“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”

Instant Access to Thousands of Journals for just $40/month

Try 2 weeks free now

“Putting on” Sexiness: A Content Analysis of the Presence of Sexualizing Characteristics in Girls’ Clothing



Objectification theory (Fredrickson and Roberts 1997) proposes that women from Western cultures are widely portrayed and treated as objects of the male gaze, leading to the development of self-objectification, in which girls and women internalize these societal messages and view their own bodies as objects to be evaluated according to narrow standards of (often sexualized) attractiveness. Prompted by findings from the American Psychological Association Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls (APA 2007), the present study considers girls’ clothing as a possible socializing influence that may contribute to the development of self-objectification in preteen girls. Accordingly, in this content analysis, we examined the frequency and nature of “sexualizing” clothing available for girl children (generally sizes 6–14) on the websites of 15 popular stores in the US. Sexualizing clothing was defined as clothing that revealed or emphasized a sexualized body part, had characteristics associated with sexiness, and/or had sexually suggestive writing. Clothing was also coded for childlike characteristics, such as child-like fabric (e.g., polka dot pattern) or a modest, non-revealing cut. Across all stores and all articles of clothing, 69% of the clothing items were coded as having only childlike characteristics, 4% as having only sexualizing characteristics, 25.4% as having both sexualizing and childlike characteristics, and 1% as having neither sexualizing nor childlike characteristics. “Tween” stores like Abercrombie Kids had the highest proportion of sexualizing clothing. The findings are discussed within the framework of the development of self-objectification.



Sex RolesSpringer Journals

Published: Jul 1, 2011

DOI: 10.1007/s11199-011-9966-8

Free Preview of First Page

Loading next page...

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.

DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy unlimited access and
personalized recommendations from
over 12 million articles from more than
10,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $40/month

Try 2 weeks free now

Explore the DeepDyve Library

How DeepDyve Works

Spend time researching, not time worrying you’re buying articles that might not be useful.

Unlimited reading

Read as many articles as you need. Full articles with original layout, charts and figures. Read online, from anywhere.

Stay up to date

Keep up with your field with Personalized Recommendations and Follow Journals to get automatic updates.

Organize your research

It’s easy to organize your research with our built-in tools.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from Springer, Elsevier, Nature, IEEE, Wiley-Blackwell and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

Simple and Affordable Pricing

14-day free trial. Cancel anytime, with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Monthly Plan

  • Read unlimited articles
  • Personalized recommendations
  • Print 20 pages per month
  • 20% off on PDF purchases
  • Organize your research
  • Get updates on your journals and topic searches


Best Deal — 25% off

Annual Plan

  • All the features of the Professional Plan, but for 25% off!
  • For the normal price of 10 articles elsewhere, you get one full year of unlimited access to articles.

billed annually