Welcome to Part 3 of my World Building blog series :D I’ll be covering just about every topic I can think of that goes into world crafting. If you have any topics you’d like me to write about, please let me know :)
Taboos are forbidden customs and every culture has them. Sometimes they’re illegal for good reason (ie. pedophilia) and sometimes they’re just illegal for stupid reasons (ie. miscegenation). When you’re building a fantasy world you can have a lot of fun with taboos by creating completely random ones or you can include ones from real life and smash the taboo (only on the ones that are taboos for stupid reasons please).
You can create a taboo about anything and you can make them defining pieces of your cultures if you want. Maybe a culture in your world has a taboo against peaches because someone decided they look too much like little tushes. You can break that taboo when the MC discovers that they’re tasty and decides to spread the peach tush deliciousness and creates a whole new industry! Have fun with it.
If you want to get more serious you can introduce taboos like miscegenation and then smash them by having the MC and love interest be an interracial couple. Tackle body shaming by hitting up the taboos surrounding things like body hair and bodily functions. Use your powers of creation for good.
What is it about the culture you’re building that makes a particular thing a taboo? Is it for the good reasons or for stupid reasons? Who decides that something is taboo? Is there enforcement of the taboo? What are the consequences of breaking them? Do those consequences differ based on the person’s age/gender/wealth/race, etc.? Do the taboos only apply to a specific group? If yes, which ones and why?
The possibilities are literally endless. You can craft taboos around food/drink, clothing, religions, languages, tattoos, relationships, etc. etc. Keep in mind what you want to get out of creating these taboos. Do you want to add some hilarity or do you want to create it in order to crush an outdated cultural practice?