Created By: MarqFJA on February 16, 2012 Last Edited By: Tuckerscreator on March 8, 2013
Troped

Tomboy with a Girly Streak

A tough-acting tomboy turns out to have an unexpected feminine side.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Most Tomboys in fiction tended to dislike "girly" things and being associated with them, but sometimes something sneaks through. She might like the color pink, have a thing for frilly and girly dresses despite her usual boy-ish wear, is easily enamored by cute things, or she's a surprisingly good cook and has neat domestic skills.

Reactions to this trait may vary. The tomboy in question might either be ashamed by her girly lapse and try to hide it, or she might actually be proud of it and be ready to give a hard smack to anybody who teases her about it. Usually her peers will be surprised, and those who tease will pay.

Compare Tomboy Princess. Contrast One of the Boys, The Lad-ette, and Girly Bruiser.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Sailor Moon: Makoto Kino. On the one hand, a Tomboyish Huge Schoolgirl and Bully Hunter who gets unfairly painted as a Delinquent, is The Big Gal of her Five-Man Band and the one who gets most physical of them in a fight (besides Haruka/Sailor Uranus). On the other hand, she is the best among at domestic skills, from cooking and sewing to general housekeeping, and dreams of becoming a florist and baker.
  • Azumanga Daioh: Sakaki is an in-universe example to her friends, who initially believe she's a delinquent, due to frequently showing up with her hands or face bandaged, creating the impression she often gets into fights. Plus, she's the best athlete at the school. So Chiyo and Kagura are surprised when they eventually learn that Sakaki's actually shy and quite feminine; preferring cute things over being cool.
  • In Ranma ˝ Akane is extremely tomboyish, enjoys martial arts and has quite a temper. However, she does turn out to like cute things and prefers to wear skirts and girly outfits. After she is engaged to Ranma she aspires to be like her Yamato Nadeshiko older sister, but unfortunately her domestic skills are...lacking.
  • In Gunslinger Girl, as each cyborg's handler selects their name and style of dress, their tomboyish side may be purely a facade.
  • In Macross / Robotech, Misa Hayase / Lisa Hayes. The tough - as - nails second - in - command of the Macross is dreaded by most of the air wing, but off-duty she enjoys wearing dresses and doing domestic chores. She is very insecure when it comes to romance.
  • In Ouran High School Host Club Haruhi is a tomboy that dresses like a boy and doesn't care if people mistake her for a guy but is shown to have a Fear of Thunder and have hobbies that include cooking, cleaning and sewing. She also sometimes doesn't mind dressing up in feminine clothes.
  • Misty of Pokémon is a tomboyish girl with a temper to match, and is the Trope Codifier for Shorttank. However, she occasionally displays fondness for romantic scenarios, and if she spots one will gush over it to the disgust of her male friends.
  • Miura from Yotsuba&! is a mischievous tomboy, but is surprisingly squeamish and with a distaste for anything slimy and gross.
  • Mikoto Misaka from A Certain Magical Index and A Certain Scientific Railgun. She wears shorts under her skirt, and when allowed seems to prefer to do away with the skirt altogether. She's a bit violent and seems to enjoy a friendly fight. She's also a complete sucker for cute childish gekko items, and she likes large stuffed animals.
  • Mion Sonozaki from Higurashino Naku Koro Ni is a very boisterous Genki Girl who seems like a tomboy, so much so that Keiichi considers her to be too manly to appreciate the gift of a doll, which he gives to Rena, thus triggering feelings of jealousy in Shion and causing a tragedy. Later, we learn that Mion is actually really girly and that she really wantd the doll. She gets it in the Massacre Arc.
  • Alice from Pandora Hearts acts like this. She is tough and wild, eats meat and can beat up her manservant, Oz, because she is the chain B-rabbit, but in actuality there are TWO sides to her. Her one side, The Intention of the Abyss is a polite, well-mannered, Affably Evil type who disguises her insanity under a girly facade and loves tea, dolls, and playing dress-up. Alice hates wearing dresses and is rather tomboyish and wild.
  • When Lina Inverse from Slayers (normally very tomboyish) tries to charge Zelgadis three million gold pieces for the orihalcon statue, she fantasizes briefly about what she's going to do with this money. Her fantasy involves her in a castle as a princess in a frilly dress.

