Entertainment Video Games Women on Campus

Violent videogames victimize women

By Matthew Zacher ’18
THE ROUNDUP

While mature rated video games, such as “Grand Theft Auto,” are popular among students, these games include violent and demeaning portrayals of women in their gameplay.

At an all boys school, it is important to determine how these games effect students’ outlook on women.

Mr. Lane McShane ’82 administered a presentation at last year’s Summit on violence, focusing on how women are depicted in video games.

“I became a mild expert last year when I chose to do a presentation on violence in video games in view of the Summit topic on violence,” he said. “I had a couple other topics in mind, but video game violence is really something I thought the boys needed to know about.”

Mr. McShane said that, through research on the subject, he found that there are very few valuable female roles in most videogames.

“I have a 10-year-old daughter, so the more I read, the more I looked at it, the more it affected me that there were seemingly very few role models or games that would encourage her in any positive ways: intellectually, spiritually, to see that this is someone I would like to be like,” he said.

Christian Kirkland ’18 said that while he frequently plays “Grand Theft Auto,” he has felt guilty about playing the game due to the violence it contains.

Kirkland said that he doesn’t condone how women are depicted in the game.

“Women in that game are either fat and ugly, or prostitutes, and I think there are many more types of women,” he said. “Just like they have an equal variety of men, they should have an equal variety of women.”

Mr. McShane added while that the depiction of women in these games is problematic, his research found a surprising conclusion.

“My research actually came to a conclusion that surprised the students that videogame violence doesn’t ensure that people will become more violent. But that’s not the topic of how it displays women,” he said. “If you look across the spectrum of female characters in video games, most often they’re victimized.”