There is an extremely critical difference that you need to remember between mock battles and real battles.
People in mock battles are not only not trying to kill you, they’re actually take deliberate steps to make sure you aren’t injured!
In a real battle your head is particularly vulnerable and a high priority to protect for a variety of reasons:
- Head wounds bleed really strongly, between blood in your eyes and problems from blood loss – a relatively light cut can be a death sentence
- Your head is relatively unprotected compared to your other vital regions. Even a glancing blow can do serious damage to organs like your eyes, nose, etc
- Because it is on top of your body, your head is vulnerable to attacks from pretty much every angle except directly below it so it has more ways to get hurt
- As well as being the end point for the common carotid arteries, your head also contains a vital organ known as the brain. Serious harm to this organ can result in life long crippling and/or death.
Not wearing a helmet as part of artistic license is often employed with characters who are either not normally in armor, or who need to be recognizable as unique among many armored figures.
However it is also often employed with female characters because of the idea that unless a character has long flowing locks, warm kissable lips and a dainty little nose clearly on display – men won’t be able to tell the character is female (and hence they’re supposed to be attracted to her).
Basically prioritizing the sexualization and objectification of female characters over portraying them as competent, interesting people, etc.
I’m just gonna go ahead and say this now: I have a serious social-anxiety disorder that inhibits me from reading any of the comments on this Tumblr. My condition is a little complicated, so I’m not going to take the time to describe how or why, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. That said, instead of viewing your feedback and answering your questions directly, I’m going to view the feedback on similar sites and hope that they’re asking similar questions. If you find I answered something you were curious about, awesome. If I don’t, I apologize in advance.
Now then, onto the subject of boobplate. When I see images of women in boobplate being criticized, the most common defense seems to be that there simply isn’t anything wrong with it. It’s metal, it covers the woman’s chest; what’s the big deal?
Personally, I think of boobplate the same way I think of Spartan ab-armor (abplate? muscleplate?). It can be a nice design concept, and it certainly has its place in fantasy games, but it’s not necessary, nor does it have any real functionality. There’s no *need* for armor with built-in pecks, but if that’s what you want your character to wear, more power to you.
This, however, is exactly where my problem with boobplate begins. Everyone knows that male armor doesn’t have to have abs molded into it, and as a result we only see it depicted in games every now and then. Boobplate, on the other hand, is widely believed to be a necessary aspect of female armor, and you’d be hard-pressed to find many alternatives for it presented in fantasy games (there’s a reason why “Women’s Armor: Done Right” has so few images of women in platemail). It shouldn’t be seen as a woman’s only choice when selecting armor, and yet that is all too often the case.
My problem then deepens with the way boobplate is usually designed. There are ways to make boobplate that both looks good and doesn’t detract from the armor’s overall functionality, buuutt these ways are not the ones I see. Instead, boobplate is commonly designed to A) push and hold women’s breasts up like a metal bra (ouch), B) hug women’s skin like a latex suit or a metal corset (double ouch), or C) give women ridiculously large, metal breasts that look like they’d be awfully hard to maneuver in combat. There are also the problems of boobplate that shows cleavage, boobplate that exposes the midriff, etc. Really, it’s quite a big mess.
“Wait wait wait, Tragic, what do you mean boobplate isn’t necessary!?! Of course it is! Women need a special compartment for their breasts, otherwise they’d get squished!”
Yeeaahhh, from the top:
1) Regular breastplate gives plenty of room for the bust already. I’ve never met a woman with breasts so insanely large that they couldn’t fit into a suit of armor without special accommodations for their chest. And, yes, I’ve seen many a plus-size lady in armor.
2) Once you’ve donned all of your underclothes and chainmail, there’s hardly any boob left to speak of. I personally looked like a wooden board with all of my husband’s gear on.
4) Joan of Arc.
In short, my problems with boobplate are that it’s horribly overused and most instances of it are extremely problematic. Hence, the #boobplate tag.
As always, crucial parts bolded by yours truly.
I’ve been trying to think of any good reason why someone would endure all the extra fitting sessions necessary to make sure a breastplate yells “I have boobs”.
Still can’t think of any.