Film
  • One of the minor characters of But I'm a Cheerleader is a softball-playing tomboy who, halfway through the movie, freaks out about having been confined to a re-education camp to cure her of lesbianism because, short hair and love of sports aside, she actually likes boys.

Literature

Video Games
  • Persona 4 has Chie (who's a straightfoward Tomboy) and Naoto (a bifauxnen). Both reveal their feminine sides later on in the game; Chie has girly traits like being scared of bugs, while Naoto has a hidden Shrinking Violet side (and drops her bifauxnen look in favour of a uniform if the protagonist romances her).
  • Veronica from Fallout: New Vegas. She has a talent for tinkering with old-world devices and is a proficient martial artist who favors a Power Fist as her weapon of choice. She also really wants to own a formal dress.

Western Animation
  • Toph from Avatar: The Last Airbender is an ass-kicking Action Girl who doesn't take crap from anybody. But she does know high society manners and actually enjoys her spa day with Katara in Tales of Ba Sing Se.
  • Sarah from Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy is tough, loves sports, fighting, and hates dresses, but she loves to have tea parties and play with dolls with her friend, Jimmy.
  • In the Peanuts animated universe, tomboy Peppermint Patty is a fan of (and participates in) figure skating.
Community Feedback Replies: 62
  • February 16, 2012
    jatay3
    Ziva David in NCIS often has a rather big-sisterly attitude toward other members of the team.
  • February 17, 2012
    MarqFJA
    That's not "surprisingly feminine", that's either Cool Big Sis or Big Sister Instinct.
  • February 17, 2012
    Bisected8
  • February 17, 2012
    MarqFJA
    Simply aspiring to be more feminine does not qualify for this trope.
  • February 22, 2012
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Would these count?

    Anime and Manga:
    • In Gunslinger Girl, as each cyborg's handler selects their name and style of dress, their tomboyish side may be purely a facade.
    • In Macross / Robotech, Misa Hayase / Lisa Hayes. The tough - as - nails second - in - command of the Macross is dreaded by most of the air wing, but offduty, she enjoys wearing dresses and doing domestic chores. She is very insecure when it comes to romance.
  • March 9, 2012
    KingZeal
    Let me know when this is launched. I'll add it to the framework of All Women Are Delicate.
  • March 10, 2012
    BackwardThgindiM
    Toph from Avatar: The Last Airbender is an ass-kicking Action Girl who doesn't take crap from anybody. But she does know high society manners and actually does enjoy her spa day with Katara in Tales of Ba Sing Se.
  • March 13, 2012
    ChaoticDreams
    • In Ouran High School Host Club Haruhi is a tomboy that dresses like a boy and doesn't care if people mistake her for a guy but is shown to have a Fear Of Thunder and have hobbies that include cooking, cleaning and sewing. She also sometimes doesn't mind dressing up in feminine clothes.
  • March 13, 2012
    surgoshan
    • One of the minor characters of But Im A Cheerleader is a softball-playing tomboy who, halfway through the movie, freaks out about having been confined to a re-education camp to cure her of lesbianism because, short hair and love of sports aside, she actually likes boys.
  • March 13, 2012
    ZombieAladdin
    What would be the main differences between this and Tsundere?
  • March 14, 2012
    MarqFJA
    ... That there's no intrinsic relationship between being a Tomboy and being a Tsundere; you can be either one without being the other. Seriously, you sound like you haven't read Tsundere's description/definition; it's a very specific personality type that is not even remotely mentioned in this draft's description at all.
  • March 14, 2012
    atheywa
    Compare Short Tank.
  • March 14, 2012
    MiinU

