Date of Award

5-14-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Murnen, Sarah

Abstract

Previous research has shown that both women and girls may be rated as less competent, capable, intelligent, and moral when wearing sexualized dress as opposed to neutral or professional clothes. The goal of the present study was to examine the relationship between sexualized dress and competence, as well as the idea that sexualized dress might give women added influence when speaking with men. One hundred and forty eight participants from two Midwestern liberal arts colleges viewed an image of a woman in either sexualized or neutral dress, and then read her resume, which depicted her as either high or average in competence. The gender of the participant and the participants‰Ûª levels of hostile (or benevolent) sexism were also examined. The sexualized woman was seen as more attractive, and the accomplishment manipulation had expected effects on masculine-stereotyped traits. Men as a group rated the woman depicted as lower in competence, capability, and morality. However, the woman was sometimes rated more favorably when wearing sexualized as opposed to neutral clothing, which was not expected. Participants‰Ûª levels of hostile and benevolent sexism influenced results in complex ways, sometimes affected by the gender of the participant. For instance, men high in hostile sexism did not rate the woman in neutral clothing favorably, while men high in benevolent sexism preferred the woman in neutral dress. Results suggest that a woman‰Ûªs decision to wear sexualized dress among her peers could lead to varying perceptions based on perceiver characteristics. ‰ÛÄ

Comments

Includes bibliographical references (p. 41-43)

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