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[[quoteright:250:[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/canonfanondrako_3385.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:250:Were they playing the same game?]]

->''"I guarantee you Satan's going to have no problems on this planet because all the women are gonna go 'What a cute butt!' He's Satan! 'You don't know him like I do.' He's the prince of darkness! 'I can change him.'"''
-->-- '''Creator/BillHicks''', ''Pussywhipped Satan''

A form of MisaimedFandom, when a fandom takes a controversial or downright villainous character and downplays his/her flaws, often turning him/her into an object of desire and/or a victim in the process. This can cause conflicts if the writers are not willing to {{retool}} the character to fit this demand.

In fanfiction, they are frequently the love object of the local MarySue, who [[LoveRedeems uses the power of love to redeem the character]]. [[LoveMartyr "I can fix him"]] is a commonly expressed sentiment among fans of Dracos in Leather Pants. In extreme cases, the affection these characters receive from fans can lead them to forget that ''[[MisaimedFandom they're actually still supposed to be villains]]''. Or, on the flip side, even the worst crossings of the MoralEventHorizon can be rationalized, while any insult from the hero towards the villain is cast as deplorably mean. The writer's attempt to make the villain more "sympathetic" will likely cause them to [[BadassDecay remove everything that made the character]] [[VillainDecay so cool/well liked in the first place]].

Common reasons for this include the character being wicked in a [[WickedCultured classy]] or [[EvilIsCool cool]] way. A [[EvilIsSexy physically attractive villain]] is much more likely to be subject to this trope than a physically ugly one; BeautyEqualsGoodness, after all, and shallow as it may be, it seems that, for some fans, this is the case even when the character's beauty only extends to their appearance. AllGirlsWantBadBoys may be a factor with male villains getting a female fandom that views them through this lens. A badass villain will naturally be preferred by many of these over [[WhatMeasureIsANonBadass meeker heroic characters]] at times, as well.

While this happens a lot with male villains, female villains are often twice as likely to get this treatment, due to the belief that [[WomenAreDelicate women]] [[FemalesAreMoreInnocent cannot be truly evil]] and so [[TheUnfairSex a man must ultimately be responsible for “turning her evil.”]] It helps if the woman in question is attractive in a [[CuteAndPsycho cute]] and/or [[EvilIsSexy sexy]] way.

Some villain archetypes, such as the SmugSnake (because of their off-puttingly arrogant personality), the GenericDoomsdayVillain (because of their complete ''[[FlatCharacter lack]]'' of a personality), the HateSink (because they are specifically written to be hated), and the CompleteMonster (because of the severity of their evil deeds and absence of redeemability) are rarely susceptible to this, but it can still happen.

JerkassDissonance usually plays a part in this trope; it is much easier for people to forgive and overlook the negative qualities and stress the {{Freudian Excuse}}s that form a sympathetic back-story for fictional characters than it is to do the same for people in real life, because the actions of the fictional character have no real-world effect.

Expect also for fans to make excuses for the character [[KarmaHoudini not getting any comeuppance for their sins]], and, for bonus points, gloat if one of [[TheScrappy their hated]] and/or [[RonTheDeathEater villainized characters]] gets the short stick instead, especially if the latter is the victim of the former. Double with EnsembleDarkhorse if it was a minor vilain who gets this treatment. If the character is a WellIntentionedExtremist of any sort, expect their fans to declare that TheExtremistWasRight.

[[TropeNamers Named]] for a term in the ''Franchise/HarryPotter'' fandom, for the mostly sympathetic FanFic portrayals of Draco Malfoy, who, in {{Canon}}, is a petty, {{smug|Snake}}, [[FantasticRacism elitist]] SpoiledBrat. (The term originated in [[HurtComfortFic Hurt/Comfort Fics]], where Draco was the comforter and Ron was the abuser, usually with Hermione being the victim. Not coincidentally, the InvertedTrope RonTheDeathEater also originated from such fics.)

Disturbingly, sometimes TruthInTelevision - [[Administrivia/NoRealLifeExamplesPlease but we won't go into that]]. For literal antagonists in leather pants, see HellBentForLeather.

