Exploiting Stereotypes And Gender Roles In Gaming

3022 words - 12 pages

The world of gaming is expanding with endless possibilities of ways to play. Gaming has advanced greatly over the years by expanding over many different platforms. Smartphones, tablets, and next generation consoles are just a few of the many possibilities to play. This expansion has broadened the demographic of players and changed the way we play today. Although the demographic has widened and the games have become more advanced, there seems to be a reoccurring theme in gaming. White males make up the majority of video game protagonists, while minorities and women are stereotyped and degraded. The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) recently released its 2013 sales, demographic and usage report for the computer and video game industry. “Numbers show that 58% of Americans play video games. Fifty-five percent of gamers are male while 45% of gamers are female.” These numbers should suggest a change in the look of gaming to support its wide range of gamers. Yet and still nothing is being done. I feel this is due to a lack of women and minorities in the video game development field. If more knowledge of the field were to be presented to the African American youth, I feel there would be more interest and an increase in the number of minority game developers.
What is a stereotype? A stereotype is an often unfair and untrue belief that many people have about all people or things with a particular characteristic. While stereotypes can sometimes be true most stereotypes are based on hurtful and demeaning characteristics that undermine an entire culture. By placing stereotypical images in mass media and video games, people begin to build false perceptions based on schema that isn’t factual. These false images can ruin future relationships by generalizing people and can cause racial intolerance. This is why I chose to write about this topic. Minorities and women are too often undermined and misrepresented by the media. In mass media, compared to female characters, male characters appear more frequently, talk significantly more, and engage in noted behaviors more, such as achieving and showing leadership (Thompson & Zerbinos, 485). For example, constant exposure to the schema of the violent black male character teaches that it is appropriate to experience apprehension when approached by a black male in real life. By relating negative connotations to an entire race of people, it is common to build a schema that all of those within that culture will behave that way, even though this is not true. The media portrayal of gangsters is exceptionally generalized. Gangsters are categorized by wearing loose or baggy jeans, oversized t-shirts, and hats. Therefore I feel targeted as an African American male. Just by expressing my culture through dressing a certain way can ultimately lead people to perceive that I am a threat, although I am not. Stereotyping in video games is unacceptable. When we look at the demographic of players today we find that 32...

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