Article

Keeping Abreast of Hypersexuality: A Video Game Character Content Analysis

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Abstract

This study examined male and female sexuality in video game characters. The top 20, best selling console (Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation2, and Nintendo GameCube) video games from the U.S. market for fiscal year 2003 were content analyzed. The 60 video games yielded a total of 489 separate characters with an identifiable sex for coding. Chi-square analyses indicated that female characters (n = 70) were underrepresented in comparison to their male counterparts (n = 419) as hypothesized. In comparison to male characters, females were significantly more likely to be shown partially nude, featured with an unrealistic body image, and depicted wearing sexually revealing clothing and inappropriate attire as also predicted. Implications for these findings are discussed using social cognitive theory as a theoretical anchor. KeywordsVideo games-Sexuality-Content analysis-Social cognitive theory

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... Content analyses of video games point to gender imbalances and differences in portrayals, as well. Downs and Smith (2010) found evidence that female characters were more likely to be presented as sexualized compared with male characters (e.g., 48% of women were coded as wearing revealing clothing compared with 11% of men) within the first 20 min of game play in 60 top-selling games. Lynch et al. (2016) studied the ways in which female video game characters were presented in the in-game play of 571 games released between 1983 and 2014. ...
... Adolescents also spend a great deal of time playing video games (Common Sense Media, 2019), and game content, marketing materials, and in-game player interactions have been found to privilege narrow expressions of masculinity (Behm-Morawitz, 2017; Downs & Smith, 2010;Fox & Tang, 2017;Scharrer, 2004). Yet, prior evidence of associations between time spent gaming and masculinity-or gender-related views is mixed Breuer et al., 2015;Fox & Tang, 2014). ...
... Heavy players of video games outscored light and medium players in endorsement of emotionally detached dominance and also outscored light players in endorsement of toughness in the current results. These findings may reflect the content of popular games as well as gaming interactions that largely privilege a "traditional masculine ideology" (Behm-Morawitz, 2017;Downs & Smith, 2010;Fox & Tang, 2017). Indeed, scholars have long shown that video games and video gaming can be a fairly "hypermasculine" space, with male players and characters dominant in number and with displays of physical and emotional toughness and dominance among them (Dill & Thill, 2007;Scharrer, 2004). ...
Article
In the current study, cultivation theory is used to examine associations among amount of time spent with television (including Netflix or other streaming services), video games, and YouTube and beliefs about masculine roles and norms within a diverse sample of 307 13- to 18-year-olds from the United States. Heavy users of television, video games, and YouTube outscored lighter users on endorsement of views of masculinity that favor emotional detachment, dominance, toughness, and/or avoidance of femininity among boys and girls in the sample. For boys only, heavy exposure to violence in favorite games also played a role.
... Five undergraduate students recruited from a student gaming organization at a major university were each randomly assigned to play two of the four MMOs used in this study. These students had extensive prior experience with MMO games, which is consistent with the type of game player recruited to generate game content in prior content analysis research (Beasley & Standley, 2002;Downs & Smith, 2010). For each game, 2.5 hours of game content were sampled from each of two separate players, resulting in five total hours of content for each game and a total sample of 20 hours of content across the four separate MMOs. ...
... For each game, 2.5 hours of game content were sampled from each of two separate players, resulting in five total hours of content for each game and a total sample of 20 hours of content across the four separate MMOs. Although previous studies have typically recorded segments of 20 to 30 minutes for each video game included in their samples (e.g., Beasley & Standley, 2002;Downs & Smith, 2010; (Yee, 2006). Two users were assigned to play each MMO to ensure that the content included in the sample for each game represented the game experience of multiple users rather than the idiosyncratic experience of only one user. ...
... Two users were assigned to play each MMO to ensure that the content included in the sample for each game represented the game experience of multiple users rather than the idiosyncratic experience of only one user. Prior research has typically only employed one player to generate game content (Beasley & Standley, 2002;Downs & Smith, 2010;. The sex, physical appearance, name, and server of the users' character avatars were also randomly generated so that any avatar or server-dependent game content (e.g., instances where users' characters start the game in a region populated by characters with similar appearance) would be determined randomly and not by a user decision. ...
Article
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Based on previous research indicating that character portrayals in video games and other media can influence users’ perceptions of social reality, systematic content analyses have examined demographic trends in the way video game characters are portrayed. Although these studies have extensively documented character portrayals in traditional console and computer video games, there is a lack of content analyses examining character portrayals in the very popular massively multiplayer online game (MMO) genre. Such studies are needed because many characters in MMOs are customized avatars created by users, which may lead to different trends in character demographics. This content analysis examined representations of gender and race among 417 unique characters appearing 1,356 times in 20 hours of recorded content from four popular commercial MMOs, which was generated by five recruited users. Characters tended to be disproportionately male and white, with females and racial minorities appearing much less often. Implications for potential effects on users’ perceptions of social reality are discussed.
... From the popular Grand Theft Auto series to fighting games such as Street Fighter or action adventures like Bayonetta, sexualized representations of women are common in contemporary video games (Downs & Smith, 2010). Numerous studies have documented the negative impact of sexualized images in traditional media, such as television and print advertisements, on how women perceive themselves and their bodies (Ward, 2016). ...
... Although female characters are strongly underrepresented in video games, they often appear heavily sexualized. In their analysis of 20 US top-selling games of 2003, Downs and Smith (2010) found that only 14% of all characters were female. Of these, 41% appeared in sexually revealing clothing, and 43% were depicted partially or fully nude, compared to 11% and 4% of the male characters, respectively. ...
... In another study, Matthews, Lynch, and Martins (2016) let participants play different video games with either realistic or hyperidealized female characters and found that women playing with hyperidealized avatars reported greater body satisfaction. The hyper-idealized characters had highly exaggerated body proportions, a criterion for visual sexualization used by content analyses (Downs & Smith, 2010;. It is important to note that the study focused on the manipulation of the degree of realism of the main character. ...
Article
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Female role models in video games are rare, and if they are present, they are often heavily sexualized. Objectification theory suggests that exposure to sexualized media characters increases self-objectification and decreases body satisfaction in female users. This study investigated the effect of playing a video game with a sexualized versus a nonsexualized character on women's experiences of self-objectification and body satisfaction. We further studied the effect of character personalization as a core feature of video games on the relation between sexualized avatars, self-objectification and body satisfaction. N = 262 female participants reported state self-objectification and body satisfaction after 30 min of playing the video game The Sims 4 with a sexualized or nonsexualized avatar that was either generic or personalized to look like the participant. We predicted that controlling for trait self-objectification, playing the game with a sexualized character would increase state self-objectification, especially in the personalized condition. Regarding the effect of character sexualization on body satisfaction, competing hypotheses based on priming vs. the Proteus effect were tested, considering character personalization and enjoyment of sexualization as moderators and controlling for trait body satisfaction. The current study did not find evidence for the proposed hypotheses. The findings are discussed in terms of the relevance of objectification theory in explaining effects of sexualized models in interactive media.
... Content analysis shows that in several video games, male characters are often represented with features that are conventionally thought of as masculine, such as aggressiveness, dominance, and power (Downs & Smith, 2010;Williams et al., 2009;Kondrat, 2015 ;Malkowski & Russworm, 2017 ;Bulut, 2020). Moreover, males have usually the main role in the story and females tend to be represented as sexual objects (Downs & Smith, 2010;Summers & Miller 2014). ...
... Content analysis shows that in several video games, male characters are often represented with features that are conventionally thought of as masculine, such as aggressiveness, dominance, and power (Downs & Smith, 2010;Williams et al., 2009;Kondrat, 2015 ;Malkowski & Russworm, 2017 ;Bulut, 2020). Moreover, males have usually the main role in the story and females tend to be represented as sexual objects (Downs & Smith, 2010;Summers & Miller 2014). Indeed, female characters usually have a passive role (Downs & Smith, 2010 ;Liu & Lai, 2020), are depicted with an unrealistic body, large breasts and tiny waist. ...
... Moreover, males have usually the main role in the story and females tend to be represented as sexual objects (Downs & Smith, 2010;Summers & Miller 2014). Indeed, female characters usually have a passive role (Downs & Smith, 2010 ;Liu & Lai, 2020), are depicted with an unrealistic body, large breasts and tiny waist. Their "perfect" body is highlighted by scanty clothes that let you see their sexual forms (Downs & Smith, 2010). ...
