shots that seem to be chosen for either being open-mouthed because they are mid-sentence, or for maximum awkward expression. I .note that the liberal women are actual politicians and judges for the most part, and the conservative women are mostly paid to look good on camera and read at the same time by fox news. Sarah Palin is a conservative and former beauty pageant queen, who managed to fail as both a politician and a fox news talking head. I probably disagree with her on most policy issues, but I think many of the women on that pic would find it offensively sexist regardless of their political beliefs.

  49. caseloweraz says

    Yes, this vapid claim that all Republican women are hot while all Democratic women are dogs (to use the common parlance) is made with some frequency by a subset of Republican men — probably by those on the young side of forty. IIRC, the most recent instance was in Minnesota (I could be wrong about that) and it was quickly shut down by more senior members of the party.

    As others correctly point out, the accidental possession of “hotness” (aka physical beauty) has nothing at all to do with ability to do a good job in political office, and almost nothing to do with the ability to be elected to such an office. But even if it were the only personal quality that mattered, the fact is that physical beauty is distributed at random among Republicans, Democrats, Greens, and any other political party you could name. When Republicans make this claim, they try to support it by picking the attractive Republican women and contrasting them with images of Democratic women they deem unattractive. (If the Democrat happens to be attractive, they’ll often post the worst picture of her they can find.)

    Thus their claim is bogus two ways.

    This example posted by PZ adds a third level of bogosity, since (as noted above) the Republicans are mostly TV show hosts rather than actual politicians.

  50. caseloweraz says

    Tethys: Four of the photos in the top row of conservative women come from the 2011 “Great American Conservative Women” calendar put out by the Clare Luce Booth policy institute…

    I’ll have to take your word for that; I couldn’t display the calendar on their Web site. There was an invitation to “Scroll down to order!” underlined like a link, but it wasn’t a link. Nor could I scroll down any further.

    I clicked the “Resources” link and got, “Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn’t here.”

    I jumped to the Home page and it came up in a new tab. What kind of a site puts up its home page in a new tab?

    The home page doesn’t validate. (Not that it matters much to people with normal vision.)

    I note with surprise that the W3C has a completely new Validator. It looks to be more user-friendly than the old one.

    [end rant about HTML)

  51. Alverant says

    #58 “but I think many of the women on that pic would find it offensively sexist regardless of their political beliefs”
    I don’t. I think the conservative women would see the picture and think “Hey I look good!” or “They think I’m pretty!” because they know their looks are one of their better assets and without it, they wouldn’t be as popular or rich.

  52. Tethys says


    I’ll have to take your word for that; I couldn’t display the calendar on their Web site.

    Here is a blog post that shows the full 2011 line up and IMO rather childish commentary in the form of a song that also uses some pretty sexist language including calling Ann Coulter “mannish”. I disagree completely with Michelle Bachmann’s ideology, but saying she looks like a Ho is yet another instance of a women being judged by her appearance plus a bonus slut shaming dogwhistle.

  53. Tethys says


    I don’t. I think the conservative women would see the picture and think “Hey I look good!” or “They think I’m pretty!” because they know their looks are one of their better assets and without it, they wouldn’t be as popular or rich.

    I am not so sure. Being conservative does not preclude these women from having to deal with everyday sexism. For Instance another of the Fox news blondes is Gretchen Carlson. She is a former Miss America, but she also happens to be a very talented violinist, and has a degree in sociology from Stanford. I am nearly positive that if you asked her if she has ever been treated like a dumb blonde/ just another pretty face, she would have a great deal to say on the matter. I think it would be very interesting to hold a conference that included both groups of these women, to discuss their careers and experiences of how they are portrayed within the sphere of politics and the media.

  54. Tethys says

    The double standard is particularly strong in both politics and media careers. I realize it is just a television drama, but the show Scandal had an excellent scene that illustrates the common everyday sexism of how women are defined by their appearance rather than their accomplishments. Abby’s Speech It is a happy coincidence of fine writing and fine acting that is quite powerful. If anyone is unable to access the youtube link, here is a transcript. She is the white house press secretary, who just found out her boyfriend has some kinky sex history that is about to be made public.

