Created By: batgirl1 on October 3, 2011 Last Edited By: batgirl1 on October 26, 2011
Troped

Our Nudity Is Different

You are not allowed to show *that*?!

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Page Type:
Trope
Needs a Better Title, Up for Grabs

In olden days a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking...

Different cultures have different ideas about what parts of the body should or should not be shown, or even discussed. For some people on this Earth, a woman's face or hair must not be exposed. For others, you can be topless as long as you keep your shins covered; a girl has to have modesty, after all! Then there's the characters in Fantasy / Sci-Fi settings who are outright scandalized if they discover their orthoblaxer is showing.

Basically, this trope is for those characters that have a notably different definition of "private parts" than most of the audience.

May Overlap with Fantastic Arousal. A subtrope of Fully-Clothed Nudity and Your Normal Is Our Taboo.

Please do not add real life examples unless historical or otherwise well documented.

Examples

Comic Books

Literature
  • In the Night Angel Trilogy, Sethi consider showing ankles to be obscene but have no problem showing breasts. In fact, Sethi wedding dresses are almost more like wedding skirts from the description. Sethi who spend too long living away from home often have trouble readjusting their standards of modesty.
  • the cultures based on the Vorin religion in The Stormlight Archive consider a woman with her left hand bare to be provocative. Commoner women wear a glove to cover it while noblewomen wear dresses with left sleeves that cover the entire arm and hand and button shut.
  • At one point in the Belgariad the fanatic zaelot Relg rants about how Ulgo women tries to entice him by showing their calves and forearms. (Or at least He thinks so).
  • The classic SF story The Wheels of If has a scene on an alternate Earth where belly buttons are considered obscene...but nothing else is, resulting in Barely-There Swimwear of an unusual sort.
  • Discworld:
    • In The Last Hero, we're told there is a religion in Ankh-Morpork which prohibits women from showing their ears, lest they inflame the passions of men.
    • In Unseen Academicals, the wizards are adamant they can't wear shorts that expose their knees, for fear of the effect this might have on women. The one woman who hears this has trouble keeping a straight face.
    • In Making Money, the University's golem-expert is titillated by the prospect of relocating to a place where he'll actually be able to see women's ankles. Presumably it's lucky that he's already a ghost, else he'd have keeled over with heart failure upon actually entering the Pink Pussycat Club...
  • In one of AP Herbert's More Misleading Cases in the Common Law, when a man is charged with indecency for entering the sea wearing the "wrong" sort of swimsuit, a judge goes into a bit of a rant about this, contrasting the 19th century definition of "indecency" used by the municipal council with a more liberal 1920s definition:
    Mr Justice Wool: Stuff and nonsense, constable! The male torso is not indecent. If it is hairy it may be unattractive: but so is the male foot. So is your face; but the Council cannot compel you to drape it. A lady's back is not indecent: it may be attractive, but so are a lady's eyes. The act says "indecency" not "allure". My father wore nothing but drawers. So did I.

Live Action TV
  • In the Cops episode of My Name Is Earl, a foreign Sikh neighbor denies spying on Joy in her trailer and says "Look at the way she dresses! I can see her elbows any time I want to!".

Newspaper Comics
  • Back in the sixties, Mort Walker was told he wasn't allowed to show bellybuttons in Hi and Lois. He protested by featuring a box of navel oranges.

Video Games

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation
  • In The Simpsons, Skinner is horrified when his mother goes on a date in an outfit that reveals her...figure.
    • The Simpsons also 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.
  • In one episode of American Dad!, Stan sets up a deal with Ikea to refurnish all of Iraq so it looks like "your first apartment". This cues a Cutaway Gag of a citizen appreciating how his new home looks, before being appalled at his wife's blatant display of nudity and telling her to put some clothes on. She's fully clothed except for her eyes so she covers up her eyes and immediately trips over a table.

