Essay Research Source: Media Smarts, Canada’s Centre for Media & Digital Literacy

An article done by Canada’s CMDL looks at problems which may arise from gender & racial stereotypes which may arise within video games & the impact they may have upon those who are subjected to them. The main point addressed is video games & their capabilities to create & confirm stereotypes.

“Video games can also confirm gender stereotypes. A 2007 study showed that male characters were significantly more likely to be portrayed as aggressive (83 per cent of males versus 62 per cent of female characters) while female characters were much more likely to be portrayed in a sexualized way (60 per cent of females versus just 1 per cent of male characters.)”

The article also addresses changes & improvements to stereotypes through certain figures within videogames, Such as Samus Aran from the Metroid series, a female character given a lead role as a strong & independent character in spite of her gender.

Another point brought up is the tendency of most video games to focus on white characters, with extremely low percentages of characters from other racial backgrounds, & often being restricted to lesser roles or villains. Fewer than 3 per cent of characters seen within videogames come from Hispanic backgrounds (some excenptions being characters such as Ashley Williams in the Mass Effect series. Another good example of a strong female character) & no characters from aboriginal backgrounds.

The article makes several interesting points about the dangers of video games being potential mediums for powerful negative messages concerning stereotypes & is worth paying attention to, despite being brief.

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