Unapologetic progressive. Fearless activist. Plucky liberal.

All the proof you need is in this headline from Psychology Today: Why are black women less physically attractive than other women? As I told the person who linked to it on Twitter, I read the post — I can’t bring myself to call it an article — hoping it was a joke. The writer, Satoshi Kanazawa, starts out by saying, “There are marked race differences in physical attractiveness among women, but not among men. Why?”

I wanted to bang my head against my desk.

He goes on, “Add Health measures the physical attractiveness of its respondents both objectively and subjectively.” How in the world do you objectively rate someone’s beauty? By checking their lips to see if they meet a standard for fullness? By measuring their bust, waist and hips to see if they fit the 36-24-36 ideal? Even if a woman meets those conditions, they are by definition conditions set by society, and society at large is far from objective. What Hollywood considers a favorite starlet might be looked upon with revulsion elsewhere in the world.

The post gets worse as it goes along:

Recall that women on average are more physically attractive than men.  So women of all races are on average more physically attractive than the “average” Add Health respondent, except for black women.

What’s really disturbing is that all of this information is presented with no cultural context at all. No mention of the history of oppression of black women and people of color, no mention of the complex factors that figure into what society considers attractive. For something that was published under the Psychology Today banner, there is almost no analysis of the supposed “data.” The conclusion Kanazawa comes to is that testosterone is responsible for black women being unattractive.

I cannot imagine who at Psychology Today thought this was worthy of publication and let it be posted without any comment on its controversial content. The post was included in a series called The Scientific Fundamentalist: A Look at the Hard Truths of Human Nature. The only thing this proves about human nature is that racism and sexism are alive and well.


Comments on: "Racism and sexism are alive and well" (2)

  1. Strange that they would publish something like that story in Psychology Today. Kinda wonder if anybody read it beforehand.

    • I think it would be next to impossible it was published without someone reading it. But whoever it was just didn’t have good judgment.

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