Article
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Across two experimental studies, we investigated the short-term effect of video games with sexist content (i.e,. representing women as sexual objects and men as hyper-masculine) on women’s objectification . We examine whether identifying with a masculine character who objectified women can increase implicit association of self with masculinity, which in turn would increase objectification of women. Participants (n study 1 = 69 (32 men, mean age = 20.83), n study 2 = 119 (61 men, mean age = 20.09)) played either a sexist or non-sexist video game. We measured subsequently implicit association of self with masculinity, women’s objectification (measured with two different measurements in Study1 and 2) and identification with video game character. Results showed that greater identification with video game character predicted stronger association between self-concept and masculinity but not with women’s objectification. Thus, it seems that identification with video game character may play an important role in video games’ influence.
... They conclude that video games might play an important role in sexualizing women and overall sexism in culture. Downs and Smith [4] who analyzed 60 video games to again prove the underrepresentation of females but also show that females are more likely to be shown partially nude also confirm these results. Lynch et al. [7] conducted similar studies but with a higher number of games (n = 571). ...
... Regarding the frequency of gender-specific words, we can show that male words are far more frequent throughout all the time spans compared to female words (see table 5) reaching almost 1% of all the words in certain time spans (table 5). [2,3,4,6] concerning higher amounts of male representation by using computational methods. ...
Conference Paper
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We present preliminary results of a project examining the role and usage of gender specific vocabulary in a corpus of video game magazines. The corpus consists of three popular video game magazines with 634 issues from the 1980s until 2011 and was gathered via OCR-scans of the platform archive .org. We report on the distribution and progression of gender-specific words by using word lists of the LIWC for the categories "male" and "female". We can indeed show that words of the type male are considerably more frequent than words of the type female, with a slight increase of female words during 2006-2010. This is in line with the overall development of gaming culture throughout these years and previous research in the humanities. Furthermore, we analyzed how the usage of negatively connoted words for female depictions (e.g. chick, slut) has evolved and identified a constant increase throughout the years reaching the climax around 2001-2005, a timespan that coincides with the release and popularity of games encompassing rather sexist concepts. We discuss the limitations of our explorations and report on plans to further investigate the role of gender in gaming culture.
... Passmore et al. argue the "underrepresentation of characters of color can be viewed as a signal to players of color that the content is not 'for them,'" and can have negative psychosocial effects [19]. While most previous research on representation in games focuses on the role of representation in games [5,9,11,13,14,17,18,21,22], more analysis of representation in official paratexts is needed. Paratexts are the materials, advertisements, systems, and other elements of games that surround and support them, influencing our experience. ...
... In line with Downs and Smith [5], this study used the top 20 video game covers for each year sampled, totaling 100 images included in the survey, which was sampled from Steam250, a site that ranks sales on popular distribution platform, Steam. These questions aimed to gain insight on potential players of different demographic groups and how they perceived White and non-White representation on video game covers. ...
Poster
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This study compiled the 20 best-selling games from 2010 to 2015 from Steam250 to build a survey to examine potential game players' perception of video game cover art. The survey was distributed to potential players through snowball sampling, yielding 298 submissions with various ethnicities for analysis. All participants felt non-White representation was inadequate. Non-White participants felt that self-representation of their ethnicity on video game covers to be significantly more important than White participants. Non-White participants did not feel demographically represented by many individuals in the compilation of video game covers, while White participants did feel represented. Our results give insight into the intersection of video game studies and paratextual representation.
... Additionally, of films with a single narrator, 83% were male and only 17% were female . Discrepancies in media representation extend beyond film to other media formats as well, with the largest discrepancy occurring across video games-existing literature indicates that only 1 in 7 characters in top-selling video games were female (Downs & Smith, 2010). When represented, women in video games are significantly represented in hypersexualized roles, and women who are granted screen time are often portrayed in the media as a stereotype, in which they are cleaning, cooking, or fulfilling a man's needs (Downs & Smith, 2010;Pavarthy, 2020). ...
... Discrepancies in media representation extend beyond film to other media formats as well, with the largest discrepancy occurring across video games-existing literature indicates that only 1 in 7 characters in top-selling video games were female (Downs & Smith, 2010). When represented, women in video games are significantly represented in hypersexualized roles, and women who are granted screen time are often portrayed in the media as a stereotype, in which they are cleaning, cooking, or fulfilling a man's needs (Downs & Smith, 2010;Pavarthy, 2020). ...
Article
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The current study examined the depiction of sexist behaviors in film. It was generally expected that characters’ behaviors in popular films would mirror modern American culture. We expected benevolent sexism would be more prevalent than hostile sexism or sexual assault behaviors. We also expected that sexism behaviors would be depicted less in recent movies than in “classic” movies. Lastly, we expected more sexism behaviors would be found in action movies. We found that sexism was ubiquitous in the films, but that benevolent sexism was by far more prevalent. However, the frequency of sexist behaviors has not decreased over time. Lastly, we found that all genres portrayed sexism, but that characters in sci-fi/fantasy films exhibited the least amount of sexist behaviors. These findings are important as they help us to become more critical consumers of film so as not to normalize sexism and further reinforce damaging gender stereotypes.
... As boys progress through childhood and approach adolescence, they gain more exposure to the internet, social media, and video games that can include programming with extreme and graphic violence and sexual content, e.g., pornography (Downs and Smith, 2010). Exposure to sexually explicit material has been found to influence the viewpoints of teen male consumers including viewing women as sexual objects (Peter and Valkenburg, 2007;Ward and Friedman, 2006). ...
... Exposure to sexually explicit material has been found to influence the viewpoints of teen male consumers including viewing women as sexual objects (Peter and Valkenburg, 2007;Ward and Friedman, 2006). Furthermore, television/movies, video games, and internet (e.g., YouTube) that include graphic violent and sexual content reinforce and strengthen gender stereotypes by frequently portraying male characters as muscle bound and emotionally restricted and female characters as sexual objects, such as Grand Theft Auto (Blackburn and Scharrer, 2019;Downs and Smith, 2010;Gabbiadini et al., 2016). These images have also been found to desensitize some male consumers to violence and consequently increase aggression (Bartholow et al., 2006). ...
Chapter
Throughout the United States and around the world, boys are socialized to be men through a rigid set of prescriptive and proscriptive masculinity rules called the Guy Code. While not all boys adhere to the teachings of the Guy Code, such as be powerful and tough, hide vulnerable emotions, and be a player, they all are exposed through dominant masculine gender socialization processes that start early in childhood and continue through adolescence and beyond. In addition to providing an update on the gender socialization of boys, this article briefly unpacks biological and more essentializing theories of sex differences out of which the primary theories of boys’ gender socialization have grown. Additional focus is placed on exploring community and culturally-based factors and the mechanisms through which boys are socialized into the Guy Code, as they start to develop a masculine sense of self as early as 2 and 3-years-old. The primary mechanisms include community-based gender teachings delivered to boys in the home environment and at school, along with more systemic popular culture and media-based representations of “manhood.” While understanding the social phenomena of gender socialization processes is important, it is essential to also consider related well-being consequences for boys regarding mental and relational health and school functioning. Lastly, translational implications and recommendations will be put forward with the goal of supporting all boys to optimize their own happiness, well-being, and self-expression. When discussing and exploring gender, it is easy to overgeneralize and stereotype. As is the case with all socially-delineated groups, boys possess a breadth and depth of diversity. Thus, while focus will be placed on the dominant masculinity messages and teachings through which society strives to indoctrinate all boys, it is important to note that many boys can and do resist society's blueprint for manhood.
... Next, we consider how cultural factors related to the advancement and production of gaming technology may have shaped the prominence of formidable representations of men over time and with respect to certain classifications of games. Rigorous content analyses of male character representation in video games exist and draw on those in the design of this work (e.g., Downs & Smith, 2010;Martins et al., 2011); yet, the literature lacks a generalizable and longitudinal understanding of male video game characters. In this manuscript, we share the results of a large-scale content analysis using principles from our biocultural framework to fill that gap of knowledge. ...
Article
Guided by biological and cultural perspectives, this work examines the formidability of male characters in video games released between 1974 and 2018 (n = 702). Formidability (e.g., size, strength) has served an essential function in the evolution of humans, especially for males. Alongside this evolution, cultural practices have long centralized formidability by celebrating it as a signal of masculinity. We review this biocultural phenomenon and connect it to patterns in human communication via a content analysis of depictions of playable male characters in video games. We identify two primary cultural influences on formidability portrayals in video games (i.e., technological advancement and the gendered culture of gaming) and contend that these factors interact to shape the occurrence of formidability in male character representations. Results indicate that formidable portrayals followed a quadratic trend increasing in early years before declining in recent years. Overall, average formidability was low, but observations aligned with hypotheses grounded in the biocultural framework we introduce. Formidability predicted physicality (i.e., vigorous bodily action), violent behavior, and use of weapons. It was highest in genres that emphasize physical enactment (e.g., fighting and sports games) and was less common in games rated for children. We interpret the findings with respect to the functional nature of formidability throughout human evolution and its role in contemporary society. We make suggestions for future refinement and application of the formidable masculinity framework.
