Sex Roles

, Volume 61, Issue 11–12, pp 808–823 | Cite as

The Effects of the Sexualization of Female Video Game Characters on Gender Stereotyping and Female Self-Concept

  • Elizabeth Behm-MorawitzEmail author
  • Dana Mastro
Original Article


The present study utilized an experimental design to investigate the short term effects of exposure to sexualized female video game characters on gender stereotyping and female self-concept in emerging adults. Bussey and Bandura’s (1999) social cognitive theory of gender development and differentiation was used to explicate this relationship. Undergraduate students (N = 328) at a large U.S. Southwestern university participated in the study. Students were randomly assigned to play a “sexualized” heroine, a “non-sexualized” heroine, or no video game; then completed an online questionnaire. Female self-efficacy was negatively affected by game play with the sexualized female character. Results cautiously suggest that playing a sexualized video game heroine unfavorably influenced people’s beliefs about women in the real world.


Video games Gender roles Gender stereotyping Media effects Social cognitive theory 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CommunicationUniversity of Missouri-ColumbiaColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of CommunicationUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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