It’s all about sex. A study released by Michael M. Kasumovic and Thomas F. Denson featured at The Conversation is challenging the stereotype that only men enjoy violent video games. Not only are they putting forth evidence to combat a long held negative stereotype of the socially awkward video game nerd hiding in his parent’s basement, they are claiming that the motivation to play violent video games is directly connected to the desire for sex and that women feel sexy for playing them. This is not to be confused with the over-sexualization of women, which the Inquisitr has covered previously.
Important data sets have been released in the past few years challenging the status quo on who exactly is playing games and what games they are playing. The Entertainment Software Association, the largest political lobbyist for the video game industry that hosts E3, released a sales, demographic, and usage data survey to the public in 2014 and 2015. The abstract of the survey was that of the 59 percent of Americans who played video games, 44 percent were female gamers (down from 2014’s 48 percent). Amongst the video games sold, 31.9 percent were categorized as “action” games and 20 percent were “shooter” games, both of which can easily fall into the violent video games category. The ESA data doesn’t tell us what games are likely to be purchased by which gender more often, much less why a woman would feel sexy playing Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto.
The chart above shows a contrast between male and female gamers and the games they choose to play. The data shows a clear distinction between the games played and the genders that enjoy them. Candy Crush, the popular mobile game, is far more popular with female gamers, whereas games like League of Legends has a 10 percent female player base.
In the study cited above, the gamers were asked which five games they were currently playing and how violent they felt the games were. According to the article, “the difference between the sexes was not nearly as large as you might expect.” The details of the survey were not available to us beyond the abstract in the article. It does not give a hard figure on the survey’s results regarding how many female gamers vs. male gamers actually played violent video games, so we will have to take their statement on faith.
That leads to the next question, “Why does playing a violent video game make a woman feel sexy?”
The study then went on to discuss sex, specifically the Sexual Openness Inventory, which asks rather frank questions about how important sex is, how likely people will engage in it, and preferences. Questions about “mate value” was also asked to determine who saw themselves as a “better catch.” Not only did the results of the survey across two sets of 500 gamers show that violence had a measurable correlation with interest in sex, but that “women were more motivated to play violent video games because doing so made them feel more attractive and sexy.” In contrast, the male gamer did not have a strong correlation between violent video games and perceived “mate value.”
So what, if anything, does this survey tell us? The proposition from the researchers is that violent video games might be tapping into an ancient, evolutionary impulse that increase a women’s sense of sexual desirability by competing alongside the male gamers.
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