The Army Wants Pictures of “Average-Looking Women,” Ctd.

The concern I voiced earlier is being realized. Colonel Arnhart’s words are quickly being twisted to make it appear that she was voicing a personal opinion about the higher competence of ugly women. Representative Speier tweeted “Pretty women perceived as not competent by #Army colonel,” which is an inaccurate characterization. Outrage makes for great clickbait.

That said, the Colonel’s real assertion, that the attractiveness of individuals is inversely correlated with the general population’s perception of their competence, appears to be incorrect. This meta-analysis (PDF) of 68 psychology studies found that attractiveness is positively correlated (though to a greater degree for men than for women) with perceptions of intellectual competence. This report found that “extended human phenotype” (i.e., makeup) has an additional positive effect on perceptions of the competence of women.

So if you want to know what is rather than what validates your worldview, there it is.

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