Lara Croft in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend is known as much, or more so, for her hyper-sexualized body as for her skills and adventures. This is often the norm for female characters in video games, saysElizabeth Behm-Morawitz, Assistant Professor of Communication at MU. Having recently finished her first year at MU, Behm-Morawitz actually began studying video games as a doctoral student at the University of Arizona. “Seeing these hyper-sexualized images of women caught my attention,” she recounts.
Behm-Morawitz’s research focuses on the effects video games can have on college students: “This is a stage of life when you’re on your own for the first time. You’re doing a lot of identity exploration, making sense of the world, coming into your own. So, this is a time when media images might have an impact on how you think about gender and how you think about yourself.”
Behm-Morawitz talks about how hyper-sexualized female characters are represented in video games. She explains that the graphics of these characters are getting so good that even Playboy Magazine has featured spreads of nude video game characters.