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Wow, Since When Are Gamers So Protective Of Women?

When gamers heard that Lara Croft might face rape situations in the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot, the fans went and freakin' exploded.

Although Crystal Dynamics cleared things up quite nicely, the wounds suffered from that little PR flap won't heal easily, as some still appear miffed. I found the whole thing awfully interesting because it was, in a way, quite sentimental and traditional.

I think it went beyond the fact that a video game icon might be facing a personally nightmarish event. I think it was a bunch of people genuinely pissed off that a female character - fictitious though she may be - was going to be in a very intimate sort of horrible danger, and we'd be watching and to some extent controlling her. And that got me thinking- Since when is this particular community so hell-bent on protecting females? That doesn't fall in line with what was predicted.

Heck, we've bashed them across the ring in just about every fighter ever created, and we've constantly turned them into sex objects in countless other games. Just how protective can this group be, after being exposed to such careless disregard for a lady's safety? ...hmm, perhaps it could be that we still remember the "damsel in distress" scenarios from our youth, and rescuing Princess Peach, while all cute and simple, might have instilled in us the "hero gene." Maybe the gaming culture is more conservative and traditional than the rest of the world. Maybe they're actually more protective of those virtual incarnations of females.

One of the reasons the feminists and other anti-game activists have hated how women have been portrayed - subject to all sorts of violence and constantly objectified - in games is obvious: They think this indoctrinated us. They thought it would create legions of neanderthal Type-A men who have zero respect for women. Ah, but it seems quite the contrary in my experience. Most people I know who grew up as gamers have an old-fashioned respect for women that almost borders on deference, and that's more than I can say for other people I knew who didn't grow up with games. I once found that odd; now it's a feather in our caps.

Were the haters just plain wrong? From the first moment we rescued the princess, were we already experiencing the subtle, even subconscious, stirrings of good old-fashioned female respect? And even when we are slamming into the top-heavy chicks in DoA, maybe we're not necessarily absorbing that and interpreting it...i.e., we're not gonna try the same thing in real life. In fact, it really might be having the opposite effect. It's not just that Lara is an icon; it's that she's a woman and in all honesty, I really think gamers are far more protective of women (no, really) than any of the politicians wanted to believe.

So there.

Tags: lara croft, tomb raider, tomb raider reboot, gaming culture, gamers

6/29/2012 10:34:06 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (30 posts)

Clamedeus
Friday, June 29, 2012 @ 10:59:10 PM
Reply

I'm very protective of Woman, I do not like seeing them cry and being hurt, I'll do my best to cheer that person up as best I can. It just infuriates me if a guy slaps a Woman or beats on her, that just makes me want to really teach that dude a lesson.

But I guess it depends on how it's implemented in a game, I don't really get worked up on games that have things like that in a game, but if I have the chance to retaliate in the game, you bet I will.

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Doppel
Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 11:39:45 AM

I am quite protective of women I care for, not because I am a gamer, but because I'm a man. ;3

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Clamedeus
Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 5:14:36 PM

Exactly, I'm not saying that because I'm a gamer. My parents brought me up to respect woman and to protect them.

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PharaohJR
Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 5:27:21 PM

glad u made it clear ya feel that way about woman cause there are some females who dont consider themselves that. instead of being uplifted they rather be degraded being abused. share the same aspect as u untill dealing with those that relate in that manner.

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Clamedeus
Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 6:12:42 PM

Indeed.

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bebestorm
Friday, June 29, 2012 @ 11:09:49 PM
Reply

I think its all about Lara Croft. I don't remember anything being said about Madison Paige in Heavy Rain.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, June 29, 2012 @ 11:14:45 PM

Some things were definitely said, but given the context of that scene it was a tad different. I see your point though.

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oldmike
Monday, July 02, 2012 @ 3:04:48 PM

i dont know
i reset the game 3 or 4 times for the home attack
trying to get a good ending not knowing there was none

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, June 29, 2012 @ 11:13:42 PM
Reply

I don't know if it has to do with gaming or how I was raised but I've always been an old-fashioned guy who sticks to chivalry despite its death long ago. I didn't get up in arms over the Lara thing though simply because it would be a very realistic scenario and this latest game is clearly moving in a realism direction for the series.

I guess as far as action and fighters go, if it's me or them then I'd rather it be them. If a chick is gonna put me on ice then I gotta do what I gotta do. (Though I also often prefer to play as the woman.) I think that's different from some icky creepy men taking advantage of a stranded girl who does not yet have badass skills. Leave that to the porn industry.

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Looking Glass
Friday, June 29, 2012 @ 11:46:06 PM
Reply

I doubt that the explosion of ire from gamers with regard to this new Lara Croft is because they're being protective of women. More likely that the reaction is mainly, if not solely, because she's an icon.

