Gender Representation In Video Games

Words: 2235
Pages: 9

How is Gender represented in Video Games?

Gender representation within video games is a widely debated topic, some people believe characters are portrayed equally and some stating female characters are mere sex symbols. To address this debate, this essay will explore how gender can be represented in Video Games. It will go into depth on the comparison between femininity and masculinity, looking at ten popular games and how their main characters are portrayed. It will look at how the portrayals of Lara Croft, Juliet Starling, Harley Quinn, females from the Grand Theft Auto series and Princess Peach compare to male characters such as Mario himself, males within Far Cry 3, (Pick Assassin), Duke Nukem and Adam Fenix.

Women in video games are
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Studies have shown that women playing a non-sexualized heroine had more self esteem than those playing a heroine that was more sexualized (Behm-Morawitz & Mastro, 2009). This proves that being exposed to these idealized female images in video games can actually effect self esteem. The same can most likely be assumed of male objectification, lowering the self esteem of males if they are not as muscular as the characters they play. Another important impact these stereotypes can have is in the messages these video games send to youth. Since children can idolize the characters they play in video games, the roles and messages played in the game can affect their perception of many things. These include the way children see traditional gender roles, as well as their ideal …show more content…
If a male protagonist is not the silent blank slate character common in RPGs, they are muscle bound warriors portrayed with little intelligence. An example of this is the once beloved character Duke Nukem (Duke Nukem Forever, 2011). Bursting with muscles and with obviously lower than average intelligence, the Duke is a great example of how men are objectified in video games. This character can just as easily send the wrong message as a damsel in distress character can. Being exposed to characters like Duke Nukem can lower self esteem in children and encourage them to do whatever they can to be more like him. It does not take someone with a Ph.D. to see that having young boys trying to be more like Duke Nukem as a