Since people often ask “Alright, well this is fantasy! Why can’t we have boob shapes in plate armor?!” I decided to make a post about it. My frustration hasnothing to do with historical inaccuracy and I’m all for imagination and freedom— but I’d like to (very quickly) illustrate this for you:
I purposely over-emphasized the shape of the two spheres in the armor so you can really think about this.
Look at the shape of the blue cups and the green line, think about the form of that on some beautiful ornate plate armor. A female warrior is charging into battle. In the midst of this, she trips! Or is pushed over, or takes a blow to the chest! So long as the force is on the front of her torso it really doesn’t matter for the conclusion:
She feels a sharp pain in her chest and hears the cracking of bone! Oh no, what’s gone wrong? Well she doesn’t have time to think about that, because she is now dead.
Her sternum just fractured, take another look at that green line, that’s where all of the pressure from any front impact is going to go because of the shape of the two blue cups made for her breasts. The rest of the armor slides around your body, but because of the two cups for breasts that are often made in fantasy female armors, the pressure point is directly on the sternum. The breasts are not going to stop the force of you falling onto them, and because of that the metal is going to push in and bash you in the sternum.
What does a fractured sternum do? Why it goes right into your heart and lungs of course.
(that was the sound of all of my followers inhaling a sharp breath between closed teeth at once)
Here are three great solutions to the problem:
GREAT EXAMPLE OF FANTASY TORSO ARMOR THAT IS FEMININE BUT FUNCTIONAL:
It is usually possible to bind the breasts when fighting if they really are far too large to fit into regular looking armor (there’s padding anyway), but most women can actually fit into a similarly sized male counterpart’s armor quite easily. Even if that’s the case, the armor can be made to have a curve to it without putting all of the pressure in one area, which was actually a style of armor for quite some time as shown here:
And don’t even get me started on the dreaded “Cleavage Window”
The “Cleavage Window” defeats the purpose of having any armor on your torso because it means you’re just going to be leaving open the vital organs the rest of the armor is trying to protect.
If people are going to protect themselves and not have much torso protection, invest in some blocking lessons, because the best defense is to not get hit at all. There are also advantages to not having plate armor, and plate armor was often really expensive anyway.
I’d also like to add that boob bulges direct blows straight to the sternum as well, rather than making them glance to either side. Good post.
This week’s throwback: one of the very first posts I reblogged and a big inspiration for BABD even existing. It is THE Boobplate Post – one with the most comprehensive explanations why semi-spherical individual compartments for each boob in armor are an awful, awful idea.