It seems that a lot of games over the years have been disrespectful to women in one way or another such as sexual objectification to one degree or another or portraying them (to one degree or another) as damsels in distress who are ineffectual, unable to really take care of themselves, and need to be rescued. And I realize that I'm stating the obvious but damsel in distress scenarios are disrespectful to women because they are detrimental to the idea of female strength.

To the best of my knowledge uproars like the one over the Lara Croft thing don't happen as often as video games being disrespectful to women in some way. Therefore it seems reasonable that the primary motivator is Lara Crofts icon status. If Lara were completely removed from the equation and replaced by some completely new female character that no one's heard of before would the reaction have been the same? I have my doubts.

It's probably also worth noting that while being protective of women and being respectful toward them might sometimes go hand in hand the two are by no means one and the same. For example a man could be protective of a woman because he believes, whether consciously or unconsciously, that she is incapable of taking care of herself. I've actually encountered this kind of attitude in entertainment media before.

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Lawless SXE
Friday, June 29, 2012 @ 11:55:01 PM
Reply

Since its the right thing to do? It probably has nothing to do with gaming, but the mere thought of a woman being brutalised sets me on edge. I don't like hearing about it, I don't like seeing it and I think that anyone that does it, or lets it happen needs to be horribly maimed. I'd like to say that the desire to protect the fairer sex is instinct, but then you have the men that actually perpetrate the crimes that speak to the contrary.

Perhaps it's just that some people are brought up with a sense of Romanticism, something that the "damsel in distress" only serves to strengthen. I doubt it's exclusive to gamers, just as I doubt that those leaping to the defence of Lara in this situation (from a journalistic standpoint) are the norm. Those that are for the situation are more likely to keep their fingers stilled and mouths shut because they know the shellacking that they'll cop if they do write up an article titled "Why The Rape of Lara Croft Is A Good Thing", no matter how concise and powerful the arguments put forth in it are.

I suppose it ties into this apparent movement of games journalists attacking the objectification of women. What about the response to Hitman Sexy Nuns trailer. If I remember correctly, there was something of a murmur of dissatisfaction when Lollipop Chainsaw first came into the spotlight. I hope that the crying out against such things are a sign of a growing maturity that doesn't necessarily want to see women as sex objects. We didn't love Nariko because she was a busty, scantily-clad damsel (she kinda was, but her character model still left a lot to the imagination), just as we didn't love Elena Fisher for the very same reason. Instead, they were relatively realistic people.

I'd keep going, but I'm getting off track.
Peace.

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Lawless SXE
Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 12:01:10 AM

There's an article about the way that women are treated in the industry at Gamasutra that makes for quite an interesting read, I think:

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/173227/Opinion_Video_games_and_Male_Gaze__are_we_men_or_boys.php

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Ostercy
Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 12:40:49 AM
Reply

Way to totally not get what has got peoples' backs up, dude.

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Ludicrous_Liam
Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 5:35:39 AM

I was thinking that, too; It COULD just be that gamers are wanting to protect their own image - a woman getting raped in a game doesn't exactly send off the right signals.

But then again, maybe you & I are just a pair of pessimists...

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Underdog15
Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 9:35:19 AM

Well, my initial reaction had nothing to do with my own personal image.... It was definitely the content.

lol... to be honest, I'm not sure I even know anyone who would hear that story and think, "omg, people are gonna think I'm INTO that sort of thing!"

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Ostercy
Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 12:41:20 AM
Reply

Way to totally not get what has got peoples' backs up, dude.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 1:04:11 AM
Reply

I like how FFVII handled sexual assault, with hilarity.

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Underdog15
Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 9:36:35 AM

Now now, Aeris volunteered to be the new girl!

I never understood how Tifa could have let herself get caught like that... chick's hardcore. Plot hole. lol

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Temjin001
Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 1:11:09 AM
Reply

I'm not certain why those angry gamers are so upset over this Lara thing.
In terms of women in fighters I think that's pretty different because the female is empowered equally to the male and the fights are staged tournaments. I don't see it so much as a situation where women are being preyed on and victimized or overpowered by a more POWERFUL male. Ironically, speaking of fighters. Fighters like SF. The first mainstream game related encounter I can remember is the anime SF2 movie with a scene between Chun Li and Vega (this movie was included on a PS2 released game as well). I don't really remember any rape outcry on behalf of Chun Li (maybe there was?). Anyway, until we have Tomb Raider games with Lara running helplessly in terror holding her clothes on while escaping vile men predators (should'nt males be offended that we' being portrayed as lowly animals?) I'm not too worried about this stuff, just because it doesnt seem anything out of the ordinary from like rated films or other media.

Anyway, I drew up tribute art to many of my all time favorite gaming experiences. Lara is included ;) The first TR on PSX absorbed me like few games ever had. Back then fully explorable 3D environments we a rare find.

