Federica Spaccatini

Children's sexualization and appearance focus: A literature review

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Sexualization; Appearance Focus; Sexual Objectification.

In Western culture, sexualization and appearance focus have become the predominant features in the representation not only of women but also of children. If women’s sexualization and appearance focus have long been subject to academic inquiry, only recently research has been dedicated to the consequences of sexualization and appearance focus in childhood. This article aims to provide the first comprehensive review of the existing empirical investigations on the effects of sexualization and appearance focus in childhood. I look first at the prevalence and the characteristics of early sexualization and appearance focus. I then examine the consequences associated with early sexualization and appearance focus, distinguishing between the individual and intrapersonal level (how children see themselves) and the interpersonal and relational level (how children are perceived). These growing bodies of research provide consistent evidence that early sexualization and appearance focus can produce the same well-documented effects found in the adult population. I finally discuss some limitations with the existing research and provide future research directions.

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