Created By: RossN on September 14, 2008
Nuked

The Ladette

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She likes sports, beer, cars, swearing, fighting and sex. She is crude, rude, often hygenically challenged and cheerfully ignorant and aggressive. If you are a guy, she'll probably challenge you to a fight or a drinking competition, win both and then take an aggressive lead in anything sexual that happens, before kicking you out the front door the following morning.

In short she is a young woman with the personality of a stereotypical young man. She is the Ladette.

Examples:
  • Numerous British female celebrities have adopted (or genuinely possess) this persona - Charlotte Church, Denise Van Outen, Sara Cox...
Community Feedback Replies: 61
  • September 14, 2008
    Silent Hunter
  • September 14, 2008
    Unknown Troper
  • September 14, 2008
    Hazel
  • September 14, 2008
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    Fran in Black Books drinks and smokes a lot, makes lewd comments about the "nice arse" of her dates, and once insulted a dwarf who turned out to be a crime lord. Her rudeness is weirdly offset by Tamsin Greig's very lovely posh voice.
  • September 14, 2008
    Kahuna Burger
    Starbuck in the Current Battlestar Galactica series.
  • September 14, 2008
    pawsplay
    Jenny Mc Carthy
  • September 14, 2008
    RossN
    Huh, for some reason thinking up this trope I thought of it as being mostly a British/Irish thing, but yeah they fit this - especially Faith a Starbuck - perfectly.

    Another example: JoJo from Raw.
  • September 14, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    Sooo.....generic Tomboy?
  • September 14, 2008
    Silent Hunter
    Unknown Troper: Most certainly not. You can't imagine Kaylee Frye doing some of these things. Tomboy But More So- it's definitely separable.
  • September 14, 2008
    PlaceHolderForIdentity
    A tomboy is a girl who has some boy-ish traits, normally 'good' ones, Sporty, is 'just as good as any man' and so on. This example seems to be mostly a girl with the bad traits of men, lewd, mean, love them then leave em type.
  • September 14, 2008
    RossN
    Pretty much - though the Ladette can be a sympathetic character. Also this type of character is usually pretty sexual, which is not usually a tomboy trait.
  • September 14, 2008
    EponymousKid
    The implications of this, if Freud Was Right, are staggering. To wit; If you prefer women who act very much like men...

    And that's an angle of Bokukko that is literally never explored, by the way: Gender identity and sexuality.
  • September 14, 2008
    Valentine
    While we're on the subject, Bokukko is described as the Moe Moe version of a tomboy. Do we seriously not have tomboy as a stock character type of its own though?
  • September 14, 2008
    Etrangere
    who are you talking to Eponymous Kid?
  • September 14, 2008
    EponymousKid
    I meant in a general sense, because this sort of thing is usually invoked specifically to appeal to men, but when you honestly think about it there are some implications that are perhaps best left undiscussed.
  • September 14, 2008
    RossN
    Strangely I'd see it as almost the reverse - a guy who is more comfortable around ladettes is one who doesn't feel the need to prove anything by going for a traditionally 'feminine' girlfriend; who doesn't feel threatened if his date can drink him under the table - and I say this as a straight guy who isn't even especially into ladettes.

  • September 14, 2008
    Etrangere
    I'm a girl, and it appeals to me. Actually given the amount of lesbians who are fans of Starbuck, I think you're reaching. And even if you weren't, what does liking one type of female character to be characterised onr xzu has to do with not liking female characters to be characterised any other way, ever? I'm pretty sure there's also a big part of the audience both male and female who like this type of character, without thinking of them through sexual lenses. I know, it's a shocking idea.
  • September 14, 2008
    EponymousKid
    Really? Because it seems frankly isolationist (only willing to date women who act like all their friends) and, again, the implications (that you're actually into men but are expressing it in a socially acceptable way) speak for themselves.

    I'm not even looking at the characters themselves through a sexual lens, I was trying to examine the... oh, whatever.
  • September 14, 2008
    Etrangere
    "only willing to date"? hello, we're talking about a character trope. There's nothing that says "my favourite kind of date as a male" in the description of the trope.
  • September 14, 2008
    RossN
    Eh... I don't see it. Like I said if we have to look at it this way I'd see going for extreme girly girls are more indicative of a guy in the closet looking to overcompensate.

