It's comfier than a bra.
"It was a mermaid. She was beautiful. Hair covering her breasts... every fucking time...."
— Rhys Darby
A woman is topless or fully naked, and the writers don't want to (or can't) stick an object into the scene to cover her up
. Fortunately, her hair is just
long and thick enough to cover what needs to be covered and preserve her modesty.
A form of Scenery Censor
. Potential source of Fetish Fuel
. Related to the Theiss Titillation Theory
(after all, what will happen if she turns her head just a little, or the breeze just happens to pick up...?)
Named for Lady Godiva
, a noblewoman who rode a horse through the city of Coventry to protest an oppressive tax. Legend says she rode naked: whether "naked" means nude or "stripped" in some metaphorical sense is academic, since most artistic representations show the lady garbed only in her flowing hair.
are depicted like this if the writer doesn't want to use a Seashell Bra
The rare male examples usually include a beard long enough to cover the naughty bits, and generally involve either old hermits or shipwrecked castaways.
Not to be confused with Peek-a-Bangs
. Often overlaps with Rapunzel Hair
. May combine with Hand or Object Underwear
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- Several female celebrities who pose naked in PETA's anti-fur ads do this.
- The woman on the Starbucks logo◊, depending on how you look at it. The logo is based on a 15th century Norse woodcut of a siren, and hasn't always been so SFW. The Pike Place Roast bags have the original logo.
- The logo for Godiva Chocolatier shows a nude woman riding a horse, with one arm tucked across her chest and strands of hair falling down the other side of her chest and covering her crotch.
- This banned commercial featuring a gay Adam with a straight Eve has one. Somewhat subverted, because at one point, you could see one of her nipples.
- Then there's this French ad for a body cream (along with Scenery Censor).
Anime & Manga
- Highschool of the Dead got away with showing the girls naked in episode 6, by having them walk past the screen in profile and using carefully placed locks of their hair, to preserve their modesty as they were headed for the bath. They also used a combination of lather and the girls' hair while they were bathing.
- This is a trait of any Ken Akamatsu manga (Love Hina, Mahou Sensei Negima!, etc.). The character's hair will usually cover where her nipples would be. Strangely, sometimes his characters DO have nipples when wearing clothes or hair. They just disappear when exposed. There is a rare example of it happening with braids in chapter 251 of Mahou Sensei Negima!
- Happens on and off in Ranma ½, mostly with Shampoo. This isn't surprising, considering how much nudity is in the series. What is surprising is that it's Shampoo, the least inhibited and most sexually aggressive of the female cast (sometimes even beyond the not-so-Innocent Fanservice Gender Bender) who is allowed this modesty. On the other hand, among the girls that play Ms. Fanservice most often (mostly female Ranma and Akane), Shampoo is the only one with hair long enough to pull it off (at least until a dead-ringer for female Ranma, without her hair in a pigtail, shows up for a couple of pages).
- A promotional image◊ (probably not worksafe, though you obviously can't actually see anything) for Fate/hollow ataraxia showed both Rin and Rider with Godiva Hair. A bit more justified in Rider's case since her hair is practically long enough to trip over.
- Holo from Spice and Wolf has long hair, but it doesn't always cover her, especially in the manga.
- Tenchi Muyo!
- Ryoko of does this quite often when depicted in the bath. Every so often, they'd actually show her chest completely, and she just wouldn't have nipples. Ryoko's hair isn't even all that long, especially compared to some other characters in Tenchi Muyo!, but she has rather conveniently-placed long sidelocks that fall right on top of her breasts.
- Averted in the DVD version, at least, of the Tenchi Muyo! OVA, in which Ryoko's nipples are indeed visible in scenes in which she is naked.
- To Love-Ru makes full use of this, with the amazing frequency the girls in its cast have to get naked. These scenes were dialed back (dialed up?) in the tankobon, as well as the manga's relaunch To Love Ru Darkness where if you go one chapter without seeing a nipple something is amiss.
- Welcome to the N.H.K. does it with rays of moonlight. Also with actual hair in the anime.
