Usually when you include sexy characters in a work, you want to put them in revealing clothing for maximum fanservice. But what if these characters are warriors who are expected to wear armor into battle? Whether the technology of the setting calls for mail shirts, full plate armor, ballistic vests, or Space Marine suits, most types of practical armor hide all the "good parts" under layers of protection. Alas, what's a creator to do?
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One of the more common tropes of fantasy illustration is depictions of women in armor, but this is not necessarily unique to fantasy illustration. Armored women have been depicted in art throughout the centuries. Most notable among these are depictions of Joan of Arc. The French folk heroine has been invoked over the centuries by writers and politicians alike and paintings of her in her battle garb abound. Some images have her depicted in full armour while others armour her top half while keeping her lower half in a skirt as in this Victorian era painting by John Everett Millais. Historically there have been women who have donned armor and gone into battle. This is an undeniable fact of history.
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They are women artists who perpetuate exactly the same images as their male counterparts. Are You Ready to Fight? Warrior Princess. Now, were I to go into battle and I knew I would be facing sword and axe wielding foes I would probably weep piteously for my mother.
We know that skimpy armor that shows off a woman's cleavage is rather impractical for combat and that sculpted "boob plate" armor can be a hazard to your health , but on occasions that women did don armor in medieval Europe, what kind of armor did they actually wear? And is shapely, feminine armor a modern convention, or does it have some roots in the Middle Ages? Even if they aren't necessarily historically accurate, depictions of armor worn by men in European historical fictions or European-inspired fantasies tend to have at least some basis in fact, whereas women's armor is often depicted in a more fantastical manner.