Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Christia Spears Brown


The current study examined children’s stereotypes about sexualized girls. Elementary school children (n = 208) from the mid-South between the ages of 6 and 11 completed a survey assessing their stereotypes about sexualized girls and non-sexualized girls. Participants were asked to justify, in their own words, their responses to several stereotypic evaluations. Children’s cognitive development was analyzed through classification skill as a moderator of belief in stereotypes about girls. Results revealed that children perceived the sexualized girl to be more popular and better liked by boys than the non-sexualized girl. However, the sexualized girl was also rated as less athletic, nice, smart, and typical than the non-sexualized girl. The non-sexualized girl was reported to have nicer clothes and was someone the participants would rather be friends with than the sexualized girl. Girls believed that they dressed more like and looked more like the non-sexualized girl than the sexualized girl, however, they had no preference for which girl they would rather look like. Classification skill moderated the endorsement of these stereotypes, such that high classifiers were more differentiated in their answers than low classifiers. Thus, the current study suggests that children have unique stereotypes about sexualized girls.