Bikini Armor Battle Damage: marofiron replied to your post: NSWF image under the cut! Although it…

Bikini Armor Battle Damage: marofiron replied to your post: NSWF image under the cut! Although it…




Although it is hilarious to see this, i think it is important to focus on how objectifying either sex is bad rather than how men are finally getting similar objectification treatment.

In the perfect world no-one would be objectified, but since our world is far from perfect the “let’s objectify EVERYONE instead” angle is the tongue-in-cheek alternative for equal treatment.

Yeah, I don’t think anyone should genuinely advocate for treating all people like objects, but we’re absolutely free to make fun of this idea. It’s subversive humor, one of the best coping mechanisms we humans have.

I’ve always wondered the same as marofiron – whether reversing the objectification – or any other oppressive attitude – is a good tactic in solving the problem in the long term.

Particularly if the reverse attitude becomes socially acceptable and hilarious even, whereas the original one becomes taboo.

I’d say it’s not a way of solving the problem rather than exposing it to the public through means of satire.
Sometimes it’s easier to see the wrongs of oppressive societal norms if the problem is shown in reverse to touch the privileged group. Like the little gem right here, for example.
That’s why projects like, for instance, The Liberation of Manfire or The Hawkeye Initiative are needed. They don’t promote turning men into fanservice, they show through contrast how absurd are norms of portraying women. It’s supposed to spark discussion about parodied problem, not to make it taboo (hint: the problem usually IS a taboo by default).

The time has come to restore this post, since there seems to be some small amount of confusion over what the purpose of our most empowering tag is.

Coincidentally, the people confused over it often seem to be the same people who want to argue that Conan is the apex of the sexualized man, but have a very, very negative reaction to actually sexualized men.

Part of the reason they’re shocked is because it turns out society has this weird double standard where it is commonplace for commercial media to have hypersexualized and objectifying depictions of women, but goes well out of its way to avoid the slightest hint of such when depicting men.

(Or if it does depict men as such, it uses it as all kinds of unfortunate shorthands, frequently likening homosexuality to moral degeneracy or being… weird alien monsters)

Thus it helps to remind people that if there is some sort of equality in the balance of depictions, it exists only in the imagination of people who don’t have to deal with the problems the inequality brings.

– wincenworks

Depicting men in the same Empowered is a way to really show how the bikini armor rhetoric is complete nonsense. Sometimes, just explaining that bikini armor is bad can trigger a knee-jerk reaction. People may be attached to a character who’s designed this way, or they just like to look at anime girls, or whatever. They may get defensive about it.

But put a man in that same, or similar, bikini armor, and it’s harder to look past the ridiculousness of it, because of our societal expectations. That’s why we also use the pro-bikini rhetoric language in our Empowered posts, applying it to the men instead. It’s a way to really highlight the double standard, rather than to promote the sexualization of everyone.


Tidy Up Tuesday #85

Redesign streams are very likely to come back this weekend! Stay tuned till Friday for more info!

Some elaboration on the obviously contentious topic of Ashe being the next Overwatch heroine:

  • Arguing over whether she’s a “true” albino or not completely misses the point of the whole discussion. Even if Ashe was (and her design, even when accounted for makeup, makes a shitty job of conveying albinism in person of any ethnicity), this changes absolutely nothing about Blizzard electing to give another pale, thin conventionally attractive woman spot in the cast rather than finally creating a playable Black woman. Especially since she’s clearly not a PoC albino, as many rebloggers pointed out.
  • People claiming that racebending a supposed albino to be Black is somehow taking away from albino representation are concern trolls
  • Literally all “arguments” about Overwatch “already having” playable Black female representation are neatly listed and debunked in this handy masterpost by @geegee-wellplayed​. Please go read it and hand the link to anyone who claims that Symmetra/the Amaris/Sombra/Efi/Lucio is all that Black women need to identify with in the game. 
  • “Ashe is a gang leader, so making her black would be a bad look” rhetoric makes as much sense as any Thermian argumentshe doesn’t have to be made as an antagonistic gang leader or to be (extremely) white. It was entirely Blizzard’s choice to release a character like that instead of literally anyone else. 
  • For some more detailed commentary about overall blandness of Ashe’s character design, please read this writeup by our reader @red-queen-on-the-heathen-throne
  • If you actually think that @darthputa​ or anyone (particularly PoC) doing race-bent redesigns of white characters from predominantly white media is the real racist and you still follow this blog, please unfollow immediately. Or at the very least tell us, so we can block you. 

Since it wasn’t the first time we discussed the matter, with the Ashe post we introduced the representation and diversity tags. We’re still working on re-tagging old posts with them, so if you guys spot in our archives something related to those topics and not yet tagged, please drop us a note!

