An Examination of Violence and Gender Role Portrayals in Video Games: Implications for Gender Socialization and Aggressive Behavior

Abstract

Using content analysis, this research examinesthe portrayal of women and the use of violent themes ina sample of 33 popular Nintendo and Sega Genesis videogames. It is proposed that video games, like other media forms, impact the identity ofchildren. This analysis reveals that traditional genderroles and violence are central to many games in thesample. There were no female characters in 41% of the games with characters. In 28% of these, womenwere portrayed as sex objects. Nearly 80% of the gamesincluded aggression or violence as part of the strategyor object. While 27% of the games containedsociallyacceptable aggression, nearlyhalf included violencedirected specifically at others and 21% depictedviolence directed at women. Most of the characters inthe games were Anglo.

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Dietz, T.L. An Examination of Violence and Gender Role Portrayals in Video Games: Implications for Gender Socialization and Aggressive Behavior. Sex Roles 38, 425–442 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1018709905920

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Keywords

  • Social Psychology
  • Content Analysis
  • Aggressive Behavior
  • Video Game
  • Gender Role