Monday, June 6, 2011

Attractiveness ratings

A Psychology Today article about attractiveness ratings in the Add Health data has yielded some interesting responses: that it's wrong offensive inanity and apparently not unprecedented awfulness that can't be replicated in reanalysis and could cause the author to join the Bell Curve author at a conservative think-tank and become an anti-PC crusader.

One aspect that I've not seen discussed is whether the author has anything in common with his research targets given that in other contexts, it's been widely noted that both African-American women (the target of the original article) and Asian men (like the author) are marginalized in the dating marketplace: e.g., on this African-American dating website, OK Cupid's data analysis, and a roundtable where I presented at American Sociological Association included a paper about how gender stereotypes hurt Asian-American men because Asians in general are considered "feminine" and African-American women because African-Americans in general are considered "masculine": hyperfeminine women and hypermasculine men are considered desirable, but feminine men and masculine women are not. Separate research documents how Asian men may feel emasculated, and allegedly business research documents issues with incorrect condom sizes in Asia.

Marginalization is a well-known explanation for bigotry, although of course not an excuse.

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