Gender-Restricted Gear

A sword is a sword is a sword. You can paint a sword pink and call it a girl's sword, but there's nothing stopping a boy from picking it up and swinging it at the nearest baddie's head, right?


Sometimes, gear is restricted by gender. Want to equip that status-protecting Ribbon? Better have a set of ovaries. You'd think that adventurers of the "wrong" gender would rather suck it up and cross-dress if it meant a battlefield advantage, but the restriction appears to be magically enforced, if it's mentioned at all.

If one gender's gear is demonstrably superior, this can lead to Game-Favored Gender. Compare Gender-Restricted Ability and Gendered Outfit. Contrast Purely Aesthetic Gender and One Size Fits All. A subtrope of Level-Locked Loot, and by extension Phlebotinum-Handling Requirements.


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     Action RPG 
  • Demons Souls has both male- and female-exclusive armor sets.
  • Dark Souls notably averts this... even on the princess dress. While some outfits are clearly designed for a particular gender, there's nothing stopping the Chosen Undead from cross-dressing if they want.

     Eastern RPG 
  • In Chrono Trigger, the Prism Dress, which provides the most powerful defensive option (permanent Magic Barrier, reducing magic damage by 1/3) is only usable by Ayla, Lucca and Marle. Robo, Chrono, Frog, and Magus are out of luck.
  • Chrono Cross has dresses which only females can wear, all of which give sizable bonuses to magic defense.
  • Ever since Dragon Quest III, female characters tend to enjoy more perks than males, due to the addition of gender-exclusive equipment skewed heavily towards women. Though only III, IV and now IX allow you to choose your hero's gender, later games in the series have steadily added more and more female-exclusive equipment, in the form of dresses, tiaras, bustiers, and accessories. Male-exclusive equipment tends to be of the sillier kind, like boxer shorts.
    • Zig-Zagged by Dragon Quest IX: with a special item, male characters can equip female clothes and vice-versa. One exception is the muscle belt, for obvious reasons (it's two bands of fabric that cross over the middle of the chest).
  • Final Fantasy VI generally restricts gear along rough "class" lines— light armor wearers cannot equip heavy armor, etc.— regardless of gender, but the Minerva armor, one of the best sets in the game, can only be equipped by female heavy armor users.
  • Final Fantasy VII has both male-specific (Escort Guard) and female-specific (Minerva Band) armors, each conferring different immunities, some of which are only available on these particular items.
  • In Golden Sun, there's an armor class of dresses that provide their own bonuses, but can only be equipped by females. Especially noticeable in the first game, where the only permanent female party member is Mia.
  • The free RPG Heros Realm also favors females, providing many sets of armor for them while providing nothing for the guys. This gets very obvious very early on, with armor like the "Leather Dress" offering more defense than the gender-neutral "Leather Armor", and spellcasting females getting access to the "Silk Robe" while the males get nothing in comparison.
  • Lufia & The Fortress of Doom divides almost all equippable items along gender lines, due to your two main warriors being male and your two main magicians being female. Most particular are heels, which can only be equipped by Lufia and Jerin; conversely, the attack/speed-boosting shoes can only be worn by the hero and Aguro.
  • In Persona 3, females get two gender-specific pieces of armour (High-Cut Armor and Maid Outfit), while males only get one (Shirt of Chivalry).
  • In Pokémon X and Y, different outfits are available to female and male trainers. Try to buy a dress as a male trainer, and the game will just comment on how expensive it looks.
  • The World Ends with You subverts the trope. While there are some female-only outfits, if you level up the male characters' bravery stat (which governs what level equipment a character can wear) enough, they can equip them. Indeed, some feminine outfits have bonuses which only apply to Neku and Joshua.

  • MapleStory has a sort of meta example due to having different equipment types for males and females.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic has a few rather Stripperiffic outfits labeled for females, but since most equipment is moddable anyway they're entirely cosmetic.
  • Downplayed in Kingdom of Loathing, which allows players of both classes to wear all equipment - but if you wear the wrong gear, you gain various, usually negative effects, like losing 15% of your moxie as a male wearing the vinyl boots, or dealing 10 sleaze damage when wearing the stylish swimsuit, also as a male. Additionally, only certain items will drop as a male or female.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has some equipment with gender restrictions, but they are all purely cosmetic and have a counterpart for the other gender with the same (irrelevant) stats but different look.

     Strategy RPG 

     Tabletop Game 
  • Munchkin has several pieces of gendered equipment, such as the Gentleman's Club, which can only be used by males (and its counterpart, the Broad Sword). There are also items which can be used by either gender but provide a higher bonus to one or the other (such as the Cute Shoulder Dragon: +5 for females, +3 for males). A character's gender starts out the same as the player's, but can be changed by certain cards and effects.

     Western RPG 
  • The Wizardry games do this. Particularly starting around the sixth game, female characters have access to a slew of armors and powerful accessories that males do not. In contrast, there is only one male-only item in the games.
  • Subverted in A Dance with Rogues: Based on the Stripperific Breast Plate-like appearance of most armors you pick up, you'd think that they are all restricted to women—however, placing them in a male companion's inventory somehow magically changes the item's model to suit a male physique. This is true even for armors that are obviously intended as female-only, like Armor of the Maiden.
  • Subverted in Planet Alcatraz, you can wear female clothes if you like (though they offer no bonuses and look rather disturbing).