- While GaoGaiGar's regular series had very little fanservice, being meant for kids, apparently someone's mind changed when it came time to make the OVA conclusion, and both Mikoto and Swan are depicted nude with Godiva Hair at least once each. There's a lot more Gainaxing and clothing damage, as well.
- The Puma Sisters of Dominion Tank Police make deliberate use of their long manes of hair to better entice watchers during their striptease in OVA 1.
- Melona in Queen's Blade unusually combines this with Prehensile Hair. While her hair is covering up her naughty bits, it also has a pair of hands on the end, meaning she's groping herself. Weird.
- Most long-haired female characters in Hell Teacher Nube, but especially Kyoko, Ritsuko-sensei, and Hayame. Notably, Yukime has short hair, but for very thin strands that run down her temples and are just barely enough to cover the interesting parts.
- Lafiel pulls this in one episode of Crest of the Stars during her Bath Scene. When her hair's not strategically covering what needs to be covered, it's either camera angles or reflections of light.
- Yoko Littner from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann does this in the movie, in a suitably epic battle against Adiane the Elegant. Hint? The hair's not just for decoration.
- In The "Blues Notes Blues" chapters of Letter Bee, Niche's sister does this with a twist. At Lag's request to "Put some pants on." she wraps her hair around her bikini style.
- In the Fruits Basket manga, Rin's nipple is just barely covered by a thin strand of hair.
- Miaka and Soi have Godiva Hair in Fushigi Yuugi, and in the former's case, we've also got Godiva Vines. Yui, whose hair is much shorter than the other two, is less lucky.
- Used a lot in Shattered Angels. Since female characters are often naked in the anime and seem incapable of bathing themselves (they require another naked female to bathe them), their front fringes serve the useful purpose of barely covering their nipples.
- Used in the anime adaptation of The Little Mermaid, as Marina and her sisters are topless, although Marina's nipples can be seen at some points. The rest of the mer-race avert this apparently, since in one scene that shows not only Marina and her sisters, but their father, grandmother, and various members of the mer-court, Marina and her sisters are the only mermaids topless while every other mermaid and merman wears some kind of robe that has an open slit for the tail and fins to stick out of.
- The girl whose tears turn into a crimson pearl in Xxx HO Li C which Watanuki intends to give to the Spider Lady turns out to have Godiva Hair when her clothes fall off and she begins crying.
- One "How to Draw Manga" book called Girl's Life Illustration File has a section about tactfully rendering nudes. This is given as an option.
- When Boa Hancock met Luffy in One Piece, she spends a lot of time naked or topless for plot-related reasons. Causing her to be covered up like this pretty much whenever her back isn't turned.
- Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt takes this to rather goofy extremes, since Panty uses her underwear as a weapon. So she fights several battles while bottomless, and somehow her hair manages to keep everything censored.
- Leiji Matsumoto uses this several times across various works, and he even admitted that the origin of the Rapunzel Hair that eventually became his Signature Style when drawing women was initially to cover up nudity.
- Played for horror in episode 24 of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Asuka is lying in a destroyed house's bathtub naked after having crossed the Despair Event Horizon and ran away from home. Her breasts are covered by hair while the lower regions are submerged in murky/bloody water (it's implied that she slit her wrists).
- Taken to an absurd level in the Grenadier manga. Someone tries to sabotage Rushuna's participation in a swimming contest by giving her a dissolving bikini. She still wins, and as she gets out of the water we see she's tied her hair into an improvised sling bikini.
- In Katanagatari, considering the sheer length of Togame's hair, it's actually harder to not use this trope when she's naked.
- In the series Marine Boy, the mermaid Neptina wears nothing; her breasts are concealed by her long hair.
- In the Sailor Moon R movie, there is the Kisenian Flower villainess whose hair perpetually covers her otherwise naked chest.
- Used in Naruto when Kabuto makes a naked manefestation of Tayuya of the Sound Five protrude out of his body when using her jutsu.
- The manga version of Neptunia: In one chapter, Nepgear, Rom, Ram and Uni are accidentally regressed into babies, so when they turn back to their normal ages, they're obviously naked. Fortunately, all of the girls' sensitive areas are hidden, including part of Uni's hair hiding her breasts.