    Anime and Manga

    • Azumanga Daioh: Sakaki is an in-universe example to her friends, who initially believe she's a delinquent, due to frequently showing up with her hands or face bandaged, creating the impression she often gets into fights. Plus, she's the best athlete at the school. So Chiyo and Kagura are surprised when they eventually learn that Sakaki's actually shy and quite feminine; preferring cute things over being cool.
  • March 15, 2012
    magnum12
  • May 8, 2012
    DracMonster
    Crouching Tomboy Hidden Girly Girl! Hah! (Probably not allowed, but I wish...)
  • November 19, 2012
    Mysterics
    Staff counterpart to Real Men Wear Pink, a part of me thinks they should be merged for being...well, the same, do we really need a different page for both males and females? I guess we do with others, it's just a bit odd.
  • November 19, 2012
    lexicon
    I disagree. With Real Men Wear Pink he is proud to be doing something feminine while with this she is trying to hide it. It's probably because men are more self-confident than girls.
  • November 19, 2012
    SunnyV
    ^^ I like the sound of Crouching Tomboy Hidden Femme better. They're similar ideas, though.
  • November 19, 2012
    shimaspawn
    <Mod Hat>

    Knock off the snowclones.
  • November 19, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    Also, the title sucks.
  • November 19, 2012
    ArcadesSabboth
    Not that it should be replaced with a snowclone, but the current title is long and clunky.
  • November 20, 2012
    KingZeal
  • November 20, 2012
    LadyOfThePens
    Isn't the name a little long? Feminine Tomboy, perhaps?
  • November 20, 2012
    lexicon
    Feminine Tomboy sounds like Short Tank. What about Secretly Likes Pink? It's been plenty long enough so this is Up For Grabs if anyone wants it.
  • December 6, 2012
    Synchronicity
  • December 6, 2012
    Lomerell
  • December 6, 2012
    Bisected8
    • Persona 4 has Chie (who's a straightfoward Tomboy) and Naoto (a bifauxnen). Both reveal their feminine sides later on in the game; Chie has girly traits like being scared of bugs, while Naoto has a hidden Shrinking Violet side (and drops her bifauxnen look in favour of a uniform if the protagonist romances her).
  • December 7, 2012
    MarqFJA
    @lexicon: I'm still here, and I ain't letting go of this until I'm certain that I'm sure that it won't get its definition mince-meated mid-way through development, accidentally or intentionally. This one's a delicate trope.

    And yeah, no snowclone titles.
  • December 7, 2012
    lexicon
    @ Marq FJA - About the title. Tropers are saying that the current title is long and clunky so you should probably think about changing it. What about Secretly Likes Pink?
  • December 18, 2012
    MarqFJA
    That could very well be confused for a Double Subversion of Real Men Wear Pink (i.e. he looks like he doesn't like pink, but secretly does). And IMO it's no more clunky than Jerk With A Heart Of Gold.

    Hmmm... I don't suppose Tomboy With A Heart Of Feminine would work?
  • December 18, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    No more snowclone titles.

    "What would be the main differences between this and Tsundere?"

    I think the distinction is something like a girl who comes off as cold/angry and aloof but softens after being in love. Tsundere is more this than being tomboyish. This is more about being tomboyish, and actually having a room that is Surprisingly Feminine. Secretly Likes Pink works too.

    • Shugo Chara has Amu who is "cool and spicy." (Tsundere, with slight tomboyish qualities) In her private life, however, she's basically a girl with a huge crush on cute guys.
  • December 18, 2012
    Bisected8
    What about Girly Tomboy, or is that too ambiguous? I like Secretly Likes Pink myself, though.

