Boys are tired of gaming's over-sexualised women, too

Ben Parfitt
Boys are tired of gaming's over-sexualised women, too

A new study has found that the majority of teenage boys in the US believe that games unfairly treat women as sex objects.

A Time study by Rosalind Wiseman asked US school boys whether they believed “female characters are treated too often as sex objects” in video games. 47 per cent of middle school boys (11-13) agreed or strongly agreed, while this number grew to 61 per cent for high school boys (14-18).

Comments included “if women are objectified like this it defeats the entire purpose of fighting” and “I would respect the [female] character more for having some dignity”.

The study also found that the gender of a game’s protagonist does not impact kids’ likelihood to play them, with 70 per cent of girls and 78 per cent of boys saying it doesn’t matter.

“When the ads for Game of War started showing up on my students’ phones last year – they haven’t stopped – many were annoyed,” Wiseman said. “They hated that it was impossible to close the ad, forcing them instead to watch the video until the end.

“But what really irritated them was Ms Upton, in a full-cleavage-baring white flowing dress. The ads are clearly effective for some, but the message is obvious: Game of War is a boys’ game, and Upton is the game’s mascot, walking through battles totally unscathed and doing nothing except looking pretty.

“Action games with big battles like Game of War are incredibly exciting to kids. And kids I’ve worked with, both male and female, will put up with a lot to play exciting games. But it doesn’t mean they like the way women are portrayed. Yet the video game industry seems to base much of its game and character design on a few assumptions, among them that girls don’t play big action games, boys won’t play games with strong female characters, and male players like the sexual objectification of female characters.”

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Tags: study , feminism , gender equality

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