A Short Discourse on Centaur Wardrobe

Centaur no Nayami cover manga fashion

With a looming busy academic and traveling schedule—papers, exams, shopping, flying, and all that—let us just horse around a bit and have some light fun tonight.

My recent fascination with centaurs all started with an innocuous question from a friend, 2DT, “Do you prefer your centaur girls to wear skirts over their entire horse rumps, or just at the end of their human waists?” In a follow-up tweet, 2DT identifies the core of the question: whether centaur private parts ought to be treated with the same social decorum as human private parts.

Centaur Worries fashion

When 2DT asked the question, I had just started reading this adorable manga, Centaur’s Worries. Centaur’s Worries goes into incredible depth of a mythical world populated by a hodgepodge of various “humans” ranging from centaurs to angels. The themes that arise and are discussed within each chapter are surprisingly intelligent, and can often be allegories for issues we face. Sexuality—and how young women deal with it—is one of those.

Below is my response, inspired by Centaur’s Worries, to the curious question of centaur wardrobe. The discourse assumes that the fantastic centaur culture is integrated into a global culture similar to our own.

Centaur Worries fashion pants skirts boots

Centaur fashion should extend toward the entire lower body not only for aesthetic reasons, but for social, ethical reasons as well. At the surface level, our instinctive fashion sense—shaped by centuries of design and culture—dictates that a complete wardrobe often includes skirts, pants, shorts, lingerie, and other items for our lower bodies. Why should centaurs be deprived of those garments? Even a compromise at the waist precludes far too many styles. For example, it would be difficult to imagine a gorgeous ball room gown that halves its own silhouette and cuts off any sense of flow. Or, if we were to look into traditional and cultural attires, we would sorely miss the styles of Victoria, Southern Belles, qipao and kimonos. Gone too are those sexy pencil skirts or that tight-fit little black dress with stockings. These are but a few sacrifices to fashion that come with such limited, close-minded clothing.

Centaur no Nayami centaur rump

Sexuality is jeopardized as well. Fashion enriches sexuality. In the simplest sense, clothing draws our attention to sexuality by clothing the reproductive organs. The garments over a woman’s breasts and buttocks are signs that those parts of her—and sex—are not for everyone nor for any situation. It precisely that sense of mystery—the taboo, the forbidden zones—that titillates.

Moreover, fashion builds context, which in turn influences how fashion shapes sex. Lacey lingerie and bikini have vastly different sensual meanings because of the environments they are worn in and what they do to the atmosphere. More brusquely explained, a bare vagina in a biology textbook and a glimpse of a woman in an erotica are not the same. Thus, without a proper social context—one that covers centaur vagina—we dehumanize centaur sexuality to mere reproductive functions. In fact, in a culture where fashion is so integrally tied with sexuality, when we deny centaur women clothing for their buttocks, we strip them of their sex appeal, and, worse, their sexuality. On the other hand, a fashion sense that gives centaur girls choice in how and when to display their sexuality is empowering.

Centaur no Nayami Worries fashion discrimination

This distinction between workhorse sex and centaur sensuality is not trivial, nor is the implication of the fashion attached to each. If we consider public attire to be a signature of civilization, then clothing the equine private parts has relevance regarding speciesism. It says that centaur ladies are not mere half-beasts, that they are an equal part of society, and that they are no more or less vulgar than any other species. Although a point can be made about our conception of vulgarity, that is a separate argument. For now, we live in a world that associates refinement, class, and beauty to not flaunting one’s privates. As such, fashion should not be so discriminating as to hold a species to a completely separate, bestial standard. That is, revealing her vagina should be a centaur girl’s personal choice only—as it is for any other girl—and not a centaur-specific wardrobe statement resulting from speciesist pressures. Further, just as it would be degrading to saddle centaurs—voluntary pony play enthusiasts excepted—it is degrading to expect centaurs to bare their genitalia. After all, centaurs are not horses.

__________________________________________________

Centaur no Nayami Worries girl shino

Notes:

I should preempt a few things that might arise in the comments. Yes, I think centaur girls can be adorable. No, I am not attracted to horses or horse buttocks. And, no, I am not into bestiality, although the moral arguments surrounding bestiality is far less cut-and-dry than one might suspect. If a chance to discuss bestiality ever comes, remind me to write about it. Also, remind me to talk about pony play.

