Results of a new study show teenagers playing video games are more likely to develop sexist attitudes and gender stereotypes.
A joint effort of French and US researchers saw 13,520 French girls and boys, aged between 11 and 19, answer questions on how much time they spend playing video games and their attitudes toward women and gender stereotypes. The results, published in the Frontiers in Psychology journal, showed a mutual connection between both.
Males had a higher level of sexism, which correlates to the depiction of women in games. While it appears that women are generally underrepresented in video games, of the times they are featured in a game, they are presented as “characters needing help or holding passive or instrumental role”, “attractive beings” or “sex objects”.
The study is among the first large-scale researches of the often debated subject. However, researchers do recognize possible limitations to their research model in trying to identify the real reasons behind sexist behavior in teenage video game players. This includes the likely situation that that “individuals with sexist orientations spend more time playing video games” and the quantity of sexist content adolescents were exposed to in video games.
Because video games are designed for iterative play (potentially more than 100 hours for the more developed games) and are interactive by nature, they
enable repeated and distributed learning about gender roles that may have enduring effects. Researchers conclude that the causal link between video game exposure and sexism needs to be further addressed and confirmed by experimental studies. If confirmed, they believe the video game industry may find it mandatory to encourage an evolution in the way women are represented, because sexism on
If confirmed, they believe the video game industry may find it mandatory to encourage an evolution in the way women are represented, because sexism on-screen can have consequences which are not limited to the virtual world. In addition to the development of sexist attitudes, the occurring exposure to biased female models in games may produce body dissatisfaction, self-objectification, and eating disorders among women.
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