Gender and Games- Lara Croft

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A. Feminist "Tomb Raider is promoting pornography. Looking at Croft on screen is like looking at a pornographic magazine. Gamers that find her sexually desirable exploit her computerized image with the unauthorized “NudeRaider” patch that can be applied to the computer version of the game to play nude as Lara."

B. Anti-Feminist "She is breaking the stereotypes for women in games and opening opportunities for women in the genre as a whole. "

After reading the presentation by a former student on the issue of Lara Croft, I was sort of taken in.  I personally never looked at the game that deeply.  But I found it interesting on the points that were made and can see how the game could be viewed as degrading to women, look to quote A.  Theres a valid point in there, but at the same time, if Lara Croft was a overweight fully clothed character would she be more appealing?  When a game is desgined, the creator wants it to appeal to consumers, and having a sexy, kick ass women does that.  Wasn't Lara Croft the first story game to have a female as the main character? Or one of the first.  To me lara Croft the game(s) and movie show a woman in power dominating men and looking good at the same time.  Isn't that what feminist want, a women kicking a mans ass?  I agree with quote B. the game did wonders for the industry.  Todays world seems so modest and conservative its sad.  It wasnt the first time sexiness was used to promote something, i think that it is necessary to modify certaing things to appeal to a wide range of audience.

1 Comments

Zach, check out Derek's response to Lara Croft. I posted a long comment there, and as I was writing it, I was thinking about what you wrote, too.

There were other female protagonists in adventure games (the King's Quest series had a few in which the protagonist was a princess or queen... that was the late 80s and early 90s... and there was a Laura Bow character who had two mystery/adventure games... these were all graphic adventure games in the late 80s/early 90s). If this topic interests you, I'm sure someone somewhere has looked into the history of female characters in computer games. (That would make a good research project for an upcoming exercise, but I'd like to make sure you guys don't all choose the same research project, since I'd rather you collaborate and go into more depth than work separately re-inventing the wheel... but we'll talk about that later.)

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