- Gunslinger Girl. Triela in a flashback when she first meets Hilshire in the hospital after having her traumatic memories wiped by the Social Welfare Agency. Something of a Fan Disservice moment as she's seriously underage, though her nudity is probably meant to portray her child's innocence, which is subverted as unknown to Hilshire she's been programmed as a cyborg killing machine. A contemporary Shower Scene plays the fanservice straight.
- In the original (unedited) version of Yu-Gi-Oh!, there are a few female monsters that are naked, covering themselves with their hair (like Water Omatics and Dreamsprite). The dub version covers them with swimsuits.
- Older Than Steam: The famous 1486 painting The Birth of Venus is a strong early candidate for this trope, with the goddess Venus using her long hair to cover her lower self.
- Pretty much every depiction of Eve in the past couple centuries.
- X-Men's Storm, not caring for most people's silly nudity taboo, is frequently hair-clad (but more frequently wind effect-clad.)
- Timmain in ElfQuest qualifies, when she's not being a wolf. From time to time, so does her polar counterpart Winnowill.
- In the first issue of Secret Invasion, Reed Richards is performing an autopsy on the Skrull who'd posed as Elektra. An overhead shot gives a full view of her body, with a convenient light blocking her crotch and Godiva Hair over her breasts.
- Parodied and lampshaded in the French comic book Trolls de Troy (a spin-off of Lanfeust): the (human) heroine is once changed by magic into a (nude) mermaid; the villain points out that she doesn't need any Seashell Bra, since it is a "genetic trait" of mermaids' hair to automatically cover their breasts. And it is actually always the case — even when she's hanging upside-down.
- Also lampshaded somewhat in Superman/Batman: one of The Maximums (an Ultimates parody) that Batman and Superman face is a parody of Enchantress named Godiva and she is depicted as nude except for her ridiculously long hair, which manages to keep her bits covered, even when she's fighting.
- The Guardian of Keys in Thorgal appears wearing only this and a golden belt with an oversized buckle. Somewhat subverted later when some nude females do appear in the series. This is mostly due to the publishing in weekly format in Tintin, which was a catholic magazine. The restrictions were dropped when it switched to hardcover albums.
- Referenced in Exiles. During a discussion about nudity, Morph turns into Godiva herself, horse and hair and all.
- Venus from Agents of Atlas, being rather... liberal, spends a few issues like this, but eventually puts on some clothes to "help blend in with the rest of the team".
- Medusa of the Inhuman Royal Family does this. A lot. She has really, really long prehensile hair.
- One issue of Wonder Woman opens with Diana waking up to Ares paying her a visit in her bedroom (no, not like that), and because Diana apparently sleeps au natural she only has Godiva Hair covering her. Oddly, despite having the God of War and major Jerkass Ares right in front of her, she doesn't make any attempts to cover up, though that could be her Amazonian upbringing.
- Empowered also has long hair. Good for her, as often as her super-suit rips.
- Teen Titans: Starfire uses this every so often, particularly when Dick Grayson discovers her in the shower.
- Lori Lemaris, one of Superman's supposed ex-girlfriends.
- Knockout of the Secret Six once emerged from a shower completely naked, with only with a few strands of hairs covering her nipples and groin.
Films — Animation
- The goddess Hecate, in the Hellboy film Blood and Iron.
- This happens in The Last Unicorn after the Unicorn turns into Princess Amalthea.
- Peter Pan: One of the mermaids who live at Mermaid's Lagoon (more specifically, the redhaired one who is bathing at the start of the sequence the mermaids show up in) sports this. The others have either seashell or starfish bras, and there's one who uses a white flower necklace to cover her chest.
- The Little Mermaid was going to use this, and did use it through the storyboarding and the initial pencil tests. It was only abandoned when the colour tests showed the concept to be unworkable without redesigning almost every underwater shot. Seashell Bra were used instead.
Films — Live-Action
- Lindsay Lohan after she wakes up nude (in a church!) in Machete.
- The Scorpion King has a scene with the above-average looking psychic/fortune-teller/seer popping up out of a pool of water in a Godiva Hair moment.
