Hi LG. So on the female power fantasy thing: I agree that the sexy warrior babe thing is overused, and women should have WAY more options. But, in interractive media-video games & rpgs, shouldn’t women have the OPTION of playing that, as well as not?



Nope!  No more sexy!  Sexy has been hereby banned.  No more sexy for anyone!


From that post about female power fantasies

Sexy Warrior Babe type of character is vastly overused, so it’s really hard to to make it work without looking like you’re playing it straight.

Please remember that I’m a dude, and my opinion on what media “should” or “shoudl not” look like in regards to a) how women are portrayed and b) what women should enjoy is pretty close to irrelevant.  I try to throw in a cheap joke here or there, or offer some practical application for what women (or any other group regularly discrimnated against) have said about it.  I’m not about to start criticizing women for liking what they like or how they interact with video games.

I will say that any game that markets itself on it’s ability to appeal to the male gaze (especially through super-sexy / absurdly revealing clothing on its female characters) isn’t doing it for their female audience.  I’m all for fully-featured, rich, comprehensive character customization, both in physical traits and clothing.  Let folks do what they want with their character (including skin tone, muscle & fat composition, size, height, weight, etc).  I’m more suspicious of a game in which it is incredibly difficult to find female clothing that is both functional and non-revealing.


I’m guessing @bikiniarmorbattledamage can offer better insight into this, but for me, I’m casting a side-eye to any video game that markets itself using half-clad women as marketing gimmicks.

This is a nice summary of the quoted post and of what our response to things like “do you want to ban all sexyness in media?” is.

Thank you, @lawfulgoodness


In a perfect world, all RPGs will give the player the ability to play as any gender, and wear armor in all levels of protection/nudity. But that’s not the world we live in.

We don’t want to remove all sexiness from all mediums in past, present and future. What we want is for the media’s default representation of women to NOT just be “hot chicks” for the presumed cis het male audience to consume as objects. We just want women in media to be treated with as much respect, complexity and care as the men. And maybe then we can also explore more male power fantasies besides just “big muscle.”




if your female character doesn’t look like she has lived the life she leads and you can’t get a sense for her actual personality by looking at her because you’re too focused on making her pretty and perfect and palatable it’s bad character design and you should feel bad

It’s worth noting that, generally speaking – this is why concept artists want to be concept artists. They want to convey feelings, story and inspire the imagination. It’s not uncommon for concept artists to do staggering amounts of research in order to find ways to convey a type of character in a type of time period.

So, if you come across a product created by a major studio where they have extensive executive and production staff – it’s safe to say that any aggressively boring female character designs are done at the behest of a particular type of individual pushing a ridiculous myth to try to seem like a genius.

It is important to call out this kind of absurdity, not just to try to reduce the amount of gratuitous objectification in media – but to also spare these poor artists the indignity of having a guy try to convince them he invented anime tiddy.

– wincenworks

Also to note, some creators try to “justify” their boring, pandering designs. Character design should speak for itself. You shouldn’t need someone there to explain it, unless there’s worldly lore the viewer needs to know (like family crests, or magic stuff, etc). 

Does the character look nothing like a sniper, while the creator insists that she is? Probably a bad design. Is the character’s backstory strangely convoluted, while also not impacting the character at all besides making an excuse for her to look hot? Probably a bad design. Is the character wearing clothes anachronistic with the setting, just to look hot? Definitely a bad design, unless she sneaked in some stockings from a parallel future universe. (Looking at you, Witcher 1.)

Don’t let em fool ya.







