Researchers have shown in the past that women and teens think of themselves in sexually objectified terms, but the new study is the first to identify self-sexualization in young girls. The study, published online July 6 in the journal Sex Roles, also identified factors that protect girls from objectifying themselves.
Psychologists at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., used paper dolls to assess self-sexualization in 6- to 9-year-old girls. Sixty girls were shown two dolls, one dressed in tight and revealing \"sexy\" clothes and the other wearing a trendy but covered-up, loose outfit.
Using a different set of dolls for each question, the researchers then asked each girl to choose the doll that: looked like herself, looked how she wanted to look, was the popular girl in school, she wanted to play with.
Across-the-board, girls chose the \"sexy\" doll most often. The results were significant in two categories: 68 percent of the girls said the doll looked how she wanted to look, and 72 percent said she was more popular than the non-sexy doll.
\"It's very possible that girls wanted to look like the sexy doll because they believe sexiness leads to popularity, which comes with many social advantages,\" explained lead researcher Christy Starr, who was particularly surprised at how many 6- to 7-year-old girls chose the sexualized doll as their ideal self.
Starr and her research adviser and co-author, Gail Ferguson, also looked at factors that influenced the girls' responses. Most of the girls were recruited from two public schools, but a smaller subset was recruited from a local dance studio. The girls in this latter group actually chose the non-sexualized doll more often for each of the four questions than did the public-school group. Being involved in dance and other sports has been linked to greater body appreciation and higher body image in teen girls and women, Starr said. [10 Odd Facts About the Female Body]
\"It's possible that for young girls, dance involvement increased body esteem and created awareness that their bodies can be used for purposes besides looking sexy for others, and thus decreased self-sexualization.\" (The researchers cautioned, however, that a previous study found that young girls in \"aesthetic\" sports like dance are more concerned about their weight than others.)
Media consumption alone didn't influence girls to prefer the sexy doll. But girls who watched a lot of TV and movies and who had mothers who reported self-objectifying tendencies, such as worrying about their clothes and appearance many times a day, in the study were more likely to say the sexy doll was popular.
Recent books like \"The Lolita Effect\" (Overlook TP, 2008) and \"So Sexy So Soon\" (Ballantine Books, 2009) have raised concerns that girls are being sexualized at a young age, and Starr said her study is the first to provide empirical evidence for the trend. In 2007, the American Psychological Association sounded the alarm in a report on the sexualization of girls. It documented consequences of self-objectification and sexualization that have been identified in mainly college-age women, ranging from distractibility during mental tasks and eating disorders to reduced condom use and fewer women pursuing careers in math and science. Starr and her colleagues wrote that they expected similar outcomes in younger adolescents and girls.
The authors cited examples like \"advertisements (e.g. the Sketchers naughty and nice ad that featured Christina Aguilera dressed as a schoolgirl in pigtails, with her shirt unbuttoned, licking a lollipop), dolls (e.g. Bratz dolls dressed in sexualized clothing such as miniskirts, fishnet stockings and feather boas), clothing (e.g. thong underwear sized for 7- to 10-year-olds, some printed with slogans such as 'wink wink'), and television programs (e.g. a televised fashion show in which adult models in lingerie were presented as young girls).\" Parents, teachers and peers were also cited as influencing girls' sexualized identities. [The 10 Most Destructive Human Behaviors]
Starr studied the influence of mothers because there's more evidence that daughters model themselves after their mothers, but she believes that fathers may also play an important role in how young girls see themselves. She would also like to look at how fathers and the media influence boys' understanding of sexualized messages and views toward women. More research is also needed, she said, on the consequences of sexualization on young girls' health, well-being and identity, and whether young girls who objectify themselves also act out these sexual behaviors.
Then, she ripped out her phone and pulled up her Instagram, showing me a picture of her daughter who is 15. The photo was sexy, a bit revealing, but there was nothing that stood out as being too much.
Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan are the co-founders of Grown and Flown the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. They are writers (Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author), moms, wives and friends. They started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and are co-authors of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.
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Some Americans are troubled by what they see as an effort on the part of federal courts and civil liberties advocates to exclude God and religious sentiment from public schools. Such an effort, these Americans believe, infringes on the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion.
Moreover, as a 2019 survey of American teens shows some forms of religious expression are relatively common in public schools. For instance, about four-in-ten public school students say they routinely see other students praying before sporting events, according to the survey. And about half of U.S. teens in public schools (53%) say they often or sometimes see other students wearing jewelry or clothing with religious symbols.
This analysis, updated on Oct. 3, 2019, was originally published in 2007 as part of a larger series that explored different aspects of the complex and fluid relationship between government and religion. This report includes sections on school prayer, the pledge of allegiance, religion in school curricula, and the religious liberty rights of students and teachers.
In these and other decisions, the court has repeatedly stressed that the Constitution prohibits public schools from indoctrinating children in religion. But it is not always easy to determine exactly what constitutes indoctrination or school sponsorship of religious activities. For example, can a class on the Bible as literature be taught without a bias for or against the idea that the Bible is religious truth Can students be compelled to participate in a Christmas-themed music program Sometimes students themselves, rather than teachers, administrators or coaches, bring faith into school activities. For instance, when a student invokes gratitude to God in a valedictory address, or a high school football player offers a prayer in a huddle, is the school legally responsible for their religious expression
The issues are complicated by other constitutional guarantees. For instance, the First Amendment also protects freedom of speech and freedom of association. Religious groups have cited those guarantees in support of student religious speech and in efforts to obtain school sponsorship and resources for student religious clubs.
As these more recent controversies show, public schools remain a battlefield where the religious interests of parents, students, administrators and teachers often clash. The conflicts affect many aspects of public education, including classroom curricula, high school football games, student clubs, graduation ceremonies.
But while courts have given states some latitude in crafting moment of silence statutes, they have shown much less deference to laws or policies that involve actual prayer. In 2000, for instance, the Supreme Court ruled in Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe that schools may not sponsor student-recited prayer at high school football games.
Some courts, particularly in the South, have upheld the constitutionality of student-initiated religious speech, emphasizing the private origins of this kind of religious expression. As long as school officials did not encourage or explicitly approve the contents, those courts have upheld religious content in student commencement speeches.
In Adler v. Duval County School Board (1996), for example, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals approved a system at a Florida high school in which the senior class, acting independently of school officials, selected a class member to deliver a commencement address. School officials neither influenced the choice of speaker nor screened the speech. Under those circumstances, the appeals court ruled that the school was not responsible for the religious content of the address.
Courts have also expended substantial time and energy considering public school programs that involve Bible study. Although the Supreme Court has occasionally referred to the permissibility of teaching the Bible as literature, some school districts have instituted Bible study programs that courts have found unconstitutional. Frequently, judges have concluded that these courses are thinly disguised efforts to teach a particular understanding of the New Testament. 59ce067264