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Nudity Equals Honesty

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This trope is when a character goes without clothing to demonstrate that they have nothing to hide or prove something from those around them and are not a threat.

There are a few reasons why someone might do this. The character in question could be trying to earn someone's trust. For example, there's an old concept from Japan's onsen tradition called "hadaka no tsukiai" (naked communication) which believes removing the complexities of social standing through nudity allows people to break down barriers and be truer to themselves and each other.

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Perhaps the heroes are facing infiltration attempts from inhuman beings, or maybe just members of the opposite sex into a single-sex setting, and they respond by going about their business naked so the infiltrators will be unable to hide their true nature.

Sometimes characters deliberately meet in locations where they have to take off their clothes, such as massage parlors or saunas to prove they don't have any Hidden Wire or Hidden Weapons.

This could be something that is forced on others by some paranoid villain who has imprisoned and/or enslaved them and wants to make sure they have nowhere to conceal anything they could use to escape or revolt.

This trope may lead to a Full-Frontal Assault if the character is forced to defend himself or the character invoking it is being dishonest and just used this trope to make themselves look less threatening, and then using the opportunity to attack.

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Compare Shameless Fanservice Girl, whose rejection of nudity taboos could be motivated by this reasoning; Shirtless Captives and Go-Go Enslavement, where this could be one possible motivation (though those tropes rarely go to the extreme of full nudity). If a character is forcing others to do it, it's usually via a Shameful Strip. See also, Out-of-Clothes Experience and A Spy at the Spa.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu, Natsuki strips topless in front of Fuyuka to let her feel her heartbeat and to demonstrate that, Natsuki's Memetic Molester tendencies aside, Fuyuka has nothing to fear from her. It works, and the two of them enter a relationship by the next chapter.
  • One Piece:
    • In the Drum arc's flashback, Dr. Hiriluk was able to gain the trust of an injured, hostile Chopper by stripping naked and declaring he would not harm Chopper.
    • At the end of the Alabasta arc, the male Straw Hats share a bath with Alabasta's king and steward. While there, the king bows down to present his gratitude to the Straw Hats for saving the kingdom.
      Nefeltari Cobra: A man's title comes off with his clothes. Here in the bath, we're all the same. A king is not a king when disrobed. I'd like to say... not as a king... but as a father and a citizen of this land... from the bottom of my heart... thank you.
  • Planet With: When Generalissimo asks for Benika's motives for wanting to join the Sealing Faction, he teleports them to a Hot Spring so they can bath while she shares her story. She immediately understands he's invoking "hadaka no tsukiai" and strips down to comply.

    Arts 
  • In classical art, it was common to represent the Anthropomorphic Personification of truth as a naked woman, along with some other attributes (like a hand mirror). Notably seen with La Vérité by Jules Joseph Lefebvre, or the lost painting La Vérité by Jean-Jacques Henner. In other works, such as this statue by Lucien Pallez, Truth is depicted standing beside (or climbing out of) a well This illustrates an ancient proverb, "truth is found at the bottom of a well".
  • Very common in depictions of the Second Coming of Christ and the corresponding Final Judgment, to show that no one will have anything to hide before Jesus.
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    Comic Books 
  • In Freaks' Squeele, when the students of F.E.A.H. are being attacked because everyone thinks they're supervillains, Chance suggests that everybody get naked to appear more trustworthy. When her friends aren't convinced, she points out that they should at least take off their supervillain costumes.
  • A minor The Punisher villain uses this trope, making anyone who shows up in front of him strip naked, both for security and because he's an asshat.
  • To fit the Neopaganistic philosophy of the comic (and blatant fanservice), Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose has every female character - human or not - in various stages of undress. This is due to magical society’s heavy emphasis on the belief of nature, body confidence and sexual libertarianism.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Hong Kong movie China Strike Force, When Coolio gets suspicious about Femme Fatale Norika's intentions in helping him and his partner, she promptly strips in front of them to prove she's not wearing any wire, although by the time she's naked he's too Distracted by the Sexy to care.
  • John McClane in the first Die Hard movie subverts this: he confronts the villain Hans Gruber shirtless, with nowhere to conceal a weapon... gun taped on his back.
  • In Go: Ronna is required to remove her shirt and turn around in her bra, in order to show that she is not wearing any Hidden Wire to Simon Baines.
  • Older Than Television. In 1915 film Hypocrites, a symbolic character called the "Naked Truth" exposes the moral hypocrisies of the two-faced members of a church congregation. The character is played by actress Margaret Edwards, who appeared fully nude in scenes that were quite shocking in 1915 (and would have remained shocking for decades afterward).
  • Gerard Butler's character in Law Abiding Citizen, to make his surrender to the SWAT team coming his way convincing, takes off all his clothing to emphasize that he'd be heading into their prison without a single outside item. This was of course another of his ways of proving what kinds of death and destruction he's capable of from behind bars.
  • In the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun, the villain Francisco Scaramanga forces the captive Mary Goodnight into a bikini for this reason
    Francisco Scaramanga: I like a girl in a bikini. No concealed weapons.
  • Not Another Teen Movie has a character named "Areola" who is a foreign exchange studentnote  that also serves as some weird hybrid of Innocent Fanservice Girl and Ms. Fanservice in that she wears nothing at all (and her backpack is even see-thru), much to the chagrin and excitement of all the other characters, but the directors commentary proves she fits under this trope when it was stated that she was meant to be that way as some kind of metaphor for having, "nothing to hide about herself".
  • Parker: Parker orders Leslie to Take Off Your Clothes so he can see if she's wearing a wire and she hesitantly complies, stripping down to her underwear.
  • In Jackie Chan's film The Protector the women working in a drug lab have to work naked to be sure they don't steal any of the product.

