Chromosome Casting

Top: 12 Angry Men. Bottom: 8 Women.

Works which feature 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 gender, 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.

Note that all of the characters have to be explicitly male or female to qualify for this trope: the presence of named characters with an Ambiguous Gender, or characters with Bizarre Alien Sexes, or simply individuals with non-binary gender identities automatically disqualify a work from being an example of this trope. Transgender characters are the gender they identify as, as are Crossdresser characters, even if they may present as another gender. It also doesn't matter if the characters are played by an actor of another gender (as in many Theater productions): what matters is that the characters are all of one gender.

See also Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality, which concerns how the different genders are represented in media (this trope fits for the two extremes of that scale), Improbably Female Cast (female-dominated casts in unlikely situations), The Smurfette Principle (when a single female character in an otherwise all-male cast is a sop to gender equality), and The One Guy (the much less common Spear Counterpart). Contrast Gender-Equal Ensemble, which averts this trope completely. Compare Monochrome Casting, the equivalent of this trope in race. Common for a work with a Minimalist Cast.


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Male Only:

    Anime & Manga 
  • Used in Ai no Kusabi to justify its Cast Full of Gay.
  • Both Crows and Worst by Hiroshi Takahashi, seinen manga about inter-school fighting and manly friendship, feature no women whomsoever aside from occasional mentions (one of the main characters has no less than 6 girlfriends).
  • The satirical manga and anime series Cromartie High School. The mother of one character is seen in at least one episode... And "she" looks exactly like her son but with a skirt and longer hair.
  • Kaiji. There is one woman on the show, but she only appears in a single scene in one episode and says no more than two lines.
  • Akagi has zero women onscreen in the entire show.
  • Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! hasn't featured a girl aside from occasional mentions. Justified since most of the show takes place at an all-boys school.

    Comic Books 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Glengarry Glen Ross is devoid of women except for two words spoken by an unnamed restaurant employee in the background of one scene.
  • The only female character of significance in The Shawshank Redemption is Andy's wife, who is never named, has no dialogue and is killed in the first five minutes.
  • 12 Angry Men (though often performed as a play as 12 Angry Jurors, averting this trope).
  • Reservoir Dogs, concerning a group of male bank robbers. The original script did have a female speaking role and the actress cast in the role filmed her scenes, but the director cut the scenes as they revealed too much about the twist too soon.
  • Platoon, appropriately given the military setting. The only women who appear onscreen are unnamed Vietnamese civilians.
  • Boys Town, the story of Father Flanagan's home for troubled boys. Justified in that Boys Town was a boys-only facility that didn't go co-ed until 1979. The only speaking part in the film played by a female is a nurse at the infirmary. She has one line.
  • In Big Game, there's only a single woman on screen in the entire film, and she's never given a name or function.
  • The Thing (1982) takes place in a research station in Antarctica, with only men working there. Because of the setting, no women appear in the movie at all. It was originally cast with one of the researchers female, but the actress had to pull out due to illness and the role was recast with a male actor. This made it more faithful to the source material (see below) because of this.
  • 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).
  • In The Raid there are only three women with any speaking lines. None are named and none appears for more than one scene. Berandal fixes this a bit by having one of Rama's antagonists be the Hammer Girl.
  • Das Boot, set on a German U-boat. Like most militaries of the time the Kriegsmarine didn't allow women to serve as anything but nurses.
  • Master and Commander: Neither the French nor Royal Navies allowed female sailors, and privately owned ships generally considered it bad luck to have women aboard ship (not to say that women never sailed, but they were relatively rare). The solitary woman in the movie is a Brazilian lady who's on screen for all of five seconds doing nothing but twirling a Parasol of Prettiness.
  • Both The Hunt for Red October and the novel of the same name by Tom Clancy. In he film, there's an unnamed female receptionist and two unnamed female airline stewardesses, one at the beginning and one at the very end.
  • K19: The Widowmaker, set on a Russian submarine during the Cold War.
  • The Enemy Below.
  • Apocalypse Now, which is both based on a book which is also an example of this trope (Heart of Darkness; see below) and set in the military: almost every character is a member of the armed forces. The only female characters who appear at all, aside from unnamed Vietnamese and Cambodian civilians, are three Playboy bunnies sent to Vietnam to entertain the troops: needless to say, they receive little screen time and don't play much of a role in the actual plot.
  • Withnail & I, centering on the two titular characters and Withnail's uncle Monty. All of the secondary characters are also male. The only female characters who appear onscreen are a local farmer's wife who has three or four lines of dialogue, and a handful of extras.
  • Dreamcatcher: a stranger in the street early on and numerous extras in the military camp are the only women in the film.
  • Dr. Strangelove has precisely one female in the movie, a secretary, who is also a Playboy centrefold.
  • Gettysburg; there is talk of wives left behind, but the only women that actually appear in the film are either waving to the troops or tending the wounded in the background.
  • Sergio Leone's films:
    • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: A prostitute appearing in a single scene is the most important female character and the only one given a name. Every last woman in the film besides her is someone's wife, and all their appearances are within the first hour of the nearly 3-hour film.
    • A Fistful of Dollars had two women in supporting roles - except neither got much screentime. One was running the gang whom the story puts less focus on, and the other is just a Damsel in Distress whose only purpose is to give Clint Eastwood's character a Pet the Dog moment towards the end.
    • Duck, You Sucker! has one women who appears in flashback with no lines, and the only other woman is an annoying racist who is out of the picture in the first 15 minutes.
  • Silent Running has four male characters, three of whom are killed off, leaving the remaining one with three robots.
  • The British monster movie Gorgo is mocked for this by the MST3K crew. The only woman who appears is in the background of a crowd scene.
  • A Field In England feature six characters, all of them male. Somewhat understandable, given the limited cast and wartime setting. The only actress in the film voices the field.
  • Crimson Tide has Hunter's wife as the only woman appearing very briefly at the beginning of the film.
  • Full Metal Jacket has a couple of Vietnamese prostitutes and a very young Vietcong girl in an otherwise male dominated warzone.
  • The Great Escape is about a mass escape from a German POW camp in World War II, all of the characters being male.
  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre: outside of the occasional extra during the earlier scenes, the cast of the movie consists of three men, four if you include Cody (who isn't in the movie for very long but has a major impact on the plot). There's also the bandits, but they're not given as much focus.
  • All Is Lost is an unusual example since Robert Redford is the only character in the entire movie. (And he doesn't even get a real name; he's billed as "Our Man.")
  • Deliverance has no female characters of any significance, with all of the protagonists and their hillbilly stalkers being male.
  • The Dirty Dozen has no named female characters, and only one of the female extras does anything more than mill around in the background during crowd scenes at the chateau. The sole exception gets to scream once and be murdered by Magot.
  • Kellys Heroes: No female characters at all.

