Pussy Plate

Warning: If the title didn’t already tip you off, there stands to be a fair amount of vulgarity in this post. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

Recently there’s been a bit of buzz in the blogosphere about the cultural effects of transmogrification (wow, my spell check actually likes that word), particularly in regards to why people may choose the types of outfits they do, how others perceive them, and what the proper terms are we should be using to insult each other, or at the very least, label each other.

In particular, I would like to point to MMO Melting Pot for calling my attention to Apple Cider’s post titled Let’s Get Rid of “Slut Plate” Forever and Terri over at the F word with her post, You’ll catch your death in that. Go read them if you can, it’s OK, I’ll wait a minute.

I’ll be honest, I hadn’t heard the term “slut plate” before this post. So I imagine the “landslide usage” is either in the official forums (which I avoid) or in trade chat (which I ignore). Or it could be a local thing in her realm/battlegroup.

And again, I’ll be honest, I kinda like the term. It’s catchy. Her suggested replacement, “sassy plate” is also cute, but doesn’t roll off the tongue in quite the same way.

But wait! I’m a woman, how can I approve of a term that denigrates a woman’s sexuality?

Well, the answer to this can be found within the depths of my mind. Follow me, please, and watch your step.

*Hands you flashlight, can of Raid, and baseball bat.*

Words are words.

The English language is probably one of the worst in terms of words that have multiple meanings, particularly in the realm of slang and insults.

Take “whore” for example.

I am a self-proclaimed “achievement whore.” How many people honestly think that I’m exchanging sexual favors for achievement points? Hopefully none. (That exchange rate would probably be absolutely terrible and hardly effective at all unless you’re shagging a Blizzard employee.)

For being a non-gender based language (we don’t assign a masculine or feminine article to our nouns), a lot of our casual language is perceived to have gender slants.

Bitch, pussy, and slut are all lumped in as “feminine” terms. Using them in reference to a man is traditionally doubly insulting as you are attributing the original negative definition as well as then putting the spotlight on his penis or potential lack thereof.

Now here’s where I get weird.

I don’t automatically assign a gender flavor to an insult.

To me, bitch, pussy, and slut (as well as dick, asshole, cunt, twatwaffle, etc.) are all gender-neutral. Each term has its own definition that excludes a gender bias.

This probably stems from my own gender issues, or absence of. Remember, I’m a woman perfectly comfortable playing male characters.

When I played my previous MMORPG, I never challenged the assumption that I was male and even played along with it, flirting with individuals that presented themselves as female. (Laugh all you want, but I had a pocket healer for no more effort than a few jokes and compliments.)

There’s a huge tangent we could follow about the underlying problem that being referred to as something other than your identified gender is insulting (basically that gender itself can be an affront), but I’ll leave that bee hive alone for others to poke at with large sticks.

But for purposes of being insulted by me, kindly keep in mind that I attach no gender value to my words. If I call you a bitch, I mean that you’re being difficult with a side order of complaining/whining and just generally being unpleasant. I’m not passing judgement on your gonads.

So what does all that have to do with transmogrification and slut plate?

Apple Cider sums it up with this line:

“Our choice in in-game armor shouldn’t be a way of defining us, especially in a shameful way.”

Gender is an attribute that is often used to define individuals. It is a fairly significant physical difference in the real world and makes quite a bit of difference in how long one has to wait to use the restroom at a crowded public venue, but it really doesn’t come in to play in the game world and it certainly shouldn’t be a shameful definition regardless of environment.

If men want to wear slut plate on their female characters, so what?

If men want to wear slut plate on their male characters (there is some out there, just not much), so what?

If women want to wear slut plate on their male characters, so what?

If women want to wear slut plate on their female characters, so what?

What’s the difference? What’s the problem?

There’s the tired argument about “practicality.”

Why would your character go toe-to-toe with a dragon in a chain mail bikini?

Why the hell would your character go face off against a dragon AT ALL?

When we enter a fantasy world we’re sort of signing away our notions of what’s normal and correct.

I can SHOOT FIRE FROM MY FINGERS and you’re going to quibble about whether or not a few extra inches of steel (enchanted steel, at that) will make a difference in a FUCKING DRAGON finding your soft nibbly bits?

And so, in light of this, I would like to introduce the term “pussy plate” to describe the more conventional full-body, head-to-toe covering. (Remember I assign no gender bias to words, this just sounded good and conveyed a sort of cowardice.)

As Terri stated:

“I like conveying the idea she can be sexual and feminine and powerful and capable all at once without sacrificing any part of [femininity being accentuated in a tanking role, which requires strength and stamina].”

So wear your slut plate, your chainmail bikinis, and your netherweave robes proudly. You aren’t unconventional, you’re fearless. What you lack in steel you make up in sass and ferocity. You’re doing more with less. Conserving natural resources by using less packaging.

Slut plate isn’t demeaning, it’s empowering and it’s just plain fun.

“Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and in high heels.” – Faith Whittlesey

28 comments on “Pussy Plate

  1. My take on such gear is simple. Everyone should have the right to dress their character in skimpy outfits if they want, and I should have the right to assume everyone who does so is a fourteen year old who likes to masturbate to their avatar, or else someone so uncomfortable with their own appearance that they need a virtual avatar to feel sexy.

    I’m sorry. I just find it impossible to take anyone in this kind of gear seriously.

