launched as Expository Hairstyles.
Per this conversation
, we decided we may need a supertrope
Generally, the most important things an author wants to communicate to an audience are the things that are difficult to instantly demonstrate, such as a character's role in the story, personality, moral character, or whether the author wants the audience to sympathize with them.
Often as a visual shorthand, the writer uses the character's appearance to symbolize those characteristics. In animation, a common practice is to use Hair Colors
, or the color
and shape of the eyes. However, another technique that has several useful advantages is the style and length of a character's hair
. For one thing, it's relatively easy to implement in Live-Action TV
as well as animation. It's also convenient for characters who undergo lots of character development as you can give them an Expository Hairstyle Change
or Important Haircut
Note: while Hair Tropes
are all tropes that have to do with hair, this is specifically a supertrope of cases where hairstyle is used to represent personality, not simply to look interesting or help you tell the characters apart.
Compare Stock Costume Traits
, where a character's costume indicates profession & status.
- Should we have a section for individual examples that don't fit a particular trope?
- How about a section for works that use multiple hair tropes for this purpose?
Female Tropes / Subtropes:
- Bald Women: often found in Sci Fi, these characters tend to represent empowerment through transcendence.
- Braids of Action: a single long braid or a pair of braids, used to indicate an Action Girl.
- Girlish Pigtails: hair tied into sidetails that stick out the sides indicate youthfulness or immaturity.
- Hime Cut: combination of a female with perfectly straight bangs, noticable sidetails, and long hair in back indicates an Ojou.
- Mega Twintails: Outrageous Girlish Pigtails twirled into Princess Curls indicates a character who combines the two types.
- Odango Hair: two spherical buns worn at about 45 degree angles on the side of the head, sometimes with ribbons and / or cloth covers. Indicates the character is either Chinese, innocent and polite, or when worn with twintails, a tsundere.
- Power Hair: short hair reaching the jawline, parted in front and coiffed expertly so it never crosses in front of the face, used to indicate an Iron Lady.
- Prim and Proper Bun: hair tied in a single bun at the back, indicating a neat, prim, proper, and organized woman of authority, who is typically conservative and tight laced.
- Princess Curls: curly sidetails on female characters often indicate royalty or being of (or formerly of) high status.
- Rapunzel Hair: very long hair (past their hips) that flows like a cape is often used to indicate a dramatic character from a wealthy a background.
- Short Hair With Tail: combining the femininity of long hair and the Action Girl / Tomboy implications of short hair.
- Tomboyish Ponytail: wearing a ponytail not intended for elegance indicates a Tomboy or The Lad-ette.
- Tomboyish Sidetails: short hair combined with the sidetails of a Hime Cut, indicating a character with a tomboyish, non - girly, or unique personality.
Male Tropes / Subtropes:
Unisex (same implications for both genders) Tropes / Subtropes:
- Bald of Awesome: when hair loss isn't a sign of a character's lack of youth, health, or morals, it's a sign of awesomeness.
- Delinquent Hair: unnatural hair color or styles used in a more realistic setting to denote a delinquent, antisocial, or rebellious individual.
- Good Hair, Evil Hair: when this supertrope is used specifically to distinguish heroes and villains.
- Hair Antennae: two locks of hair that stick out above the head, resembling an insect's antenna, used to indicate The Ditz.
- Horned Hairdo: a hairstyle that looks like horns is usually a sign that the character is up to no good.
- Idiot Hair: a single lock of hair that sticks traight up, indicating a foolish, naive, or mischievous.
- Peek-a-Bangs: hair covering one eye, used to indicate a character who is either seductive, deceptive, shy, or emo.
- Quirky Curls: Characters with completely curly hair (not just Princess Curls) tend to be energetic, quirky, rebellious and/or eccentric.
- Spiky Hair: a combination of wild, cool, and Bad Ass, though often not to the same extent as Badass Longhair.
- Villainous Widow's Peak: a distinct point in the hairline in the center of the forehead indicates a villain.