  • Lord of the Flies. All of the characters are pupils in a single-sex boarding school who get stranded on a desert island.
  • The Hobbit: There isn't a single named female speaking role (some of the elves, humans or spiders are given female pronouns but remain nameless). The film adaptations avert this, bringing in Galadriel with the White Council subplot, as well as Tauriel, an elf invented for the films.
  • 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 (1982) was based.
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Most of the characters work for an ivory trading company at a time when women in the workforce were decidedly scarce. There is a female character with a short but thematically important speaking part — she just isn't named.
  • Despite a massive array of texts, only one of the stories written by H.P. Lovecraft had a female lead, and even then there was a whole complicated thing where it turned to actually be her father who had stolen her body, and at the very end, the narrator's best friend trapped inside her decomposing corpse.
  • Every single named character in Prokleta Avlija is male. Somewhat justified, as for the most time, it takes place in an Ottoman prison.
  • The entire regular cast of Horus Heresy is male, which matches the setting in that all the Primarchs are male and only men can become Space Marines.
  • The Napoleon of Notting Hill by G. K. Chesterton. No special reason; it just focuses on a fairly small group of main characters who happen to be all male.
  • There are no women whatsoever in Wasp. Nobody female is even mentioned, even as a background character.
  • There are no female characters aside from a scant few mentions of Hyde's victims in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
  • How NOT to Write a Novel refers to the tendency of male authors writing novels with exclusively male casts as the "Stag Night", noting that it's particularly common in science fiction.

    Live Action TV 
  • There are only two Doctor Who stories with no female characters in them at all - "Mission to the Unknown" (only men, male aliens and Daleks), and "The Deadly Assassin" (with the exception of Spandrell's computer speaking with a female voice). If we expand the test to include stories with no female characters who aren't companions, many more stories qualify...

  • 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, whose plot revolves around a group of gay men in New York.
  • 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, while the wife of one of the main characters can briefly be seen from behind in the closing scene of the 2007 version (but receives no lines).
  • 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).
  • Jason Miller's That Championship Season features a cast of five, including four former members of a high school men's basketball team and their coach.

  • Usually, LEGO averts this trope, even if it's by means of The Smurfette Principle, but there are a few exceptions:
    • Early Technic spinoffs, including Competition, Slizers/Throwbots, and Robo Riders, only featured male characters. BIONICLE was the first to break the mold.
    • LEGO Dino 2010 had a cast consisting entirely of four men. Its American counterpart, LEGO Dino Attack, just barely averts this with the appearance of Dr. Nicole Soscia in one of the online stories.
    • The Aquanauts, Aquasharks, Aquaraiders, and Stingray factions of Aquazone feature no female characters. The later Spiritual Successor Aqua Raiders did not have any female characters either.
    • Unlike its predecessor Rock Raiders, LEGO Power Miners did not have any female characters.
    • It is difficult to tell if LEGO Space lines prior to the second LEGO Space Police theme had any female characters due to everyone having the same generic face and wearing helmets. However, the second Space Police line, Spyrius, RoboForce, and UFO feature no female characters.
      • In the sets, LEGO Mars Mission has an entirely male cast. However, the LEGO Battles videogame averts this by introducing two female characters that did not appear in the original toyline: Gemma and the Alien Queen.
    • LEGO Time Cruisers and Time Twisters feature only male characters, even in the LEGO Mania crossover comics with other themes, though this was averted in the World Club Magazine comics.
    • Although neither Knights' Kingdom nor LEGO Vikings featured female characters in the main toylines, this was averted in the chess sets for each line due to the need for a queen.
    • Mixels also lacks any female-presenting Mixels, as they have No Biological Sex, but the ones introduced have been male-presenting so far.

