The Grapevine

Science-Backed Reasons Why Bald Is Better: Dominance, Confidence, And Masculinity Associated With Hairless Heads

Going bald is extremely common, but still dreaded; around 94 percent of men name “hair loss” as their greatest fear of growing older. While going bald for some men is inevitable (at least for now), science suggests it may actually have a lot of benefits.

A 2012 study that was recently revived on the internet found that bald men were perceived by volunteers as being more dominant, more masculine, and more confident than hairier men, The Indy 100 reported. In addition, the study conducted by Albert Mannes of the University of Pennsylvania, also found that bald men were more often perceived as taller and stronger than they actually were; the same wasn't true for hairy men.  

Read: Breakthrough Drug Restores More Than 90% Of Lost Hair In Most Patients

This was not Mannes' only research on the attractiveness of bald men; two other studies led by the American researcher came to the same conclusion: balder is better. Of course, there seemed to be a threshold of baldness before a man could cross over into "The Rock" status: the study found that “balding” men — men with bald patches who hadn’t made the leap to go completely bald yet — were found to be less attractive and weaker.

The Rock Duane "The Rock" Johnson proves just how attractive a bald head can be. Photo Courtesy of Getty/Gustavo Caballero

According to The BBC, another study with the same premise found that although bald and balding men were not seen as more attractive than hairy men (at least by the individuals involved in the survey), having no hair was consistently associated with more intelligence, more influence, as well as being more educated, honest, helpful, and coming from a higher social status.

The study is entertaining and interesting, but also shows that sexual attraction is not always what it seems (or what Hollywood tries to push on us). For example, despite the widespread image of a six-pack sporting Baywatch character as the epitome of sexiness, Richard Bribiescas, a professor of anthropology at Yale University and author of the book, "How Men Age: What Evolution Reveals About Male Health and Mortality," told The Telegraph that women often prefer older chubby men to their more slender counterparts, according to his research. 

According to Bribiescas, the preference for the “dad bod” can be explained by simple evolutionary biology. With age, men experience natural decreases in testosterone. Less testosterone can often lead to slight weight gain, but may also help to strengthen the immune system. Bribiescas suggests that having less testosterone may make men more likely to spend time and energy on raising the children they already have, rather than spend energy chasing women with the hopes of fathering more children. In addition, a stronger immune system as a result of less testosterone could allow these men to lead longer, healthier lives, an important factor in raising a child to the age of 18. 

The benefits of being bald don’t just end at perceived masculinity and confidence. According to The BBC, baldness may be the male equivalent of a peacock’s tail, and could have evolved as a way to attract women. In addition, The BBC reported that there may actually be health benefits to being bald, suggesting that the trait could have evolved as a way to help reduce men’s overall risk of cancer, particularly prostate cancer — which would explain why balding is traditionally a male behavior, despite both genders having hair on their heads.

Source: Mannes AE. Shorn Scalps and Perceptions of Male Dominance. Social Psychology and Personality Science. 2017

See Also:

Going Bald Named The Greatest Aging Fear By 94% Of Men

Going Bald Isn't Your Mother's Fault; Maternal Genetics Are Not To Blame

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