... Arguably formal and in-game elements are possible bearers of bias (e.g. Downs and Smith, 2010;Lynch et al. 2016;Martey et al., 2014), but the cultural context of a game may play a fundamental role as well and needs to be investigated. GSPs surround and reframe game practices and may be influenced by disruptive dynamics and patterns (Fryling et al., 2015;Moore et al., 2012;Ortega et al., 2012). ...
Article
Toxicity continues to have a strong presence in online environments. This is particularly true for digital entertainment like online games. Toxicity is an important topic as it impacts game development, consumption, popularity, public perception, and player health and well-being. Most of the existing literature on toxicity in gaming is descriptive and exploratory; it often sets out to map milestones and inherent drivers of toxicity. In this article, an alternative perspective is advanced, drawing from a foundation in media and culture studies. Data (streaming online chat, user-generated content, and forum discussions) were collected daily for 4 weeks from Twitch.tv and Steam channels about the popular online game DOTA 2. Results were processed with a content analysis relying on the driving concepts of toxicity and social affordance. The case study and related platforms were selected for their relevance and pertinence with the theme addressed. Findings point to peculiar interactive patterns in framing, supporting, and overturning toxicity and resulting harassment in these extended settings. Implications are noteworthy for scholars and practitioners who intend to shed light on how diffused audiences negotiate toxicity in digital gaming and beyond.
... Additionally, many video games also feature no female characters at all (Dietz, 1998). If they are portrayed, female characters often appear as secondary characters (Heintz-Knowles et al., 2001;Williams et al., 2009), are overly sexualised (Downs & Smith, 2010;Haninger & Thompson, 2004;Jansz & Martis, 2007), although this sexualisation has been found to have decreased in recent years (Lynch et al., 2016), or occupy the victim role, the damsel in distress that needs saving (Dietz, 1998). The studies also found that most characters are White (Dietz, 1998;Williams et al., 2009). ...
... Los investigadores encuentran que la hipersexualización femenina es cada vez más frecuente en todas las producciones culturales, especialmente las dirigidas hacia la población joven (Walter, 2010), desde revistas femeninas, donde las mujeres pasan a ser objetos sexuales mientras los hombres son mostrados como buscadores activos de sexo, pasando por los videojuegos, con un 49 % de mujeres con ropas provocativas, semidesnudas o desnudas (Downs y Smith, 2009), sin entrar a debatir el nivel de violencia ejercido sobre ellas en estos (Muñoz-Muñoz y Martínez-Oña, 2020; Martínez-Oña y Muñoz-Muñoz, 2021). ...
Thesis
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Este estudio pretende conocer si existe desigualdad en los medios digitales deportivos españoles en la cantidad de información sobre ambos sexos en las noticias sobre los Juegos Olímpicos de Río 2016 en relación con la participación de estos y la obtención de medallas, pero también busca profundizar en las diferencias de representación, así como en los discursos que transmiten estos diarios según el sexo de sus protagonistas. Para abordar tales objetivos esta investigación realiza un primer análisis de contenido de carácter multi-metodológico, que permite combinar enfoques cuantitativos y cualitativos (Cantón et al. 2002), a través de la recopilación de patrones reiterativos que otorgan fiabilidad a la hora de generalizar las conclusiones sobre los hallazgos obtenidos, a la vez que los enfoques cualitativos ofrecen mayor nivel de profundidad, inducción y reflexión de los resultados (Neuendorf, 2004). Para esta dimensión cuantitativa se realiza un estudio de todas las noticias publicadas en los cuatro diarios digitales españoles de mayor número de lectores (Marca, As, Mundo Deportivo y Sport) entre julio y septiembre de 2016, incluyendo así el mes previo a la celebración de los Juegos de Río 2016, el periodo propiamente olímpico (del 5 al 21 de agosto), así como el mes posterior a estos, para conocer si se producen cambios significativos entre el momento de la competición y fechas distintas a esta. Para ello, se ha realizado un barrido completo durante todo el periodo descrito por las secciones de hemeroteca y archivo digital de cada uno de tales diarios. En total se han volcado, sistematizado y analizado N=7.634 unidades informativas a partir de 51 variables de análisis diferentes, que se han organizado en torno a tres bloques, uno relativo a las unidades informativas, otro a los recursos semióticos y el último a los protagonistas de las informaciones, empleando para su codificación y análisis el programa estadístico IBM SPSS Statistics 24. Tras finalizar este primer análisis descriptivo general y una vez revisados los resultados obtenidos, se propone profundizar en el estudio de las noticias a través de una investigación de carácter cualitativo mediante análisis discursivos. Para abordarlos, se realiza una selección de las unidades informativas mediante un muestreo aleatorio estratificado siguiendo unos parámetros preestablecidos para conseguir que la muestra a analizar fuese lo más variada y representativa posible y centrada en los días de competición olímpica y en la información estrictamente deportiva. Esto permitió seleccionar N=39 unidades de análisis, que fueron volcadas y sistematizadas en un programa de tratamiento de informaciones, ATLAS ti. v.7, tras lo cual, se realizó un primer análisis para conocer los Valores Noticia presentes en las informaciones (Bednarek y Caple, 2017), que se combinó posteriormente con un Análisis Crítico del Discurso desde una perspectiva feminista, con el objetivo de profundizar en los discursos empleados por estos medios (Machin y Mayr, 2012). Los análisis discursivos han permitido desvelar los encuadres noticiosos utilizados por los diarios para transmitir las informaciones (McCombs y Ghanem, 2001) a través del estudio de las elecciones léxicas y visuales de las noticias, comprobar si existen diferencias entre ambos sexos e identificar los mecanismos a través de los cuales estas se crean.
... Content analyses of video games show that female characters are typically portrayed as sexualized and passive whereas male characters are often portrayed as hyper muscular and aggressive (Downs & Smith, 2010;Lynch et al., 2016;Summers & Miller, 2014). ...
Article
Women are often depicted as sex objects rather than as human beings in the media (e.g., magazines, television programs, films, and video games). Theoretically, media de-pictions of females as sex objects could lead to negative attitudes and even aggressive behavior toward them in the real world. Using the General Aggression Model (Anderson & Bushman, 2002) as a theoretical framework, this meta-analytic review synthesizes the literature on the effects of sexualized media (both violent and nonviolent) on aggression-related thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors. Our sample includes 166 independent studies involving 124,236 participants, which yielded 321 independent effects. Overall, the effects were "small" to "moderate" in size (r = .16 [.14-.18]). Significant correlations were found in experimental, cross-sectional, and longitudinal studies, indicating a triangulation of evidence. Effects were stronger for violent sex-ualized media (r = .25 [.19-.31]) than for nonviolent sexualized media (r = .15 [.13-.17]), although the effects of nonviolent sexualized media were still significant and nontrivial in size. Moreover, the effects of violent sexualized media on aggression were greater than the effects of violent non-sexualized media on aggression obtained in previous meta-analyses. Effects were similar for male and female participants, for college students and non-students, and for participants of all ages. The effects were also stable over time. Sensitivity analyses found that effects were not unduly influenced by publication bias and/or outliers. In summary, exposure to sexualized media content, especially in combination with violence, has negative effects on women, particularly on what people think about them and how aggressively they treat them. K E Y W O R D S aggression, meta-analysis, pornography, sexualized media, violence
... This may explain why qualitative content analysis is rarely quoted as a method in much research on games, when in fact most game analyses, both digital and analogue, are based around some type of analysis of content. Studies that are explicit about the use of content analysis tend to focus on the type of content that does not vary significantly from play session to play session, such as characters and representation with regards to e.g., gender, race, and sexuality (see e.g., Downs & Smith, 2010: Martins et al., 2011Waddell et al., 2014;and Williams et al., 2009). Most of this research, however, uses a quantitative or mixed-methods approach and presents the findings as statistics. ...