About Yi

''lol...you're either sleeping or eating'' ''oh and watching anime'' ''and indulge in fashion.'' ... Ahh the busy life~
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23 Responses to A Short Discourse on Centaur Wardrobe

  1. Fencedude says:

    I’m so glad you’re reading this! Its probably my current favorite manga, and I love how it looks at these issues from a realistic perspective

    I’d never really been a fan of centaurs, but Hime is just delightful.

    It doesn’t hurt that its adorable and yuri, of course.

    • Yi says:

      Yea, I’ve been following this manga for a long time, even before the first English scanlations came out. It’s one of the very few mangas I regularly check for updates these days. It just hits all my manga needa so well. Complex world and culture, cuteness, intelligent discussions, gorgeous art, novelty… etc.

      Hime is an absolute delight! Before this, I would never have imagined centaurs can be so adorable.

      Thanks for reading and the comment, Fencedude darling. ^ ^

  2. Overlord-G says:

    What I like about Centaur’s worries, besides it being an SoL about mythological creatures and its historic backgrounds and other stuff editorial writers like to eat up, is the fact it stars Motaro’s relatives, twice removed. Yup, Motaro’s the guy who got me into centaurs. Either him or centaurs are just badass to begin with. I guess, in short, it’s a 90′s teenager sitcom mixed with Greek Mythology.

    I personally would to like to see a followup on Hime and Nozomi’s relationship…if they’re even scheduled to become a couple, which would be nice.

    Your fashion articles are always most informative, though my only question is how the mangaka managed to make a nude Hime…alluring. Maybe it’s just her voluptuous upper body.

    PS: I wish one of my three nieces were as adorable and lovable as Shino. I also wish my cousin were as kind as Hime.

    • Yi says:

      Yea, the slice-of-life feel of Centaur no Nayami is quite wonderful indeed. It’s the perfect way to show off a fantastic world rich with its own history and culture.

      I wasn’t sure who Motaro is, but a quick google search shows a gruesome centaur from Mortal Kombat… Not really my thing at all, but… ^ ^

      I like what the mangaka is doing with those two so far. They’re intimate friends and I think that’s as much as the manga needs to show right now.

      As for Hime, I think it’s perhaps a genuine, sincere liking of he character that makes her feel alluring, centaur or not. She’s just so adorable! ^ ^

      I have a niece that’s super adorable, but I’d like a centaur cousin too~

      • Overlord-G says:

        Just try to imagine Motaro as a rebellious ancestor of Hime’s who led a resistance against all species that forced them into slavery. That should wipe all thoughts of him being an evil general from Outworld.

        Yes. There are times when subtext is the better choice, though it can’t hurt to wish for their relationship to get a boost.

        I agree with you on Hime’s cuteness and likable personality, but we can’t deny her beautiful upper body either.

        I envy you for having a seemingly well behaved cousin. Unfortunately I’m not as lucky. Still, I do care for her, despite her incessant annoyance, but I won’t go too in depth. Anyway, we both agree that having a cousin like Shino would be wonderful.

        • Yi says:

          I’m really not a fan of Mortal Kombat at all, but the prospect of a past historical centaur that led a civil rights movement or even a revolution does interest me.

          It’s a niece actually, and yes, she’s adorable and well-behaved, but I suspect it’s only because she’s too young to misbehave. I hope in a few years, she would grow up to be a fine lady.

          p.s. I’m glad you care for your cousin. It’s nice to have a big brother figure. ^ ^

  3. Cytrus says:

    Nice article. I do get the impression that you view the topic with the contemporary human fashion as the complete and desirable state of fashion in general, stating that centaurs would be entitled to fully experience that fashion. I would rather think that if centaurs existed, they would be co-creating the definition of fashion, creating as many of their own exclusive designs as there would be those they would be unable to take advantage of because of their build.

    • Yi says:

      Yes, that’s a fair point. I mentioned briefly that this short essay places centaurs in a world where the fashion sense and culture has evolved to something akin to our own. However, I would have to concede that were centaurs real, their specific anatomical structures would have an influence on fashion. Perhaps in such a world, proudly displaying one’s smooth, well-toned, muscular, powerful behinds and genitalia is sexy.

      However, I guess because no such world exists that we currently know of, I have to work with the closest fashion senses we have: our own.

      Thanks for the keen criticism, Cytrus.

