Finns Party candidates in the municipal elections have been made fun of in the Per-looks blog.A SMALL storm shook the political discussion surrounding the current municipal elections last week, when a blog named Per-looks was published. The blog, imitating a well-known fashion blog called Hel-looks, is a collection of the Finns Party’s candidates’ campaign images, without any manipulation or textual comments of any kind.

The blog has caused a minor scandal, as the persons in the blog may be considered ugly or shabby by the commentators. Accusations of slander were quickly directed at the creator of the blog, Juha Leinonen. Per-looks was almost immediately followed by Kok-looks, Vih-looks and Pir-looks, which collect pictures of National Coalition, The Green Party and Pirate Party candidates respectively.

The leader of Finns Party, Timo Soini, commented on the matter that the party’s campaigners are “average ugly-handsome men, usually trustworthy” when the newspaper Ilta-Sanomat asked his opinion. However, the Finns Party were quick to react to the blog by forming their own version, which includes better-quality pictures of better-looking candidates. Many of the party’s candidates also publicly considered the blog offensive.

Leinonen told Helsingin Sanomat that his intention wasn’t political, but only to imitate the Hel-looks website. However, the blog even ended up in the headlines of the Swedish Aftonbladet on 8 October.

Many commentators consider that the upheaval highlights the importance of the political candidate’s physical appearance and image.

The discussion has long roots, starting from the first-ever televised debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960. Those who listened to the debate on the radio considered Nixon the winner, but those seeing him on TV thought otherwise, which eventually caused his defeat and put Kennedy in the White House. Per-looks probably isn’t going to be as significant historically as that debate, but the rage it caused proves that images still hold power despite the sea of visual stimulation we live in nowadays.