Monster Modesty

...even though he has absolutely no genitals whatsoever.note 

Sean: Look, Wolfman doesn't go to work, he's not like a "guy."
Patrick: What are you talking about? He walks around, he wears pants.
Sean: He had to wear pants. See, those movies were made in the 40's! He had to wear 'em so you wouldn't see his... wolf-dork.
Patrick: Wolf dork?

Monsters are fun. Whether it's a demon, genetic freak, lab accident, or just some kind of alien that happens to look really monstrous, the creators want to show this monster in all its glory. This means they will wear as little as possible to really let the audience see how, well, monstrous they are. Of course, they usually can't get away with a naked monster running around, but they want to avoid Nonhumans Lack Attributes for whatever reason. What do they do instead? Why, they'll slap on a Loin Cloth, pair of underwear, or maybe just some pants. The monsters in these situations are almost always sentient but decide to run around wearing as little as possible, rarely with anyone saying anything.

This becomes really inexplicable when you have a Reluctant Monster character who is horrified by the way he looks. One would think he would want to cover up, but he doesn't.

Sometimes, if a person is transforming into a monster, they may have Magic Pants, invoking this trope. Other times they may have strategically growing natural moss or plants. Often overlaps with Walking Shirtless Scene. This rarely happens to female monsters, but if it does, expect it to have at least a little Fanservice along with it.

Usually, this trope is found in comic books.

Contrast with Exposed Extraterrestrials and Nonhumans Lack Attributes. Not to be confused with Monster Delay, where a monster seems oddly modest about appearing in front of the camera at all.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Despite being an animated suit of armor, Alphonse Elric wears a loincloth to cover where his private parts would be were he human. (Though later he puts that spot to good use as a hiding place.)