    Actually both ways of looking at it are equal nonsense in my opinion, but the idea of a ladette girlfriend as some sort of proxy boyfriend seems a real stretch.

    The other charge (isolationism) seems a bit fairer, but I still don't really agree - most guys have a certain type of girl they tend to fall for (and vice versa). Not All Guys Want Cheerleaders.
  • September 14, 2008
    Sackett
    Hmmm, I've never heard of the term Ladette before, doesn't really make me think of this trope as "lad" makes me think "boyish charm".

    First of all, Tomboy can include rude, crude (in a male sense) girls. It's just that most tomboys aren't.

    Think about the difference between Akane and Ukyo- both would be reasonably called tomboys, but Akane is more of the typical tomboyish, gets into fights with boys she likes, kind of tomboy. Ukyo is over in Wholesome Crossdresser territory, which girls that fit this trope usually are. Also, Ukyo (like female Ranma) tends to use ruder language.

    Burping contests, rudeness, crude comments, poor hygiene, and engaging in drinking contests or poker with the boys is not uncommon and is sort of the next step up.

    Don't the Japanese have a term for a tomboy who goes above Bokukko?

    Being sexually aggressive is much rarer and might be considered even one more step up beyond that. Bifauxnen covers this, but cuts out the roughneck behavior...

    Maybe call it One Of The Boys? Or should that be reserved for the roughneck behavior but without the sexual aggressiveness?

    I think we definitely need an over arching Tomboy trope, with links to Bokukko, Tsundere (they are a version), Feminine Women Can Cook, Bifauxnen and whatever tropes come out of this discussion.
  • September 14, 2008
    RossN
    'Ladette' is (I believe) an Englishism, derived from Lad culture.

    (It has also entered the dictionary)

    Perhaps this sort of character (at least the sexualised version) simply isn't an Anime trope?
  • September 14, 2008
    Sackett
    Actually the sexualized version is an anime trope: Bifauxnen, except that they don't include the rough, rude, and poor hygiene behavior.

    In Western works, a tomboy who is rude and gross (in a boyish way) is actually not uncommon. Although they do tend to be younger I think... maybe that's why the sexualized version is so rare. Even with older women who fit the roughneck behavior, there is an aspect of childish innocence, making sexual aggressiveness potential Squick.

    Not to say that these characters don't exist. Starbuck is an example.

    I'm just wondering what tropes we need.

    I think we need one for characters like Toph, tomboys who have poor hygiene, rude, crude, ect- just One Of The Boys.

    Then the question becomes do we need a trope for characters like Starbuck who mixes Bifauxnen with One Of The Boys?
  • September 14, 2008
    RossN
    The sexualised version isn't rare at all - I can think of dozens of examples in real life of the beer guzzling, swearing boy chasing sort. Charlotte Church is probably the biggest example at the moment.

    I don't see the connection with the Bifauxnen at all really - Ladettes don't usually dress or try to look like guys.
  • September 14, 2008
    Sackett
    Bifauxnen are described here as usually the sexually aggressive character.

    I'm just saying that the non-sexualized version is far, far more common.

    I have no problem with creating two tropes, one for the non-sexualized version, and on for the sexualized version. (which while you say there are real life examples are less common in media)
  • September 14, 2008
    Prfnoff
    "It's just such boyishness in the females of lad land that's most striking (or, rather, it's that the lads seem to desire it so much). Aside from the C-list starlets, who come off like well-bred dames in this context, the majority of laddie girls profess exactly the interests of the lads themselves: roughhousing, football, beer chugging, NASCAR, girl-on-girl, muscle cars and motorcycles, pro wrestling, video games, burping, and being as dumb as humanly possible. In short, these women are but lads with tits, making all the leering that presumably goes on among readers of these mags curiously akin to looking across the table at your poker buddy, imagining him as a woman, and wanting to get nice." (Jon Zobenica, "Are We Not Men?", The Atlantic Monthly, January-February 2007)
  • September 14, 2008
    Sackett
    Also, might I point out that Ladette seems to be referring to a specific British version- which is fine, I'm just point out the generalized versions.

