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Study Says a Third of Girls’ Clothing Available at Major Retailers is Too Sexy

Almost a third of girls’ clothing for sale at 15 major retailers has sexualizing characteristics, according to new research led by a psychology professor at Kenyon College in Ohio. Of the 5,666 clothing items studied, 31 percent displayed sexualized characteristics, by revealing or emphasizing certain parts of the body, or using slinky material, leopard print, […]

Almost a third of girls’ clothing for sale at 15 major retailers has sexualizing characteristics, according to new research led by a psychology professor at Kenyon College in Ohio. Of the 5,666 clothing items studied, 31 percent displayed sexualized characteristics, by revealing or emphasizing certain parts of the body, or using slinky material, leopard print, or sexualized writing. Of these, 86 percent also displayed childlike characteristics, such as polkadots and frills. “Even though parents might see them as more acceptable [than purely sexy clothes], I’m not sure they’re perceived that differently,” says study researcher Sarah Murnen, of the clothes that mixed sexuality and girlishness.

All of the clothes studied were marketed for toddlers to pre-teen children and came from high-end stores such as Neiman Marcus to inexpensive stores such as Kmart and Target. Abercrombie Kids was the worst offender, with 72 percent of clothes featuring a sexualizing aspect, while Target was one of the better stores, with 80 percent of their girls’ clothes falling in the “childlike” category.

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