Created By: ccoa on May 2, 2009
Nuked

Pigtails

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Trope
Also known as twin tails or twintails. A type of hairstyle where the hair is gathered into two "tails" on either side of the head. Usually left loose, braided tails are usually just called "braids" and have a more Native American or hippie connotation.

Used as a visual clue that the character is young or immature. This view may have come from the Chinese custom of unmarried women wearing their hair in two buns on either side of the head.

If an older woman is trying to disguise herself as a child, expect her to sport pigtails. Also can be found on an older woman if the writers want the audience to grasp that she's child-like in temperament: playful, fun, and possibly innocent.

Pigtails are commonly found on Tsunderes, either full pigtails or a variation, which leaves the majority of the hair down with tails on each side of the head. This may be to indicate her childish temperament: prone to physically expressing displeasure and temper tantrums.

Twintails are one of the three parts of the ultimate Grade S Zettai Ryouiki (the other two being Grade A Zettai Ryouiki and Tsundere attitude).


Examples:

  • Evey in V for Vendetta disguises herself as an underage prostitute for a priest. Part of her costume is pigtails, the other part is a catholic schoolgirl outfit.
  • Abby from NCIS often sports pigtails as a visual clue of her youthful personality.
  • Kagami from Lucky Star has pigtails.
Community Feedback Replies: 53
  • May 1, 2009
    marjojo
    I like this one. Would you say Britney Spears is invoking or subverting this trope when she sings "I'm not that innocent" wearing them? I'd say a little of both actually.
  • May 1, 2009
    Koveras
    Twintails are one of the three parts of the ultimate Grade S Zettai Ryouiki (the other two being Grade A Zettai Ryouiki and Tsundere attitude).

    Some examples of tsunderes with twintails or some permutation thereof:
  • May 1, 2009
    MintPearlVoice
    Haruhi Suzumiya has two ribbons in her hair. In Shugo Chara, Amu's Amulet Clover form has pigtails, as does the incredibly immature Yuki Yaya. Death Note's Misa has a pigtail-variation hairstyle. She can be immature sometimes, right?
  • May 1, 2009
    ccoa
    I'd say Spears is invoking the trope in order to make her song more shocking, myself.
  • May 1, 2009
    arekuru
    Instead of just calling this Pigtails, how about something along the lines of Pigtails Indicate Youth or something else that indicates what the actual trope is? Leaving it as is reminds me of Hair Decorations, which I also didn't like.
  • May 1, 2009
    ccoa
    Hair Decorations was renamed. ;)

    Pigtails Indicate Youth works, but it's pretty boring. I'll use it unless someone comes up with a wittier one.
  • May 1, 2009
    VampireBuddha
    Chiyo-chan in Azumanga Daioh wears her hair in pigtails. Osaka dreams that they're detachable and allow her to fly.

    One of the Wise Ones in The Wheel Of Time threatens to do this to Egwene if she doesn't stop acting so childishly.
  • May 1, 2009
    DragonQuestZ
  • May 1, 2009
    Landstander
    I like Perky Pigtails.

    gah... Seen It A Million Times yet I can only think of three at the moment.
  • May 1, 2009
    DragonQuestZ
    And Perky Goth Abby from NCIS, which is what made me think of calling this that name.
  • May 1, 2009
    random surfer
    One time on Murphy Brown Corky was staying over at Murphy's and acted like it was a slumber party. Corky said "we could braid each others hair!" and braided Murphy's into pigtails; when Eldon came over and saw Murphy, he said she looked "like an old Heidi."
  • May 1, 2009
    A Guy
    Do we really need a trope just for a hairstyle?
  • May 1, 2009
    DragonQuestZ
    It's to indicate a young girl, or one who is trying to look young, or one who is young at heart.

    If it's for neither of those, it doesn't count.
  • May 1, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    There's a whole list at Good Hair Evil Hair.
  • May 1, 2009
    Martin The Mess
    • Pippi Longstocking of course usually is depicted with her red hair in two horizontal braided pigtails sticking out either side of her head. This is entirely in keeping with her zany, childish glee.
      • Wendy on the sign for the chain of fast food restaurants has the same hairdo.
    • Very, very frequently used in pornography to make adult actresses seem younger. If a porn actress is in a Sexy Schoolwoman outfit, or a Cheerleader uniform, the probability is very high that she'll have pigtails.
    • Anne Of Green Gables has the long, braided pigtails hanging down variant.

  • May 2, 2009
    adam_grif
    Not related to trope, but I think it looks retarded on real people.
  • May 2, 2009
    NeoChaos
    Princess Curls would be a variation of these, where the pigtails are curled and (usually) frame the wearer's face. They're more indicative of high social status than youth, however.
  • May 2, 2009
    Nyperold
    • I suppose you could say that Yotsuba has quadruplet tails.
  • May 2, 2009
    Meems
    In the UK, or at least the part I live in, these are called "bunches". Fun fact.
  • May 2, 2009
    Arivne
  • May 2, 2009
    ccoa
    Interesting. They exist on Good Hair Evil Hair, but I would say they don't really indicate hero status. I've seen antagonists and outright villains with pigtails. It actually makes them more creepy. Off the top of my head, the little girl boss from Chrono Cross (can't remember her name), Rhoda Penmark in The Bad Seed, and Claudia from Interview With The Vampire. Not to mention that they can appear on neutral parties and their use in women's disguises (the thing that inspired this trope was remembering an episode of some crime drama show where the woman pretends to be a younger girl by doing up her hair in pigtails and using herself as bait for a pedophile).

