Video Games: Exploring The Influence of Gender Within Society
Throughout this paper, I will be exploring the spectrums of femininity and masculinity within video games in the American pop culture. Since video games were first marketed, a theme has been prevalent till this day: the notion of masculinity (how to be a man) and the sexualization of females (sexist portrayals of women) in video games. This profound issue affects the younger generation within gender socialization, gender stereotypes, and gender schemas of male and female characters. A male point of view exists through video games which is called the male gaze. Through the male gaze which is reflected in most society, the spectacle of females within games is created which defines the notion of beauty. It is unrealistic and impossible for women in real life to live up to the standards of video game characters and the portrayal of them in even video game magazine advertisements. The male population, within games, tells women that in order to be beautiful, you must fit this archetype of beauty and if not, makes women feel inferior. Also, not only is the notion of beauty emphasized, the notion of what it is to be masculine and have power are important issues that surface through video games, as in relation to femininity. The portrayal of male characters through such games creates a stereotype of how males should look, behave, and interact with women. Throughout this paper, with the help of Karen E. Dill’s “Video Game Characters and Socialization of Gender Roles: Young People’s Perceptions Mirror Sexist Media Depictions,” the Media Education Foundation film Game Over: Gender, Race & Violence in Video Games, as well as Laura Mulvey, I will be focusing how our society demotes one gender over the other using the gender portrayals of video game male and female characters, and why Americans, specifically the younger generation, finds it to be a normality within our society.
Why is the notion of the body incorporated into video games? Video games are a source of interactive media, in which the player is washed away into a virtual reality fantasy world, ready to take on the adventure that awaits. It’s a reflection of what people fantasize to be true, like the exaggeration of bodies within games. Due to poor body image and the extreme self-behaviors of the body like dieting, media has a great influence on the way we feel about our physical appearance (Dill, 2). Video games portray a strong influence on the male body image. In games such as WWE wrestling games, there are vivid illustrations of cultural messages of masculinity. These images are so effective because of its quality being so explicit. A specific example is the hyper masculine male character who owns the male opposing physical body: exaggerated muscular arms, chest, facial features, strong facial expressions, and power (Last 1).In return to having this “ideal” body type, the male character is therefore aggressive, and must act aggressive in order to prove his manhood. In relation to body image, this is what being male looks like in video games. And when you look like the ideal masculine image, it links to being aggressive, which also links to being violent. Figure 1: Hyper Masculine Male WWE Characters Fighting
In most video games that have male protagonists, there is always a violent situation that unfolds for him. To be mildly aggressive and violent in games is the key to get what you want. It is a notion of power that brainwashes young men who play these games that aggressive masculinity is key. In WWE wrestling games, violence is displayed full front. Signature moves, taunts, and bullying is emphasized by the male wrestlers. This sends a message that control and violence is the key to power (Media Education Foundation). The reason why this is so prevalent in society, especially in video games is because the creators of these games are all male dominant. The display of how masculinity should look like...
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