espanolbot: (Default)
[personal profile] espanolbot posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Casstoons Returns, but on a serious note about the... disturbing route that a particular iconic female character appears to be going in the Square Enix Reboot of the franchise.

Trigger warning for discussion of rape, implied child abuse and sexism.

This strip was inspired by the trailer for the new Tomb Raider games, which has a teenage Lara Croft being trapped on a desert island and learning the skills she'd later need to become a badass action heroine/grave robber.

The trailer, however, seemed less weighted towards Lara being badass, and more towards various unpleasant things happening to her while she looks all scared and sad. And one of those things involves Lara being stalked and... creepily pawed by some bearded guy.

The "cornered animal" quote comes this from interview about the game, which is serving as a reboot now that the franchise is being produced by Squire Enix.

And reading through the article, it makes it seem less like they're talking about Lara Croft, and more about making her the generic female lead in a particularly bad survival horror movie from the mid-2000s. *sigh*

The game COULD be good... though the addition of rape to it REALLLLLY isn't welcome, nor is the idea that you act as Lara's "Helper" in the game as if she's weak and stuff. As I said, I get that it's meant to show Lara going from being a posh girl out of her element and becoming battle hardened... but they could have chosen another way to do this.

Another link as to WHY the above interview is disturbing here.

Date: 2012-06-19 08:23 pm (UTC)
darkblade: (Default)
From: [personal profile] darkblade
Couldn't they have just done something like the flashback sequence in Last Crusade for Laura instead of all of this.

Date: 2012-06-19 08:28 pm (UTC)
akodo_rokku: (Default)
From: [personal profile] akodo_rokku
Considering the amazing amount of failure in the last several Tomb Raider games, the radical reboot is really no surprise.

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Date: 2012-06-19 08:54 pm (UTC)
biod: Cute Galactus (Default)
From: [personal profile] biod
Lovely bit of black comedy there, Espaniolbot. What I've heard about the game has unsettled me à little, but now that I've read that article, I'm disgusted.
Rape is never a subject I enjoy and rarely is it one treated properly, but it's the "root for her in à way they might not root for à male character" quote that really pisses me off. There are just so many aweful assumptions there. Also, violence, sex, or any combination thereof does not make your work "mature", you giant prick.

Date: 2012-06-19 09:06 pm (UTC)
shadowpsykie: Information (Default)
From: [personal profile] shadowpsykie
hmmm first off, the only exposure to Tomb Raider i have ever had was the Films with Angelina Jolie. (yesi know bad Gaymer!)

that said...

i don't know... the implied rape/Attempted sexual assault DEFINATELY bothers me. OH That isn't even IMPLIED... that's the actual intent... okay yeah not okay with that.

the rest though... i don't mind a "survival" story idea. I like films/movies/stories where a less than action oriented character get's shaped inot a badass.

that said... the fact that laura's "girl" friends are victims while the rest seem to be a group of men strikes me as problematic as well. Why aren't any of her guy friends victims?

the only way i could see this as a potential story (this plot line) would be if she realizes the ineptness of the men she is with and goes on to save her friends herself...

i also want to say that this seems alot more like a Resident Evil game than a Tomb Raider game. (again only have the movies to compare it to)

i don't know, like you said... it could actually turn out to be a really cool game... doesn't make me feel more comfortable about what we HAVE seen...
Edited (Just read the article.) Date: 2012-06-19 09:12 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-06-19 09:21 pm (UTC)
stolisomancer: Mimic, from "Rusty & Co." (mimic)
From: [personal profile] stolisomancer
Once you're actually out in the world and doing Tomb Raider-y things, the game's a lot less troublesome.

I was in a closed-doors showing of the game at last year's E3, and while the opening ten minutes or so comes off like B-roll from one of the Hostel movies, they then showed a sequence where Lara has to navigate this ancient shipwreck in search of a first-aid kit to save an older, wounded man.

So naturally, instead of focusing on that, they're pursuing the creepy protection angle in an attempt to draw in those crucial 15-24 males. The irritating thing is that I know a lot of these guys, and they're not stupid, which means they're doing this because it tends to work.

Date: 2012-06-19 09:27 pm (UTC)
shadowpsykie: Information (Default)
From: [personal profile] shadowpsykie
well... the makes me feel less troubled about the game... but more troubled about the marketing....

Date: 2012-06-19 09:56 pm (UTC)
greenmask: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greenmask
That's really pissing me off - I would love to play a new tomb raider with real cool environment exploration etc, I'd love to see a game that actually took sexual assault, or the threat of, seriously. And it sounds like they meant to! But this trailer shit, the perfect hair, the incredibly poorly worded press re: rape threat, protection (PROTCTION of LARA CROFT) & gendered reactions.. ugh. Bad blood between us, game developing team.

