What is a Taboo?

What is a Taboo?


Taboos are topics we’re not supposed to discuss or actions we’re not supposed to take as determined by society.


A taboo, as defined by dictionary.com is something proscribed by society as improper or unacceptable.


For the purposes of this museum, “taboo” refers to topics that fit all of these characteristics:

  • something that most people you cross paths with are just not comfortable talking about
  • something that most people you cross paths with say you should not do
  • something that by acting the way “most people” support, someone’s inalienable rights are infringed (probably you are feeling limited in your pursuit of happiness)

In short:

  • Don’t talk about it
  • Don’t do it
  • Be limited in pursuing your happiness but receive societal approval in return for living this limitation

The term ‘society’ is not used to indicate that literally every single person believes in the taboo.  It is used to indicate that a critical number of people believe in the taboo to cause at least one other person grief about discussing the subject.  As long as there is one person who is struggling with an issue that no one else around her will discuss, that issue is fair game for discussion here.  Until that gets unwieldy, I’d like to offer this space as broadly as possible.


Taboos that come more from the person holding the fear rather than those around her are different since they don’t have a societal component.  For example, my fear of crocheting in public was not driven by how others around me felt, at least not at that point in my life, but by how I felt inside, and I was able to address that on my own.  Fear of flying and fear of heights, to name a few common ones are similar.


Taboos about body parts and nudity are handled by the same section, namely Body Parts/Function. Feeling the same way about every aspect of both of these topics or all aspects of any other taboo category is unlikely. It’s possible we might feel differently about discussing a body part vs actually walking around town nude.


When in doubt or if you’re confused, this museum is dedicated to discussions that move us toward causing less infringement of inalienable rights around topics that are generally difficult to discuss.

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