A 1996 Tomb Raider print ad is causing a stir online, as some users interpret the advert as a positive message about female empowerment. Others interpret it as implying that being “man enough” means being a woman. Opinions differ on whether the ad would be considered controversial in modern times, and the ad has generated a heated debate among the participants of one Discord server.
The Tomb Raider Print Ad
The 1996 Tomb Raider print ad shows Lara Croft standing in the middle of a jungle wearing a white, form-fitting tank top, with her hands on her hips. Lara has a muscular physique, with bulging biceps and a six-pack visible on her stomach. The image is intended to promote the third Tomb Raider game, titled Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation.
“Imagine being this strong and confident,” the ad reads. “Imagine being man enough to be a woman.” Many users interpret the ad as a celebration of female strength and empowerment, but others argue that it implies being “man enough” means being a woman.
“I remember this being a big deal when it came out,” a user replies to the original post. “There were instances of moral outrage and calls for video game bans.” Other users, however, recall that the ad did not cause much Controversy in the 90s.
“I feel like people today are more sensitive due to social media,” another user replies. “Back then, people just talked about the issue in their local communities and moved on.”
“I don’t know if this would be considered controversial in 2023,” another user suggests. “It would depend on who they used as the 2023 character. If it was a muscular, bearded man, then no it wouldn’t be. But if it was a woman, then yes.”
“The discourse surrounding controversial topics has changed rapidly,” another user agrees. “Look at how quickly people are trying to get rid of games featuring triangles [a reference to the ongoing debate about the impact of loot boxes]. I mean, really, imagine being this excited about polygamists,” they add, jokingly alluding to another recent controversy surrounding Assassin’s Creed: The Lost Legacy, which some fans accused of normalizing polygamy.
“I know people aren’t going to agree with this, but I think the sensitivity of previous generations was much higher,” another user responds. “This is a generational thing,” another replies. “People who talk about gaming history [in the context of this discussion] without sufficient knowledge of it should just be ignored.”
“This conversation has gotten heated,” another user remarks. “But I think growth comes from admitting when you’re wrong,” they continue, to which another replies, “Yeah, you should try it.”
“I’m not going to say that all older generations were overly sensitive,” another user chimes in. “But what I will say is that the discourse among older generations was different due to limited exposure to gaming media.”
The discussion then devolves into a heated argument, with users trading insults. “Just because something didn’t cause outrage in the 90s doesn’t mean it was okay,” one user points out. “I’m going to insult an entire generation? How about we just insult each other?” another replies.
“A lot of people online have a really big ego,” another user comments, “I guarantee that most of these people will be forgotten in a few decades. The only thing that will stay are their memes.” Another user agrees, suggesting that “growth comes from admitting when you were wrong.”
“I just doubt that all the older generations were worse than ours,” another user replies. “I think that’s the opposite of growth,” another user replies to the idea of older generations being worse. “Just because we are better in some ways doesn’t mean we can’t learn from the past.”