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Date: 2012-06-19 10:14 pm (UTC)
flash_fan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] flash_fan
I'm annoyed that they watered down Lara's awesomeness to a teenage girl who gets captured and moans erotically when hurt. That there is blatant unashamed sexism. I'm kinda surprised the attempted rape is a shocker to people though. This is a video game. In video games bad guys typically kill people without hesitation and I'm supposed to believe they are above rape?

Date: 2012-06-19 10:34 pm (UTC)
janegray: (Default)
From: [personal profile] janegray
I'm kinda surprised the attempted rape is a shocker to people though. This is a video game. In video games bad guys typically kill people without hesitation and I'm supposed to believe they are above rape?

We are not shocked, we are annoyed and frustrated. Rape has damn nearly become the default backstory for female characters. It's everywhere. It turns a serious, sensitive issue into cookie-cutter cheap shock value to cover up the lack of substance. It's lazy and insulting.

As for the unrealism argument... Prison rape is ridiculously common, in real life men are often raped when they are captured by enemy combatants or put in jail, yet for some reason in videogames the male hero is never threatened with rape in prison settings. I WONDER WHY. COULD IT POSSIBLY BE BECAUSE IT WOULD MAKE THE PLAYERS FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE AND FUCK GENUINE REALISM IN VIDEOGAMES IF IT'S NOT MARKETABLE TO DUDEBROS.

I'm going to quote a friend of mine to more clearly explain why the TR reboot pissed us off.

In Resistance 3 - a game that has a dark, gritty feel, where most of the Earth's population has been wiped out, and that covers a whole host of other mature themes - your protagonist is thrown into an prison. And not just any prison, a prison in an area notorious for male-on-male rape.

Naturally, nothing happened to him, nor was he threatened, nor was it ever alluded to happening to anyone else in said prison (lol, yeah right). Even though it would have upped the horror of the scenario well past 11.

But the second you throw a woman into a difficult situation in a grim!dark setting? RAPE, RAPE EVERYWHERE.

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Date: 2012-06-19 10:36 pm (UTC)
greenmask: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greenmask
It's not about shock, it's about how it's not even cared about except in how it's supposed to make imaginary dude audiences go "oh I'll save her". There are a lot of hard-man lifestyles in video games that 'should' also include backstory rape, but.. Where's that?

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Date: 2012-06-20 02:34 pm (UTC)
mrstatham: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrstatham
"That there is blatant unashamed sexism."

Um.. I'm sorry - and not to distract from the larger discussion and issues at hand - but did you even SEE some of the old images they produced alongside the first three to four games? Not only did you have this impossibly waisted, balloon-breasted male fantasy, but they were putting her in all sorts of images like her clutching her bedsheets or reclining nude on her bed. Yes, they were still interesting, awesome games to play, but the sexism has been there since the start, and was barely toned down for Legend and Underworld.

Also, she was made a teenage girl before for one of the earlier parts of the fourth game, I believe? And complaining about her being 'captured' - are we saying that no-one who gets caught in a game or piece of media can be awesome, now?

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Date: 2012-06-19 10:14 pm (UTC)
full_metal_ox: (Default)
From: [personal profile] full_metal_ox
Now, if your player POV as Lara's "helper" meant something like Dora apprenticing to a veteran female explorer like Lara Croft--what a potential Bechdel scenario!

Date: 2012-06-19 10:37 pm (UTC)
greenmask: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greenmask
Would play.

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Date: 2012-06-20 12:08 am (UTC)
cypherfdp: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cypherfdp
As dumb as Penny Arcade can be sometimes, I think this is appropriate:
Edited Date: 2012-06-20 12:08 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-06-20 12:20 am (UTC)
big_daddy_d: (Default)
From: [personal profile] big_daddy_d
I saw that trailer during E3 week and that indeed worried me.

Date: 2012-06-20 01:39 am (UTC)
silverzeo: (Default)
From: [personal profile] silverzeo
God, the "Game Over" and "Try Again?" for that game is disturbing enough... can't they just take the sexual tension like from "The Haunting", and have the sexual tension be IMPLIED, that would up the suspense without actually going into that dark area...

Date: 2012-06-20 01:49 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] md84
Oh geez, this is really unpleasant. Heck, even Family Guy somehow manages to handle the topic of rape better. At least it's shown to be something that happens to both genders, and it's treated with equal irreverence in either case.

In this case, why? Why does Lara need to have sexual harassment in her backstory to be a badass? Granted, the whole idea of tragedy being needed for someone to be a badass hero is an iffy one -- one issue of Daredevil featured here attacked that concept -- but adding sexual harassment to it just makes it worse.

Writers need to ask themselves if this sort of thing is REALLY necessary for the story to proceed. If it's not, then don't. And in this case, I really don't see why it's needed.

A shame too. The Tomb Raider franchise has already been through so much, and this trailer alone might kill any hope for this revival.

