(Courtesy) Charlize Theron in Snow White and the Huntsman
Hot? Blonde? Female? Better not kill someone, because you're not going to get away with it.
According to a study published yesterday in the The European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context, women on trial for murder who claim self defense are more often perceived as guilty if they're more attractive.
Attractive, according Antonio Herrera's study, means the woman has "thick lips; smooth, harmonious facial features; straight blonde hair; and a slender and elegant appearance."
The study was conducted to test the hypothesis that society believes beauty is good, or as the author writes: "Attractive people are often perceived as having positive personality features and attributes in consonance with the implicit theory that 'beauty is goodness.'"
Researchers surveyed 169 Spanish police officers—data was collected through a mock trial, which featured two different hypothetical defendants.
One was described to the police officers as an attractive woman. She was also presented as someone with a high-powered job who spoke with confidence and was married for ten years with no kids.
The other hypothetical defendant was an "unattractive woman with thin lips; stern and jarring facial features; dark, bundled hair; and is neither slender nor elegant in appearance."
The unattractive defendant was also outlined as a stereotypical victim of domestic abuse—a housewife for ten years with two kids, who wore sunglasses and spoke very shyly. In both versions of the story, the women claimed the murder of their husbands was self defense after years of domestic abuse.
The conclusion? The attractive women were more likely to be judged culpable. Why? Because she seemed to have "more control over the situation, which in legal terms can translate as a higher degree of guilt."
What do you think of the study's conclusion—are you disappointed with society's stereotypes about beauty and battered women? Were you expecting those results, or are you shocked as well? Tell us what you think in the comments section, below!