Created By: Xandriel on December 27, 2011 Last Edited By: Xandriel on January 4, 2012
Troped

Femininity Failure

A tomboy tries to act like a girly girl and is bad at it.

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Trope
Nowadays, it's considered much more acceptable for a girl to be tomboyish than it was years ago. Still, sometimes, The Lad-ette will give femininity a try, even if it's just for one episode. Maybe she wants to look and act elegant for a special occasion, or she's aiming to fit in with her friends, or she wants her Love Interest to see her as more than just "one of the guys". She may take it upon herself to learn ladylike behaviour, or she'll have a feminine friend teach her to act prim and proper.

Either way, she'll suck at it.

If she takes cooking lessons, she'll end up burning water. Any attempts to apply makeup will leave her looking like a clown. Walking in high heels will result in her taking a tumble. Even after she learns polite manners, you can bet she'll swear/gobble her food/belch at the worst possible moment. Old habits die hard indeed.

This can lead up to An Aesop of the Be Yourself variety, that it's okay for a woman to be masculine if she's most comfortable doing so, and she shouldn't change herself to please others. It can, of course, just as easily be full of Unfortunate Implications, either that something's wrong with her because she can't act feminine, or that her inherent tomboyishness is a sign that she's better than girly girls.

Super Trope of Feminine Women Can Cook and Maternally Challenged.

Contrast Girliness Upgrade and She Cleans Up Nicely, for when the attempt at being feminine works.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Love Hina has Samurai girl Motoko forced to try becoming more feminine after Keitaro (more or less accidentally) defeats her in a duel. She's too violent to be good at it, though.
  • Generally the case with Akane in Ranma .
  • In Kashimashi, tomboyish Tomari tries to teach the recently-female Hazumu how to act like a girl. Although she does impart some wisdom, mostly all she manages to do is prove that, even when she was in a male body, Hazumu was more girly than Tomari.

Comic Books
  • Lucky Luke: One story has Calamity Jane taking etiquette and cooking lessons. Needless to say, she can't help but swear like a sailor and her cookies are inedible. When threatening a group of men with her rifle unless they eat up, one of them opens his shirt and says "Fire!"

Film
  • The plot of Miss Congeniality.
  • Mulan has the title character screwing up the traditionally feminine "matchmaker" process.
  • Sylvia Scarlett has the title character after only a short time of dressing up as a man somehow incapable of passing as a woman (she now has short hair, and masculine mannerisms so even wearing a dress is an Epic Fail).
  • In Shrek, Princess Fiona struggles with her role as a steriotypical fairytale princess.
  • In The Untold Story, the female police officer dolls herself up to impress the guys at the office but ends up going too far and looks like a prostitute.

Literature
  • Sarene in Elantris is a princess who tries to be traditionally feminine, but fails spectacularly at girly activities, leading to her having trouble fitting in with the court.
  • Hilarious example in Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett, where an entire platoon of women pretending to be men have to go undercover in drag, and fail miserably at it.

Live-Action TV
  • In Degrassi Junior High tomboy LD tries to be more feminine, including getting a makeover from her best friend Lucy. It fails and the makeup makes her look like a clown.
  • Sam from iCarly did this to get a guy's attention, with Carly giving her help to embrace her "inner daffodil". She ends up fighting with another girl by the end of the episode. As it turns out, the guy was impressed and said he didn't want to date "some daffodil."
  • Happens on Naturally Sadie when Sadie gets upset after being called 'son' and tries to become a girly girl. Her mother is away so she gets advice from Hal (of all people). By the end of the episode, she has managed to find a balance between tomboy and girly girl.

Web Comics
  • From Gunnerkrigg Court: Kat, the more tomboyish of the protagonists, puts on makeup for the first time in order to impress Alistair, a New Transfer Student at her school. She fails horribly, and Annie's there to assure her that she's lovely just the way she is.
  • Falco from Namir Deiter tries to act more feminine for a while, when she's worried Cedric will go back to Tipper.

