Lara Croft

I’m weighing in on this new Tomb Raider thing. Specifically, what made me want to write was this insulting article (Kotaku), which gives a new context to the images we’ve seen from the new Tomb Raider game.

Read through to the main article. Here I will just try to anticipate the most common rebuttals:

  • I am not against women getting in to combat situations.
  • Not against violence in games.
  • Not against sex or sexuality in games.
  • I am not against the hero’s journey…
  • or the heroine’s journey.
  • I am not at any moment suggesting that female characters should not be allowed to go on adventures.
  • I am not against the depiction of danger toward female characters.
  • I am not against the fictitious portrayal of rape/attempted rape in adult media.
I am against the idea that a female character exists solely to please male viewers. I’m against the implication that Lara needs the “protection” of an (implied male) gamer rather than having character agency in her own right. And I am very irritated by the suggestion that all that really matters about a female character in a game is “would you do her, or not.” Even in a game focused on romance and sex, which Tomb Raider decidedly isn’t, there can, and has been, more than that.

5 thoughts on “Lara Croft”

  1. I’ve given that article a once over and I can’t imagine how you could come up with that point of view. I don’t mean this in any smart-assed way I genuinely don’t see how it could work like that.

    I stopped and asked around (a girl just to be sure) and she doesn’t either. Maybe it’s because I’m a guy, who knows.

    Are you saying it would be fine if it would not be an interactive medium and the exact same thing would be in a movie or book? Taking the (male) gamer out of the equation?

  2. Do you mean the Kotaku article?

    There’s an implied power dynamic between the player and the character that I dislike. My biggest problem is the word “enticing.” It gives the whole project this creepy voyeuristic vibe. Lara has to be weakened, beaten/battered etc because the male gamer would otherwise feel threatened by her agency.

    I guess the dynamic would be different if the medium was not interactive. I think that some of this Tomb Raider footage is fairly comparable, with the whole bow and arrow aspect, to the Hunger Games. Some people found that problematic as well, though. But there, the dynamic of “I have to protect her” is not really present.

  3. There was no link to kotaku, just 2 links to tap repeatedly.

    The “rape scene” including biting the ear off and splattering the guy’s brain seemed a cut scene though. Lara acting on her own. Which makes me slightly more confused as to the supposed protective role.

    I have a feeling that if Lara would be Larry nobody would care. Which is somewhat sexist.

  4. Ahh. That would explain your confusion there. I linked the correct insulting article now.

    Rape scene, cut scene, splattering brain, none of these things are directly what I’m addressing. I’m addressing a piece I linked wrong!

  5. OOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooOOOoooh.

    I’m going to assume that some of that is taken out of context. In case it isn’t then the executive producer has some control issues he needs to work out in order to stop projecting upon the playerbase.

    Fortunately I can’t imagine how they can actively pursue the pet-Lara feeling in actual gameplay.

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