Definition of trope
Tropes and stereotypes are common i media.
In traditional media, gender and racial stereotypes are the most pervasive two. In mass media, compared to female characters, male characters appear more frequently, talk significantly more, and engage in noted behaviors more, such as achieving and showing leadership (Thompson & Zerbinos, 1995).
In addition, these media provide distorted representation of women and minorities (Aubrey & Harrison, 2004; Greenberg & BaptistaFernandez, 1980; Thompson & Zerbinos, 1995). Exposure to these distorted images can have a negative effect on users’ perception of women and minorities (Omi, 1989). For instance, women are usually perceived as subordinate and passive dependent to men, with sexual relationships as central in life (Cantor, 1987). Racial stereotypes widely exist in mass media as well.
For instance, Black men are more likely to be portrayed as criminals (Entman, 1992; Peffley, Shields, & Williams, 1996); Asian men are usually portrayed as culturally ignorant; while Asian women are portrayed as submissive (Park, Gabbadon, & Chernin, 2006).
A follow-up study by Downs and Smith (2005) demonstrated a similar result. They did a content analysis of 60 video games. Compared to male characters, females were more likely to be represented in a hypersexual way: being partially nude, featured with an unrealistic body image and shown wearing sexually revealing clothing and inappropriate attire. Similarly, Haninger and Thompson (2004) found that in the sample of 81 teen-rated video games, women were significantly more likely to be depicted partially nude than men.
Do a content analysis of a game you like. Ask yourself questions like:
Are female characters underrepresented in popular video games? Are female characters portrayed in stereotypes in popular video games? Are minority characters underrepresented in popular video games? Are minority characters portrayed in stereotypes in popular video games?