Thesis
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Based on a qualitative analysis of 99 different digital games, this study develops a framework for understanding the functionality and relationships between player objects and virtual environments, explored in what has been named the PO-VE framework. The PO-VE framework encompasses a general theory, a dedicated terminology, and an analysis model. A virtual environment is a navigable geometry and a computational, relational model that represents the relative positions and functions of objects within it. Based on a relational and functional approach, objects are conceived of as integrated in the virtual environment by being spatially and functionally related to other objects within it, thus emphasising the virtual environment’s relational system-structure. Within the virtual environment, player objects constitute the player’s point of control. As integrated and movable objects, they consist of attributes (properties such as health, speed, and size) and affordances (possible actions such as running, shooting, and jumping). In most cases, player objects are dynamic (i.e., their attributes and affordances are altered over time); they can not only move along a single axis, but also be used for navigating the virtual environment along multiple axes; and they have some sort of visual presentation, which varies according to the specific visual framing of the player object and the virtual environment. The PO-VE framework results from an analysis and iterative coding process of 99 digital games. The games were chosen using a purposive sampling method guided by a pre-conceptualisation of what constitutes an avatar-based game (the initial focus of the study), popular game examples from game studies literature, and certain diversity labels: year of publication, platform, and country of origin. The PO-VE framework thus results from observational data iteratively translated into codes from games published between 1978 and 2018, across 32 different platforms, developed in 17 different countries. The iterative data collection and coding process, which resembled to some extent that of grounded theory, was finally conceptualised into the PO-VE framework, consisting of a general theory of virtual environments as relational systems, a terminology of player objects in virtual environments, and an analysis model that consists of seven categories related to different aspects of PO-VE relations. To illustrate the applicability of the PO-VE model, two levels of application were employed. The first was a broad analysis of the 78 of the 99 games in the sample that meet the player object definition, which reveals general trends and patterns according to types, genres, and production year of games. The second were close readings of ten chosen games from the sample: Space Attack, Altered Beast, Passage, Hotline Miami, Subway Surfers, ZombiU, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, Papers, Please, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and Reigns: Her Majesty, that each illustrate the depth of the PO-VE framework, while also clarifying some of the limitations of the framework, including how and why some games, such as Papers, Please and Reigns: Her Majesty, cannot be analysed using the PO-VE framework. The relational foundation of the PO-VE model offers a unique and descriptive approach to analytical game studies that utilises a functional understanding of the digital object. This enables a focus on the environment as a relational system and on integration within it, rather than, for example, on rules, goals, or player experiences. Utilising an OOA/D inspired terminology in the analytical framework is a step towards bridging the gap between humanities-based, theoretical game studies, more technical game studies, and game development. This study is thus a contribution to the most fundamental level of any research endeavour: attempting to map out (parts of) the research object and develop a language that facilitates closer inspection and ultimately a better understanding of digital games and virtual environments.
... Indeed, in video games, women are either a damsel in distress, a reward, or a sex object. Furthermore, one of the most common general characteristics is that female video game characters are often sexualized, i.e., depicted with large breasts and buttocks, small waists, and female characters show large amounts of exposed skin (Burgess et al., 2007;Downs and Smith, 2010;Summers and Miller, 2014;Lynch et al., 2016). Additionally, we know that gender-based and sexual violence not only remain a current problem in real life (Amnesty International, 2019), but that this problem also turns out to be very real in the specific context of online gaming. ...
Article
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The potential negative impact of sexualized video games on attitudes toward women is an important issue. Studies that have examined this issue are rare and contain a number of limitations. Therefore, it largely remains unclear whether sexualized video games can have an impact on attitudes toward women. This study examined the consequences of sexualized video game content and cognitive load (moderator) on rape victim blame and rape perpetrator blame (used as a proxy of rape myth acceptance), and whether the degree of humanness of the victim and of the perpetrator mediated these effects. Participants ( N = 142) played a video game using sexualized or non-sexualized female characters. Cognitive load was manipulated by setting the difficulty level of the game to low or high. After gameplay, participants read a rape date story, and were then asked to judge the victim’s and the perpetrator’s degree of responsibility and humanness. Based on the General Aggression Model (GAM), it was hypothesized that playing the video game with a sexualized content would increase the responsibility assigned to the victim and diminish the responsibility assigned to the perpetrator. Further, degree of humanness of the victim and the perpetrator was expected to mediate this relation. The results were partially consistent with these predictions: Playing a video game containing sexualized female characters increased rape victim blame when cognitive load was high, but did not predict degree of humanness accorded to the victim. Concerning the perpetrator, video game sexualization did not influence responsibility, but partly influenced humanness. This study concludes that video games impact on attitudes toward women and this, in part, due to its interactive nature.
... A 20-year history of research on gender and games originally demonstrated that women and girls did not often have the same access to or interest in digital games and game culture as men and boys did. Furthermore, the research has established that women are underrepresented and stereotyped, often hypersexualized within the game content (Downs & Smith, 2010;Kidd & Turner, 2016). The masculinities of the gaming culture were and still are, to a large extent hegemonic, leaving little space for women (Kidd & Turner, 2016). ...
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This book deals with innovation and gender. It explores women’s inventions and innovations and recognition of that work, including the creative work leading to innovations and the varied forms of innovation, ranging from social to technological innovations. The contexts of innovations are crucial because innovations seldom occur in isolation or as the result of work done by one person alone. In this book, the new and the old economy are analysed in relation to innovations. In the following sections we will also focus on examples which illustrate inventions and innovations by women and show some interesting examples affecting everyday life. Equally, it is also essential to realise, that there is no reason for discussion about women to be held distinct from discussion related to innovation. This is not only because many innovations occur because of female innovators, but also because innovations are often designed specifically for women, for men, for specific age groups or for other certain types of users. More generally, the incremental process of innovation has elements of gender involved in many ways, even if we do not notice it as consumers. Gender related elements are considered and attached to many products or services, even before they appear (Poutanen & Kovalainen, 2013; Poutanen & Kovalainen, 2016). This is in marked contrast to efforts to argue the contrary by attempting to separate gender from innovation (e.g. Bath, 2014).
... Equal representation of female characters is not necessarily a given in any genre of video games despite the increased number of female game players-for example, 41% of women in the United States (ESA, 2020), 46% in Canada (ESAC, 2016), and 45% across the European Union (Bosmans & Maskell, 2016). When female characters did appear in the late 1970s to early 2000s, depictions were often sexualized (Dietz, 1998;Downs & Smith, 2010;Perreault, Perreault, Jenkins, & Morrison, 2018;Perreault, Perreault, & McCarty, 2020) or fell within expected gender norms and roles (Heintz-Knowles et al., 2001). However, indie video games offer the potential for alternative perspectives on female representation given that indie games present a "more variegated and diversified sector" compared to big-budget video games (Crogan, 2018, p. 673). ...
Article
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Video games have long held a spotty history in their narratives regarding women. Most research has examined large budget games and identified issues of simplification, oversexualization, and a general lack of agency among female characters. The present study explores the gaming niche of “indie”—or independent game developer—video games in their representations of women in particular with Never Alone, Gone Home, and Her Story. These games were released around the time frame of the GamerGate controversy—a controversy which drew attention to the treatment of women in gaming culture—and hence, the games are used to reflect on a potential shift in games culture following the controversy. This article argues that these game narratives emphasized multilayered female characterizations, female-to-female interactions, and internal dramas as a way to potentially reach female gamers and present an alternative, humanizing narrative on women.
... À l'instar d'autres médias, les jeux vidéo ont tendance à représenter les hommes et les femmes de manière stéréotypée. Les recherches consacrées à la représentation des personnages dans les jeux vidéo mettent en évidence que le genre masculin est davantage représenté (Downs et Smith, 2010 ;Near, 2013). Dans sa thèse, Sarda (2017) met en perspective une plus forte valorisation des personnages masculins principalement blancs et hétérosexuels. ...
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En matière de communication publicitaire, ce ne sont plus seulement des mannequins de taille et de beauté standardisées qui incarnent les marques. D’autres types et formes de beautés sont désormais représentés. Inscrite dans cette mouvance, la marque Gillette Venus célèbre des femmes dont les physiques ne sont pas stéréotypés. Parce que la question de la représentation transcende les frontières de la vie réelle, la marque de produits de rasage a également fait le pari de mener en 2020 une opération marketing résolument inclusive dans le jeu vidéo Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Il s’est agi de proposer une ligne de vêtements associés à des particularités corporelles : vitiligo, acné, mastectomie… Les ressorts et enjeux de cette opération de communication sont décryptés et analysés au sein de cette recherche.
