I am going to start this series with a surprisingly overlooked female protagonist.
Lara Croft is the star of “Tomb Raider”. She is probably one of, if not the, strongest female in video gaming. (yes I know the picture is of the movie adaptation, but what can I say, Angelina Jolie brings out my lesbian.) My love for the Tomb Raider series started in 1997 after I received a PlayStation for Christmas. A hot chick that can kill things, and is athletic enough to climb any wall? I’m for it!
I always looked at Lara as someone I wanted to aspire to. I would consider myself more of a loner in school. I had friends, but being a military brat makes it hard to actually keep long term friendships. Even after my family had retired from military life, my favorite thing to do was play video games, which was more of a solo activity back in the day. Lara’s independence really drew me to her character. She was never afraid to go in and get the job done, or stand up to her (male) peers and always come out on top. She was the tom-boy embodiment that I had been searching for so long! She was originally supposed to be a man; talk about female empowerment!
Lara Croft is a prime example of a strong female character that seems to get dismissed in the discussion of sexism. There were many concerns about Lara being too sexual. Who says a woman can’t be powerful, independent, and super sexy? i don’t see her looks as a crutch at all. In fact, as a girl who is typecast based on her favorite hobbies, I believe this adds to her character. Being attractive doesn’t mean that you have nothing else to offer. This is a concept that I believe plagues our society and is part of the reason that we have a view of sexism in any type of media. In fact, I believe that Lara was the beginning of a break through in video gaming where women where looked at differently than a Princess Peach, or Zelda. Yes there were other strong female characters (Metriod’s Samus Aran for one, which I will get to in another post,) but Lara’s persona has held on to the gaming industry and developed over time. As society modernized, so did she. To say she is not part of the discussion, or just to be overlooked as an example that there are strong female characters that don’t have any motivation that has to do with a man is doing a gross disservice to the gaming industry as a whole.
Fun fact: Lara Croft earned 6 world records in the Guinness World Records 2010 Gaming Edition. The most of her peers.
If you haven’t played the new Tomb Raider published by Square Enix, please do. It is a new level of Lara that has never been explored before and you can see her emotional progression into the person she has been since the first game of the series came out.
What were your experiences with Lara Croft? Has she inspired you or influenced you in any way? I look forward to reading your thoughts and experiences!