In olden days a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking...
If a show has an episode set in the 1800s or early 1900s, or is referring to that era, expect mention to be made of The Ankle Taboo. This is often played for laughs; a picture of a bare ankle will be referred to as pornography, and the sight of one will induce much shock, scandal and monocle-popping. Other times, "can't show your ankles" will simply be used as short-hand to sum up all of the repressiveness of that era. Note that a *lot* of things we tolerate today were severely frowned upon in those days (and vice versa), but the exposed ankle is probably one of the easiest, quickest, and (in today's culture) silliest examples of Values Dissonance
that a show can portray, and thus works best for a quick gag.
A subtrope of Fully-Clothed Nudity
and Our Nudity Is Different
See Also: Foot Focus
, or Changed My Jumper
for when this comes into play with time travelers.
- Les Visiteurs: In a medieval version of this trope, the king considers his mistress lifting her dress past her ankles to be incredibly risque.
- Making Money: Professor Feedle has been dead for several centuries but is still as randy as he was when alive. So when Moist makes a deal with him to let him haunt a strip club, he asks if it's "smutty" and if the women show their ankles.
- In Robert A. Heinlein's Time Enough for Love, Lazarus Long mentions when he travels back in time to 1917 that he is surprised at the thrill it gives him to see a woman's ankle when it happens to get exposed. He also mentions that he is careful not to let anyone catch him looking.
- The Simpsons had an episode set in the 1800s, where the buy-your-photo section of a log flume ride has to deal with a shot of a lady "flashing her private parts". It's her ankle, and the man running the shop claims he'll take care of it before shiftily stowing it in his pocket as if it were porn.