      As an aside, I think our culture today is fairly invasive. For example, suit-and-tie is now almost universally accepted work clothes, despite their having no roots in many cultures. So it is not without any basis that I set the centaurs to our fashion sense, rightfully or not.

      Cheers~

  4. Something so delightful only Yi could tackle! :) Your analysis is lovely! I’m reading the manga, too, though I can’t say I’m equally excited. It’s hihlight up to now was for me that one chapter where the Centaurus girl had insecurities about getting into a relationship because of it leading to sex leading to exposion of her genitalia.

    Glad you’re still here with us and write so nice posts :)

    • Yi says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, Ayame. I really appreciate your kind words. ^ ^

      The first chapter is definitely a highlight, and is one of the main reasons I adore this manga. I found the later chapters to be very interesting as well. Although there has not been one that so keenly deals with young women’s insecurities about their body images, the manga does address a few other pointed issues as well–the most fascinating of which I found to be speciesism. Therr has been a few mentions of it in its historical and cultutal context, but it really comes into play in later chapters. There will be a new character who is an Antarctican… I hope you stick with it to see her. That arc is a good story on accepting others, recognizing diversity, and tackling misconceptions about people… All the stuff young kids face in high school and beyond.

      Anyways, thanks for the comment! Always lovely to hear from you. ^ ^

      • Oh right, speciessism. I do remember the wars and the fashion magazine that featured an Antarctican. Ok, it’s decided then :) I may wait for the scanlation to end, then give it one more chance. Domou for your guidance, miko of fashion ;)

        • Yi says:

          I’m glad you decided to pick it up again. The more I read this, the more I am impressed. Besides speciesism (an allegory to our racism issues)—which is also the underlying backbone to this fashion post—there is also a lot the manga says about anthropology. It’s a very imaginative and cared for world. I love it.

          Cheers, Foxy~ ^ ^

  5. ajthefourth says:

    Great post. I’ll have to pick up this manga. ^ ^

  6. gozieson says:

    Been a while hasn’t it?

    I read the manga online and it’s a very intriguing series to read. The characters all have a humanized personality that allows the readers to be able to relate to the scenarios in the manga itself.

    On topic though, I am very interested in your debate about humanized characters having to wear proper clothing. It is true that we can all get someone to wear what we want. But in the context that there are no outside influences that would cause someone to wear clothes, then what would be the reason that would cause these people to wear clothes in the first place?

    Think about it, we can dress up our pets with whatever ridiculous clothes we want as we are their masters and they heed our orders. We groom them, feed them and take care of them, thus we can do whatever we want with our pets. What if a pet had no master? What do they do then? Do they willingly wear clothes by themselves?

    Clothing is all about functionality first. Clothes in the first place is all about protection. If you don’t have protection against the elements, why survive in the first place? Man started to wear clothes when they realized that clothes protect you as you venture out into the ‘mysterious beyond’*.

    I suppose your talk about exuding sexuality and personality can come through clothing, but this is on the basis that wearing clothes has become the norm. In the manga, wearing clothes has already become the norm in this context so it would be quite surprising if there are people in the story who doesn’t want to wear clothes when they are out in the open.

    Other than that, I am glad that you posted on the blog again as I missed these kind of thoughts from this blog which has been vacant for some time now.

    * Hmmm… Land Before Time…

    • Yi says:

      I agree. I love this manga, and I love that it’s so character driven. They are all so lovely! It’s definitely a very intelligent way to address certain social issues, not just for young people. I remember in one particular panel, an angel remarked that if they were all the same species, then the only difference between people would be skin tone; there would be no discrimination then. From that vantage point, it really shows how arbitrary skin color and racism can be.

      Anyways, on topic. I disagree that the primary function of clothing is all about protection. Across cultures, we all have accessories that have no significant practical, physical value. Protection is merely one facet of fashion. Social symbolism is the other. Humans evolved as social creatures, so to relegate the social aspect of clothing to a lesser significance seems unfair.

      Of course, the claim that without outside influences, there would be no reason to wear clothes is true. However, I do not see how that is relevant. Our social behavior and our physical environments are all outside influences, and the scenario that they are absent have little merit for discussion other than being an interesting thought.

      Pets do not willingly wear clothes themselves. And that is precisely the argument in this post. Centaurs are not pets nor animals. They have a self-aware, sentient, decision-making mind. Thus, they should have an autonomy on what they wear, and how they want to fit into the society.

