Game Playing And Beliefs About Masculinity Among Male And Female Emerging Adults

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What comes to mind when you think of a man? Is it someone who is violent? Is it someone who is stoic? Male masculinity has been converted, socially and in the media, into this idea that men have to fit certain criteria in order to be men. That men have to be aggressive or sexually dominate over women in some capacity in order to keep being men. This idea is something that has been taught to young men over time through the media, such as films, music, video games, and even political advertisements. Greg Blackburn and Erica Sharrer’s article titled “Video Game Playing and Beliefs about Masculinity Among Male and Female Emerging Adults” talks about how male masculinity portrayed in video games has a negative effect on men by feeding and encouraging …show more content…

Men in the media are often portrayed as very muscular, tall, and with broad shoulders. This concept of how men are portrayed can often have negative effects on men. Callahan states that, “...from over 3,000 Marvel comic books found that comic book male superheroes, who are often portrayed as stereotypically masculine, were almost as wide at the shoulders as they were tall and had shoulder-waist ratio and upper body muscularity almost twice that of normal college men…exposure to this unrealistic muscular body type, especially for men with pre-existing muscularity concerns, may serve to increase body dissatisfaction and muscularity dissatisfaction” (Sex Roles 678). This ideology that men need to be tall and muscular can make men who don’t fit that criteria feel dissatisfied and depressed about their appearance. This feeling of insecurity clouds that fragile masculinity that many men have. When men compare themselves to what is portrayed in those comics and find that what is presented is not necessarily accurate, it causes them to feel negatively about themselves. This negative feeling can only be expressed through aggression and violence, as another idea of masculinity is that men can’t show emotions besides violence, less they be called not a man. Callahan also found that, “A study by King et al. (2018) reported that negative outcomes such as substance …show more content…

The way video games portray masculinity in comparison with how it portrays feminine traits can often lead men into thinking that women are inferior to them. In a study done by Blackburn and Sharrer, they used, “...survey data from 175 undergraduates to find that among male participants, sexist video game play (featuring the Damsel in distress^) was linked with viewing women as weaker, purer, and more in need of protection” (Sex Roles 313). Men who played games in which women were portrayed as being somewhat of a damsel in distress, ended up feeling this sense of inferiority from women. They began to view women as weaker and in more need of help (from men). This mentality boosts the concept of toxic masculinity, that men are better than women and that women need a man's help in some capacity. Men, especially young men, who play these games also often compare their own masculinity to how it’s portrayed in the video games making them feel as if they must act like how masculinity is shown in the games. Of course not every game is responsible for this toxic masculinity mentality. Blackburn and Sharrer found that, “...studies of genre preference and game use have shown that male players tend to express a greater preference for these hardcore action, shooter, and sports games, whereas female players tend to prefer the casual puzzle, card, and social game genres…the results of numerous content

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