Created By: mythbuster on September 6, 2012 Last Edited By: MiinU on February 8, 2015

Unnecessary Crossdressing

A guy cross-dressess so a woman doesn't have to be the bait.

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Trope
This is when a guy goes undercover by crossdressing, even though there's a woman present who can do the job; whether it's due to Rule of Drama, or Rule of Funny. And usually invoked in, but not limited to, Cop Shows.

Sometimes, during a sting, it may become necessary to go undercover. Perhaps as a client, or as the seller, if the buyer is who they're out to collar. Or, they may try to blend in by posing as an Innocent Bystander. The important thing, is to catch the criminal in the act, get the evidence, and make the arrest.

But in this particular instance, the perp isn't out to buy drugs, illegal weapons, or Black Market merchandise. What they're after, is a woman.

Thankfully, the hero's in luck since some of their fellow officers, or their friends, happen to be female and capable of handling the job... except they won't do it. Just because they can kick all sorts of ass doesn't mean they're okay with being the bait for some lecher, or worse: a rapist. What if something were to go wrong and backup doesn't arrive in time? The idea of being alone and at their mercy, possibly with no way to signal for help, would be enough to make anyone hesitant.

Which is why the hero may not allow them to take the risk in the first place. After all, Women Are Delicate and meant to be protected, no matter how strong, or skilled, they may be. Doubly so, if the female in question happens to be their Love Interest. Still, they can't just show up as is. They need a disguise, if they're gonna be the bait. Which means, they've gotta "dress" for the part. Literally.

In comedy settings, however, it may be a case of the guy being Dragged into Drag. Especially if their female friends rope them into it for their own amusement. Bonus points if the result is a Paper-Thin Disguise and the perp still falls for it.

When adding examples, be sure to explain how and why the guy ends up crossdressing, despite a female being present, which is the core aspect of the trope. A real female would be more effective as bait, than a guy in drag and, since the trope requires that one, or more them, be available, it makes it unnecessary for the guy to crossdress at all. Yet, the narrative makes so they will.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • In Dragonball GT, the heroes are trying to liberate a village from a monster who is demanding a bride. Despite being perfect bait and well able to take care of herself, Pan insists that Trunks play the role instead.
Community Feedback Replies: 47
  • September 6, 2012
    Kayube
    The main Team Rocket group in Pokemon is made up of a man and a woman (and a male Meowth), and often when they needed to disguise themselves, they'd both crossdress at the same time. (Though James crossdresses more often than Jessie does).
  • September 6, 2012
    MiinU

    Anime and Manga

    • Midori no Hibi: In chapter 13, "Operation Decoy", Ayase asks Seiji to help them catch a chikan after one of their classmates gets molested, on her way to school. Seiji refuses, until he sees the victim was Yukari, afterwhich, he changes his mind, in an attempt to impress her. The trope comes into play, with him going undercover by crossdressing, as bait, for the perv. It works, thanks to Midori.... sorta.

    Video games

    • Final Fantasy VII: When Tifa is seemingly kidnapped, by Don Conerio, Aerith comes up with a plan to have Cloud, of all people, to diguise himself as a woman, since the Don only allowed women into his hideout. Aerith goes with him, in order to save Tifa. However, not only was Tifa not in any danger, when the Don decided on a "playmate", he chose Cloud over the ladies!
  • September 6, 2012
    randomsurfer
    On Barney Miller all the guys had to take turns pulling purse-snatching detail - dress up like a woman to see if someone will try to mug them, then arrest the offender. In one episode, Wojo was out doing it with an actual female cop; he got attacked and attempted-raped. The female cop was upset that the attacker pushed her out of the way to get at Wojo.
  • September 6, 2012
    Rognik
    • Shaggy and Scooby. The number of times they have been seen crossdressing is quite disturbing, and sometimes they are used as bait. I am certain there is at least one scene where they crossdress to act as bait, but considering how much Scooby-Doo material is out there, I can't possibly hope to find such a scene except by accident.
  • September 7, 2012
    Arivne
    Live Action TV
    • Hill Street Blues episode "Double Jeopardy". Instead of using female police officers, many of the male cops dress up as women to act as bait to catch a rapist.
  • September 7, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Better name. For one thing, trying to avoid a woman being the bait is seen as a necessity on the part of the crossdresser. The name implies any time there is crossdressing with no justification.
  • September 7, 2012
    AnEditor
    Perhaps "Gallant Crossdressing".
  • September 7, 2012
    MiinU
    ^^@DragonQuestZ - It's not always out of necessity. There are instances where the female in question is perfectly capable of defending themselves, yet the crossdresser may insist on acting as the bait, for any number of reasons.

    • It could be due to a chivalric code, where they feel a woman shouldn't be placed at risk, regardless of their capability. The female may even insist she can take care of herself and point out that the crossdressing male is being ridiculous, since a real woman makes better bait, than a guy in drag; only to be ignored, because the guy insists on protecting them.