Web Original

Western Animation
  • Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness: Tigress, in "The Princess and The Po" tries to poses as the princess to protect the actual princess from the bad guy. She tries to do the Princess Ceremonial Dancing Song. She can't sing, and she can't do graceful ladylike. (although the real princess is not much better)
  • Arthur: Francine tries to be feminine for one day, picture day, where she goes to school in a dress and doesn't play kickball during recess so she'll be presentable for her photo. But she ends up playing anyway, and being scruffy in the picture.
Community Feedback Replies: 20
  • December 27, 2011
    emeriin
    The Nostalgia Chick tried to invoke kawaiiko for a while, but could never pull it off. Now she's settled for being a ladette Psychopathic Womanchild.
  • December 27, 2011
    Duncan
    The plot of Miss Congeniality.
  • December 27, 2011
    DracMonster
    Love Hina has Samurai girl Motoko forced to try becoming more feminine after Keitaro (more or less accidentally) defeats her in a duel. She's too violent to be good at it, though.
  • December 27, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    Mulan has the title character screwing up the traditionally feminine "matchmaker" process.
  • December 27, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • Kung Fu Panda Legends Of Awesomeness: Tigress, in "The Princess and The Po" tries to poses as the princess to protect the actual princess from the bad guy. She tries to do the Princess Ceremonial Dancing Song. She can't sing, and she can't do graceful ladylike. (although the real princess is not much better)
  • December 27, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Arthur: Francine tries to be feminine for one day, picture day, where she goes to school in a dress and doesn't play kickball during recess so she'll be presentable for her photo. But she ends up playing anyway, and being scruffy in the picutre.
  • December 27, 2011
    Chabal2
    Lucky Luke: One story has Calamity Jane taking etiquette and cooking lessons. Needless to say, she can't help but swear like a sailor and her cookies are inedible. When threatening a group of men with her rifle unless they eat up, one of them opens his shirt and says "Fire!"
  • December 27, 2011
    ChaoticDreams
    Generally the case with Akane in Ranma One Half.
  • December 27, 2011
    Waterlily
    In Degrassi Junior High tomboy LD tries to be more feminine, including getting a makeover from her best friend Lucy. It fails and the makeup makes her look like a clown.
  • December 28, 2011
    bulmabriefs144
    Film: Sylvia Scarlett has the title character after only a short time of dressing up as a man somehow incapable of passing as a woman (she now has short hair, and masculine mannerisms so even wearing a dress is an Epic Fail).
  • December 28, 2011
    Skyheartstar13
    Sam from iCarly did this to get a guy's attention, with Carly giving her help embrace her "inner daffodil". She ends up fighting with another girl by the end of the episode. As it turns out, the guy was impressed and said he didn't want to date "some daffodil."
  • January 1, 2012
    foxley
    Happens on Naturally Sadie when Sadie gets upset after being called 'son' and tries to become a girly girl. Her mother is away so she gets advice from Hal (of all people). By the end of the episode, she has managed to find a balance between tomboy and girly girl.
  • January 2, 2012
    peccantis
    Any chance of linking to Proper Lady?
  • January 2, 2012
    Synchronicity
    From Gunnerkrigg Court: Kat, the more tomboyish of the protagonists, puts on makeup for the first time in order to impress Alistair, a New Transfer Student at her school. She fails horribly, and Annie's there to assure her that she's lovely just the way she is.
  • January 2, 2012
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Film - Western Animation:
    • In Shrek, Princess Fiona struggles with her role as a steriotypical fairytale princess.
  • January 3, 2012
    AP
    Film:

    • In The Untold Story, the female police officer dolls herself up to impress the guys at the office but ends up going too far and looks like a prostitute.
  • January 3, 2012
    TwinBird
    Falco from Namir Deiter tries to act more feminine for a while, when she's worried Cedric will go back to Tipper.
  • January 3, 2012
    phantomreader42
    Hilarious example in Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett, where an entire platoon of women pretending to be men have to go undercover in drag, and fail miserably at it.
  • January 3, 2012
    peccantis
    ^ in female-to-male or male-to-female drag...?
  • January 3, 2012
    ClockStopping

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

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