    You can say it’s a fantasy world, but there is such a thing as verisimilitude — the illusion of truth. I can suspend my disbelief, but I also expect some degree of logic from a fantasy world. It’s a little more tolerable on caster gear, since they’re not supposed to be on the front lines anyhow, but I facepalm every time I see a midriff-bearing plate set. (Thank god I found a mog piece that matches pally T13.)

    I suppose it also has to do with the fact that I’m not really a big fan of slutty looks in any reality. I find a classy look on women much more attractive.

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    • Well, I’m a fantasy author. I take fantasy seriously. Sue me.

      I don’t think judging someone by skimpy gear is the same as judging someone based on their class or race because there are a lot of reasons why someone might choose a class or race. Maybe they like Orcs because they’re a musclebound jock, or maybe they like the Orcs’ sense of honor and duty. Maybe someone’s a healer because they want to nurture and look after people, or maybe they just like a role with a bit more pressure and responsibility. Maybe someone’s a tank because they like to be a heroic protector, or maybe they’re just a control freak.

      Whereas if you’re dressing your character like a prostitute, I really only see one motivation for that: you want to look sexy. You either want to drool over your character, or you want other people to drool over them.

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    • But this isn’t the human body we’re talking about. This is a goofy cartoon exaggeration of it. If you really think Michelangelo’s David is a fair comparison to WoW toons, you have a much higher opinion of Blizzard’s art department than I.

      And I really find it hard to believe anyone could have trouble seeing the differences between male and female characters in a game where sexual dimorphism is so great that the opposite genders often don’t even appear to be the same species and where even the most unrevealing armor is literally painted on.

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    • But we’re not talking about a slightly shorter skirt. We’re talking about going into battle in what amounts to lingerie. That’s a fairly big difference.

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    • There could be other reasons because this is the real world and there are all kinds of other factors that could be at play. Real world =/= video game.

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    • People still have motivations for the actions they take in a virtual world. Your real world comparisons don’t hold water because the real world is an entirely different context with an entirely different set of parameters. It’s apples and oranges.

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    • Leit says:

      Okay, so I came upon this post* a little later than the one Tyler had put up, and I’ve already set out my views there. However.

      You say that different parameters apply… but you’re reducing ingame motivation to one parameter. *Your* perception of the wearer’s sexuality. That’s not fair to any other player out there, and ignores or precludes entire worlds of aesthetic sense, nostalgia, humour and culture. It ignores everything that we take for granted when dressing ourselves in the real world and reduces players to lizard-brained caricatures if they so much as pick the wrong set of textures.

      No.

      If I want to dress my tauren dk in a loincloth and stainless steel bustier because I think the Lucy Lawless look is good on her and I want to show off that I have bigger muscles than your li’l humie pansydin, what then?

      If I’m running under the assumption that any armour provides its protection magically, since real armour would have as much effect against Al’Akir’s sword as a used hanky, what then?

      If my culture is capable of dealing with flesh showing without sexualizing it – which it does, I’m from Africa – what then?

      Most importantly, if I don’t consider expressing feminine sexuality to completely invalidate my character’s very real power… what then?

      You reduce the argument to the one parameter that matters to you, and by discarding everything else your own prejudices show through. That… stinks, friend.

      * hur hur

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    • I don’t deny that there are undoubtedly some people who wear skimpy armor for other reasons, but there is nothing short of overwhelming empirical evidence that can convince me they’re anything but a minority.

      For further rebuttals of points raised here, I direct you to my recent blog post on the topic.

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    • 1: We’re not talking about “a little bit of skin.” We’re talking about “armor” that is clearly designed to show as much skin and be as sexually proactive as possible. I’m okay with a little skin. I’m not going to think less of someone whose female mage is in a low-cut robe. It’s when people start running into battle in outfits out of Victoria’s Secret I draw the line.

      2: There are a great deal of medieval soldiers who would argue with your notion that it is impossible to move or fit in plate armor.

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  2. Darraxus says:

    You may get some very strange search hits after this topic lol.

    I honestly dont care one way or another. I only play male characters unless I play on my wife’s account. My wife likes stuff that looks pretty. I didnt really care until trasnmog because I really just went for better stats.

    I dont get what the problem is with the bikini gear. Like you said, we are fighting Dragons and Ogres and summoning demons to fight by our side. I think that chain mail bikinis are more believeable that most things in WoW.

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  3. telanarra says:

    “Well, the answer to this can be found within the depths of my mind. Follow me, please, and watch your step.

    *Hands you flashlight, can of Raid, and baseball bat.*”

    FUCK THAT i’m only going there in VR-041 :)

    Or at least a haz-mat suit!

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  4. zarigar says:

    I tried to read the linked articles but they were very wordy and it is Friday. Is a character wearing a chestpiece that shows off some stomach really the tipping point where someone says “this game is not real!!!!”?

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  5. theerivs says:

    My names is Riv’s and I approve the usage of Pussy Plate…that is all.

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  6. [...] Two Words…Pussy Plate [...]

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  7. [...] read this post today @ clear casting, on of my regular blogs and I did have to have a [...]

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  8. Ophelie says:

    “Pussy plate” made me laugh for a good 10 minutes. Best term ever!

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  9. [...] though, you may look at the lockstepped armies of puckered-up, punch-drunk pansies, and decide that plate is for pussies. So you roll a feral [...]

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  10. [...] while we may not agree on the “reality” of wearing slut plate, Tyler at Superior Realities usually has a few good shots – and they may not even be of [...]

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  11. [...] posts for the month were Pussy Plate (yes, I did start getting some more… interesting search queries) and my participation in the [...]

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