<The Gender ADs Project>

 

Video Games

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<Background: Like advertising video games display high levels of violence, heterosexism, misogyny and death. One genre of advertising, the video game ads, mirrors many of the problems with video games in general. The overabundant masculinity of video games is discussed in a number of excellent sources, including the Media Education Foundationís Game Over. Reflected below are a number of video game ads as well as some images from actual video games. I hope to expand this section to include more of the misogynistic examples of video games. The Ads: What do the following ads and video games suggest about our society? You might note that there is a parallel between the representations of women in the video games themselves and the various gender ads. Women are often thin, wrongly proportioned (especially the example of video game heroine Lara Croft), behave stupidly, and are the subject of the gaze and actions of men. Males are also stereotyped, particularly in games like Grand Theft Auto and its spin-offs. Men are thugs, violent, overtly masculine and without passion or intelligence. There are many good Internet resources on video games and gender: here is one by the Media Awareness Network. Here is a letter written in response to a sexist video game ad. Questions: (1) What sorts of topics seem to be the subject of popular video games? Create a typology of the themes dealt with in them. (2) How is gender negotiated in the video game world? What roles are expected of women, men? How is race, sexuality, and social class dealt with in video games? (3) Conduct an Internet search on the subject of (a) gender and video games or (b) race and video games and determine the possible impacts of video game play on our relationships, social expectations, and ideology. (4) Do you believe that video game play and its myriad gendered dimensions have a greater, less or similar impact on people as compared to gender advertising?  >

 

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<presented by Scott A. Lukas, Ph.D.>