In this episode, Janine Engelbrecht shares current research on feminism and pop culture – fourth wave feminism and Lara Croft. She discusses what fourth wave heroism is, and how Lara Croft is an emblematic fourth wave feminist heroine.
What’s in episode 26, “Lara Croft and Fourth Wave Feminism”?
Janine welcomes everyone back and introduces the topic for today’s discussion – fourth wave feminism and Lara Croft. She also gives an update from her side and introduces a new segment: movie recommendations. Janine recommends the movie Labyrinth starring David Bowie for some good entertainment.
Context on Lara Croft and feminism
Janine recommends listeners check out episodes 8 and 9 before listening to this episode for context. She also recaps all three waves of feminism before discussing fourth wave feminism.
Fourth wave feminism
Janine introduces fourth wave feminism and speculates when it started. She also mentions that social media activism is a hallmark of fourth wave feminism.
The first aspects about fourth wave heroism Janine discusses is desexualisation. Janine gives a few examples from movies, television series and video games. She then discusses how Lara’s body and outfits changed to make her de-sexualised.
Fourth wave critique of beauty culture
Janine links Lara’s desexualisation to fourth wave feminists’ critique of beauty culture. She explains the ‘Are you bikini body ready’ campaign and Twitter activism as an example.
The next aspect of fourth wave heroism Janine discusses is complexity. She again gives some examples of other complex fourth wave heroines from movies. Janine then moves on to explain how Lara is a complex character by way of examples from the games.
Balance of masculinity and femininity
Another facet of Lara’s complexity is the blend of masculinity and femininity, Janine explains. Janine recaps a bit of postfeminism and then gives examples from film again.
She then explains how masculinity and femininity are combined in the rebooted Lara. Janine focuses on Lara’s vulnerability and her violence.
Intersectionality and inclusivity
Janine compares postfeminism and fourth wave feminism regarding intersectionality. She then gives a definition of intersectionality and an example of it in the media. Janine then explains how intersectionality manifests in the Tomb Raider reboot trilogy.
The next aspect of fourth wave heroism Janine discusses is male/female camaraderie. She then explores the role Jonah plays in the reboot trilogy. Janine also uses Mad Max: Fury Road as an example of this in film.
The final aspect of fourth wave heroism Janine discusses is a renewed interest in mother/daughter relationships. She again gives examples from movies, specifically Maleficent. Janine then moves on to explore Lara’s relationship with her mother in the Tomb Raider reboot trilogy.
Janine thanks listeners and wraps up by giving a preview of next week’s episode.
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