... A vast majority of media images present one idealized type of woman: she is thin, sexualized, and White (American Psychological Association [APA] 2007). This prototypical woman is portrayed in nearly all forms of media, from television shows to music videos and magazines (Conrad et al. 2009;Daniels 2009;Downs and Smith 2010;Ward 2002). Importantly, this woman is associated with positive characteristics, such as being popular, and she is seen as the ultimate model for female attractiveness (APA 2007;Stone et al. 2015). ...
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Media images often present one idealized type of woman: she is thin, sexualized, and White. Although research has shown that there are stereotypes associated with sexualized women, known research has not addressed whether these stereotypes vary based on other characteristics such as body type and race. The current study aimed to examine the stereotypes associated with women who varied in sexualization, as well as body size and race, and whether participants’ characteristics moderated these stereotypes. U.S. college-aged students (n = 500: 101 men, 393 women, 6 unknown) completed measures of gender stereotypes and rated the attributes of women who varied in sexualization (sexualized vs. non-sexualized clothing), body size (thin vs. plus-sized), and race (Black vs. White). Results suggest that body size is more salient than sexualization and stereotypes about sexualized women are differentially applied to White and Black women. Additionally, participants’ gender and race moderated stereotype ratings. Lastly, viewing sexualized images was related to higher endorsement of sexualized gender stereotypes, but only in women. Taken together our results highlight that research on sexualization should address important intersectional components, such as race and body size. We also discuss broader implications of our results on lessening stereotyping and weight stigma.
... Depictions of women in mainstream media provide useful examples of a persistent provocation phenomena. Advertising, music videos, video games, and pornography employ common strategies for manipulating the visual attention of consumers (e.g., Behm-Morawitz, 2017;Burgess et al., 2007;Downs & Smith, 2010;Jansz & Martis, 2007;Karsay & Matthes, 2020;Karsay et al., 2018;McKenzie-Mohr & Zanna, 1990;Stankiewicz & Rosselli, 2008;Tylka & Kroon Van Diest, 2014). These strategies involve tight clothing, revealing of skin, and a narrow focus on bodily features, such as legs, chests/breasts, and buttocks. ...
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Body gaze behavior is assumed to be a key feature of sexual objectification. However, there are few self-report gaze measures available and none capturing behavior which seeks to invite body gaze from others. Across two studies, we used existing self-report instruments and measurement of eye movements to validate a new self-report scale to measure pervasive body gaze behavior and body gaze provocation behavior in heterosexual women and men. In Study 1, participants ( N = 1021) completed a survey with newly created items related to pervasive body gaze and body gaze provocation behavior. Participants also completed preexisting measures of body attitudes, sexual assault attitudes, pornography use, and relationship status. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses across independent samples suggested a 12-item scale for men and women to separately measure pervasive body gaze (5 items) and body gaze provocation (7 items) toward the opposite sex. The two scales yielded excellent internal consistency estimates (.86–.89) and promising convergent validity via positive correlations with body and sexual attitudes. In Study 2, a subsample ( N = 167) of participants from Study 1 completed an eye-tracking task to capture their gaze behavior toward matched images of partially and fully dressed female and male subjects. Men exhibited body-biased gaze behavior toward all the female imagery, whereas women exhibited head-biased gaze behavior toward fully clothed male imagery. Importantly, self-reported body gaze correlated positively with some aspects of objectively measured body gaze behavior. Both scales showed good test–retest reliability and were positively correlated with sexual assault attitudes.
... Only a few titles are specifically aimed and designed for girls or female players (Castulus & Müller 2010;Krause 2011). Studies have shown that the lonesome male hero dominates the screen (Downs & Smith, 2010), while female characters (Lynch, Tompkins, van Driel, & Fritz, 2016) or people of color (Bayeck, Asino, & Young, 2018) are mostly shown in secondary roles. Regarding the presentation of games, the overwhelming amount of near-identical adventure stories with male protagonists means it's comprehensible that gamers would prefer a greater variety. ...
Article
Games shape our understanding of culture. As market figures demonstrate, video games as digital successors of traditional games are now the economic drivers of the media and entertainment industry and form a part of our daily media habits. Since the mid-1970s, journalistic coverage has presented video games as a controversial issue, an image that has crucially shaped public opinion to this day. In the case of Germany, the Interstate Broadcasting Treaty (Rundfunkstaatsvertrag) demands that public broadcast services provide balanced reporting. However, to date, there has been no comprehensive investigation into the media’s coverage of video games. With this in mind, the study at hand seeks to conduct the first explorative and quantitative content analysis of how the German public broadcast channels report on video games. The findings of the study support the assumption of generally biased reporting.
... Dijital oyunlardaki karakterlerin büyük bir çoğunluğunu erkekler oluşturmaktayken, kadınların olduğu oyunlarda kadın bedeninin ön plana çıkarıldığı, kadınların sık sık büyücülük gibi şeytanlaştırılmış ya da ötekileştirilmiş rollerle özdeşleştirildiği görülmektedir (Kapsamlı içerik analizleri için bkz. Williams, Martins, Consalvo, & Ivory, 2009;Downs & Smith, 2010;Martins, Williams, Harrison, & Ratan, 2009). ...
... Of the five best-selling game titles in 2018, two are sports games, two are shooting games, and one is a combination shooting/action game with overtly violent themes (Entertainment Software Association, 2019). In addition, in a content analysis of video game characters, Downs and Smith (2010) reported that females were significantly more likely than males to be oversexualized in depictions of body proportions, clothing appropriate to their assigned tasks, and nudity. Though Lynch et al. (2016) found that sexualization has overall decreased in games released since 2006, some genres-namely, fighting and action games-still largely portray women as sexual objects instead of protagonists with agency and competence. ...
Article
Women are often viewed as outsiders in the videogaming environment, particularly in first-person shooter games. Perceived infringement on an overwhelmingly masculine space pushes women to the margins of online team-based games, where gender norms inform the presumption that they play supportive roles that are viewed as passive and unskilled rather than actively contributing to team objectives. This study explores why women continue to play these roles, even as they are belittled, how societal expectations of women translate to the gaming space, and consequences for gender as a social structure. Findings suggest similarities to gendered labor in that women report feeling obligated to shoulder tasks that nobody else desires, much in the same way that professional work characterized as feminine is devalued. In addition, women must perform emotion work as they game by hiding their role preferences, feeling shame at fulfilling harmful gender stereotypes, and justifying their utility.
... Our findings are aligned with the literature regarding the oversexualization of women (Downs and Smith, 2010), portrait of women as responsible for family matters (Das 2011;Coltrane, 1997), association of science and business with men and not to women (Matud et al., 2011;Courtney and Lockeretz, 1971) and association of fashion with women (Murillo et al, 2010, Davalos 2007, Baile 2020. Despite the fact that there are studies that characterize the content of horoscopes in magazines oriented to women and girls (Tandoc and Ferrucci 2014), little research has been carried out to address the difference between media oriented to men and women, regarding of the content associated with horoscope and astrology. ...
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(UPDATED MAY 2022 - peer reviewed article doi:10.1080/14680777.2022.2047090) Cultural products are a source to acquire individual values and behaviours. Therefore, the differences in the content of the magazines aimed specifically at women or men are a means to create and reproduce gender stereotypes. In this study, we compare the content of a women-oriented magazine with that of a men-oriented one, both produced by the same editorial group, over a decade (2008-2018). With Topic Modelling techniques we identify the main themes discussed in the magazines and quantify how much the presence of these topics differs between magazines over time. Then, we performed a word-frequency analysis to validate this methodology and extend the analysis to other subjects that did not emerge automatically. Our results show that the frequency of appearance of the topics Family, Business and Women as sex objects, present an initial bias that tends to disappear over time. Conversely, in Fashion and Science topics, the initial differences between both magazines are maintained. Besides, we show that in 2012, the content associated with horoscope increased in the women-oriented magazine, generating a new gap that remained open over time. Also, we show a strong increase in the use of words associated with feminism since 2015 and specifically the word abortion in 2018. Overall, these computational tools allowed us to analyse more than 24,000 articles. Up to our knowledge, this is the first study to compare magazines in such a large dataset, a task that would have been prohibitive using manual content analysis methodologies.
... As a form of media, analyzing video game messages can be useful in identifying the gender roles and stereotypes presented therein [2]. Unfortunately, recent game contents analysis reports [3][4][5] reveal that female characters in video game are vastly underrepresented and are often hyper sexualized when depicted. Sexual objectification of female characters is serious in that female character's body images are distorted to emphasize the sexuality [6] and female gamers' self-efficacy was negatively affected by game play with the sexualized female character and playing a sexualized video game heroine unfavorably influenced people's beliefs about women in the real world [7]. ...
