Created By: Synchronicity on August 5, 2011 Last Edited By: Quag15 on March 6, 2015

Braids Of Innocence

Braids used as a shorthand to portray someone's innocence.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
If Braids of Action are a visual shorthand for someone being an Action Girl and Braids of Barbarism are a visual shorthand for, well, someone being barbaric, then these kinds of braids are meant to be a visual shorthand for someone being naive (as well as other traits).

This trope is for braids being used to emphasize a character's youth, innocence and/or shyness (especially if the character is the Cheerful Child, the Token Mini-Moe, The Cutie, Shrinking Violet or other similar archetypes).

If Break the Cutie happens, expect an Expository Hairstyle Change (there may or may not be an Important Haircut involved) with the character choosing to wear their hair short or down instead of in braids.

Often paired with Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold and Innocent Blue Eyes. Girlish Pigtails is a Sister Trope, and there's a significant amount of overlap between these two tropes.

As noted above, contrast Braids of Action and Braids of Barbarism.


Examples

Anime and Manga

Film - Animated
  • Braids-sporting Anna from Frozen might be eighteen, but she's also very isolated with little knowledge as to how the outside world really works, leading her to make some bad decisions early on in the film.

Live-Action Film

Literature
  • Young Anne from Anne of Green Gables was shown to sport braids, emphasizing her naivete. When she grew older, she shed the braids.
  • Heidi, probably the Trope Codifier. At age five, her Blithe Spirit and innocent charm manage to defrost everyone around her. While she does not wear them all the time (in fact, they're not seen in the anime adaptation), when she does it serves to emphasize her youthfulness, her innocence and her goodness (which led some people to consider her a Purity Sue).
  • This is an Enforced Trope in the Wheel of Time series among the Aiel. Young girls wear their hair in braids; unbraiding your hair is a sign of maturity. It's inverted for the women of the Two Rivers, where the right to wear your hair in a single braid is a sign of maturity.
  • Exploited in Anne Rice's Claiming of Sleeping Beauty: we're told that the fifteen-year-old heroine's "groom" arranges her hair in braids to make her look even younger than she is. (For the benefit of those fortunate enough not to have encountered this story, it's BDSM porn. At this point the heroine is being forced into a non-consensual pony-play session: she is wearing braids, boots, and nothing else. Remember: fifteen.)

Live-Action TV
  • Cruelly invoked by the producers of Family Affair when Anissa Jones as Buffy was Not Allowed to Grow Up.
  • Game of Thrones has the young, naive Stark girls incorporate braids into their hairstyles in the first season. When their Break the Cutie processes begin near the end of the first season, Arya stops wearing them entirely (due to her Sweet Polly Oliver guise). Sansa continues to wear them because they're part of court fashion, but less and less so as the show goes on.

Video Games
  • Shrinking Violet Iris from Ace Attorney, a nun who sports braids at the top of her head and seems to be totally unaware of the developments going on. Subverted with her identical twin sister Dahlia, who sports the exact same hairstyle (except red), and is a total Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. Subverted too with Iris herself, as she's not as unaware as she seems, although she's far more benevolent than Dahlia.
  • Yukari Koshiki of Tokimeki Memorial 1, who's the resident innocent Cloud Cuckoo Lander.

Western Animation
  • Stacy from Daria, who is the most insecure of the Fashion Club.
Community Feedback Replies: 53
  • August 5, 2011
    JonnyB
    Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz
  • August 6, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Cruelly invoked by the producers of Family Affair when Anissa Jones as Buffy was Not Allowed To Grow Up.
  • August 6, 2011
    TTurtle
    See also Girlish Pigtails, which includes twin braids. There may be a good bit of overlap between these tropes.

  • August 6, 2011
    hotrods4ben
    Rapunzel gets her hair braided when going through town (for convenience).
  • August 8, 2011
    peccantis
    ^but it does nothing for her status as innocent/not
  • August 8, 2011
    hotrods4ben
    She's very innocent though, and the braid makes her look even more so.
  • August 13, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    Suou sports a Pippi Longstocking braid in season two of Darker than Black.

    Also, Pippi Longstocking.
  • August 24, 2011
    Synchronicity
    ~lebump~
  • August 25, 2011
    JoeG
  • September 13, 2011
    readergurl6
    Young Anne from Anne Of Green Gables was shown to sport braids

    Mattie from the 2010 version of True Grit also sported braids which were used to emphasis her youth

  • September 24, 2011
    AceNoctali
    Video game example:

  • September 24, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
  • September 24, 2011
    kyfhv
    Do we really need another hair trope? We have 99 hair tropes already. Perhaps this could go under braids of action.
  • September 28, 2011
    Synchronicity
    ^It couldn't, really. There are examples that overlap, of course, but some examples are really quite the far cry from Action Girl (take Heidi) for example
  • September 30, 2011
    Excelion
    In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Homura had these in initial timelines. When she took several thousand levels in badass, she also stopped tying her hair in braids.
  • September 30, 2011
    Chariset
    I don't know that this is significantly different from Girlish Pigtails
  • October 13, 2011
    Synchronicity
    bumppp
  • November 23, 2011
    surgoshan
    • This is an Enforced Trope in the Wheel Of Time series among the Aiel. Young girls wear their hair in braids; unbraiding your hair is a sign of maturity. It's inverted for the women of the Two Rivers, where the right to wear your hair in a single braid is a sign of maturity.
  • January 7, 2012
    TTurtle
    I'm going to ditto Chariset and say that I am not seeing how this is significantly different from Girlish Pigtails. I know it says that there's overlap between the two, but what DISTINGUISHES the two tropes?
  • January 7, 2012
    Oreochan
    I'm gonna agree with that too. There is basically no difference with Girlish Pigtails and pigails can mean braids too.
  • January 7, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Pigtails are not braids. This can just be a Sister Trope.
  • January 7, 2012
    Oreochan
    Ugh, how did I mix them up? I guess this could be a Sister Trope then.
  • January 7, 2012
    CactusWren
    Referenced, or inverted, or something, in Anne Rice's Claiming of Sleeping Beauty: we're told that the fifteen-year-old heroine's "groom" arranges her hair in braids to make her look even younger than she is. (For the benefit of those fortunate enough not to have encountered this story, it's BDSM porn. At this point the heroine is being forced into a non-consensual pony-play session: she is wearing braids, boots, and nothing else. Remember: fifteen.)
  • January 8, 2012
    peccantis
    ^exploited, rather.
  • January 8, 2012
    TTurtle
    The description for Girlish Pigtails says that pigtails are "Usually, but not always, left loose, braided tails have a more Granola Girl or tomboy connotation." So the current description not only includes braids (though it says they are unusual for that trope), but it suggests that braided tails mean something completely different from what this trope suggests. This is why I think more work is needed to distinguish the two.
  • March 25, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    "Cruelly invoked by the producers of Family Affair"

