Is the new Tomb Raider sexist?
Yes
10.1% (51)
10.1% (51)
No
69.3% (350)
69.3% (350)
A little
20.2% (102)
20.2% (102)
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Poll: Lara and the Tomb raider controversy

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So, by now I imagine you've come into contact with the controversy surrounding the new Tomb Raider game. An attempted sexual assault on the main character, beatings and being stabbed are just a few of the things to happen to Lara in her latest outing (Or first, if you want to be chronologically correct).
With the game being a prequel, it's fairly easy to see what angle the studio is taking with regards to character development. They want to portray the now innocent Lara as a young, vulnerable explorer to add some impact to the story. Personally I think making her weak and emotionally fragile is a wise decision, purely because it allows her to break the mould of being a big chested curvy piece of eye candy, which frankly is what put me of the Tomb Raider games in the first place.
After all, nowadays we have all played as a super soldier charging the front lines of the enemy, we have all played as the interstellar bully, dropping the hammer on the unsuspecting foes of the enemy, so why not play as the weaker character for a change?
But seeing her being tossed about the place by larger stronger men isn't sexist or politically incorrect. It's realistic, which in turn leads to a better connection with the character, thus creating a better game.
I for one am glad to see a developer break the chains of convention and try something new. But that's just my opinion, what's yours?

Of course it's sexist, female protagonist only?!
What the hell are you playing at here, you saying only women can be heroes or something??
I demand a gender option!

As I understand it, much of the problem is about the way the PR people handled their announcements, and even then, criticism of it seems to have been blown out of proportion, either because it was a slow news day, or so people could dismiss the people concerned about their new game as cranks.

Again, as I understand it, part of the problem was that there was something in the announcement of the gamer "playing with" Lara, rather than "playing as" which you'd normally see, and that this implies that a gamer can identify with a space marine/whatever, but not with a woman. This isn't a new observations, it's just something brought up again.

As for sexual assault, that is something that happens extremely often in the real word (something like 1 in 3 women will be sexually assaulted at least once during their lifetimes) and it makes sense to see it in games depicting teh real world, but "attempted rape as backstory" sorta seems to be the default choice for many writers who can't think of any other motivation to give female characters. Likewise, IIRC, the PR people announced it in a way that reflects badly on the,/society as a whole.

It seems to me that it's not the game being criticised per se, it's the way the thing was handled being indicative of a larger problem, and the game just sparked the debate about it.

Putting a vulnerable young character in a dangerous and violent situation is always... well, volatile, and I honestly don't think anyone can judge it until the public has gotten their hands on the game.

I voted no.

But I'm white, male straight and non-religious.

I know nothing of -isms.

EDIT: I don't think its sexist but the Trailer did make a wee bit uncomfortable.

Funny thing is: if it was young Nate nobody would complain about it being sexist. Well, they would complain that it was Nate and not a new female character. Nobody would even complain about the attempted rape.

I say that they are doing a fine job. I will buy this game. Its a hard concept to show of in a single trailer or demo, because the changes in her character will be very gradual.

It's sexist because they think that a male audience can't relate to a strong female character and they have to make 'protecting' her the main focus.

Also that Lara Croft was a great power fantasy for women and now she has been reduced to being beaten up for the benefit of the male audience.

It's hard to judge until the game comes out though.

Ledan:
Funny thing is: if it was young Nate nobody would complain about it being sexist. Well, they would complain that it was Nate and not a new female character. Nobody would even complain about the attempted rape.

I say that they are doing a fine job. I will buy this game. Its a hard concept to show of in a single trailer or demo, because the changes in her character will be very gradual.

They would never do it with a male character though because apparently male characters don't have to go through a traumatic experience to be tough...

Edit: Please stop quoting me I have reiterated my stand point many times in the thread.

If it was a film nobody would be making a fuss about, it's just silly.

I don't even care anymore. Maybe we should just have more games where men get raped to shut everyone up.

Oh, and if people want to complain about sexism, maybe we should complain about the constant films where one of the rewards at the end of the male hero's quest is to "get the girl", or where the girl's just shoehorned in as a shitty love interest for the main characters. Not whether or not an early Lara Croft surviving an attempted rape or what some dumbass developer said is sexist.

There's nothing wrong with the story of "a weak, inexperienced girl goes through trials and tough times to develop as a person, becoming tougher, experienced and losing her innocence"

The problem is that, from what we have seen so far of the game, it seems to be handling this in the same way as the Saw/Hostel films, ie. focusing on the suffering and pain of the girl to a disturbing degree, and not so much letting the character grow, as beating her down again and again and again, and at every step she just gets beaten and broken in sickeningly specific detail, undergoing experiences that don't create a stronger person, but destroy a person. How many people grow stronger because they are almost raped? How many girls discover a strength they never knew they had to fight off their attackers and live their life anew as strong independent women? It doesn't happen like that. Rape is not really something that you can use as a "and this experience made our heroine a much stronger person". It is a despicable act that will hurt a person physically and mentally, it is emotionally scarring, not reaffirming of your inner strength.
I just find it really wrong that they wanted to create a game where a young, weaker Lara finds her feet and gets involved in the Tomb Raiding scene, but couldn't think of a better way to chart her growth as an individual than "then she gets almost raped and kills the guy in the struggle!"