    Perhaps Ladatte can be the sexualized version of One Of The Boys or whatever we decide to call the other version.
  • September 14, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    The anti-heroine?

    Grace Hanadarko from Saving Grace.
  • September 14, 2008
    RossN
    So the only connection The Ladette has with the Bifauxnen is sexual aggression? I don't know... the link seems very thin to me - Samantha from Sex and the City is sexually aggressive without being either after all.

    Indeed I'm not all that convinced The Ladette is so very closely related to the old fashioned tomboy, which as you say does conjure up images of youth, and often (to my mind anyway) introversion - even shyness; a Beautiful All Along character waiting to happen. Very different from the brash approach of Faith or Jenny McCarthy for that matter.

    @:Prfnoff - That is a good quote. I don't much agree with the article (and Zobenica com cross as something of a prig), but it can work as a page quote.
  • September 14, 2008
    Sackett
    There are plenty of brash rude outgoing tomboys in America.

    Toph from Avatar would be a good example.

    The Ladette seems to a be a grownup sexualized version.
  • September 14, 2008
    Etrangere
    Well a Tomboy is supposed to be a little girl, so OF COURSE she's not sexuality (thankfully). So yeah, grown up seems to be key here. Not all Tomboys grow up to be Laddette, either, I think.
  • September 14, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    I think what they're saying is, like, your typical anti-hero.

    Drinks too much, smokes too much, curses too much, sleeps around too much, defies authority too much.

    Only they're female.
  • September 14, 2008
    arromdee
    Overlaps with Otaku Surrogate.
  • September 14, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    Maybe this is overly simplistic, but... what's wrong with being attracted to someone with a similar mindset as you? A guy who likes women with a similar mindset as his own isn't necessarily gay.

    Also, tomboys usually pop up in settings where girls and boys segregate themselves by activity, and the tomboy is more interested in the stereotypically male activities. Ladettes are usually in coed environments, but just follow the male role.
  • September 14, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    Charlotte Church? Really? That girl who sings opera? *goes to google*
  • September 15, 2008
    dupreewith2es
    I'm for this trope but not if its called Tomboy. That's a fairly loaded word and there's already a discussion going on about Chickification. Having been called a tomboy all my life I've become a bit sensitive about it.
  • September 15, 2008
    Hazel
    Tomboys aren't shy. If anything, they tend to be more outgoing and louder than the more traditional girls, at least in older works. Meg and Jo in Little Women is a good example.
  • September 15, 2008
    Ridicumouse
    Does this split make sense?

    The Tomboy will try to hide or downplay the fact she is female in order to be accepted as 'one of the guys'. She will be competitive, particularly at sports and doesn't back down from a fight. (Pip from Good Omens.) She will wear her hair cut short and if she's forced to wear a dress, her friends may not even recognise her right away. (The Blacketts from Swallows And Amazons.) She will be disparaging about traditionally feminine pursuits and may take on a masculine or androgynous nickname. (George from the Famous Five books.)

    The Tomboy is usually a younger character and you can expect a change when The Tomboy hits puberty. They will either freak out and try to hide the signs (Christina Ricci in that one movie and that softball player from the Sweet Valley High novels) or they will start embracing some of the feminine pursuits she's been mocking for so long. If The Tomboy grows up to take on more adult male behaviours like drinking to excess or a hump-em-and-dump-em attitude, she may become The Ladette.

  • September 15, 2008
    BC
    All the women at the start of the reality show Ladette to Lady.
  • September 15, 2008
    Valentine
    "If The Tomboy grows up to take on more adult male behaviours like drinking to excess or a hump-em-and-dump-em attitude, she may become The Ladette."

    Neither of those are really the defining quality of a ladette though. It's more an overall image of crudeness and ignorance, and there's definitely a wide degree of separation between sporty tomboys who like sex and alcohol and ladettes. I wonder if the Brits/Irish who are familiar with the stereotype are just failing to communicate to those who haven't heard of it exactly what we mean?
  • September 15, 2008
    Sir Psycho Sexy
    I'm voting for One Of The Boys.
  • September 15, 2008
    dupreewith2es
    I'm voting for One Of The Boys as well.
  • September 15, 2008
    Ridicumouse
    Could you elaborate on why you think 'ignorance' is essential to ladette-ness? Do you mean that Ladettes aren't educated? Or did you mean ignorant like 'unaware'?

