Female Gamers Call Out Sexist Tomb Raider Ad From 1999
Female gamers have called out a sexist Tomb Raider advert from 1999 where a woman can be seen wearing a Lara Croft outfit.
In the 22-year-old ad, the caption ‘Are you sure you want me to wear this?’ was placed above the woman dressed as Lara Croft, while a man only wearing his underpants can be seen in the reflection of a mirror.
Reddit user Wogle shared the photo on Reddit today, April 20, with the caption, ‘Was going through some old boxes in my parents’ attic and found my old Videogame magazines. This advert was on the back of one. Do you think this 1999 advert for Tomb Raider 3 would be approved today?’
Many people replied that they didn’t see the issue with the undeniably sexist advert, but one Reddit user and female gamer quickly pointed out why it’s problematic.
User EmilyKaldwins wrote:
I’m seeing a lot of comments from (I assume) guys not seeing what the problem is with ads like these. As a female gamer, and as a ten year old at the time, it wholeheartedly sucked. No, I didn’t want a centerfold poster of Lara Croft in a bikini, or to have her like this, for some guy in his UNDERWEAR.
As a kid who had very few female gaming protagonists that were as bad ass as Lara Croft, I wanted to feel badass. This? I remember this ad. And I remember how weird it made me feel. At the time, I wanted to dress up like Lara Croft and run around and pretend to be bad ass. I didn’t want to be looked at the way the guy in the picture looked at her, mostly naked in bed.
‘As an adult, I can articulate these feelings a lot better. As a child and a teenager, I couldn’t,’ she added.
Emily went on to say that she was ‘so grateful’ that the new trilogy was marketed differently for this reason as the game’s supposed to be about a ‘badass’ woman, and not for some ‘sexual fantasy’. Her post has since been upvoted almost 4,000 times.
A fellow female gamer commented in agreement. She wrote, ‘I also wanted to add, as a female gamer who was around the same age when Tomb Raider came out… I didn’t play the games in part because ads like these made me confused whether or not the game was really an action-adventure game or just a softcore porn game like Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball or something.’
Another girl gamer, known as LadyofManala, commented her appreciation of Emily’s post. She said, ‘I was also a girl who grew up reading gaming magazines cover to cover, because video games were, and still are, one of my biggest passions in life.’
The Redditor continued:
I saw ads like these, and the booth babes from E3 articles, and it honestly made me feel like an alien. As a child I didn’t fully understand why it made me uncomfortable, but I do remember internalising this idea that “if this is what women are, then what am I? I don’t want to be like this when I grow up!”
Many, many other gamers – both male and female – went on to agree with Emily’s point that games like Tomb Raider shouldn’t be over-sexualised and that games should be designed to appeal to everyone.
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