Real Life
  • Throughout the Victorian Era, the sight of a woman's ankle was considered outright scandalous.
  • Kimono Fanservice mentions in passing a fetish for the nape of the neck.
  • The "CAP" Alert Christian movie review website, frequently deprecates movies where females wear "form revealing tops".
  • Burqas.
Community Feedback Replies: 65
  • October 4, 2011
    Andygal
    the cultures based on the Vorin religion in The Stormlight Archive consider a woman with her left hand bare to be provocative. Commoner women wear a glove to cover it while noblewomen wear dresses with left sleeves that cover the entire arm and hand and button shut.
  • October 4, 2011
    Bisected8
    • In The Simpsons, Skinner is horrified when his mother goes on a date in an outfit that reveals her...figure.
  • October 4, 2011
    Unknown Troper
    In Fire Emblem The Sacred Stones the L'Arachel/Ephraim support conversations have L'Arachel panic at the sight of Ephraim's bare shoulder (which he exposed so she could heal an injury to it).
  • October 4, 2011
    SKJAM
    • The classic SF story The Wheels of If has a scene on an alternate Earth where belly buttons are considered obscene...but nothing else is, resulting in Barely There Swimwear of an unusual sort.
  • October 4, 2011
    pcw2727
    possible quote:

    "Suck My Jagar"

    South Park
  • October 4, 2011
    TechUnadept
    Bastin from Two Kinds always hide their feet, wrapping them from ther ball of their toes to their ankles. Word Of God is they have a species wide foot fetish, and thus consider bare feet nudity.
  • October 4, 2011
    Routerie
    I can't think of any examples, but I like the idea.
  • October 4, 2011
    lamoxlamae
    I'd actually merge Old Timey Ankle Taboo into this for now until there's enough ankle-related examples to make their own page. They're pretty similar anyway. Past that, great idea!
  • October 5, 2011
    Ryuuma
    At one point in the Belgariad the fanatic zaelot Relg rants about how Ulgo women tries to entice him by showing their calves and forearms. (Or at least He thinks so).

    Sort-of averted in the Divine Comedy: during the Purgatory, Dante give us a "lovely" rant against the impudent Florence women, "che van mostrando le poppe e il petto" (lit: "That shows breast and boobs") and take advantage of the public baths to expose their bodyparts. Of course, Values Dissonance.
  • October 5, 2011
    somerandomdude
    I'd suggest No Real Life Examples Please just as a precaution; you never know what people are going to start a Flame War over.
  • October 5, 2011
    lamoxlamae
    @Some Random: I don't see why real life examples can't go here if the are historical or otherwise well documented. For example, the "can't show ankles" taboo is historical and well documented, but talking about parents complaining about low-cut shirts in real life is not historical or well documented so would not go here.
  • October 8, 2011
    batgirl1
    @lamoxlamae - thanks for the tip! I think I'll do that.
  • October 9, 2011
    ChimbleySweep
    The "CAP" Alert Christian movie review website, frequently deprecates movies where females wear "form revealing tops".
  • October 9, 2011
    ChimbleySweep
    Also Burqas.
  • October 15, 2011
    BlackbirdMizu
    In the Cops episode of My Name Is Earl, a foreign Sikh neighbor denies spying on Joy in her trailer and says "Look at the way she dresses! I can see her elbows any time I want to!".
  • October 16, 2011
    DaibhidC
    Literature
    • Discworld:
      • In The Last Hero, we're told there is a religion in Ankh-Morpork which prohibits women from showing their ears, lest they inflame the passions of men.
      • In Unseen Academicals, the wizards are adamant they can't wear shorts that expose their knees, for fear of the effect this might have on women. The one woman who hears this has trouble keeping a straight face.
    • In one of AP Herbert's More Misleading Cases in the Common Law, when a man is charged with indecency for entering the sea wearing the "wrong" sort of swimsuit, a judge goes into a bit of a rant about this, contrasting the 19th century definition of "indecency" used by the municipal council with a more liberal 1920s definition:
      Mr Justice Wool: Stuff and nonsense, constable! The male torso is not indecent. If it is hairy it may be unattractive: but so is the male foot. So is your face; but the Council cannot compel you to drape it. A lady's back is not indecent: it may be attractive, but so are a lady's eyes. The act says "indecency" not "allure". My father wore nothing but drawers. So did I.

