What do you think of women’s chestplates that have breasts shaped into them, like in the new Power Rangers movie that’s coming out? I always thought just having the chestplates men wear would be a better idea but I’m no expert.

I kinda suspected we were going to get this question, but you can rest easy. That’s a creation by Hollywood and the media. Sensible people wear armor that doesn’t kill you.

Real women wore real armor, real women wear real armor. The armor they wear isn’t any different from the armor men wear. Real women throughout history have hidden their gender and gone off to fight. Sometimes, they got caught. Sometimes, they didn’t. Sometimes, they didn’t care if everyone knew. Sometimes, they flipped the bird in the face of cultural norms and swanned off to defeat male opponents in very public duels.

However, they did so dressed like men. Why? Because what men wear when they fight is what makes sense for a person to wear when they go to war.

Hollywood, media, and other forms of entertainment often feel the need to remind you that women are women. They often use audience ignorance as an excuse to sex up their costumes.

Apparently, for Power Rangers, the color coding and a short skirt over the leotard was no longer good enough.

I will cop to having watched a great deal of Power Rangers when I was younger, I was in the target demographic when the original American production aired in the 90s when the Yellow Ranger’s actress, Thuy Trang’s Power Ranger double was actually male because they used the film of the Rangers battling monsters from the Japanese series and there was only one girl rather than two. The Pink Ranger got a miniskirt, but she also got pants.

Ironically, given how much crap it gets, Power Rangers has always had pretty decent parity for it’s time and, as far as, I know, it’s only made the racist color choices mistake once. It is consistent about having at least two female characters with one being a minority and when they switched them out they just swapped races for the colors people complained about. (An African-American actress, Karan Ashley replaced Thuy Trang as the Yellow Ranger, and Johnny Young Bosch switched in for Walter Emanuel Jones. These two were in the team that made up the first Power Rangers Movie which had a theatrical release. I’ll be honest, doing better it isn’t a high bar to hit.)

The boobplate and the heels are new additions to the American version of the franchise, at the very least. I haven’t seen all the runs of the Sentai so I can’t comment.

Real women wear real armor and their armor looks just like a guy’s.

For more information on this subject, I recommend checking out:

Bikini Armor Battle Damage – This is a fun blog that talks a lot about bad design elements for female characters and will give you a host of terribleness to make you cringe. Good for a reminder that it’s ridiculous and that most female outfits are designed for titillation, not combat efficacy.

Rejected Princesses – This is a Tumblr blog about real life female warriors/women history forgot. If you’re on the hunt for inspiration for your own characters, this might be a great start. (While first impressions are good, always remember to research thoroughly.)

Samantha Swords – HEMA practitioner, you want to read about sword fighting/Historical Martial Arts/Training from a woman’s perspective, then Samantha is a great place to start. Her Sword FAQ’s are predominately female focused. If you hunt around, you’ll find some shots of her in armor.

We do have a #WomenWarriors tag.

I hope that helps!

-Michi

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