Gender-Based Prejudice Based On Your Avatar?

•November 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The issue of gender roles in society have fueled many interesting debates; how people from a specific gender interact with their own gender as opposed to their opposite gender is an example of this. Interaction between people can be significantly altered by prejudice views; these prejudice views can have a major effect on interaction with others in many ways.

In November of 2009 a group of three undergraduate students at Illinois State University looked at this issue from a slightly different lens. As part of a multimedia composition course instructed by Dr. Cheryl Ball, the group decided to address the topic of gender relations in the online gaming genre. The goal was to determine if the gender of ones avatar had any significant effect on interaction with others who were playing the game.

The group interviewed multiple people of both genders who participate in these forums, focusing on the highly popular games Second Life and World Of War Craft. The interviews along with research conducted by the group found that while many participants say they do not outwardly display prejudice views or display an outward form of gender based treatment of others the groups study discovered that there was a pattern of gender based treatment being displayed.

The group found that while many of the male participants claimed that they had not experienced or participated in any form of gender based prejudice in the online forums the female perspective was not the same. From the groups research they found that females tend to receive a significantly higher level of gender-based prejudice while participating in the online forums that were chosen for this study. The video that this group presents shows the different perspective of both genders and how they view this issue.