Flashback Friday: Men with beards are more likely to be sexist.

By Seriously Science | November 17, 2017 6:00 am
Image: Flickr/Loren Kerns

Image: Flickr/Loren Kerns

Despite the recent popularity of beards, facial hair can be controversial: as we’ve previously shown, it makes men less likely to get hired and more likely to be seen as guilty by a jury. Well, all you beard-haters out there, here’s some more ammunition for you. In this study, researchers surveyed men from the USA and India on both their facial hair and their attitudes towards women. They found that men with beards were more likely to be sexist, and they hypothesized that men who have sexist attitudes choose to grow beards to make them look more masculine and dominant. Nice try, Santa Claus.

The Association Between Men’s Sexist Attitudes and Facial Hair.

“Facial hair, like many masculine secondary sexual traits, plays a significant role in perceptions of an array of sociosexual traits in men. While there is consensus that beards enhance perceptions of masculinity, age, social dominance, and aggressiveness, the perceived attractiveness of facial hair varies greatly across women. Given the ease with which facial hair can be groomed and removed entirely, why should some men retain beards and others choose to remove them? We hypothesized that men with relatively sexist attitudes would be more likely to allow their facial hair to grow than men with less sexist attitudes. Men from the USA (n = 223) and India (n = 309) completed an online survey measuring demographic variables, ambivalent sexism, and facial hair status. After controlling for demographic variables, men with facial hair were significantly higher in hostile sexism than clean-shaven men; hostile sexism was a significant predictor of facial hair status over and above demographic variables; and facial hair was more frequent among ambivalent and hostile sexists than among benevolent and non-sexists. It is suggested that sexist men choose to grow facial hair because it maximizes sexual dimorphism and augments perceived masculinity and dominance.”

Related content:
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Innocent until proven bearded.
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Frequency of pubic hair transfer during sexual intercourse.

  • OWilson

    I remember being distantly acquainted with two guys, both were naturally bald, both had facial hair, and both drove Porsches. Both were middle aged!

    A lethal combination!

  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

    sexist men choose to grow facial hair because it maximizes sexual dimorphism” OK, ladies – grow out your mustaches, armpits, and legs. Be real women drowning in your unrealizable feelings.

    Al Franken to you and your implants.

  • Geoff Kieley


  • Combustioneer

    I’ve had a mustache for 30 years, a full beard off and on until I grew a goatee on vacation 12 years ago. I have gotten nothing but compliments, on my well groomed face, from women and haven’t spent more than a week stretch unemployed over the past 35 years. My wife is very much a smart, confident, woman as are most of her friends and coworkers. The kind of women that I respect. Unlike those who expect to be respected because they are women. Respect is earned regardless of your sex. By the way gender is a grammatical term so with humans it’s your sex not your gender.

    • OWilson

      Congratulations! :)

      • Combustioneer

        Oh and i drive a pickup truck, have a full head of hair and I’m 58. Is that middle aged now?

        • OWilson

          The new 35!


  • Megadead™

    Well, I guess that makes sexism perfectly natural then. No one’s to blame.

  • Tony Dambrosio

    I grew a beard cuz it helps me beat women

  • ChoreBoy

    Interesting how they chose India—a country where witch hunts still take place, rape usually goes unpunished despite evidence and people often have to defecate in the streets—as a place to poll. Just look up India and women’s rights once. Of course there’s going to be a sexist trend when the majority of those polled come from a notoriously sexist country. Also, polling a mere 532 men is hardly indicative of such a specific correlation. Especially when both countries polled have wildly different ideas on how women should be, and are, treated.
    To top all of this off, this poor excuse of an article covering a poor excuse of a study is categorized under “reinforcing stereotypes” and “holy correlation Batman!” I thought stereotyping was some egregious offense. What if they compared crime rates of adults who were raised by both parents as opposed to one parent, then break it down by race? Not only has more research been done on the topic, it’s backed by years of statistical data. Imagine categorizing an article like that on that the same way this one was. Childish and distasteful. Especially since this study seems intellectually dishonest.

    • OWilson

      Still using “Just For Men”, I see! :)

  • ben

    Interesting. Does anyone have a link to the actual study, maybe some more numbers? I’d like to know the statistical likelihood that I’ll start beating my wife if I don’t shave this week, versus if I do shave. Certainly I’d have less TIME to beat my wife if I was shaving, maybe that’s the correlation, time management.

    • arnie deleo

      I love you Ben.

  • Atman Johnson

    There are those who let their beards grow because shaving bears the question “Why”? Why shave? It’s merely a social norm. Nothing sexist about either choice. My beard never had anything to do with “perception of masculinity, age, social dominance, and aggressiveness”. Seems you’re only projecting your preconceived notions.


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