    Also, Princess Curls has its own page.

    So: Split or spruce up the Good Hair Evil Hair entry?
  • May 2, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    I think it's a subtrope...
  • May 2, 2009
    Pika Hikari KT
    Mint Pearl Voice: Haruhi doesn't count, that's a headband. She is shown with them once before she cuts her hair though... Mikuru's costume in the pilot episode came with these though.
  • May 2, 2009
    ccoa
    @Threnody - It's very rude to edit someone else's YKTTW. Place examples in replies, please.
  • May 2, 2009
    DragonQuestZ
    Although it doesn't look like it, Asuka of Evangelion has pigtails.

    Also, a common variant is pigtails arranged as though they were Princess Curls. See Amy from Soul Calibur, for one.
  • May 2, 2009
    Koveras
    And Asuka is listed as a borderline Tsundere, too.

    In addition to my Nanoha example earlier: it seems that Teana stopped wearing twintails after the Time Skip to indicate that she has matured. Personally, I liked her tails better...
  • May 2, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Etna. She's also s Tsundere as well.
  • May 2, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Not sure if this really fits, but I remember that in the Babysitter's Little Sister books, Karen described one of her friends as having twin ponytails, because in her opinion, pigtails were only pigtails if they were curly.
  • May 2, 2009
    Tzintzuntzan
    An odd use: in Matilda by Roald Dahl, the evil schoolmistress Agatha Trunchbull hates pigtails and punishes all who wear them. A girl protests that her mother likes her pigtails. Trunchbull responds "yer mum's a twit!" Then she grabs the girls by the pigtails and throws her over a fence.

    I assume Dahl picked that just for the image, but here the pigtails symbolize something positive. My guess is that it used to be that, but (as a Cyclic Trope) has moved from "pigtails mean innocence and youth" to "pigtails mean emotionally stunted woman-children."
  • May 2, 2009
    Starscream
    Harley Quinn from Batman The Animated Series (and later mainstream DC Universe)
  • May 3, 2009
    Sackett
    I think the name ought to reference the youth/innocence that Pigtails are suppose to evoke.
  • May 3, 2009
    DragonQuestZ
  • May 3, 2009
    JoveHack
    Jen in Primal has twin pigtails, despite being 21. They mostly carry over to her four elemental forms as well.

    "Pigtails mean emotionally stunted woman-children," might well apply here. Jen's a scene girl working as a coffee shop waitress. She's planning to go to college, though.
  • May 3, 2009
    Arivne
    Anime
  • May 3, 2009
    fhqwhgads
  • May 3, 2009
    Koveras
    Perky Puerile Pigtails? And Twin Tails for redirect?

    We need to launch it before it gets into 50+ replies zone...
  • May 3, 2009
    ccoa
    There's no real rush. 50 replies won't cause YKTTW to crash, after all.

    Given the lack of opinions, I take it no one has a problem with the split from Good Hair Evil Hair?

    Puerile implies people with pigtails are immature, but pigtails may only indicate child-like temperament, which is generally considered a positive quality.
  • May 3, 2009
    Koveras
    @ccoa: Well, as long as you take responsibility for sorting and consolidating all examples within said 50 replies, I'm fine with not rushing. ;)
  • May 3, 2009
    Stormtroper
  • May 3, 2009
    DragonQuestZ
  • May 4, 2009
    ccoa
    Maybe we're trying to be a bit too clever with the name.

    Youthful Pigtails? Girlish Pigtails?

  • May 4, 2009
    Sackett
    Girlish Pigtails works very well. Communicates much better the concept. Once you think about it, it also explains why it's so often a feature of Tsunderes. Twin Tails as a redirect.
  • May 4, 2009
    ShayGuy
    Hold up for a moment.

    As far as I can tell, "twintails" are a distinct concept, and evidently a neologism, referring specifically to the hairstyle possessed by Kagami Hiiragi et al. They are not braided, they are gathered near the top of the head, and I have no idea where the term came from or how old it is.
  • May 5, 2009
    fhqwhgads
    Oh, also Suiseiseki from Rozen Maiden, although she has a kind of weird hairstyle where it goes down straight in two large locks and spirals into a "drill" near each of the ends. Here's a picture [1]

    It fits the description, especially since Suiseiseki is Tsundere and acts pretty childish, but the hairstyle isn't that reminiscent of a girl's pigtails.
  • May 5, 2009
    Kayube
    Trope Tan is sort of an example, which says a lot about us if you think about it. (Even though her hair is really supposed to represent Lumper Vs Splitter.)
  • May 5, 2009
    ccoa
    How are twintails distinct? They are pigtails (which aren't usually braided and can be gathered near the top of the head).
  • May 5, 2009
    Koveras
    I'd recommend to simply lump braided and unbraided tails together because the dividing line between that can become very blurry at times.
  • May 5, 2009
    Sackett
    My understanding is that "pigtails" is the American term, and "twin tails" is the Japanese term for the same hairstyle. Furthermore, Kagami Hiiragi's hairstyle is highlighted because Tsundere's usually have "twin tails" as Konata points out.

    In America, "pigtails" usually are not braided (although they can be).
  • May 6, 2009
    Arivne
    Anime
  • May 6, 2009
    ccoa
    Misty has an asymetrical ponytail.
  • May 6, 2009
    DragonQuestZ
    I'd go with Girlish Pigtails as well. Now Just Launch It Already.
  • May 6, 2009
    Koveras
    Yeah, make it Girlish Pigtails and launch it, please.
  • May 6, 2009
    DragonQuestZ
    If no one else will launch this, I will.
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