    Literature 
  • In Joe Haldeman's Forever Peace, the heroes discover that mentally linking humans for as long as a month will cause them to become "humanized" and turn pacifistic, even if they were serial killers or psychopaths. Towards the end a large group of war vets and refugees undergo the process, and when the complex is attacked they all strip naked and exit as a crowd to show they mean no harm.
  • One of the many excuses used to strip slave girls naked in the Gor novels. There's an occasional narrative explanation to the effect that nudity both makes it more difficult for a slave to conceal physical objects and also makes it more difficult for a slave to lie. In a variant, it's also frequently pointed out that slave girls are customarily sold naked in order to enforce the honesty of the dealer.
  • Gulliver's Travels: The Houyhnhnms consider the idea of wearing clothing part of the dishonesty of humankind, or as they call lying, "the thing which is not".
  • In The Heir Chronicles it is suggested that the wizards meet naked, to make it impossible for anyone to hide magical weapons on their person.
  • The Number of the Beast: One of the alternate dimensions the protagonists spend a lot of time in is home to a variant of Christianity that equates nudity (as in the Garden of Eden) to innocence. So every Sunday you'll see families heading to church in their best clothes, only to strip before entering the sanctuary.
  • In sci-fi novel The Puppet Masters, Puppeteer Parasite aliens invade Earth. They attach themselves to the bodies of humans, extend tendrils into the brain, and make humans their slaves. They are demonstrated to enslave humans by attaching anywhere to the human body, although the back is their preferred attachment point. In response, humans who are not ridden by parasites tend to go around semi-nude near the middle of the book or fully nude near the end of the book in order to show that they are not enslaved.
  • The Red Vixen Adventures:
    • At the climax of Shadow of Her Sins, Ali is forced to strip naked and confess to Salli that she murdered children as Bloody Margo's child soldier.
    • To a less fraught extent, Noble Caste foxen often strip naked while conducting public ceremonies, to demonstrate their honesty and piety to the lower castes.
  • Science-Fiction 101: Enforced in Philip K Dick's short story Colony. The astronauts of the story encounter deadly organisms that can disguise themselves as inorganic objects, leading to crewmembers seemingly strangled by towels, choked by gloves, or bludgeoned by medicine cabinets. When the officers realize what's going on, they order the entire crew to evacuate the ship naked to be sure nobody brings a parasite with them.
  • In Shadow of the Giant, Virlomi, the leader of India, travels to the capital of the Muslim League (a future Middle Eastern alliance) to meet Alai, their Caliph. When his guards demand she be checked by security, Virlomi drops her sari in front of all of them. It's actually a complex example, because she's ostensibly proving that she's unarmed, but simultaneously taunting their religion (Islam finds female skin exposure offensive), and trying to seduce Alai into accepting her as both ally and wife. Finally, she offers a threat, should Alai not agree to her demands, Virlomi threatens to leave their headquarters naked and let the rest of the world assume sexual assault.
  • In The Wheel of Time, the all-female Aes Sedai perform some meetings topless to ensure no men are present. It's noted in-universe that this is toned down from full nudity in the past.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Jaime Lannister, after over 14 years of keeping it to himself, confesses the reason for his Bodyguard Betrayal to Brienne of Tarth when they're bathing together at Harrenhal. This is a major turning point in Jaime and Brienne's relationship, at which point they start to become closer emotionally.
  • Wolves of the Calla. According to legend, Lady Oriza invited notorious outlaw Gray Dick to a banquet with them both naked to show they're not carrying concealed weapons. Gray Dick agrees as Oriza is quite a beauty, only to be introduced to the use of a dinner plate as Deadly Disc.
  • Cold Days: Dresden invokes this to convince Fix, the Summer Knight, gesturing at his own nudity and sarcastically claiming that clearly he's a mastermind in control of the situation.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Billions: In "The Deal", Wendy meets with Axelrod in an underground bathhouse-style heated pool, so they can talk where "no one can listen to them."
  • Burn Notice: In "Hard Bargain", Michael poses as a hostage negotiator trying to rescue a kidnapped girl. The leader of the kidnapping ring, Reyes, meets him in a massage parlor, which Michael tells him is smart, because it means Reyes knows Michael isn't wearing a wire (or anything besides a towel, for that matter).
  • On Doctor Who, visitors to the Papal Mainframe are strongly encouraged to not wear clothing so that they will be unable to hide anything. For their own modesty they can "wear" holographic clothes, but these won't fool anyone who works for the Mainframe.
  • The Boltons from Game of Thrones invoke this trope by their infamous secondary motto: "A naked man has a few secrets; a flayed man, none."
  • Hawaii Five-0: In the "Pilot" Hawaiian gangster Sang Min forces an undercover Kono to strip to her bra and panties to prove she's not wearing a Hidden Wire.
  • Jane the Virgin: Petra Andel invokes this when trying to convince a former lover(who she cheated on and dumped for her now-ex-husband who impregnated the title character).
    Lachlan: Why should I trust you?
  • The Office: When Michael shows suspicion that Dwight might be recording their conversation, Dwight immediately lifts his shirt and drops down his pants.
  • Shades of Blue: When accused of being The Mole by Woz, Harlee strips down to her underwear to prove she isn't wearing a wire. Woz believes her and is too ashamed to look at her and properly check, and the camera pans behind Harlee, we see a red recording button blinking on a box attached to the back of her bra.
  • V.I.P.: Nikki meets with a criminal in the sauna, both clad in towels. When he asks her how does he know she's not wired under her Modesty Towel she promptly drops it.
  • White Collar: In "Out of the Box" Alex convinces Neal to go Skinny Dipping with her on a pool, so she will know he isn't wearing any wire.

