The polarization properties of stimulated Brillouin scattering (SBS) amplification or attenuation in standard single-mode fibers are examined through vectorial analysis, simulation and experiment. Vector propagation equations for the signal wave, incorporating SBS and birefringence, are derived and analyzed in both the Jones and Stokes spaces. The analysis shows that in the undepleted pump regime, the fiber may be regarded as a polarization-dependent gain (or loss) medium, having two orthogonal input SOPs, and corresponding two orthogonal output SOPs, for the signal, which, respectively, provide the signal with maximum and minimum SBS amplification (or attenuation). Under high Brillouin gain conditions and excluding zero-probability cases, the output SOP of arbitrarily polarized input signals, would tend to converge towards that of maximum SBS gain. In the case of high SBS attenuation the output SOP of an arbitrarily polarized signal would approach the output SOP corresponding to minimum attenuation. It is found that for a wide range of practical pump powers (≤ 100mW) and for sufficiently long fibers with typical SBS and birefringence parameters, the signal aligned for maximum SBS interaction will enter/emerge from the fiber with its electric field closely tracing the same ellipse in space as that of the pump at the corresponding side of the fiber, albeit with the opposite sense of rotation. The analytic predictions are experimentally demonstrated for both Stokes (amplification) and anti-Stokes (attenuation) signals.