This guest blog by Shanthini M is the fifth in our Tomb Raider Inspirations series, in which fans of the Tomb Raider series share their thoughts on the franchise and its leading lady and explain how their personal and/or professional lives have been influenced by one of the most successful video game series to date.
In her guest blog, Shanthini explains what makes Lara a good role model for young women (and men) and how Lara has inspired her to learn more about archaeology and ancient history.
It’s no secret that Lara Croft is one inspiring character. It doesn’t matter whether she’s fictional or not, she’s a fantastic role model. It doesn’t matter that she’s a little video game character, she’s been my idol for a couple of years now. Well, you know, apart from Jesus Christ, haha. I know many fans who have looked up to Ms. Croft since the very beginning and many people will agree that Lara has quite a large number of extremely loyal fans. Fans that will stick by Lara and the Tomb Raider franchise always, keeping it alive in their own small ways. Personally, I find that Lara is a much better role model than many real people. Lara is grounded, brilliant and fearless, traits that many Hollywood celebrities lack. Lara being naturally beautiful is, of course, a plus. A perk, I’d say. She is sexy without being sexy, if you catch my drift. She’s sexy without being a tramp or being featured in flashy magazines or being bikini-clad or twirling around poles. She’s definitely not the archetypal definition of sexy. She stays out of the spotlight. I also love the fact that she is a single lady doing these things. She’s much too independent and busy to bother with relationships. Her story doesn’t go down the typical route of finding her “happily ever after” in a man. Her absent love life doesn’t bother her. She has feelings but she doesn’t allow them to interfere with her first love, which will always be archaeology. That’s definitely something I love about Lara.
Apart from her awesomeness and ability to kick serious ass, I adore Lara because of her love of travel. She loves travelling because she loves archaeology. It reminds me a lot of myself. I LOVE to travel. There are many places on my travel list that include places Lara has been to in all the Tomb Raider games. The reason we travel is to learn; to learn about different cultures and to sample different lifestyles. Lara is a culture vulture in the sense that she collects and studies artifacts related to these cultures, to give her clues as to how those people lived. And this is very inspiring. Her deep passion for archaeology beckons her to travel.
Now, we all know raiding tombs is actually an offense. I’m not saying people should go around the world robbing graves, literally raiding tombs and killing people on the way. It’s so much more than what you see on the video game screen. What I mean is to bring out your inner strength and passion. The courage to pursue something you love. The desperate need to survive hardships. These were what Lara showed throughout her journey in the 2013 game. We should be more like her in that way. Being intuitive comes in pretty darn handy too.
Before Tomb Raider, I had absolutely no interest in archaeology or history whatsoever. I was 17 back then. History was always a bore for me back in school. The subject never peaked my interest because it’s always about getting good grades rather than learning about past events. The teachers only teach because it was their duty. Even when they teach, you don’t see the passion for history in their eyes. But after playing Tomb Raider: Legend, Anniversary and Underworld, it made me want to study a bit more. Somehow, this made-up girl made me want to know about history a little bit more. School and pre-U even became a little more interesting. Even now, at 23 years old, at university, after playing the rebooted game, Lara somehow managed to make me want to know more about Himiko and the possibilities of where Yamatai could really be. It was as if I wanted to know why the subject of archaeology can be that interesting to anyone so I actually decided to read some journals about it. Hey, I might not be studying archaeology in college but I’m still required to read journals in my course. Oh, I haven’t had the privilege to play past Tomb Raider games before TR: Legend, but without those games, there wouldn’t be this new one, so I appreciate the old games just as much as those who have played them. I could see the field of archaeology through Lara’s eyes for a bit when I play Tomb Raider. It’s definitely more intriguing now when I look at it because I just think of Lara.
I’ve read so many blogs and stories by Tomb Raider fans about how Lara inspired them. Beautifully-written and beautifully-worded stories that made me want to write this blog. This is how Lara inspired me. She continues to do so to this day. Lara Croft will always have a special place in my heart.
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