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Female Gamers Slam ‘Sexist’ Tomb Raider Ad From 1999

Mark Andrew

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  • Reddit user @Wogle recently posted an old Tomb Raider advert from 1999.
  • The retro video magazine ad has since sparked a lengthy discussion on the platform.
  • Female gamer @EmilyKaldwins shared that she remembered seeing the ad as a 10-year-old girl and it “wholeheartedly sucked.”

An old advertisement of Tomb Raider recently resurfaced online after a Reddit user posted its photo on the discussion platform. The said video game ad featured a woman wearing Lara Croft’s iconic costume and next to her is a man’s mirror reflection. He’s only wearing underwear. Plus it had the caption “Are you sure you want me to wear this?”

Redditor @Wogle shared the ad last April 20 and then wrote, “Was going through some old boxes in my parents’ attic and found my old videogame magazines. This advert was on the back of one. Do you think this 1999 advert for Tomb Raider 3 would be approved today?”

It didn’t take long before netizens started reacting to the post as it quickly garnered over 2,000 comments.

User SovFist wrote:

“Have you seen the mobile game ads that are around? This would still be approved, it’d just be in a digital format and targeted to a specific audience.”

MightyThoreau shared:

“I think it was for Tomb Raider II, but the magazine I got as a kid had a full centerfold poster of Lara in a bikini, because why not? I became a man that month.”

Meanwhile, some female gamers pointed out that the ad is obviously sexist.

As EmilyKaldwins put it:

“I’m seeing a lot of comments from (I assume) guys not seeing what the problem is with ads like these. As a female gamer, and as a ten year old at the time, it wholeheartedly sucked. No, I didn’t want a centerfold poster of Lara Croft in a bikini, or to have her like this, for some guy in his UNDERWEAR.”

“As a kid who had very few female gaming protagonists that were as bad ass as Lara Croft, I wanted to feel badass,” she continued. “This? I remember this ad. And I remember how weird it made me feel. At the time, I wanted to dress up like Lara Croft and run around and pretend to be bad ass. I didn’t want to be looked at the way the guy in the picture looked at her, mostly naked in bed.”

Emily’s comment on the thread has received over 6,000 upvotes, as of this writing.

LadyofManala, another female gamer, added:

“I saw ads like these, and the booth babes from E3 articles, and it honestly made me feel like an alien. As a child I didn’t fully understand why it made me uncomfortable, but I do remember internalizing this idea that ‘if this is what women are, then what am I? I don’t want to be like this when I grow up!’”

User Ekyou likewise reflected:

“As a female gamer who was around the same age when Tomb Raider came out… I didn’t play the games in part because ads like these made me confused whether or not the game was really an action-adventure game or just a softcore porn game like Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball or something. So it was also just bad marketing that alienated what could have been a strong female player base.”

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