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.
ExamplesAnime and Manga
- In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Homura had these in initial timelines. When she took several thousand levels in badass and suitably became more cynical, she also stopped tying her hair in braids.
- Ahiru in Princess Tutu form wears her hair in a single braid down her back, and is an innocent princess as well as an All-Loving Hero.
- Liechtenstein of Axis Powers Hetalia, a sweet, cute, Heartwarming Orphan, 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.
- 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.
- The Hunger Games. Prim wears her hair in two braids, and is incorruptibly pure and manages to remain so throughout all she goes through. Her more cynical older sister Katniss uses Braids of Action, though.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- Stacy from Daria, who is the most insecure of the Fashion Club.
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