Preteen girls who dress in sexier outfits are judged as less competent and less moral than those who wear age-appropriate clothings, a new study has claimed.
Earlier studies have found that adult women who dress in revealing clothing are seen as less competent than women who are more buttoned-up.
Now, a team at Kenyon College in Ohio found that young girls who dress in sexualised clothings — or those with suggestive writing, slinky material or a revealing cut — are perceived as less competent than their modestly dressed peers, LiveScience reported.
For the study, published in the journal Sex Roles, Sarah Murnen, a psychologist at Kenyon, and colleagues recruited 162 students, 106 of them women, to view photos of a prepubescent blonde white girl wearing one of three different outfits and rate them on traits such as competence and intelligence.
In the “childlike” condition, the girl wore a gray shirt with ruffled sleeves, jeans and Mary Jane-style shoes. In the “ambiguously sexualised” condition, she wore a modest-length dress with a leopard-print pattern and in the final condition, the girl wore an obviously sexualised outfit — a very short dress with a leopard-print cardigan and purse.
In some photos, the girl was described as an average fifth-grader who enjoys reading and is a member of the student council. In others, she was described as being a top reader at the top of her class and president of the student council.
People’s rankings of the her capability dropped when she wore the obviously serialising outfit.