August 2014 edit: TRIGGER WARNING FOR DISCUSSION, DEPICTION OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE
In case you can’t tell from the title, in the latest Tomb Raider installment (and reboot!) the lead female almost gets raped by her captors. This made a shit ton of people mad, and while their intentions were good, the outcome was ultimately…worse.
The game designers explained this rape attempt was to make Croft, who is known for being a gun-toting bad-ass, more “vulnerable” and “human,” perhaps thinking society could finally have a rational discussion about rape. Boy were they mistaken, judging by the online reaction! (Which incidentally led to a detracted statement that could easily be construed as a silencing attempt, almost mirroring the aftermath an actual rape victim would find themselves in.)
The online reaction was the typical knee-jerk foaming-at-the-mouth feminist “oh my god how could they do this to my favorite female hero and literally one of the only few strong female hero’s” arguments. And it was especially nice to see the men wringing their digital hands louder than any one else.
But how often has a video game tackled rape? And have they ever approached the subject in even as remotely delicate of a manner as the latest Tomb Raider?
The answer is a no, again easily answered by the level of outrage.
Mic Wright wrote in the Kernel, “I don’t remember Master Chief ever being anally raped to help us empathise with him more.” Helen Lewis also compared Croft to the male Halo franchise hero in the New Statesman: “Bungie didn’t think that the only way players would root for Master Chief was by having him raped.”
I don’t know how Wright or Lewis can be confused, but in case you dear reader are too, I’d like to take this moment to point out to you that Master Chief is a man, and Lara Croft is a woman.
And not only that, but, RAPE is one of those weird sexual things men have been doing to women since the dawn of time.
The Hebrew Muslim and Christian god condoned and advocated using rape as a weapon of war in the Old Testament, and armies to this day still use it as as demoralizing tool all over the world. Even military contractors and soldiers in modern war zones still rape women, and they even rape women who are not their enemies but their comrades-in-arms.
Recent statistics for rape in the United States put a sexual assault or rape at every two minutes, and 1/6 of the female population in America will be raped, or fight off a rapist in her lifetime. Globally, one in every five women will be raped. But you didn’t come here to read rape statistics, and if you’re bored by all those numbers, sorry. I just thought I had to note them, because I laughed when Kellie Foxx-Gonzales wrote, NOT IRONICALLY, on The Mary Sue:
“The responsibility is wholly upon her to protect herself, it is not upon the scumbag rapists who are trying to hurt her. “
Duh, Kellie. Do you not know how rape happens? Women usually have to protect themselves alone, from the men attacking them. And rapists are generally scumbags. That’s why they’re rapists!
Not to keep picking on Kellie from The Mary Sue, but she went on to say rape shouldn’t be in any video game because she’s “had enough of that in real life.”
Great. So now we can’t talk about rape because it happens too much? I thought one of the biggest problems with rape was that people don’t talk about it enough: the crime doesn’t always get reported, etc. Read the rest of this entry »