troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
National Geographic Nudity
When I was an adolescent, the only reliable source of breast visuals was National Geographic, a magazine then devoted, as far as I can tell, to doing feature articles on every primitive tribe in the world in which the women went around topless. When I was in junior high school, my friends and I were extremely interested in these articles, specifically the photographs that had captions like "A young woman of the Mbonga tribe prepares supper using primitive implements." We would spend long periods of time staring at the young woman's implements, and we'd wonder how come we'd had the incredibly bad luck of being born in the one society in the entire world (judging from National Geographic) wherein women wore a lot of clothes.
Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys

So here's this highly acclaimed motion picture about a pre-industrial tribe and its customs. Perhaps the film details this tribe's interactions with white folks, or takes place entirely before they arrive. Either way, it's critically acclaimed for its insights into a simpler and more harmonious way of life.

Only there's a part of you that can't help thinking the entire film is nothing but an excuse to have lots of people running around with few or no clothes on.

In fact, almost all PG-13Ė or R-rated movies owe their ability to show any skin to old nudist films in this vein, such as Holiday in the Sun or Garden of Eden. The trope originally concerned innocent and rather tame nudist documentaries; when the nudists of the time successfully fought for the right to show nudity on the silver screen for nudist films under the justification that it wasn't sexual, filmmakers used the new loophole to make hundreds of B Movies using the setting to allow them to show flesh.

Things such as The House on Bare Mountain or The Beast that Killed Women nominally took place at a nudist colony or whatnot, but dropped this outside random shots of naked (or usually just topless) women ó and never, ever, naked men.

This trope is dominant on the Australian TV network SBS.

Sometimes this is like Innocent Fanservice Girl on a culture-wide scale. See also Poor Man's Porn for when National Geographic Nudity is used for more titillating purposes. Related to It's Not Porn, It's Art, Our Nudity Is Different.

Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • Several female demons in InuYasha don't bother with covering up and nobody makes a big deal of it. In an earlier chapter Kagome is bathing nude, though that scene might to some degree have been Fanservice.

Art

Comics
  • Richard Corben's Den. In Neverwhere, there are no nudity taboos, although clothing can vary wildly. For instance, Den and Kath, who are buck naked, meet Kang, a warrior who is largely fully clothed with armor and a hooded cape and he never gives any comments about that.
  • Sur les Terres d'Horus: Les Disciples de Ma‚t by Isabelle Dethan is an adventure/detective series set in Ancient Egypt at the time of Ramses II, when it was customary for female servants to be dressed topless.
  • Les Passagers du Vent by Francois Bourgeon, a historical adventure series set in the late 18th century and involving the West African slave trade. Also a bit of white nudity, but in both cases usually female only.

