There’s a really weird law in my home state. If a woman between 60 and 200 pounds is walking down the highway in a bikini, she has to be carrying a club with her at all times. I’ve always assumed the logic behind that was the idea that an attractive woman (attractive as defined by the state laws of Kentucky) would not be safe on the streets dressed in such a way. But gaming has taught me a different interpretation. A woman in a bikini doesn’t need a club for self-defense. She needs the club because weapons are the perfect accessory for a suit of armor.
For the first ever Final Friday, I want to take a look at a question that I find many Final Fantasy fans asking. “How is this woman not dead after fighting in such a skimpy outfit?” Whether it’s Tifa Lockhart in her white tank top and mini skirt or Rikku in her yellow swimsuit, it seems common for the ladies of Final Fantasy to protect themselves by not being protected. So let’s take a few minutes to ponder the potential benefits of bikini armor.
Benefit #1: Flexibility
The big problem with heavy armor is that it seriously reduces maneuverability. All those heavy, protective plates make it very difficult to move your arms around. And while the metal plates can deflect some sword strikes, most enemies in Final Fantasy have powerful, armor-ignoring magic. So having the option to jump out of the way is actually more practical than protective gear. “But shouldn’t they at least wear something that covers their body so they won’t get scrapes and bruises when they skid along the ground?” That’s what their male teammates or for. Whenever a woman dives dramatically out of the way, a man should just catch her. Problem solved!
Benefit #2: Appeal
Some may argue that the appeal of bikini armor only benefits the male players of the video game. However, there is some validity to using appeal to distract your enemies during combat. Everyone knows that every man in the world is completely distracted the second he sees a bikini. There’s no resisting it. The male mind is just too feeble. Just imagine it. The guy goes onto the battlefield expecting a big scary man, and instead he sees a woman in a swimsuit. He’s gonna drop his guard; it’s inevitable. That’s when she stabs him in the face. And prays that all the distracted men on her own team aren’t getting stabbed by other girls in bikinis…
Benefit #3: Comfort
Bikini armor is way more comfortable than regular armor. Between the heavy plates and scratchy leathers, armor is not fun to wear. Men don’t like it any more than ladies. But men don’t have the assets to take advantage of a lack of armor. Women are fortunate enough to have all these nice benefits when they aren’t wearing armor, so they get the best of both worlds: practical AND comfortable. “But those tops aren’t offering the kind of support a woman needs for something as athletic as fighting for her life.” Don’t worry, all women are spellcasters or healers, so they barely have to move. No support needed!
Benefit #4: Affordability
Do you know how much armor costs in these games? A cheap suit of armor can run a few hundred gil (which obviously converts 1-for-1 into dollars). Really good armor costs 100 times that. But it doesn’t cost anything to throw on a tank top and skirt from your closet. While all the men are wasting their money on sheets of metal strapped to their chests, the women can buy stuff like weapons, magic, and medicine that the party really needs. Or a pretty ribbon to protect them from status problems.
Benefit #5: Stylishness
The final disadvantage of suits of armor is that they look pretty awful. There’s a reason no one wears a helmet in movies – they look stupid. While armor may be useful as protection, it’s horrible for looking fly in social situations. Conversely, the women of Final Fantasy are always ready to party. No one’s ever gonna say that they look stupid. Bikini armor means that the ladies can always be confident in the fact that they look good in their outfit. As long as the dress code isn’t formal…
There you have it. Five reasons why bikini armor works, and no valid arguments whatsoever for why it doesn’t. It’s tough being a lady in a dangerous and violent world. Luckily, bikinis are always gonna be there, protecting them. So take up your clubs, ladies of Kentucky, and walk the streets in your swimsuits proudly.
Readers, what are your opinions of bikini armor? Is it smart? Practical? Ridiculous? Unrealistic? Misogynistic? Just a bunch of old men looking for an excuse to design eighteen year old women in skimpy outfits? Discuss it in the comments so we can let game designers know exactly how you feel about swimwear as body armor.