Sexy or Sexualized No. 6

You’ll need to click each one to see the full picture.

Even after all the hoopla, the new Lara turned out to be rather well done. It took some time for the marketing photos to come out, but when they did she looked like a real action hero. Seeing the old next to the new is a really big contrast. Now the only question is: sexy or sexualized? Or both?

16 thoughts on “Sexy or Sexualized No. 6

  1. I’m liking this series. Interesting you selected Lara, who’s undergone a steady change in purpose over the years. If you ignore the boob bug that launched the series, it’s always had a core in the sexy rather than sexualized camp. The first film had her in a power position, though the second…I don’t know what happened there.

    The first one looks like she’s either attacking with a fart or escaping with one. Seems more sexualized than sexy to me, but it’s borderline.

    The second one, that’s sexy.

    • I know a fart retreat when I see one. Thats a definitely a fart escape!

      I look at that picture and all I can think is “how did the artist think this was good?” Its so bizarre. I also agree with you though on the second picture. Powerful women = hot, but Dahaka below also has a point that it’s not conventionally sexy.

  2. I’ve never actually played any Tomb Raider games, though I watched a friend play a little of the first? second? one way back when. I have watched the first Angelina Jolie movie, and that was reasonably good. I know that the creators try to stay on that line between sexy and sexualised.

    The first image I am thinking is too ridiculous to be sexy, but seems to be deliberately sexualised (the boobs + butt phenomenon). As sexualised images go, I don’t rate it badly, it’s not very far over the line.

    The second image I believe is neither sexy nor sexualised. There is nothing about the outfit, the accessories, nor the pose that suggests sensuality or sexiness to me. And there is definitely nothing about it that even hints at “I am a sexual object!”.

    • I should clarify: I think there is nothing that is stereotypically, or conventionally, sexy about the second image. I still find her attractive, even sexy, and I’m sure that people who are really into the rugged, strong warrior-type would find her incredibly sexy (in the same way that they do for men), but I don’t think that “sexy” is what the artist was primarily trying to convey with that image.

      • Once again, you make a good point. But let me invite you to a different perspective, just to play devil’s advocate not because I disagree.

        The Lara on the right is actually conventionally sexy. It’s the kind of sexuality male characters are treated with and therefore, in some sense, it’s a power fantasy. What do you think?

        • I think I’m leaning more with Dahakha on this one. The right is far from conventional, which I guess aligns with the hype when the art was released. When’s the last time you saw art of a female character that was covered in dirt and it wasn’t a mud-wrestling-type piece? I do get the power fantasy pitch. I guess if you define sexy as something that makes you more attractive than the average, or your personal baseline? Anyways, I’m digressing into a grey zone that would take weeks to dig out of…

        • I’m not sure what you mean, Doone. A power fantasy for whom? For women? For the viewer? I agree that if it were a male character (for example the Just Cause dude – forgot his name) in that same stance, clothing and condition, it would be a slamdunk “sexy” verdict.
          It really is filling in the gap of what is considered sexy in women. As far as I can tell, women are usually presented as sexy in one of two ways, which are the opposite ends of the spectrum: either the coy, submissive, flirty way; or the dominatrix-y, no-room-for-misunderstanding-what-I-want way. Note that this is independent of looks or body type. We aren’t taught to see the neutral state, where just her existing as a competent (or even powerful) woman, as being sexy in and of itself, so in a way it becomes sexy to some by virtue of being different or exotic.

          Another thought, which may be totally off-target but eh. When you see that neutral image for a male character, do you think about his feelings, his personality, his story? What about for a female character? I’m wondering if it’s the case that for the men, we tend to just gloss over that part and just think about how skilled/determined/vengeful/tired he is. For the women, do we tend to assume that there is some traumatic backstory that “forced” her to become this rugged, stoic killing machine, that “normally” she is nothing like this image of competency and physical endurance?

      • @Asmiroth: I definitely don’t disagree. It’s truly unconventional …for women. But men get this artistic treatment all the time.
        @Dahaka: Power fantasy for anyone I guess. It was just a thought. Lara, in my view, got the same treatment men typically get. Its been very humanizing for her, but like both of you I don’t know that I think it’s a power fantasy. Just a thought.

        As to your questions …thats an interesting take. Do I think of the man’s back story when I see him dressed and posed in the way Lara is? Hmm …I think you’re right, I think more about his present state. Is he baddass, or strong or slick or something. I don’t much think of his background. That said, I don’t think it for women either. Instead I cant usually figure out what her present state is. Why is she all dirty? Whats she doing? Like theres no automatic assumption that she’s a soldier, like I tend to assume with men. But that makes these pictures more interesting imo.

        • I’d say that that image (male or female) is more of a power fantasy than the Conan-type builds you typically see in fantasy and superhero genres. I actually have a reasonably easy time picturing myself being able to potentially be that badass, rather than having to hulk up to identify with the hero.

          With Lara specifically, her new, humanised look actually changes how I’d view the games. Previously I would be playing with her, there would be a level of removal from the on-screen character. Now I would be playing as her.

  3. I’m not seeing over sexualization in either photo. Left is too cartoony to be taken seriously. Right is sexy in that she’s attractively drawn, but not sexualized at all. I know she’s a prominent figure in this sexy vs. sexualized battle, but I’m not seeing anything that really cries out for attention. I think you could have found something more controversial Doone.

    You’re getting soft 😛

        • I’m not being redundant 🙂 Refresh my memory: what did you say about what sexualization looks like? You can even give me the link, because I don’t doubt that I’ve been unusually forgetful lately. Think youve seen my memory in action the past couple of weeks 🙂

        • Sexy = attractive (this can be determinant on sex of viewer, or can just be accepted by all, i.e. I can admit if a man is attractive, even though I don’t want to have sex with him)

          Sexualized = purposely contorted positioning, highlighting the “good bits” be it male or female. Nudity or partial nudity, particularly when that wouldn’t function in a combat situation, or in general. Distorted proportions (huge boobs/butt with impossibly tiny waist, or ridiculously ripped dudes with big bulges). Usually said to be “healthy” or “desirable” frames in defense.

        • By your definition, the first image is clearly sexualized. Contorted positioning, boobs and butt highlighted. As Asmiroth pointed out, she’s aiming her ass at the enemies (examine the arch of her back). So we seem to agree its sexualized unless you don’t think her contorted and positioned to give glory to her breasts and bottom.

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