I first time watched Tomb Raider when I was in my teenage year and studied in grade 8th of junior high school back in 2002. I watched it in a format of CD that was bought randomly by my father along with other movie CDs from local market in Lospalos, one the post administrative city in Lautem municipality in Timor-Leste. My father does not speak nor understand English at all but he loves to watch Hollywood action movies along with Chinese, Thai, Japanese or Indonesian action movies that he thinks interesting.
As I pick the CD to play, the cover captured me as it displayed how gorgeous Angelina Jolie is as Lara Croft. Growing up as 90s generation, most Hollywood action movies or series I have watched from TVs starred male as hero and I was only familiar with one TV action serial starred women as hero character named Xena.
Then I play the CD and watched the movie of Tomb Raider for the first time in my leisure time as a retreat session. The opening scene going on, I was amazed with how Lara Croft did the fighting exercise with robots and her fighting was as fierce as male hero in any action movie I have watched. As the movie going on, I noticed that she is also a rich daughter of inherited a big mansion from her father Lord Richard Croft, a well known scientist and rich man in England. Then it is revealed that Lara’s father is a member of secret society named Trinity and he has kept all the secrets to her daughter to find out one day. The secret is the heart of pyramid which has been split and hidden in two secretive location and Lara has to find them before the Trinity find them.
Lara Croft depicted by Angelina Jolie featured an elegant, rich, gorgeous and adventurous woman with multi-talent skills on physical and intellectual skills exercise. This appeared to me as a teenage girl that time that an ideal woman should be like Lara Croft having a gorgeous with a perfect body, rich, elegant, intelligent and skillful. I started to dream being an beautiful, skillful and rich woman when I grow up. After watching that movie, I started to check myself in the mirror more often to check if I am beautiful enough. I was disappointed. I don’t have face feature of Lara Croft, her perfectly postured and curvy body, her sensual voice, her elegant style nor her lavish rich as an heiress. I am just a simple teenage girl with brown skin, medium height and a little bit chubby face. I did not realize that having a perfect combination of Lara Croft near to perfection beauty is indeed just an illusion.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholders. I wish I grasp this thought that time. I wish I have many people told me that I am beautiful as I am. Growing in society where one is determined by his/her outer appearance and that a women with fairest skin is more beautiful than brown skin and that tall slender women is more sexy than curvy and short women made me felt awful with how I look at myself. However, I continue to admire Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft but at the same I keep telling myself that wishing to be like Angelina Jolie is delusional.
Then after many years, growing up as adolescent, learning about feminism and self acceptance I started to realize that beauty is indeed a relative concept. Beauty is indeed not depends on how others see you but how you feel that concept on yourself and this is the challenge that many people today are still striving for as the concept of beauty is still dominated by the society’s judgement and only few people who are brave enough to stand against the normative prejudice and shine their beauty according to their beliefs.
Later, this year, after watching the new remake of Tomb Raider movie and the character of Lara Croft portrayed by Alicia Vikander, I was stunned. This time, the new version of Lara Croft is different although she still has that beauty, skills in sport and boxing and being an heiress of the Croft. The new Tomb Raider portrayed Lara Croft in a more realistic way where she is a rebellious girl with loving heart for her father, she is also not that invincible in fighting and easily defeated but she has a big courage for a dangerous adventure that she won at last after facing many evils. This is where I found that a woman’s beauty should be portrayed not only in her physical appearance but to show her intellectual, inner strength and her compassion when facing difficult situation. This is what I would like people to see in me as a woman.
However, once again, it’s OK to dream or not to dream being a Lara Croft however it is important to understand that beauty is something that is not limited to physical appearance but to look to deep to the inner strength being a woman. This is the core message we need to convey to the girls to empower their self esteem and self acceptance.
I live in Dili (Timor-Leste). I love reading, writing, watching movie, listen to music and do photography for fun.