    EDIT: Would Tomboy With A Heart Of Girl be too snowclone-y?
  • December 18, 2012
    ShadowHog
  • December 18, 2012
    robinjohnson
  • December 18, 2012
    lexicon
    It seems like "with a heart of" makes it a snowclone. Feminine Tomboy and Girly Tomboy both sound too much like Short Tank. That's two supports for Secretly Likes Pink.
  • December 18, 2012
    StarSword
  • December 18, 2012
    JonnyB
    Happy Days had Leather Tuskadero, a Joan Jett-style tomboyish rocker chick. But in one episode she went out on a date with Ralph Mouth, and shall we say "cleaned up real nice."
  • March 4, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    • Misty of Pokemon is a tomboyish girl with a temper to match, and is the Trope Codifier for Shorttank. However, she occasionally displays fondness for romantic scenarios, and if she spots one will gush over to the disgust of her male friends.
  • March 4, 2013
    lexicon
    That doesn't make it sound like the feminine side of the tomboy is hidden at all. Then again looking at the two examples we have, the Sailor Moon one doesn't say anything about having her feminine side be hidden either. Azumanga Daioh is the only good one I've seen for saying, "So Chiyo and Kagura are surprised when they eventually learn that Sakaki's actually shy and quite feminine; preferring cute things over being cool."

    Looking at the examples being suggested, I see no feminine side that looks hidden. Maybe we should just discard this for being too difficult to find examples for.
  • March 4, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
    And this is why the trope needs a better name.
  • March 5, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    And just when I was about to adopt this YKTTW. What should be done, then? Widen it so that it's tomboys with an unexpected feminine streak, or cut any examples where the feminine side wasn't hidden.
  • March 5, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
    At this rate, widening the scope and renaming the trope (hey, that rhymes!) would be the better option if we're to improve this one.
  • March 5, 2013
    SneakySquirrel
    • Miura from Yotsubato is a mischievous tomboy, but is surprisingly squeamish and with a distaste for anything slimy and gross.
  • March 5, 2013
    MissKitten
    For names it could be Secretly Likes Pink? Hidden Femininity? Steel Hiding Silk? I don't know. There is a trope here I believe.
  • March 5, 2013
    lexicon
    Steel Hiding Silk would not be allowed for being a snowclone. If we widen the scope would this be any different from Short Tank?
  • March 5, 2013
    MissKitten
    Looking over Short Tank I think it could be. I mean yeah there could be overlap between this and Short Tank but really I think this particular trope OP is suggesting is quite different.
  • March 5, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    Alright, I'm adopting this thing and added the examples to go along with the widening to the definition. MarqFJA, if you return, you can go ahead and take the page back, but either consider keeping the wide definition or cut them and keep a closer control of the page. Or make a subtrope for the tomboy trying keep the feminine side hidden.
  • March 6, 2013
    dakta
    If we create this trope, we should consider paring down and cleaning up the definition of Short Tank so that the two do not overlap as much as they would if this trope were created right this very moment. Short Tank isn't really the same thing, and though a Short Tank character may exhibit the characteristics describing this trope (they often do), a character need not be a Short Tank type to fit this trope. Short Tank is really about the female tomboy co-star sporting the eponymous garment, and seems to have been appropriated to encompass this trope.

    I think the last sentence of the first paragraph of the description sums it up: "she's a surprisingly good cook and has neat domestic skills". Though, if that sort of thing is the only criteria, this trope need not apply only to Tomboys but may apply to any masculine character with a handful of seemingly juxtaposed characteristics often associated with more feminine characters. In that case, it would also apply to male characters who otherwise aren't seen to be particularly feminine, but who possess some number of typically feminine characteristics/skills.
  • March 6, 2013
    MsCC93
    Sarah from Ed Edd N Eddy is tough, loves sports, fighting, and hates dresses, but she loves to have tea parties and play with dolls with her friend, Jimmy.
  • March 6, 2013
    MissKitten
    Make sure this trope has enough examples before launching it. Premature launches are a bit of a problem.
  • March 6, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    @dakta: "It would also apply to male characters who otherwise aren't seen to be particularly feminine, but who possess some number of typically feminine characteristics/skills." That could be a separate trope. Regarding the "surprisingly good domestic skills" sentence, are you saying that's a problem sentence and should be cut, or needs to get improved in some other way?

