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games research

Research 3: Gender as Portrayed in Video Game Magazines

Miller, Monica K. and Summers, Alicia.  “Gender Differences in Video Game Characters’ Roles, Appearances, and Attire as Portrayed in Video Game Magazines.”  Sex Roles 57.3 (2007): 733-742.  18 June 2013.

Whereas the past two articles I have read focused on character portrayal in video games themselves, Miller and Summers address gender, appearance, and roles as depicted in the video game magazines for Playstation, Nintendo, and XBOX.  Interestingly, they acknowledge very infrequently the complications researching video games via another medium, the magazine, creates.  Towards the end they do acknowledge that the editors and authors act as filters for the games since there is no way possible for the entirety of a game and its characters to be discussed in an article.  Their research focuses on the appearance (physical appearance and equipment) and roles of gendered characters.  Overall, they found that males were more likely to be the main, heroic character while females were secondary characters.  Males had more weapons and abilities and were more muscular and powerful.  Females were portrayed as “attractive, sexy, helpless and innocent”, as they were scantily clad, weaker, and had less power and equipment.  Finally, the authors state that more research needs to be done to see how such portrayals affect children and adolescents, especially since video games are a highly interactive form a media, and less interactive ones, such as television and advertisements, play an important role in a child’s self-assessment.

Like the past two articles I have blogged about, I think this one will be useful in learning how gender is portrayed in video games.  Unlike the other articles, Miller and Summers are concerned about the effects of video games in the future, rather than how players interact with them.  Again, they recognize that stereotypes are highly prevalent in video games and seem to be disturbed by this (as I am!). 

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