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Designing female character in video game has been criticized as being sexually objectified and underrepresented in quantity (number of characters and their appearance rate in the game) and in quality (take only secondary role and inferior ability statistics given). In this paper, we analyze world leading multiple-user online battle arena game league of legends to see if previously criticized gender inequality of champions still stands and conduct a survey of 1,403 players of that game and asks how they feel about serious gender disproportion of utility support champions (all females). The result shows that league of legends still has serious gender disparity in performance parameters and there has been only a small change in 5-year span (2014-2019). The survey result tells us that game players also feel political incorrectness of such gender disproportion, but they accept such gender prototype because they have been taught as such as social role theory explains gender inequality issues.
Article
This exploratory study was conducted to evaluate the quality of digital math games by measuring how much the content of a digital game is aligned to the NCTM Content and Process Standards. For this purpose, this study employed a content analysis method. In total, 23 digital mathematics games have been selected and analyzed using an instrument, a codebook, developed from the NCTM Content and Process Standards. The data showed that a variety of game genre have been used in mathematics games. The majority of math game content focuses on Number and Operations standards compared to other NCTM Content Standards. Also, we found that the games analyzed in this study connected to the all NCTM Process Standards. This study could help the stakeholders of mathematics education in determining what digital math games they integrate for students to improve the math content knowledge and by providing criteria to evaluate math game content aligned with NCTM Content and Process Standards.
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Approximately 52% of young women report receiving threatening messages, sharing of their private photos by others without their consent, or sexual harassment online – examples of cyber-aggression towards women. A scale to measure endorsement of cyber-aggression towards women was developed to be inclusive of the many contemporary ways that women are targeted online. We examined sociopolitical ideologies (right-wing authoritarianism, social dominance orientation) and perceived threats (based on the Dual Process Motivational Model of Ideology and Prejudice, as well as Integrated Threat Theory) as predictors of endorsement of cyber-aggression towards women in three studies (Pilot Study, n=46; Study 1, n=276; Study 2, n=6381). Study 1 and 2 participants were recruited from online video gaming communities; Study 2 comprised responses collected during or after a livestream of YouTubers doing the survey went viral. The YouTubers criticized feminism and alleged that female gamers had privilege in the gaming community. In all three studies, exploratory factor analyses suggested endorsement of cyber-aggression towards women is a unidimensional psychological construct and the scale demonstrated great internal reliability. In path analyses, social dominance orientation emerged as the most consistent predictor of endorsement of cyber-aggression towards women, mediated, in part, by perceived threats.
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Purpose: Most thumbnails promoting movies or series in video on demand (VOD) streaming services contain some form of shock advertising. The intention of this type of appeal is to bring immediate attention of viewers. However, little is known if shock advertising persuades consumers to watch series or movies on VOD streaming services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. This study examines more deeply consumer responses to two types of shock advertising appeals: fetishism and sexual, and compares the results to an experimental condition in which there is an absence of shock advertising. Design / Methodology / Approach: This study empirically tests if shock advertising, in the form of fetishism and sexual appeals, persuades consumers to watch series or movies. In the experimental setting, we manipulated romantic feelings and compared how each shock advertising types of appeals influence consumers when deciding what to watch in VOD streaming services. Analysis of variance was utilized to test the main effect of type of shock advertising appeal (fetishism vs. sexual vs. control condition) and to test the moderating effect of romantic feelings. Results: Our findings suggest that consumers exposed to fetishism and sexual appeals revealed lower levels of persuasion compared to a control condition. An important finding of the study is the moderating effect of romanticism. When an individual has romantic feelings, conceived as a transitory mood state, the fetishism appeal becomes more persuasive than the sexual or the neutral appeals. Limitations / Implications: These results are useful for improving the implementation of shock advertising appeals in the form of fetishism or sexual thumbnails for VOD streaming services. The study uses a single experiment to draw conclusions. Future research can test to generalize the results of this study in different settings. Originality / Contribution: The main contributions derived from this research can be classified into two findings: it improves our understanding of consumer' s reactions to shock advertising; and, second advances our knowledge of the influence of positive emotions (romantic feelings) when consumers decide what to watch in video streaming services.
Chapter
Girls and women play video games in equal number to boys, yet they continue to be under-represented in the video game industry. The goal of this chapter is to examine initiatives that encourage gender equality in video game design. This chapter argues that the process of becoming a video game designer may have the potential to shift girls' notions of identity. Drawing on research on girls and video game design, as well as analyses of informal programs that teach girls video game design, this chapter emphasizes the intersection of design and identity. This chapter offers directions and recommendations for future research, including the need for expanded understandings of the cultural and democratic benefits of video game design for girls.
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This chapter provides an overview of content-analytical research on video games. We introduce existing and emerging constructs commonly studied in content analyses of video games (e.g., violence, sexism), review methodological challenges, and discuss how research so far has dealt with them. We also offer suggestions for future directions for content analyses of video games, both in terms of the constructs and games studied as well as the methods applied.KeywordsViolenceGender stereotypesVideo games
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Kebo Iwa is one of the proud figures of the Balinese people. A Half-light human whose birth is full of mystery. A regent of the Royal Bedahulu who is powerful and commanding. He is a figure who trembles his opponents and makes the kingdom safe in his time of service. This article is intended to reveal the world view of the figure of Kebo Iwa and his strategy in capturing Gadjah Mada. The method used is philological theory and comparative literary with critical-descriptive analysis. The data source are based on Kakawin Kebo Tarunantaka and Kakawin Gadjah Mada. This result of the study that Kebo Iwa’s defeat was not his weakness, but the strengths that made him a hero. Cakrawarti Kebo Iwa’s vision brings peace, making Bali famous throughout the world. Cakrawarti’s vision is needed by every leader. Glory does not always come from victory, but also from loss with visionary view that brought the glory of the next generation.
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Existing measures of women’s breasted experiences have focused on negative experiences, which de-centres women’s meaning-making and relationships with their breasts. To rectify this, we developed a novel measure of women’s positive breasted experiences, the Breast Appreciation Scale (BrAS), and examined the psychometric properties of this novel measure across four studies. Study 1, with 307 United Kingdom women, led to the extraction of a 9-item, unidimensional model of BrAS scores that showed adequate composite reliability and 4-week test-retest reliability. Study 2, with 297 United Kingdom women, showed that the unidimensional model of BrAS scores had adequate fit and evidenced convergent, concurrent, discriminant, and incremental validity. Study 3, with 295 women from the United Kingdom, provided additional support for factorial validity and concurrent validity, and additionally provided evidence of known-groups validity insofar as mothers had greater breast appreciation than non-mothers. Study 4 showed that the BrAS was scalar invariant across women from Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States (N = 573) and provided additional evidence of concurrent validity. Based on these results, we conclude that the BrAS is a psychometrically valid measure of women’s positive breasted experiences that can be utilised in future research.
Chapter
Gender-based discrimination, which includes any distinction, exclusion, or restriction made on the basis of socially constructed gender roles and norms, or biological sex/gender, gender identity, gender expression, or presumed sexual orientation, is prevalent throughout the world and is often directed at children and adolescents. Because childhood and adolescence are particularly vulnerable periods of development, there can be long-term consequences of experiencing such discrimination. In this chapter, we describe gender-based discrimination as it affects children and adolescents, beginning with a focus on how the field has shifted historically and in conjunction with historical and legal changes. We then detail the different types of gender-based discrimination targeting children and adolescents: discrimination at home, school, and media that involves (a) direct or indirect biased interactions targeting individuals, (b) structural biases within institutions, and (c) cultural expressions of stereotypes and prejudice.KeywordsGender discriminationSexual harassmentAdolescenceChildhood
Chapter
Today, gender representation in media and advertising could be responsible for creating and maintaining female stereotypes that have a negative impact on women's psychological and social well-being. From a psychological point of view, women have to face several issues including the objectification of their body, which could have negative effects on their mental, emotional, and physical health; furthermore, the portrayal of the female body as a sexual object could be associated with aggressive inclinations and behaviours against women, but also with cyber-bullying victimization in terms of body-shaming and revenge porn. Finally, it is relevant to consider how the use of gender stereotypes in advertising and media could lead to a distorted perception of gender roles, mostly based on outdated socio-cultural expectations of how men and women should behave and present themselves, that could be passed on to the next generations.