    @MissKitten: No problem.
  • March 6, 2013
    dakta
    @Tuckerscreator: I agree. The implication of my statement was that that generalization would not benefit this trope. The "tomboy with unexpected feminine side" trope that this YKTTW is getting at is certainly its own thing, and is (at least in my experience) much more prevalent. Not being two sides of the same coin, "tomboy with feminine streak" and "manly-man with feminine streak" should not be generalized into a single trope (let's call this imaginary trope "unexpected opposite gender characteristics", eg: a manly-man type crochets in the evenings), because the "tomboy" part is an extenuating circumstance. "Girly-girl with masculine streak" and "manly-man with feminine streak" would be the two sides of this hypothetical trope, and an example of Truth In Television.

    About that "domestic skills" sentence, I meant that it describes a strong example of a manifestation of this trope, making it a good sentence worth keeping. The "it" in "sums it up" was referring to the trope being worked on here; my apologies, that was not well written.
  • March 6, 2013
    Sackett
    I'd suggest Even Tomboys Can Be Girly as the title.

    Akane doesn't just aspire to more feminine traits (that's actually arguable, since she apparently never did before she was engaged to Ranma, so that's likely more of "this is my role in life now" thing rather than a real interest). However, Akane does turn out to like cute things, and prefers to wear skirts and girly outfits- she just also really enjoys martial arts and has a temper, so she is considered a Tomboy.

    Another example is probably Mikoto Misaka from A Certain Magical Index and A Certain Scientific Railgun. She's introduced to us through the eyes of Touma, and Mikoto comes across as a real tomboy. She wears shorts under her skirt, and when allowed seems to prefer to do away with the skirt altogether. She's a bit violent and seems to enjoy a friendly fight. She's also a complete sucker for cute childish gekko items, and she likes large stuffed animals.

    Compare Tomboy Princess
  • March 6, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    @Sackett: Nah, I think the title's alright now, because it shows that the character is usually a full tomboy with only one or two girly traits. Unless a specific flaw with it is pointed out, it can be kept this way. Will add those examples though.
  • March 6, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In the Peanuts animated universe tomboy Peppermint Patty is also a fan of (and participates in) figure skating.
  • March 7, 2013
    bulmabriefs144
    Second Even Tomboys Can Be Girly and Secretly Feminine Tomboy. Tomboy With A Girly Streak is too long a trope name, so it's hard to type.
  • March 7, 2013
    Astaroth
    Veronica from Fallout New Vegas. She has a talent for tinkering with old-world devices and is a proficient martial artist who favors a Power Fist as her weapon of choice. She also really wants to own a formal dress.
  • March 7, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    ^^The first name is just as long. The second is also long and misleading because we've decided it doesn't have to be secret.
  • March 8, 2013
    Higurashiblood98
    Mion Sonozaki from Higurashino Naku Koro Ni is a very boisterous Genki Girl who seems like a tomboy, so much so that Keiichi considers her to be too manly to appreciate the gift of a doll, which he gives to Rena, thus triggering feelings of jealousy in Shion and causing a tragedy. Later, we learn that Mion is actually really girly and that she really wantd the doll. She gets it in the Massacre Arc.

    Alice from Pandora Hearts acts like this. She is tough and wild, eats meat and can beat up her manservant, Oz, because she is the chain B-rabbit, but in actuality there are TWO sides to her. Her one side, The Intention of the Abyss is a polite, well-mannered, Affably Evil type who disguises her insanity under a girly facade and loves tea, dolls, and playing dress-up. Alice hates wearing dresses and is rather tomboyish and wild.

  • March 8, 2013
    aurora369
    When Lina Inverse from The Slayers (normally very tomboyish) tries to charge Zelgadis three million gold pieces for the orihalcon statue, she fantasizes briefly about what she's going to do with this money. Her fantasy involves her in a castle as a princess in a frilly dress.
  • March 8, 2013
    ryanasaurus0077
    At this point, it sounds like a good name for this would be Real Tomboys Wear Pink--assuming, of course, it doesn't smack of snowcloning. As it is, at the very least I'm all for a rename that mentions both tomboys and the color pink.
  • March 8, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    Leaving it open for some more examples before launching.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=v3ngn2xb0vphb5h0qqw8ymir