A study has suggested that left-wing academics may be more attractive than right-wingers, according to a recent article in Times Higher Education (THE).
In the study, ‘Just because you look good, doesn’t mean you’re right’, Professor Lönnqvist, and colleagues from the University of Helsinki, researched whether left-wing or right-wing scholars are considered to be more attractive.
In a previous international study led by the Research Institute of Industrial Economics in Sweden, it was suggested that attractiveness of political candidates correlated with their politics, with right-wingers supposedly found more attractive that their left counterparts.
The study suggested that right-wing people tend to be richer, and therefore more concerned with personal grooming and appearance. When asked to rate attractiveness of a range of politicians, voters assumed those who were better looking were more likely to be conservative.
Lönnqvist’s follow-up study examined whether the same was true for academics, collecting photographs of 400 scholars from both left- and right-leaning journals and asking participants to rate physical attractiveness and what they believed to be their political orientation.
The findings showed that while people identified the more well-groomed scholars as being from right-wing publications, the scholars perceived as the most attractive wrote in more left-wing journals.
Prof Lönnqvist told THE: “One could speculate that scholars, given that they tend to be less [concerned with] conforming…do care less about their physical attractiveness.”
The study’s findings were supported by first-year Rozen Whitworth who said: “[in academia] the work overtakes the physical attractiveness, and admiration for ideas and work are considered more important than how they look.”
She added: “This study is hardly surprising considering the majority of students are left-wing – there seems to be something inherent in finding someone who holds similar views attractive because of ideological identification. It also works both ways and attraction can fall away upon finding out someone holds opposing views.”
Alfie Steer, a first-year at University College, said he believes left-wing academics’ attractive lies in them embodying the “cool socialist rebel cliché, taking the system down from the inside and challenging old bourgeois ideas”.
A 2014 article on the site Versa declared that Oxford’s “sexiest tutor” was the Wadham Russian fellow Dr Phillip Bullock. Bullock specialises in Revolutionary Soviet music and literature, but his ideological affiliation remains unclear.