In recent news, Star Wars twitter as well as other parts of fandom media have blown up in a discourse about Bo-Katan’s boob armor in Season 2 Chapter 11 of The Mandalorian, or as I feel like it should be renamed: The Mammary-lorian.
As someone who has done a lot of research into costuming, theatre, as well as history, here’s my take.
Admittedly, there is a common practice in film, comics, video games, and other media of over sexualizing women’s costumes and armor. Leia’s hutt slayer bikini is the perfect example of a female character being oppressed and forced to wear something misogynistic against her will. Even in games like Mortal Kombat where the women are empowered and bad-ass, they’re often shown in skimpily clad costumes that barely cover their behinds. Many women find the next-to-naked female body an empowering movement, and more power to them, but I believe a significant amount of women I’ve spoken with are borderline disgusted with how female super heroes and villains are often portrayed by male creators.
Where does Bo-Katan fit into this mess? Bo-Katan’s armor is not revealing or overly sexual. It is practical and appears to be shaped to her body for comfort, not for appearances. Yes, she looks fantastic. But she also looks like that bescar could fend off even the hardest of blows.
If you aren’t a woman, a trans man, or someone with breasts, you probably don’t realize how painful it is to bind your chest with binders, sports bras, or METAL ARMOR. It would compress your breathing and straight up wouldn’t fit someone with D-cups or larger.
Fitted armor is also great because the dome shape of the metal would help to more evenly distribute blows.
Historically, women have used flat metal pieces as well as shaped dome armor. Even MEN have had form fitting breast plates to accommodate their pectoral muscles!
In current times, the US military is working on making body armor more comfortable for these exact reasons mentioned above. My fiancé and I both do (different types of) martial arts, and in many forms of martial arts women are required to occasionally wear protective gear. The best gear for women in today’s markets are the ones that concave to their bodies.
I understand the process of wanting to “stick it to the patriarchy” and fighting for men and women as equals but biologically, males and females are not the same. We are built differently, and that’s okay! It’s not very feminist of you to force women to wear uncomfortable armor just so we can “appear the same.” And frankly, I’d rather be comfortable and show off my womanly curves while killing off storm troopers. THIS is the way!
—— By Priscilla Rose