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Female armour in fantasy books/games

Discussion in 'World Building' started by ALB2012, Jan 2, 2013.

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  1. saellys

    saellys Inkling

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    Sorry Steerpike, I totally missed your earlier post.

    Case in point: this thread!

    I can't just sit back and hope my parenting skills will make things better in the long run, because I have to deal with this every day myself. It's a real, immediate issue that effects my daily life as well as my daughter's future.

    Porn as an entity is not necessarily just a product of male-dominated society. Lots of people like watching sexytimes. Generalization: media created and produced by women will tend to be more female-positive, which means porn that is not exploitative and more representative of varying body types, and portrays the idea that--gasp--women can enjoy sex too.

    Agreed on all counts, and props to your daughter for doing her own thing. My yearly renewal of faith in humanity comes in the form of Southern Girls Rock 'n' Roll Camp, where just under a hundred adolescent girls learn to play instruments and form bands and collaborate all week long. They are all the most amazing, self-confident, individualistic girls I've ever met. Each and every one of them has a hundred stories about horrible things they've had to put up with in school or among friends. For some, the struggle makes you stronger. Plenty of other people never come out the other side, though.
     
  2. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    So we're going to ignore the zero sum game and mutual contempt thing? Yes? Ok.
     
  3. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    Now porn is a little different because I think it's inherently exploitative. Porn that appeals to men will disgust women and porn that appeals to women will disturb men. It'd be better to get rid of porn altogether than reform it.
     
  4. Amanita

    Amanita Maester

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    Oh well, interesting to see how far a discussion about female armour can go. I actually don't think that the exact way the armour is looking even matters in written fantasy. Films and video games are a different matter. The fact that she's wearing armour and is protected by it should be enough for the plot. For me, the ways the societies where armour was typically worn to battle would have to change if female fighters where commonplace would be much more interesting.

    But on the general issues mentioned here.
    I'm not really affected by the sexualisation of women because I'm not consuming most media where this is a problem. Therefore I can't really say much about it. I'm against the idea that women showing skin is generally a bad thing but I can see the problem with the way it is done.
    In real life, I haven't really experienced much contempt against people of the opposite gender, with the excpetion of a small number of individuals. It's really bad on the internet and in media however. I don't think people of opposite genders hating each other really is such a big problem. Most of us are still trying to find a suitable person of the opposite gender to spend our lives with after all. ;)
    I've seen plenty of male internet commentators who seem to be completely unable to accept women as equal human beings however. For them, accepting this already seems to be proof of "female rule" and many other things. Most of them don't seem to be too keen on claiming that in real life conversation or maybe I've just been lucky enough not to meet then though far.
    I have to admit that it's hard for me to look back at the way women have been treated through history and not feel extremely angry. I don't blame men living today for this though, at least not as long as they aren't trying to justify it. To this I'm being quite allergic however.
    There are still too many countries where the sytematical abuse of women is still a "normal" feature of everyday life and many women still face honor killings, genital mutilation or are punished for being raped. While all of this is still happening, I find it hard to consider some radical feminists saying stupid things equally bad. As far as I know it has stayed talk so far and hasn't been done in real life, at least not in many cases. If it is, the people responsible deserve to be punished accordingly of course, but I can't see this a major problem at the moment.
     
  5. saellys

    saellys Inkling

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    Yup, I don't feel compelled to entertain the hypothesis that men and women are trained to hate each other, or the hypothesis that men and women cannot possibly find the same things arousing. Neither are true in my experience.
     
  6. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I think it is endemic in the gaming industry for some reason. See blogs like Gaming as Women, or look at reports by women attending gaming conventions or even things like ComicCon.
     
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  7. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I also don't think we're biologically predetermined to try to dominate the opposite sex, or that any societal structure will necessarily have to have a large disparity in one direction or the other. I'm happy to talk about it academically, but if those are the starting propositions, I do not agree.
     
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  8. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    I never meant to imply that this was actually the case, merely that it's how people think. To the average guy on the street, the purpose of feminism is not to simply rectify gender inequities but to simply reverse them. The fact that it's called "feminism" rather than "egalitarianism" or something similar lends credence to this idea in their minds. This is where terms like "feminazi" come from. The anti-feminist backlash comes not from hatred of women per ce, but from a sense of self-preservation and a "Them vs. Us" mentality. My point was that this mentality might have some basis in the "boy vs. girl" trend fostered in childhood, where the sexes are taught to compete with one another.
     
  9. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Feminism isn't a broad, unified movement that can be characterized in such a way as to say "feminism" does X, Y, or Z. You should see some of the arguments within feminism itself. They get pretty ugly at times. Liberal feminists, for example, tend to accept the patriarchal value system as the correct one (this is in my experience; I'm not an academic in this area). They determine the value of women by how well women move into traditionally-male roles. These feminists are more likely that some others to discount the value of a stay-at-home mother, for example, because just like the patriarchy, liberal feminists undervalue traditionally-female roles. On the other hand, radical feminists reject the idea that the patriarchal system is the right value system and feel you need to restructure the whole thing from the top down, so that roles are valued differently. There are a number of other viewpoints as well.

    I think the "backlash" against such things (to the extent there is one) comes a lot from media sensationalization and misrepresentations. This is true for any movement. What you hear from ideologues on the other side, particularly in the popular meda (take Limbaugh, for example, who coined the 'feminazi' term you brought up) isn't any more likely to be credible as a whole than what you hear from the left about the tea party movement, or from the right about the ACLU or about organizations that support gay rights.
     
