Home > Free Essays > Entertainment & Media > Media Influences > Traditional Stereotype of Female Characters Analysis

Traditional Stereotype of Female Characters Analysis Research Paper

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: Oct 5th, 2021


The study is conducted on children within the age group of 7 to 13 years and the effect stereotypical depiction of women in home video games have on this age group. Video game as a part of new media is also responsible in portraying women in a typical way which shapes the children’s view of women, especially girls. Existing research and theory are reviewed including how gender roles develop, how general mass media affects gender identity and beliefs, and how contemporary video games influence children.

Description of the research

The cognitive study suggests that in the age group of 7 – 13 years children formulate their gender roles and become conscious of their sex. The previous study of video games and their effect on children showed their depiction of violence against women, but this study tries to analyze the effect it has informing the gender role in children and specific effect on girls. Studies involving girls and video games have has become important as scholars believe that video games are one way to encourage girls to participate within the technological domain while others argue that video games possess the potential to familiarize children with computers, and thus may encourage the pursuit of a career in technology.

Children between the years of seven and thirteen have a new and growing interest in their gender identity and external forces influence attitudes and beliefs. Mass media have been shown to influence girls’ perceptions of women and, therefore, self. Girls’ image of women has traditionally been formulated by teen magazines or television role models. Here the study takes an implicit hypothesis that girls’ perception can be molded differently through video games. The methodology used by the author is a first content analysis of the video games, identification of the protagonists, and then studying the effect it has on girls.

Generally, it has been found that video games have been developed as a boy’s toy. But with the recent inclusion of girls in the gaming arena new games targeting only girls have been developed. Traditionally, video games target many genres of interest (e.g. action, adventure, role play, fighting), girl games only change according to the target age. The protagonists in girl video games are usually characters like Barbie. Girls often identify with video game protagonists. Research has shown that creating video games teach math skills to younger students. When designing game characters the girls overwhelmingly created a “generic you.” Children’s view of their own gender identity begins with a general conception themselves and is affected by and modeled on the child’s conception of a particular person. There is an absolute dearth of female gaming protagonists who can act as role models to girls.


The result of the author’s research that has been conducted about the effects of video games on the sex-role beliefs and the identity of girls is inconclusive. Though studies have argued that video game stereotypes provide images that influence children’s attitudes and beliefs about women some researchers have found that girls playing video games invent their images of self and women, regardless of what is presented. A study conducted through interviews and observations with a sample group of children from ages six to twelve involved with video games showed that children do not blindly take the absolutes of the video game imagery, but rather shapes it to reflect their own beliefs and attitudes about gender. Hence the study concludes that video games for girls do not shape their ideas about women, but rather it is the image of the protagonist which does so. Further, the games which carry a stereotypical image of women are mostly designed for boys and do not affect girls as much.


Field, A. E., Cheung, L. Wolf, A. M., Herzog, D. B. Gortmaker, S.L. and Colditz G.A. “Exposure to the Mass Media and Weight Concerns among Girls”. Pediatrics; 103; e36 1999: pp. 1-5.

Brown, J.D., Halpern, C.H., and L’Engle, K.L. “Mass media as a sexual super peer for early maturing girls”, Journal of Adolescent Health 36, 2005: pp.420–427.

Dittmar, H, Halliwell, E, and Ive, S. “Does Barbie Make Girls Want to Be Thin? The Effect of Experimental Exposure to Images of Dolls on the Body Image of 5- to 8-Year-Old Girls”, Developmental Psychology, Vol. 42, No. 2, 2006: pp. 283–292.

Cohen, S. “Media Exposure and the Subsequent Effects on Body Dissatisfaction, Disordered Eating, and Drive for Thinness: A Review of the Current Research” Mind Matters: The Wesleyan Journal of Psychology Vol. 1, 2006: pp. 57-71.

Okunna, C.S. “Portrayal of Women in Nigerian Home Video Films: Empowerment or Subjugation?” Department of Mass Communication, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria. 1996.

Fredrickson, B. L. Roberts, T.A. Noll, S. M. Quinn D.M. and Twenge, J.M. “That Swimsuit Becomes You: Sex Differences in Self-Objectification, Restrained Eating, and Math Performance” Journal of Personality and Social PsychologyVol. 75, No. 1, 1998: pp.269-284.

Martin, C.K. “Girls, Video Games, and the Traditional Stereotype of Female Characters” Communication 270, 1999.

Peterson, R. and Jun, M. “Eating Disorders and Advertising Effects: an Exploration” Academy of Marketing Studies Journal, Volume 8, Number 1, 2004.

Ward, S. Buck, M. Hofman, B. Tanjic, S. and Whyte D. “Baby You Got Me in the Shape I’m In: Factors Which Determine Body Image” ANZMAC 2000 Visionary Marketing for the 21st Century: Facing the Challenge 2000.

Stice, E. and Whitenton, K. “Risk Factors for Body Dissatisfaction in Adolescent Girls: A Longitudinal Investigation”, Developmental Psychology, Vol. 38, No. 5, 2002: pp. 669–678.

This research paper on Traditional Stereotype of Female Characters Analysis was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Research Paper sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

801 certified writers online

Cite This paper
Select a referencing style:


IvyPanda. (2021, October 5). Traditional Stereotype of Female Characters Analysis. https://ivypanda.com/essays/traditional-stereotype-of-female-characters-analysis/


IvyPanda. (2021, October 5). Traditional Stereotype of Female Characters Analysis. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/traditional-stereotype-of-female-characters-analysis/

Work Cited

"Traditional Stereotype of Female Characters Analysis." IvyPanda, 5 Oct. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/traditional-stereotype-of-female-characters-analysis/.

1. IvyPanda. "Traditional Stereotype of Female Characters Analysis." October 5, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/traditional-stereotype-of-female-characters-analysis/.


IvyPanda. "Traditional Stereotype of Female Characters Analysis." October 5, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/traditional-stereotype-of-female-characters-analysis/.


IvyPanda. 2021. "Traditional Stereotype of Female Characters Analysis." October 5, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/traditional-stereotype-of-female-characters-analysis/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Traditional Stereotype of Female Characters Analysis'. 5 October.

Powered by CiteTotal, the best citation machine
More related papers