Recent research concludes that men grow beards not to impress women, but to help boost their standing among other men.
A recent article by The Conversation points to research which suggests women aren’t nearly as interested in beards as men are, although both genders seem to associate a beard with a stronger, more mature man. A deep voice has also been associated with a sense of dominance in men.
To prove the theory, a test was performed in which 20 men and 20 women rated six men based on their dominance and attractiveness. The men were video taped over four sessions where their facial hair was at different lengths. Their voices were also altered to be higher and lower pitched.
The results found those men whose voices were deeper than average were rated as the most attractive, although very deep and very high voices were not found to be as attractive. Men with deep voices were also perceived to be the most dominant. Those with beards didn’t rank any higher or lower on the attractiveness scale, but they did rank as more dominant than those without facial hair.
In the end, it is surmised that men grow beards not to directly attract women, but to assert their dominance among the field of other players. “The funny, shy guy at the back of the bar isn’t going to stand a chance when competing with his bolshier brothers otherwise,” The Conversation notes. “And there’s evidence that beards evolved to help men do just that.”
Other observations found that men tend to overstate how muscular they should be to attract women, while women tend to think they should be skinnier and wear more makeup than men really want.