As I was preparing blogs and twits to post in support of “Women In Practical Armor“, I sounded the depths of my brain for well-known examples of women NOT in practical armor. Slave Leia kept popping into my noggin. I’m not the only one with that problem, so cast no stones. Anyway, she got in the way. She’s not a good example, because that getup wasn’t intended to be armor. She was wearing that getup to serve in her role as a giant sentient lard-filled foreskin’s ornamental slave. It just happened to be what she was wearing when she went on a rampage.
This brought to mind a distinction. The WIPA project is not necessarily against female characters running around in skimpy kit killin’ folk. It’s just that if you’re going to present a character who has gotten herself ready for battle, and put on gear intended to protect herself, well, it should look like protective gear.
If you have a real itch to portray a woman laying waste to her foes with her goods on display, then put her in a context where she would be wearing little-to-nothing. Some examples:
- Dungeon or rape escape
- she’s part of a primitive tribe
- murder mystery at a nudist colony
- Terrorists attack while she happens to be doing a boudoir photo-shoot (hate when that happens!)
- Monsters break into her bedroom while she’s sleeping
- Coitus Interruptus! Son of a bitch!
- Evil wizard’s claustrophobia spell drives her to tear her armor off
- A much smarter evil wizard’s lust spell drives her to tear her armor off
- Victoria’s Secret Ninja!
- A giant lard-filled foreskin alien or demented nerd forced her into some impractical lingerarmor, and now she gonna choke da bitch out widda muthafuckin’ chain cuz she hard like that!
- Sorry, that happens sometimes. Please don’t kick my flabby white ass.
Here’s a cookie, a quick scene to illustrate how a character might realistically engage in a fracas in the buff.
In a Lordly house she’d won by blood and toil, Regana slept. Her evening’s sport slumbered around her, young men and women filling the huge bed – it took much to sate the Gladiatrix’s needs.
She woke, her fighter’s blood already surging to war. What had woken her? She lay, eyes open in the dim room, not breathing, straining to hear.
A feather-soft footfall in the foyer.
And then, from the other direction, rustling silk in the feasthall. Steel leaving a sheath.
So they’re trying again, huh? They think two assassins can do what one alone couldn’t?
She silently rolled from bed, long limbs carrying her over her bedwarmers without waking them. She had no time to dress, and no desire. They had invaded her house, and The Gladiatrix was eager to feel their blood wash across her skin. She took her bastard cutlass up from where it leaned against the wall and padded out of her room.
She heard another sound from another direction; the arming of a tiny crossbow. A weakling’s weapon.
That makes three.
Regana smiled and shifted her grip. She would have to wake her bedslaves soon. Bloodshed always whetted her appetite.
See! It’s easy to dream up reasons why otherwise reasonable fighters would sometimes have to fight in unreasonable kit. So if that’s your thing, write it that way. But when the time comes that your character has a chance to suit up, for the love of bog let her put on something a soldier would wear.
What? So it’s a strapping young barbarian lad, not a playboy playmate. The example still works! There’s an example with a female character in chapter 24, but it’s not quite so funny.
So I challenge you, fellow writer/designer/artists, in the spirit of the upcoming “Women In Practical Armor” fantasy anthology, if you want your heroines to show some skin on the battleground, work out a good reason why they would. And if you’re interested in Women Warriors with sensible wardrobes, then consider supporting the WIPA Kickstarter.
PS: Yeah, I didn’t stick with the usual Stuff I Know image. I don’t think I’ll get too many complaints. I’m not bothered, at least.