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Oyun çalışmaları alanında güncelliğini koruyan bir konu olarak toplumsal cinsiyet kavramını merkeze alan önemli çalışmalar mevcuttur. Bu çalışma da dijital oyunlar ve toplumsal cinsiyetin kesişim noktası olarak Türkiye’de beyanı kadın olan oyuncuların oyun kültürü ve oyun toplulukları içerisinde var olan toplumsal cinsiyet algısından ne biçimde etkilendikleri ve oyun oynama, oyuncu olarak oyun toplulukları içerisinde yer alma pratiklerinin bu algı ile ne şekilde biçimlendiğini ortaya koyma amacı taşımaktadır. Dünya çapında istatistiklere bakıldığında oyun oynayan kadınların erkeklere oranı %45 olarak belirlenmektedir (https://www.statista.com/statistics/232383/gender-split-of-us-computer-and-video-gamers/). Oyun sektörüne bakıldığında, sektör içerisinde çalışanların yalnızca %22’sinin kadın olduğu görülmektedir (https://www.statista.com/statistics/453634/gamedeveloper-gender-distribution-worldwide/). Beyanı kadın oyuncuların tek taraflı bir temsil sunan oyunlar içerisinde kendine yer edinmesinin endüstri tarafından zorlaştırılmasının yanı sıra oyun topluluklarının da erkek egemen yapısı dolayısıyla varlık göstermelerinin ve kendilerine yer açmalarının mümkün olmayışı onları farklı bir kimlik oluşturmaya itmektedir. Bu bağlamda kadın oyuncuların yaşadıkları bu dışlanma sonucu varlıklarını ne şekilde kurgulayabildikleri araştırmaya değer görünmektedir. Bu makalede çevrimiçi oyunlar oynamayı tercih eden, beyanı kadın olan oyuncular arasından seçilmiş olan 8 kişi ile yarı yapılandırılmış derinlemesine görüşme yapılmıştır. Bu soruların cevapları aranmış ve ortaya çıkan veriler ile literatürdeki kadın oyuncuların oyun pratikleri kıyaslanarak ve oyuncu kitlesinin %45’ini oluşturan kadın oyuncuların kendi varlıklarını ne şekillerde ve ne nedenlerle gizledikleri ortaya koymak amaçlanmıştır. Kullanılan yöntem ile ortaya konan veriler literatür içerisinde kadın oyuncuların toplumsal cinsiyet eşitsizliğine ne şekilde maruz kaldıklarını ve bunun sonucunda oyun kültürü içerisinde hangi noktada olduklarını göstermeyi amaçlamaktadır.
Article
Characters in fighting videogames¹ such as Street Fighter V and Tekken7 typically reveal a phenomenon that we define as virtual enfreakment: their bodies, costumes, and fighting styles are exaggerated (1) in a manner that emphasizes perceived exoticism and (2) to enable them to be easily visually and conceptually distinguishable from one another. Here, using both quantitative and qualitative methods, including crowd-sourced surveys and analyses of game mechanics, we report on the contours of virtual enfreakment in those games. We specifically examine differences in character design across gender, national-origin, and skin-color lines. Disappointingly but not surprisingly, we find racism and sexism manifest as stark differences in character design by gender and skin color. This has strong implications because taking on the roles of these characters can have impacts on users in the physical world, e.g., performance and engagement, behavior, and understandings of others (Lim and Harrell 2015; Şengün 2015; Yee et al. 2012, Şengün et al. 2022a; Harrell and Veeragoudar Harrell 2012; Kao and Harrell 2015; Şengün 2014; Kocur et al. 2020). Although the differences are not always straightforward, female characters and darker-skinned characters (typically, characters of color) are enfreaked differently than their light-skinned male counterparts. Our results also reveal the strategic use of “unknown” as a country of origin for villainous characters. Through our mixed-methods analysis, we examine in detail how virtual enfreakment is influenced by sexism and racism, and our findings are compatible with information about the development history of the Street Fighter and Tekken franchises. However, we also find that recent characters designed in dialogue with developers from their regions of origin are some of the least enfreaked and most positively portrayed—suggesting the possibility of designing and deploying such characters for implementing anti-bias character designs within popular videos..
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In this paper the focus is on the representations of “middle-aged” or “aging” women streamers in western media. I analyze discussions in Western online media around a case of Chinese DouYu live-streamer. “Qiaobiluo Dianxia,” as her streamer name goes, became a topic in Western media after a glitch in her live stream revealed her to be a middle-aged woman, rather than young woman she was assumed to be. The discussions are analyzed with critical discourse analysis. It is argued that the aging bodies of women, both their presence and absence, should be read and understood through toxic gaming culture and geek masculinity and the hegemonic discourse they constitute.
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Background: A growing body of research has documented negative effects of sexualization in the media on individuals’ self-objectification. This research is predominantly built on studies examining traditional media, such as magazines and television, and young female samples. Furthermore, longitudinal studies are scarce, and research is missing studying mediators of the relationship. The first aim of the present PhD thesis was to investigate the relations between the use of sexualized interactive media and social media and self-objectification. The second aim of this work was to examine the presumed processes within understudied samples, such as males and females beyond college age, thus investigating the moderating roles of age and gender. The third aim was to shed light on possible mediators of the relation between sexualized media and self-objectification. Method: The research aims were addressed within the scope of four studies. In an experiment, women’s self-objectification and body satisfaction was measured after playing a video game with a sexualized vs. a nonsexualized character that was either personalized or generic. The second study investigated the cross-sectional link between sexualized television use and self-objectification and consideration of cosmetic surgery in a sample of women across a broad age spectrum, examining the role of age in the relations. The third study looked at the cross-sectional link between male and female sexualized images on Instagram and their associations with self-objectification among a sample of male and female adolescents. Using a two-wave longitudinal design, the fourth study examined sexualized video game and Instagram use as predictors of adolescents’ self-objectification. Path models were conceptualized for the second, third and fourth study, in which media use predicted body surveillance via appearance comparisons (Study 4), thin-ideal internalization (Study 2, 3, 4), muscular-ideal internalization (Study 3, 4), and valuing appearance (all studies). Results: The results of the experimental study revealed no effect of sexualized video game characters on women’s self-objectification and body satisfaction. No moderating effect of personalization emerged. Sexualized television use was associated to consideration of cosmetic surgery via body surveillance and valuing appearance for women of all ages in Study 2, while no moderating effect of age was found. Study 3 revealed that seeing sexualized male images on Instagram was indirectly associated with higher body surveillance via muscular-ideal internalization for boys and girls. Sexualized female images were indirectly linked to higher body surveillance via thin-ideal internalization and valuing appearance over competence only for girls. The longitudinal analysis of Study 4 showed no moderating effect of gender: For boys and girls, sexualized video game use at T1 predicted body surveillance at T2 via appearance comparisons, thin-ideal internalization and valuing appearance over competence. Furthermore, the use of sexualized Instagram images at T1 predicted body surveillance at T2 via valuing appearance. Conclusion: The findings show that sexualization in the media is linked to self-objectification among a variety of media formats and within diverse groups of people. While the longitudinal study indicates that sexualized media predict self-objectification over time, the experimental null findings warrant caution regarding this temporal order. The results demonstrate that several mediating variables might be involved in this link. Possible implications for research and practice, such as intervention programs and policy-making, are discussed.
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In diesem Kapitel diskutieren wir vor allem die folgenden beiden Fragen: Wie ähnlich oder unterschiedlich sind Mädchen und Jungen in Bezug auf bestimmte psychologische Variablen? Und was könnte Unterschieden zwischen ihnen zugrunde liegen? Nach einer eingehenderen Beschäftigung mit den Begriffen „Geschlecht“ und „Gender“ betrachten wir zunächst die physiologischen, kognitiv-motivationalen und kulturellen Einflüsse, die zur Geschlechterentwicklung beitragen können. Dann skizzieren wir die wichtigsten Meilensteine der Entwicklung von Geschlechterstereotypen und des geschlechtsstereotypen Verhaltens in der Kindesentwicklung. Anschließend vergleichen wir, was man derzeit über die Ähnlichkeiten und Unterschiede von Jungen und Mädchen in bestimmten Entwicklungsbereichen weiß: insbesondere zur körperlichen Entwicklung, zum Erwerb kognitiver und sozialer Fähigkeiten und zur Persönlichkeitsentwicklung.
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The central thesis in this essay is that validity and reliability should be conceptualized differently across the various forms of content and the various uses of theory. This is especially true with applied communication research where a theory is not always available to guide the design. A distinction needs to made between manifest and latent (pattern and projective) content. Also, we argue that content analyses need not be limited to theory‐based coding schemes and standards set by experts. When researchers are clear about what kind of content they want to analyze and the role of theory in their studies, they are in a better position to select the most appropriate strategies for demonstrating validity and reliability.
