Female Body Imagery in Video Games

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A Content Analysis of Female Body Imagery in Video Games

In A Content Analysis of Female Body Imagery in Video Games, the authors discuss the differences in body proportions in video games as compared to the traditional CAESAR body shape. Four different hypotheses were formed to see whether the proportions depended on realism, processing power or rating of the video game. The results indicated that, of the top 150 games across all platforms, female characters typically had significantly larger heads, along with smaller chests, waists and hips. Head size increased with the decrease of processing power, and games for children featured the thinnest female characters in all ratings. Before diving into the experiment, the authors discuss how the standard of physical attractiveness in mass media has become thinner and more socially valued. They then suggest an explanation for this relationship: the cultivation theory. This theory posits, “people’s view of social reality is molded by the media” (Content 825). Martin Eisend and Jana Mölle delve further into the cultivation theory in their article The Influence of TV Viewing on Consumers' Body Images and Related Consumption Behavior, claiming that cultivation effects vary among genders. While men tend to be more independent, autonomous, and individualistic, women are “attentive and sensitive to others, and seek to form intimate connections with others” (Influence 105). Thus, women use specific information to make judgments on what the average person does rather than relying only on television. Women are less likely to build perceptions of the normal physique from television than men. Therefore, while women may be depicted as thinner within the video game setting, they are not deeply affected because they look beyond media to form their perceptions on the “average body type.” Of course, Eisend and Mölle’s discussion is under traditional media consumption, which requires merely observation of the characters. Video...
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