Study Finds Girls Who Value Sexiness Tend to Do Worse in School

New research from scholars at the University of Texas finds that girls ages 10 to 15 who have the belief that it is important for them to be sexually attractive tend to have lower grades in school and score lower on standardized tests than other girls who put less value on how they appear.

In an experiment that was part of the study, girls were first given a survey to determine their “internalized sexualization,” or how much value they placed on their appearance. They were then asked to prepare for a mock television newscast. The girls who were identified with high levels of internalized sexualization spent more time putting on makeup and fixing their hair to prepare for the newscast. Girls who were identified with lower levels of internalized sexualization spent more time in preparation on the editorial content of the newscast.

Rebecca-BiglerRebecca Bigler, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas and a co-author of the study, stated that “those girls who believe that being sexually attractive to males is important, appear to invest more of their time and effort in that domain. Because everyone’s resources are limited, the investment in sexiness comes at the expense of other domains, including academics.”

The study, “High Heels, Low Grades: Internalized Sexualization and Academic Orientation Among Adolescent Girls,” was co-authored by Sarah McKenney who did graduate work at the University of Texas and now works for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, was published on the website of The Journal of Research on Adolescence. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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