- Brooke Shields' hair was apparently glued to her breasts during some scenes of the 1980 film The Blue Lagoon in order to satisfy censors.
- In Robin Hood: Men in Tights, when Marian steps out of the bath. The camera's primary attention may be on her chastity belt, but her (awful) wig provides Godiva Hair coverage for her breasts.
- In The Mask of Zorro, Elena is left clad in pajama bottoms and hair when Zorro slices her nightshirt off.
- Alyda in the The Unnamable II spends a good portion of the film like this due to the fact that she hates/fears clothing. It's awesome.
- Naturally, the 1955 film Lady Godiva of Coventry features this: Maureen O'Hara as the eponymous noblewoman wear tresses long and luxuriant enough to cover her body entirely.
- Syrena and some of the other mermaids in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides have this. Except for when they have Barbie Doll Anatomy instead.
- In Space Mutiny, one of the Bridge Bunnies has such long hair and such a skimpy uniform that Mike and the Bots immediately assume she's nude.
- Subverted horribly in From Dusk Till Dawn with one such vampire.
- In The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Uma Thurman in the The Birth of Venus scene (based on the painting referred to under Arts, which is also referenced on a playing card later in the film).
- Australian swimming champion, Annette Kellerman in the 1916 film Daughter of the Gods. This caused a great deal of controversy at the time. The film is now lost and only publicity photos survive.
- Mina, when she and Hansel go Skinny Dipping in the healing pond, in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.
- Sound Of My Voice: When Maggie tells the story of how she woke up in a bathtub with amnesia, she's seen walking around the hotel room with her long blonde hair covering her breasts.
- Subverted in The Wheel of Time, when one of the main characters is traveling through a rather rowdy festival and notices that a number of women attempting this don't have long enough hair to pull this off. We (obviously) don't get to see anything.
- In H. Rider Haggard's She, She's hair is long enough and thick enough that it doesn't just cover her nipples, it covers everything. She fastens a belt around her hair and wears it like a dress.
- Marlowe remarks upon a stained glass window featuring a woman with long and convenient hair in The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler. See Mary Magdalen under Myths and Religion below.
- It also features in a photography session in Andy Looney's The Empty City. Chapter 95, to be precise: link here.
- Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid.
- The famous statue in Copenhagen, which is one of the city's main tourist attractions, noticeably does not. She has her hair in a braid on her back.
- Played straight and made into a pun all at the same time in the Xanth series with Godiva Goblin. Her hair has a special talent of covering up exactly where it needs to in order to not violate the "Adult Conspiracy" (who keep children from learning the secret of "Summoning the Stork").
- Appears briefly in The Remarkable Life and Times of Eliza Rose by Mary Hooper. Eliza is dressed as a mermaid for the Midsummer Fair in London and wears her hair like this.
- Subverted in Everworld, as Christopher discovers that the mermaids' attempts to use Godiva Hair are not always successful.
- Played straight in Where's Wally? of all things◊. Made even better by the fact that this is the place Waldo chooses to "hide".
- The Saga Of Ragnar Lodbrok: To fulfill Ragnar's request of meeting him "neither dressed nor undressed", Kraka goes to him covered only in a fishnet while her long hair makes sure that she is nevertheless "bare in no place".
- In the episode "The Jersey Devil" of The X-Files, Claire Stansfield (who played a Neanderthal woman) was required to have her hair tied over her breasts in many shots to keep the Fox censors happy.
- This promotional image◊ for The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
- Both Lady Godiva and Phoebe in Charmed.
- An early David Copperfield magic special included a trick in which he removed a bikini top from a poster of Loni Anderson. Loni (on stage) then removed the hair clips from her poster, causing a Godiva effect on the poster.
- iCarly: A non-nude version was used for Sam in "iQuit iCarly", when she wore a purple skintight bodysuit, as part of their usual attempt to hide the fact that the actress is a female and actually has boobs now. Carly however, wasn't required to do this.
- Apparently averted in The Vicar of Dibley, when Gerri asks what did they do for village fête the year before her arrival in the village...
Owen: We reenacted Lady Godiva; everyone was so disappointed.
