Effects of the Sexualization of Female Characters in Video Games on Gender Stereotyping, Body Esteem, Self-Objectification, Self-Esteem, and Self-Efficacy
AdvisorMastro, Dana E.
Committee ChairMastro, Dana E.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractContent analyses indicate that women and girls are gender-stereotyped and negatively portrayed in video games, yet, to date, no research has examined the effects of exposure to these images on consumers. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the influence of sexualized (stereotypical) and non-sexualized (counter-stereotypical) portrayals of female characters in video games on players' self-esteem, gender stereotyping, body esteem, self-objectification, and self-efficacy. Social cognitive theory and presence are utilized to explicate the processes through which individuals are affected by video game play. According to social cognitive theory, the portrayals of women and girls in video games would be expected to influence social perceptions about gender and self-concept in both male and female users. Integrating presence into this theoretical framework aids in explaining the effects of exposure to this uniquely interactive medium. The findings from this study suggest that short-term exposure to a sexualized female video game character predicts lower self-efficacy and negative attitudes toward women in terms of their physical capabilities for female players. Additionally, level of presence experienced by male game players predicted body-related outcomes, such that a higher level of presence was related to greater body satisfaction and lower self-objectification in men. Presence had no significant effect on the relationship between sex, type of character played, and the outcome variables. The results of this study are of consequence not only to media effects researchers but also to parents, legislators, and video game programmers.