Tomb Raider heroin Lara Croft has been one of the biggest sex symbols since her first installment. Her obvious figure was part of the title, but her attitude was signature in what we know as Lara Croft. Her recent reboot has received good feedback as her body is more realistic and proportionate and is seen in vulnerable situations in which we have never seen her react in such ways before. One subject that has raised controversy is a scene from the trailer which apparently points towards Lara about to be raped.
Now this has created a storm of blog posts, tweets, comments, youtube videos etc, of how offended they are with the subject and how uncalled for it is. Ron Rosenberg, executive producer, was the first source talking about the ‘rape scene’ and many have retaliated to his words, such as disagreeing when he mentioned- that Lara will be cornered like an animal, and hit back with questions as to why a female character has to prove her strength by showing how broken she was in the past when men race on through without having to explain for their bravery.
As many cry against this so called rape scene, some speak out that the footage shown doesn’t show any kind of sexual activity and in fact pushes towards the moment where Lara kills someone for the first time. And that Lara is seen as weak or facing challenges in a not-so-ready manner is showing us how she grows into the woman we know today.
In my personal opinion, i agree with the latter. So many people are getting sensitive over the subject of rape, but will easily turn and play a game that involves killing, torturing, mutilating and other R rated things. One of the most poplar games are first person shooters like Call Of Duty, where you as a player generally aim to stick a bullet in the enemies head, and an enemy of which is another country who are depicted as bad.
Lara, intelligent, acrobatic, accurate, strong, handy, keen, sexy, anything that illustrates her as flawless, is what we know her as. But surely she wasn’t born a perfect goddess? And when we have someone with more than a handful of games under their belt, evidently there has to be a story behind it all to lead to this kind of result. And this also brings up the argument about why she has to prove her strength by being broken, while men don’t. Lara has one of the longest running series, and I don’t think anyone has ever questioned against who she is (apart from how she can painlessly do what she does with so much ‘weight’ at the front) but is more praised and looked up to. If anything, I was always interested in what made her the woman she is today, and the new reboot seems to be giving me the answer!
As for the infamous ‘rape scene’ and the following arguments of why it takes rape to show a woman being a survivor is just an overreaction. As said, it doesn’t seem to be leading to a rape scene, to me it seemed that the man was toying with her, scaring her more, maybe hinting at the idea to play on her fear. But if it is leading to such a result, I don’t see why it is suddenly a huge deal when prostitution is present in games and just as degrading and devastating at some degree. I agree, rape is a horrible thing, and shouldn’t be spoken of so lightly, but to be targeted when used for storytelling in a game, is a contradicting move as we are constantly surrounded by horrific images of death and other rated subjects.
Crystal Dynamics even try to clear things up and explain what their intentions are and that the scene isn’t actually leading towards Lara being raped.
The game isn’t even out yet, so to judge the game so harshly when one hasn’t even played it isn’t too wise. And from what knowledge I have from the game so far, there seems to be only men, or a majority of men on that island, so why is it so surprising that these scavengers would do such a horrible thing? I don’t think it’s something Crystal Dynamics wanted to add to the list of all the things that are breaking Lara’s back, but something that would be expected in that situation; if it was the case. Saying that, I’m not for the act of rape, but it’s something that happens.
I can never see rape defining Lara, nor do I believe the companies behind it do either. I understand their intentions, and I think that they were just trying to show how Lara learns to create the tough exterior she carries with her today and makes her more human and realistic for us to relate to, other than being a sexualised item.
If we are to be so sensitive towards stories then lets talk about why so many super heroes are orphans. Being a child without parents doesn’t sound like a fun experience, yet it’s always used to show some sort of character development… now that’s a subject used pretty lightly.
Michael Plant, The Independent, Crystal Dynamics release Tomb Raider ‘rape’ clarification statement, http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/gaming/crystal-dynamics-release-tomb-raider-rape-clarification-statement-7854068.html
Mary Hamilton, The Guardian, Does Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft really have to be a survivor of a rape attempt?, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/13/tomb-raider-lara-croft-rape-attempt