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Characterization of Female Protagonists in Video Games: A Focus on Lara Croft

Title
Characterization of Female Protagonists in Video Games: A Focus on Lara Croft
Authors
Han, Hye-WonSong, Se-Jin
Ewha Authors
한혜원
SCOPUS Author ID
한혜원scopus
Issue Date
2014
Journal Title
ASIAN JOURNAL OF WOMENS STUDIES
ISSN
1225-9276JCR Link
Citation
vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 27 - 49
Keywords
Female protagonistfemale characterizationfemale representationLara Croftvideo game
Publisher
EWHA WOMANS UNIV PRESS
Indexed
SSCI; SCOPUS; KCI WOS
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is primarily to examine the characteristics of female protagonists in video games and to study the process through which they attain the identities of heroes. Over the 17 years of perpetual and repeated incarnation in the Tomb Raider series, Lara Croft serves as both a leading model and a mythical signifier for female protagonists. Therefore, we seek to identify the gender consciousness that underlies female characterization in video games, with a particular focus on Lara Croft. As a popular narrative medium, video games feature female heroes to represent gender values of the time. The synchronic and diachronic analysis of Croft's features as a character and identity as a female hero leads us to the conclusion that female protagonists merely serve as the subject of desire, recreated to satisfy sadomasochistic male fantasies. They fulfill men's sadistic desires through their glamorous physique and masochist desires, as reflected by their behavior. Through a process of denial regarding femininity, common representations as the mother, and the re-codifying of patriarchal values solely in favor of the patriarch, female protagonists faced the confusion of dual identity, wherein they would equate themselves with male heroes, while simultaneously identifying themselves as damsels-in-distress. To summarize, video games exclusively allow the existence of heroes, while a true heroine has yet to emerge. Female characters are limited by their adherence to patriarchal conventions even in the virtual world, which is like a mirror world and an alternative world at the same time.
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신산업융합대학 > 융합콘텐츠학과 > Journal papers
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