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Audience Responses to the Protrayal of Gender-Roles in Video

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Josefin Dahlin

on 8 April 2015

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Transcript of Audience Responses to the Protrayal of Gender-Roles in Video

Audience Responses to the Portrayal of Gender-Roles in Video Game Advertisements
"Media effect theories and empirical research support the idea that [...]
Social Cognitive Theory:
Our Research Question: "How do young adults receive the portrayal of male and female characters in video game advertisements?"
Background Continued
Research Methods
Empirical/Qualitative research

Behm-Morawitz & Mastro research study done in 2009 focused on the effects of the sexualization of female video game characters on gender stereotyping and female self-concept.

Research Proposal
It has been argued that,
"verification of thought by comparison with distorted media versions of social reality can foster shared misconceptions of people, places, and things" (Bandura, 2001)

"[...]symbolic communication influences human thought, affect and action." (Bandura, 2001:1)

The outcome of your interaction with the medium is
influenced by the following three determinants:
"there is little personal knowledge of anything in the world that is not filtered by media"
Our Research Question: "How do young adults receive the portrayal of male and female characters in video game advertisements?"
"Advertising also uploads stereotypes regarding class, gender and race[…] These stereotypes can affect a healthy self-image and often lead to feels of inadequacy" (Hayko, 2010)
Aims and objectives:
We want to investigate the idea of Social Cognitive Theory by seeing how young people read the
"symbolic communication" (Bandura, 2001)
We want to see how young people perceive ideals about gender roles through advertisements and if they question how each gender is represented.
Would look at the way ideas of gender roles and ideals are used in mass media advertising and the reaction to this.
The position of our proposed research within the current field:
Main Experiment

They had 328 undergraduate students from a large U.S. university. It was voluntary and anonymous. No video gaming experience was required for participation.
"College age individuals make up a large part of the primary target market for video games" (Behm-Morawitz & Mastro, 2009)
Background Research and Influences
"Taken together this research indicates that media use has a measureable influence on gender roles and gender based cognition's. Although little to no empirical investigations have examined the effects of gender stereotypes in video games on video game players, the findings based on traditional media point to the point to the gender related outcomes that can be anticipated with new entertainment technology." (Behm-Morawitz & Mastro, 2009)

"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... women are usually perceived as subordinate and passive dependent to men, with sexual relationships as central in life"
(Mou, 2009)
Current State of Knowledge
Apply for an ethical approval from relevant ethics committee, to be allowed to access the City Councils records in order to send out questionnaires.

Ethical Approval process
- Ensure that the Data Protection Act (1998) is upheld
- Provide a research proposal
- Justify why this research is relevant and useful.
An approval from the Ethical Comittee is key in order for the City Council to give access to confidential information
Interviews to
explore findings further
Posted Questionnaire
Age range: 18-24
Participants chosen via sampling done through birth date. (1st and 16th of each month)
We have chosen to use video game advertisements because we did not want to decontextualise images shown in the study.
deconstruct & decode adverts
Questionnaire Continued
Questions to be included
Sexual orientation
Would you be willing to be apart of a follow up interviews?
Do you play video games?
If yes, how often?
What games do you play most often?
Ethical Implications & Limitations of our Study
Small sample area due to city council and ethical approval
This can be expanded on if too small
Participants might not be fully honest in the questionnaire
They might manipulate responses on beliefs about gender roles
We do not own the rights to the adverts, therefore distribution of these images might be a problem
We would have to check permissions & copyright for this
We want to investigate the idea of Social Cognitive Theory by seeing how people read the "symbolic communication" (Bandura, 2001) presented through these video game adverts

Therefore the media plays a huge part in the shaping of the idea of the 'self' and what images we relate to.
Our research would fill a gap of using empirical research to examine the reaction to gender-roles in videos games adverts

We do not expect nor want all participants to be avid video game players, but we would like to have an idea of their gaming habits (if they have any) as this would allow us to analyze their potential background exposure to these ideas of gender stereotypes in video games - relating to the social cognitive theory of understanding personal and environmental determinants which will influence their reactions
We are exposed to advertising in our everyday lives and these adverts usually continue messages of dominant ideologies which may not be questioned by those who are exposed to them - this is what we aim to investigate
A lot of these studies in this area focus only on children - our study would fill this gap by looking at the effects on an older audience - (18-24)

1) Bandura, A. (2001).
Social Cognitive Theory of Mass Communication. Media Psychology
, 3(3), 265-299. doi:10.1207/s1532785xmep0303_03

2) Behm-Morawitz, E., & Mastro, D. (2009).
The Effects of the Sexualization of Female Video Game Characters on Gender Stereotyping and Female Self-Concept.
Sex Roles, 61(11-12), 808-823. doi:10.1007/s11199-009-9683-8

3) Hayko, G. (2010).
Effects of advertising on society: A literary review
Hohonu: A Journal of Academic Writing, 8, 29/3/2015, 79-82.

4) Mou, Y. & Peng, W. (2009).
Gender and Racial Stereotypes in Popular Video Games.
Resource Site for Video Game Research, accessed March 28 2015, http://dh101.humanities.ucla.edu/DH101Fall12Lab4/items/show/103.
Our research would fill a gap of using empirical research methods in studying young people's (18-24 year olds, males and females) reaction to gender portrayals in videos games avertisements
We would focus on adverts as to not de-contextualize images or mediate certain response from our respondants
We would use questionnaires & follow up interviews to get qualitative and quontative research results which we could go on to analyse
Anyone can respond to the images/videos in our questionnaire without feeling alienated for not being a gamer

It would aim to show the effects of mass media in creating gender roles ideals of gender roles
Ethical Implications
Some of the adverts are for 18+ games
Underaged might still come across the questionnarie. (Reduced risk with letter)
Disturbing images.
We are asking them to decode adverts, this would have to involve an understanding of how to go about this - some people may not understand what we are asking them to do
including researchers contact information for queries. Also our follow up interviews allow for further explainations
Letter would include:
Pre-paid envelope
Disclaimer about disturbing images
How information gathered would be used
Contact information to researchers
Consent form
by analysing data collected from their response
Our research would also futher investigate the idea of social cogniative theory and show young people's different responses to the same adverts
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