Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 891–899 | Cite as

The Association Between Men’s Sexist Attitudes and Facial Hair

  • Julian A. OldmeadowEmail author
  • Barnaby J. Dixson
Original Paper


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.


Facial hair Ambivalent sexism Masculinity Social dominance 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Psychological ScienceSwinburne University of TechnologyHawthornAustralia
  2. 2.School of PsychologyThe University of QueenslandSt. Lucia, BrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.Evolution & Ecology Research Centre, School of Biological, Earth & Environmental SciencesUniversity of New South WalesKensington, SydneyAustralia

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