Good Lord: Psychology Today Publishes Article Titled: “Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?”
There are marked race differences in physical attractiveness among women, but not among men. Why?
Add Health measures the physical attractiveness of its respondents both objectively and subjectively. At the end of each interview, the interviewer rates the physical attractiveness of the respondent objectively on the following five-point scale: 1 = very unattractive, 2 = unattractive, 3 = about average, 4 = attractive, 5 = very attractive. The physical attractiveness of each Add Health respondent is measured three times by three different interviewers over seven years.
Many pretty little charts and graphs are presented, and then we get this:
It is very interesting to note that, even though black women are objectively less physically attractive than other women, black women (and men) subjectively consider themselves to be far more physically attractive than others.
It gets even more amazing:
What accounts for the markedly lower average level of physical attractiveness among black women? Black women are on average much heavier than nonblack women. The mean body-mass index (BMI) at Wave III is 28.5 among black women and 26.1 among nonblack women. (Black and nonblack men do not differ in BMI: 27.0 vs. 26.9.) However, this is not the reason black women are less physically attractive than nonblack women. Black women have lower average level of physical attractiveness net of BMI. Nor can the race difference in intelligence (and the positive association between intelligence and physical attractiveness) account for the race difference in physical attractiveness among women. Black women are still less physically attractive than nonblack women net of BMI and intelligence. Net of intelligence, black men are significantly more physically attractive than nonblack men.
Are you starting to get the idea why they pulled it?
Click the link above for the criticism — but, in short, the problem is the word “objectively.” As if physical attractiveness is something “objective.”
It’s a real head-scratcher how this ever saw the light of day. As the critic says, the issue isn’t the data gathered in the study, it’s the interpretation of the data (together with some other rather stunning and unevidenced assumptions). The objection is not really that the article is racist, but that it’s just spectacularly wrongheaded in how it undertakes its analysis — to the point where, when you read the conclusions, you have to rub your eyes to wonder if you are really reading what you’re reading.
Thanks to Nathan Wurtzel on Twitter.