We have a sense of humor about this stuff, we really do. Over the years, the women on the cover of Heavy Metal have taken a little criticism for their wardrobe choices. The warrior-sorceress-valkyrie woman wearing a chainmail bikini, or a bust-enhancing breastplate, or some kind of magic lingerie. Yes, yes, yes, we know. But Heavy Metal is after all a fantasy magazine.
Except when it isn’t. Except when, in the face of all the naysayers and critics, it turns out that Heavy Metal is right about something. We’ve heard the comments that the cover women are illogically dressed, that a spear-wielding huntress in a chilly clime would not wear something as brief as, say, what this one is wearing in this illustration, “Snow Leopard,” by the master Simon Bisley (simonbisleyart.com), which was used on the cover of the July 2000 issue of Heavy Metal:
We can hear the naysayers now. “Nay, nay, nay,” they thunder, “never would she wear such a thing. Nay, we say—never!” Well perhaps they are not familiar with Item Ld.132.4 from the National Museum of Denmark, in Copenhagen:
It is a seal-fur g-string, made by the Inuit people of Greenland, meant to be worn by women (don’t you dare call it a jockstrap!) and it dates from the 1800s. An article posted to Atlas Obscura today says that the women wore them with pride, for all the world to see:
According to Peter Toft, the National Museum of Denmark’s Greenlandic fur clothing expert, this beaded, furry thong was intended to be displayed not just during intimate moments, but in polite company. Inside the warm homes of the Greenlandic Inuit, a naatsit “was the only thing worn even when having guests or visiting the houses of other families,” says Toft.
Yes, we acknowledge the “inside the warm homes” part—let’s not split hairs though. The fact is, seal-fur g-strings were a thing, a thing that these Inuit ladies adorned with beads and wore in mixed company.
Who knows what other historical accuracies might lurk within the pages of Heavy Metal? We sure don’t. But next time we find one, we’ll tell you all about it.