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Adolescents are primary consumers of video and computer games, and the games they prefer are often violent. Related research suggests that exposure to media violence may affect attitudes and behavior. Self-concept is a key indicator of core attitudes and coping abilities, particularly in adolescents. This study documents current adolescent electronic game-playing habits, and explores associations among preference for violent games, frequency and location of play, and self-concept. Multivariate analyses identify marked gender differences in game-playing habits and in scores on the Harter Self-perception Profile for Adolescents. For girls, more time playing video or computer games is associated with lower Harter scores on six subscales, including self-esteem.
Article
Self-esteem plays a central role in mental health, yet not enough is known about how youth evaluate themselves as they move across adolescence. This study used a cross-sectional design to examine age and gender patterns in self-esteem and to explore how contemporary social influences relate to adolescent self-esteem. Self-reported influences on self-esteem involving the media, sexual harassment, body image, family and peer relationships, and emotional expression were evaluated with 93 boys and 116 girls in Grades 5, 8, and 12. Girls reported lower self-esteem than boys in early adolescence, and late adolescent boys reported lower self-esteem than younger boys. The predictors as a set accounted for a significant portion of the variance in self-esteem, while the best predictor of self-esteem varied by age and gender. Large gender differences were present for emotional expression, with boys becoming more restrictive across adolescence. Girls reported more negative body image and media influence scores than did boys in late childhood and early adolescence. Body image appeared to mediate the relationships between certain predictors and self-esteem for girls, while gender and grade appeared to moderate the relationship between media influence and self-esteem for girls and boys.
Article
The present article presents an integrative theoretical framework to explain and to predict psychological changes achieved by different modes of treatment. This theory states that psychological procedures, whatever their form, alter the level and strength of self-efficacy. It is hypothesized that expectations of per- sonal efficacy determine whether coping behavior will be initiated, how much effort will be expended, and how long it will be sustained in the face of ob- stacles and aversive experiences. Persistence in activities that are subjectively threatening but in fact relatively safe produces, through experiences of mastery, further enhancement of self-efficacy and corresponding reductions in defensive behavior. In the proposed model, expectations of personal efficacy are derived from four principal sources of information: performance accomplishments, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, and physiological states. The more de- pendable the experiential sources, the greater are the changes in perceived self- efficacy. A number of factors are identified as influencing the cognitive processing of efficacy information arising from enactive, vicarious, exhortative, and emotive sources. The differential power of diverse therapeutic procedures is analyzed in terms of the postulated cognitive mechanism of operation. Findings are reported from microanalyses of enactive, vicarious, and emotive modes of treatment that support the hypothesized relationship between perceived self-efficacy and be- havioral changes. Possible directions for further research are discussed.
Article
The world of television activates, cultivates, and alters the gender schemata that children bring to the viewing situation.
Article
Children's exposure to violence, alcohol, tobacco and other substances, and sexual messages in the media are a source of public health concern; however, content in video games commonly played by children has not been quantified. To quantify and characterize the depiction of violence, alcohol, tobacco and other substances, and sex in video games rated E (for "Everyone"), analogous to the G rating of films, which suggests suitability for all audiences. We created a database of all existing E-rated video games available for rent or sale in the United States by April 1, 2001, to identify the distribution of games by genre and to characterize the distribution of content descriptors associated with these games. We played and assessed the content of a convenience sample of 55 E-rated video games released for major home video game consoles between 1985 and 2000. Game genre; duration of violence; number of fatalities; types of weapons used; whether injuring characters or destroying objects is rewarded or is required to advance in the game; depiction of alcohol, tobacco and other substances; and sexual content. Based on analysis of the 672 current E-rated video games played on home consoles, 77% were in sports, racing, or action genres and 57% did not receive any content descriptors. We found that 35 of the 55 games we played (64%) involved intentional violence for an average of 30.7% of game play (range, 1.5%-91.2%), and we noted significant differences in the amount of violence among game genres. Injuring characters was rewarded or required for advancement in 33 games (60%). The presence of any content descriptor for violence (n = 23 games) was significantly correlated with the presence of intentional violence in the game (at a 5% significance level based on a 2-sided Wilcoxon rank-sum test, t(53) = 2.59). Notably, 14 of 32 games (44%) that did not receive a content descriptor for violence contained acts of violence. Action and shooting games led to the largest numbers of deaths from violent acts, and we found a significant correlation between the proportion of violent game play and the number of deaths per minute of play. We noted potentially objectionable sexual content in 2 games and the presence of alcohol in 1 game. Content analysis suggests a significant amount of violence in some E-rated video games. The content descriptors provide some information to parents and should be used along with the rating, but the game's genre also appears to play a role in the amount of violent play. Physicians and parents should understand that popular E-rated video games may be a source of exposure to violence and other unexpected content for children and that games may reward the players for violent actions.
Article
As evidenced by the literature discussed, research suggests that two trends are indeed occurring: the male body ideal is becoming more muscular andadolescent males are increasingly experiencing body dissatisfaction, engaging in disordered eating, and using anabolic steroids and untested dietary supplements to control their weight and to gain muscle. These behaviors can have serious, long-term health consequences. However, research on the role of the media in promoting these types of behaviors among adolescent males is lacking. Fortunately (and perhaps ironically given the history of medical research in this country), this is an area where existing research on adolescent girls and women may provide a good starting point. At the same time, however, it is critical to acknowledge that research into the possible impact of the muscular male body ideal on adolescent males must be grounded in an understanding of adolescent males and of their physical and psychological development. As indicated by research on adolescent development, puberty may bring adolescent males closer to the male body ideal, thereby increasing body satisfaction. The pursuit of the muscular male body ideal may contribute to adolescent males engagement in health-promoting activities, such as weight training and athletics. Given the increasing rates of obesity and inactivity among American youth, involvement in these types of activities should not be discouraged. However, the pursuit of an extreme body ideal also may contribute to body dissatisfaction and unhealthy weight-control and muscle-building behaviors. The possible role of the media in promoting these types of problems among adolescent males deserves further attention.
Article
Children's exposure to violence, blood, sexual themes, profanity, substances, and gambling in the media remains a source of public health concern. However, content in video games played by older children and adolescents has not been quantified or compared with the rating information provided to consumers by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). To quantify and characterize the content in video games rated T (for "Teen") and to measure the agreement between the content observed in game play and the ESRB-assigned content descriptors displayed on the game box. We created a database of all 396 T-rated video game titles released on the major video game consoles in the United States by April 1, 2001, to identify the distribution of games by genre and to characterize the distribution of ESRB-assigned content descriptors. We randomly sampled 80 video game titles (which included 81 games because 1 title included 2 separate games), played each game for at least 1 hour, quantitatively assessed the content, and compared the content we observed with the content descriptors assigned by the ESRB. Depictions of violence, blood, sexual themes, gambling, and alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs; whether injuring or killing characters is rewarded or is required to advance in the game; characterization of gender associated with sexual themes; and use of profanity in dialogue, lyrics, or gestures. Analysis of all content descriptors assigned to the 396 T-rated video game titles showed 373 (94%) received content descriptors for violence, 102 (26%) for blood, 60 (15%) for sexual themes, 57 (14%) for profanity, 26 (7%) for comic mischief, 6 (2%) for substances, and none for gambling. In the random sample of 81 games we played, we found that 79 (98%) involved intentional violence for an average of 36% of game play, 73 (90%) rewarded or required the player to injure characters, 56 (69%) rewarded or required the player to kill, 34 (42%) depicted blood, 22 (27%) depicted sexual themes, 22 (27%) contained profanity, 12 (15%) depicted substances, and 1 (1%) involved gambling. Our observations of 81 games match the ESRB content descriptors for violence in 77 games (95%), for blood in 22 (27%), for sexual themes in 16 (20%), for profanity in 14 (17%), and for substances in 1 (1%). Games were significantly more likely to depict females partially nude or engaged in sexual behaviors than males. Overall, we identified 51 observations of content that could warrant a content descriptor in 39 games (48%) in which the ESRB had not assigned a content descriptor. We found that the ESRB assigned 7 content descriptors for 7 games (9%) in which we did not observe the content indicated within 1 hour of game play. Content analysis suggests a significant amount of content in T-rated video games that might surprise adolescent players and their parents given the presence of this content in games without ESRB content descriptors. Physicians and parents should be aware that popular T-rated video games may be a source of exposure to a wide range of unexpected content.
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