'''Related Tropes:'''


[[folder:Character Tropes That Encourage Draco in Leather Pants]]
* AffablyEvil: Because despite their villainous intentions, they have a reasonably pleasant or nice personality.
* AloofBigBrother: Although they may be cold towards their younger siblings, they may be justified in doing so.
* AntiVillain: If the "anti" part is emphasized more than the "villain".
* AwesomeEgo: May have a big ego and may be narcissistic but have a cool personality at the same time.
* BastardBoyfriend, BastardGirlfriend, and BespectacledBastardBoyfriend by design, since these types are ''supposed'' to induce PerverseSexualLust.
* BeautyIsBad: Might be a villain but they are just so darn attractive and appealing.
* {{Bishonen}} villains: Male villains can be forgiven if they are pretty.
* CrazyAwesome or CreepyAwesome characters (if evil)
* CryForTheDevil: if the fans feel so sorry for them that they forget that they're still supposed to be evil.
* DamnItFeelsGoodToBeAGangster: Because being a crime boss is glamorous.
* DarkAndTroubledPast: because it [[SarcasmMode totally justifies]] any of their villainous actions.
* DarkMessiah: If the fans agree with their messianic philosophies.
* DesignatedVillain: The audience is meant to see a certain character as scum, but due to either bad writing or the hero being worse it can be difficult to register.
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: If they are nice to the people they love, fans forgive them for their evil acts towards everyone else.
* EverybodyLovesZeus: Because the TopGod [[GodIsGood has to be a good guy,]] never mind anything else.
* EvilAllAlong[=/=]FaceHeelTurn: If the fans continue to insist that they are a good guy.
* EvilIsCool: They may be wicked, but they pull it off so well.
* EvilIsHammy: If the "hammy" part is viewed as "good acting" or NarmCharm.
* EvilIsSexy: Fans are too busy [[ADateWithRosiePalms fantasizing]] [[PerverseSexualLust about them]] to hate them.
* EvilVirtues: Being a bad guy doesn't always mean that a character has no redeeming qualities, after all.
* FemalesAreMoreInnocent: If the fans agree that a woman, no matter [[MoralEventHorizon what she does,]] can’t be evil at heart.
* FreudianExcuse: When fans tend to ignore the fact that the excuse doesn't really justify the character's actions and shift the blame to [[GreaterScopeVillain another]] [[RonTheDeathEater character]] for the individual's actions.
* FriendlyEnemy: If he is evil.
* HarmlessVillain: If they are harmless in an endearing way.
* IneffectualSympatheticVillain: Because they are just that bad at being bad.
* JerkassWoobie, if the "Woobie" part is used to automatically excuse the 'Jerkass' part no matter how out of proportion (or unrelated) the one is to the other.
* KnightTemplar, if the fans agree with them.
** Alternately, characters or factions dedicated to opposing or destroying the Draco are often seen by fans as this trope even if they've got plenty of good reasons for wanting to do so.
* LaughablyEvil, if funny enough
* MagnificentBastard: Depending on whether you place too much emphasis on the Magnificent part over the Bastard.
* NoMrBondIExpectYouToDine: Because obviously inviting the hero to dinner, even if it’s against thier will, means [[SarcasmMode you actually like and care about them.]]
* OffstageVillainy: The ShowDontTell rule of storytelling counts for a lot and spending more time talking about a villain's wicked deeds than showing them can mess with a reader's perceptions.
* ProgressivelyPrettier: Fans love the BishonenLine.
* PunchClockVillain: The character is in many respects a normal person that just happens to be on the side of the villains. Can make a character come across as either more sympathetic or less so depending on the viewer's point of view (if it's the former, then you have this trope).
* RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil: When this trope crops up in a work, the invoker of EvenEvilHasStandards will often get this treatment. Or, disturbingly, a handful of fans may feel that “rape is love.”
* RootingForTheEmpire: If fans know they’re evil but want hem to win anyway.
* SelfFanservice often accompanies this trope.
* SissyVillain: Villains of this stripe can be attractive to some people.
* TooFunnyToBeEvil: They make you laugh, they make you cry. Wait-what? They've actually made people die?
* TroubledButCute or BrokenBird if they are evil.
* UglyCute if evil.
* UnintentionallySympathetic: For the instances of this trope that have a bit more justification.
* UsedToBeASweetKid: [[RousseauWasRight All things truly wicked start with an innocence, after all,]] and fans of a leather pantsed character can end up clinging to a character's sweet kid phase (whether it's canon or merely something possible but at no point confirmed)because of the inherent tragedy of it all.
* VillainousValor: If fans start RootingForTheEmpire.
* VillainWithGoodPublicity: If the fans agree that the villain deserves their good public image.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: If the fans agree with their extremist views; this generally means that they will categorize the character under TheExtremistWasRight as well.
* WhiteHairBlackHeart: Not all white haired characters are evil, of course, but many evil characters that are targets of this trope have white hair, and are often seen as [[EvilIsSexy attractive]] (for instance, TropeCodifier [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII Sepiroth]]).
* WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds: Like JerkassWoobie, when the "Woobie" is used to ignore the "Destroyer of Worlds" part.

