Ready Player?: Sex and Race in Video Games

Matthew Michael Espino, University of Texas at El Paso


As a child, I had always been fascinated with video games. Sure, I used video games as a way to relieve stress mainly, but I found myself drawn into the worlds that I was immersing myself in. These worlds are filled with social structures, cultures, governments, even religions. Once I started doing research in college, I took a bit of a step back from the games I loved and took a broader look at what I was playing. Specifically, I wanted to see what these worlds had to offer in terms of representation of races, gender, and non-human characters. These questions began to be in the back of my mind. I began to change how I was viewing the game as I was playing. Why are the women that I see or play as in the games that I enjoy so highly sexualized? How come the racial minorities that I see or play as in many of the games that I play are stereotyped? Why are the non-human characters that I see seem to be mistreated and discriminated against? Just as I started to think about this as I played my games, I have chosen to organize this thesis in a similar manner. This thesis is organized in a manner similar to that of a video game, with the presentation of the content and immersion into the various worlds that are to be explored. I challenge the reader, the gamer, the scholar, to think on these subjects. Hopefully, when you turn on that console or boot up that game on your pc, you may notice how race, gender, and representation are presented within the game worlds that you find yourselves in. What and how others are represented and presented matters. Therefore, let us begin this tutorial.

Subject Area

Communication|Mass communications

Recommended Citation

Espino, Matthew Michael, "Ready Player?: Sex and Race in Video Games" (2022). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI29324590.