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Traditional Stereotype of Female Characters Analysis Research Paper

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Updated: Oct 5th, 2021

Introduction

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.

Results

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.

References

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