Anyway, I'm sure there's more than one fan favorite in here. FF was represented with Sabin. I loved him because he was like a Street Fighter character in a FF ;) That and SNES FF3 was the first FF I played through and finished and got absorbed in.

http://david-mason.deviantart.com/#/d54yzfx



Last edited by Temjin001 on 6/30/2012 1:12:29 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 10:09:20 AM

Sweet work Tem! You gotta color them in. I like how they are all in a great pose, no boring cardboard cutout syndrome there.

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Killa Tequilla
Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 2:52:27 PM

Had fun drawing Lara?

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Temjin001
Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 6:38:04 PM

Thanks World =)

yep, killa, Lara was fun to draw, like they all were ;)
Only two females here. Kasumi and Lara.
I think if i did another one with another set of characters representing a franchise I'd have KOS-MOS and Samus added in.

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JonnyR
Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 5:04:08 AM
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I for one would have liked to see the new Tombraider take this direction with the character of lara croft and would hope they dealt with the subject matter in a mature manner in context to the story they are trying to tell.

In my mind thats what they were going for and it would have been acceptable (its already acceptable in tv, films and books)to place a female character in serious real world situations, if it goes towards the development of character. is it impossible to comprehend a character who has ALWAYS been a sex symbol would never find herself in this kind of situation?

Is allowing this kind of subject matter into a game going to increase rape in society? is removing it from the game and pretending that rape doesnt exist going to reduce the occurence of rape in the real world? NO.

What will happen is the gaming industry will cower and it will be a few years before anyone dares to try anything so risque again. so the image everyone else has of the games industry is left to be made by the guys who see nothing wrong with sexy gun toting nuns being slaughtered.

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Raze22
Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 7:10:39 AM
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TBH, I have only seen it happen to this video game only. Well my reason being is that for one, they went for a very realistic approach. Two, Lara is iconic and they already screwed with her design so some people were mad at them to begin with. Three, when was the last time in video games were a female character (lead or not lead) had the possibility of being rapped without assuming?

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___________
Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 8:07:48 AM
Reply

who said chivalry is dead?
;)

the reaction had nothing to do with lara being a women though, the reaction was because of hey this is not lara.
people are so use to her kicking a$$, taking names while dodging falling flaming beams across buildings on fire!
which is really stupid, the whole point of the game is to show how lara became that so of course shes going to be a stereotypical girl.

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Excelsior1
Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 9:00:06 AM
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On the MP side there have been "White Knights" around for awhile now. They will come to the aid of a girl under attack in the game or if the girl is getting verbally abused. i've also seen some "White Knight" behavior extended to even kids. "What your mommy and daddy buy you this game?" Shut the f*ck up dude like your mom didn't buy you things when you were younger are responses I've heard back!!! Interesting social characteristics on display there. There is difinitely a small group of gamers who don't like bullies. It's probably in our genes to want to protect women and children but I have even seen WK behavior extended to older male noobs.

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daus26
Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 4:08:06 PM
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Again, this was simply a mistake of taking a word out of context. When everyone saw the E3 trailer, what was the response?... It was fine. Then this one guy made a comment that caused most gamers to quickly jump into conclusion. Add to that, a well known icon. Should we be surprised? Honestly, I'm not.

Now, if the guy's comment was really intended like how the gamers perceived, I think it would have to do more with morals, especially in gaming, more so than being over protective with women. Anything having to do with "raping" will generate a lot of discussions. It's nothing new.

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PharaohJR
Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 5:51:18 PM
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i thought it was shocking but didnt think it was disturbing this scenerio would be implemented in a VG. felt the same when GTA3 was released & found out u could pick up prostitutes followed with visuals of motion that gave the idea ya character was recieving sexual pleasure.

as said in the last post concerning this topic i believe forcing & abusing a female for whatever reasons is a weak being. if i have the funds to purchase TR the fact this scenrio is in the game wont alter me from playing. its no different from authors who write books touch on subject from their aspect or movie directors.

i do believe if u can purchase cds edited same with movies it should be same with games. give the option that was offered in COD on terrorist stage.

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saintaqua
Saturday, June 30, 2012 @ 9:12:08 PM
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I don't care if I'm labeled old fashioned. I think a real man will be chivalrous regardless of what others (including some of the too uptight feminists) say.
That said, I will have to see that scene before I can say if it's right or wrong in a game...but sadly Tomb Raider is pretty low on my list of games I want to play.

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locoforte
Sunday, July 01, 2012 @ 12:40:14 PM
Reply

(I enthusiastically agree with paragraph 5) I can see the point of including that sort of thing in this game: it's part of pulling the gamer in and getting him or her invested in Lara's plight. All the epic video games I've played have cultivated an emotional attachment to the protagonist(s); that's the point of it. No one complains to this magnitude about that sort of thing in movie. If you've got beef with CD, don't play the game. I think people should play the game and THEN decide if it's worth complaining about.
Besides, how many hookers have we collectively beaten up in GTA games over the years?

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