    That's "enforced", not "invoked", since it's being forced on the show.
  • June 21, 2013
    Synchronicity
  • June 21, 2013
    Arivne
    Namespace and italicized the example work names.

    Note that both Pippi Longstocking and Heidi are Zero Context Examples.
  • June 22, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ Same goes with the Darker Than Black and The Wizard Of Oz examples, since they don't say anything about how the characters fit the innocence part.
  • October 19, 2013
    lexicon
    Any Zero Context Example should be removed for this to be launchable. Saying, "This character is naive," is not sufficient context. I don't think Mattie from True Grit should even be on the list. You can't really call her innocent. Prim from The Hunger Games is good but it needs to say how.
  • October 19, 2013
    Paradisesnake
  • October 19, 2013
    DAN004
    Maybe someone should explain to me the connections of the braid and the innocence?
  • October 19, 2013
    Quag15
    Liechtenstein of Axis Powers Hetalia used to wear them until she cut them in order to look more like her brother, Switzerland. One of the anime episodes is centered around this event.
  • October 19, 2013
    Synchronicity
    ^^ It's related to how braids - especially those worn in pigtail styles - are considered a "youthful" hairstyle. More complicated braiding is probably not this trope. Probably.

    Anyway, this is officially Up For Grabs.
  • October 19, 2013
    Quag15
    ^ Can I continue your work and see if I can get this launched?
  • October 19, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ You don't need to ask a permission after the draft has been declared Up For Grabs. Just take it.
  • October 19, 2013
    Quag15
    I'm polite. Ok, I'll continue this.
  • December 17, 2013
    abateman
    Used as camouflage in V For Vendetta
  • December 17, 2013
    abateman
    Also, now that the Second Hunger Games movie is out, you can expand that example. Primm starts with Braids Of Innocence then the first film commits Break The Cutie and in the second film, we find Primm sporting Braids Of Action.
  • December 17, 2013
    StarSword
  • December 17, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    needs trope image. since it already has 3 hats.

    abateman
    Used as camouflage in V For Vendetta

    by whom? this is a Zero Context Example so far.
  • December 17, 2013
    Synchronicity
    ^^^Hardly. Prim never graduates to Action Girl status.

    • Braids-sporting Anna from Frozen might be eighteen, but she's also very isolated with little knowledge as to how the outside world really works, leading her to make some bad decisions early on in the film.
  • December 17, 2013
    abateman
    My mistake, Natalie Portman had curly pigtails, not braids
  • February 12, 2015
    saddestsad
    bump
  • March 5, 2015
    Gowan
    I despise the book, but in Fifty Shades Of Grey, Ana braids her hair to appear more innocent, in the mistaken belief that this will discourage Grey from abusing her. It doesn't work.

  • March 5, 2015
    Alucard
  • March 6, 2015
    GiorgioDaneri
    • Canal from Lost Universe is a total sweetie, being a computer, she is unaware of many adult issues and behavior and has a very childlike personality. She often wears a braid hanging over a shoulder.
  • March 6, 2015
    DAN004
    Please answer my question: how do braids make someone innocent?
  • March 6, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ I think it started around the 19th century and lasted until the mid 20th. Loose braids were something young girls did because doing them up would take time that they wanted to use to play. Older women were expected to be proper and care about their appearance, so they had to do their hair up.
  • March 6, 2015
    DAN004
    Sounds to me that braids signify girliness rather than innocent, in that case.
  • March 6, 2015
    GiorgioDaneri
    DAN 004 - Braids don't make someone innocent, but this trope is when an innocent characters wear them as part of their characterization, like Tomboy Ponytail, one does not make a girl tomboy but is often associated.
  • March 6, 2015
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^ Which is what the description states (although poorly organized).
  • March 6, 2015
    StrixObscuro
    Anime And Manga
    • In Howls Moving Castle, Sophie initially wears her hair in a braid as a sign of her virginity. Later, when the castle is on its last legs and Calcifer needs fuel, Sophie cuts off her braid and feeds it to Calcifer.
    • In Deadman Wonderland, Minatsuki wears her hair in braids as part of the fake Moe persona that she tries to project.

    Comic Books
    • In Runaways, Karolina initially wears her hair in a braid when she's still convinced that her parents are really good people at heart. After having that illusion broken, she starts wearing her hair down.
      • Later recruit Klara also has a braid, which serves as a reminder that for all the shit she went through before joining the Runaways, she's still a child. She later loses the braid just before she gets put through the wringer...

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=9t2dquryby5e5o8s2mm3zpzp