    Newspaper Comics
    • Back in the sixties, Mort Walker was told he wasn't allowed to show bellybuttons in Hi And Lois. He protested by featuring a box of navel oranges.
  • October 17, 2011
    Arivne
    Live Action TV
    • I Dream Of Jeannie. Executive Meddling forced the redesign of Jeannie's costume to cover up her belly button. In an episode set in Hawaii the other women on the beach were wearing bikinis while Jeannie was wearing a one-piece suit.
  • October 18, 2011
    DisasterFrog
    About the title, how about something like 'Our Nudes Are Different'?
  • October 19, 2011
    AP
    Second "Our Nudes Are Different".
  • October 19, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Can we avoid snowcloning an overused trope? Or at least make it "nudity" instead of "nudes" -- it's about the concept, not the people.
  • October 19, 2011
    peccantis
    "Our Nudes Are Different" is a bad snowclone :/ It's opaque, brings to mind a weirdo "gentleman's magazine"...
  • October 19, 2011
    pinkdalek
    Real Life - Men can get away with it, but visible pubic hairs on women (perhaps poking out of a swimsuit) is considered pretty obscene.
  • October 19, 2011
    bulmabriefs144
    Go with Our Nudes Are Different. Don't care about snowcloning, and it does seem to work.
  • October 19, 2011
    Andygal
  • October 19, 2011
    LeeM
    Web Comics: In the NSFW Dreamwalk Journal / The Widow none of the insect/human hybrids wear any clothing at all - except for woven waistbelts, without which they consider themselves naked.
  • October 19, 2011
    Stratadrake
    The reason why the snowclone doesn't work right is because "nude" as a noun means "a naked individual", and this isn't Our Naked People Are Different, it's Our Standard Of Nudity Is Different.
  • October 20, 2011
    Kurtulmak
    Our Modesty Is Different is better, IMHO, since most of the examples are not even close to nude.
  • October 20, 2011
    KingZeal
  • October 20, 2011
    oztrickster
    Our Nudes Are Different reminds me of a futurama scene where an alien lifts up his shirt during a celebration and scares his tv co-host.
  • October 20, 2011
    Mimimurlough
    Can easily be mistaken for difference between authors รก la ever yother ... is different- trope out there. Moral Nudity Dissoncance, maybe?
  • October 20, 2011
    SharleeD
    • Another Discworld example: In Making Money, the University's golem-expert is titillated by the prospect of relocating to a place where he'll actually be able to see women's ankles. Presumably it's lucky that he's already a ghost, else he'd have keeled over with heart failure upon actually entering the Pink Pussycat Club...
  • October 20, 2011
    Xzenu
    A subtrope of Your Normal Is Our Taboo.
  • October 20, 2011
    JoeG
    In Jack Vance's short story "The Moon Moth", everybody keeps their faces covered at all times by stylized masks that show the wearer's current social standing. Not even spouses ever see each other's naked faces.
  • October 20, 2011
    Stratadrake
    @Mimimir: Snowcloning a "Dissonance" trope is worse than snowcloning a "Difference" trope.
  • October 20, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    This is a bad snowclone. It doesn't follow the same concepts as the other "Our X are Y" tropes.
  • October 20, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Our Nudity Is Different or Our Modesty Is Different makes more sense, but still doesn't quite match the snowcloning pattern, which is about the things having myriad origins.
  • October 21, 2011
    Andygal
    how about Fantastic Modesty?
  • October 21, 2011
    batgirl1
    I don't like the snowclone either, though it might still be better than the original title. Fantastic Modesty comes closer, but seems limited to elves and aliens. There are plenty of perfectly mundane examples. Our Modesty Is Different might work...as for things having myriad origins, well, that's kind of what this is, isn't it? Different concepts of modesty have their roots in different cultures and religions.

    I vote for Our Modesty Is Different, at least until someone suggests something better.
  • October 21, 2011
    Chariset
  • October 21, 2011
    hevendor717
    excuse this post
  • October 21, 2011
    hevendor717
    "Modesty" is a bad choice of word. It's too general. Also, it refers to the "virtuousness" of "covering up" which is far from universal.