“why can’t female heroes kick arse in heels” because it’s not practical and will literally snap your damn ankle you can scream weaponised femininity all you want but first off, you need to admit that they’re not an almighty symbol of empowerment, and secondly that if you do a job with a lot of physical activity in heels you’re risking your own safety. all these women fighting in heels on tv are going to end up seriously injuring themselves. 

weaponised femininity is a concept made up in an attempt to get us to embrace the industries created to hold us back/profit from our insecurities so that we can continue to fit into the male expectation of what a woman should be and not question why we are forced to spend thousands on our appearance every year

just a small anecdote. I had a friend who worked in theater; she was the stage manager and an actress came to her in tears one day because the director absolutely refused to let her do a choreographed fight scene in less than 3 inch heels because “they’re platforms so you’ll be okay.” My friend, who is a woman’s size 10, brought her own heels in the next day and DEMANDED the director put them on and try the choreography before the actress did it. He finally agreed to change it, without putting the heels on.

so like I know you might think of “all those women on tv fighting in heels” as fictional woman who WOULD hurt themselves in real life, but its fiction so its okay…except those women are portrayed by real actresses who are actually fighting in actual heels, being directed by dudes who have never worn a pair of heels in their lives, alongside men who aren’t expected to constantly wear things that make their stunts 2x more dangerous than they have to be. Just a thought.

Men take “let’s see feminine women being badass” to mean “let’s see women impractically focused on their appearance in combat situations.“

Also, as a side note, the things we consider “masculine” usually are just the things that are practical and comfortable for a situation. Usually when when we say a female character is “feminine, but able to kick ass”, specifically in reference to costume design, we actually mean “there are some very impractical elements in this design (read: wonder woman and valkyrie), but her boobs aren’t on full display and she’s not wearing stilettos”. The idea that practical and appropriate clothing for dangerous or physically demanding situations is inherently masculine really has to go, because it is all kinds of fucked up.

Some really neat commentary on the absurdity of high heels as battle footwear, on the pretense that “weaponized femininity” excuses them and on the double standard that is their source. 

It’s always morbidly fascinating to observe the implication that some things in character and costume design (flowy hair, skimpy clothes,


shoes etc.) are assumed to be inherently feminine, therefore mandatory for women in fiction, no matter the context. 
And that female characters who don’t comply to them to some degree are automatically “tomboys” or “rebels” or cheaply-achieved “good” female representation.


related: This very long explanation of why high heels + combat =/= successWhy stuntwomen are in more danger than men

h/t: @filipfatalattractionrblog 

I couldn’t wait till Jim Duke du H’ardcore took on some explicitly sexist comments from the “real” gamers. Worth watching just for the way he enunciates “females”, the fave noun of everyone who’s too hardcore to refer to fellow humans as “women”.

Obviously, feeemales and filthy casuals are the reason gaming is ruined and no longer a “safe space” where a real manbaby can enjoy a skill-based challenge (which it definitely always was, yeah, totally). Everything in video games is now just “too easy” and or “politically correct”, to placate the vocal minority who just doesn’t want to git gud and/or be male. 


[GIF source]

It’s not like Dark Souls, the infamously hard non-casual game, is a staple among our positive examples of gender equal armor. 

But yeah, it’s totally the pandering to emotionally stunted cishet dudes what makes a game “hardcore”, not the difficult, carefully designed gameplay.


Layperson’s perspective and criticism credentials

“Newbies should be seen and not heard”

Our long-time reader @red-queen-on-the-heathen-throne recently brought up important point we never put to words on BABD. It’s related to the “You never played/saw/read this (so shut up)!” rhetoric.
Namely, it’s the fact that perspective of someone who never consumed media in question is just as (if not more!) valid as the fans who knows all the lore, including Thermian arguments which supposedly justify bad design  decisions. 


If a design isn’t good enough to communicate its narrative purpose to someone completely unfamiliar with the story behind it

(so each and every bikini armor falls under this), it fails as a design. As Red Queen puts it:

It’s not the player’s job to figure out what the designer is trying to actually tell them, as opposed to taking what is being communicated through this image at face value, before the game even begins.

And continues:

If this is what the game chooses to present to people who don’t know anything about the game yet, maybe don’t be quite so flippant about it when people get the wrong idea. Because then it actually matters that they don’t know anything about the game. 