    Comic Books 
  • The Thing from the Fantastic Four is a prime example. He was turned into a monster and was traditionally disgusted with his appearance. Despite this, he often just wears blue underpants. There was a time (circa issues 290-300) when the Thing wore a full FF body suit and a helmet to hide his shame. The helmet was to help him heal after a set-to with Wolverine, who took a swipe at Thing's face during a fight over who would take Johnny Storm into custody. More recently he's been wearing pants, but still no shirt. In the a recent reboot of the team, after the Human Torch was believed dead, as the Future Foundation he's taken to actually wearing a full uniform. At various points he's also been seen in a tank top, especially during his stint as a wrestler. The amount of clothing he's wearing at any given time probably has to do with the artist's deadlines as much as anything else.
  • The Mole Man from the Fantastic Four series has an army of Moloids and monsters of varying intellect. More often than not, they all wear multicolored underwear and little else. Odd considering that Mole Man is fully-clothed, highly intelligent, and wants to turn the Moloids into a proper civilization.
  • In Teen Titans, Cyborg doesn't wear anything. He used to wear a jump suit hoodie with the hood up but Beast Boy convinced him he looks better wearing nothing. In Cyborg's case, though, half his body is robotic and he has nothing left to show.
  • X-Men:
    • The Beast is another fine example. He started off looking reasonably normal. During this time, he was covered up almost completely. Once he turned into a furry monster, he stripped down to underwear. This is especially odd since the character is a very educated, polite individual who would normally be the type to dress in a dignified manner. Hank explained at least once, though it may not have been fully serious (or even canonical), that he dresses the way he does because all that fur got downright HOT when all covered up. When he DOES get fully dressed, he's about as dapper as a bulky, stocky man with bright blue fur all over his body can be.
    • Another interesting case is Colossus. He is normal-looking but can turn himself into a metal humanoid. Usually, he wears very little, showing off his metallic form. In his earlier appearances, Marvel Comics editors felt it was unacceptable to have a half-naked man but it was fine if he was made of metal at the time. Because of this, Colossus was shown in full-glory while in his metal form but when it came time to change back into a human, the bare parts of his costume were colored blue. This mandate didn't last long, though.
  • Incredible Hulk:
    • The Hulk often just sports a pair of pants. When Hulk gets a bump in intelligence he often starts wearing clothes. For example, when grey Hulk was thought to be dead and was free from transforming back into Bruce he lived a more normal life and developed a taste for tailored suits.
    • She-Hulk likewise wears very revealing clothes with a combination of this trope and Fanservice.
  • During Marvel Comics' monster-era, many of the monsters would wear a pair of underpants. They ranged from giant space dragons such as Fin Fang Foom to radioactive creations. The non-sentient monsters didn't make much sense, considering they shouldn't know enough to have any modesty while the intelligent monsters should be a bit more selective in what they wear. Case in point, the aforementioned Fin Fang Foom, a giant alien dragon that is from such an advanced race that... they are apparently okay with walking around in underwear. Fin Fang Foom occasionally appears without the shorts, and may not even need them. There is also the question as to how they found giant pairs of underwear.
    • Spoofed to ☠☠☠☠ and back (like everything else) in Nextwave, where Fin Fang Foom's giant monster pants is a source of constant derision. It's the trope image for a reason.
  • Hellboy wears little more than a long coat and brown shorts with a Utility Belt. The animated and live action versions of him gave him long pants, boots (the comic version had hooves), and sometimes even a shirt.
  • Spoofed in B.P.R.D.: When he was introduced, Ben Daimio insisted on having Roger wearing pants. But after actually seeing (a very proud) Roger wearing them, Ben told him to take the pants off again because he looked ridiculous.
  • The Absorbing Man from The Mighty Thor can morph his body into anything he touches (if he touches steel, then his body turns to steel). For whatever reason, he often goes shirtless. Maybe so he doesn't accidentally turn into cloth?
  • Pip the Troll from Marvel Comics' Infinity Watch usually just wore a loincloth: attire usually suited for savages. In fact, many characters on that team had pretty Stripperiffic costumes. They were all aliens, genetic creations, or otherwise metahuman. The guy in the background of this picture wore a cape but also ran around in underwear at different points in his career.
  • The Silver Surfer ran around in silver underwear in his earlier appearances. He has now been reduced to Nonhumans Lack Attributes.
  • Marrina from Alpha Flight and Namorita from New Warriors are both Fish People who wear Stripperific bikinis.
  • Mephisto, also from Marvel Comics, is an odd Eldritch Abomination example of this trope. He's the MU's version of Satan but he often wears a loincloth and cape with nothing else.
  • Martian Manhunter wears a cape, underwear, and a weird x-shape vest that barely covers his chest. Not only is he highly intelligent, he is also a Shape Shifter so he could very easily form a nice suit if he wanted to. On the other hand, maybe the shape-shifting just makes the Martians indifferent to anything related to physical appearance, clothes/nudity included? Or he wears the uniform of a Manhunter (police officer) as seen in the 1998 Martian Manhunter series
  • From DC, most versions of Despero. Athough some fall into Nonhumans Lack Attributes areas.
  • Another DC Universe example, The Spectre, who is a ghost in a green cloak and matching shorts. In Kingdom Come, he was hinted to only be wearing the cloak, as several of his poses had him holding the cloak as if covering up his lower body.
  • For Dr. Manhattan of Watchmen, the level of clothing he wears at a given point of time indicates his growing detachment from humanity. At first, he continues to appear fully dressed after his transformation. But as time goes on, he pares down the uniform more and more until it's barely there at all (just speedos, then literally nothing). (His last TV appearance creates a capsule version of this, going from a rather smart suit on the set to pretty much nothing after his abrupt departure cuts his last ties to Earth.)
  • Wildguard featured the massive rock-man Crag Langley among the contestants vying for a spot on the titular team. Crag doesn't wear a shirt because the large. craggy protrusions on his back would make doing so look really stupid. He does, however, wear pants and boots.
  • Inverted in Atomic Robo: the title Ridiculously Human Robot always wears full pants and usually wears a shirt and sometimes a hat because it helps him fit in better (or as he puts it "I wear pants because it's the law").
  • Tigra from The Avengers is a Cat Girl who usually walks around in just a bikini. Like in the Beast example above, it's been explained that having fur all over your body makes any other style of clothing both impractical and overbearingly hot — and since she's now operating out of Los Angeles, it'd just make things worse.
  • Superman villain Doomsday, in spite of being a berserk, rabid killing-machine, always takes care to wear a pair of green trunks to cover his junk. We see in his first appearance the trunks are the remnants of his containment suit that conveniently survived before blown off by the heroes, though it does seem weird for him to always be wearing them given modesty should be a totally alien concept to him.

