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Girls with skimpier clothing seen as silly

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.

world Updated: Mar 27, 2012 00:56 IST

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.