Gerri: What, Lady Godiva in a body-stocking?
Frank: No! She was completly nude!
Cropley: Well, I didn't have time to grow my hair long enough, you see…
- To clarify: they were disappointed because this trope wasn't invoked; the sight of the elderly Letitia Cropley naked probably required the application of copious amounts of Brain Bleach.
- The first elimination challenge of season three of Shear Genius was ALL about this trope.
- Used in several photo shoots on America's Next Top Model.
- Peter and Gordon's 1966 hit "Lady Godiva" has the title figure's nude ride witnessed by a porno director, who subsequently offers to make her a star. In the final verse it's revealed she's gotten her hair cut, "now she can afford her clothes".
- The music video for Alanis Morissette's "Thank U" shows her completely nude, with her long hair covering her breasts (her lower nudity was digitally blurred out). According to Pop-Up Videos, the lower nudity was already covered with a latex codpiece, but that just wasn't enough for the censors to let slide.
- Used in the Britney Spears music video "Everytime".
- A dancer in Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger" seems to only be covered by her hair.
- The cover of Ayumi Hamasaki's album LOVEppears (the page pic).
- The cover of Ruslana's Wild Dances album has her topless, wearing only gauntlets and a rag for a skirt. Naturally, her long, black hair is coving her breast (in fact, you have to look pretty hard to even figure out that she is indeed topless). Probably done to go with the whole "wild" theme.
- The PV for "Flower of the Plateau" by mothy has the spotlight character, Mikulia Greeonio, naked but kept modest by her teal hair. Oddly enough, later down the video her lower bits are shown, albeit mutated into a flower, making this a selective example of censorship.
Myths & Religion
- The trope is named for Lady Godiva, the 11th-century Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who, according to legend, rode naked on a white horse through Coventry, England, to get rid of the unfair taxes posed by her family. The first description of the story comes from the 13th century chronicle Flores Historiarum, which states that her hair "covered the whole of her body like a veil". However, the paintings made in medieval times portray her with more graphic nudity and normal, shoulder-length hair, with the Godiva Hair paintings not coming around until centuries later.
Some scholars have speculated that there might have been some confusion in the telling of the tale — that the original story might have said she went out without her clothes, that is, dressed in a shift like a religious penitent, rather than naked (which would not make much sense as a protest). On the other hand, there's little historical evidence to support the story having happened at all, naked or not.
- Many depictions of the Biblical figure Eve, particularly in illustrated childrens' versions of The Bible, use this.
- Also in depictions of Saints; Mary Magdalene is sometimes shown nude with Godiva Hair. According to legend she spent her last years as a hermit clad only in her flowing hair and surviving on miraculous food from heaven.
- One of the scantily-clad groupies in Data East Pinball's Guns N' Roses is shown with Godiva Hair to cover herself, having lost her bikini top.
- The killer mermaids of Fathom all have long flowing hair that conveniently keep their breasts covered.
- ESPN the Magazine recently ran a Body Issue featuring athletes of both genders in nothing or almost nothing along with articles on what makes some people genetically inclined to be successful athletes. Not surprisingly, two of the female athletes had this.
- Cindy Margolis often used this.
- The cover of FATAL has this for just the boobs of the random slave-woman on the cover. If you saw said cover and didn't come to a few conclusions about this game's attitude towards women, you have no-one to blame but yourself.
- The Great Fairy in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Oddly, when someone hacked into the game to lift the hair, they found she actually had nipples, or at least appeared to.
- The Rusalka in Quest for Glory IV — even teasing the players when a lock of her hair is needed as one of the steps to free her. Naturally, it apparently comes from the back of her head. She does make a crack about how she would look with short hair.
- In Riviera: The Promised Land, there's a pair of bath scenes that use Godiva Hair to cover up female characters — at least, those that have enough hair. The ones that don't are covered up in other strategic ways.
- Eve in Painkiller. Her hair still does this, even after her assets are covered up in the expansion. When the camera is at the right angle, this trope fails to achieve its goal.
- Jacqli/Mir's Miros costume in Ar Tonelico 2 has this. The conversation point about the costume focuses on that aspect.
