Female Warriors in Fantasy

Okay, so if you spend any time on the Internet and are a fan of fantasy literature, I am sure you’ve seen the movement to provide female fantasy warriors with reasonable body armor. (Also see this i09 article)

I am for this movement. Bikini chain mail has it’s place as a novelty item for those inclined, but when you’re slapping it on an Amazonian character who kicks major ass, it’s just ridiculous. Give the girl something to cover her vitals.

Gathering your entrails up with your fists is not fashionable, ladies and gentlemen.

I thought there had been enough chatter on the Reasonable Body Armor Movement, so I wasn’t going to post anything until I saw a BuzzFeed article on “fierce warrior makeovers” of Disney princesses.

My first thought was “Oooh, cool!” And then I opened the article. The first picture is of Ariel in mermaid form, sporting a purple steel bikini top, vambraces, and a trident. Okay, as she is a mermaid, I’ll give the artist this one. It’s not so far off her regular Disney costume as to cause me any kind of concern.

Then, I scrolled a little further down. The outfits, if you could call them that, became increasingly ridiculous, even for a sexualized fem-warrior fantasy. I have no objection to the art itself–the models are lovely, the digital manipulation on the armor quite well done. But these are not “fierce warriors.”

These are hyper-sexualized images of women pretending to be warriors. These ladies, while attractive, aren’t really the physical type you would associate with a warrior. And then there’s the fact that the armor leaves little to the imagination. Actually, the only thing I’m imagining is whether these women would survive in a duel.  (SPOILER: They wouldn’t.)

If we’re going to produce these images, let’s call them what they are: Sexy Fantasy Warriors. And, let’s throw in some Disney princes in beefcake outfits with large, phallic swords to make it all equally exploitive, mmmmkay? Ladies need some eye-candy, too.

You want a fierce Disney princess warrior? Allow me to present you this palate cleanser of Pocahontas by Jeffrey Thomas–who, while not wearing much actual armor, is not hyper-sexualized. At least this Pocahontas would be able to kick some ass. She’s ripped.

Twisted Princess: Pocahontas by ~jeftoon01 on deviantART

This is from his Twisted Princess series, which you all should totally check out.


2 thoughts on “Female Warriors in Fantasy

  1. I’ve fallen in love with very few fantasy women in my lifetime, and even fewer fantasy women warriors. I can only think of two off the top of my head (Magiere from the Dhampir series and Kitiara from the Dragonlance Chronicles). But I do agree that the “female fantasy armour” as portrayed by artists is incredibly ridiculous. Especially those Disney princess pictures… very creative, but too laughably unrealistic!

    • I know several strong female characters in fantasy, but there is only one warrior character that I can think of off the top of my head: Rali, from The Warrior’s Tale and The Warrior Returns by Allan Cole.

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