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This statue is an example of a work that needs to be Bowdlerized by the great heroic Media Watchdogs to remede the overly blatant portayal of sexual symbols on this statue's underwear.

"It's been a week, dude. You came back from the hurt after I destroyed you and sent you to Hades. That stuff was cut. For, uh... time."
Joel, to the no-longer-dead Phil, after retooling Bonus Stage as a kids' show

This page has been deemed Ruined by the Tropers Union so they have set up a Family Unfriendly Substitute.

To alter existing programs, plays, etc. so they are more suitable for family viewing. Used in a very positive sense, by those who think the alterations are often done with a justifiably high fear of the original works corrupting our youth.

North American releases of Anime are frequently Heroically converted. Backwards foreign norms create separate notions of what is okay to show on television. This may be because of the American belief that cartoons are for kids, so that shows meant for slightly higher age groups that aren't specifically marketed to them are edited down. In fact, one of the greatest notable Bowdlerizers is named 4Kids! Entertainment. (And you wouldn't believe how much Misaimed Hatedom they get for it.)

To be fair, the same happens to North American movies and series, both inside and outside the US. Since TV audiences are also made up of kids and teenagers, movies tend to get edited to be watchable by them as well (specially the swearing). This is even stronger in other countries, since the movies get dubbed with that in mind, meaning that even the theater release are cut.

Also, this can be done to movies that were originally made for television in an era where morality was looser. TV movies once lauded for their daring when first aired are now edited as much as any R-rated theatrical film when rebroadcast.

Named after Thomas Bowdler (1754-1825), who first did it on The Bible and Shakespeare's plays; for instance, changing Ophelia's drowning from suicide to accident. It's worth noting that Bowdler himself created his "Family Shakespeare" versions as a way to introduce Shakespeare's plays to audiences who would otherwise be barred from experiencing them at all, and actively encouraged people to seek out the originals. Sadly, this cannot be said of most modern Bowdlerisers. Before him, the French Duke of Montausier published "ad usum Delphini" versions of works for the Dauphin (heir apparent) of France. "Ad usum Delphini" is now a synonym of this trope.

Cultural Translation can often contain elements of Bowdlerization. See T-Word Euphemism for a mild form of bowdlerization. See also Cut and Paste Translation (which specifically refers to Bowlderization in translated works and refers more to the final product than the process) and Disneyfication (which generally goes further, in not only removing content, but adding new, "kid-friendly" content). See Bluenose Bowdlerizer for when it happens here on the wiki.

The inverse of this trope is American Kirby Is Hardcore.

Yet another related trope is Bleached Underpants, where a creator self-censors his work to appeal to a broader audience. There is also a Censored Title, for when a work seems to be Bowdlerized, but only the title is for marketing purposes.

Note: Do not pronounce as "boulderise." That would mean hurling boulders at someone. [1]

Examples of Bowdlerise/Bowdler include:


  1. The "bow" part of the word is pronounced "bao."