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Time study: boys think women are over-sexualised in games

Study finds that kids are sick of objectification

A study of over 1,400 children on behalf of Time has revealed that the majority of boys feel that there should be better representation of women in games, with more female characters and less sexualisation of those that exist already.

Although it's a small study, limited by resources, the survey by Rosalind Wiseman, Charlie Kuhn and Ashly Burch (Of "Hey Ash, whatcha playin?") found that significant numbers of children, from 10-18, have both recognised the overt objectification and sexualised representation of women in games, and would rather see female characters who are treated with more respect.

Writing for Time, Wiseman says that the results identified three major trends: boys want to see less sexualisation of women in games; neither gender is particularly influenced by the gender of the player character at that age, although girls care more about playing as a female as they grow up; and girls enjoy a wider variety of genres than is commonly accepted.

A video of some of the testimonials of the respondees can be seen here. It's an enlightening watch.

From the Study:

"Boys believe female characters are treated too often as sex objects

"47% of middle school boys agreed or strongly agreed, and 61% of high school boys agreed or strongly agreed. "If women are objectified like this it defeats the entire purpose of fighting," Theo, an eighth-grader who loves playing Mortal Kombat, told us. "I would respect the [female] character more for having some dignity."

"Both boys and girls aren't more likely to play a game based on the gender of the protagonist

"70% of girls said it doesn't matter and 78% of boys said it doesn't matter. Interestingly, boys care less about playing as a male character as they age and girls care more about playing as a female one.

"Girls play a variety of game genres "26% played first-person shooter games like Call of Duty and HALO, 36% played role-playing games like Skyrim and Grand Theft Auto, and 17% played sports games like FIFA and Madden. (19% did not play games, compared to 3% of boys.)

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Dan Pearson