Okay, so I've read your essay.
Let me say acknowledge upfront, several things. Firstly, that you sabotage your essay by riddling it with minor inconsistencies and problematic arguments. (For instance, you're ostensibly talking about video-game Lara here, not the one that Angelina Jolie played in the movies. Yet you mention that latter incarnation in a comparison with the coming game. I can see why you'd conceive of them all playing the same basic type, and why your allusion to Jolie could strengthen your argument through a readily conceivable allusion, but it's a semantically weak comparison. And, besides, surely your audience would be conceptually aware of Tomb Raider already, though you could argue with me on that one, I concede. You do drop in a reference to Haruhi Suzumiya with the expectation that your audience knows what's going on there.)
Secondly, as much as it might be possible to sell me on this game exploiting patriarchal biases and therefore strengthening them, it's not going to be possible to convince me away from this game purely on the strength of that argument. The trailer has sold me on an empowerment narrative, of a weak woman becoming a strong one. It promises me a power fantasy of shooting dudes and being kick-ass, but having to struggle in order to do it. If you can convince me that overcoming odds, odds that partially stem from the difficulty in being of a marginalised gender*
, isn't a feminist narrative, then I'll be convinced entirely.
Regardless: that you draw a link between moe and western media looks at first a problematic connection, but I realise that a)anime's reaches critical saturation point already, given the existence of The Last Airbender, amongst other things and b)it's a convenient term to talk about the fetishisation of helplessness. However, it does muddy the waters — I reckon that if you want to draw any more a significant connection between the two then you're going to need to explore moe more thoroughly than a paragraph containing a single example and an allusion to an apparent debate. (Over what, exactly, I wondered.)You fail to sustain that line of reasoning even into your next example — is The Other M a moe influenced portrayal?
Again, these are technical issues.
The connection you draw between Lara's vulnerability and the need for player intervention is a good one, and one that partially answers my questions of genre raised above. You sabotage yourself again when you suggest that cutscene Lara is more competent*
than her avatar counterpart, since a) that's a function of the genre and b) it's not true. She's really quite vulnerable in a lot of those clips, or at least I remember her being so.
I hesitate to add that we're not seeing the full picture here, and that if the arc of the game is as has been laid out by designers, as a movement towards competency and badassedom — and before anyone links that article, it might not be smooth, but does anyone have any doubt as to where its ending?
So, yeah, there are problems. Lara's character redesign comes definitely from an attempt to reign in the power the original had by limiting her overt sexuality. And there are other problems you suggest, and others I've thought of, and I agree.
But ultimately, you just can't convince me that
Sure, she was objectified to hell and back, but that wasn’t the character’s fault, and in spite of that, she was still someone you could pin a power fantasy on.
couldn't be a good description of this game in a couple of years. Different objectification, different power fantasy, that's all.*
edited 20th Jun '12 4:27:03 AM by Nicknacks
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