Archaeology of Tomb Raider: In the Spotlight: Anya M

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Archaeology of Tomb Raider: In the Spotlight: Anya M
Interviewer: Kelly M
Interviewee: Anya M
Date(s): January 23, 2014
Medium: online
Fandom(s): Tomb Raider
External Links: In the Spotlight: Anya M – The Archaeology of Tomb Raider, Archived version
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Archaeology of Tomb Raider: In the Spotlight: Anya M was conducted in 2014.

Some Excerpts

When and how did you learn about the Tomb Raider series?

I played it first at around the age of 6/7 after watching my mum and uncle play it, so that must’ve been 1998-9.

How has Tomb Raider changed your life?

I can’t say for sure, but I think having Lara as a role model was important for me growing up. I never had the impression that girls and women couldn’t or shouldn’t do certain things – and I had an example to prove it in Lara.

What are your thoughts on Lara’s image? Is she simply the product of a sexist gaming industry or can she be seen as a positive role model?

On the one hand, I find that the people that think Lara is nothing but “big tits and short shorts” have often not played the games, and assumed that she has no characterisation or interest outside of that – they judge purely based on promotional materials. Clearly, anyone who has played will know that she’s always been quite an interesting character – varying from sardonic and murderous to witty and only slightly questionably amoral. I like the way she’s a bit of a Byronic heroine.

On the other hand, clearly her physique was designed to attract young men and it’s no surprise that it’s questioned as part of a wider phenomenon of female (mis)representation in games and other media. But I think it’s important to make a distinction between ‘sexy’ and ‘sexualised’. The former is just looking attractive; the latter is when you treated only as an object for sexual attraction. As I said, in-game Lara has quite a rich and interesting character, so I don’t see it as awful if she’s good looking as well – I’d rather have a strong female role model who also happened to be sexy than no female role model at all. Although, some of the early advertisements were quite objectionable (circa TR 2) since they said nothing about the game except that it contains a large-breasted female.