It's the execution of the plot I'm most worried about.

It's ridiculous. Simply, utterly, ridiculous. Yes, somebody tried to rape her. If the trailer is anything to go by, it didn't end very well for him. This kind of stuff is allowed to be in games, it just shouldn't be glorified, and what's with people saying she's a sex object, or "typical, weak woman", in that situation, EVERYONE would be "weak", that's what the game is about, the characters baptism of fire.

Of course it could end up being handled horribly, but it all seems like a pre-emptive "jump on the sexism bandwagon" move to me.

Did I miss something? Is the new Tomb Raider game already out?

Or is the poll missing the "I like to actually play games before forming strong opinions about them" option?

Is the concept itself interesting and could it make for an engaging gameplay experience; Yes.

Do I think Crystal Dynamics (or any other game developer) has the subtle expertise to pull it off; NOOOOOO!!!

Don't be silly, you can have a valid opinion about a well established character before the game is released, don't flame on a valid argument please I try and keep my threads civil and sensible.

Erana:
Putting a vulnerable young character in a dangerous and violent situation is always... well, volatile, and I honestly don't think anyone can judge it until the public has gotten their hands on the game.

A young and vulnerable character in a dangerous and violent situation, sound like every RPG released since Wizardry. :D

Sexist: No
Obnoxious in that it won't stop harping on just how helpless and fragile the new Laura is: Yes

Moonlight Butterfly:
They would never do it with a male character though because apparently male characters don't have to go through a traumatic experience to be tough...

What about Jenson in Deus Ex: Human Revolution? He got pretty beat up at the start of the game. Though I guess you could argue he was already strong to begin with.

I'm definitely interested in the game but as others have said it depends on the execution.

Sexist? Maybe. Unpleasant? Definitely. Does it make up for that? Probably not.
I honestly preferred the psycho bastard Lara who would enter beautiful and ancient ruins guns blazing, giving fewer fucks than a drunken chainsaw juggler and destroying priceless pieces of ancient art. And also killing a few hundred unlucky mooks of whatever corporation dared stand against her insatiable desire for wanton destruction. Also, monsters 'n shit. It was kind of wonderful in a way.

Did we really need another thread about this? I lost count.

Does "New Lara"'s depiction discriminate against women in general?

No? They just show a scared girl trying to survive?

What were we talking about again?

The dev's comments are a different story, but I don't hold that against the game.

Mr.K.:
Of course it's sexist, female protagonist only?!
What the hell are you playing at here, you saying only women can be heroes or something??
I demand a gender option!

Dude, this is a TOMB RAIDER GAME! In every single one, you have played as the same character (discounting the 20 or so minutes you spend as Kurtis Trent in Angel of Darkness). Whether I do or do not agree with you is irrelevant, seeing as the core idea is that the main character of this series is a woman, and that was the conceptual idea right from the start back in 1996 . Having a gender option now makes little to no sense.

Macgyvercas:

Mr.K.:
Of course it's sexist, female protagonist only?!
What the hell are you playing at here, you saying only women can be heroes or something??
I demand a gender option!

Dude, this is a TOMB RAIDER GAME! In every single one, you have played as the same character (discounting the 20 or so minutes you spend as Kurtis Trent in Angel of Darkness). Whether I do or do not agree with you is irrelevant, seeing as the core idea is that the main character of this series is a woman, and that was the conceptual idea right from the start back in 1996 . Having a gender option now makes little to no sense.

I think he was joking... Poe's law strikes again!

OT: I'll wait till the game is out first. But from what I've seen I don't have a problem with it.

It really doesn't seem it to me.. but I'm also not really with the demographic that it may potentially offend so my perspective may be off.

I do think the trailer showed way too much of Lara getting beaten up and beaten on for my tastes, but that's more to do with questionable editing and scene selection. It's sort of like the trailer for Dishonoured. Yeah, I can stab dudes in first person, cool. What else does the game actually have going for it? With Tomb Raider it was: yeah, Lara's weaker and inexperienced here, I get it, can I see more of the game?

Cat Sharp:

Moonlight Butterfly:
They would never do it with a male character though because apparently male characters don't have to go through a traumatic experience to be tough...

What about Jenson in Deus Ex: Human Revolution? He got pretty beat up at the start of the game. Though I guess you could argue he was already strong to begin with.

I'm definitely interested in the game but as others have said it depends on the execution.

Jensen is a weird one, they completely go over his adapting to being augmented in the actual game. Breaking his mirror when he saw himself, unable to hold a glass without nearly breaking it, it's in trailers and referenced briefly but mostly left to the player. Same with the survivor Shepard in Mass Effect - he/she becomes strong because of his/her traumatic experience.

I think it's going to be fine in game - it's one legitimate way of doing an unempowerment game - but the marketing and the guys' comments were done badly.