* If the audience seems to have a fairly good reason for preferring the bad guy over the good guy, you may have UnintentionallySympathetic (and/or UnintentionallyUnsympathetic in the possible case of the hero they're against).
* When the audience embraces or admires a villain more because of his or her [[MagnificentBastard chutzpah]], [[EvilIsCool badassery]], and/or BreakTheHaughty potential than out of actual admiration, and are still perfectly fine with them receiving their ultimate defeat in the end, then it's LoveToHate.
* RootingForTheEmpire is doing this while acknowledging that the villains are evil.
* JerkSue is when a character is perfect and can do no wrong from the ''story's'' perspective, but is actually a horrible person when viewed more objectively.
* An UnpopularPopularCharacter is a character who everybody among the main cast thinks is a complete jerk, complete loser, or both, but fans can't get enough of; applies to ''any'' type of character, not necessarily a villain. (Unlike a Draco in Leather Pants, this is often the writer's intent.)

* For the fan villainization of one or more of the original protagonists, see RonTheDeathEater.
* When a character in an adaptation of another work is given a heroic upgrade, it's AdaptationalHeroism.
* When done to a historical character, it's HistoricalHeroUpgrade.
* LoveableRogue and ByronicHero, characters you're ''supposed'' to admire even if they do nothing remotely admirable, may be the inverse of this trope. MagnificentBastard often applies to both tropes, but this is a lot less certain for Draco in Leather Pants - they may be a character [[EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas only a mother can love]].
* When this trope happens [[InUniverse in the series itself]], you're probably dealing with a MonsterFangirl.

%%% Examples create too much of a natter-magnet for the main article. This article just defines and discusses the term. No examples desired here. -- @/FastEddie
%%% PLEASE! A Draco in Leather Pants IS NOT JUST ANY GOOD LOOKING VILLAIN. A DILP is a villain that is seen as not evil in the fanbase (e.g. Bowser is not that good-looking (YMMV on that) but he is still a DILP). It's just that good-looking villains are prime magnets for this sort of image.

* [[DracoInLeatherPants/{{Anime}} Anime and Manga]]
* DracoInLeatherPants/ComicBooks
* [[DracoInLeatherPants/AnimatedFilms Film - Animated]]
* [[DracoInLeatherPants/{{Film}} Film - Live-Action]]
* DracoInLeatherPants/{{Literature}}
** ''DracoInLeatherPants/HarryPotter''
* DracoInLeatherPants/LiveActionTV
* DracoInLeatherPants/{{Other}}
* DracoInLeatherPants/ProfessionalWrestling
* DracoInLeatherPants/{{Theatre}}
* DracoInLeatherPants/VideoGames
* DracoInLeatherPants/VisualNovels
* DracoInLeatherPants/{{Webcomics}}
* DracoInLeatherPants/WebOriginal
* DracoInLeatherPants/WesternAnimation
** ''DracoInLeatherPants/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic''

%%% Examples create too much of a natter-magnet for the main article. This article just defines and discusses the term. No examples desired here. -- FastEddie