ChromosomeCasting Chromosome Casting YKTTW Discussion

Chromosome Casting
A work in which all of the named characters belong to a single sex
Needs Examples Description Needs Help Needs Examples
(permanent link) added: 2013-03-02 16:37:05 sponsor: Folamh3 (last reply: 2013-03-09 04:15:44)

Add Tag:
A work which features only male named characters or only female named characters, but not both. Commonplace in works in which the setting would necessitate such a casting choice: prison dramas, war films, sports dramas etc.

Depending on the choice of sex, it can serve as the exact opposite of the Bechdel Test or its logical extreme. As the examples below demonstrate, most works like this tend towards the former.

See also Improbably Female Cast, female-dominated casts in unlikely situations, and The Smurfette Principle, for when a single female character is introduced into an otherwise all-male cast as a sop to gender equality (The One Guy is the Spear Counterpart). Compare Monochrome Casting, the equivalent in race.

Note: When adding examples, please be descriptive.


Male Only


  • The only female character of significance in The Shawshank Redemption is Andy's wife, who's killed in the first five minutes.
  • 12 Angry Men (though often performed as a play as 12 Angry Jurors, averting this trope).
  • Reservoir Dogs.
  • The first Dirty Harry film: the only female character who impacts upon the plot in any way is the villain's teenaged kidnap victim, who doesn't even appear onscreen until after she's dead.
  • Platoon, appropriately given the military setting. The only women who appear onscreen are unnamed Vietnamese civilians.
  • Ice Station Zebra has an all male cast.
  • The Thing takes place in a research station in Antartica, with only men working there. Because of the setting, no women appear in the movie at all.
  • My Dinner With Andre features only two characters, both of whom are men.
  • Lawrence of Arabia has no female speaking parts (unless you count people singing in the background).
  • Das Boot, set on a German U-boat.
  • Master and Commander.
  • Both The Hunt for Red October and the novel of the same name by Tom Clancy.
  • K19: The Widowmaker.
  • The Enemy Below.


  • Lord of the Flies. All of the characters are pupils in a single-sex boarding school.
  • The only living human female character in the six-book Lucky Starr series is a housewife who's on screen for less than a chapter (in Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus).
  • The short story "Who Goes There?", upon which the aforementioned film The Thing was based.


  • David Mamet's plays American Buffalo and Glengarry Glen Ross (the latter was adapted as a film, which is also an example of the trope).
  • The Boys in the Band.
  • All the versions of Sleuth (the original play, the 1972 movie version, and the 2007 remake) have a Minimalist Cast, where the male stars are pretty much the only characters we ever see. The 1972 movie has one short scene with a female character, but she isn't named.
  • Waiting for Godot: Vladimir, Estragon, Pozzo, Lucky and a small boy (some productions play with this, given that "Pozzo" and "Lucky" are decidedly androgynous names).

Video Games

  • All of the named characters in Spec Ops: The Line are male. Justified given that most of them are members of the armed forces. Female civilians do pop up here and there, but they never feature in the plot.
  • The original Spyro the Dragon features about 80 named, voiced characters, all male. There are female-looking enemies in a couple of stages, but they're not named.

Female Only

Anime and Manga

  • Yuru-Yuri does not have a single male character in the anime version with the exception of one male character who is both a Show Within a Show character and a robot meaning he is technically androgynous. He also does not even remotely resemble a human seeing as how he's just a ball with arms and legs. In the manga one of the female characters is a man instead but you never actually see them in the manga meaning the manga counts as well.


  • The Women went so far as to have all the animals seen on screen be female as well as the cast.
  • The French movie Innocence, directed by Lucile Hadzihalilovic, is set in a mysterious boarding school for girls, where the staff is all-female too. A few males appear briefly, but they have no speaking roles.


  • The aforementioned David Mamet's play Boston Marriage, revolving around a lesbian romantic relationship.
  • The one-act play Chamber Music by Arthur Kopit takes place in an insane asylum with 8 women who think they are famous people from history. There is an unnamed male doctor.
  • The play Last Summer at Bluefish Cove, by Jane Chambers, set in a lesbian beach resort area.
  • Federico García Lorca's La Casa De Bernarda Alba, which is about a restrictive mother who keeps her 5 daughters at home.
  • The play Top Girls by Caryl Churchill, which has a cast of 7-9 women; it's about women keeping each other down in the business world of 80s England.
  • The play Uncommon Women & Others by Wendy Wasserstein. About friendships in a women's college.
  • The Vagina Monologues.

Replies: 25