[Guest blog] It is no secret that YouTube's comment section is littered with disgusting opinions, ranging from sexist behavior, to racist rants and the like. I expected no exception when it was announced that Alicia Vikander, a well known Swedish actress would be playing the role of Lara Croft.
For those who are unaware, Lara Croft has remained an icon in the video game franchise for well over two decades, eventually stemming her stardom to the green screen when Angelina Jolie snagged the part in the first installment of the movie franchise, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001).
However, with any female role that is cast, sexist behavior always seems to follow, along with general body shaming, and even some going to the lengths to compare Alicia Vikander to Angelina Jolie with comparative idiocy. (Yes, I am coining that term if it doesn't exist yet.) After spending just ten minutes scrolling through YouTube, you can see a repetitive theme, seen in pictures of this post. (Scroll down if needed to view.)
Not even 24 hours of the official trailer releasing to the public, and the lowest of scum find a way to crawl out of their mother's basement to spread their lewd and unwanted commentary.
Lara Croft has suffered from serious sexualization ever since she made her way into the world. The video game character has underwent more alterations than we'd like to admit and I have covered this in past posts throughout the years. Through various ads in the 90s/00s that portrayed her as a sex magnet to men, to eventually remodeling her entire character and giving her extremely unrealistic posterior dimensions in Tomb Raider: Anniversary. The list goes on and on.
At what point will men look at themselves and actually bite their tongue, preventing them from spewing such gross commentary? Don't answer that. It's rhetorical in nature, for obvious reasons. The fact that men continue to exude this type of sexist behavior is abhorrent, let alone think they can still openly express these heinous opinions without repercussion since it's over the internet.
Hiding behind a keyboard is one thing, but degrading a woman for her body image is another. It's redundant, repetitive and morally disgusting. You cannot even type "Tomb Raider" or "Lara Croft" into the search bar of Tumblr without being assaulted by a plethora of illicit gifs/pictures of her. There's honestly no escape to this issue, so hopefully any men who are taking the time to read this article, can gain a better understanding of what women struggle with daily, 24/7, in case they were somehow unaware at this point in their lifetime.
As I've continued to follow the Tomb Raider franchise throughout my childhood and into adulthood, I've realized that this type of behavior will likely never cease, as it is something that we will have to live with and continue to fight. Sure, I am not a woman, nor can I speak entirely on their behalf, as I'm just a gay male who is a big fan of the Tomb Raider franchise since the very beginning, but it's important to still address this issues, even if it seems like it isn't doing any immediate good right off the bat.
There is also another dilemma that needs to be addressed as well, and it actually stems within many of Tomb Raider's dedicated fans. It's the comparison of Alicia Vikander to Angelina Jolie. Yes, it's a problem, and I'm here to tell you why. Comparing these two vastly different women in regards to Lara Croft's image/persona is harmful, and it is doing no good to the franchise at all, let alone isn't doing any good to these beautiful actresses, nor your own image.
Why? Because it's legitimately like comparing apples to oranges.
Yes, it is evident that these are two women.
Yes, it is evident that both of these women are playing the role of Lara Croft.
No, these women do not have the same body type.
No, these women do not look exactly alike.
You're doing no good by looking at Alicia Vikander and saying "Oh, she's no Jolie, I'm disheartened."
"Alicia doesn't have the body of Lara Croft, or Jolie for that matter."
Saying. This. Is. Doing. Nothing. Good. About. Lara. Croft. Nor. The. Actresses. Who. Portray. Her. Please. Stop.
Yes, your opinions, for the most part, have value! I am by no means trying to strip you of your right to give an opinion, even if they are..distasteful, but this type of rhetoric should probably stop, and should have stopped yesterday. Women face enough problems in society, lets not add to it.
Imagine if you walked into work one day, and your co-worker compared you to another co-worker, bolstering that person's image while they shot yours down. Imagine how you'd feel, honestly. If you have children, would you do this to your own children? What about your friends? Just because they are actresses and likely won't hear or read your blasphemous opinion still doesn't mean you should say it.
When I gained wind that Alicia Vikander was picked to be the next face of Lara Croft, I admit, I didn't see it first, and yeah, there are other great contending actresses out there, but that still doesn't give me the right to bash Alicia as an actress, or to claim that Lara Croft's image is being inaccurately portrayed. I still have extremely high faith in Alicia though, and as a fan of Tomb Raider, I know she will deliver a smashing performance to us. Vikander has trained tirelessly for this role and even put on a generous amount of mass to fill Lara's iconic paratrooper boots. Her dedication alone speaks volumes toward her dedication as an actress, and it should speak volumes to everyone else too.
So please, let's be better people about this. Sure the controversy has garnished enough attention for the upcoming movie, but we should do just as much work as Vikander has done to her own self to prepare for such a role - let's set aside this way of unfathomable thinking and shift ourselves to a better mindset.
Written by Cody Hathaway