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Defiant Strip

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Hobbes: You know, there are times when it's a source of personal pride to not be human.
Calvin: [takes off all his clothes] I'm with you.

The opposite of a Shameful Strip, the Defiant Strip is when a character strips naked as an act of protest, or to make a point. The key factors are that they remove their clothing themselves, are not ashamed of their nakedness, and are doing it for some reason other than to flaunt their bodies.

The reason for the strip can vary. If someone else is planning to forcibly strip a character, they may do it first to deny their captors the pleasure and maintain a modicum of control over the situation. If someone accuses them of faking their attributes, they may strip off to prove everything they have is absolutely natural. They may strip off publicly as a protest to draw attention to their cause and embarrass the powers that be.

A common variant is when a character defiantly strips only to become embarrassed and have a Naked Freak-Out when someone new enters the scene. Maybe they're doing it in defiance of one specific person and didn't want to be seen by others, or maybe the newcomers are the few people they didn't want to be caught by (friends, family, love interest, etc.). Most often Played for Laughs but, but can also be Played for Drama.

As the below examples demonstrate, most instances tend to be women.

Compare Battle Strip, which is the prelude to a fight. Also compare with Mooning, where someone shows defiance by baring their buttocks. May overlap with Giving Them the Strip if a character shows no hesitance or shame in getting naked to escape after their clothes have been caught on something or grabbed by someone trying to catch them.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Barracuda: After her mother suffers a Shameful Strip on the auction block at the Slave Market in "Slaves", Maria throws off the hands of the slavers as they come for her and voluntarily removes her gown. She stands naked in front of the market, cowing the audience with her Death Glare.
  • Francine does this at both the beginning and end of Strangers in Paradise.
  • Teen Titans: Raven once asked Kory how she dealt with Wally constantly acting like The Peeping Tom, Kory responds that she just brazenly stripped naked in front of him to get it over with. She mentions it was the longest she ever seen him stand still.
  • X-Men: When Warren / Archangel picked Paige / Husk over her, Stacy X left him a video of her jumping rope naked for him so he'd "know what he missed out on".

    Comic Strips 
  • British comic strip Axa begins with the title protagonist Axa tearing away the top of her uniform, baring her breasts. Axa refuses to be a mindless brood mother in a Crapsaccharine World City in a Bottle. She makes a run for the airlock and escapes into the wild, where her pursuers dare not venture. Axa will later fashion a bandeau top and loincloth from what's left of her uniform.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Cabin by the Lake: Mallory is chained in a basement by a serial killer, who at one point takes her dirty clothes and gives her a robe so she can bathe. Mallory defiantly throws the robe off and stands naked, as if daring him to make a move. He slinks off.
  • Combined with Better to Die than Be Killed in John Wick: Chapter 2. When she realizes John is here to assassinate her, Gianna D'Antonio accepts her fate, removes her dress in front of him and steps into a bath, where she proceeds to slit her own wrists so she can die on her own terms.
  • Lost Highway straddles the line. Even though it's a Shameful Strip since the heroine is forced to strip at gunpoint, her attitude seems to be a Defiant Strip as if to say, "I don't care, asshole."
  • Nine (Musical): At the end of the "Take It All" number, Luisa gradually strips off to symbolise how her husband has taken everything from her. The end of the song has her ripping her bra open, which coincides with her breaking it off with him in real life.
  • Red Sparrow: In an attempted lesson on how being a Honey Trap involves doing distasteful things, Matron orders Dominika to give a male student who tried to rape her in the shower "what he wants". Dominika instead strips completely naked in a sexually dominant fashion and essentially tells the man he is to service her. This proves an Instant Turn-Off, and Dominika explains that what the man wants is "power".
  • A variation of this trope plays a major role in the climax of Stick It. At the National Gymnastics Championships, Mina performs an incredibly complicated routine on the vault without making a single mistake, but doesn't get a perfect score because one of her bra straps inadvertently started showing, which makes her lose points. Protagonist Haley is the next to go, but instead steps up to the horse used for the vault, pulls down her leotard to show her bra strap, and taps the equipment. This action, known as a "scratch," immediately disqualifies her. The other contestants realize what Haley is doing and join the cause, with each woman stepping up, showing her bra strap, and touching the horse, forcing the judges to award Mina the gold medal by default. The gymnasts then team up to deliberately subvert the judges' archaic rules by unanimously deciding the best athlete in each contest and then disqualifying themselves to ensure that she wins the top prize.
  • In Von Ryan's Express, the POWs have not had new uniforms (to which they are entitled) issued by the camp staff, despite their old ones being little more than rags and infested with lice. The prisoners burn their old uniforms and report for parade clad only in their caps and boots. After some initial blustering, the camp commandant has no choice but to issue them new uniforms.
  • A deleted scene from We Were Soldiers features a 2nd Lieutenant fresh out of ROTC trying to boss around a seasoned veteran sergeant. Said sergeant manages to put the LT back in his coming out just wearing his boots and two Medals of Honor on a sash across his chest. The LT salutes him immediately.
  • In Young Lady Chatterley II, Lady Chatterley undertakes a nude public horse ride (à la Lady Godiva) across the estate, recreating an exploit of one of her ancestors as part of a scheme to save the estate.

  • A PG-rated version in Foundation and Earth, when the protagonists have landed on the world of Comporellon in sub-zero temperatures. Bliss is suffering terribly from the cold, but rather than be frisked she throws her heated coat off and points out that the thin blouse and slacks she's wearing underneath couldn't possibly conceal a weapon.
  • In the Millennium Series, when Lisbeth Salander is first brought to live with her legal guardian Holger Palmgren, she decides to take off her clothes and walk around his house naked just to see what he will do. When he chastises her for this, she decides that he is probably not a pedophile, and he becomes one of the few people she trusts.
  • The Raven Tower: In Iraden, sitting naked in front of someone's house is a deadly serious accusation that they have committed a major transgression. Mawat does this outside the palace to accuse his uncle of usurping his throne.
  • In the Ray Bradbury short story "Sun and Shadow", a man named Ricardo stops a photographer from using the poor neighborhood he lives in as a prop for his photoshoot by dropping his pants every time the man tries to take a photo.
  • In Elizabeth Vaughan's White Star, when Lady High Priestess Evelyn realizes that the Archbishop that she serves is corrupt, she angrily tells him that she quits and throws off her gloves, shoes, and ceremonial robes, leaving her in her tunic and underskirt. The Archbishop promptly suffers a heart attack and she walks out with her fiance Orrin Blackheart.
  • In Wizard's First Rule, Denna strips in preparation for her death because all her clothing dates from her Mord-Sith days and she wants to die as herself.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One episode of Boston Legal features a group of women protesting for feminism by marching through the streets of the city topless. They're all arrested and charged with indecent exposure; if a jury finds them guilty, they would be forced to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives. It falls to the firm to protect them; it is ultimately Shirley who gets them off the hook by invoking the spirit of protest that lives in Boston's history. Denny, meanwhile, is frustrated because he expected the women to still be topless at the trial, complaining to Alan that "You took me to the circus and didn't let me see the elephants."
  • Charmed: When a student at magic school conjures up Lady Godiva from the past, she takes her clothes off whenever she feels ignored.
    Lady Godiva: Apparently it's still the only way I can get anyone to listen to me.
  • Degrassi: The Next Generation: In the seventh-season episode "Hungry Eyes", where, after initially taking a job as a spokesmodel for "Purple Dragon" energy drink in order to defuse criticism that she was too "predictable", Emma takes a stand against, no, not the sexual objectification of the models (although she did have some criticism of that, too), but with the company's ideals. She does this by ripping off her Sensual Spandex Purple Dragon outfit on stage in front of the whole school.
  • Farscape shows a two-for-one. When Zhaan offering clothes to a reptilian prisoner, he tries to shake her by opening his robe. She responds by complimenting him on his body, before dropping her own robes entirely and allowing him a long look at her naked body. The prisoner seems equally discomfited and aroused.
  • Game of Thrones: After being subjected to a Shameful Strip several times during her experiences with the Dothraki, Daenerys finally turns it around in Season 6 when she traps her fellow Khals in a building with her and sets it on fire, killing them all; Daenerys herself (fireproof from being the Mother of Dragons) steps out of the building with her clothes burned off, proudly nude as her subjects (including the khalasars that now belong to her) kneel in tribute.
  • Grantchester: In episode #8.3, a group of female students protesting the treatment of women in art and academia strip down to their underwear during a garden party at a college. One of them then strips off completely while making an impassioned speech and is arrested by Geordie. She refuses to get dressed even at the police station, leading to several awkward moments.
  • Grey's Anatomy: Izzie is mocked by Alex for having done some work as a model in the past. After he plasters photos of one of her lingerie photoshoots all over the locker room, she finally has had enough. In one of the show's most iconic scenes, she strips down in front of everyone, inviting them to "check out the booty that put Izzie Stevens through medical school." She then shuts Alex up by saying, "You want to call me 'Dr. Model'? That's fine. Just remember that while you're sitting on two hundred grand of student loans, I'm out of debt."
  • In the season 1 finale of Julie and the Phantoms, Luke, Alex, and Reggie are dressed in enchanted high-end suits by Caleb as he gives them An Offer You Can't Refuse in the form of a musical number. However, once they are able to break free of the spell and reunite with Julie, their outfits have changed to match their usual style, illustrating that they stayed true to themselves and their band regardless of the cost. Luke ditches the jacket and the sleeves of his shirt entirely, as he is The Leader and a Mr. Fanservice; Alex wears his jacket open with his shirt collar and sleeves partially undone, as he is the most gentle, laid-back member of the group; and Reggie sheds the jacket and wears a few extra pins on his vest, fitting his somewhat punk-inspired aesthetic.
  • Nichols: In "The Indian Giver", Ma Ketcham is foreclosing on Lou Feeny's ranch, and the enraged Feeny protests by stripping off his clothes and throwing them at Ma; shouting that she now owns them too. Feeny refuses to get dressed again and Nichols is forced to arrest him and bring him back to town naked.
  • In the 2013 series Red Widow, when crime boss Nicholae Schiller thinks Marta is wearing a wire to spy on him, she strips down to her underwear to prove him wrong, saying her father (also a crime boss) killed "rats" rather than raise them. Schiller is convinced and allows Marta to leave. The catch is that Marta actually was wearing a wire, concealed inside her bra.
  • A case of this happened in the French series Serie Galante in the segment "Ballerina", where two girls attempt to ruin a ballet performance by snipping at the seams of one girl's tutu. During the performance, the girl's tutu keeps slipping as she dances, exposing her breasts. When she realizes that those two girls are trying to humiliate her, she promptly tears her tutu off and continues the dance naked.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Troi's mother is getting married to a man she doesn't love (and barely seems to like) mostly because it's her last chance to be married. Throughout the episode, she's reminded of all the compromises she'll be making, but she doesn't want to call off the marriage. In the end, she decides not to compromise and shows up for the ceremony in the traditional Betazoid wedding attire: nothing. The groom is scandalized and ends the relationship.
  • Yes, Minister: Invoked in "The Right to Know". Jim Hacker's daughter Lucy gets upset at her father's decision to remove the special protective status from Hayward's Spinney, which will place a local badger colony under threat. She plans to stage a protest, which Jim thinks will be a Storm in a Teacup, until he finds out the type of protest she intends: a 24 hour "Save the badger" nude protest vigil at Hayward's Spinney.

  • Nautilus Pompilius: "Striptease" is a song, in which the narrator calls for the Defiant Strip as an act of protest against greedy and extremely violent power holders.
  • Invoked by the cover of Cut by The Slits, which pictures the three members of the all-female group naked from the waist up and covered in mud, reflecting their no-nonsense punk attitude.
  • "Jailhouse Fire" by Laura Veirs:
    Did you see that lady there?
    They stripped her to her underwear
    She took it one step further and stripped to bare

    Myths & Religion 
  • According to a legend dating back to at least the 13th Century, Lady Godiva rode naked through the streets of Coventry to gain a remission of the oppressive taxation that her husband, Leofric, imposed on his tenants. Depending on the source, she may have covered herself with her long hair or even worn a shift. Wearing the latter in public would have been considered scandalous and indecent for a noblewoman at the time.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • This was one of the things that got Sable popular with the fans. Her boyfriend Marc Mero had been getting jealous of her popularity, and he started making her wear unflattering outfits, culminating in forcing her to wear a potato sack. Of course Sable waited until she was in the ring and then ripped the potato sack off to reveal a bikini. There was also the swimsuit competition where she initially wore a conservative top, only to pull it off and reveal latex paint handprints.
  • SmackDown: Terri Poch (Tori) was once challenged by Ivory to an Evening Gown match; the winner is the first to forcibly remove her opponent's evening gown. Vowing not to be humiliated, Tori dropped her own evening gown backstage and tried storming the ring in nothing but a g-string and high heels. (Un)fortunately, the producers managed to stop her before the entrance ramp and convince her to put on a button-down shirt.

    Web Comics 
  • In Schlock Mercenary Dr. Bunnigus, who was genetically engineered to be an exotic dancer and paid for medical school by stripping, manages to break a corrupt starport security guard by complying with his request for a strip search.
  • Pip from Sequential Art has promised to sell a squirrel girl (namely Scarlet) to an online buyer named Eyurin for four thousand British pounds. When Pip can't locate Scarlet and can't refund the money, Eyurin protests by fully disrobing on the front lawn in strip #165. Even Pip's flatmates, Art and Kat, are horrified and squicked at this sight.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake: In the first episode, Fionna loses her job as a tour guide, and her boss Queenie demands she return her uniform. Fionna is mad enough to take her uniform off right then and there, pulling her pants down before Queenie stops her.
  • Bob's Burgers: In "Beefsquatch", Bob gets a cooking segment on a local TV show, but Gene keeps interrupting while wearing a Sasquatch mask. The producers think this makes for good television and encourages their rivalry, which devolves to the point where Bob and Gene fight on camera. Upset at what the TV show is doing to her family, Linda tries to stop the broadcast, first by swearing (which fails because the words she thinks are swears aren't as strong as she thought) then by flashing her breasts on air, which gets them cancelled.
    Linda: This is to save my family! A-boobity-boobity-boobity-boo!
  • In the first episode of Disenchantment, Bean is brought before her father after a typical night of drunken chaos. When he tells her to go and change out of her casual peasant clothes, she takes off her shirt in front of everyone in the throne room and walks out. Zog covers his eyes and threatens to execute anyone who looks at her.
  • In the Rugrats (1991) episode, "Naked Tommy", Tommy decides to take off his clothes when he sees how much fun his dog Spike has being naked. Every time Stu tries to put his diaper back on him, he takes it off again. When Phil and Lil come over, Tommy convinces them to strip by telling them that clothes are only good for getting dirty or wet, and make them feel hot and itchy. When Betty sees the twins naked, she is not happy with this and blames Didi for allowing it to happen (because she and Chaz's crackpot idol says it's a natural phase). This also forces Stu to make a last-minute invention to keep Tommy from taking his clothes off during Grandpa Lou's award ceremony at the Wombat Lodge, but Tommy is able to get the invention off when he uses a fork to pull its mechanism apart. At the end of the episode, Tommy learns how important clothing is and decides not to take his clothes off again, not even when he takes a bath.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode, "Bossy Boots", Pearl turns the Krusty Krab into a teenage paradise called the Kuddly Krab and gives Mr. Krabs, SpongeBob, and Squidward new uniforms to wear. While SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs both like the new uniforms, Squidward does not, and when a sign for the Kuddly Krab gets put up, Squidward tries to knock it down. After Millie and Fred mistake Squidward for a lady when they ask him where they can get something to eat (believing that Mr. Krabs sold the Krusty Krab), Squidward quits out of frustration and rips his uniform off, leaving him naked. At this point, a police officer shows up and puts a ticket over Squidward's groin (which is odd, since Squidward normally doesn't wear pants anyway).

    Real Life 
  • Amanda Palmer: After one of her concerts got a review by the Daily Mail that reported only on a Wardrobe Malfunction and nothing about the music, she responded with a Take That! song entitled "Dear Daily Mail". During the middle of the song she stripped completely naked on stage, then kept on singing as though nothing had happened.
  • Cornell University: A female student wore shorts to practice her thesis presentation and was advised by her professor to dress more modestly, claiming that showing that much skin would distract people. She gave her actual thesis presentation in her underwear as an act of protest.
  • The Femen: This Ukrainian feminist group very often stages their protests topless, writing their messages on their chests, knowing full well that these will get a lot of attention in the photographs of the event.
  • Portland, Oregon: A passenger at Portland International Airport decided to strip naked in protest of invasive TSA security screening. He was arrested, but as non-sexualized public nudity is not illegal in the state of Oregon he was eventually released without being charged with a crime.
  • Wellington, New Zealand: In 2012, a youth environmental group staged an underwear protest on board the city's trains. A video of the protest can be viewed on YouTube.
  • The World Naked Bike Ride: an annual event (at least prior to the Covid-19 pandemic) held in many cities speaking out about environmental and public safety issues such as dependency on fossil fuels and the danger of pedestrians and bikers being hit by cars (since no amount of clothing can protect bikers and pedestrians from the impact).


Video Example(s):


Zod Tries To Intimidate Tess

Zod invades Tess' manor and interrupts her while she's having a relaxing bubble bath in order to talk and intimidate her while she's vulnerable, but she manages to stand her ground and act defiantly despite her state of undress and they have a bizarre flirtatious argument.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / TrespassingToTalk

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