It's studies like this that makes us think that society is coming to an
end. Published in the journal Sex Roles, the study suggests that girls
as young as six years old are concerned with appearing sexually
For the study, researchers presented girls aged between 6 to 9 with a series of paired paper dolls. One doll was dressed in a "sexy" outfit while the other was in a trendy but full-coverage outfit:
Using a different set of dolls for each question, the researchers then asked each girl to choose the doll that: looked like herself, looked how she wanted to look, was the popular girl in school, she wanted to play with.
Guess which one was the most popular?
Across-the-board, girls chose the "sexy" doll most often. The results were significant in two categories: 68 percent of the girls said the doll looked how she wanted to look, and 72 percent said she was more popular than the non-sexy doll.
The study found that girls who played sports chose the non-sexualized doll more often, while girls who both watched a lot of TV and had mothers with "self-objectifying tendencies" were more likely to choose the sexy doll.
However, girls who watched a lot of TV but received "maternal instruction during media viewing" (moms who were openly criticizing the shows) were more protected from self-sexualization, while girls with religious mothers were similarly non-sexualized:
Girls who didn't consume a lot of media but who had religious mothers were much more likely to say they wanted to look like the sexy doll. "This pattern of results may reflect a case of 'forbidden fruit' or reactance, whereby young girls who are overprotected from the perceived ills of media by highly religious parents … begin to idealize the forbidden due to their underexposure," the authors wrote..."low media consumption is not a silver bullet" against early self-sexualization in girls.
Of course, there could be more factors contributing to this sexualization of minors. But instead of blaming everything else for screwing up our kids, perhaps we should just give them more attention instead of letting the television do all the babysitting for us?