I like skimpy armour. There, I said it. I like armour that’s flattering to the form and still fantasy-friendly. Before you grab your pitchforks, hear me out. I’m not talking about female characters wearing straps of leather and pretending it protects them in some way, but y’know that Conan guy? Yeah, I think the bare-chested look with the loin cloth works for a big sword wielding fella, and why shouldn’t that be an option for the ladies too?
Realism is a wonderful thing in armour, and something I have a great deal of respect for. Breastplates without boob curves look fantastic, and even better if they don’t impale the poor women wearing them. However, I’m not averse to the infamous “boob window”, or characters that require a great deal of manoeuvrability wearing clothing that doesn’t restrict their form. While I’d probably prefer my rogue to be wearing form-fitting black leather that covers the majority of her body, with a hood to match, I’m not going to turn my nose up at a bit of cleavage, or a midriff displayed here and there.
I realise that some people will feel this makes me a bad feminist, because skimpy armour is there to objectify and overly sexualise women, however I don’t entirely agree. While yes, games like TERA are fairly renowned for their armour that borders on the ridiculous, I do feel that we’re conflicting here a little. To quote Dani Colman in her post The problem with false feminism (or why “Frozen” left me cold):
I don’t have a particular problem with women being sexualised on screen, either: as long as they aren’t objectified, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with celebrating that the female body can be a beautiful thing that is very appealing to show off.
Feminism states that women should be entitled to wear whatever they want in the real world. Shouldn’t women in the gaming world have the same options open to them? At least within reason.