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Student Selected to Present Research on Portrayal of Women in Music Videos, Video Games at Conference in Spain

With the proliferation of new media in recent years, young women are being bombarded by stereotypical images of females as sexual objects - in everything from music videos to video games. This increased exposure is a serious problem for girls and young women in terms of self-esteem and body image, according to an Old Dominion University doctoral student.

Alecia Jones, who is pursuing her Ph.D. in instructional design and technology at ODU and has conducted research in this area of study, has been invited to present the results of her master's thesis at an international conference in Valencia, Spain, March 8-10.

Jones will give a poster presentation, based on her master's research at North Carolina A&T State University, at INTED2010, the International Technology, Education and Development Conference. Her presentation will be titled, "For the Love of the Game: Young Women, Video Gaming and Media."

Jones, who began the ODU doctoral program last fall, said, "I've decided that this work is something that I'd like to continue when it's time to begin the dissertation process." Her ODU adviser, Amy Adcock, assistant professor of instructional design and technology in the Department of STEM Education and Professional Studies, has encouraged her to pursue further research in this area.

"There has not been much research on my topic and what had been done was outdated," Jones noted. "Much of the research about gaming and young people is geared toward its effect on young men. There is a growing tide of researchers who are changing that."

In her thesis abstract, Jones writes: "A major problem facing young women today is their increased exposure to media that depicts women as sexual objects. These stereotypical images have expanded into new media such as music videos and video gaming. The exposure to stereotypical images of women is often manifest in the low self-esteem or poor body image of young women."

While Jones says that computer games are played largely by males, more young female fans have emerged in recent years. She notes, "The highly interactive nature of computer games involves the gamer taking on the persona of the character/s. The stereotypical images of these idealized heroines can significantly impact the self-image of these female gamers."

In her study, Jones measured the exposure of various media (television, movies, music, music videos and video gaming) and their effect upon the self-esteem of college-aged women. Her results indicated that participants with a higher exposure to the new media had lower self-esteem in terms of appearance, attribution and weight.

INTED2010 will address topics in special interest sections such as experiences in education, curriculum design and innovation, research in education, quality assurance, international projects, pedagogical and didactical innovations and university-industry collaboration. The presentations given at the conference will be compiled into a publication manual, an abstract manual and on CD, Jones said.

A native of Chesapeake, Jones graduated from Indian River High School in 1994.

This article was posted on: February 8, 2010

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