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

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Melinda C. R. Burgess.

Appendix

Appendix

Table 2 Male and female character portrayals in video game covers by N and percentages.

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Burgess, M.C.R., Stermer, S.P. & Burgess, S.R. Sex, Lies, and Video Games: The Portrayal of Male and Female Characters on Video Game Covers. Sex Roles 57, 419–433 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-007-9250-0

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Keywords

  • Stereotypes
  • Sex roles
  • Video games