    Comic Strips 

    Films — Animation 
  • The Beast in Beauty and the Beast wears only pants and a cape. As the story progresses he wears more clothes and Word of God said that if Belle had never showed up eventually he would have stopped wearing clothes entirely.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Sean and Patrick in The Monster Squad engaged in some Conversational Troping about this trope in regards to the Wolfman in an earlier scene. Sean points out that the Wolfman had to wear pants because those movies were made in the 40s and they didn't want us to see his..."wolf dork." Yeah.
  • Mystique from the X-Men films. You can see scales over her nipples and pelvis.

    Literature 
  • Discworld:
    • Trolls (except Detritus, who wears a Watch uniform, and Chrysophrase, who wears a suit) mostly just wear a loincloth "to conceal whatever it was that trolls found it necessary to conceal."
    • Golems usually avert this (some have been painted to resemble clothes, but in any case they lack attributes), but Going Postal has Gladys the Post Office golem, who wears a dress (and is called Gladys) because Miss Maccalariat objected to a "male" golem cleaning the ladies' restrooms.
  • Discussed in The Bartimaeus Trilogy. Bartimaeus appears to Kitty in a monstrous, demonic form in order to intimidate her... and Kitty tells him to put some pants on. Bartimaeus is baffled by this, as he's never bothered with clothes in that form and didn't think they would go with it very well. Kitty recommends Lederhosen. Then again, when he's in human form he apparently just wears a loincloth if he can get away with it, so maybe spirits just have different standards in general.
  • In the Rainbow Magic series, the goblins wear loincloths when not disguised, and full human outfits when in disguise. In the movie, they also wear shirts and pants.
  • Stone Burners, despite being about six foot tall dragon girl, one of the first points on Olivia's agenda after she regains consciousness is to find clothing.

    Music Videos 
  • Averted with the initial design of The Annoying Thing, also known as Crazy Frog. It appeared in ads and music videos sporting ambiguous genitalia which, after complaint, were eventually censored (with pixelation or black bars) in many locales and later removed from the design completely.

