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Why power is sexy: Candidates’ looks hot topic in 2008

November 3, 2008

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Who played the president?

A variety of actors and actresses have played the president though the years. here are some of them - you be the judge for how attractive they are.

Morgan Freeman"Deep Impact"(1998)

Bill Pullman"Independence Day"(1996)

Michael Douglas"The American President"(1995)

Kevin Kline"Dave"(1993)

John Travolta"Primary Colors"(1998)

Josh Brolin"W."(2008)

Geena Davis"Commander In Chief"(2005-2006)

In these politically charged times, even the laws of attraction seem to take a party line. Take, for instance, a group of college-age girls enjoying an afternoon of shopping on Massachusetts Street.

Molly Owens, an 18-year-old from Kansas City, declares the 44-year-old Sarah Palin "a hottie with a body." Meanwhile her friend Hillary Feden eagerly proffers that it is Barack Obama who is the attractive one.

However, without the presidential credentials, it was a different story.

"If he was walking down the street, I wouldn't look twice," the 19-year-old says.

And their vote will likely follow their eye. Call it "polilooks" - it's not so much how a person looks, but their political leanings, that contribute to how attractive others see them.

Fair features, fair game

In a presidential contest that has seemed to spark more conversation on gender and race than the campaign staples of foreign policy and the economy, it should be no surprise that a candidate's fair features have become fair game in 2008.

There were viral Internet campaigners "Obama Girl" and "McCain Girl," each drawing millions of viewers on YouTube. There were those conversations about Hillary Clinton's pantsuits and cleavage.

And then, the flurry over Palin after the former beauty pageant winner was picked to be McCain's running mate.

Her head has been photo-shopped onto a bikini-wearing, gun-wielding female body. Lifestyle media have published stories for women wanting to copy Palin's updo or buy knockoffs of her signature glasses.

Walt Ohnesorge-Fick, a Lawrence resident and Ottawa University student, says "powerful women are totally attractive."

But he would question Henry Kissinger's famous line that "power is the ultimate aphrodisiac."

"I think it's the other way around," he says. "Attractive people are more powerful."

In other words, the more attractive you are, the more likely you are to be placed in positions of power. Conventional wisdom would certainly point to 1960, when the handsome John F. Kennedy beat out the jowly Richard M. Nixon.

Double standard?

Mary Banwart, a KU associate professor of communications studies, says there is a definite correlation between those in powerful positions and attractiveness.

Whether a candidate is attractive enough to be on TV is a question that political consultants have to ask, Banwart says.

She says women often face a double standard when it comes to looks and politics. On one hand, they need to come across as nurturing and caring, but they also can't remind voters that they are leaving a husband and children at home.

In media coverage it is the women who receive more criticism about their appearance.

"They never mention that a man's tie is out of place or its color," Banwart says.

Then there's another problem - if too much focus is put on a woman's looks, it could mean voters won't value her intellect as much.

"They've got to look attractive," Banwart says, "but we don't want them to be too attractive."

Comments

LiberalDude 6 years, 1 month ago

No way, Palin is ugly. Cindy and her are both plastic, trophy wifes. Now Michelle Obama. She's one sexy woman!

RKLOG 6 years, 1 month ago

I dunno, does this article project an national point of view, or are just hearing from a few youngster's with the time on their hands to stop and chat downtown? I bet both Obama and Palin would turn a few heads if they walked down the street, as regular citizens. Ask a few people with fewer "sweet tooth" opinions and perspectives. Like some old dude like me.

labmonkey 6 years, 1 month ago

Noone is better looking than Barbara Bush (41's wife). She was a hottie.

tanaumaga 6 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

BigDog 6 years, 1 month ago

Dude, you have issues if you think Palin is ugly. Your politics have blinded you. I don't care where you fall politically ..... she is definitely not ugly.Not a supporter of NObama in any way .... but I don't find his wife ugly either.By the way Invisible Joe has him quite the trophy wife too ..... but most people have even forgotten he was on a ticket.

ddayot 6 years, 1 month ago

It was close but i think Hillary was the most handsome.

LiberalDude 6 years, 1 month ago

Maybe you have issues BigDog? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

zettapixel 6 years, 1 month ago

Palin is hot because she's well... hot. It has nothing to do with power.

kansas_o_kansas 6 years, 1 month ago

Actually, Cindy is more of a "Sugar Momma"

classclown 6 years, 1 month ago

Hillary Feden has a thing for Vulcans apparently. Live long and prosper eh?

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