Created By: Jordan on June 20, 2011

Playing To Career Stereotype

A character doesn't belong to group X but pretends to be an X because they are in a profession that is stereotypically made up of Xes.

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Maybe Needs a Better Title. This is definitely related to Fauxreigner, but is more specific in that it extends to non-nationality examples. This is a way of lampshading stereotypes along with doing a Stereotype Flip. It is also sometimes used as a way of working around a negative stereotype by having the character fitting that stereotype not actually be a member of the targeted group.

  • Saul Goodman the Amoral Attorney on Breaking Bad is not really Jewish (and that's not really his name), but chose to pretend to be, figuring that his criminal clients would expect/be more comfortable with a Jewish lawyer.
  • In Snatch., "Doug the Head" is not actually Jewish, but pretends to be, since he's in the diamond business.
  • In Boardwalk Empire, Michael "Mickey Doyle" Kozik is a Polish guy who pretends to be Irish in order to ingratiate himself with Irish gangsters. It doesn't really work out that way and is treated in-universe as pretty stupid. Interestingly, Mickey is based on a real person who actually did this.
  • I don't have time now to pull up example, but there's a whole lot of cases of straight characters pretending to be gay because they are in an Always Camp profession (details will follow).
Community Feedback Replies: 12
  • June 21, 2011
    • On Cheers Norm pretends to be gay in order to make it in the home decorating business.
    • Northern Exposure: Holling, the owner/operator of the local bar, has a Dark Secret: he hates Baseball. But he keeps up with it enough to be competent discussing it, because a significant number of his patrons come to his bar to watch and talk baseball. (This is slightly forshadowed in another episode, where Holling tells Ruth-Anne that her son who is planning to open a bait shop shouldn't do it: the son likes to make lures but hates the actual fishing part, and people hang out in bait stores to talk fishing.)
  • June 21, 2011
    Camp Straight has several examples of the "straight person in stereotypically camp profession" version.
  • June 21, 2011
    If the shoe doesn't fit, make your foot smaller...
  • June 21, 2011
    • The gypsy fiddler in the Sandman issue "The Sound of Her Wings", who is really Jewish.
  • June 21, 2011
    In The Dresden Files, Thomas works as a hairdresser and pretends to be gay -- although this is also to keep all his female customers from jumping him, as his White Court vampire powers make him irresistible.
  • June 21, 2011
    In an episode of King Of The Hill, Bill pretend to be gay when he works at a hair salon.
  • June 24, 2011
    • Discworld has a weapons manufacturer who grew a beard and wears a horned helmet at all times, because people associate dwarves with quality metalworking.
    • Harry Dickson had an Indian bath establishment owned by a bearded, turban-wearing, Sikh-looking man. Who's actually German.
  • June 25, 2011
    Er, em.... given that Thomas was a sex vampire, I'd be willing to bet he was closer to an Anything That Moves type, and didn't have to pretend to be into guys. What he pretended was that he was ONLY gay, and he played up the Camp Gay stereotypes.
  • June 26, 2011
  • June 26, 2011
    ^^ I remember Thomas as being explicitly straight, but it's admittedly been a while since I read any of the books, so maybe I'm wrong.
  • June 26, 2011
  • May 26, 2018
    Film Live Action
    • In Kick Ass, after David gets beat up by criminals, rumors spread around his high-school that he was injured during a gay hook-up gone wrong. As this wins him sympathy from his crush Katie, he decides not to correct people.

    Live Action TV
    • One episode of Malcolm In The Middle sees Francis pretending to be gay while assigned to the security detail at a beauty pageant so that he can get away with ogling the contestants.
    • In the Law And Order Special Victims Unit episode "Demons", Stabler poses as a paroled sex offender in order to befriend another parolee who is already suspected of re-offending.