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A land forged from the fires of strife, blood of heroes, and touch of the gods.
Where deeds of great valor, vile evils, and blazing passions intertwine
to shape the course of elven and human history within.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fashion Statement

I'm not one to criticise a lovely woman in a scanty costume, nor complain (too loudly) about nudity in books or film. But one thing that does bug me quite a bit is how women are sometimes treated in SF and Fantasy novels, movies, and artwork, displayed as pinup models and not how female characters (read; the people in the story) should really be dressed. 

There is a word too seldom used in these genres regarding clothing; that word is "appropriate". 

We've all seen some pretty famous artists depict women in chainmail bikinis, and often less than that, charging into battle wielding a sword that might weigh more than they do. And while the female form is certainly a delight to view, authors really need to look more on the practical side of garb, and its function in battle. Let's take a few examples:

1. Red Sonja - the epitome of the chainmail bikini era in art and comics, this likely is where it all started; Sonja's fleshy parts likely would be covered with wounds before a single engagement was over. Brigett Nielsen's leather low-cut swimsuit was even worse.  
2. Xena, Warrior Princess - Lucy Lawless was a great Xena, and her stout leather armor, while displaying her feminine attributes well enough, was decent for the time depicted and the character. But not good enough for real combat.
3. Sorsha - From the movie Willow (remember that one?); not bad, not at all. Functional armor, helm with a camail, and looking the part.
4. Eowen - OK, now we're talkin'. Full chainmail hauberk, leather breastplate and tassets, and a nassaled helm, this woman was ready for anything the bad guys could throw against her.

You can Google all of these (and more) if you really want to take a look at them.

So the point of this is what? That women shouldn't be depicted in swimwear that would sink them like a rock if worn in the water, while protecting only the most tender parts of their anatomy? Well, sort of.  

In Ardwel (where my stories take place, remember?) you will never find a woman (or a man, for that matter) who is going into battle in anything less than the best she/he can provide, because hey, sword cuts hurt, they make you bleed, and if deep enough, you might just get a gruesome lesson in your own internal workings. 

Eva Lee Elalljyn wore leathers and liked it.
Culwenril fought in elven chainmail.
Audrey Vincent was bequeathed god-forged mithril plate before her adventuring days were over.

But more than that; if authors are true to their works, their characters should always be dressed appropriately for the job, be it peasant, freeman, noble, or monarch. Don't turn your battle-hardened veterans into cheesecake displays and your readers will have an easier time accepting the sword-swinging woman in your lineup.

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