Sex Roles

, Volume 57, Issue 5, pp 419–433

Sex, Lies, and Video Games: The Portrayal of Male and Female Characters on Video Game Covers


    • Department of PsychologySouthwestern Oklahoma State University
  • Steven Paul Stermer
    • Department of PsychologySouthwestern Oklahoma State University
  • Stephen R. Burgess
    • Department of PsychologySouthwestern Oklahoma State University
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11199-007-9250-0

Cite this article as:
Burgess, M.C.R., Stermer, S.P. & Burgess, S.R. Sex Roles (2007) 57: 419. doi:10.1007/s11199-007-9250-0


Two hundred twenty-five console video game covers obtained from online retail sites were examined for portrayals of men and women. We hypothesized that males would be portrayed more often, but that females would be portrayed in a more hyper-sexualized manner. Male characters were almost four times more frequently portrayed than female characters and were given significantly more game relevant action. However, in spite of their less frequent appearance, female characters were more likely to be portrayed with exaggerated, and often objectified, sexiness. Further, violence and sexiness was paired more frequently for female characters than violence and muscular physiques for the male characters. The potential influence these negative portrayals could have on gamers is discussed.


StereotypesSex rolesVideo games

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007