Another day, another scientific study tying video games to the ills of society. In this case, we have a new report that posits teenagers who play video games are more prone to sexist attitudes and gender stereotyping.
The study, which was conducted by a French and US researchers and published in the Frontiers of Psychology journal, surveyed 13,520 French youth between the ages of 11 and 19. Boys and girls were a part of the study (51 to 49 percent, respectively), and were questioned about how much they play games, the kind of games they played, and what their attitudes towards women and gender roles were.
It seems the researchers did find a positive correlation between gaming and sexist attitudes, particularly amongst male players. The researchers feel there’s a fairly straightforward reason for this…
“Analysis has shown that women are under-represented in popular video games. They have passive roles, they are princesses who need to be saved or secondary, sexualised objects of conquest.”
Well, that’s a hard point to argue against! That said, the researchers also conceded the effect of video games on teen mindsets was “limited,” saying factors like upbringing and religion had a much greater effect on attitudes. Ah, but video games were more influential than those classic boogeymen, TV and movies.
This isn’t the first study to look at the link between games and sexism, with a recent one largely dismissing the connection. So, where does the truth lie? As with most of these “Won’t somebody think of the children?” video game studies, the takeaway seems to be that games have some small power to influence kids, but real life factors make the most difference.
Basically, if you’re setting a positive of example of equality at home, your kid probably won’t be transformed into a sexist monster because he had to save Princess Peach. Sorry parents, it’s on you.