Sex Roles

, Volume 57, Issue 11, pp 851–864

Video Game Characters and the Socialization of Gender Roles: Young People’s Perceptions Mirror Sexist Media Depictions

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11199-007-9278-1

Cite this article as:
Dill, K.E. & Thill, K.P. Sex Roles (2007) 57: 851. doi:10.1007/s11199-007-9278-1


Video game characters are icons in youth popular culture, but research on their role in gender socialization is rare. A content analysis of images of video game characters from top-selling American gaming magazines showed male characters (83%) are more likely than female characters (62%) to be portrayed as aggressive. Female characters are more likely than male characters to be portrayed as sexualized (60% versus 1%), scantily clad (39% versus 8%) and as showing a mix of sex and aggression (39 versus 1%). A survey of teens confirmed that stereotypes of male characters as aggressive and female characters as sexually objectified physical specimens are held even by non-gamers. Studies are discussed in terms of the role media plays in socializing sexism.


Video gameStereotypeSex rolesViolenceMagazineContent analysis

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lenoir-Rhyne CollegeHickoryUSA