- Bayonetta turns this trope on its head. The title character is a witch whose default wardrobe consists entirely of her own magically manipulated hair. Not surprisingly, she uses her hair for other things sometimes, which in turn makes this both an inversion and an aversion of the trope. And when she's doing some serious witchcraft, not much is left on her person nor to the imagination.
- A good number of female demons/Personas in the Shin Megami Tensei series; while the hand-drawn artwork in their profiles shows them in various (and detailed) stages of nudity, the actual character models have seemingly glued their hair to their chest.
- The Lady of the Forest in Dragon Age: Origins appears naked with godiva hair, as well as strategically placed vines and branches; not quite Scenery Censor or Hand or Object Underwear as it's not a trick of the camera angle nor an overt action on her part.
- Felicia from Darkstalkers manages to combine this concept with Fur Bikini.
- Therazane of World of Warcraft does this, but considering her skin made of cracked rock and a smile of razor-sharp, purple crystals, it's easy to overlook.
- The Witcher
- The dryad Morenn in the American release uses Godiva Hair and a loincloth to satisfy the censors. (These, along with other censoring added to the American release, can be removed with the Director's Cut patch if one is so inclined.)
- The Lady of the Lake has hair like this in all versions of the game. Her hair is long enough to wrap around and provide modesty even below the waist.
- The Japanese and European versions of Robo Aleste have this in the cutscene with Astaros bathing.
- Chaos Witch Quelaag, one of the bosses from Dark Souls, is a naked woman/lava spider hybrid rocking the Godiva Hair. Her sister has it too, but it's less noticeable.
- In El Goonish Shive, Mermaid!Nanase is shown with this during a dream.
- Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures . Happens in a strip, and even more blatant two strips later, with the same character.
- The Order of the Stick
- Schlock Mercenary: Several times in The Sharp End of the Stick this is used to hide Elf's breasts, after the Toughs captured by Shufgar were stripped of their clothing, and crash-landed in their escape.
- Averted by Lady Godiva herself, in a strip of Palindramas.
- Kili of The Dragon Doctors explodes out of her clothes when she turns into a werewolf. Fortunately, she's got very long hair now to cover her up when she turns back.
- Magick Chicks invokes this during shower scenes, such as when Tandy steps out of the shower to belt Melissa and immediately after Mel returns the favor.
- Perhaps never more blatantly done than in one comic of Drowtales.
- Living with Insanity has a nudist. Originally she was covered with this trope, but when Paul Salvi came on board, he decided not to bother.
- Too Much Information has a shoulder devil, Cleopatra, who's a sexy demoness covered only by long tresses of flaming hair.
- Lauren from Jix had Godiva Hair when she changed back to human from Ambis (since Ambis don't wear clothes normally).
- When Erin from Dragon City was temporarily changed into human from dragon, she had hair covering her nipples since female dragons don't wear clothes.
- An early Applegeeks page has a nudist club having a party in one character's room, leading to this.
- The Word Weary: John imagines Elly naked but is so convinced he'll never actually see her nude that he imagines her hair covering her good bits.
- Combined with Censor Steam and Speech-Bubble Censoring in a shower scene from Crossoverkill.
- Miho of MegaTokyo has it when she goes to the bathhouse with Piro while fleeing her rabid fans.
- In Endstone, Kyri wears her hair Godiva-style during a flashback.
- Lucy Pinder, former Page Three Stunna and still "steaming hot" nude model, started the recent "Hairkini" trend in England, with women covering up their nips with long, long hair.
- Ayumi Hamasaki was depicted this way on one of her CD posters.
- Some women who are growing their hair out count attaining the ability to do Godiva Hair as a milestone in hair growth. No word on whether or not they do it in public, though.
Anime & Manga
Films — Live-Action
- The hermit who's taken a vow of silence (played by Terry Jones) in Monty Python's Life of Brian. Like Mr. Natural mentioned above, it only covers his front.
- In Dungeons & Dragons, the wild dwarves do not wear clothing, instead allowing their long beards (and copious body hair) to cover them. The one in the illustration appears to be wearing furry pants. He's not.