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Games: We need to talk about the lack of body diversity

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The gaming world has recently come under intense scrutiny, especially as the metaverse enters our mainstream vocabulary.

Despite the stereotypes, women and girls make up a significant percentage of the gaming community. In fact, a Newzoo study found that women make up nearly half (46%) of gamers, and rosters like black girls players strengthen the voice of black women in games.

But a new report has revealed that the games industry still reflects narrow beauty standards, leaving many women and girls feeling underrepresented and their self-esteem negatively impacted.

The research, from Dove, has been co-published with Women in Games, an international organization fighting for equity and parity for all women and girls in games, and the Center for Appearance Research (CAR) – and coincides with a campaign that aims to “break down beauty stereotypes and equip the next generation of young creators and gamers with tools to build self-esteem and body confidence.”

It revealed that 60% of female gamers feel misrepresented and recognize the lack of diversity as a key issue in video games, while 35% of young girls say their self-esteem is negatively affected after noticing a lack of diversity. in characters and avatars.

Meanwhile, 60% of young women said they would feel more confident about their appearance if they saw characters that reflect real life, and more than 50% of parents are concerned that these issues will negatively affect people’s attitudes. their child in the future.

Dove is launching Real Virtual Beauty, a concept that will provide training courses that will help game makers reflect the diversity we see in everyday life and avoid contributing to stereotypes and biases in design. Their final works will be showcased in a character gallery, to showcase the authentic and inclusive portrayal of women and girls across the gaming world.

Alongside the campaign, Dove introduced its own Roblox game, called SuperU Story – “the world’s first video game specifically designed to equip young girls with the tools they need to combat negative self-esteem”. The free platform allows young girls to customize their own avatars with different skin tones, abilities, conditions, and body types.