Clothing Styles of Women and Sexual Objectification

Date of Award


Degree Type

Archival Copy

First Advisor

Pamela Ludeman


The purpose of this study was to explore perceptions of women based on clothing styles. One hundred and four college-age students (78 women) read scenarios conveying a new female student on campus accompanied by the images of clothing (top, pants, and shoes) that varied on degree of sexualization. Participants rated this woman on social and academic abilities and gave opinions about the influence of clothing, personal clothing preferences, and preferred style of women’s clothing. Participant traits of self-esteem and need to achieve were also measured. Results showed that the provocatively dressed student was rated as most social. Ratings of academic ability of the provocatively dressed character were related to participants’ beliefs about the influence of clothing. Preferences for sexualized women’s clothing styles were related to high self-esteem, need to achieve, and egalitarian views. Findings imply that revealing or sexy clothing may have a strong influence on how women are perceived.

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