Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Oh Lara, screw them all!

So after writing about my thoughts while designing Skye Autumn for Sanctum 2 it reminded me of my love for Lara Croft. It also reminded me of how pissed off I get every time she is mentioned in discussions regarding sexism in games, which is... a whole lot. She's like the poster child of sexism in games and I just don't get it.

There really aren't a lot of characters to mention when it comes to genuinely cool female leads in games. Those who are cool though are praised to the skies and beyond, and for good reason too. Lara Croft is often portrayed as the worst example of a female character ever in the history of the WORLD! She has been called everything from a "man with boobs" to "slut", and this is by people who say they are fighting against sexism. My head gets all messed up while trying to figure out how that works.

So, what is my opinion of Lara? She's AWESOME! I'm not talking about the games themselves, the movies or any other specific media where she is portrayed. I just love her character for what it did for me when I was 12 years old and found an old CD with Tomb Raider II at a friends house. I got to borrow it. I think it took me over a year to finish playing that game (because I was a 12-year old noobcake and I still am) I remember bringing my friends over to play along with me and we could sit there in a group of four or so pre-teen girls and just have a really frikkin' good time while stepping into Laras shoes. I remember endlessly watching her animation as she would jump around with dual pistols, braid fluttering behind her. I copied the way she rolled her socks over the edge of her combat boots. I put pictures of her in my locker at school. My sketchbooks from that time have page after page with drawings I made of her. A role model? Of course she was! She was this badass girl that could just whip out an M16 from her tiny backpack to spray bullets into the face of a T-Rex. How is that NOT cool?

So, the boobs apparently. Or her shorts, or her lips. I dunno, there is something about her body that isn't good it seems. Is it just me or does the size of polygons matter that much? Especially in a world where Laras kitchen sink was just as big as her bath-tub? The proportions weren't exactly realistic in any way. I'm not saying she wasn't portrayed like a sex-object in promotional art or through later games and of course, the movies. I still can't really understand it because the only thing that seems to matter is her body and her clothes. To me, fighting sexism isn't about pointing at someone and yell: "Your breasts are way too big and you should bring some real pants before you go into the jungle to fight dinosaurs!!!" That rather seems like adding more sexism into the messy mix. It's as if people want her to prove something. She has to represent half the population of the world and if something isn't good she's blamed for it. I don't want to defend the creators of the games, they don't interest me. Lara Croft is an icon by herself and to me she was probably the first step into deciding to work with video games as a profession.

It also makes me really tired to realize that the only time people ever seem to talk about Lara is when it comes to sexism, and now I'm doing the exact same thing. Bleeegh, how bothersome. Still, I felt the sudden impulse to write this and to spontaneously do a Lara-cosplay in the middle of the night. It's probably the easiest thing ever. Braid, boots, top, shorts.... and a photoshopped gun of awesome. The only thing I had to do was to fetch my boots and then take a picture. If the portrayal of Lara is that horribly objectifying then my normal lazy-at-home-outfit may be more vulgar than I thought. Now if I ever have to read another article complaining about Laras bra-size I'll find a T-Rex and ride into the sunset on its back.

3 comments:

  1. I think anyone fighting against sexism and using the word "slut" isn't really representing or helping anyone out ><

    I like Lara as a character and I think she is a good role model because she is assertive, strong, intelligent, etc. But I don't really like her outfit (probably because it was created for a different audience). She can wear whatever she wants, though. If I become a video game hero, I'll wear leggings and shorts :)

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  2. I don't really see a problem with her outfit except that they could have added kneepads for function :P She's running through jungle half of the time and even though I usually wear leggings with shorts it's not an option in summer heat. It -is- silly when she wears shorts in snow though, but I still don't see how regular shorts and a tank top would appear more to men than to women.

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