When I look through all my notes about the controversy and follow the spawning tangents…let it stand that I have more to say than can be said in a venue that isn’t a research paper. So, the post imminently following will be the last unprompted one about Tomb Raider until I get to spend some time with the game (which I am looking forward to!)
To Link or Stream-write?
I posted earlier that I’ve been too drained to have any opinions. Seems they’ve returned in a pretty well-ordered rush, which is fabulous because getting a bookend on what I started (silly me) has been an insistent nag (really, so silly). This post will be–100%–personal editorial. Tried to diligently include citations/links in my earlier posts on the subject, and many of the points I want to make in the final installment are reactions stemming from a plethora of cite-able sources. But this isn’t a research paper.
For reasons ranging from continuity to selfishly making sure that what I truly want to say gets a voice I’m not planning to link any further material unless I get a specific request. If you read the posts so far and are interested enough to join me in the finale, I like to think that you’re doing so with your own exposure to previous, external material. Very likely experience of conversations or articles that I haven’t read.
If any point I argue or summarize for sake of context strikes you in some way that makes you want to see the source, please feel welcome to ask. I will do my best to provide. Conversely, feel positively cheered on to link to any material you feel relevant. My stats meter shows a flattering amount of regular visitors but precious few comments. I’d quite like to hear from you on any point you have, even if it’s just to tune me in to a better way of fostering a communicative environment!
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that the final post won’t have any links. Maybe a quote or two but probably not, once I get rolling. External material sparked the content but–since opinion shapes said content–isn’t the focus for structure. I plan to generalize external arguments ONLY if they’re iterated in more than three major sources (because that’s pretty fair, right?) Holla if you want specifics.
Content Warning; Subject Reassurance
There may be medium to high trigger warnings regarding domestic/sexual abuse (but for my own sake, I’m going to try to corral them to a concentrated portion and then move on quick.) I’ll only include it if it is relevant to my point; nothing gratuitous, self-pitying, or off-topic.
At the core of this vibrant topic is a void. People on all sides of debate try to cover it with blanket terms like rape, sexual violence, feminism, misogyny, and so on but the void exists unexplored yet vital to the real-world impact of such an arena discussion. That void is human experience and, since I only have just the one life, I can only light one modest candle in the breach. At the end of it all, this is just a faceless blog in a vast data stream droning on about a video game snit and I have no control over any resulting impact (if any!), but the reality of the issue is so close to home that–for those same reasons, really–I feel compelled to use this space for a hot second to do my droning.
Finally, (yes, finally! Even I am sick of hearing me over-anxiously giving every goddamn thing preface!) I want to assure you that the post will fo’ REALLY relate directly to Tomb Raider and video game’s societal responsibility. I realize that after I’ve dragged you all over the map with this foreward there is room for concern that it’ll end up being a diary piece. No good sirs, madams, and all: look past my dubious over-set up and trust that if you trundle onward, we’ll be talking about Lara, games, and life straight on once more. Okay, before I can stuff in any more words, let’s go!
Introduction: The Identity Problem
Within a living progressive movement such as feminism (in the broadest sense of the term), there are two tiers to consider in defining the stance of critical/emotional evolution and thought, for active participants and neutral parties all. The first, personal identity, is by nature of social issue often swept to shadow by the second, communal identity. I think that’s a major sticking point in debates such as the Tomb Raider one.
When one’s communal affiliation is at work on issues/changes to basic social structure then it’s acceptable to give up the identity of the individual for the general culmination of the group, but when the focus stops on a thing–something inert elevated as a symbol–the generalities (statements of cause-and-effect, arguments, meaning) no longer reasonably acknowledge the individuals of the community and the movement can splinter. Maybe this is just a cosmic fallacy in all instances where the many speak for the solitary on issues whose core importance is inextricable from the near-infinite set of unique individual experience. Maybe I’m just over-thinking an aspect that is both immutable and unimportant.
At any rate, I feel that in this case I’ve become a splinter inside the feminist community. The statements of condemnation for both game developers and games consumers from powerful feminist vocalists, accusing sexism, misogyny, perpetuating rape culture, white knighting etc. made the divide between my identity and that of the tribe an open wound of (what I felt at first) betrayal, even dismissal.
To try and put it simply: this controversy put me at odds with the feminist community over core facets of my personal identity, specifically the ever-raw part of me that is both victim and survivor of domestic/sexual abuse. It stopped me stark, made me doubt then re-evaluate, and now reply even though (as an individual speaking to a community) I still fear being cast out altogether for failing to connect in this minor entreaty.
But most of all and true to my nature, it makes me angry.
That anger defiantly shouts to my own community: STOP SPEAKING FOR ME.
Okay, but why should they? Where does all this quasi-philosophical cork whittle down to “STFU” in conjunction with Tomb Raider? Uh, well, let me see if I can rein myself in and spit it out. [Cont’d Part 3]