A number of new studies underline gender stereotypes in media in which photographs of men tend to be focused on their faces while those showing females were focused on their bodies.
A recent study from Psychology of Women Quarterly, a SAGE journal, has found that this type of "face-ism" is even more extreme in cultures with less educational, professional, and political gender discrimination.
Advertisement"Being in a relatively egalitarian cultural context does not shield politicians from this face-ism bias; in fact, it exacerbates it," wrote study authors Sara Konrath and Josephine Au.
The researchers examined the differences in face-ism by measuring the facial prominence of over 6, 500 male and female political figures in photographs from more than 25 different cultures.
Facial prominence was determined by measuring the length of the head in a photograph (from the chin to the top of the head) and comparing it to the length of the body shown in the photograph.
The researchers then analysed these face/body ratios by culture and found that women's bodies were more prominent in photographs from cultures in which women have more educational, professional, and political opportunities.
"Understanding this double-bind is fundamental to understanding how societal pressures might shape the visual depictions of male and female leaders online, whether political or otherwise," the authors wrote.
The authors claimed that stereotypes associated with each gender are more divergent in richer and more institutionally gender-equal cultures overall, and that these photographs are simply a visual representation of a deeply-ingrained, cultural concept.
"The face-ism bias is likely due to unconscious influences, so simply making politicians and their support staff aware of this bias and its negative implications for female politicians could reduce this bias," they added.
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