Brought to our attention by superheroineworld (thank you so much for linking it in a reblog!)
This video sums up pretty damn well why any sort of “makes sense in context” justification for absurd and creepy things in fiction (like, say, bikini armors) is invalid by default.
Quotes worth highlighting:
Writers routinely alter the rules to suit their interests and the needs of their story. So, in the world outside of the diegesis, in our world, only the implications and impact of that fiction actually matter.
It’s basically a circular argument to expect that the fictional rules created specifically for the narrative will shield the narrative from being criticized on the meta level.
Criticism of a creative work is, ultimately, criticism of the decisions that people made when they were putting it together.
Which is also why “you’re slut-shaming that character" is a fail at responding to criticism. Characters are fictional constructs with no agency and the “choices” they make can be blamed solely on their creators.
You guys might have noticed, but around half of the Female Armor Rhetoric Bingo is made from Thermian arguments. That’s how popular this circular logic is among skimpy armor defenders. And I’m glad we now have this video to explain why it doesn’t work.
Most people understand that stories are constructed with plot outcomes in mind and thus parts of the story (such as characters) are adapted accordingly. The love interest will always be attractive regardless of background, and the protagonist will always be set off on the adventure regardless of how many other potential candidates are about.
So it stands to reason that it should not be expected that if we’re told a female character just happens to have a plot critical reason for dressing in a ridiculous outfit, it’s pretty likely the plot was adapted to justify the costume and not vice versa.
Doubly so if the same plot elements are applied to men in a manner that fails to qualify them for being recognized as truly empowered.