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Study Shows That People Think Politicians with Facial Hair Are Sexist

A recent study showed that voters were more likely to think that politicians with beards were sexist.

Sexist pig. (Photo via Wikimedia)

A while back, a team of researchers at Oklahoma State University wanted to find an answer to the burning question: Why do so few politicians have facial hair? Only five percent of Congress has facial hair, and America’s last mustachioed president finished his term in 1913. So the researchers decided to do what they do best—research—and came up with a surprising result: the more facial hair a politician had, the more likely people thought he was sexist.

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In Defense of Beards: Debunking Research That Facial Hair Isn't Sexy

Here's what women really think about facial hair.


It's been a bad week for beards. The Daily Mail fired the first shot: "Psychologists confirm: Women REALLY don't like beards‎." Tabloids around the world piled on. "Let's face it, beards aren't sexy," Sky News claimed. "Beards aren't attractive to women and scare other men away, study suggests," the Global News added.

As a woman who kind of likes beards, I was intrigued by the news that I found them scientifically repulsive. I shelled out $32 to read the full study on which the headlines were based—a Behavioral Ecology piece with the relatively subdued title, "Beards augment perceptions of men's age, social status, and aggressiveness, but not attractiveness." I was soon rewarded for my investment. This beard study is wild: It's peppered with references to "the fossil record" and discusses the evolutionary purpose of lion's manes in an attempt to understand the facial hair preferences of human women. At one point, the researchers remind us that "beards do not directly improve fighting ability." In fairness, they also attempt to debunk previous scientific literature that associates men's beards "with traits such as vagrancy."

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Grow a Moustache: Help Change the Face of Men's Health

Donate your upper lip to the fight against prostate cancer.

This November there's no reason to shave. The month marks the seventh anniversary of the Movember movement, when men around the world forgo the razor for thirty autumn days to raise awareness and funds for the fight against prostate cancer.

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