The authors suggest that the media or moms who sexualize women may predispose girls toward objectifying themselves; then, the other factor mom or media reinforces the messages, amplifying the effect. Moms can help their daughters navigate a sexualizing world by instructing their daughters about their values and by not demonstrating objectified and sexualized behaviors themselves. Starr and her research adviser and co-author, Gail Ferguson, also looked at factors that influenced the girls' responses. On the other hand, mothers who reported often using TV and movies as teaching moments about bad behaviors and unrealistic scenarios were much less likely to have daughters who said they looked like the sexy doll. The power of maternal instruction during media viewing may explain why every additional hour of TV- or movie-watching actually decreased the odds by 7 percent that a girl would choose the sexy doll as popular, Starr said. Researchers have shown in the past that women and teens think of themselves in sexually objectified terms, but the new study is the first to identify self-sexualization in young girls. Most of the girls were recruited from two public schools, but a smaller subset was recruited from a local dance studio.
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