Lara Croft’s Appeal Goes Beyond The Sexy Body

Lara CroftWhen Lara Croft ushered into the gaming scene and into the big screen, I hated her. I thought, “Here’s another full-bodied female who will forever redefine what ‘beauty’ really means.” She was just another woman who’ll steal the limelight from nice yet flat-chested girls like me. Considering the way her self-titled games sold, my fears were confirmed. Guys were so engrossed with Lara Croft.

To a jealous (and admittedly ignorant) girl like me, I see that all the appeal lies in Lara Croft’s generous chest and curvy body. But with the influx of other attractive gaming female characters (i.e. Bloodrayne), what makes Lara Croft so popular that the seventh installment to her games Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend is still selling like pancakes? Now here’s a theory that will give you guys the right to defend yourselves and say, “There’s more to Lara than meets the eye.”

More of the full article after the jump.

Lara CroftWhen Lara Croft ushered into the gaming scene and into the big screen, I hated her. I thought, “Here’s another full-bodied female who will forever redefine what ‘beauty’ really means.” She was just another woman who’ll steal the limelight from nice yet flat-chested girls like me. Considering the way her self-titled games sold, my fears were confirmed. Guys were so engrossed with Lara Croft.

To a jealous (and admittedly ignorant) girl like me, I see that all the appeal lies in Lara Croft’s generous chest and curvy body. But with the influx of other attractive gaming female characters (i.e. Bloodrayne), what makes Lara Croft so popular that the seventh installment to her games Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend is still selling like pancakes? Now here’s a theory that will give you guys the right to defend yourselves and say, “There’s more to Lara than meets the eye.”

slasher filmsFilm scholar and feminist Carol Clover came up with a theory in the 80s that explains the popularity with the male audience of the slasher horror films that were prevalent in those days. As explained in her book Men, Women and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film, the Final Girl refers to the person (most of the time a woman) who lived to tell the tale, the one who was spared the serial killer’s weapon. This concept can be seen in the movies The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Marilyn Burns, 1973), Halloween (Jamie Lee Curtis, 1978), Friday the 13th (Betsy Palmer, 1980), , and A Nightmare on Elm Street (Heather Langenkamp, 1984). In her theory, Clover explains that audience identification is fluid – whereas the first part of the movie sees the guys identifying with the killer, cheering him on as he slashes women apart, the final confrontation has the male population associating themselves with the Final Girl as she is masculinized with the phallic symbol of a weapon used to finish off the killer.

Apparently, the same goes for Tomb Raider‘s Lara Croft. Sure, the front and back assets of Lara Croft lure the men in; but it’s what she represents that make them clamor for more. Playing as a hot, curvy female battling all kinds of danger is a different kind of high for the male gamer. It gives them a sense of protecting the female character, and a sense of the character protecting them. She is not just a sexy character to ogle at, she actually becomes them in the process of the game.

Interesting thought. Now, here’s something that will put this theory to test: if the final girl didn’t look like Lara Croft, will the male audience identify with her? Go figure.

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