    Video Games 
  • In World of Warcraft, a number of mobs are bare skeletons that still inexplicably wear something like shorts or a short skirt around their hips.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • Goro and Kintaro both wear black briefs, though there have been more substantial variations on their costumes over the years. This was blue for Goro and red for Kintaro, at least in the comics and novelizations, but obviously black in the video games. After adding a loincloth to Kintaro's design (he's still wearing the black briefs beneath it) in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, they seem to have followed this pattern with Goro in MK 9, adding a loincloth and various accessories (wristbands, etc) to Goro's outfit.
    • Not to mention Sheeva, who's a female Shokan, who wears a Stripperific outfit. This is the source of more attention from fans than a four-armed muscular brawler would suggest.
  • The later Geneforge games lampshade this — thahds don't care whether or not they're clothed, and the Shapers that made them are too familiar with thahd anatomy to be concerned about the subject, but thahds that are around outsiders must wear loincloths to avoid "offending delicate sensibilities."
  • Blanka from the Street Fighter series wears torn brown trousers, showing off his bulky, green, orange-haired physique.
  • The Seeq from the Ivalice Alliance often wear just loincloths instead of pants and when they wear shirts they cover very little. Somewhat odd when compared to other races such as the Moogle, Bangaa, Garif, and Nu Mou who are fully or mostly clothed. It is justified for the Seeq since they are basically a race of obese pig men, thus most clothing would not fit them.
  • Certain Pokémon (Machoke is a good example) have clothing, even when found in the wild. Arceus only knows where they get it.
  • The Gargoyle race from the Monolith FPS Blood wear absolutely nothing, accessories or otherwise. While you always encounter them simply as enemies to deal with, the story information and character bios seem to indicate that they are sentient and do possess intelligence to interact on-par with humans. Nevertheless, they are always seen completely in the flesh (literally, as the common variety's full name is "Flesh Gargoyle"). This coupled with their skinny body physique tends to make their choice of attire stand out as well.
  • Dark Souls:
    • The Capra Demon, an infamously savage creature resembling a twelve-foot-tall human with a goat skull for a face. It inexplicably wears a tattered pair of pants. This is made even more odd by its similarly-built cousin, the Taurus Demon, being an example of Nonhumans Lack Attributes (as befits the story given by the game of where all the world's demons came from).
    • In the Updated Re-release, there are bush-like creatures that also wear pants. This case is more justified, as these enemies' garb, gardening tools, and group cohesion help establish that these are past versions of previously-encountered enemies that went feral over the centuries. Of course, their pants-less future selves have no genitalia either, meaning they either lost them over time or simply donned pants purely as an expression of their own (relatively) civilized nature.
  • Dimetrodon, from Legacy Of Heroes, is a superhero/humanoid dinosaur wearing nothing but short pants.
  • The Bokoblins in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword either wear clothes or go without, but they always have some form of underwear worn, to which your companion comments about when you ask her for enemy info. There's also a Running Gag of all the Bokoblin species being obsessed with their undergarments.
  • The behemoths in Final Fantasy XIII and its sequels wear unusually well-made leather shorts, despite being beasts that show no sentience whatsoever.
  • The more human of the two werewolves in Shadow Wolf Mysteries 4: Under the Crimson Moon wears a tattered pair of trousers cut off at the knee.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • The Gargoyles are certainly intelligent, but apparently don't feel the need to wear anything more than loincloths. It's specifically mentioned that Gargoyles don't share all their values with humans, and heavily implied that they cover up as much as they do so as not to creep their human friends out. At least, the ones from 10th century Scotland are like that, gargoyle tribes from other areas (and times) have varying levels of dress. Interestingly, the main cast's elderly member is significantly more dressed than the others. Out of universe, a potbellied, beige-skinned old man would look stranger in a loincloth than the others. In-universe, he could use an extra layer of leather for protection since he's not as agile as he used to be.
  • Ben 10:
  • Futurama:
    • Strangely, Bender suddenly seems to feel the need to cover up in any situation where a human would, such as getting out of a bathtub, or sitting in a steam room. On at least one of these occasions, his towel has fallen... exposing nothing, lampshading just how ridiculous it is for him to be using one in the first place.
      Amy: (noticing Bender's wearing super-tight speedoes) Uck.... They don't leave much to the imagination.
      Hermes: Actually, on a robot they kind of do.
    • Bender's antenna (on top of his head) is generally treated as if it were the robotic equivalent of genitals (Bender calls it "Little Bender", there are jokes made about its size, it's explicitly involved in robot reproduction in "Bots and Bees", etc.), but he rarely if ever covers it, instead tending to cover the portions of his body that a human male would when he wears anything at all.

    Real Life 
  • Averted with real world monstrous animals (bears, rhinos, sharks, etc.). While they're not wearing shorts, most predators do not have noticeable genitalia, so there's no real need for modesty. It's either retracted, covered in fur, or small enough to be ignored. People forget that humans have a dis-proportionally large penis as compared to other predators. So when artists and authors started making humanoid monsters, old timey morality standards required them to draw them covered up.