October 12, 2009

Hijab wearing and perception of intelligence/attractiveness

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.



Maju said...

For intelligence ratings, non-Muslim men provided significantly higher ratings than Muslim men for both conditions.

Further evidence that Islam is misogynistic?

Unknown said...

Branding an entire religion on basis of a study of 98 men.

Absolute evidence that this chap has no idea of Islam, and a classic example of religious stereotyping.

terryt said...

I agree with Maju here:

"Muslim men's ratings of the attractiveness and intelligence of women wearing the hijab was positively correlated with self-reported religiosity".

Can you think of any other reason for such a correlation?

Anonymous said...

I shouldn't display my prejudice here but I think Muslims, men or women, the men are easy to pick out even when wearing normal clothing, look utterly stupid, devoid of any intelligence. Attractiveness is a personal thing. For me Muslims of the "Arab", Middle Eastern or North African kind are somewhat hideous. Indonesian Muslims and other SE Asian Muslims have a better appeal. The Hijab makes Muslim women look like Bagladies without the shopping cart. The wife of an Australian Muslim Lebanese rugby player who recently retired, El Masri is his name, said on Australian television that the hijab is liberating for women and some other Muslim propaganda. They are too dumb to see how demeaning that form of dress is to women, and the male equivalent worn by Arabian men or Pakistani men, besides those costumes are totally impractical for most activities normal in life. When I see them I make sure I am upwind.

Dienekes said...

I shouldn't display my prejudice here

So, don't.

Maju said...

So, don't.


Actually Muslims look as smart (or dumb) as anyone else. I know a lot of Muslims from daily encounters and never thought they were particularly dumb or anything of the like. I do have other issues with Islam and in general conservative religious dogmas, specially when they go against universal human rights and dignity, but I could never relate that to any sort of intelligence variance other than the normal one that says that religious people of every sect might be slightly less bright (lower IQ but higher EQ) than atheists and agnostics on average - but this seems more related with the kind of people that are attracted to religion in general, if anything, and is nothing extreme anyhow and hardly noticeable on daily basis.

However machismo, misogyny, is another story. Though in this case we should also look at the role of Christian denominantions in the recent past and even today in some cases and aspects. I'd like to see a comparison of Muslim men with Christian men in this aspect. I imagine that in most aspects Western Christian men are already too highly influenced by the secular consensus on gender equality but I bet this is not the case in less developed areas like Africa or Utah.

A good control would be comparing religious men of different denominations but of the same country or ethnicity, for instance Lebanese Christians and Lebanese Muslims, Indian Hindus and Indian Muslims, Han and Hui, Bosnian Christians and Muslims, etc. Maybe there the differences would not be so extreme. We might be comparing way too different cultural regions of the world.

Unknown said...

MediaCurves.com conducted a recent follow-up study among 1,431 Americans about their perceptions of woman wearing a traditional Muslim shawl, or hijab. The results revealed many positive changes in the respondent’s views with regard to the photo of a woman wearing a hijab. The woman with a shawl was viewed as more friendly, beautiful, and less strict, compared to an identical study that was run in January 2008. Respondents were also more welcoming of the idea of the woman depicted living in their neighborhood than in 2008.
More in depth results can be seen at:

lkdjf said...
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