troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Chromosome Casting
Pick one or the other.

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 sex (or gender: see the note below), 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 whose sex or gender is left ambiguous (such as the Pyro from Team Fortress 2), or characters of sexes/genders that don't fit into a traditional male-female dichotomy (as in many sci-fi and fantasy works, or simply individuals with queer gender identities) automatically disqualify a work from being an example of this trope. It's slightly trickier for works that feature transgender characters, but as a rule of thumb if the character is presented as genuinely identifying as the opposite gender from their physical sex (and not, for example, simply crossdressing for fun), they qualify as that gender. It also doesn't matter if the characters are played by an actor of the opposite sex (as in many Shakespearean productions, or Bart Simpson): what matters is that the characters are all of one sex/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; 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 much less common Spear Counterpart). Contrast Gender-Equal Ensemble, which averts this trope completely. Compare Monochrome Casting, the equivalent of this trope in race.

Note: When adding examples, please be descriptive. Zero Context Examples are not allowed on the wiki.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Male Only 

Anime & Manga

  • In general, the majority of the Yaoi Genre anime and manga have very few and / or largely insignificant female characters.
  • Both Crows and Worst by Hiroshi Takahashi feature no females whomsoever aside from occasional mentions (one of the main characters has no less than 6 girlfriends). This is a seinen manga about inter-school fighting and manly friendship and, despite the premise, even the most rabid Yaoi Fangirl would be hard-pressed to get any Ho Yay out of it.
  • Likewise, 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.

Comics
  • Most Tintin books feature no significant female characters, except for Bianca Castafiore, and she's relevant to the plot in only a few of the stories.
  • The same thing can be said about many other Franco-Belgian comics, like "Spirou and Fantasio" or "Johan and Peewit". "Asterix" partly avoids this trope by letting the women become important in the adventures, where the plot takes place within the village.

Film
  • 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.
  • Ice Station Zebra has an all male cast.
  • 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.
    • Originally, one of the researchers was female, with an actress cast, but she had to pull out due to illness and the role was recast with a male actor.
    • ...and 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).
  • 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: Justified. Neither the French nor Royal Navies allowed female sailors, and privately owned ships generally considered it bad luck to have women aboard ship. 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.
  • 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 and 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.
  • 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.
    • This happened with a lot of Sergio Leone's films. Out of his main body of work (which consisted of two trilogies), only three had women in a notable role. The first one (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 a Pet the Dog moment towards the end. The only two films of his that actually had strong women in significant roles were Once Upon a Time in the West, which had the nerve to include a female protagonist, and Once Upon a Time in America, where the love story plays a major part in a much larger epic. As for the others, For a Few Dollars More has one credited women who only appears in two brief scenes, and one girl who only appears in a flashback and has no lines, and Duck, You Sucker! again 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.
  • 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; thus, all of the characters are 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. Justified by the fact that it was made at a time when women weren't usually known to go prospecting for gold.
  • 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."
  • This sort of thing was fairly common in science fiction stories, especially those dealing with space exploration, prior to 1963 (which saw the first female astronaut go into space) and even a little bit afterward. Nowadays you'd be hard-pressed to find an astronaut story (disregarding historical movies such as The Right Stuff and Apollo 13, though even those have female supporting roles) which doesn't avert this.

Literature

  • Lord of the Flies. All of the characters are pupils in a single-sex boarding school.
  • The Hobbit: You don't feel the absence too strongly, but 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.
    • Downplayed, though, as 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 strong 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 (who also happens to be her former husband) 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.

Tabletop Games
  • The vast majority of armies in Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 tend to be all-male affairs, with only and handful having any female models available for them at all.
    • 40k's Space Marine armies are exclusively male as a point of background (the genetic modifications that create marines being attached to the y chromosome).
    • The Adepta Sororitas army for 40k is the only one to go the other way, being entirely female in make-up (save for the occasional ministorum priest, who isn't really an official part of the Sororitas anyway, more a hanger-on).
    • Warhammer's three elf armies are the only ones with substantial numbers of female fighters available, including all-female regimental types (Sisters of Avelorn, Witch Elves) as well as female soldiers in regular units and several female special characters (Alarielle, Ariel, Morathi, Hellebron, the Sisters of Twilight, Drycha, Naieth the Prophetess). All the other forces (with the exception of the genderless Lizardmen, Daemons and Orcs and Goblins) are either exclusively male or 99% male in composition, with rare female models almost always being wizard types.

Theatre

  • 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).

Toys
  • 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, 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 Mixels. However, this could change depending on if the now-unreleased Glorp Corp end up confirming the rumors of them being female or not.

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.

Web Video

  • The Time... Guys involves no female characters.
    • This is partially due to the fact that they make a joke of their small cast by having one actor play every historical figure they meet.

    Female Only 

Anime and Manga

  • A lot of Joshikousei / moe slice-of-life shows have, at most, one fairly unimportant male character:
    • 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 Ichigo Mashimaro don't seem to have any male characters at all.
    • In K-On!, Satoshi (Ritsu's little brother) has a very little role.
    • Likewise, in Girls und Panzer, Shinzaburou (the Isuzu household servant) has very few lines.
  • Strike Witches: the only named characters shown are all female.
  • Many Yuri Genre works often have no male character of note, especially in works aimed at older readers or at actual lesbians.
  • 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).
  • There are male students usually used for background decoration, or at best getting a quick line or two in a scene, but Azumanga Daioh has only three supporting male characters, and one of them is a dog and another is imaginary (possibly.)

Comic Books

  • Amazons from Wonder Woman comics live on a separate island, without any men.
    • In Planetary, their Expies also have technology a thousand years more advanced than the rest of the world. They were planning to send an emissary that would usher all mankind into a new golden age. However, they were still slaughtered by The Four.
    • Somewhat downgraded/averted in Superfriends.

Film

  • 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.
  • This level was parodied in Polish movie Sexmisja (English title: Sexmission), where two male protagonists wake up from hibernation in a world where all males were killed by a pandemic and nuclear war. Women live underground and their community denies the existence of males. However, their leader is in fact a transvestite who somehow managed to survive the end of the male race, and the movie ends with our heroes manipulating a cloning machine to create a new male breed. Keep in mind, that this move was directed in the times of communism and was one big Getting Crap Past the Radar about living in a land under the control of a communist party.

Literature
  • Goodmother Night by Rachel Pollack.
  • 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.
  • In Joan Slonczewski's A Door Into Ocean, male protagonist Spinel gets sent to a world like this as an exchange student/cultural ambassador.
  • Sheri S. Tepper, again. The Gate To Women's Country incorporates both Levels 8 and 9; but with more of the latter. Males and females are strictly separated, with the exception of a few quasi-eunuch servants. Women live in technologically advanced, walled city-states tending toward Crystal Spires and Togas; while men are relegated to primitive camps outside the city walls, restricted to a much lower technological level, in a caricature of warrior culture. Men are used for reproduction; but only according to a strict breeding program intended to breed out any aggressive or otherwise stereotypically "masculine" traits. While this situation would normally be portrayed as a Crapsack World by most authors; in this example, it is clearly Tepper's idea of a feminist utopia in the making.
  • Herland, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, is the Ur Example of this level.

Theatre

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 into men, 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 comprised of an all female roster.


ChickificationGender and Sexuality TropesComing-Out Story
Christmas CreepAdded Alliterative AppealChronically Crashed Car

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
52269
40