  10. mbartelsm

    mbartelsm Troubadour

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    I agree with you in this, but as Steerpike mentioned, you cannot generalize the whole feminist movement. The problem is that feminazis are the ones that get media exposure because of their more radical approach, this then affects how males perceive the whole movement and ignites a situation like the one you describe. A good example of this are the double standards of many feminist movements, where the movements seek for benefits that men have but ignore or reject the idea of women having to put up to the bad thing (i.e. military service).
    Don't get me wrong, I'm all in for gender equality, but if women or men come to me showing off these double standards then we have a problem.
     
  11. Reaver

    Reaver Kwisatz Haderach Moderator

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    The problem with humanity is that we're little more than talking apes with extraordinary brains. However, no matter how extraordinary our brains are, they drive our biological impulses. And those, my friends, override everything: decency, mutual respect, common sense, logic, sometimes even our most basic survival instincts.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  12. saellys

    saellys Inkling

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    I'm really interested in seeing a real-world example of this. I have yet to encounter a feminist who wants something specific that men have, but isn't willing to do something specific that men do to get it.

    What drives our biological impulses?
     
  13. Reaver

    Reaver Kwisatz Haderach Moderator

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    Our brain.


    *EDIT* Time to get this thread back on topic or has it run its course?
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  14. FatCat

    FatCat Maester

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    Female armor in fantasy is revealing and unpractical!? Oh my, what a revelation! When has anything in fantasy been practical, isn't that the point!? A good-looking female body is better looking in an outfit that highlights sexual features, the same with men. This thread is a bit confusing to be honest, the correlation between real-world gender issues and fantasy literature is a bit strange, in my opinion. Why not let the sparsely-clad heroin be an object of desire, or the muscled barbarian (with rugged good looks of course) be just that, fantasy. I find it odd that anyone would really consider these images offensive, when it is pure fantasy that compels such a thing in the first place.
     
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  15. Meteora

    Meteora Dreamer

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    You have a valid point on how practicality doesn't matter in a fantasy setting, I'll have to give you points for that. While I can't make the same statement for everyone else, I'll have to say that the current trend (aka probably since the beginning) is that the armour/costume is highly oversexualized for the sake of sexualizing female. It doesn't actually offend the vast majority of audience, there are a vocal few who question this.

    Its the same deal with video game developers deciding to sexualize most of their leads and some journalists and video gamers giving them flak for it. Most of the people don't care, usually the casual and people who don't like seeing their medium devolve itself to mass catering of young immature men.

    I honestly don't care enough to make a huge fuss about it, its all over the media and its not going to change anytime soon (i.e. pretty much never). For all I know I'll probably follow the same trend when I'm doing some art.
     
  16. mbartelsm

    mbartelsm Troubadour

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    I wouldn't say it if I hadn't seen it myself, though this is probably more prominent in latin america or other third world countries

    @FatCat: I don't think the real issue with mailkinis is that they offend women, even though the thread has deviated to that point, the real issue is that "impractical" doesn't begin to cover it, why call it armor if it really doesn't protect you, like someone said, mailkini puts the "cleave" in "cleavage". However, if you take the time to explain that the protection doesn't depends on the actual armor but on some kind of spell it has or an amulet, well, then it isn't much of an issue.
     
  17. saellys

    saellys Inkling

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    Fantasy as a genre is, like all other forms of media we consume, a reflection of attitudes real people have in the real world. Oversexualizing the female body in any context is a symptom of problematic attitudes toward women in general. When it happens in the fantasy genre, it's usually at the expense of character development, and poor character developments makes for a poor reader experience that isn't balanced out by a nice pair of boobies in a mailkini.

    I consider the images problematic mainly because it perpetuates the idea that I am not welcome as either a reader or creator because fantasy/comic books/video games/etc. is for men only, and that my entire gender exists in these stories only to be sexualized and ogled.

    If you know it's all over the media to the point of cliché, and you have the option to do something more original and practical in your own art, why follow the same trend? I'm not being sarcastic here; I honestly want to know. I try as best I can to raise awareness of stuff like this in the hopes that people will go in a different direction when given the chance, so I'm very interested to know why someone who is aware of it and admits that it's a problem would still go in the same direction.
     
  18. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    The primary reason people might pursue it, even being aware of it and considering it cliche, is that it is proven to sell.
     
  19. FatCat

    FatCat Maester

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    @Saellys: I think you and I are reading different novels, because I honestly can't remember the last time I read about a mailkini-clad warrior dashing into battle. However, if you're talking about video games and films, I believe men get the same treatment.
     
  20. saellys

    saellys Inkling

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    Conceded, but to be fair a couple Scribes have admitted in this very thread that they write scantily-clad female characters. It's out there.

    They really don't.

    I'm not going to rehash the details of what I've already said in this thread, but you should scroll up and check out the comic I linked, and read up on the prevalence of the male gaze. I know of only three instances in which that's been subverted in media that is traditionally presented to a male audience, and they're all very recent. The first was the Battlestar Galactica episode "Final Cut," where the colonial fleet's official documentarians went out of their way to film a half-naked Lee Adama and D'Anna Biers waggled her brows suggestively. The second was Thor, where Darcy and Jane ogled and commented on Thor's physique in one scene.

    And the third was Game of Thrones, which usually errs spectacularly on the side of sexualized female nudity and totally ignores the fact that its female audience might enjoy seeing naked men (who aren't Theon, Hodor, or a random wine merchant/assassin) now and then. Last season, the camera stood in for Arya Stark's POV and panned slowly up Gendry's body, which actually made me feel a little squicky because the character is underage, and was presented as more of an eleven-year-old-girl-suddenly-realizes-boys-aren't-all-gross moment.

    I welcome anything at all you can cite that presents the male body in a way that rivals, say, Megan Fox's contorted motorcycle repair poses in Transformers 2 or (for the purpose of being fantasy-specific) anything Boris Vallejo has ever done. I'm going to bet that anything you find was intended as parody.
     
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