The Pretty Project: Exploring the Mechanisms Through Which Girls Learn About Prettiness
April 11, 2017
Department or Program
In our society girls often learn that appearance is important and that they should strive for unrealistic body standards. Gender socialization theory suggests that messages from mothers may be particularly impactful on girls' developing views of attractiveness. Indeed, mothers' dieting practices and views toward weight have been closely linked to their daughters' views of their own bodies. However, little scholarship has examined how girls view other aspects of their appearance, such as prettiness. Our lab-based study examines the ways in which mothers' self-views and socialization strategies are related to their young daughters' views of attractiveness and endorsement of gender stereotypes. We are studying these issues among girls ages 3-6 since little is known about early development of this age group's attitude and behavior about appearance. We present the results of this study and the implications for the different mechanisms through which daughters learn about prettiness.