So truly, insight of someone who doesn’t know yet how an element that looks ridiculous is explained in-universe (or even by the creators, in some additional material), is quite valuable, as it sheds light on potentially problematic things that lore-savvy fans and creators aren’t capable of noticing. 

Also please remember that parody/satire needs to keep their intent even more clear than stuff that plays the same tropes straight, otherwise Poe’s Law and “ironic” reproduction happens instead of insightful criticism.


“Hand me your geek card!”

We’re often accused by detractors of not having credentials to talk about (usually) a game we’re criticizing, because we supposedly never played it. 
Putting aside a fact that with three of us being huge nerds and pop media consumers, at least one would be somewhat familiar (unless the product is super obscure) – why would that be relevant? No matter if we know the title well or just superficially, our criticism of female visual representation is always the same.

In-depth familiarity of a story behind combat lingerie hasn’t yet once made us ashamed of our words and deeds. If anything, the more we know about any particular Thermian argument, the better we are at picking it apart.
So asking us to “do our homework” before we comment will make the commentary far more critical, not more lenient.


Whether or not we actually do comprehensive research for any particular piece of media depends on many factors, like: 

  • how influential versus obscure the media in question is
  • how interesting the excuses for skimpy female costumes in it are
  • if we’re already familiar with it beforehand
  • if there’s a Wiki for it
  • if a submitter provided some info
  • how much time we have at the moment

So while we try to at least look up everything we talk about, the amount of lore-heavy commentary (and its relative accuracy) varies from post to post.

Because, again, as we put it in our FAQ, this is not a full review blog, but one discussing character and costume design in the very specific context of in-story combat and meta-level sexism.
Finishing a game or knowing a TV/comic series full storyline isn’t necessary for us to point at a fictional lady who goes sword fighting in two pasties and a chainmail thong next to dudes in heavy plate armor and say this is an absurd image. It just is. 


Comic-only rebloggable post HERE

Every time I see someone say, “Who cares?” about either my own posts or those of other tumblrs on the subject of female representation in comics, I want to point out to them the over 5000 people who’ve subscribed to lesstitsnass (holy crap over 5000?!), the other thousands and thousands of people who follow eschergirls, all the other blogs that do redlines, The Hawkeye Initiative’s slew of participants, the multitudes of articles and comments on all the online magazines that discuss the subject, and say, “Them. They care. There’s a whole lot of them. So get your head out of your butt and try to see what they see.”

Karine at lesstitsnass (via lesstitsnass)

As we said before, there are so many levels of wrong with the “who cares?” argument against feminist criticism. And one of counter-arguments is, of course, the massive communities that form around such critique. 

Not to mention how people who ask “who cares?” usually care a whole lot, because facing differing opinions intimidates them – it’s just easier to dismiss someone else’s ideas:


As we’re on the subject, we’re definitely adding @lesstitsnass​ to our related sites, even though it’s been inactive for a couple of years.




Fantasy does NOT have to follow real world rules. Fantasy does NOT have to relate to some real world event, country, concept, law, or history. Fantasy does NOT have to mirror any particular time period or country, even if you’re basing your world on a real world one. There is NO SUCH THING as “historical accuracy” in fantasy as it relates to the real world.

THE ONLY THING Fantasy has to do to be believable is follow the established rules OF ITS OWN WORLD. Fantasy can literally be anything you imagine it to be.

If your fantasy world excludes people of color or those belonging to the LGBT+ community, if it’s grossly misogynistic and white cis-male centric, that’s because YOU made it that way. Stop blaming “historical accuracy” or “believability”. It’s not the genre; it’s YOU.

@bikiniarmorbattledamage I believe this is highly relevant to the rhetoric you guys often combat.


Indeed all of this relates to all the stuff we talk about on BABD.

In the same vein, “that’s how this particular fantasy setting works” is just as bad excuse for gross in-story stuff as “that’s the way real world was once”

Ultimately, no matter the justifying rhetoric, it’s the creative decisions that will be under scrutiny, not some superficially “objective” rules regarding a fictional setting.