~Ozzie, – wincenworks & – Icy




“Women should be respected and accepted as they are, don’t shame them regardless of what they look like and what they wear. Do whatever you want, ladies!”
*virtual ladies in bikinis*
“Um, this is infringing on my rights. How dare you? Keep this misogynistic filth away from me.”

Do you not understand the difference between a fictional character, created by men, to be seen as sexually pleasing for men in fiction and…like…REAL WOMEN who are ALIVE and are able to make CHOICES for themselves? 

Like, women have some key differences with fictional depictions of women. 

Ah agency, one of so many issues that bikini armor apologists work so hard to avoid understanding.  Of course, it doesn’t help that there’s a trend with developers to try to have it both ways and insult their creations for being… how they created them.

– wincenworks

Thanks to @giantpurplecat we now have new and exciting insight into just how some creators assume women do choose their outfits [big image here]. 

“This? I designed it myself. It allows me to communicate quickly with my blade and control it whether sword or whip… I’ve never really thought deeply on why though, to be quite honest.” – Ivy in the latest Soul Calibur

Remember – testing shows that not only can Ivy not control her weapon, she basically can’t even give her opponent a brisk shove without a wardrobe malfunction or two.  

Even the new game’s character creator classifies her outfit as underwear – her underwear lets her control her weapon better… so she doesn’t wear anything on top… even though it’s underwear.


Ultimately the most insulting part about the people who rush to support this kind of double standard is that they have so little respect for women that they will accept nonsense like this (or worse) as great writing.  

Nine times out of ten, this particular demographic will also have nothing but contempt for real women who actually want to express their own sexuality on their own terms. (As well as contempt for the same fictional women)

– wincenworks

GIF Source


So, Divinity: Original Sin 2 started off looking kind of promising.  Despite their head animator throwing a public tantrum on deviantArt, Larian Studios did seem to be making a fairly attempt to improve next time, after all someone had instructed Thierry to fix the artwork (to his great upset) in the first place.

So on 1 October 2015, their Kickstarter finished successfully.

On 11 February 2016, they published results of a survey they did which showed completely unsurprising results for a studio where creative leads can post rants about their right to be paid to objectify:


On 10 August 2016, it became pretty clear that Larian Studios decided the thing to do with this information was to double down and go back to their regular double standards:


Around May 2017 they started using their current iconic line up, the front and center lead of which has such a ridiculous costume it appears their advertising team feels the need to hide it:


Ironically, despite this apparently being less of Creepy Marketing Guy and more part of the studio culture, a lot of the content could be pretty good and they could probably get a lot more female players if they didn’t strive to save the booplate.


Alas, it seems to commitment knows no bounds:


Can’t imagine why they have so few female players…

– wincenworks

Since we’re in an era where a video game company had to issue a statement about having women in their game (by default… you can adjust them out via the game options) it’s worth remember that large parts of media have been fully invested in a ridiculous myth for so long that certain demographics are now shocked when anything isn’t made to be essentially hostile to women.

(Also for anyone rushing to accuse us of being selective of images… the comparison images are the ones Larian picked for themselves, unsurprisingly)

This is the world we live in.

– wincenworks

Maybe it’s because you’re taking the same strategy you would in designing characters for comics or video games and applying it to real people, except fictional characters are a representation of how you choose to see people or wish them to be portrayed, whereas real people get to do their own choosing, because nothing is more sexist than denying someone the right to choose, regardless of what that choice may be.

5 Responses to Sexism That Just Make Everything Worse


Great article, go read it whole

(via bikiniarmorbattledamage)

Worth bringing back – this quote from a pretty great analysis of complex problems with perpetuating sexism. The quoted part and image are the ones most relevant to BABD’s subject matter, but the article is still worth reading whole. 

As we said again and again, in our agency and cosplay tags, real people possess the free will to dress however they like, while fictional characters look a certain way because someone decided so
Judging real women harshly for making a choice of dressing skimpy, especially paired with celebration gratuitously half-nude nonexistent women is the sort of cognitive dissonance we refuse to stand behind.


I think I’m one of the few people to whom sex does not sell. It perplexes.

Paula Poundstone 

While Paula makes this assessment in regards to her asexuality, I’d say it rings true to more than a few people, not necessarily only aces.

As we said before, unless it’s sex that’s being sold, marketing that hinges on sexyfying everything is more bizarre and confusing than effective. 

“Sex sells” is a questionable advertising strategy at best and an insult to all parties involved at worst.


edit: We’ve been informed that Poundstone was at one point charged with (but not convicted of) child abuse. I’m sorry I failed to do research on her felony. 


Settling for the next best thing.


