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Gender-Restricted Gear

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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?

Wrong.

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.

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If one gender's gear is demonstrably superior, this can lead to Game-Favored Gender. Compare Gender-Restricted Ability and Gendered Outfit (either sex can wear clothing, but it looks different depending on which). Contrast Purely Aesthetic Gender and One Size Fits All. A subtrope of Level-Locked Loot, and by extension Phlebotinum-Handling Requirements.


Examples

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     Action RPG 
  • Demon's Souls has both male- and female-exclusive armor sets.
  • Monster Hunter has a few armor sets that have different names and descriptions per gender but are identical in terms of stats and required materials. For example, the male "Yamato" armor set is identical to the female "Hyuga" armor set, and the male "Ace" armor is identical to the female "Sororal" armor. That said, there are a few armor sets which truly are only available to one gender.

     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.
    • Dragon Quest IX has a special item that lets 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 Hero's 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).
  • This comes up in the Phantasy Star series. Generally, where men wear armor, women wear capes; men wear helmets, women wear crowns. The biggest difference is with shields, which are exclusive to men, while women get what are called "emels", which look like thick gauntlets in illustrations.
  • 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.
  • Handled cleverly The World Ends with You: Wearing more stylish clothing requires a higher Bravery stat, and women's clothes have higher Bravery requirements than men's. The one female player character has notably higher Bravery, but all of them have the same cap and growth rate. Thus, getting the males to crossdress isn't impossible, it just takes more bravery-boosting food. Indeed, some feminine outfits have bonuses which only apply to Neku and Joshua.
  • Xenoblade has at least one early-game armor set which only female characters can wear.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X has a small handful of Casual Wear exclusive to each gender, mainly L and Celica's armor (male and female, respectively), craftable replicas of said armor, and female-exclusive Playboy Bunny outfits.
  • Persona Q has male, female, twin, dog, and robot armor, with each character exclusively using one of those pools. Oddly, Naoto exclusively wears female armor, despite always dressing in male attire throughout the game.
  • In BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm, the True Heroine’s Garb is a set of high-quality endgame armor that can only be worn by female party members. Amusingly, its midgame equivalent, the Magical Girl Costume, is not gender-restricted.
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     MMORPG 
  • 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.
  • Kingdom of Loathing 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.

     Fighting Games 
  • In Dragon Ball Xenoverse and Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, not only are there race-locked costumes, there are gender-locked costumes and even then, it's only a handful - Kid Chi-Chi, Adult Chi-Chi, Launch, Fortuneteller Baba, Towa, Android 18's first outfit and the Student Skirt. The other female-worn outfits can actually be worn by males, so it's not impossible to see a player running around in Android 18's second outfit or any of Videl's outfits.
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