I was skim-reading Twitter as I often do when attempting (see: failing at) to multitask and saw a retweeted post that caught my eye. Let’s Get Rid of “Slut Plate” Forever. Okay so I’ll admit I rolled my eyes at first glance and thought: “oh god not another of these posts” and very nearly just carried on skim-reading but curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to know what she had to say. The first little bit of the post actually had me sighing in relief:
“Ah-ha, I’ve skewered you with my provocative title.
It’s true that it was a just a ruse; I’m not here to talk about abolishing the many, many sets of evocative armor in World of Warcraft. I’m here to talk about getting rid of the disgusting language and thoughts that surround them!”
Well hello! This might be a post I can get behind. See, while I don’t dress at all provocatively in real life (in fact I go to lengths to avoid it), I have nothing against it because each to their own and yes, depending on how you go about it, this so-called “slut gear” can look good. Take Paladin tier 8 as an example. On a certain female races, that may well be one of my favourite gearsets. You perhaps won’t catch me wearing the Black Mageweave set, that’s a little beyond me, but I’m not going to frown on other folk who do want to wear it. Do you know why? Because it’s their choice. And I’m sure even you folk who disagree with provocative gear can agree on that point.
In her post, Apple Cider goes on to talk about how the use of terms like “slut plate” and other such derogatory terms for the types of armour which could be seen as “poledancing get-up” and the folk who choose to wear it (either through transmogging into it, or not transmogging out of it – though more of the terms than this) are more harmful than the gear itself. This, a thousand times, this.
The biggest problem with this type of gear was always not that it exists, but how it exists, and I know this is an argument heard so often that it’s a little tired now but the fact lies that female characters get “slut gear”, guys get full-cover armour. Do you know what happens in Rift? The guys get slut gear too! I do have to admit, that made me smile a little. And apparently I’m not the only one who thinks that this is a good idea.
Now with transmogrification we have so much more choice over our gear’s appearance and so the terms become the biggest problem. There is so much stigma attached to this type of armour that it is at the point in which you do stop and think, “Now, I like the looks of this gear set, but will I be perceived as a slut or a pervy teenage boy if I equip this and don’t cover up with a tabard?” And to what extent is the gear slutty? Sure, there are the obvious culprits but what about armour that shows a bit of cleavage? This is all kinds of wrong. Why should we feel as though we can’t make our avatars look the way we want them to look? This is a game. It is our choice. We’re here to have fun and if we want to wear tankinis, by god, we should be able to wear them with no qualms. I think Apple Cider summed this up pretty well if you ask me:
The term and the ideas around it make me unreasonably upset, because it seems like once again, expressions of self in a largely sexist game environment can only be for someone’s enjoyment and how dare you enjoy it for yourself!
So what I wonder is: why the rebuttals to Apple Cider’s post? There are people who just really haven’t understood the point and guys, it’s a very good point that it’s not necessarily the gear or this one term that is the problem, but the entire derogatory sense around these types of armour. And yes, I’ll admit that myself and my other half do refer to it as “slut gear” between us, but jokingly so. What it comes down to at the end of the day is personal choice and when folk start to put certain styles in a negative light they are doing much more harm than good. When you won’t take somebody who dresses in provocative looking armour, guess what? You’re being prejudice! How a person chooses to make their character look is not a good evaluation of their value as a player or as a person. I really think that some people need to think about that.
Happy sassy plate wearing!