2 Sep 2015

VARIOUS RULES - Why Rule #2 [Nudity]

Films have formulas and rules, but how well do films follow those formulas?  Why do the nudity rules exist?

For every set of rules I've made Rule #2 about nudity.  Also see 10 ways film nudity can be more than gratutious titillation

Looking at the following genre sets:

The Rules

The Slasher Rules - There Will be T&A

As outlined below (3a & 3b):  sex and nudity are important will need to be punished.   There are always ways to imply these things without actually showing naked women.  But the audience doesn’t want that.  (See also 10a.)

Rom-Com Rules - There Won't Be T&A

Whereas some other genres rely on sex and nudity, and some can give take it, the Rom Com despite being based around romance avoid sex and nudity.  There are a number of reasons for this: the idea that romance is more than just sex, the idea that the female audience is less interested in nudity especially female nudity than the male audiences of other genres (although guy's butts may be OK), trying to maintain a PG rating.  Nudity that exists will be of minor characters. suggested not shown, etc.  Sex will similarly be cut away from or underplayed.   This, of course, changes over time.  Another feature is the male character refusing easy sex, either because it isn't with the woman he loves, or if it is offered by her because it's for the wrong reasons.

Lesbian Romances - There May Be T&A

Perhaps some early skimpy clothing for "the male gaze."  When it comes time for the sex, there will be a range of nudity, from PG sex with lots of sheets, to lots of nudity in the sex scenes (but little full frontal or graphic depictions of sex).  Usually it will fall somewhere between a rom-com and a slasher film.

Manic Pixie Dream Girls - T&A

The MPDG is simulateously sexual and asexual and "free".  As such either nudity isn't raised or she will see it as something casual/non-sexual; will participate in skinny-dipping, will feel free changing in front of the male character.  Although she may get naked in the film, the MPDG's nudity will usually be suggested, not shown.


The following results, obviously, are based on the 49 films tested (20 Slasher films, 10 Manic Pixie Dream Girls, 1 film shared by Rom-Com Rules & Lesbian Romances and 9 solely Rom-Com Rules and 9 solely Lesbian Romance rules) and may not truly reflect the genres.  Remember also that there are twice as many Slasher films as other genre.  The categories of nudity are rough guides, your ordering or definitions may vary.

  • While there are more (even when halved) Slasher Films with no female nudity, they do still tend to have more nudity.
  • Rom-coms have a lot less with two newer films targeting a younger hipper audience have more female nudity, whereas the earlier films rely more on underwear or nightwear.
  • While Lesbian Romances are just romances, unlike Rom-Coms there is a lot more female nudity (comparable to Slasher Films).
  • Basically equivalent to the Rom-com is the Manic Pixie Dream Girl film, with one outlier with a "wild" girl rather than the standard MPDG.

  • There is significantly less male nudity in Slasher Films than female nudity (although some films do break this rule.)
  • Most Rom-Com films have no male nudity, but there is a little more in some.
  • Unsurprisingly there is little male nudity in the films about Lesbian Romance.
  • There is some equivalance between male and female nudity in Manic Pixie Dream Girl films.


Slasher Films

  • Sex & Nudity is important for slasher films because there is a type of transgression to be "punished" by becoming a victim of the slasher.
  • Since they focus on gruesome murders, slasher films are usually have a higher age rating, thus meaning they can get away with more sex and nudity.


  • Although about a couple getting together, the focus of the Rom-Com is romance (the Rom in Rom-Com being Romance should be a give away) so there's little sex and nudity.
  • The heroine being caught by the hero in her underwear is a trope that may skew the results.

Lesbian Romances

  • Although also romance films, the fact that they are lesbians means that the film is going to define them by their sexuality.  And if you're going define someone by their sexuality, you've got to show them having sex, right?

Manic Pixie Dream Girls

  • Although they're a male focused genre, they're about romance, so not as much nudity.

~ DUG.

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