The representation of women in the gaming industry: How advertising and media reveals the gamer boy stereotype and how the ‘background decoration’ trope influenced the depiction of women?

This study develops and adds knowledge to gaming culture through the representation of women within modern video game titles and gaming media. Gaming reinforced the stereotypical gamer boy image as the defining characteristics criteria for gender participation within the video gaming scene.

The issues women encounter when attempting to enter the gaming hobby and how they are treated by men. Media and marketing tend to play into the stereotypical ‘caregiver’ image when producing advertisements or media content. Sexual objectification is commonplace and viewed as normal within the community.

This study analyses these issues by examining an array of modern video game titles i.e., Grand Theft Auto, Assassins Creed, Red Dead Redemption etc. Advertising campaigns such as The Nintendo Wii and PlayStation Move are analysed alongside film media to generate a historical perspective of women in cinema and popular culture. Rear Window by Albert Hitchcock and South Park are specific examples of this representation of women.

The findings of this study conclude that video gaming primarily feeds into problematic stereotypes of women, often a consequence of cultural hegemony.  Often alienating them from the hobby or steering them from IT based occupations.


Image: Girl gaming (2023), Shutterstock