Lara Croft: feminist icon or cyberbimbo? On the limits of textual analysis
Kennedy, H. W. (2002) Lara Croft: feminist icon or cyberbimbo? On the limits of textual analysis. Game Studies: International Journal of Computer Games Research, 2 (2). ISSN 1604-7982
Publisher's URL: http://www.gamestudies.org/0202/kennedy/
As the title suggests, the feminist reception of Lara Croft as a game character has been ambivalent to say the least. The question itself presupposes an either/or answer, thereby neatly expressing the polarities around which most popular media and academic discussions of Lara Croft tend to revolve. It is a question that is often reduced to trying to decide whether she is a positive role model for young girls or just that perfect combination of eye and thumb candy for the boys. It is also increasingly difficult to distinguish between Lara Croft the character in Tomb Raider and Lara Croft the ubiquitous virtual commodity used to sell products as diverse as the hardware to play the game itself, Lucozade or Seat cars. What follows then is an analysis of the efficacy and limitations of existing feminist frameworks through which an understanding of the kinds of gendered pleasures offered by Lara Croft as games character and cultural icon can be reached. I will begin by analyzing Lara primarily as an object of representation – a visual spectacle – and then move on, considering the ways in which the act of playing Tomb Raider as Lara disrupts the relationship between spectator and "spectacl
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