On Compuer/Video Gamer Grrrls;

Or, Lara Croft's Craft

   Call them heroes, please---not heroines. Shoot fast, early, and often at as many targets as possible---Lara's pistols never run out of ammo.

Lara has similar body dimensions as the original Barbie, especially her chest and waist and extra lithe legs. Ironically, the original Barbie's body dimensions were modified in the 1990s, making her breasts somewhat smaller and her nose less upturned. Her tiny feet remained unchanged, though: still arched sharply to fit high heels, Barbie's footprint is actually smaller in proportion to her body's size than that of Chinese women with bound feet.

One of the accessories for the classic Barbie was elbow-length gloves (to go with her ball or prom gown). Lara has accessories too---weapons and tools for her hip belt. Spawned by crossing Barbie and Princess Leah, Lara is meant to be even tougher, smarter, and hipper than girls playing together will make Barbie: check out the intellectual shades, the shrewd eyebrow action. She doesn't have a career, she has adventures. (Is Lara hired by an agency, or doing free-lance search, destroy, and recover missions? Where does she get cash to pay for food?) Can handle a kayak as well as 9mm's. And she's already influenced several movie heroines (such as the woman with the shades in Matrix), who, however, are pretty tame side-kicks compared with Lara.

Lara's air-brush'd nipples are both there and not-there. Instead of shooting from the hip she most often shoots from her turbo boobs (complete with snarl).

Persistent rumors circulate on the Net of tricks to do/codes to find that will make Lara suddenly nude.

She can't shoot that expectation/fantasy down, no matter how fast her moves are.




Then there's also (in 1999) the popular TV tough-grrrl

on the video-game model: Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.

There's an important difference between being Buff and being a Muff:


Got Milk?

(no, she's not a mother yet)


 Also consider Chase and Cecilia Reyes, two Cartoon-book Grrrls who could be Video gamers too.

Cecilia Reyes (right) is one of the X-Men. (Clearly, "X-People" would not do as a name for the comic-book series.) "Shunned by society at large, these outlaw mutants fight an endless batle to bridge the ever-widening gulf between humanity and mutantkind by protecting a world that fears and hates them."

Cecilia usually wears eyeglasses, inevitable sign of Intellectual Prowess in comix. But the glasses mysteriously disappear when she's pissed. Hope she has her contacts in! Note: she's tough and smart enough (and possibly even Black enough) not to need black-glove accessories.

this X-Men comic props:

Script: Scott Lobdell

Pencils: Carlos Pacheco

Inks: Art Thibert

Colors: Chris Lichtner, Aron Lusen

plus Comicraft and Liquid! software




Another comix tough-grrl is Chase.

She's a little bit of an SS-girl, or maybe even SM, rather than an X-Man hero. But she's generally a good character. Chase comes prepared: her leather fist contains a computer keyboard/weapon niftier than anything Dick Tracy ever had.

Off-duty, with her helmet off, she broods and does wrist curls in her Gothic retreat. It's just so confusing, these days.

The cheeky cheek tattoo whirls on, pensive:


Chase script: D. Curtis Johnson

Pencil: J. H. Williams III

Ink: Mick Gray




Lots of WWW sites support gamer-grrrl culture,

including www.gamegirlz.com

Some samples are below.

Note the paradox: identity as "skins," vs.
identity as inner strengths not so well represented (or misrepresented)
by external features heavily loaded
with stereotyping not just ammo.

"Gemstone," her opinions on women in Quake 2 and 3:

"I always check around at many sites devoted to gaming, particularly Polycount and Ophelia’s. Both these sites have a variety of skins available for different games, but generally the women models are limited and these are usually of the half-naked-type. I play as a female warrior and I certainly like to look like one. I’m not saying that I need to be covered from head to toe in armour. I’m saying that I want to look like a woman who is wearing something practical for battle. I don’t think I’m asking for too much. I really thought the original Quake 2 female model was incredible. You could go to any server and 90% of the players wore her. I liked her face, her stance, her balance, her grace, her sounds, her colours, and her armour. Quake 3 offers some nice female models, but they are lacking some of the qualities that Quake 2 had. I don’t want my model to moan orgasmically every time she gets injured. (Another teenage male distraction strategy perhaps?) My boyfriend has also noticed a serious lack in skinning utilities for Quake 3, which makes it even more difficult (if not impossible) to customize my own skin.

"Overall, I found that most computer games have less female players to choose from and even less choice of skins for them. In some games the female model can only do certain things from a distance while the male warrior gets to do significantly more. I’m not saying that every game is gender-biased; I can only speak for the ones I have researched. I know that women aren’t the target market for these games, however developers must realize that we are here and we are here to play as women, not as bimbos. If you want to see women in g-strings, you know where to find them, but they shouldn’t be in these kinds of games."

Feel free to send in your views on this topic to Gemstone


"Tired of seeing Brianna, Athena, and Cobalt? Welcome to the Quake Female Skin Archive, a repository of skins for female Quake players. This site is designed to be the most thorough skin collection possible for the Standard Female, as well as all other Female Plug-in Models. for Quake2, and to be expanding soon to encompass the Q3 ladies, as skins become available." Ophelia ophelia.gamegirlz.com/

A different take on all this:

From Barbie to Mortal Kombat:

Gender and Computer Games.

Ed. Justine Cassell and Henry Jenkins.

Cambridge: MIT Press, 1998.