A mother’s “intuition” is to dress her baby for a tub bath, a study of the “social and cultural” factors that make up a woman’s wardrobe reveals.
The research, published in the International Journal of Cultural Studies, shows that women’s decisions about where to put their baby are shaped by “a wide range of factors, including their social class, cultural background, and the nature of the relationship”.
“Our study suggests that the influence of women’s social status and gender on their personal decision-making about their infant’s clothing is important,” said lead author and researcher at the University of Texas, Austin, Anupam Pandey.
“We argue that women are likely to make decisions based on these factors, but they are not necessarily consciously aware of them.”
The study examined data from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which provides research funding to universities around the world.
The UNFPA provides data for over 40 countries, and has conducted several research projects that have explored cultural and social influences on women’s clothing.
The UNFAA’s global survey has been conducted in over 130 countries and territories since 1996.
“Our findings suggest that women who live in more affluent nations are more likely to choose to wear casual clothes, whereas in more poor countries, women’s preferences tend to be more shaped by their economic status,” said the study’s lead author, Anurag Manjhi.
The study looked at a wide range, including styles of clothing worn by women and their social classes.
“The main reason why we found that women in more prosperous countries preferred casual clothing is because of their social and economic status, and because they are less likely to be influenced by a man’s decision-maker,” said Pandey, who conducted the research as part of a PhD thesis.
The authors said the findings should be interpreted cautiously, however.
“Although we did find that the effect of social class on women dressing for bath time was smaller in countries with a larger number of women in the household, there is still a gender difference in the amount of choice that women make about where their baby should go,” they wrote.
“We also found that, in countries where there is more choice about where a baby should be, there were differences in the number of decisions made by women in those countries, suggesting that these differences in decision- making are not the result of men influencing women, but rather reflect differences in social class.”
“This suggests that women may be making decisions based more on their cultural and cultural background rather than conscious choices,” they added.
“Although there is a strong connection between the social class of the parents and the choice they make, we are not aware of any studies that have specifically examined how these cultural factors shape women’s decision making about the baby’s clothing.”
The UN study looked across a range of cultural and gender differences in a sample of 2,093 women aged between 18 and 60 in 19 countries and the UK.
It also looked at whether women’s choices were influenced by their social status.
In a separate study, Pandey and co-author Anirudh Srivastava found that there was a strong link between social class and how people dress.
“In countries where women are more privileged, they choose more formal clothes and choose to stay in more formal settings, whereas women in less privileged countries tend to choose less formal and more casual clothes,” they said.
The researchers found that the factors that influence women’s choice about what to wear to bath time were socio-economic factors such as gender, education level, income, and gender parity.
“These factors may play a significant role in women’s personal choice about how they dress,” they noted.
“It may be that these socio-cultural factors influence women in a way that reflects their personal preferences, but that these preferences are influenced by cultural and societal factors, rather than being consciously influenced by men,” the researchers concluded.