    Video Games 
  • All of the named characters in Spec Ops: The Line are male, much like the works the game took inspiration from (Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now; see above for more information). Most of them are members of the armed forces. Female civilians do pop up here and there, but they never really feature in the plot or receive names.
  • 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.
  • Outlast has absolutely no female characters in the game, but a couple are mentioned in the collectible documents scattered throughout the game. The Whistleblower DLC lampshades this with Edward Gluskin. He wants a bride, but there's only men to be found. He's not fussed, as he knows ways around that biological impossibility...
  • The first two Modern Warfare games never featured female characters, beyond occasional nameless civilians in the background.

    Web Original 
  • The Time... Guys involves no female characters. This is partially due to them making a joke of their small cast by having one actor play every historical figure they meet.

Female Only:

    Anime & Manga 
  • Yuru-Yuri does not have a single male character in the anime version, with the exception of several extras that have no spoken lines. Sometimes this has gone to ridiculous degrees when all participants to Comiket are female despite having a mostly male audience in Real Life.
  • Haitai Nanafa: No male character, except for a couple in the background, and a passing ghost.
  • Candy Boy, Yuyushiki and Strawberry Marshmallow don't seem to have any male characters at all.
  • Likewise, in Girls und Panzer, Shinzaburou (the Isuzu household servant) has very few lines.
  • Like many series serialized in Manga Time Kirara, Koufuku Graffiti's cast of 8 are all female of different ages.
  • Strike Witches: the only named characters shown are all female.
  • ICE  The Last Generation takes place in a setting where all men died and remaining women fight over ideological differences (if they should or shouldn't bring men back) and an ICE (which is an only thing that can help them reproduce).

    Comic Books 
  • Small Favors takes this to its logical conclusion by not having any male characters at all, even in the background, and never getting around to establishing whether they even exist in the setting. Though they must have got the idea of strap-ons from somewhere...

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The 1939 version of The Women went so far as to have all the animals seen on screen be female as well as the cast. All the paintings are of women, too. The film's source play is also an example of the trope. The 2008 remake did the same, every character in the film is female including the extras, the main character's husband is mentioned but never seen or heard and at the end one of the characters gives birth to a boy
  • 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 Descent features only female named characters; according to Word of God, the original plan was to have a gender diverse cast, but this was changed before entering production.

  • Godmother Night by Rachel Pollack. The main characters are two women and their daughter, and the eponymous godmother is also female, of course.
  • The world of Whileaway in Joanne Russ' novel The Female Man, is all female, with the men having been wiped out ages ago by a plaguenote , and is unabashedly utopian.
  • Herland, written in 1915 by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, may be the Ur-Example. As with most Female-only casts, it's a utopia.


    Video Games 
  • Microprose's Rex Nebular and the Cosmic Gender Bender features a planet filled with militaristic women. It's only later in the game that you learn that there was a war involving the two sexes, the end result being the women wiped out all the men via biological warfare. Not only did women have to reproduce by using the aforementioned Gender Bender to temporarily change their genitalia, the virus used had an unintended side-effect of making the women incapable of having male babies ever again.
  • PlayStation 2 RPG Nuga-Cel informs you outright at the start that absolutely no men will be appearing in the game, not even as NPCs. The (male) narrator who informs you of this is fired on the spot, never to be seen again. Although the player character is male, he is never seen or heard, unless you get a particular ending where he becomes the final boss.
  • The Arcana Heart fighting game series is proudly composed of an all-female roster.
  • Skullgirls started out with an all-female roster, though eventually Big Band and Beowulf were added to the roster, with the possibility of more male characters making it in in the future.
  • Portal really only has Chell and GLaDOS; the Rat Man's existence is implied (and nothing implies it must be a man in-game) and one of GLaDOS's cores seen for about a minute has a male voice, but other voiced supporting "characters" like the turrets and curiosity core are "female" as well.
  • The vast majority of Touhou media contains entirely female casts. In the PC-98 games Genji served as The One Guy, but later games only have one entry, Undefined Fantastic Object, which isn't 100% female, and while the various manga occasionally have minor male characters most chapters are entirely women.