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games research

Game research # 9

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The other way in which a female character is portrayed in games is as a sexual object. As Brar states in his essay ‘Level – up’  “female characters in gaming are portrayed as either meek submissives or sexual objects.”  In many video games female characters reveal a lot of skin or have a very dysmorphic body- with big busts and tiny waists.  One such essay which explores this issue: ‘ Gender and racial stereotypes in popular video games’ by Yi Mou and Wei Peng, borrows from another study stating : ““Compared to male characters, females were more likely to be represented in a hypersexual way: being partially nude, featured with an unrealistic body image and shown wearing sexually revealing clothing and inappropriate attire.” (  Downs and Smith) One of my favorite games ‘ Soul Caliber’ has female characters in barely any clothing. Instead of playing female characters, I choose to play male ones.  This game is rate Teen, and I know a few teenagers who play this game quite a lot of times. An essay entitled : “ The Effects of the Sexualization of Female VideoGame- Characters on Gender Stereotypingand Female Self-Concept” Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz and

Dana Mastro, states that because of the scarcity of female characters in games and the fact that the few female character present are portrayed in a gender biased manner, gamers may adopt beliefs and standards that are in line with these sexualized portrayals, resulting in the desire to be like the characters (among women) and to judge self and others based upon the character (among both women and men). One might state that not all female are shown as weak or like secondary sexual objects. This is true there are heroines which are not weak and are shown as the main protagonists, in charger and independent, but these heroines are also highly sexualized- for example Lara Croft. The problem with Lara Croft is that the powerful independent role of the female is diminished and reduced to the characters sexual attibutes. The Lara Phenomenon occurs, where ” female characters in a leading role appeared as often as male do. However, these female characters were portrayed in a stereotypical way: female features were exaggerated by sexy attire and thin body.” (Beasley and Standley) This is a major problem, as female characters are grossly misrepresented. This is an issue mainly because part of the audience being young boys and girls are learning from video games and other medias that this is how a woman or a man should be like- in other words these gender stereotypes have a great role in building the receptor’s own identity and self. Female characters, as I had earlier stated, are under represented mostly because these games are made to attract the male audience.  Another way to see how females are under represented is when they are portrayed as androgynous characters. In the essay by Sharon R. Sherman ‘ Perils of the princess,’ she states “ girl heroines seem to be the mere twins of males in adventure games.” She also describes a situation where she asked her female participants about the heroine in the game ‘Metroid,’ to which they said that they had thought the character was male. The male participants stated that the it was okay to play the character since she is an alien, “Thus, the same game is discerned differently-the female becomes a green-haired monster for boys and a male action figure for girls.” This form of psychology can be seen in young players who tend to choose a character most similar to their own self, but if female characters are so under represented and stereotyped, then it become difficult for female players to find a character which represents them correctly.



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