Jynthor:
Did we really need another thread about this? I lost count.

It's part of this second-wind gender battle currently going on on the site, give it a month or so.

Moonlight Butterfly:

Ledan:
Funny thing is: if it was young Nate nobody would complain about it being sexist. Well, they would complain that it was Nate and not a new female character. Nobody would even complain about the attempted rape.

I say that they are doing a fine job. I will buy this game. Its a hard concept to show of in a single trailer or demo, because the changes in her character will be very gradual.

They would never do it with a male character though because apparently male characters don't have to go through a traumatic experience to be tough...

Ezio Auditori goes through all kinds of hell in his Assassin's Creed games. Family killed, forced out of his home, pretty much blown up at the beginning of Brotherhood.

To say nothing of guys like Max Payne, Isaac Kane from Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit, or James Sunderland from Silent Hill 2.

People are making a mountain out of a molehill. Video Game protaganists consistently get the shit kicked out of them in just about every conceivable fashion on a regular basis. This is nothing new.
Eidos made an origin story where Laura isn't on top of every situation, so now people are paying way more attention to her vulnerability because they think they should.

Susan Arendt put it best: It's not about the falls. It's about her rising from them.

at this point i look at stuff like this which group will they piss off this time.

Martin Toney:
They want to portray the now innocent Lara as a young, vulnerable explorer to add some impact to the story.

I object to the characterization of vulnerable and would replace it with naive. She sets herself on fire to free herself and lands on a piece of rebar. From there she finds one of her friends crucified up on the wall by cannibals. She fashions a bow out of scavenged materials and hunts for food. Then she fights off a would-be rapist and kills him. None of that actually suggests vulnerability.

BloatedGuppy:
Did I miss something? Is the new Tomb Raider game already out?

Or is the poll missing the "I like to actually play games before forming strong opinions about them" option?

You're not missing it. People just like to put the cart before the horse.

ravenshrike:

Martin Toney:
They want to portray the now innocent Lara as a young, vulnerable explorer to add some impact to the story.

I object to the characterization of vulnerable and would replace it with naive. She sets herself on fire to free herself and lands on a piece of rebar. From there she finds one of her friends crucified up on the wall by cannibals. She fashions a bow out of scavenged materials and hunts for food. Then she fights off a would-be rapist and kills him. None of that actually suggests vulnerability.

It seems like the more apt description would be that she's strong but inexperienced.

I like the overall direction the Tomb Raider game is going in. I would say it's the exact opposite of sexist actually. Sexist would be to shy away from letting Lara get beat up as badly as a male protagonist.

You say "naive", but I don't think you know what that means.

I dont believe its sexist really. Even the makers of the game said that the stuff we,ve seen is just the early game , when shes new and untrained and not used to a harsher world. From what i see the games about her growth into a stronger person. Judgeing the game is sexist over just the first few moments is just dumb.

Moonlight Butterfly:

They would never do it with a male character though because apparently male characters don't have to go through a traumatic experience to be tough...

Drake's mother committed suicide, his father left him in an orphanage, and he lived as a street rat. Not traumatic at all!

OT: It's too early to tell. People need to wait until the game actually comes out.

Ok, I've selected "A little" in the poll, but I've jsut watched the trailer and their seams to be nothing sexist about it... but I didn't play the game.

Lara seams like an interesting character in an incredible situation.

Mcoffey:

Susan Arendt put it best: It's not about the falls. It's about her rising from them.

Which, while perfectly legitimate a thesis, still doesn't render the reboot exempt from criticism.
Just because you can argue that Lara will rise from the ashes a "stronger" character doesn't mean it's a well-judged premise or execution thereof.
And especially if you've grown tired of popular media's insistence on having female characters suffer through horrifying trials of fire involving the threat of sexual assault for that extra spicy exploitative contrivance, all simply in order to be validated as a character, chances are you're not going to think very highly of this new direction.

I also think it's worth noting that it's seldom male protagonists will have a traumatising ordeal happen to them personally. More often than not, that baggage will be somewhat detached and familial (particularly often paternal) in nature.
Adam Jensen of Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a recent exception to the rule, but even he more or less shrugs the whole issue off within the first hour or so; utilising his newly found superhuman abilities to fight injustice and kick ass.

Their female equivalents, however, will more or less invariably see their own personal self victimised at some point, and be dramatically instructed to define themselves by their struggle to build themselves up again.
This reboot of Tomb Raider is looking depressingly like a case of this phenomenon. Hell, even Carla Valenti of the aforementioned Fahrenheit had to be the subject of an utterly pointless exercise in which her professionalism and competence was crippled by particularly gendered sequences of claustrophobia.

Naturally I cannot say anything with certainty until the game is released. But judging from what material I've seen and the impressively ignorant statements made by their producer, I see little reason to be anything but skeptical at this point.

Moonlight Butterfly:

They would never do it with a male character though because apparently male characters don't have to go through a traumatic experience to be tough...

Bullshit.

Because nothing bad ever happens to male characters in origin stories. I don't see any of them having loved ones die or abuse or training from hell.

Oh, wait...

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