Whether it is due to their gorgeous hair, delicate features, snazzy dressing, or fey nature, some boys get called "little lady" more often than they'd like. The opposite of Lady Looks Like a Dude, this trope involves male characters who are frequently mistaken for female (by other characters).
Not to be confused with:
Bishōnen (male characters who are feminine or androgynous-looking — some of those dudes do look like ladies, but what separates it from this trope is that it's normally not commented on by other characters)
Badass Longhair (when the dude just has long hair, but is still unmistakably male)
Alto Saotome from Macross Frontier. Well, it generally happened offscreen, but his fine features and long hair make such reports rather believable. The fact that he's a trained (and talented!) Kabuki actor, who frequently played female roles andis a dead-ringer for his gorgeousMissing Mom, doesn't help either. Frequently addressed as "Princess", at one point he is even offered female clothing by a salesman who mistakes him for a girl.
The first meet he meets Ranka, she mistakes him for a beautiful woman.
Samurai Deeper Kyo has Yukimura, a handsome bishonen who is sufficiently androgynous that he can easily pass for a woman in the right clothes, and has a FEMALE ninja as his body double. Not a macho-looking female ninja either.
If it weren't for the fact that names ending in -maru indicate that they're male, Gaara's uncle Yashamaru would have most people fooled as well. In some language version of the manga (not to mention the unofficial english databook.), the producers mistake him for a woman.
Deidara had people fooled as well until he took off his cloak.
Filler villain Benten in the Shippuuden anime. This is to the point where Chūshin quips that whenever Benten opens his mouth, it looks and sounds strange due to his masculine voice and feminine appearance.
Upon seeing Sasuke as a baby Kushina thought he was a girl. He also looks similar to his Hot Mom. Itachi even more so. He looks just like his Hot Mom and has really long eyelashes.
Likewise Nuriko, though the dress probably guided most assumptions. Even when Nuriko stops wearing dresses and wears more masculine clothing, this trope becomes more apparent for him, especially when he still wears his hair in a long braid.
Yu Kanda from D. Gray-Man was mistaken for a girl by Lenalee the first time they met as children. Even now, main character Allen has been known to use 'girly face' as an insult for Kanda. In chapter 210 there's a scene where a random guy in a bar hits on Kanda thinking he's a girl.
Oh please, like Allen's one to talk.
Also Jasdevi, whose gender had to be confirmed by the author.
Rune of Dragon Knights was used as a body double for a princess in the first volume. Later on he gets proposed to by a man who then pats down Rune's chest to confirm his claims of masculinity.
This ambiguity of this trope got played around with. Kakeru started calling Yuki, who gets told he looks like a girl rather often, 'ranger pink'. He's androgynous enough that Kakeru tricked his girlfriend into believing he really was a girl who was crossdressing as a boy in a Crowning Moment of Funny.
Shingo in the King of Brutes storyline in Violence Jack. And, because this is Violence Jack, he is molested because of this. MANY. TIMES.
When Kazuki of the Strings in Get Backers assists a person in a hospital, not only does the head nurse assume he is a woman, she thinks he is a trainee, makes him wear a nurse's uniform, and takes his clothes.
Ren also mistakes him for a girl, and is in turn mistaken for a guy by Shido. Amon goes so far as to hit on him.
On many occasions, main characters have been peeping on what is supposedly a girl bathing, approached a "girl" from behind, or otherwise been completely blindsided when they see the face and realize that they've been attracted to Kazuki.
Major spoilers: the end of the manga reveals that the GB world is an AI simulation with Infinity Tower as its conduit, explaining the superpowers the characters have. In the "real world", Kazuki really is a female, and is married to Jubei, bearing his child.
Oddly enough, the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX dub makes several jokes about this in the case of Professor Chronos/Crowler:
"I didn't know he was a doctor." "I didn't know he was even a dude."
Midnight from Fairy Tail definitely looks feminine, especially with all that make-up on his face. Seriously, why would a dude wear make-up?
Tokiya Mikagami in Flame of Recca. A death glare awaits those who think he's actually a girl in disguise.
Even more explicit in the anime than in the manga. When a guy identifies the only teenage boy around as being Fuuko, an enraged Tokiya shouts, "You idiot! I bet you thought I was a girl!"
Akira Shiraishi in Ai Ore Love Me, the 'princess' of his all-boys school, and considered a girl even by his brothers. Also dating the 'prince' of an all-girls school, Mizuki Sakurazaka. This generally leads to people around them being shocked when they go out on a date and overhear Akira calling Mizuki his girlfriend or Mizuki mentioning Akira's her boyfriend.
Loran Cehack from ∀ Gundam is effeminate enough that, in masculine clothing, Guin Lineford called him "Laura" (also used by the Earth Militia and Dianna Counter when referring to him). He also crossdresses rather convincingly.
Lineford himself lampshades the name, saying it suits Loran better. It's turned into an important plot element as the enemy (and most of the militia) are convinced the "White Doll's" pilot is female.
