My Problem with Boobplate

tragic-female-armor:

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.

3) Please take a moment to look at these images of real women in armor and just stop forever because the notion that women need boobplate is just ridiculous.

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.

Great commentary on the problem of boobplate by a mod of a related blog.

As always, crucial parts bolded by yours truly.

~Ozzie

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.

– wincenworks

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