    • It could also be that the volunteer crossdresser may habor feelings for her, thus, the idea of some guy mugging, or possibly taking advantage of them, doesn't sit well with the crossdresser. So they take upon themselves to be the bait, instead of placing her at risk.

    • Or, maybe the guy gets roped into it, like in the FFVII example. Sure, there's a female on hand that could be the bait but, for whatever reason, they think it'd be more fun to have a guy do it instead. In which case, crossdressing would be seen as unnecessary; especially since the guy's being used more as a Butt Monkey, than actual bait.

    • Or the woman may simply refuse to do it, leaving the crossdresser no alternative but to do it themselves. Even in this case, it's still unnecessary.
      • The situation calls for a female victim, there's a female present who can play the part and may be capable of fending for themselves, yet they won't do it. The perv, mugger, or whoever can't be allowed to run free, so rather than waste time arguing with an uncooperative partner, the guy might figure, "fuck it", and decide to take care of it themselves.

    That's at least four scenario's where crossdressing can be seen as unnecessary. Yet, the guy still does it.
  • September 7, 2012
    nitrokitty
    ^ A perfect example of the first case:

    • Discworld: According to the Theory Of Narrative Causality, whenever a normal looking man dresses up as a woman, he instantly becomes astoundingly attractive. So when the Watch holds a stakeout, instead of the very capable, attractive, and female werewolf Angua acting as the bait, the natural choice is Corporal Nobby Nobbs, who manages to make Causality throw up its hands and give up in despair.
  • September 7, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • Expanding on Scooby Doo above, there is a situation in which Shag and Scoob have to crossdress becaus Daphne and Velma have stated they simply don't want to be the bait.
  • September 7, 2012
    MiinU
    ^@ParadiscaCorbasi - Can you remember which episode it was? I'm pretty sure it happened at least once, but I don't remember which episode.
  • September 7, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    "It's not always out of necessity."

    The title implies it's never about necessity.
  • September 7, 2012
    MrRuano
    Jojos Bizarre Adventure had Joseph pull this out early in the second arc by having him dressed like a Mexican girl with tequila so he could infiltrate a Nazi base in Mexico. For the record, it failed hilariously on account of his physical structure being too manly.
  • September 7, 2012
    Quatic
    In Police Academy 3: Back In Training, Sgt. Hightower dresses as a woman to catch a mugger; the mugger tries to grab "her" purse and run, and is, naturally, jerked off his feet.
  • September 7, 2012
    MiinU
    ^^^@DragonQuestZ - Because more often, than not, it isn't necessary.

    In most cases, I can think of, there's usually one or more females that can act as the bait. Logically, it'd make sense if they did, with their male partners, or friends, keeping a close eye on them to provide backup, should the need arise. Yet, for whatever the reason, the narrative is usually scripted so the guy crossdresses, even though there are actual women present, who would be far more tempting targets for the mugger and/or molester.

    At other times, it's written that way for comedic purposes. For example, the pervert may fail to realize that the girl he's getting fresh with, is a guy, even though it should be blatantly obvious by his broad chest, bulging biceps, and facial hair.

    Granted, sometimes, it may be necessary for the guy to dress up instead of sending the female to do the job. But if we limit the examples to instances where it isn't, the trope name shouldn't be a problem.
  • September 8, 2012
    MiinU
    After thinking it over, I think the trope name should be more specific.

    As it is, it makes it sound as if it's about any case of unnecessary crossdressing. Whereas the trope description specifies that it's about crossdressing unnecessarily, to act as bait, when there's an actual female present who (logically speaking) would be much better suited for it.

    That said, I suggest Crossdressing Bait Gambit. Not exactly what I'd call catchy, but it effectively sums up the trope.
  • September 8, 2012
    Chabal2
    To specify the Discworld one: In The Fifth Elephant, Angua and Nobby are on stakeout, and after they catch the guy, Angua wonders why Nobby was dressed up as a prostitute. Nobby at first responds that she's morphologicaly gifted (catching criminals is a lot easier when you can turn into a slavering wolf), and later that it's not right, letting young women act as bait.
  • September 8, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Guy Crossdresses To Be The Bait? It's a bit unwieldy, but that seems to be the gist of the trope.
  • September 8, 2012
    MiinU
    That's why I suggested Crossdressing Bait Gambit instead, it's short and gets the point across.

    While men and women can crossdress, typically, when one thinks "crossdresser" they picture a guy in drag. And in any scenario where someone crossdresses, as bait, it's always been a guy posing, as a girl, to lure out a criminal. Therefore, I think we can safely tag this one either: "always male" or "almost always male" at the end of the description.

    ^^@Chabal2 - Much better. Thanks for clearing that up.
  • September 9, 2012
    MiinU
    bump.
  • September 9, 2012
    Frank75
    Happens in One Two Three, fooling the Soviet delegation.
  • September 10, 2012
    MiinU
    ^@Frank75 - Your example needs context. You need to explain when and why the trope is invoked, for those who aren't familiar with the work.
  • September 14, 2012
    MiinU
    bump.
  • September 25, 2012
    MiinU
    bump.
  • October 5, 2012
    MiinU
    bumping again.
  • October 5, 2012
    DracMonster
  • October 5, 2012
    MiinU
    ^@DracMonster - as mentioned above, (8th post from the top) it has little to do with chivalry.

