Body Image. 2009 Oct 6. [Epub ahead of print]
The influence of the hijab (Islamic head-cover) on perceptions of women's attractiveness and intelligence.
Mahmud Y, Swami V.
This study examined the effects of wearing the hijab, or Islamic headwear, on men's perceptions of women's attractiveness and intelligence. A total of 57 non-Muslim men and 41 Muslim men rated a series of images of women, half of whom were unveiled and half of whom wore the hijab. For attractiveness and intelligence ratings, a mixed analysis of variance showed a significant effect of hijab status, with women wearing the hijab being rated more negatively than unveiled women. For attractiveness ratings, there was no significant effect of participant religion, although non-Muslim men rated unveiled women significantly higher than veiled women. For intelligence ratings, non-Muslim men provided significantly higher ratings than Muslim men for both conditions. In addition, Muslim men's ratings of the attractiveness and intelligence of women wearing the hijab was positively correlated with self-reported religiosity. These results are discussed in relation to religious stereotyping within increasingly multi-cultural societies.