    Sports 
  • In Ancient Greece, athletes traditionally competed naked. While the main purpose was to showcase the beauty of the human body, it also had the benefit of depriving them of any advantages their clothing could give them (like concealing a weapon in a wrestling competition).

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Dungeons & Dragons splat book The Book of Exalted Deeds introduces Pistis Sophia, the archangel paragon asceticism and self-perfection. Her personal philosophy discourages material baggage, so she has no clothing or other possessions, regarding materialism as a type of greed.

    Video Games 
  • In Marathon, the Pfhor build simulacrums, suicide bomber androids that mimic humans. However, the Pfhor leave a few design flaws (such as reddened eyes, two-toed feet, and no genitals) and give them all green airlock technician uniforms, leading all the real techs to work naked instead. (This is not seen in-game.)
  • In Papers, Please, all entrants strip on command when you click the search button. Those without contraband or weapons, and those whose heads look like the opposite biological sex than what is stated on their passports but whose bodies match the said biological sex demonstrate this trope. The rest should be arrested.
  • In the lore of Path of Exile Queen Atziri would hold court nude and demand that her courtiers appear before her nude as well. While the stated reason was that a naked man had nothing to hide, an in-universe scholar speculates that Atziri was also using her stunning beauty to her advantage.

    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc:
    • At the beginning of the second chapter, the player can find Owada in the newly-opened bathhouse looking for the missing Togami, where it's revealed that Owada believes in hadaka no tsukiai, and suggests he and Naegi test out the bath later with that as the reason. Also, a Free-Time Event with Ishimaru reveals he subscribes to the same thinking, innocuously suggesting he and Naegi bare themselves to each other to in order to deepen their bond as fellow students. Both cases only serve to embarrass Naegi considerably. Notably, Owada and Ishimaru would eventually form an Odd Friendship after an endurance contest in the sauna.
    • Celestia subverts the idea completely in the third chapter, where she comes up with a Seamless Spontaneous Lie that wins exclusive use of the giant tub for the girls in order to confuse Monokuma away from the laptop they all found in the change rooms that might give them some much-needed information to combat The Mastermind. This sequence goes towards proving that Celestia, even in the most honest setting possible, is capable of lying through her teeth and pretending to trust everyone as if they were all friends fighting together against The Mastermind while plotting the ways she can betray them all. She eventually reveals that she desperately wanted to escape the school and was planning on killing someone in order to accomplish that the entire time. She would ultimately become that same chapter's culprit, stealing the laptop and utilizing it to kill Ishimaru as well as Yamada.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Youth & Consequences: When Colin and Farrah share particularly important secrets, they do so while naked in the shower, since both don't fully trust the other isn't taping their chats. Colin calls it the "Chamber of Trust".

    Western Animation 

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