An anonymous fan submitted:
(Image is here if it doesn’t show up properly.)
This is a Haven knight from the upcoming Might & Magic Heroes VII. I think it looks kickass, but I’m not sure it’s a positive example since it has boobplates, so it’s up to you mods.
The Might and Magic series has been featured as bad examples (this and this IIRC), so while this is a step in the right direction, don’t celebrate yet—elves don’t get the same treatment. It’s bizarre, as recent MM games have improved in female armour (like these three women).
I see this trend in the recent MM games—an inconsistency that becomes problematic when you consider which factions/races get protective armour. The Haven faction (humans) is based on medieval Christian Western Europe down to its values of honour and virtue, so the women wear covering armour. In contrast, the vaguely Celtic elves are viewed as the “other” and/or “bad” faction (dark elves)… and they wear revealing outfits. Compare female human heroes to dark elf ones in Heroes V. The design process must’ve been like, “Dark elves are evil… so they must show lots of skin!” -.- Poor Anwen from Clash of Heroes isn’t even a dark elf and still misses out on practical armour. More troubling is when evil necromancers get more protection than nagas, a good-aligned faction resembling feudal Japan!
It’s awful to portray other cultures with impractical, scanty armour for no apparent reason other than that they are different. Like, it just furthers racist stereotyping of other cultures as “uncivilised” “savages” AND spawns garbage thinking like ”They don’t look like us/they don’t cover themselves enough, therefore they must be an inferior race that deserves subjugation!”
Okay, um, that was quite a rant. Your thoughts on this?
Unfortunately since fantasy writing is generally considered less politically important than science fiction, it tends to get less scrutinized and hence a lot of creators get away with using less than desirable politics to justify all kinds of problematic decisions.
Whether it’s using a fantasy race as thinly veiled metaphor for an actual race or other demographic, conveniently portraying white pseudo-Christians as the only “good” and “civilized” people or deciding that villainous females are open season for hypersexualizing.
Bikini Armor is, sadly, but one facet of creators taking the infinitely versatile fantasy genre and using it to recreate the same old tropes with the same old problems – and then wonder why it isn’t taken seriously and credits them with amazing creativity.
However, it is important to note that this isn’t a problem unique to the fantasy genre. Extra Credits did a video on propaganda in games (video deals with some very disturbing content). They made the excellent point that the most dangerous propaganda is that society normalizes and no longer recognizes as propaganda.