    Our Nudity Is Different works.

    Our Indecent Exposure Is Different or Indecent Exposure Dissonance would be more accurate despite not sounding as good.
  • October 21, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    Something like Fantastic Modesty Rules seems best to me.
  • October 21, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Except that "fantastic" is reserved for the Fantasy genre, and this doesn't require fantasy.
  • October 21, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    "Our X Are Different" is for fantastic creatures, and this trope is clearly not that. Don't use that name format.
  • October 21, 2011
    batgirl1
    Noir Grimoir - for some reason, that title makes me think of something from an Evangelist handout. "Modesty rules! It's fantastic! Get some Modesty today!" ;)

    Hevendor - Okay, I looked up Modesty and was reminded that it has more than one definition. I see your point.

    Indecency Dissonance, maybe? Our Indecency Is Different?
  • October 21, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    Cultural Codes Of Modesty then. (Also, "Fantastic" isn't reserved for the fantasy genre, but I'll give you Speculative Fiction.)
  • October 21, 2011
    InsanityPrelude
  • October 21, 2011
    Chariset
  • October 22, 2011
    Stratadrake
    By the way, I think the page quote should be rephrased using "looked upon" rather than "looked on". Whether or not that's actually how the source uses it, it has better meter.
  • October 22, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    I think differing decency standards for actual cultures is covered by Values Dissonance. But focusing on fictional cultures would make a trope.
  • October 22, 2011
    Chariset
    How about G Rated Nudity, as a play on G Rated Sex?
  • October 22, 2011
    Stratadrake
    No, not related.
  • October 22, 2011
    Damr1990
    mhmmm, Modesty mades think about it as in "Humbleness" not as in "Decorum"

    Dress Codes Dissonance?
  • October 22, 2011
    DRCEQ
    • In one episode of American Dad, Stan sets up a deal with Ikea to refurnish all of Iraq so it looks like "your first apartment". This cues a Cutaway Gag of a citizen appreciating how his new home looks, before being appalled at his wife's blatant display of nudity and telling her to put some clothes on. She's fully clothed except for her eyes so she covers up her eyes and immediately trips over a table.
  • October 23, 2011
    Ninjat126
    • In the Night Angel Trilogy, Sethi consider showing ankles to be obscene but have no problem showing breasts. In fact, Sethi wedding dresses are almost more like wedding skirts from the description. Sethi who spend too long living away from home often have trouble readjusting their standards of modesty.
  • October 23, 2011
    Chariset
  • October 24, 2011
    ThreeferFAQMinorityChick
    Back when footbinding was still practiced, Chinese women with bound feet would keep their feet covered up because of the malodorous smell and also because bound feet were fetishized by Chinese men.
  • October 24, 2011
    DRCEQ
    ^ how does that apply to this trope?
  • October 24, 2011
    hevendor717
    Apparently feet were once seen as erotic in western Europe, too. Shoes were like an underwear that came in all sorts of sexy styles. There's greater biological evidence for sexual attraction to feet than breasts and butts. Of course, with the rise of beach culture, and the hyper-nonsexual, ugly, silly depiction of feet in visual media, that time has passed for nearly everyone.
  • October 24, 2011
    DRCEQ
    ^ yeah, but the feet binding thing applies to China, not to western Europe. Nothing saying that it was considered a form of nudity in China.... just that women's feet stink.
  • October 24, 2011
    nman
    • In Weird Al's Amish Paradise music video, a couple of Amish kids are looking at a "dirty" photograph of a woman with her pant-leg pulled halfway up to her knee.
  • October 25, 2011
    crazysamaritan
  • October 25, 2011
    bulmabriefs144
    Our Nudity Is Different. Works.
  • October 25, 2011
    crazysamaritan
    Just makes me think of nonhumans lack attributes, instead. I liked the modesty one better.
  • October 26, 2011
    batgirl1
    Maybe we should just use ALL of the titles via redirects... Launching soon, unless anyone objects.
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