    What happens to you happens to me. I’m good at my job, Leo. I am a lion up there. I own that room. I work for it. I give a strong briefing. And they write about that. They cover the news. And there are articles about how well I do at my job.
    But they also write about me. If I wear lipstick, I’m dolled up. If I don’t, I’ve let myself go. They wonder if I’m trying to bring dresses back. And they don’t like it that I repeat outfits, even though I’m on a government salary. They discuss my hair color. There are anonymous blogs that say I’m too skinny. They have a running joke that I’m on a hunger strike until I can be liberated by the democrats.
    They also write about you. Every article that comes out about me has your name somewhere in it because apparently there’s this rule: In order to mention my name, they also have to report to the world that there’s a man who wants me. My work, my accomplishments, my awards—I stand at the most powerful podium in the world, but a story about me ain’t a story unless they can report on the fact that I am the girlfriend of D.C. fixer Leo Bergen, like it validates me, gives me an identity, a definition. They can’t fathom the concept that my life doesn’t revolve around you.
    My life doesn’t revolve anywhere near you. It’s horrifying: property of Leo Bergen. Tell me, when they write articles about you, Leo, how often do they mention me? Do they talk about your clothes? Write about your thighs? There is a difference. There is. So, what happens to you, happens to me, which is why I’m writing a letter of resignation. Are we done?

  55. thebookofdave says

    The competition of ideas is a beauty pageant, which conservatives will always win, as long as they get to pick the swimsuit contestants for both teams.

  56. Surly Siren says

    What if you restate it as “Are conservative or liberal women more accomplished?”, with the same graphic? Two Supreme Court judges, Secretary of State (btw, surprised they skipped Madeline Albright, given the message they are trying to deliver), Speaker of the House vs – who exactly? Looking at this picture, that’s all I can think of. Even though there are more accomplished women on that side, that’s not who they want perceived as their face.

  57. acsglster . says

    The Republican women in the list are just younger. Why no older women such as Barbara Bush (Sr), Liddy Dole, Nancy Reagan, Carly FIorina, Olympia Snowe, etc. in the Republican list? And you could put a bunch of Hollywood beauties in the Democratic column. Biased as it is, the list does illustrate one home truth–that Republicans have fewer women in serious senior leadership positions.

  58. Menyambal says

    Well, Liddy Dole got retconned into Bob Dole’s stay-at-home wife when he was running for president. Seriously, they were trying to present her as a good conservative woman so he would look more manly, or whatever they thought would happen. It was so bad that I had to go look her up, instead of trusting my memory. But yes, she was the person whose signature had been on my paychecks, when she was Secretary of Transportation.

  59. says

    There’s a high-falutin’ literary explanation:

    The Picture of Dorian Gray

    However, since it was written by a gay man — so gay he was sent to jail for it — it obviously can’t be a valid explanation of Republicans. Either that, or the protraitist for the purported liberals (most of whom are moderates) isn’t as skilled…

  60. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    stepping back from the -conversation~ around whether assigning various pictures as “beautiful” or otherwise.
    I am stopped by the very question itself.
    It’s posed as a “yes/no”, to which I’d reply, “so what, how does beauty correlate with better political viewpoints? Representatives (the entire hierarchy: Congressperson, Senator, POTUS) Is NOT a beauty contest.” “.” “I don’t care if the candidate is ‘stunning’ of ‘fugly’, tell me what their policies will be, and what they have done, not just their promises, nor ‘wishes’, list their performance record, don’t only list their potential actions. Beauty is irrelevant.”

  61. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    So when comparing the public female figureheads of two political ideologies, one of which values male primacy and traditional gender roles and treats women as showpieces, and the other of which operates on the (or at least pays lip service to) the idea that women are equals and ought to be valued for more than just their looks, the former are generally judged to be more traditionally attractive than the latter.

    This neither shocking nor an insult to liberals. If anything, the mere fact this meme exists kind of proves my characterization of the two ideologies.

  62. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    Also, I have a serious problem with the phrasing. “Who has the prettiest women, Conservatives or Liberals?” clearly implies ownership of the women in question.