Sixty girls were shown two dolls, one dressed in tight and revealing "sexy" clothes and the other wearing a trendy but covered-up, loose outfit. What moms can do Recent books like "The Lolita Effect" Overlook TP, and "So Sexy So Soon" Ballantine Books, have raised concerns that girls are being sexualized at a young age, and Starr said her study is the first to provide empirical evidence for the trend. Being involved in dance and other sports has been linked to greater body appreciation and higher body image in teen girls and women, Starr said. In , the American Psychological Association sounded the alarm in a report on the sexualization of girls. Dollz Mania's ChaZie Dollmaker, http: The girls in this latter group actually chose the non-sexualized doll more often for each of the four questions than did the public-school group. It documented consequences of self-objectification and sexualization that have been identified in mainly college-age women, ranging from distractibility during mental tasks and eating disorders to reduced condom use and fewer women pursuing careers in math and science. On the other hand, mothers who reported often using TV and movies as teaching moments about bad behaviors and unrealistic scenarios were much less likely to have daughters who said they looked like the sexy doll.
Bratz dolls dressed in sexualized clothing such as miniskirts, fishnet stockings and feather boas , clothing e. The APA report, which inspired the new study, cited widespread sexualization of women in popular culture. What moms can do Recent books like "The Lolita Effect" Overlook TP, and "So Sexy So Soon" Ballantine Books, have raised concerns that girls are being sexualized at a young age, and Starr said her study is the first to provide empirical evidence for the trend. The authors suggest that the media or moms who sexualize women may predispose girls toward objectifying themselves; then, the other factor mom or media reinforces the messages, amplifying the effect. Dollz Mania's ChaZie Dollmaker, http: Another possibility is that mothers of girls who displayed sexualized attitudes and behaviors had responded by restricting the amount of TV and movies their daughters could watch. More research is also needed, she said, on the consequences of sexualization on young girls' health, well-being and identity, and whether young girls who objectify themselves also act out these sexual behaviors. Being involved in dance and other sports has been linked to greater body appreciation and higher body image in teen girls and women, Starr said. The girls in this latter group actually chose the non-sexualized doll more often for each of the four questions than did the public-school group. The study, published online July 6 in the journal Sex Roles, also identified factors that protect girls from objectifying themselves. Girls who consumed a lot of media but who had religious mothers were protected against self-sexualizing, perhaps because these moms "may be more likely to model higher body-esteem and communicate values such as modesty," the authors wrote, which could mitigate the images portrayed on TV or in the movies. Media consumption alone didn't influence girls to prefer the sexy doll. The results were significant in two categories: Other studies have found that sexiness boosts popularity among girls but not boys. Regardless, the authors underlined, "low media consumption is not a silver bullet" against early self-sexualization in girls. Alena Ozerova , Shutterstock Most girls as young as 6 are already beginning to think of themselves as sex objects, according to a new study of elementary school-age kids in the Midwest. She would also like to look at how fathers and the media influence boys' understanding of sexualized messages and views toward women. Researchers have shown in the past that women and teens think of themselves in sexually objectified terms, but the new study is the first to identify self-sexualization in young girls. When shown a set of two dolls, one in revealing clothes and the other in trendy by covered-up clothes, about 70 percent of girls in the study said they looked more like the sexy doll and that the sexy doll was more popular than the non-sexy doll. In , the American Psychological Association sounded the alarm in a report on the sexualization of girls. The power of maternal instruction during media viewing may explain why every additional hour of TV- or movie-watching actually decreased the odds by 7 percent that a girl would choose the sexy doll as popular, Starr said. On the other hand, mothers who reported often using TV and movies as teaching moments about bad behaviors and unrealistic scenarios were much less likely to have daughters who said they looked like the sexy doll. This article was updated at 5: Most of the girls were recruited from two public schools, but a smaller subset was recruited from a local dance studio. But girls who watched a lot of TV and movies and who had mothers who reported self-objectifying tendencies, such as worrying about their clothes and appearance many times a day, in the study were more likely to say the sexy doll was popular. Psychologists at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. Moms can help their daughters navigate a sexualizing world by instructing their daughters about their values and by not demonstrating objectified and sexualized behaviors themselves.
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