As a blog focused on criticism, there’s something we come across regularly in responses to our writing – insistence that we’re “never happy” no matter how much better a particular example is than most media we feature on BABD. 

Readers (though mostly detractors) question why we can’t qualify something (mostly games) as 100% positive example if it does one thing better than the rest in its medium/genre/etc. 


It’s quite disheartening to have the audience insist that we should settle for media to be tiny bit better than mediocre and call it a day. That a game or its creator not being as bad as they could deserve to be awarded and held up as an example for the rest of the industry. 


We refuse to set our standards so low that “her battle costume isn’t a literal bikini” or “has characters who are female in it” or “shows a male butt/chest sometimes” qualify a title as good, equal gender representation with no room for improvement. 

Being better than a random asset-flipping game with stolen artwork in their web ads isn’t hard. Being better than your last project and learning from its mistakes should be a given. Simply not making asinine excuses for poor representation shouldn’t be applauded. 
No-one is asking for perfection, but all creators should be held accountable for the product they’re selling, with its good and bad sides.

Popular media, especially video games, has a huge problem with fan backlash against lesser-than excellent reviews scores*. And this is not much different – expecting negatives not to be acknowledged because positives exist. 

BABD in particular, instead of doing comprehensive reviews, is focused on female costume and character design compared to male ones. Yet even such specific topic can’t be talked about from both angles without someone decrying unfairness.
Does it really say more about us being negative and cynical or the fans being entitled and blind to any challenging point of view?


*The link leads to a satirical @pointandclickbait article, but the satire is not really all that exaggerated. Yes, really.

We must be doing pretty well lately, given that the majority of totally legit criticism we receive seems to be around the idea that there is really nothing wrong with anything… so naturally we must be deluded or clueless to think there’s some sort of issue with depictions of female characters.

(My personal favorite for this has been people rushing in to tell us since we don’t, allegedly, know enough about a male character in a scene – we clearly can’t tell if a female character’s outfit is ridiculous)

All of this, of course, coming back to the same statement when properly translated: “I am comfortable with the level and quality of representation other people are being given, so fuck them if they’re not.

When really, the overall goal shouldn’t be to make everyone begrudgingly accepting of the state of global media.  The goal should be to make everyone excited about the state of global media.

Because right now every major professionally produced piece of media has so much potential to explore long neglected opportunities and break away from painfully boring cliches.  That they’re not doing that isn’t some sort of mild disappointment, it’s just ridiculous.

– wincenworks

Tidy Up Tuesday #83

Please remember to always provide sources with any submissions as there is no guarantee we’ll be able to trace the origin of any images without some help.

OP of the throwback post from three weeks ago,

thaumaturgists (formerly durendals) actually rephrased its old text after a couple of years to have better wording regarding the notions of individual character agency: 

on a textual level, a female character can dress however she wants and shouldn’t be shamed and hated for what she prefers to wear.

on a metatextual level, she might still have been designed with an intention to provide fanservice.

this means that criticising a design and the person/people who created it, as opposed to a character, is not misogyny. being displeased about the way a character has been designed is not synonymous with hating her. it is impotant to recognise that character designs don’t exist in a vacuum. 

On related note, “slut shaming” is a term that refers to being shitty to real people who posses their own agency, not fictional characters. For further commentary on the matter, read any of those posts

Casual reminder that our blog does have a Frequently Asked Question (or rather, Frequently Screamed Arguments) section.

Things we addressed before: 

~Ozzie, – wincenworks & -Icy

Y’know, even if there wasn’t a single woman in all of history who had fought in war or a single example of real, historical female armor, there would be no problem in pointing out fantasy armor is unrealistic because the complaint is not based on what women DID wear but what women WOULD wear.

A. Noyd 

Came across this amazing comment while archive binging our positive examples tag

I think it perfectly sums up the basic flaw in the “women warriors aren’t historically accurate, so realism doesn’t matter when portraying them in media” kind of rhetoric.


(via bikiniarmorbattledamage)

Much like… most of the angry ranting we receive, the plea “not proven historically accurate” tends to ignore the key reason why “sex sells” doesn’t work.

In fiction, armor is a costume, and a costume is a statement about the wearer.  It is the creator’s opportunity to tell the audience about the world, the society the wearer is from and the wearer of themselves.

If a creator’s most compelling message they can think of is “she’s got sexy bits” then not only is every female character going to be yet another addition to an already over saturated nonsensical trope.

However, if you decide to actually communicate some things like… what the armor is made from, what it’s supposed to protect against, what’s happened to it since it was made, or how the wearer would decorate it: you open up the doors to infinite possibilities.

Some of which may be heavily influenced and inspired by history.

– wincenworks