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Date: 2012-06-20 05:10 am (UTC)
sun_man: this is Dick Grayson (Default)
From: [personal profile] sun_man
wait is their actually rape in this game?

Date: 2012-06-20 05:48 am (UTC)
damar148: (Default)
From: [personal profile] damar148
Press X to Rape

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Re: Well...

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Date: 2012-06-20 09:00 am (UTC)
biod: Cute Galactus (Default)
From: [personal profile] biod
Fuck it, I'm going to rant anyway.

Okay, so first we have the completely unneeded inclusion of rape in some misguided effort to make Tomb Raider "mature". Again violence/sex/combo does not maturity make, in fact it appeals more to the immature among us, remembering when I was more of a little brat. It's not just misguided "maturity", it's lazy. This is one of those sad trends video games seem to follow in an effort to get some respect from Hollywood, because actually developing games that are fun to play, well, I could imagine no worse fate.

Rape is one of those things frivolously thrown in there to add maturity. Of course, rape only happens to women, because it could never happen to strong, manly men. It makes them deep and sympathetic too. It says some bad things about men, that they can't keep their dick in their pants when presented with the slightest oppertunity to take what they want from Lara Croft, but it says something just as bad, if not worse, about women.

Which brings me to "Protection", and not the fun kind. Lara Croft has long been a strong, independent woman, if in the same way Hollywood has been known to write those (ie. badly), and yet we, the player, are expected to protect her from every bushman with no self-control, which in this fucked up world is all of them. I know video games are supposed to instill a sense of agency but this view essentially turns Lara into a Damsel in Distress without a fancy dress. Women in this dispicable worldview aren't people, not really, they have no sense of agency; they are things to be won, protected, taken, sworn vengeance over their cooling body. That's why rape only happens to them here.

And Mr. Rosenburg, may he go find some putrid shit and dive in it, explicitly says we want to protect her more because she's a woman. Not only is that sexist and manipulative in relation to the males this is obviously targeted at, but it makes "player" synonymous with those males. Women play games too. Go fuck yourself.
Edited Date: 2012-06-20 09:02 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-06-20 10:15 am (UTC)
greenmask: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greenmask
It says some bad things about men, that they can't keep their dick in their pants when presented with the slightest oppertunity to take what they want from Lara Croft

Also: It adds to a pervasive and alarming idea that to not rape is to be a hero; that it's an active stance, to not be a rapist.

Date: 2012-06-20 09:16 am (UTC)
blackruzsa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] blackruzsa
Can't we get a rape origin for male characters

Un-fucking-necessary, especially for a character like Lara Croft.

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Date: 2012-06-20 09:47 am (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
I've played exactly one TR game in my life and I died so often within the first twenty minute I quickly got to the point of not wanting to play it anymore. So I didn't, and don't feel my life has been much lessened by it.

On the plus side, Lego Batman 2 is out this weekend, so I'm happy!

Date: 2012-06-20 09:48 am (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
I'd also add that in one of the interviews they said that they felt players wanted to protect Lara when they were playing.... Of all the videogame characters I can think of (admittedly not many) Lara Croft is the one LEAST in need of external protection I can think of.

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Date: 2012-06-20 02:25 pm (UTC)
toby_wan_kenobi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] toby_wan_kenobi
Hey, you want an origin story with a rich kid trapped on an island who becomes a badass without the threat of rape?


Of course, he's a MANLY MAN, and so he can do things like FIGHT CRIME and BEAT PEOPLE UP without needing his motivations explained.


I have some pretty massive problems with this marketing campaign. One, I won't watch the trailer all the way through because I'm a high school teacher and they're basically doing high school torture porn. Sorry, I'm not down with that. (Maybe you should show me Lara solving problems and being badass to overcome challenges instead of PAIN FALL STAB OW SCREAM SCREAM, marketing guys.) Two, this weird paternalistic voyeur protective shit is right out. I want to identify as the character, not as some sort of weird puppetmaster. Talk about totally fucking up the essential mechanic of video game experience. Oh and hey, my identifying as the character? Offers a potentially powerful way to touch on the subject of sexual assault and menace in a way that might challenge some men's preconceptions... but man, if that marketing team had anything to do with the story, zero good faith will be extended. Three, well, three is basically the part where I flail my arms about and make incoherent sputtering noises at how full of fail this is. The thing is, there may be a decent game in there, but this marketing campaign has basically ensured that I won't play it.

Date: 2012-06-20 04:57 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] md84
The first Tomb Raider was mocked because of Lara's curves, but -- as mentioned above -- since it was originally imagined with a male lead and little was changed when writers switched the gender, it's actually one of the better portrayals of a female lead. Kind of like how Ripley in the first Alien movie was written as a gender-neutral lead.

If writers really want to do better, they simply need to focus on writing a strong character first, not a strong "female" character. I really don't understand why this so hard.


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