Time are citing a new Stanford study where it was found that women who play as over-sexualized female avatars in games, were not only more likely to objectify themselves, but also, sadly, more likely to accept the disturbing ‘rape myth’ – the idea that the rape victim was in some way to blame for being raped, for wearing “too revealing” clothes for example.
The study researched 86 female participants between the ages of 18 and 41 who were asked to use avatars dressed in either revealing or conservative clothing. Some avatars were also modified to look like the user.
The study found that the women who played as sexualized versions of themselves were more likely to “agree” or “strongly agree” with the theory of the rape myth as opposed to the participants using more conservative avatars. The women using sexy avatars were more likely to agree that the victim was “promiscuous” or had a “bad reputation.”
Could we see more “normal-looking” women in future games? And more importantly, if we do, will they be generally accepted?
Female protagonist are generally exaggerated proportions of the female form. Not too long ago, male protagonists were also generally always perfectly sculptured specimens. It makes sense, we want our heroes to look good. However, in recent times we’ve seen some less charming male protagonists, and it still works. Games like Rockstar’s Max Payne and GTA V for example, and then there’s the last Kane and Lynch game – great games, cool characters, but they were definitely “Brad Pitts.”