Film
  • The 1937 adaptation of King Solomon's Mines provides a surprising example from The Thirties of topless African tribeswomen.
  • The Mission
  • Rapa Nui
  • Apocalypto
  • At Play in the Fields of the Lord
  • End Of The Spear
  • The Jewel Of The Nile
  • Walkabout (though for most of the film, there's only one tribesman)
  • The Gods Must Be Crazy is another example, although it is a comedy. The protagonist (a Bushman from the Kalahari Desert in Africa) wears only a loincloth that covers his genitals but bares his buttocks. He sets out on a quest across the continent for reasons too complicated to mention here, precipitating a (for him) fascinating voyage of discovery and nonstop Values Dissonance. Along the way he sees many non-Bushman Africans, both black and white, and is puzzled by their "multicolored skins," and the fact they often have different colored "skins" on different parts of their body (i.e., clothes). He also spies a woman in her underwear (a lacy white bra and slip) and wonders why she has covered herself with cobwebs.
  • The French animated movies Kirikou and the Sorceress and Kirikou and the Wild Beast. Award-winning children's movies in Europe; can't be shown in the States without an R rating.
  • The Emerald Forest
  • Ten Canoes
  • Como Era Gostoso o Meu FrancÍs, or How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman
  • As mentioned above, 1950s-1960s nudist "documentaries" such as Blaze Starr Goes Nudist or Garden of Eden take the subculture version of this. The flood of random nudity these films brought was influential in loosening the rules until these movies were all but forgotten afterward ó although there are the occasional throwbacks, such as Nudist Colony of the Dead (1991) or Nudist Camp Zombie Massacre (2010).
  • Although a fictional setting, applies to Avatar, where the Na'vi only wear a loincloth most of the time. Although some strategically placed necklaces/scabbards often hide the females' breasts, there are several scenes where they are clearly displayed.
  • The 1984 film The Bounty, about the famous mutiny, features Mel Gibson, Anthony Hopkins and a fair number of topless Tahitian women. This film was, after all, much more dedicated to historical accuracy than the earlier movies.
  • The 2010 documentary "Babies"
  • Shaka Zulu
  • Medicine Man has several scenes with almost or completely naked men, women and children, including a pair of shots of a line of women buttocks when said women are helping the heroine in her scientific research. But since all naked people are Native American, the movie got a PG-13 rating.
  • Referenced in the Peter Jackson version of King Kong, when the executives to whom Denham is speaking ask if his picture will have "boobies" in it. He is less than amused.
  • Papillon, after the titular character is adopted by some South American tribespeople.
  • Quest for Fire, set in the Stone Age. Ika is naked throughout the movie.
    • In particular, Rae Dawn Chong was cast as Ika because she was the most comfortable with nudity. She remained nude and covered in body paint between takes to stay in character.
  • The Clan of the Cave Bear, set in prehistoric times, does this in the Clan Meeting scene, with several female members of other clans casually bare-breasted.
  • Eurotrip had a nude beach populated entirely by old men, much to the disgust of some of the main characters.
  • Trader Horn (1931)
  • Parodied in Peter Jackson's "documentary" Forgotten Silver, where the first color film ever made was supposedly banned and forgotten because of its extensive National Geographic Nudity.
  • The action-adventure film Baby Secret Of The Lost Legend features topless natives towards the beginning of the film (in spite of its PG rating).

Literature
  • Most of the characters in Things Fall Apart don't wear much clothing. It is explicitly pointed out at one point that Ekwefi must hold her breasts in place to keep them from flapping against her body.
  • An aversion is described in the Doctor Who New Adventures novel Just War; one character in the 1940s has a children's encyclopedia from the 1930s, which has a picture of a South African woman in "tribal dress", and a note saying that at home she doesn't usually have a blanket wrapped around her. He tells Roz Forrester that for years he wondered what she wore instead of the blanket.

Live-Action TV
  • Tribe was a series on The BBC focusing on a white man attempting to live with a variety of tribal cultures. He is forced to be naked on several occasions, and the camera generally avoids showing his genitals. The tribespeople, on the other hand, don't get this.
  • BBC Three's Last Man Standing and Last Woman Standing feature westerners visiting various tribes in order to compete in different forms of combat. Some of the tribes are naked or nearly naked, but the contestants aren't usually required to imitate them.
  • In an episode of Mash, Hawkeye uses the threat of withholding from "Radar" the National Geographic issues with tribal nudity in them in order to get Radar to take care of something for him.
  • The first episodes of Roots has many shots of barebreasted African women before they get caught by slavers.

Newspaper Comics
  • Referenced in FoxTrot as Roger believes Jason to be looking at these kinds of pictures after locking himself in his room having come home with an armload of National Geographic magazines (and is pleased, since Jason is still in the "girls are icky" phase). As it turned out, Jason bought the magazines because they documented the old Apollo missions.

Video Games

Western Animation
  • The Simpsons:
    • When Homer travels as a missionary to a remote Pacific Island to teach the tribe living there about the Bible, he is disappointed not to find the female nudity he expects, so the tribe's chief tells him that since his people converted to Christianity, they have been too ashamed to go naked. Another tribesman then points across the bay and notes: "The naked women are all on that island." Homer looks forlornly toward the other island, from which he can hear female giggling.
    • In the first episode, Lisa is in a play on Christmas in different countries, and does a tribal dance wearing nothing but a tribal mask, a coconut bra and a grass skirt.
  • Family Guy:
    • In an episode when Chris runs away and joins the Peace Corps, he ends up with a tribe that wears only loincloths. When he dons one, the chief points at his crotch and exclaims "Oh my God, Chris! I can see your genitals!" When Chris reacts with embarrassment, the men laugh and the chief continues "It's OK. You can see everybody's junk!"
    • In another episode, after Meg is believed to have wrecked the city's cable access, her teacher blames her for the class not getting to see a video about a tribe with topless, large-breasted women.

Naked People Trapped OutsideNudity TropesNipple and Dimed

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
22469
1