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Found Feminism: Armour for Women

2012 January 16

This is possibly a little niche, but it’s a niche I am happy to occupy, and following on from my writing on the subject, so are many others.

I am on a quest for some plate armour for my LARP habit. It is proving difficult.

We can all agree that Women Fighters In Reasonable Armour is an almighty source of inspiration, but this Found Feminism goes a bit farther.

Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth I. She is wearing shining silver full plate armour with intricale gold designs and well-wrought fluted joints at the elbow. Her hair is loose and she is riding a white horse. Her expression is hardened and composed.

This is the ideal, let's be honest.

In this well thought out article over on group blog MadArtLab, an actual genuine armourer explains why most fantasy/sci-fi lady armour is wrong. I am especially taken with his clear arguments on why it’s silly to draw parallels with Conan-style characters (loincloths indicate no access to armour; chainmail bikinis indicate that armour is available but female characters have chosen not to wear it) and the way he highlights the distinction between a “breastplate” and a “boobplate” and how the latter is not only impractical but downright dangerous:

I worry constantly that she’s going to fall hard and it will crack her sternum, even with the padding. Note also that it seems almost perfectly designed to guide sword points and arrows into her heart.

I also really like Ryan’s “good armour / bad armour” parallels, and the very funny post he wrote later on about the mathematical relationship between female nakedness and armour protection in F&SF.

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