Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
The present study examined the relationship between dressing in a sexualized manner and young girls’ thoughts about themselves and how they should be treated. In this study, a measure was created to assess self-sexualization through clothing choice by presenting 4th and 5th grade girls with eight pairs of clothing items, and summing the number of times they chose the “sexualized” item. Although scores on this measure were not correlated with other scales as predicted, what girls were actually wearing was significantly linked to negative outcomes that have been associated with sexualization and self-objectification (APA Task Force, 2007). For example, lower levels of body esteem, which have been related to negative outcomes for young girls, were significantly related to wearing sexualized clothing (APA Task Force, 2007). Additionally, high levels of masculinity were associated with less acceptance of harassment and higher levels of confidence in young girls, while high levels of femininity were associated with high levels of self-surveillance and concern about the body. This study supports the idea that self-sexualization is an issue that concerns young girls especially as it appears to have a strong relationship with body esteem and other negative cognitions about the body. This study also supports the idea that how girls dress may be an indicator of how they see themselves and how they want to be seen. Thus, examining mechanisms of self-sexualization in important in understanding what effect the growing sexualization of girls is having.
Kirsch, Alexandra, "“Sexy Young Things”: What Dressing “Sexy” Means for Young Girls" (2011). Honors Theses. 41.