Our Nudity Is Different
You are not allowed to show *that*?!


(permanent link) added: 2011-10-03 20:45:05 sponsor: batgirl1 (last reply: 2011-10-26 21:57:52)

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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.
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