In what is surely going to prove a controversial conclusion, a new study has claimed to find a link between beards and misogny. As always, correlation does not necessarily imply causation, but that hasn't stopped the researchers making such a link.
The study, published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour, asked 532 American and Indian men how much they agree with certain statements about women, along with their current facial hair status. The survey was conducted online through the crowdsourcing marketplace Amazon Mechanical Turk.
After accounting for factors like nationality, age, education level, relationship status and sexual orientation, the researchers claimed that men with facial hair were more likely to hold sexist beliefs and misogynistic attitudes.
They found 86 percent of bearded Indian men and 65 percent of bushy Americans hold “hostile sexist attitudes” – significantly more than their clean-shaven counterparts.
Men who held these “hostile sexist” attitudes were more likely to agree with statements like “Once a woman gets a man to commit to her, she usually tries to put him on a tight leash" and “Women seek to gain power by getting control over men."
The study also looked at “benevolent sexism.” They defined this attitude, which suggests men and women have very distinct gender differences, with men taking a “protective” and paternalistic role. “Benevolent sexist” attitudes included agreeing with statements like “Women should be cherished and protected by men" as well as behaviours like opening doors for women and insisting on paying for a dinner.
The study proposed that men who already hold sexist beliefs enjoy growing their beards because it asserts masculinity and reinforces ideals of dominance. However, they also suggested that growing a beard can force men into behaviour in accordance of perceived cultural notions of masculinity.
However, it is probably worth remembering, if you believe judging someone based on their gender is wrong, then judging someone’s character by their facial hair length is also probably wrong too.