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Lara Croft rape suggestion is insulting to both genders

19th June 2012

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In recent years, gaming has become 'acceptable', and has emerged as a dominant form of media in the Western world.

One game being released in the next year is the reboot of the well-known Tomb Raider series, starring one of gaming's most recognisable characters, Lara Croft. The title is a prequel which explains how Lara Croft came to be the character we all know and love. During the recent E3 conference, it was revealed that Lara would start the game as a vulnerable female and, through various experiences encountered throughout the game, would become tougher.

The games sees Lara stranded on an island surrounded by unknown dangers and merciless attackers. The first time that Lara has to kill another human being is during an attempted rape on her near the beginning of the game.

This just smacks of lazy writing in a male-dominated industry. Not many women are involved in the making of games, and most games are targeted at a predominately-male audience, and it shows.

The writers even admitted that Lara Croft needs to be 'vulnerable', so that men would want to protect and look after her. It is insulting for men and women alike in that it is assumed that women need to be vulnerable for men to want to protect them, and that women can only become self-reliant and 'hardened' following a harrowing and extremely traumatic experience such as rape.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not the type who starts screaming about 'moral panics' in relation to violence or adult themes in various forms of media. In fact, for full disclosure, I've murdered innocent holiday-goers in Modern Warfare 2, and I've beaten countless pedestrians to death in several Grand Theft Auto games, all without batting an eyelid (yes, I understand how much this makes me sound like a sociopath).

In addition to such immaturity, it paints the entire games industry, and anyone associated with it, in a monstrously bad light. Games have been attacked by the press for decades, in the belief that they 'corrupt our youth', or that they influence the perpetrators of events such as the Columbine Massacre. Writers can have all the adult themes they want, but doing it in such a clumsy and ill-thought out manner only serve to attract unwanted negative attention at a time when games should be being celebrated for their quality, variety and mass-appeal.

Do you agree? Read the other side of the argument here. 

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