We get that different cultures have different definitions of what is decent and what isn't -- wearing a thong could get you arrested in some parts of the world, while in others it's the accepted dress code for a dinner party. However, some governments seem to go out of their way to come up with the most ridiculous measures to preserve the modesty of their citizens, to the point where these "solutions" seem way more embarrassing to us than the thing they're supposed to prevent. For instance ...
#5. Iran's Government Digitally Edits Hollywood Films to Add Modesty
The Iranian government has a problem (well, many problems). The people of Iran love watching American movies, but the government has over three dozen ridiculous rules about what you can't show in a film. Rules like no close-ups of women's faces, no shots of men and women sitting close together, and no showing bearded men in a bad light (we actually agree with that one).
These rules would leave out most of Hollywood's output, but that wouldn't stop Iranians from getting their hands on such films through illegal means. So, rather than banning every movie ever, the government censors allow them to play in cinemas, but they use digital technology to modify anything they consider obscene. Like this lady's cleavage:
"Dude, check out those jugs!"
That's a Kirk Cameron religious movie, by the way. Kirk Cameron is too raunchy for Iran. TV shows are made more modest, too: In Iran's version of Lost, one of the weird paranormal effects of the island is that cartoon shirts spontaneously appear on all of the female characters:
"Flawless work, great job."
And just because Will Ferrell doesn't have boobs, that doesn't mean the Iranian government wants to see him naked -- in Iran's version of Talladega Nights, a fence grows 3 feet in order to cover Ferrell's bare chest.
The censors were also offended by a scene in Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds where Bridget von Hammersmark has a bloody bullet wound in her leg ... specifically, because said leg was uncovered. That's nothing some leggings can's solve, though.
Those leggings make it look like a real different injury.
When women aren't being half covered by random foreground items (no doubt making some digital animator work for hundreds of hours to hide breasts that some Hollywood digital animator spent hundreds of hours digitally enhancing), they can be removed entirely from a scene. Like Kevin Spacey's friend here:
"The dumbest trick they ever pulled was trying to convince viewers my female co-star didn't exist.
And like that, poof, she's gone."
Meanwhile, Patrick Wilson's girlfriend is erased from his shot, leaving him with his arm suspended in the air like some douchebag.
"Just dub some line about him being really into air piano."
In addition to the digital touch-ups, the dialogue in these films is also modified in the dubbing: References to beer become lemonade, and risque sexual dialogue turns into far less risque proposals of marriage. The movie Basic Instinct contains no fewer than 270 marriage proposals, probably.
#4. Chinese Police Issue a Complex Chart to Stop Peeping Toms
In 2012, the Zhejiang province police in China got fed up with creeps spying on women and decided to end this peeping tom epidemic once and for all. After browsing their heavily censored version of Google for a while, the officers came up with the ultimate solution to protect the modesty of Chinese women: math.
The police's website divulged a series of charts and diagrams designed to help women avoid giving men a look up their skirts ... as long as they have a degree in geometry.
Presenting the pervagorean theorem.
The diagrams show women in common situations, like sitting on the subway or standing on some escalators, and being ogled by weirdos. Lines show the peeping tom's field of vision, giving instructions on how to calculate it based on his height, the height of the woman, the distance between them, and other factors. Like if the guy is sliding back in his seat and manga expression lines are coming out of his head.
"Looks normal to me, but better check the chart just in case."
The idea, as far as we can tell, was that women could whip out the chart if they thought the guy sitting in front of them looked sketchy, quickly calculate the variables in their mind to figure out if they were being spied on, and then use this evidence to ... do nothing, because if the police put out this thing, they clearly weren't too interested in actually going out and arresting the perverts.
Tell us the artist didn't masturbate the entire time he was making this.
The whole thing was sparked when the police received a photo of a man putting his camera under a woman's skirt on a bus, a situation that observant readers will notice is covered nowhere in these diagrams. Other helpful tips included wearing leggings under a skirt, carrying a grocery cart behind you at all times, and, judging by the following picture, just avoiding stairwells altogether.
That close-up on the floor shows where his bodily fluids landed.
In the end, the diagrams seemed to cause more confusion than help and were removed from the police website. As some women pointed out, the diagrams were more likely to be used as some sort of guide for would-be peeping toms who were having trouble getting the angles quite right. After all, the cops admit that they found these images on the Internet -- in all likelihood they were created for that purpose in the first place.
"And this 4chan site looked so trustworthy."
#3. Victorian Women Used "Bathing Machines" at the Beach
London Stereoscopic Company/Hulton Archive/Getty
It's obvious to anyone who's ever been to a beach or watched a few James Bond films that women's bathing suits tend to get smaller with the years and will inevitably disappear, but let's take that in the opposite direction: Before bikinis, one-piece suits, or even the full-body garb of our great-grandmothers, what did Western society consider acceptable?
The answer is "machines." In Victorian times, upper-class women had to go into the water in big, bulky contraptions known as bathing machines.
Just the sight of these babies brought boners a-plenty.
A bathing machine was, essentially, a changing room on wheels, powered either by horses or by a mechanical device to carry heavy loads. Inside the box, the lady could change into her already conservative swimwear, but instead of stepping out and taking a splash, the entire structure would be wheeled out into the ocean. At this point she could come out into the water, always suspended by a cradle that prevented the waves from taking her away (because if she started drowning and yelling for help, then a man might see her). An optional modesty screen could spread out from the back of the machine to protect her from any prying eyes until she lowered herself down.
Perverts had to work hard at their craft back then.
Most bathing machines were also staffed by what was known as a "dipper," a big, burly woman who would go out with the machine and help push the particularly incompetent/lazy bathers into the water. If more than one lady was present (the machines could hold as many as six), we're assuming the dippers would also be in charge of playfully splashing each other while giggling merrily.
"You didn't tell me the water was cold. Slap yourselves, I cannot be bothered."
The earliest records of these bathing machines in England date back to the 1700s, and they remained in use until the late 19th century, when people worked out that, even without a small hut in the way, they still couldn't see much of a woman's form beneath those old-fashioned bathing suits. They started disappearing in the early 1900s, after too many beachgoers confused them for poorly equipped public toilets.
Of course, there are still places in the world where the sight of a woman's exposed elbow on a beach could spark a riot, such as the Islamic nations where women have to wear burqas. However, a designer from Australia came up with a more practical solution for them -- the burkini, which is exactly what it sounds like.
Not all situations can be handled with such dignity when you're forced to cover your entire body, though ...