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Since I got a Twitter lately, I thought I'd expand on one of the thoughts I had on it. Consider this a bonus post.

I've often heard a lot of people on Tumblr complaining about sacrificing an outfit's "quality" to please the "cis heterosexual males." That statement comes laced with a bunch of unfortunate opinions, most prominently that "cis heterosexual males" being pleased is somehow bad by virtue of them being "cis heterosexual males", whereas "cis heterosexual females" being pleased by sexiness is somehow okay. That is, Conan is fine, but Slave Leia is not.

So what I'm thinking is, the issue has been corrupted. It's not about (or shouldn't be about) whether or not an outfit is "too sexy". It's about what that sexiness serves. If the sexiness is used to build character for either the person wearing it or the person who assigned it, that's different. If that purpose flies in the face of the armor's practical purpose, then it's just an excuse. Everything about a character should indicate their personality or that of those around them, not just be used for cheap thrills.

Example of something good: Rainbow Mika in Street Fighter, especially Street Fighter V, wears a rather revealing outfit. But that comes with her territory: She's a Japanese pro-wrestler who fights in silly little battles that are more for fun than the life-or-death battles of Ryu and Ken vs. Shadaloo. Mika is fighting to show off, to put on a spectacle of a performance, so her outfit reflects that by drawing attention to her. Combined that with her attacks and mannerisims involving her butt, and it's quite clear that this girl is supposed to be sexy, but that's okay because it won't actually harm her. That's good sexy.

And now the counterexample: The Amazons in the recent Justice League film have skimped out on armor to wear leather bikinis. Why would they do that? The Amazons are a warrior culture, inspired by the Greek legends. Unless the situation is like that of the Spartans in 300 (which, if I'm not mistaken, the director of Justice League, Zack Snyder, also directed) or the Amazons have diamond skin that can resist swords, arrows and bullets, then all anyone needs to is strike at the exposed patches of skin that essentially serve as bulls-eyes. That's sacrificing character and function for titillation. That's bad sexy.

I couldn't fit it in 280 characters, but there's also the case of Slave Leia in Return of the Jedi. Leia, upon being captured by Jabba, is forced into a sexual bikini and made to sit by his side and look good. But notice Leia doesn't wear anything like this elsewhere. Most of the time she wears really elegant or practical wear. This one time she doesn't was caused by, well, a real lecherous slime rat who forced her to wear it as advertisement. Note the first thing she does when freed is use her own chain to strangle Jabba. That says something both about Leia, that she's in a difficult situation, and about her captor, that he's not a good person. That's good sexy.

There are many examples throughout fiction like this, but by now I think I've made my point. It's not that titillating men is a bad thing. It's when men are titillated at the expense of logic and common sense that it becomes a problem. We only don't complain about guys like Conan or the 300 Spartans because men are used to being on top.

So yeah, nothin' wrong with bein' sexy... unless you're sexy for no good reason.
Tags: essay feminism

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