Rumor has it that Loran's design was Tomino's Writer Revolt against the execs not letting him have a female main character.
In Anatolia Story, Yuri mistakes a guy named Tito for her little sister Eimi. Funny, since Yuri herself is a Bifauxnen.
Husky the fishboy, from the manga +Anima, is so girly in appearance, even the reader isn't sure of his gender until he complains about being forced to dress like a girl. When he's introduced, he's a circus attraction... the Mermaid Princess. Characters frequently mistake him for a girl, and his friend Nana at one point becomes convinced that he's a girl in disquise due to his appearance and the fact that he's more girly than she is. Poor Husky is forced to prove his masculinity by getting naked and showing a horrified Nana his manly bits. As it turns out, the reason he doesn't care much for girls is because of how much he was teased for looking and acting like one as a boy.
A side character even falls in love with him after Husky saved him from drowning... poor guy thought he was, well, the mermaid princess.
A group of teenage boys invite him to come 'play with them', thinking he's a girl. One mentions 'she' is a bit young, but apparently the leader "likes [his girls] young". Even after Husky attacks them in rage they don't realize he's a boy.
Souji Okita in Peacemaker Kurogane looks eerily like a woman. Other Shinsengumi members lampshade it a few times by reproaching to him that he walks like a woman, acts like a child and is girlishly pretty that he resembles a young girl. That, and he almost never carries a sword around when he's off-duty.
Also, Suzu. Especially after he starts wearing makeup and revealing clothes in the sequel manga. Even the other characters in the series comment on how beautiful he is.
There's also Susumu. He often cross-dresses (quite convincingly) to gather information.
Kurama from YuYu Hakusho. In the last episode, some girls in a train station mistake him for Kuwabara's girlfriend (which seems strange, since he is quite tall, flat-chested and broad-shouldered).
This is even funnier in the manga, due to the fact that Kurama briefly starts to lose his temper. When Yusuke later asks him to help nab a monster at a girls' school, Kurama bitterly asks, "Should I wear a disguise, or shouldn't I bother?"
Even dubbing companies can get confused. Apparently in the version shown in the Philippines, they thought Kurama was a woman and dubbed all references to him accordingly. Then they saw the scene during the Dark Tornament arc where he takes his shirt off and promptly attempted a Retcon.
The Hungarian dub gives Kurama a deep but definitely female voice actor so it's possible the dubbing group fell victim to this trope.
Kagemiya Sen from the Kekkaishi manga can be easily mistaken for a female due to his face shape and hairstyle. This is also noted by the other characters in the manga itself, to Sen's displeasure.
Naru Taru's Norio "Nori-rin" Koga has very feminine looks and is often mistaken for a girl.
Rei in Fist of the North Star actually takes advantage of this - he disguises himself under a sheet, leaving only his very feminine eyes showing, and then kills the bandits that try to take advantage of him.
Canute in Vinland Saga is initially mistaken for a girl once he removes the helm hiding his face, and though the confusion gets cleared up fairly quickly, Thorfinn continues to use the insulting nickname "Princess" for a bit, and Thorkell's men once make a crack that if Thorkell is the avatar of Thor, Canute must be the avatar of Freya.
Hibiki Tokai from Vandread was mistaken for a young girl once by another man.
Shuuichi Nitori from Wandering Son is a boy who is effeminate to the point that a hairband alone causes a door-to-door salesman to refer to him as "miss." Later on a friend of his Grandmother mistakes him for a girl, even when he's dressed as a boy. There's also Mako and Fumiya, who even when not crossdressing look rather feminine. Nitori is a Transsexual, albeit pre-transition and not full time due to his age and situation.
No, not Ranma. Konatsu the Kunoichi from Ranma ½, who doesn't just have the looks (as in, extremelyBishōnen and even hides convenient bags of pepper on his chest) but also his attitude, as he was raised to think and behave like a woman. He managed to fool not just the Gender Bender (Ranma) and the Wholesome Crossdresser (Ukyou,) but also the lecherousancient martial arts master who draws power from groping pretty women and is disgusted at even accidentally touching men (Happosai.)
To say nothing of Tsubasa Kurenai, a man who dressed as a woman who was in love with a woman who dressed as a man. If Tsubasa and Konatsu started dating, would they take turns wearing women's clothes?
Lin from Black Cat. The omake drawing in the volume he was introduced nearly puts him into Wholesome Crossdresser territory. His androgynous clothes don't hurt.
Shao-chan as well, who's caused a few Flame Wars between people arguing if whether he's a man or a woman.
Also, Creed. It's sometimes very hard to tell his gender.
Kazumi in Gargoyle of the Yoshinagas. That he looks like a girl is one of the things his little sister teases him about to no end. Still, he's generally a nice guy and even has a girl that has a crush on him.
Chiharu, one of the minor characters in They Are My Noble Masters. Besides being frequently ignored (even more than Yume, who's already barely noticed by the other characters), Ren has to have his gender confirmed the first time they meet.
