Aug. 8th, 2012

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Social Justice Sally: I don't like this attempted rape scene in the new Tomb Raider game! It's excessive!
Me: How do you define "excessive"?
Sally: It's being used as a cheap plot hook!
Me: It's being framed by the developer as a critical plot point in Lara's character development. In fact, he also said that if she doesn't kill her assailant, she dies. So the scene isn't so much about "Lara's almost-rape" as it is about "Lara's almost-rape and murder" as it is about "Lara killing for the first time when faced with mortal peril."
Sally: So?
Me: Aside from the usual assumption that everything involving sexual assault is necessarily about a man sexually assault, don't you Sallies often say that rape isn't depicted enough in the media?
Sally: We don't complain about rape being depicted, we complain about rape being depicted the wrong way.
Me: Do you?
Sally: Yes. Because they're only doing this to create cheap drama.
Me: *facepalm* Okay. Oookay. How would you do better?
Sally: They don't need to show the rape. They could just show Lara after the event, and imply what happened, maybe have the player find clues. This would make for a stronger narrative and a gritter, more hardcore Lara.
Me: So you think the game better is if a woman is almost raped offscreen, kills her attacker in self-defense offscreen, and then no one ever explicitly says anything about it for the duration of the game. You want a sexual assault reduced to a series of collectable plot coupons.
Sally: Yes. They could also use other tropes than sexual assault.
Me: So you want the game to either never explicitly depict or acknowledge sexual assault, or to not have it at all.
Sally: Yes.
Me: And this makes sense to you?

October 2012

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