Just saying “weh weh this isn’t actually an issue, let the designers do what they want” is actually ignoring the cultural context in which this bikini armour exists. It is a classic example of women as a [sexual] commodity to be sold, and gives the o.k to treating women like said commodity. That sexy armour is the default is concerning in itself. Is it not possible to be sexually attracted to a girl in armour designed for fighting rather than sex??? The bikini armour problem exists in a culture which is obsessed with sexualising women at every turn. Male warriors get to be “rugged”, “dark”, “complex”, an “anti-hero”, while female warriors get to be “sexy”, and on the rare occasion they do have the aforementioned characteristics, they are added as a secondary characteristic to that sexiness, or as an afterthought.
“It’s not an issue, blah blah.” No, it is an issue, it contributes to an overall culture. “Why do we have to debate this?” sounds a lot like “I don’t want to think about the attitudes and beliefs in which art functions, and ways in which certain art may be damaging.”
“Historically, women didn’t fight/wear armour.” Congratulations, you’ve completely missed the point. We are talking about fantasy genres here, worlds where slaying dragons, leading campaigns of hundreds of soldiers, traipsing through a haunted forest are normal occurrences and yet we can’t treat women like people rather than toys. Plus, “historically”, you have people like Joan of Arc, and outside of Western history there are lots of cultures in which women fought battles.
That does not look like a very practical armor, not to even mention that fighting stance. It also looks like poor Valkyrie’s breasts are running away from her face.
As bad as skin-tight metal armor is, it’s even worse when the breast formed parts aren’t even in the right place! The poor girl!
It would be truly a horrific curse to be trapped in such a metal prison, unable to move or even breathe without crushing pain and mega chaffing. She can do nothing as the world’s worst archer fires arrows at unlikely angles towards her.
That is the story this cover is trying to tell right?
edit: Since the image apparently was deleted from its external sever, here it is: