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Monster Modesty

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...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 '40s! 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 Loincloth, pair of briefs, 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.


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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 he later puts that spot to good use as a hiding place). Justified in that the loincloth is actually covering what is likely several gaps in the armor that allow movement. Without the cloth, there would be more of an issue in that Al doesn't have any parts.

    Comic Books 
  • Astro City:
    • Rex Furst, a pretty obvious Ben Grimm Expy, wears tiny black shorts as his combat uniform. He did wear considerably more for his wedding.
    • The Ubersaurus, in homage to the many giant Silver Age monsters, is a 500-foot dragon monster with tiny shorts.
  • Inverted in Atomic Robo: the title 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"). Note that, aside from general outline, he has nothing approaching a human anatomy.
  • Marvel Comics:
    • During Marvel's "monster era", many of the monsters would wear a pair of briefs. 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 from such an advanced race that... they are apparently okay with walking around in proportionally sized briefs. Fin Fang Foom occasionally appears without the shorts and may not even need them. This is spoofed to hell and back (like everything else) in Nextwave, in which Fin Fang Foom's giant monster pants are a source of constant derision. It's the trope image for a reason.
    • Mephisto is an odd Eldritch Abomination example of this trope. He's the Marvel Universe's Satanic Archetype, but he often wears a loincloth and cape with nothing else.
    • Marrina from Alpha Flight and Namorita from New Warriors are both Fish People who wear Stripperific bikinis.
    • The Avengers: Tigra 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.
    • Fantastic Four:
      • The Thing is a prime example. He's turned into a monster and is traditionally disgusted with his appearance, but he often just wears blue shorts. When the team dons their costumes for the first time in Vol. 1 issue 3, Ben has a full-body costume and a silver helmet completely covering his head, which he quickly discards, complaining that the costume restricts his movements. Although usually sticking with his team-colored trunks, he wears a singlet in his solo book and his brief stint with the West Coast Avengers. Around the time when the Invisible Woman begins wearing a rather Stripperiffic version of her costume, the Thing adopts a new bodysuit, which also sees the return of the helmet for a while after Wolverine slashes the right side of his face during a tussle over the fugitive status of the Human Torch, leaving Ben's face vulnerable for a time. More recently, he's been wearing pants, but still no shirt. As a member of 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 has an army of Moloids and monsters of varying intellect. More often than not, they all wear multicolored briefs and little else. Odd considering that Mole Man is fully clothed, highly intelligent, and wants to turn the Moloids into a proper civilization.
      • The Silver Surfer ran around in silver briefs in his earlier appearances. He has since been reduced to Non-Humans Lack Attributes.
    • The Incredible Hulk:
      • The Hulk often just sports a pair of Magic Pants (hence his nickname "ol' purple pants"). When he gets a bump in intelligence, he often starts wearing clothes. For example, when the Grey Hulk is thought to be dead and is free from transforming back into Bruce, he lives a more normal life and develops a taste for tailored suits.
      • She-Hulk likewise wears very revealing clothes with a combination of this trope and Fanservice.
    • The Mighty Thor: The Absorbing Man 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 that he doesn't accidentally turn into cloth?
    • Spider-Man: Spidey has had several monstrous villains over the years. While some employ Nonhumans Lack Attributes, we do get characters like The Lizard and Vermin, two monster characters who have varying degrees of intelligence and enjoy running around in torn-up pants (and a lab coat in the Lizard's case).
    • Warlock (1967): Pip the Troll usually just wears a loincloth, attire usually suited for savages. In fact, Pip is a member of the Infinity Watch team, whose members tend to have pretty Stripperiffic costumes. They're all aliens, genetic creations, or otherwise superhuman. Adam Warlock himself — the guy in the background of the picture — wears a cape but also ran around in briefs at different points in his career.
    • X-Men:
      • Beast is a 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 briefs. 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 has 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 gets 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, who is normal looking but can turn himself into a Chrome Champion. Usually, he wears very little, showing off his metallic form. In his earlier appearances, Marvel editors felt that 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.
  • DC Comics:
    • Most versions of Despero from Justice League of America. However, some fall into Non-Humans Lack Attributes areas.
    • Martian Manhunter wears a cape, briefs, and a weird x-shape vest that barely covers his chest. Not only is he highly intelligent, but he is also a shapeshifter, so he could very easily form a nice suit if he wanted to. On the other hand, maybe the shapeshifting 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.
    • The Spectre is an angel of vengeance in a green cloak and matching shorts. In Kingdom Come, he's hinted to only be wearing the cloak, as several of his poses have him holding the cloak as if covering up his lower body.
    • 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.
    • 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 that he looks better wearing nothing. In Cyborg's case, though, half his body is robotic and he has nothing left to show.
    • 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, from full-body spandex, to a leotard, to briefs, 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.
  • Hellboy:
    • 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.
    • Parodied in B.P.R.D.: When he's introduced, Ben Daimio insists on having Roger wearing pants. However, after actually seeing (a very proud) Roger wearing them, Ben tells him to take the pants off again because he looks ridiculous.
  • Wildguard features 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.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • The Beast in Beauty and the Beast wears only pants and a cape. As the story progresses, he wears more clothes — Word of God said that if Belle had never showed up, he eventually 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 regard 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 the filmmakers didn't want us to see his... "wolf dork." Later on in the film, they actually have to face the Wolfman, and it is confirmed through Horace's Groin Attack that Wolfman does, indeed, have nards.
  • Mystique from the X-Men Film Series. She always walks around naked, but you can see scales over her nipples and pelvis.
  • Completely averted with The Thing in Fantastic Four (2015). Unlike his comic book counterpart, he wears nothing and has nothing to hide.
  • For A New Hope, studio executives wanted Chewbacca to wear lederhosen, apparently worried that the bandolier only accented his nakedness and lead to censorship, thus reducing the film's distribution. Some concept art tried to satisfy this change, until it was eventually discarded.

  • 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 a six-foot-tall dragon girl, one of the first points on Olivia's agenda after she regains consciousness is to find clothing.
  • In Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the plot really kicks off when Percy comes face-to-face with the Minotaur...who's wearing nothing but bright white Fruit of the Loom underpants. Percy notes that this would probably be funny if he wasn't terrified for his life. On a related note, Mr. Brunner revealing himself to the centaur Chiron does not cause him to ditch the tweed jacket that he always wore while disguised as a human.

    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.
    • D'vorah in Mortal Kombat X is actually a sentient colony of insects inhabiting a chitinous humanoid shell, but in her first appearance she wore a sort of black bikini in addition to a cape/hood. By Mortal Kombat 11, although some skins add it back, her default look has ditched the bikini revealing she has nothing to hide.
  • 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.
  • Ivalice Alliance: The Seeq 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.
  • Many humanoid Pokémon (Machoke is a good example) subvert this by appearing to be wearing clothes for our benefit, when they're actually a natural part of their biology.
  • 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 DLC, 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, which your companion comments on 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. Likewise, the same monster type can be found wearing a loincloth in Final Fantasy XII.
  • 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.
  • Vampire spirits from the Imperivm saga, which are barely meat-covered decayed skeletons, wear loincloths. Given that they are actually corpses of fallen men, one has to question how is that a piece of cloth resisted decaying while the rest of their bodies did not. Interestingly, the image for the spirits summoned from Carthage shamans' bodies show them wearing tattered robes, though their final aspect is the same.
  • Lampshaded early in Planescape: Torment. While walking around the Mortuary, it's possible to talk to the worker skeletons there. One of the dialog options is "what's with the smock, anyway? It's not like you've got anything to be modest about." The Nameless One himself could also qualify, as he spends the entire game running around in nothing but a loincloth and boots despite having the opportunity and money to buy actual clothing for himself if he wanted to.

  • Combined with Defeat by Modesty in Exiern, when the protagonist inflicts Clothing Damage on a woman who is transforming into a dragon. It triggers her human social conditioning, and she flees after using her hands to protect her soon-to-be-irrelevant modesty.
  • In Goblins, some of the characters, particularly the monsters released from the dungeon in Brassmoon City, fit this trope.
  • Played with in the case of Naal'suul in Drowtales, who after being fully possessed by a demon is not at all humanoid below the waist but retains her appearance above it, and quickly grows out of the clothes she had on when possessed in both senses of the word and goes around topless. And yet despite this she retains enough of her original personality that she covers her chest in the presence of others.

    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:
    • Zig-Zagged: some aliens like Heatblast and Wildvine wore nothing more than the Omnitrix symbol, while others like Four Arms and Grey Matter wore a suit patterned like Ben's shirt. Some even had natural markings like Ben's shirt, such as Cannonbolt.
    • In the first two sequel series, this is averted entirely for all aliens except NRG (who's in a containment suit) and Four Arms (who wore a much-maligned briefs and chest belt combo).
    • And then in Ben 10: Omniverse, it's Zig Zagged yet again with aliens such as Diamondhead and Four Arms sporting uniforms based on 16-year-old Ben's shirt, and other less humanoid aliens such as Humongousaur and Shocksquatch sporting Thing-esque shorts while aliens like Heatblast and Bloxx go around with nothing on them. Meanwhile, Feedback, like Cannonbolt, is naturally colored like 11-year-old Ben's shirt.
    • In Alien Force, Ben unlocks Rath, an anthropomorphic tiger alien who wears no clothes, but nobody considers it weird for a tiger to not wear clothes so it never even gets a mention. Two entire series later, in Omniverse, Ben meets other aliens of Rath's species for the first time, and is rather shocked to find out they normally do wear clothes, meaning that any time he was transformed into Rath, he was by that species' standards, fighting bare-ass naked the whole time.
  • 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. Presumably it's for his own amusement.
      Amy: (noticing Bender's wearing super-tight swimming briefs) 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.
  • The Wendigo in DuckTales (2017) wears a loincloth on his lower half. What's especially odd about this example is that when the Wendigo was the Ghost of Christmas Past the 'dressed' part of Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal was the top half, meaning he had no pants then.