Early Adolescent Female Gendered Identity Formation Through the Lens of Popularity and "the Perfect Girl"
Haverford College. Department of Psychology
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This study examined the ways that cultural ideals affect girls' views of popularity, ideal girlhood, and how cultural stereotypes inform the development of their identities. Twenty seventh grade girls were asked to fill out three objective measures-- Children's Sex Role Inventory (Boldizar, 1991); the Attitudes Towards Women Scale for Adolescents (Galambos et. al, 1985); and the Perceived Competence Scale for Children (Harter, 1982). Participants also completed a projective measure designed to tap into issues of gendered identity formation. Girls were divided into two groups and participated in a magazine session, reading and discussing either mainstream or resistant magazines (ones that are aimed at questioning gender bias). Measures were then administered again. Results suggest that the objective and projective measures were correlated. Projective results suggest that girls in the resistant magazine condition answered questions in more resistant ways than girls in the mainstream condition. Implications for further research and application of ideas proposed here are explored.