Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New Tomb Raider - Controversial "Rape Scene" Empowers Heroine

I played Tomb Raider back when I was eleven years old and don’t remember much about this game other than Ms. Croft’s British accent. I assume that after plenty of game installments and two motion pictures leading with one of Hollywood’s highest paid actresses playing Lara Croft, this franchise elevated to meet the high standards expected from gamers and fans alike.  After watching the trailer for its latest chapter Tomb Raider E3 2012, it seems as if Lara Croft is meeting her audience expectations with the gory predicaments she finds herself in when stranded on a deserted island. I am not sure how she ended up stranded, but the action sequence of her battling ferocious animals and succumbing to dangerous waterfalls is downright impressive in my opinion. However, devoted gamers and critics have an issue with a scene in particular where it is argued that Lara fights against an attacker who attempts to rape her. Executive producer, Ron Rosenberg argues that this was a “defining moment” for her character because this is where she kills for the very first time. However, it is up for debate on whether it was necessary for Rosenberg and his team to add this scene in order to establish Lara’s defining moment as a fighter and heroine.
          Being the first leading female character for an adventurous game, Lara Croft represents the sturdy side to a woman giving a new perspective on whom and what is a hero. In this game, they are showing how she built that fearless attitude and is the heroine she is known to be. After Lara’s best friend is kidnapped she overcomes numerous obstacles that are expected in any game when the end is the salvation of the leading character’s counterpart. It is humorous how people only recognize the attempted rape scene aside from her many other brushes with death when she’s lost in the wilderness. Granted, rape is a severely serious issue and should not be taken lightly, especially when it is applied into a media franchise; it is expected to raise a few eyebrows. Rosenberg tried clearing the air by stating that “she’s literally turned into a cornered animal. And that’s a huge step in her evolution: she’s either forced to fight back or die and that’s what we’re showing today.” In other words, she’s fueled by her basic instincts to fight back where she finds her strength and saves herself from the unthinkable.
I don’t think this belittles Lara’s character or makes her vulnerable by any means; some female gamers argued that if she were a male lead, they would not have illustrated this scene at all. We must recognize that this is an issue not only amongst women, however I feel that in order for the producers of Tomb Raider to explain Lara’s character and life before she became Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, they had to write up something traumatic in her life that helped her create a shield of her own might. Unlike one gamer who felt that this was only “lazy writing,” I feel that the writers related this to something real and though it makes us uncomfortable and we do not want to hear about it, this does in fact happen. The fact that Lara survives this attack through her own means is evidence enough to show where she stands as a warrior and a female lead; this is her defining moment.

MsSpiceGrr is a freelance writer for Knickerbocker ledger and Girl Gamer Vogue. 

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