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Sexy Silhouette

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When a person, more often than not a woman, is shown behind a backlighted screen of some kind, usually during a conversation with a man. The person is often undressing while doing so.

Expect her to have to bend down. A lot. Slowly. Expect also that the screen — which is apparently supposed to ensure some form of modesty — will be as thin as paper and positioned right in front of a source of light, leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination and thus utterly defeating its supposed purpose.

Compare Censor Shadow and Censor Steam.



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    Anime & Manga 

    Comics Books 
  • Played in a sophisticated manner in Le Petit Spirou, where the curvaceous Maths teacher is seen waiting for a car lift. It's dark and headlights casts a clean shadow of her against a nearby wall. Add the fact her skirt is rather sheer, and that's about as nude as a fully dressed person's shadow can be. Cue slow motion walking.
  • Quite a lot of this in Sin City.
  • Lyla Lay in Paperinik New Adventures when she changes from her normal clothes to her Time Police armor in the 1997 special.

    Films — Animation 
  • Subverted in The Prince of Egypt: The silhouette turns out to be a bound bodyguard's.
  • Happens to Mulan in the beginning of the movie, as she is getting changed at the Matchmaker's.
  • Played with in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Eddie sees what he thinks is the silhouette of Jessica Rabbit in a hotel window, but once he gets up there, much to his horror it turns out to be the hideous Lena Hyena.
  • Speaking of rabbits, Lola Bunny intentionally makes one as she enters the arena at the start of the game in Space Jam.
  • When Rosita and Gunther sing and dance for the show in Sing, Rosita has a quick costume change that involves stepping behind a screen and Flung Clothing appearing as her silhouette gets larger and larger.
  • Batman: Gotham by Gaslight: When Bruce and Harvey visit Selina in her dressing room after the show, they (and the viewer) are treated to a silhouette of her changing clothes behind a screen.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In State of the Union Grant is distracted by the curvaceous shadow Mary casts as she changed her clothes in an adjoining closet. (Said shadow was presumably cast by someone pinch-hitting for the non-curvaceous Katharine Hepburn.)
  • Austin Powers
    • Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery Alotta Fagina did one of these in her room while Austin sat there watching.
    • Played with in the second Austin Powers movie, with the tent scene.
  • Used in some Busby Berkeley Numbers.
  • The second The Cannonball Run movie had some girls changing in the back seat with a blanket hanging in front—when a track pulls up behind with high beams to highlight them perfectly. Burt Reynolds and Dom De Luise (who think that the ladies are nunsthey're actually just actresses just playing nuns) are practially biting their lips in the front seat.
  • Spoofed in The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult when Tanya (Anna Nicole Smith) undresses behind a screen but reveals a Biggus Dickus, much to the chagrin of Frank Drebin and Rocco. With a 90-degree angle!
  • Played straight in The Shadow, when Penelope Ann Miller's character strips behind one of these while talking to Alec Baldwin's character.
  • Played around with in Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Robin and Marian are both behind a curtain that they don't know is see-through, and Robin, as he finishes an incredibly overdone opera-style love song, drops to one knee, causing his sword scabbard to rise up like know.
  • A character arc point in A Very Brady Sequel revolves around Greg and Marcia watching each other in this way. Then, they figure out that, well, if Roy is alive, then, well...yeah.
  • In Leap Year, this trope is played with when Amy Adams showers, unaware that her love interest is watching her silhouette through the curtain—he points this out to embarrass her, and then gives her a similar show.
  • Nicolette Sheridan got one in Beverly Hills Ninja. And so did Chris Farley.
  • In No Good Deed (2002), Erin (Milla Jovovich) has a shower in front of Jack (Samuel L. Jackson), who is tied to a chair. As Jack tries to escape in the foreground, in the background, we see Erin's shapely body behind the shower door.
  • In Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, when the T-X walks down the street naked, her whole body from behind is covered in shadow. It's quite sexy.
  • And in Terminator Genisys, Kyle Reese watches Sarah Connor's shadow as they both strip off for Time Travel.
  • Lifeforce, when the naked Space Girl walks through the research facility, you see her backside, clad in shadows, as she climbs up some stairs. Shortly after that, we get another scene as she passes in front of a security guard, first her shadow and then her, as she makes it for the exit.
  • Circus of Horrors: When Inspector Ames is searching the circus for Nicole, he sees her silhouette going through her limbering up routine projected on to the wall of of her tent.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Willow in a scene from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Ohhhh.
  • T'Pol (Jolene Blalock) in the "Carbon Creek" episode of Enterprise.
  • Rachel does it in the hospital during the "Laryngitis" episode of Glee, prompting Finn's rendition of "Jessie's Girl".
  • Eureka's Jo Lupo (Erica Cerra) while taking a shower in "Momstrosity".
  • Seinfeld:
    • In an episode, George visits his mother at the hospital and sees the silhouette of her roommate getting a sponge bath from a sexy nurse. He revisits at the same time the next day just to see that happen again.
    • In the episode when he and Jerry are Mistaken for Gay, he sees the exact same thing happen with a male nurse and a male patient.
  • Relic Hunter: Nigel (and the audience) are treated to a backlit silhouette of Sydney undressing in a tent during a rainstorm in "The Emperor's Bride".
  • General Hospital. While they're on the run, Laura insists on sleeping separately from Luke, hangs a sheet in between them, and while changing for bed, teases him like this.
  • One Life to Live. The exact same thing happens when Tina and Cain are on the run, except that he also does it to her.
  • In the Babylon 5 episode "Day of the Dead", Dodger emerges naked from the shower and all we see of her is a silhouette before Garibaldi hands her a shirt.

  • Truck Stop features the "Mudflap girl" silhouette on a playfield road sign, along with the caption "Dangerous Curves".

    Video Games 
  • The Crystal Flash move in Super Metroid has Samus surrounded by a blinding corona of energy, with only her silhouette, stark naked- it's even more apparent in the "official artwork", that she's naked as the day she was born and shows a very nice view of her bottom.
  • Played with in Luigi's Mansion with Miss Petunia, the Bathing Beauty. Luigi encounters her in a bathroom where he can see a svelte woman taking a bath behind the curtain, but once he moved it, Miss Petunia is actually a pig-like Brawn Hilda. It might have more signification that a simple joke, as some background information revealed that she used to look beautiful, enough to be the Miss Ghost runner-up from six years before the events of the game.
  • In a very odd example of this trope, in R-Type Final's final level (if you go the normal route, there's an inexplicable image of a naked woman and naked man that will appear in the background of the level who race toward each other, appear to start having sex, then merge into a ball. It Makes Just As Much Sense In Context.
  • An Elder Scrolls Legend: Battlespire has a sexy silhouette of a Daedra Seducer on its Contemptible Cover.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • The "mudflap girl" silhouette, popularized since The '70s on semi tractors and pickup trucks, is arguably the most famous version of this trope.
  • A WW2 cartoon has two ARP wardens perving on a woman who'd forgotten to draw her blackout drapes, leaving her silhouetted against the curtains. "We'll give her another 20 minutes, then fine her."


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