"Sexy" Clothing for Young Girls Makes Up 30 Percent of the Market
Photo: Nick Dolding/Getty Images
If it seems like the clothes designed for young girls now are more revealing than the ones on sale when you were a child, that's not entirely wrong: According to Jezebel, a team of researchers at Kenyon College found that about 30 percent of the fashions aimed at young girls were "sexy or sexualizing."
The team looked at 5,666 pieces of clothing on the websites of 15 U.S. stores, noting which ones were "sexualized clothing" -- meaning they "emphasized a sexualized body part, such as shirts and dresses that were cut in such a way as to create the look of breasts, or highly decorated pants' pockets that called attention to the buttocks," says Science Daily. They also considered suggestive writing and "childlike characteristics," like ribbons and polka dots. (All the clothes were sized for children, not teens, says the study, though it did not specify the age range.)
The majority of the clothing -- 69 percent -- had only the childlike characteristics, but the leftover 31 percent wasn't so innocent: 25 percent had both sexualizing and childlike qualities, and 4 percent had "only sexualized characteristics."
The researchers point out that parents might not notice how sexualized the clothes are when they're designed for kids -- and that starting girls out so young leads to cultural objectification.
"Confused parents might be pursuaded to buy the leopard-print miniskirt if it's bright pink," they write. "Clearly, sexiness is still visible beneath the bows or tie-dye colors. We propose that dressing girls in this way could contribute to socializing them into the narrow role of the sexually objectified woman."
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