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[-[[caption-width-right:319:[[GoofyPrintUnderwear The overly blatant portrayal of sexual symbols on this statue's underwear]] [[{{Irony}} really goes against the grain!]]]]-]

->''"It's my job to protect you, the viewer, from reality."''
-->--'''Network Censor''', ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''.

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[[folder: ''This page has been deemed Too Inappropriate by the Moral Guardians so they have set up a [[Bowdler/Bowdlerise Family Friendly Substitute ]]
.'']]

To Bowdlerize[[labelnote:Pronunciation]]"Bow" (as in "port bow" or "cow" minus c) plus "dler" (as in Film/SchindlersList) plus "ize" (pronounced like eyes).[[/labelnote]] means to alter existing programs, plays, etc. so they are less rude and/or offensive. Commonly, this takes the form of swapping "curse" words for [[GoshDangItToHeck euphemisms.]] The term is used in a negative sense, by those who think the alterations are often done with a ridiculously high [[OurLawyersAdvisedThisTrope fear of lawsuits]] and/or [[PoliticalCorrectnessGoneMad need for political correctness]]. Sometimes it's understandable - different countries have different standards, and sometimes all it takes to change a show from something for teens to suitable for kids is the removal of a few swear words, darn it. Others are fairly reasonable for broadcast (editing out blood splatter, the careful clipping of a scene where a character is riddled by bullet holes.

But true Bowdlerizing starts when you actually lower the quality of the art or story in some way in the editing, sometimes as little as spoiling jokes or perhaps making villains not look quite as evil, but escalating to damaging the plot, making dialogue confusing, and making heroes look pure and shiny. And at its very 'best,' it can make a situation ''less'' acceptable.

Censorship starts at editing out blood splatter and cus-words, darn it. But it escalates pretty quickly. [[FrothyMugsOfWater Beer may become water even when it's adults drinking]] - even villainous adults. Cigarettes and cigars might be removed even though it's a bad guy smoking. [[FamilyFriendlyFirearms A six-round revolver can become a water gun or slingshot]]. Then they start warping entire characters to entire show so that a character is AmbiguouslyBi, as if a good guy being gay might encourage kids to be gay - when ironically a good guy being Bi might just encourage a kid to experiment. [[NobodyCanDie Then when a situation presents itself where death should be a given, it's always avoided or explained away]]), removing the idea of consequences stemming from dangerous activities. A girl hits a boy because he got her dirty, instead of because he might be groping her. A scene of a parent hitting their child is completely removed, making it look like they are running away over nothing.

If they really ''can't'' remove a death, they might try to remove emotional depth from it, so somebody doesn't seem to grieve that much over their best friend/lover dying - so now you're encouraged to stifle your emotions. Other emotional conversations may be edited, so characters seem to be friends rather than in love. Vital discussions might be removed because they take place in a bar, leaving plotholes. And at its most extreme, there may be the removal of entire episodes, and you might never even get to see the final season of your show because it's DarkerAndEdgier.

Named after Thomas Bowdler (1754-1825), who first did it on Literature/TheBible and Creator/WilliamShakespeare's plays; for instance, changing [[Theatre/{{Hamlet}} Ophelia's drowning]] from suicide to accident. It's worth noting that Bowdler himself created his "Family Shakespeare" versions as a way to introduce Shakespeare's plays to audiences who would otherwise be barred from experiencing them at all, and actively encouraged people to seek out the originals. Sadly, this cannot be said of most modern Bowdlerisers. Before him, the French Duke of Montausier published "ad usum Delphini" versions of works for the Dauphin (heir apparent) of France. "Ad usum Delphini" is now a synonym of this trope.

CulturalTranslation can often contain elements of Bowdlerization. See TWordEuphemism for a mild form of bowdlerization. See also CutAndPasteTranslation (which specifically refers to Bowdlerization in translated works and refers more to the final product than the process) and {{Disneyfication}} (which generally goes further, in not only removing content, but adding new, "kid-friendly" content). See BluenoseBowdlerizer for when it happens here on the wiki.

The inverse of this trope is AmericanKirbyIsHardcore. Yet another related trope is BleachedUnderpants, where a creator self-censors his work to appeal to a broader audience. There is also a CensoredTitle, for when a work seems to be Bowdlerized, but only the title is for marketing purposes.

