Washington: According to a new study, a major proportion of young/teenage girls` clothing is overtly `sexy` or sexualising.
Researchers say that this has serious implications as girls are exposed to confronting the issue of sexual identity at a very young age, thanks to the clothing.
"Even though parents might see them as more acceptable [than purely sexy clothes], I``m not sure they``re perceived that differently," study researcher Sarah Murnen, a social psychologist at Kenyon College in Ohio, said of the clothes that mixed sexuality and girlishness.
The study reveals that up to 30 pc of teenage girls`` clothing available online in the US is sexualising.
According to the ``objectification theory``, women from Western cultures are widely portrayed as objects of the male gaze. This leads to the development of self-objectification in women.
Subsequently, women start viewing their own bodies as objects to be evaluated according to narrow standards often sexualised of attractiveness.
Researchers see girls`` clothing as a possible social influence that may contribute to self-objectification in preteen girls.
A study across all the stores revealed that of the 5,666 clothing items, 69 pc had only childlike characteristics. Of the remaining 31 pc, 4 pc had only sexualised characteristics, 25 pc had both sexualising and childlike features, and 4 pc had neither sexualised nor childlike elements.
It emerged that sexualisation occurred most frequently on items that emphasized a sexualised body part, such as shirts and dresses that were cut in a way as to create the look of breasts.
Even highly decorated pant pockets call attention to the buttocks.
The study has been published online in Springer``s journal, Sex Roles.