If you’ve ever stumbled upon a YouTube video where little girls perform a hypersexualized dance routine set to a dancehall tune or a slow jam, then you won’t be surprised at the results of a recent study that showed 68 percent of girl participants, aged 6 to 9, want to look “sexy.” The study presented two paper doll options to the 60 girls surveyed: one fully clothed and the other scantily clad. More than two-thirds indicated they’d prefer to look like the girl who was scantily clad. Seventy-two percent also believed the “sexy” girl was more popular than the more modestly dressed one.

As always, media representations did play a part in the results. But the media wasn’t the biggest determinant in the girls’ outlooks:

… According to the study, girls who watched a lot of TV and movies and who had mothers who were very concerned about their clothing and appearance were more likely to say the sexy doll was popular…. On the other hand, mothers who used TV and movies as teaching moments about bad behavior and unrealistic scenarios were less likely to have daughters who said they looked like the sexy doll.

It seems that a mother’s influence, in one direction or the other, is the most significant factor in how girls view themselves. A Salon article on the study included further findings:

The researchers went on to say that “the quantity of TV and movies watched is not, in and of itself, a risk factor for young girls’ sexualized self-views.” Instead, it’s “the interaction between media hours and maternal self-objectification that creates vulnerability for early sexualization.”

In other words, while some moms may think it’s cute that their 5-year-old knows how to body-roll on command at the family cookout, the moves they’ve picked up from music videos, as well as Mom’s encouragement, are setting them up for a lifetime of viewing themselves as sexual objects.

What do you think? Are any of the findings surprising? Are mothers complicit in their daughters’ prematurely sexualized views of themselves?

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  • 2NatuRho

    It saddens me when I see young girls who are obsessed with being older than their age. Children don’t know how to be children anymore; they want to look and act grown. It also doesn’t help that alot of young children are being raised by children too. Majority of this future generation has no idea what manners, morals, and/or values is, so it doesn’t surprise me that a study of girls want to look and dress scantily clad when their Mommas are letting them watch rap videos instead of PBS or Nick Jr.

  • Another reason why fathers are way more important than mothers, and women cannot just sleep with whomever…

    • mybrownbaby

      Fathers are way more important than mothers?! Surely, you jest. How about mothers AND fathers are important to the raising and rearing of children—for different reasons and in a myriad of ways.

  • The article is very good, I like it very much. Here I learned a lot, and then I will pay more attention to you.By the way,I agree with jamesfrmphilly’s idea.