“We examined the association between playing sexist video games and sexist attitudes. Undergraduate students (61 men and 114 women) indicated the level of perceived sexism present in their most frequently played video games. Students also completed the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory (Glick & Fiske, 1996), which measures both hostile and benevolent sexism. As predicted, men who played video games perceived to be high in sexism showed higher levels of benevolent sexism, compared with men who did not play such games. This relationship was not evident for women. Importantly, our study provides the first known evidence of a link between long-term exposure to sexist video games and sexist attitudes. Although correlational, these data are consistent with the notion that sexist video games encourage and reinforce sexist attitudes.

Violence, however, is not the only negative aspect of modern video games; many of these games are also sexist. From their inception, video games have consistently portrayed women in sexist ways. Oftentimes, this portrayal comes in the form of the “damsel in distress.” In one of the earliest arcade video games (Donkey Kong, 1981), players were charged with rescuing Mario’s girlfriend, Pauline, from her primate kidnapper. Thirty years later, not much has changed in terms of how women are portrayed in the gaming world. For instance, in the most recent Mortal Kombat game (2011), Princess Kitana requires assistance from the male leaders, and despite her fighting abilities, she is portrayed as reliant on the male characters. Despite this consistent trend, little research has examined whether regular exposure to sexist video game portrayals is related to real world attitudes toward women.”

Stermer, S. Paul, and Melissa Burkley. “Sex-Box: Exposure To Sexist Video Games Predicts Benevolent Sexism.” Psychology Of Popular Media Culture (2012): PsycARTICLES. Web. 5 Dec. 2013.

This study was not as shocking as others. I know that video games has some influences on children whether it be positive or negative. Video game companies should do a better job of keeping the integrity of the game while being mindful of its repercussions. 

“The debate over whether we should worry about little boys playing violent video games never seems to die down. But maybe we should be fretting just as much about little girls playing those same games. Women who used sexy avatars to represent themselves in video games were more likely to objectify themselves in real life. Not only that, they were more likely to accept what’s called rape myth-i.e., the idea that a woman is in some way to blame for her rape-according to a Stanford study published on October 11 in Computers and Human Behavior…

The Stanford researchers asked 86 women aged 18-40 to play using either a sexualized avatar or a non-sexualized avatar (dressed sexily or conservatively). Then, researchers designed some of those avatars to look like the player embodying them.

Those women who played using sexualized avatars who looked like them were more accepting of the rape myth, according to the study. After playing the game, women responded to many questions with answers along a five-point scale (strongly disagree to strongly agree), including, “In the majority or rapes, the victim is promiscuous or has a bad reputation.” Those who played sexy avatars who looked like themselves were more likely to answer “agree” or “strongly agree” than those women who had non-sexy avatars who did not look like them….

 

And while the makers of this fall’s record-breaking hit, Grand Theft Auto V, have gotten complaints about the fact that you can’t play as a female character in the game (even though you can play as a man and kill prostitutes), maybe it’s better that way-at least until someone gives the women in these games a real makeover. …”

Dockterman, Eliana. “How Using Sexy Female Avatars In Video Games Changes Women.” Time.Com (2013): 1. Business Source Complete. Web. 5 Dec. 2013.

The last line of this quote stuck out significantly to me. In video games, most time female characters are overly sexualized. So the question becomes is it better not to have female characters or have unrealistic female characters? It seems as a lose-lose situation. This study shows that there is a need for more normal female characters .

Video Games and Rape Myth

“Current research suggests a link between negative attitudes toward women and violence against women, and it also suggests that media may condition such negative attitudes. When considering the tremendous and continued growth of video game sales, and the resulting proliferation of sexual objectification and violence against women in some video games, it is lamentable that there is a dearth of research exploring the effect of such imagery on attitudes toward women. …

 Research asserting a direct causal link between violent media and violent behavior has recently been called into question. It is currently being suggested by some that the link between violent media and violent behavior may be indirect and mediated by a variety of other factors. …

The survey results from this study did not provide support for the assertion that the degree of exposure (hours played) to violent video games increases negative attitudes toward women. However, study findings did indicate that sexual objectification of women and violence against women in video games do increase rape myths in male participants. …”

Beck, Victoria Simpson , Stephanie Boys, Christopher Rose, and Eric Beck. “Violence Against Women in Video Games: A Prequel or Sequel to Rape Myth Acceptance?.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence . 27.15 (2012): n. page. Web. 5 Dec. 2013. <http://www.sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav>.

When I read this study findings on video games and rape myth, I was shocked about the rape myth associated with video games. This study opened my eyes to a different side of video games. I knew that some games are violent and might cause the gamer to develop violent tendencies, but I did not know that this also might lead to changes in women’s perception of themselves. 

Women In Music - Violence Against Women

"One of the most obvious and disturbing manifestations of objectifying women in popular rap music is the high level of violence described against them in the songs. In our analysis of the top-selling rap tracks over a two year period, we found several examples of overt physical assaults against women described in the music. For example, in 2002, the highly popular rapper, Ludacris, describes the following in his chart-topping single titled, “Move Bitch.”’

"…and I been thinkin’ of bustin’ you
upside ya muthafuckin’ forehead
and if your friends jump in, Oh gurrll, they’ll be mo’ dead.”

