This research explored how gender portrayals in video games affect gender-related attitudes. Two hundred participants from the United Kingdom and Malaysia participated across three experiments, where the appearance and behaviour of video game characters were manipulated with regard to target (enemy) gender (Study 1), sexually explicit attire (Study 2) and level of character agency (Study 3). We found minimal evidence that exposure to gender-stereotyped content resulted in differential gender-related attitudes (implicit associations, hostile and benevolent sexism, or rape myth acceptance). However, Study 1 findings showed that individuals who played a first-person shooter with male enemies showed lower endorsement of some (benevolent) sexist attitudes (cf. control) and showed difference in game behaviour (cf. female enemies). Together, our results suggest that short-term exposure to video games containing female characters (sexualised, passive, or otherwise) does not consistently lead to the endorsement of negative gender attitudes.
- video games