    It's basically a matter of circumstance, with the main factor being that there's an actual female present who could act as the bait, yet the guy takes it upon himself to be the bait. Or, the guy gets roped into it (usually, but not always) for comedic purposes. Or, the woman refuses, leaving the guy little choice but to do it himself.

    What makes it unnecessary is, there's an actual girl or woman that could do it, but the narrative is always written so she either can't, won't, or isn't allowed to do it, so that the guy ends up crossdressing, to act as bait, in their place.
  • October 6, 2012
    lilliterra
    In Okami, the warrior Nagi dresses in a white gown to go fight the monster Orochi so that Nami, his fiance, doesn't have to be a sacrifice to the eight-headed serpent.
  • October 6, 2012
    DracMonster
  • October 6, 2012
    MiinU
    ^@DracMonster - I like it!

    Seconding Crossdressing Stand In.
  • October 8, 2012
    NeuroticGood
    In the TV show Firefly Mal pulls a bait and switch where he's the one playing the 'wife' to catch a group of bandits, allowing his second in command Zoe to sit in the back of the wagon with her sawed-off shotgun.
  • October 20, 2012
    MiinU
    bump
  • October 20, 2012
    DRCEQ
    Chivalrous Crossdressing (or dresser. one of the two sounds pretty good to me.)
  • January 4, 2013
    randomsurfer
    I don't like Crossdressing Stand In because I'd think it meant a stunt double of the opposite sex - like that which was parodied in Spaceballs, where the Stormtroopers accidentally capture the stunt doubles of the group on the run including a male "Princess Vespa" (complete with moustache).
  • January 4, 2013
    DRCEQ
    • In Robot Chicken, one skit featuring the characters of MASK involves Matt Trakker searching the internet for a suitable woman to date. He finds a fat woman who meets his interests, gets to know her, has sex with her, and eventually marries her. After being pronounced husband and wife, she throws off her disguise to reveal herself as Miles Mayhem, the leader of V.E.N.O.M. The whole plot was an intricate plan to legally own half of Matt's properties. As Miles made his get-away, Vanessa Warfield asked why they didn't use her instead.
    Vanessa: Wouldn't it have been easier to just send me instead? I'm an actual chick.
    Miles: SILENCE! *turns to his window, fogs it up with his breath, and slowly draws a heart with a lonely look on his face.*
  • November 7, 2013
    MiinU
    Okay, I fleshed out the description.
  • November 8, 2013
    DAN004
    Title crowner plz...
  • November 8, 2013
    Bisected8
    • One episode of Mona The Vampire has Mona and Lily have Charlie dress up as a "Maiden" to act as bait for a monster (on the grounds that it would be sexist for either of the former to do itnote ).
  • November 8, 2013
    xanderiskander
    If we called this Crossdressing Stand In we could broaden this to include similar female examples or crossdressers who dress that way to protect people instead of just rescuing them. Like Mulan, in which the main character dresses as a man to protect her Elderly Father from being drafted into a war.
  • November 8, 2013
    AgProv
    An episode of South Park has a very macho, moustachio'd, cop dress in drag as bait to catch hookers' clients. This quickly escalates to the point where this cop doesn't let anyone else be the bait. Claiming he needs proof capable of standing up in court, he makes sure sexual activity happens first, and only then arrests the john. He eventually arrests a whole swingers' club after being guest of honour at a gang-bang...
  • November 9, 2013
    xanderiskander
    Why does this have hats when none of the examples in the thread have been added to the page, and it hasn't had it's title settled?
  • November 9, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Wrestling:
    • Ric Flair wins a match against Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin, with the stipulation that if Flair wins he gets an evening with Garvin's valet Precious. We see footage from Flair's hotel room from the night in quiestion: Precious shows up, but it's really Garvin's brother Ron in disguise. Ron punches out Flair with his "hands of stone" and starts a feud.
  • February 7, 2015
    DAN004
    So what's the point of this trope, really?
  • February 7, 2015
    MiinU
    ^@DAN004 - The trope is usually seen in (but not limited to) cop shows, where a guy poses as bait for a mugger, rapist, etc. by crossdressing as a woman - even though there's an actual woman present who could do the job.

    It can either be played straight or for laughs, depending on the narrative.
  • February 7, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ Wondering if there are cases of women crossdressing as men?
  • February 7, 2015
    MiinU
    ^@DAN004 - The only one I know of, is King from Art Of Fighting. Except that had nothing to do with posing as bait.
  • February 8, 2015
    DAN004
    Okay, changing the question: why is it "unnecessary" when it can make sense that if actual women did it, it'll harm her? In case of prostitution, a male crossdressing may end up unharmed (mostly cuz, well, they won't do anything bad to him cuz he's male) while an actual female will be raped instead.
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