Date of Award


Degree Type




Director of Thesis

Dr. Qiana Whitted

Second Reader

Dr. Todd Shaw


Gamers are a large, diverse group of people, but they are not treated as such within their own community. AAA video games are designed largely by and for white men at the expense of women and racial minorities. These groups are grossly underrepresented in video games and are often poorly depicted when they do exist in virtual spaces. Stereotypes and other negative attitudes towards these groups are exacerbated and furthered by their portrayals in video games. The wide quantitative and qualitative gaps between female characters and characters of color compared to white male characters has contributed to a toxic culture that privileges the white male voice above all others, dehumanizes women and people of color and erases them as members of the gaming community, and allows hate speech and threats to personal safety on the basis of race and gender to flourish.

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