I think most people intuitively think of physically strong, macho men–guys like Scott, Steve and me, for instance–as conservative. Of course, the stereotype doesn’t always hold true.
But a recent study confirms that the stereotype does, indeed, exist:
[C]onservative men are perceived as physically stronger than liberals, according to scientists.
The University of Arkansas-led research carried out four experiments to investigate the link between political orientation and chiselled physiques.
As it turns out, men with greater upper body strength were seen as more right-wing, which experts link to their heightened competitiveness.
In this study, participants were shown pictures of eight men and asked to rate their strength, and also guess their political opinions. The result was a correlation between strength and perceived conservatism.
One of the study’s authors tried to spin it:
‘Strong men have considerable bargaining power that would have historically led to win contests for resources more easily,’ Dr Brown continued.
‘When they gained access to resources, they would have ascended hierarchies and thus codified social norms of competition in which they had a competitive edge.
‘Physically weaker people did not have that power and would conversely favor group norms that are less competition-focused.’
I would say that “social norms of competition” have always existed and always will–thankfully–and an alternative explanation for the correlation between strength and conservatism is that strong men intuitively feel self-sufficient and are not prone to cede their autonomy to government.
That’s my theory, anyway. I encourage those who may have more insight–our female readers–to weigh in via comments.