Comments on: [Gamer Diary] Rollercoaster June: an addendum /2012/07/06/gamer-diary-rollercoaster-june-an-addendum/ A feminist pop culture adventure Tue, 10 Jul 2012 08:08:04 +0000 hourly 1 By: Miranda /2012/07/06/gamer-diary-rollercoaster-june-an-addendum/#comment-2984 Mon, 09 Jul 2012 21:37:19 +0000 In reply to Stephen B.

Yeah, actually the Indy comparison’s really important, I reckon. I know the line “I don’t even like tombs!” in the new trailer is a throwaway gag, almost, but it definitely feels pretty… unLara? Yeah.

By: Stephen B /2012/07/06/gamer-diary-rollercoaster-june-an-addendum/#comment-2979 Mon, 09 Jul 2012 19:32:20 +0000 Great article, and it helped me get my thoughts straight on the two main points I take away from this: firstly the idea that players wouldn’t connect with Lara when they would with other characters (presumably this is ‘male players only want male characters’, which Mass Effect disproves on its own). Utter rubbish, a condescending, inaccurate, stupid attitude from the developers.

The bigger problem for me though was that *this is Lara Croft*. Lara is the female Indy. Now as nice as it’d be to have a character who wasn’t basically the better-known male one with a female name (She-Hulk! Batwoman!), Lara IS female Indy and that is Awesome.

A ‘girl gets attacked and discovers her strength from it’ storyline COULD be fine… in another story. Not for Indy.

If Lara Croft gets hurt, she grunts and grits her teeth against it because she’s currently swinging through the air on a rope and firing two pistols at a TIGER.

She doesn’t whimper, or become terrified, or be dominated by men. Because that’s not who she IS as a symbolic superhero. Yes, I know it’s an origin story which allows for new things, and I know a lot of her ‘symbolism’ as a gaming icon is basically ‘BOOBZ’, but it was just *not okay* to do this particular thing to this particular character. She should be about the joy of raiding temples for treasure, firing guns with wisecracks, and swinging on ledges to avoid boulders. Making her drive to do that come from abuse actually reaches forward into future games and makes them… awful.

By: Rai /2012/07/06/gamer-diary-rollercoaster-june-an-addendum/#comment-2897 Sat, 07 Jul 2012 11:20:42 +0000 In reply to Miranda.

The sexualising of Lara is boring and always has been. Regrettably, it’s also one of the key features that the franchise is known for so there never was much hope this prequel could ever have escaped.

What I fear is that one of the main results this prequel will have is to totally invalidate Lara’s identity as a strong independent woman because all it is doing is confirming, with face-bludgeoning effect, that she isn’t independent, she never was and that she was made by men. Her dad, this rapist; it’s all the same. She was forged in patriarchy hence she will never escape it. I feel pretty sorry for her: a fictional person.

By: Russell /2012/07/06/gamer-diary-rollercoaster-june-an-addendum/#comment-2867 Fri, 06 Jul 2012 16:38:00 +0000 I think the line of thinking where they suggest that (male) players will want to protect Lara comes from the mistaken line of thinking that suggests a male audience is unable or unwilling to sympathise with a female lead character, or see a female as a role model. It is entirely mistaken because there are many works of fiction with female lead characters that have enormous male following; Buffy the Vampire Slayer is probably the most prominent one that springs to mind, and I’d say Buffy is a pretty good role model for a female or male viewer who wants one.

Unfortunately, this kind of thinking leads to a vicious circle that promotes this kind of sexism; it’s accepted as the received wisdom. Obviously, the way to challenge it is to keep creating good female protagonists and keep tricking, forcing, coercing, or allowing men to sympathise with them. I don’t have a lot of faith that that’s what Crystal Dynamics are doing here though. :(

By: Miranda /2012/07/06/gamer-diary-rollercoaster-june-an-addendum/#comment-2853 Fri, 06 Jul 2012 08:40:02 +0000 You know what struck me the most about the trailer when I finally watched it wasn’t what happens to Lara – it was the men dragging off her female colleague at knife point, with comments like “it’s been so long”. This, for me, is depressingly significant – the women are always, always separated in these kinds of narratives.

Lara’s voice has also been softened and heightened, which I do think is intended to make her present more vulnerably.

Sigh. I agree with you that their INTENT is to go kinda Lisbeth Salander – to complicate Lara and make her tomb raiding more psychologically consequent to suffering. I just resent the sexual element, really. I think they’ve fallen flat on their faces a bit.

What it has at least done is really kick off a very public conversation, I guess?