Lara Croft and Feminism

please note: this is a project of the year 2000, kept here as archive for!
It is not updated anymore!




Who is Lara Croft?

Lara Croft is the main character of the computer game Tomb Raider. She became hugely popular and was transformed into a 'real' virtual persona with a personality, hobbies and a history. By now she is much more than the character of a game, she is the 'Icon of the Nineties', a 'Cybergoddess' who has captured the public imagination and the global market like no other virtual character.




A postmodern feminist analysis of Lara Croft (in a nutshell)

Looking at the vast amount of representations of Lara we usually find her in one of the three contexts (or combinations of these contexts): Lara as action heroine, Lara as sex-object, Lara as virtual icon. There are no other images of Lara conveying different or transgressive meanings. And just as her representations are limited in scope so her whole character adheres to the modern concept of a stable and unified identity. The postmodern implications of her creation and existence go unrealised and unused. While celebrating technological advances on the one hand she reinforces modern ideals on the other. But not only her identity adheres to traditional social codes and values, her body does so to an even greater degree:

* the represented body functions as a locus of power

* the ideal of the 'Commodity Woman' is perpetuated

* her hypersexualisation reinforced the idea of biological difference

Lara manages to precisely capture the spirit of our time. She aptly represents the mixture of fascination, thrill and fear society experiences in view of the fundamental developments in technology and shifts in cultural 'certainties'. She satisfies our desire to have fun and play with the new technologies while at the same time catering to our need for stability, traditional values and the feeling of control




The "Kidnapping-Lara-Action"

Thursday 24.08.2000

meet at 4.30 pm at the Service Centre!

A close analysis of Lara reveals the many unused possibilities and chances her character, her creation and her form of existence offer. Since she is virtual she could be anything - but she is limited to heroine and sex-symbol; she could be fluid and challenge existing borders - instead she reinforces them; she could subvert traditional meanings and meaning-making - instead she is represented to us in the most traditional contexts; she could be used to explore the implications of postmodernism, of new technologies, of changes in society - both the chances and the threats - instead she is used to try and convince us that in spite of all the changes thing will essentially remain the same.

We want to put Lara into different contexts, experiment with different possible meanings. We will kidnap a Lara Croft cardboard-figure in order to do this, bring her back to the Service Centre and dress her, put her in unexpected contexts, or do anything else that we can think of. Please bring clothes you would like to see her in (particularly clothes related to your culture), and any other requisites we can use to play with meaning ...

JOIN US IN OUR REAPPROPRIATION OF THE 'Cybergoddess of the Nineties'!!!


© Birgit Pretzsch, August 2000 in case of questions or comments please mail me

All this information is basically a summary of my Masters thesis "A Postmodern Analysis of Lara Croft: Body, Identity, Reality"