To try to deconstruct the character of Lara Croft and to process this analysis using gender critique is quite a feat. The complexity of this virtual character does not even conform to conventional modes in which the "Real Woman" per se is based. Upon examining the different images of Lara Croft, it is necessary to call into question ideas of reality, identity, gender, and representation.
Strangers In the Myst of Video Gaming: Ethics and Representation discusses which image girls and women can identify with in a meaningful way, if they can relate to it at all. Presuming this is true, is Lara Croft merely another representation of femininity unattainable by most women, as model-figures and perfect complexions are? It seems that the biased representation of Lara Croft indoctrinates girls and women into a world wherein "real women" must look and behave a certain way to earn their title.
Revolution of Women in Video Games explores the history of women in video games, from their days of playing the passive "damsel in distress" to the gun-toting protagonist. As portrayed by the media, Lara Croft is the paragon of the "Real Woman". The text suggests that the depiction of such a character may be the answer to the game's popularity among the male audience. .
One is to wonder whether the generations of women to come are regressing backwards to accept a stereotype image of themselves or it is a move forward to embracing all of the powers that femininity has to offer: "beauty and brains". Lara Croft Feminist Media Critique and Audience Reponse delves into the dichotomy of Lara the sex symbol vs. Lara the independent "Real Woman". Despite the possibility that women in video games, particularly Lara, are there mainly for eye candy, there must be a reason why even female gamers find this virtual character extremely appealing.
The aesthetic value of Lara Croft's tank top, form-fitting shorts, gun-holsters strapped on her hips and thighs, and "enhanced" assets to male gamers should not be dismissed simplistically as among the primary reasons for popularity.