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Pressure to Be 'Sexy' Hinders Academics, Study Finds

Being 'Sexy' Pressures Teen Girls, Hinders Academics, Study Finds

Being a teenage girl can be tough and societal pressure doesn't help either. A study, however, finds that pressure for girls to be "sexy" actually harms their academic performance.

Middle school girls who take these societal pressures to heart find that they "differ from their peers in troubling ways," according to new research from The University of Texas, said an article on MedicalXpress.com.

The study found that " 10- to 15-year-old girls with higher levels of "internalized sexualization"—a belief that it is important to be sexually attractive—earned lower grades in school and scored lower on standardized tests of academic achievement than their peers," the article said.

In the study published in the October issue of the Journal of Research on Adolescence, "young adolescent girls were asked to film a mock newscast. Girls with higher and lower scores on the internalized sexualization measure prepared differently," said the article. "Girls with higher levels of sexualization spent more time putting on makeup, and less time practicing the script, than girls with lower levels of sexualization."

"Those girls who believe that being sexually attractive to males is important appear to invest more of their time and effort in that domain," said Co-author Rebecca Bigler. "Because everyone's resources are limited, the investment in sexiness comes at the expense of other domains, including academics."

In another study to be published in the Journal of Early Adolescence, "scores on an internalized sexualization scale are used to predict the degree to which 11- to 15-year-old girls wear tight and revealing clothing," the article said. "The researchers note that although some feminists have claimed that sexual desirability might be a source of empowerment for women, the girls with higher levels of sexualization in the study showed higher rates of body shame than their peers."

"Media images of sexualized women are typically idealized through enhanced photographs," said Sarah McKeney, co-author. "Girls who value and emulate the sexual allure of such models are likely to be disappointed by the comparison of their own bodies to such images."

Read the full story. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor

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