Tag Archives: women warriors

What would be the best way to portray a character who uses her smaller size to her advantage when it comes to fights? She is well trained and knows her stuff but she is often underestimated by anyone who doesn’t know her in the world she lives in because she’s small and female.

I think you’re going to want to be very careful when including sexism, even casual sexism into a narrative especially when violence is going to be an important part of that narrative. The attitude that comes from underestimating smaller characters or female ones isn’t one based in physiology, but psychological and, more importantly, societal attitudes.

These attitudes will not necessarily carry over when dealing with professionals. When working with the characters surrounding her, you’re going to need to remember two very important points: men are not stupid and female fighters are not rare, special creatures that will be ignored on basis of gender or size. Her cover will be blown the minute she starts fighting and will probably be given away long before then on the basis of body type, walk, the way she holds herself, and her movement pattern. Once that cover is blown, if the society she exists in is indeed much more hard lined and patriarchal, she’ll be regarded with a great deal more suspicion.

Professional warriors are a completely different animal than a non-professional one, they might overlook her in the beginning but when they turn around it will be with the same hard intensity that they use to treat everyone else. Unless she’s actively killing every man she comes across, her “secret” won’t be a secret for very long and if she is very good, then she will establish a reputation much more quickly than a male simply because she’ll be easier to pick out. Her position will be precarious.

Some really good reference material for this is: The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce, Protector of the Small series again by Tamora Pierce, The Soprano Sorceress series by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

Below are the materials we wrote up dealing with this issue. You may also want to remember that for female fighters in patriarchal societies the dangers that they face are much higher than their male counterparts and the force they use will usually match that. They are often much harder than the men, and much more willing to take the force further instead of less because more force is often required to be convincing.

Tip:Women Are Not Weaker Than Men

Fight Write: Learn to Fight Like a Woman

Fight Write: Some Thoughts on Height and Weight

-Michi

deepredroom:

A reminder that “male” armour usually works just as well with female bodies. If you’re trying to design something practical, useful and historical looking (or even just something the follows the laws of physics), never ever put in boob cups. Aside from the fact they give the armour a sort of “focus point” for swords, falling down on them would send the shock right into the sternum. Regular plate armour leaves enough space between the chest for small to medium sized boobs anyway. But say the girl underneath is a buxom lass, you can still avoid that cleavage, boob cup shape while leaving enough space for her melons.

But aside from plate, things like the top picture, chainmail and all sorts of leather armour are unisex. I know you might be thinking that the feminine thing to do when designing a female warrior is to show off a bit of thigh or neck or cleavage or something, but really, understand that if the goal of that armour is to protect completely, putting an obvious gap in it is a terrible idea and she’ll surely get stabbed very quickly.

And don’t feed me the “it’s magic, I don’t got to explain shit” line. Bollox. Magic armour and forcefields need to make some sense too. Show me something that LOOKS like it’s generating a barrier over the character instead of just saying “Oh the G-string of Invulnerability is just as good as wearing full plate anyway”. If that’s the case, everyone would wear it. And why can’t they just tie it around their belt? Make me believe that your magic armour and spells have logic to them. If not, please don’t play your world straight. I’m all for super stylised designs as long as they’re sold as such, but if you’re trying to make a world that feels real enough for people to believe and get immersed in, think this stuff out. If you’ve designed someone with sparse, gapped armour that shows skin, give your character a reason to wear it.

This showed up on my crawl while I was packing up (and getting ready to carry) another load of comic books. Figured some of you might like it. We need more recognition for women warriors and a better focus on practical gear for them in fiction. If there’s one thing that really hurts a female character’s believability, its the lack of appropriate dress sense and gear. It’s nice to want to have it all, but sometimes we’ve got to make sacrifices for common sense.

-Michi