In sci-fi, spaceship, submarine, or war movies, why are the men outfitted totally in armor, but the females have skimpy bikinis and high-heeled boots (yet never get wounded)?
From tasteless Whitesnake album covers to the tacky spankbank stylings of mid-’90s comic-book covers, the scantily clad female form has a tortuous and conflicted history with genre fiction of all stripes. In fantasy worlds, 99.9 percent of which probably arise from the dreams of king-size boys masquerading as men, lady warriors manage to slay dragons wearing naught but a fur bikini and a brass brassiere. Genius studio producers can’t help but include the occasional gratuitous sexy alien when they reboot a sci-fi staple (in homage to the gratuitous sexy aliens of the original, natch).
Even hipster girls get a sexy makeover for the sake of movies, TV, and fiction. If it’s not oh-so-twee Winona Ryder in Reality Bites, it’s Steve Almond’s cavalcade of pristine hipster foxes and Tom Robbins’s roguettes gallery of insatiable vixens; or, if you want, anything remotely related to Zooey Deschanel. All cute. All precious. All finer than frog hair in their narrow hipster way.
But hipster girls are more than fungible Manic Pixie Dreamgirls. Why don’t you see more fictitious lady hipsters with terrifyingly bad hairdos and ironically unsexy wardrobes? Where’s the armpit hair and the knuckle tats, the utter lack of makeup or the faint smell of kombucha that she can’t get out of her thrift shop scarf (and doesn’t really care to anyways)?
Much as I’d love to explain away this fundamental schism between reality and entertainment, it runs deep. At least, as you said, the women in the steel bikinis don’t get wounded all that often.