The polarization-related properties of stimulated Brillouin scattering (SBS) processes in long, randomly birefringent, standard optical fibers are examined. Evolution equations for the pump and signal waves, in the presence of both birefringence and SBS, are provided in Jones and Stokes spaces. It is shown that in the undepleted pump regime, the amplification of the SBS signal wave is equivalent to that of a linear medium with polarization-dependent gain. The process is associated with a pair of orthogonal states of polarizations (SOPs) of the signal wave, which undergo maximum and minimum amplification. In long, standard fibers, the Jones vector of the probe SOP which corresponds to maximum amplification is aligned with the complex conjugate of the pump wave Jones vector. The maximum and minimum SBS gain coefficients in such fibers equal two-thirds and one-third of the gain coefficient that is predicted by scalar theory, respectively. The large differential gain of the SBS process gives rise to an effective pulling of the amplified Stokes probe wave SOP, towards that of maximum amplification. Lastly, Stokes wave pulses that are aligned for maximum and minimum amplification experience different group delays, which manifest as polarization-related distortions in SBS slow light setups.© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.