To The Male Critic Writing About Alicia Vikander's Boobs: Don't

Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Another day, another man who completely misses the point.
All across the nation, people are gearing up to see the Tomb Raider reboot, starring Alicia Vikander. The film, which debuted on Friday, tells the entertaining and exciting story of how a young woman living in East London discovered her calling as the ass-kicking, tomb-raiding heroine we've come to know an love, Lara Croft. Unfortunately, this empowering journey of self discovery just wasn't sexy enough for one male critic who devoted a portion of his film review in PhillyVoice to complaining about the plumpness of Vikander's boobs.
"Vikander's appearance is also markedly different than Jolie's," the writer, Jerome Maida, wrote. "She never comes across as having an ounce of sex appeal and, at times, looks like she could be 16. Toss in the lack of curves and Warner Brothers could have decided to gender bend and make a film titled "Luke Croft" — and it would have come across the same way."
Disgusting, right? It gets worse. Maida concluded his argument by saying that this kind of "interchangeability" — which, again, was entirely of his own making, and not the film's — "is not exactly empowering for women."
PhillyVoice has since deleted the excerpt from the article, but not before hoards of commenters could voice their disappointment.
"The reason a bunch of bros are butt hurt about Tomb Raider is the first two movies were made for them: Everything was shot with the male gaze in mind," Twitter user @MovieMazz wrote. "New Tomb Raider doesn't seem to give a flying fuck whether you have a stiffy or not, in fact — it wants to punch your stiffy."
We hate to break it to all the men out there, but Lara Croft's boobs originally only existed in — gasp! — 2D.
Comments like Maida's weren't completely unexpected, though. As many people pointed out, Jolie's Tomb Raider films were just as much about sex appeal as they were about action — and, men loved it. Did Jolie look amazing? Yes, of course! But, ask almost any woman who saw the film if it seemed practical to run and fight in those booty shorts, and the answer is most likely going to be a resounding, "NO!" Besides, all of the discussions about Jolie's appearance took away from her character's accomplishments.
The notion the women have to be dressed in tight or revealing clothes to be sexy is dated and toxic. (Of course, we're totally not against women wearing those types of clothing, so long as its their personal decision.)
In fact, this conversation shouldn't even be about Vikander's sexiness or not. Sexiness is objective and means different things to different people. What's important here is that Vikander should be critiqued for her performance, not her appearance. (Though, honestly, she looks fantastic!)
Why can't we, instead focus on how Vikander truly brought Craft's origin story to life through her hard work and training? Did you know that Vikander gained 12 pounds of muscle in preparation for the film? That's incredible and really highlights the strength and resilience women possess.
Or, perhaps we could discuss how Croft's character has been an inspiration for young girls and women, including Vikander, for the past two decades. In a recent interview with Refinery29, Vikander recalled how her first introduction to Tomb Raider at a neighbor's house changed the way her 10-year-old self saw the world.
"I stepped into that room and saw Lara Croft, the female protagonist of a video game, something I had never seen before," Vikander said.
It's time that we all stop projecting our over sexualized views of characters onto the women who play them and instead examine these characters' cultural impacts.

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