      A parting thought. One difference between our primate ancestors and humans is the development of civilization, or rather, society. And one hallmark of all societies—regardless of how primitive they are—have fashion (whether in the form of clothing or tattoos or any other identification of individuals and social groups).

      Anyways, lovely chat as always, darling! I’m glad you’re with me even after my long absence. ^ ^ Thank you!

  7. Wieselhead says:

    Oh what a creative idea, I never expected to see a manga with centaur people, that looks hilarious, but at the same time it’s quite adorable on the cover ^_^.
    I assume they would have special needs in their surrounding, since the body is very long and of course 6 limbs are there to handle, I wonder how the girl put on her clothes in the first place.

    I guess normal people would look down on them, if they wouldn’t cover their butts and private parts when taking part in the society. To put it bluntly a horseback is quite big and bold. The risk of being molested would be quite high as well, ok the Centaur can kick quite hard so they have some good self defense.

    A horseback with a thong is an interesting thought… I’m curious so I’ll give this manga a try :D

    • Yi says:

      Hime (the centaur girl) is totally adorable, right? I had a lot of fun with this manga. Very creative indeed. And, your assumption is right. Centaurs have a lot of special needs in society: clothes, salons, even the toilets. The manga does a great job in illustrating these little details here and there to shape this world. As an aside, other species have their own needs as well, such as the school for mermaids.

      “The risk of being molested would be quite high as well”

      Indeed. And with such a large, sexy badonkadonk, it’d be hard to keep off molesters. Their kicks can probably kill though. ^ ^

      Anyways, something cute for you, sweetie.

      Not quite a thong, but a bikini is pretty close.

  8. vendredi says:

    One wonders when we shall see similar treatments for other liminal creatures – lamia/naga? Sphinxes? Driders?

    On centaur fashion in particular; I suspect that the lack of centaur clothing is more due to their origins in Greek mythology, where clothing is rather rare in any case regardless of species or divine status (at least in most of the surviving art and sculpture we have based on them!). So this strikes me as just one of those things that get carelessly carried on in fantasy depictions of centaurs; there’s no thought actually given to how centaurs might actually function as a society.

    • Yi says:

      Oh yes, I am similarly fascinated by other liminal creatures, and it was such a delight to see some other species explored in the manga. One of my favorite parts in the manga is a short discussion about hair salons. Horned creatures, centaurs, and angels all have specific needs when it comes to hair styling.

      In later chapters, an Antarctican (snake top, human bottom) is introduced, as well as mermaids. They are fascinating as well.

      I like your thoughtsbon centaur from Greek mythology. Other mythical creatures seem to similarly disrobed often as well, e.g. nymphs, harpies… etc. Of note too is that these creatures often carry a more bestial nature, i.e. centaurs are lustful, raging beasts.

      Thanks for the really fun discussion, hun!

  9. Shance says:

    Greek mythology rarely gave any references on centaur societies and culture, if we are to base from the lore of the past. Since they are treated as spirits of nature, most examples of centaurs are described as being naked. However, there are some stories that also have them wearing clothes, specifically clothes and (mostly) armor for the upper body. An example of this is when the centaur Nessus kills the demigod Hercules by tricking Deianira (lover of Hercules) into making Hercules wear Nessus’s bloodsoaked shirt.

    • Yi says:

      If I remember correctly, centaurs in the Greek tales were described as a lusty, angry race. They tried to carry off all the Lapith women. Untamed beasts, they were also represented as vile creatures, a la the Herculean tale.

      Of course, there are exceptions. Chiron is a wise teacher.

      In any case, you’re absolutely right. There are not many references to centaur society nor their clothing. Most are indeed depicted unclothed, but my guess is that it’s based on the untame bestial nature and, as you said, the association to creatures of the forest.

      Cheers, Shance. It’s good to see you. ^ ^

  10. TheMr42 says:

    Wow! This is a really impressive and thought provoking line of thinking and thanks to Gedata on the AnimeNewsNetwork for linking me to it. I really enjoy Centaur Worries (or A Centaur’s Life as Seven Seas or publishing it as) for the realist overtones it puts on an otherwise surreal context. The way that mythical creatures are depicted to interact with a society we would recognise is fascinating and your points about clothing are an excellent summation of one of the key visual aspects of this. Great read, thank you for your insight. XD

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