Tropes which often or always arise from Bowdlerisation include:

* AdaptationalModesty: An adaptation makes a character's usual dress sense much less revealing than in the original, or tones down or cuts incidents involving characters being naked or partially-clad.
* BikiniBar: Strip clubs and other sex establishments have the workers in relatively "innocent" skimpy clothes (usually a bikini) rather than being naked, topless, or in some kind of overt fetish costume.
* BlackBlood and MadeOfBologna: Covering up extreme gore and blood through digital editing or redrawing the carnage so it's less shocking.
* CleanDubName
* DigitalBikini: Using digital editing to add clothes to naked people or to make someone's clothes less revealing. Can be used in conjunction with BikiniBar, though it has also been used in conjunction with bath and shower scenes (at least when Cartoon Network aired anime), hot springs episodes, or any scene of half-naked characters in a locker room-type setting (both animated and live-action).
* EditedForSyndication: Most of the bowdlerization does occur after a TV show is put into syndication or makes its rounds on the international market.
* FamilyFriendlyFirearms: Replacing realistic weapons with more fantastic or less lethal (often silly, in the case of ''Anime/OnePiece'') ones.
* FrothyMugsOfWater: Replacing alcohol with non-alcoholic drinks (usually juice, soda, or water) and hand-waving the drunken behavior as "acting crazy" or "[[TookALevelInJerkAss being a jerk]]".
* GeorgeLucasAlteredVersion
* GoshDangItToHeck: Replacing sensitive words with their "safer" variants ("damn" to "darn", "hell" to "heck", "ass" to "butt" or "rear", etc). WitchWithACapitalB is the same thing, only it focuses on toning down the word "bitch".
* NeverSayDie: Characters can't mention anything about death and the afterlife because it may be too upsetting; even ghosts might be seen as too creepy for kids. In many cases, the word "kill" can ''never'' be used, even if [[JustJokingJustification it's in a comedic context]].
* NoSmoking: Characters can't enjoy a cigarette (be it tobacco--or, in more extreme cases, cannabis, crack cocaine or meth), lest more impressionable viewers imitate what they see.
* NoSwastikas: Removing offensive imagery (usually swastikas or anything having to do with [[UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler Adolf Hitler]] and his Nazi regime).
* OrwellianRetcon
* PositiveDiscrimination: The villain or ButtMonkey can't be a member of a race, ethnic group, religion, or social class that has historically been persecuted. Even when the group the hated character represents ''hasn't'' been persecuted, this trope may still come into play if the group the character represents wields a lot of power in society and threatens a boycott of the work. (However, if a character becomes a villain ''[[ThenLetMeBeEvil because]]'' [[StartOfDarkness of persecution]], that's usually okay to show.)
* ShesAManInJapan, GetBackInTheCloset, and HideYourLesbians: Changing a homosexual or transgender character into a heterosexual or cisgender character (and turning their gay or lesbian relationships into heterosexual ones) for less tolerant audiences.
* SparedByTheAdaptation: Not necessarily Bowdlerisation, but can be if the result is to make the body count of an originally violent work significantly lower, or zero.
* TooSoon: Editing, delaying, or banning something (mostly TV shows and movies) due to the plot being similar to a real-life current event that may be considered to be done in poor taste. FunnyAneurysmMoment is similar, but only applies to past media that somehow "predicts" future bad events.
* TranslationWithAnAgenda
* WeAllLiveInAmerica: This involves the removal of what CarlMacek called "ethnic gesture". It might be as subtle as obscuring onscreen kanji characters or changing the names of people and places. The story may also be said to be set in an ambiguous location that is never named but clearly everyone speaks English. Taken to extremes, the dubbed script is filled with American pop culture references that were not in the original. Scenes of uniquely Japanese (or at least Eastern) conventions are edited out such as Shinto temples, eating of traditional Japanese food such as ramen and sushi, Pachinko parlors, the board games Shoji and Go, or the Tokyo tower.

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!!Examples:

* Bowdlerise/AnimeAndManga
* Bowdlerise/ComicBooks
* Bowdlerise/{{Film}}
* Bowdlerise/{{Literature}}
* Bowdlerise/LiveActionTV
* Bowdlerise/{{Music}}
* Bowdlerise/MythAndLegend
* Bowdlerise/NewMedia
* Bowdlerise/NewspaperComics
* Bowdlerise/{{Pinball}}
* Bowdlerise/ProfessionalWrestling
* Bowdlerise/{{Radio}}
* Bowdlerise/{{Theater}}
* Bowdlerise/VideoGames
* Bowdlerise/WebComics
* Bowdlerise/WesternAnimation
* Bowdlerise/RealLife

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