Compiled By Arturo R. García
Since bar graphs make everything truer, we present a pictorial representation definitively showing that although Kanazawa was pretty much the worst before his post on black women, he is now even worster.*
*As measured by the Jezebel Worstness Index, developed by leading Worstologist Anna North of Jezebel University, Internet Campus. Margin of error = +/- a million.
– Anna North, Jezebel
Few articles in recent memory have stirred a response from our readers like this piece, originally posted at Psychology Today, in which “evolutionary psychologist” Satoshi Kanazawa states, “As the following graph shows, black women are statistically no different from the “average” Add Health respondent, and far less attractive than white, Asian, and Native American women.”
Kanazawa, a regular contributor to Psychology Today, says he arrived at this theory, based on data in which black women were constantly rated as “less attractive” compared to women from other races. However, he says, “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.”
After dismissing black women’s “much heavier body mass” or disparities in intelligence, he comes to one conclusion for his findings:
The only thing I can think of that might potentially explain the lower average level of physical attractiveness among black women is testosterone. Africans on average have higher levels of testosterone than other races, and testosterone, being an androgen (male hormone), affects the physical attractiveness of men and women differently. Men with higher levels of testosterone have more masculine features and are therefore more physically attractive. In contrast, women with higher levels of testosterone also have more masculine features and are therefore less physically attractive. The race differences in the level of testosterone can therefore potentially explain why black women are less physically attractive than women of other races, while (net of intelligence) black men are more physically attractive than men of other races.
The article was pulled from Psychology Today’s website without explanation Monday afternoon. Latoya is putting together a roundtable discussion on the article, which we’ll post here soon, but in the meantime, thanks to our readers who mailed us a tip on it. Here’s a collection of views from around the blogosphere:
“The only thing I can think of”? Really? The blog’s presentation of the allegedly scientific findings had a decidedly informal tone, especially given the highly contentious conclusions. It struck us as so outrageous that we almost thought it was a hoax of some sort, and we double-checked the URL to make sure it didn’t include “The Onion.”
– Jenée Desmond-Harris, The Root
As I hold back my temper thinking as a woman, I already have cultural pressures to be something other than what I am in terms of a beauty standard, but I cannot believe this complete failure of an attempt to scientfically prove I’m less attractive than a white woman (assuming the same general characteristics).
What is absurd about the premise is what is he basing it on? “Black” women run the gamut of able to pass for white, to dark-skinned afro-centric features. We have dead straight blonde hair to ultra-nappy fros. Who participated and what did they look like? Who knows, that information isn’t there.
Any “scientific analysis” is fool’s gold without any context to historical sociological or ethnographic impact on majority and minority populations in regards to notions of physical attractiveness. Yet Kanazawa is trying so hard to make it work that you get the feeling that he gave himself a migraine.
– Pam Spaulding, Pam’s House Blend
Shame on Psychology Today for being a willing instrument to perpetuate racism. But I can’t be surprised, can I? It seems like every other week we hear NFL players saying “they don’t like black girls,” (c)rap songs calling us hoes and b*tches, and news of how some regions of Africa rape 48 black women per hour. Per. Hour. And with no one coming to our defense, it’s just implied that we’re denfense-less. This kind of soul-killing propaganda has got to stop, but I have a feeling it’s going to have to be black women making a concerted effort to work together and say “Enough is enough.”
– Christelyn Kazarin, Madame Noire
Perhaps at another point in my life, I would laugh this off as the musings of someone too stupid to realize how racist he is. But we live in an environment where the President of the United States is repeatedly forced to produce his birth certificate to prove that he was born in this country and where one of the leading candidates on the Republican side repeatedly characterizes the President’s attitude as “Kenyan anti-colonialist” and produces dog whistles like “food stamp president looking to make the entire country like Detroit”. This is not an isolated event by an insulated individual. This is a nasty undercurrent that simmers below the surface all the time and that has been bubbling up more and more frequently. And after being tangentially part of some rather heated online discussions about race and privilege recently, I don’t know that we can ever truly work towards a more progressive future without acknowledging and dealing with this.
– Nicole Belle, Crooks And Liars
This is a long-standing problem with evolutionary psychology proponents, despite the field’s potential use in principle: there’s a desire to reduce any and all perceptions and societal norms as being the result of evolutionary selective pressures. Why? Because if it’s the result of biology—not sociological trends—then we have an excuse to cling to ignorant perceptions, stereotypes, and norms. Kanazawa has a long track record of pushing studies and narratives such as this (this isn’t his first time on the issue of race) and he is unfortunately not unique. All of these studies have one thing in common: they have no methodological basis to link some aspect or behavior being measured with a history of evolutionary selective pressures.
Black women are beautiful.
Black. Women. Are. Beautiful.