In order to explore the adultification of tween girls in Singapore through the way
they dress, I begin this article by taking stock of the arguments in the discourse of
sexualization. In further elucidating the cultural specificities of girlhood, I point
out how tween girls’ fashioning of themselves after adults in Singapore presents
some challenges to the ways that the adultification of tween girls’ dressing has
been commonly theorized. I show that although the adultification of tween girls’
dressing forms a large part of the debate in the discourse of sexualization, tween
girls’ fashioning of themselves after adults should not be assumed to be an exclusive
outcome and process of improper and premature sexualization in culturally-specific
contexts like Singapore. This article, therefore, explores a different way of
thinking about tween girls who are dressing up in more adult-like ways, and suggests
the need to be careful about extrapolating from arguments made in the
(Western) discourse of sexualisation about this phenomenon.
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