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