    If it's the first, I think you're wrong. Universities are prime breeding grounds for Ladettes.

    If it's the second, you're probably right. I think a lack of consideration goes hand in hand with a lot of Ladette traits.
  • September 15, 2008
    Valentine
    Yeah, I meant having a lack of consideration.
  • September 15, 2008
    Unknown Troper
  • September 16, 2008
    RossN
    Bump.
  • September 16, 2008
    pawsplay
    I don't think this type is specifically masculine, rather, but unfeminine. Plenty of guys do not swill beer, hump and dump, fart and brag about it, etc., but are still considered manly. Like Superman, who's more manly than that?
  • September 16, 2008
    Hazel
    Batman?
  • September 16, 2008
    pawsplay
    Batman is less manly, but also less gay. Somewhat.
  • September 17, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    The negative masculine behaviors, then. Superman is pretty much a collection of positive masculine traits. Probably this character would turn up in a sort of show where everyone is portrayed negatively, like in an unsympathetic comedy. Then again, what with the problems you get for portraying any sort of positive trait as predominantly masculine these days... Not to get overly political, but could it be that the Ladette not having any of the positive male-associated traits has something to do with this cultural shift?
  • September 17, 2008
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    Yes! It's all about emphasising negative masculine traits! Positive traits that are also traditionally masculine such as ambition, leadership and physical power do not really apply.

    The whole "Ladette" thing started in The Nineties and was seen as the Distaff Counterpart of "Lads" such as those seen in Men Behaving Badly who also embody negative male traits without any of the good ones.
  • September 17, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    There was a book about this a while back... I forget the title, but it had something to do with "raunch culture", and the point was basically that women were trying to be less stereotypically feminine, and those deliberately trying to be like men would end up emulating the bad stereotypical male traits instead of the good ones, because the stereotype of men isn't "ambition, leadership, physical power" anymore, it's being drunken and slutty and uncouth. It was an interesting read.

    Yes, traditionally I meant. It's definitely possible for a woman to be ambitious, but that's not how the trait is viewed, just like it's equally possible for a man to be a caring, dedicated parent, but usually we think that's mom instead of dad.
  • September 17, 2008
    ShayGuy
    Masculine virtues, masculine vices, feminine virtues, feminine vices...

    This is about a woman having masculine vices or the lack of feminine virtues, which may be the same thing. I guess there's something to this - less likely to exhibit feminine vices, more likely to empathize with the man's own masculine vices...something like that?
  • September 17, 2008
    CoyoticEvil
    Gracie Hart in Miss Congeniality, nicknamed Dirty Harriet.
  • September 17, 2008
    pawsplay
    I don't know that virtue/vice applies. It's like the opposite of metrosexual, but then transplanted to a tomboyish or brassy chick type character instead of a man.
  • September 17, 2008
    dupreewith2es
    That book is called Female Chauvinist Pigs and it's really good.
  • September 17, 2008
    RossN
    @pawsplay: That's it exactly.

    The Ladette doesn't have to be a negative character any more than a Lad has to be (the protagonists of Men Behaving Badly are pretty likable in a loserly sort of way).

    A Ladette could quite easily be The Toblerone for instance.
  • September 17, 2008
    Nybbler
    Two characters on Weeds -- Yael (definitely) and Denise (possibly). Yael goes so far as to put on a strap-on and insist that Andy receive.

  • September 17, 2008
    pawsplay
    Is Ladette still in the running?
  • September 17, 2008
    RossN
    Absolutely - it's the one I favour. One Of The Boys is a good title, but not quite right for this, IMO.

    If you want launch it now you can, otherwise I will try and get around to it on Thursday.

  • September 18, 2008
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    Related to Bottle Fairy, I think?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=cf2j9wi5noxp5gnwpvgnt3e2&trope=TheLadette