Hunter, Margaret, and Kathleen Soto. “Women Of Color In Rap Lyrics: The Pornographic Gaze.” Conference Papers — American Sociological Association (2008): 1. SocINDEX with Full Text. Web. 6 Dec. 2013.

-Mairi Beckett

Women In Music - Female Empowerment

"Rap For Rejection" - Kate Nash

"I’m a stupid whore
And a frigid bitch
Now can you make up your mind
And tell me which is which”

"He asked you to undress
But you didn’t feel okay with it
He said you were dressed like a little slut
Said you were asking for that fuck”

You’re tryna tell me sexism doesn’t exist?
If it doesn’t exist, then what the fuck is this?
How many boys will it destroy?
How many girls and boys will it annoy?”

"Hard Out Here" - Lily Allen

I suppose I should tell you what this bitch is thinking
You’ll find me in the studio and not in the kitchen
I won’t be bragging ‘bout my cars or talking ‘bout my chains
Don’t need to shake my ass for you ‘cause I’ve got a brain”

"If I told you ‘bout my sex life, you’d call me a slut
When boys be talking about their bitches, no one’s making a fuss
There’s a glass ceiling to break, uh-huh, there’s money to make
And now it’s time to speed it up ‘cause I can’t move at this pace”

You’re not a size six, and you’re not good looking
Well, you better be rich, or be real good at cooking
You should probably lose some weight
'Cause we can't see your bones
You should probably fix your face or you’ll end up on your own”

"Don’t you want to have somebody who objectifies you?
Have you thought about your butt? Who’s gonna tear it in two?
We’ve never had it so good, uh-huh, we’re out of the woods
And if you can’t detect the sarcasm, you’ve misunderstood”

"Just A Girl" - No Doubt

Take this pink ribbon off my eyes 
I’m exposed 
And it’s no big surprise 
Don’t you think I know 
Exactly where I stand 
This world is forcing me 
To hold your hand 
'Cause I'm just a girl, little 'ol me 
Don’t let me out of your sight 
I’m just a girl, all pretty and petite 
So don’t let me have any rights”

"Fairytale" - Sara Bareilles

Snow White is doing dishes again cause
What else can you do
With seven itty-bitty men?
Sends them to bed and calls up a friend
Says will you meet me at midnight?
The tall blonde lets out a cry of despair says
Would have cut it myself if I knew men could climb hair
I’ll have to find another tower somewhere and keep away from the windows”

"Once upon a time in a faraway kingdom
Man made up a story said that I should believe him
Go and tell your white knight that he’s handsome in hindsight
But I don’t want the next best thing
So I sing and hold my head down and I break these walls round me
Can’t take no more of your fairytale love”

-Mairi Beckett

Women In Music - Unintentional Self-Objectification

Despite the fact that many female artists attempt to overcome sexual objectification, in reality, many are simply perpetuating the stereotypes and the objectification. Many sing about wanting a man to love her and not solely want her for sex, but then in their music videos they are almost naked and usually some object of a man’s desire. 

Whether a person views these songs as helping the feminist movement for equality, or sees them as being detrimental depends is purely subjective. Some women find expressing their sexuality in such a manner, no matter how vulgar it may be, is a way of expressing their dominance and independence. It shows that they are in control of their own sexuality. 

"Can’t Hold Us Down" - Christina Aguilera featuring Lil’ Kim

"So what am I not supposed to have an opinion?
Should I be quiet just because I’m a woman?
Call me a bitch cuz I speak what’s on my mind
Guess it’s easier for you to swallow if I sat and smiled”

"If you look back in history
It’s a common double standard of society
The guy gets all the glory the more he can score
While the girl can do the same and yet you call her a whore”

"I don’t understand why it’s okay
The guy can get away with it & the girl gets named
All my ladies come together and make a change
Start a new beginning for us everybody sing”

Ironically, Christina and Lil’ Kim are clearly trying to make a statement about the double standard between men and women. In the music video, however, they are dressed seductively in very little clothing. Towards the end, Christina begins to play with a large hose and acts like it is a penis.

"Do I Look Like A Slut?" - Avenue D

"Do I look like a slut?
Is it the way I move my butt?
Is it the way my clothes are cut?
I like to do it, and what?”

"So what if I’m a little nudie?
It don’t mean you’re gonna get some booty,
Baby I just want to shake it,
it took mama nine months to make it.”

Just because I like to freak each and every night of the week,
don’t mean I can’t resist temptation,
hell I don’t give a damn about my reputation.”

The following excerpt is taken from a study on the contradictory messages in the songs of female rappers:

"Employing content analysis of 44 songs taken from the Billboard charts between 1992 and 2000, the authors find that all female rap artists in the sample included the cornerstones of rap in their songs: braggadocio, consumption of alcohol and drugs, and “dissin” of female and male rap competitors. More important, the majority of the artists had themes of female agency and empowerment present in their music…Indeed, a majority of the songs examined had women who self-objectified, self-exploited, and used derogatory lyrics when referring to other women. The author finds that these contradictory messages, sometimes by the same artists, nullify the empowering messages that are conveyed and only reproduce and uphold male hegemonic notions of femininity."

Oware, Matthew. “A “Man’S Woman”?: Contradictory Messages In The Songs Of Female Rappers, 1992-2000.” Journal Of Black Studies 39.5 (2009): 786-802. PsycINFO. Web. 6 Dec. 2013.

-Mairi Beckett