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When we don a virtual reality avatar, our real-life behavior can change, too. Like, for example, when people embody a tall avatar, they have a tendency to act more confidently. It's called the Proteus Effect. And according to a study from Stanford University's Virtual Human Interaction Lab, it's the reason overly sexualized portrayals of women in video games are terrible. According to this research, women who embody sexualized avatars are more likely to objectify themselves, and more likely to say that rape is the victim's fault. (Always worth noting: It's not.)
How the researchers explain the phenomenon:
Possibly, the sexualized self might have triggered a form of self-defense; that is, participants might have attributed blame to rape victims because they did not want to imagine themselves in a similar situation. Lonsway and Fitzgerald (1994) argued that women might perpetuate rape myths to justify why victims were raped and thus 'reaffirm an individual’s false sense of security that they are somehow immune to rape.' Another possibility is that seeing the suggestively dressed self might have triggered memories of being told by a parent or authority figure that dressing in such a manner was 'asking for it,' resulting in a sense of blame.
reply to post by Nyiah
I'm not a 'gamer', but just speaking generally: I've never noticed it changing the attitude of the person using the 'sexy' avatar, but it can definitely change the behavior of those who interact with that person. They may not even realize it.
On sites such as this one for example, people often tend to be nicer to someone using an attractive female avatar.
I don't play much online poker, but I have in the past. I actually tried a little experiment that I found quite amusing. It's not gonna work every time, but it did make a difference. It was much easier to pull off a big bluff when using an attractive female avatar.(and even more so if it's like a petite blonde)
Women who look "good," i.e.: are sexually attractive, are more likely to be able to have and nurture healthy children.
also what about men, why is it when men chose a "sexy avatar" no one says anything but when a woman does it they are "objectifying themselves".