Word Of God says that Yumi Hotta of Hikaru no Go had to inform her western translators of their mistake when one of them printed a preview of the next issue referring to Sai as "she". It's obvious Sei is a man if you're familiar with Heian court dress, but to everyone else... Let's just put it this way: the style includes wearing lipstick.
Kurapika from Hunter × Hunter, especially in the anime since he is voiced by a girl despite being male. His gender actually remained ambiguous for quite a while, but weirdly nobody in the series seems to have trouble identifying his gender.
Lampshaded in the anime, where Leorio dismisses the idea of trying to get someone to guess his gender... only to realize that the androgynous-looking Kurapika is the perfect candidate. This seems to give Kurapika the creeps.
Silver fits, to the point where one translation thought he was a girl for a majority of the run. Oddly he doesn't get mistaken for a girl, probably because how masculine he acts and probably sounds.
Envy from Fullmetal Alchemist, who is male in the first anime series being Hohenhemin and Dante's son, but can shapeshift into a woman if he wishes. In the official character book for the manga, the section under Envy is described as "Of uncertain gender." He even had a female voice actor in the original Japanese, English, and Hungarian dubs, and this appearance is played for laughs in the Chibi Party OVA.
Ranewater Calder from Zombie Powder. It didn't help that he's the leader of a gang called the "Ash Daughter Gang"...
Johann from Monster is extremely effeminate. In fact just putting on a dress and a wig made him identical to his beautiful sister.
Huey Laforet from Baccano!. One character (Tick's younger brother) had to guess at his gender based on his voice — and even then he wasn't really sure. Firo also skirts the trope a bit. Nobody's ever mistaken him for a woman, but cops and FBI members have a habit of taking jabs at his appearance, like insinuating that he only got promoted to Capo because he was pretty enough to sleep his way up the ranks.
Tooru and Yuujirou in Princess Princess frequently get asked out by other guys (when not in their princess garb). The aforementioned two have also stated that when Mikoto is standing next to his girlfriend, they look like two beautiful girls instead of a guy and his girlfriend.
Hansel and/or Gretel, Black Lagoon's psychopathic child-assassins. The only difference between the two is a dress and a wig, which they routinely switch, so both/either/neither of them could be a girl... or boy.
In the omake episode Boys and Girls (in which everyone is genderswapped to their opposite genders), Revy (who gender-swapped to male) looks much like his original female version, such as the clothes & hairstyle, which causes Rock (who gender-swaped to female and has gone insane because everyone is gender-swapped) to believe that Revy is still a woman, but Revy admits to her that he is a guy and proves it by taking off his shorts and showing Rock his genitalia.
Gourry from Slayers, simply for the the cross dressing disguise... that actually WORKED.
Andromeda Shun from Saint Seiya gets this a lot. His own older brother fell in love with a girl who was identical to Shun, "except for her gender and the color of her hair." It doesn't help that his (pink) armor, at least in the first story arc, appears to have breasts, or that one of the reasons why Esmeralda became Ikki's Morality Pet was because she looked exactly like a blonde Shun. Ikki himself told that to her face!
Esmeralda: Ah, Ikki. Sorry... did you think I was your little brother again? Ikki: ... Yes. You two look identical! The only differences are your hair and eye colors.
Also, Misty of Lacerta and Aphrodite of Pisces. They have feminine names, wear lipstick and show more concern for beauty than anything else! Oh, an Aphrodite fights with roses! These three characters have shower/bath scenes in the anime for no better reason than to say, "See? See? He IS a guy!" and yet in the French dub of the series, Misty and Aphrodite are STILL voiced by women, though Shun is not... except in the first few episodes.
After Art Evolution, Katekyo Hitman Reborn! has suddenly started getting a bunch of them, including the protagonist. Chief offenders include Kikyo and Daisy of the Real Furneral Wreathes. Only in the latest chapter has the translator been certain that Kikyo is male and no one can be certain if Daisy is this or a Bifauxnen.
D'Eon from Le Chevalier Deon can easily pass for his sister by putting on a dress. It doesn't help that he gets noticeably more feminine as the series goes on.
Hideyoshi from Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu. He has to keep reminding Akihisa (and everyone else) that he's actually a guy, and is at one point mistaken for his twin sister. This has gotten to the point that a) Hideyoshi being a third gender is a running gag, and b) Hideyoshi gets most of the Fanservice of the series...in what would be extremely potent female fanservice moments, if not for Hideyoshi being, er, not female. Stupid Sexy Flanders ensues.
Shinji from Neon Genesis Evangelion is essentially a Gender Flip of Nadia (see here◊ for notes from Sadamoto himself). He was described by Sadamoto as looking like "a boyish young girl" (more evidence here◊), and was made as such to distinguish him from the mecha heroes at that time. Shinji's feminine facial features are brought up by Misato in the first episode, and during the eighth and ninth episodes he's made to look like a girl from nothing more than a wardrobe change◊.
One of the official games that had its scripts designed from interviews with Anno also had Fuyutsuki say that Shinji looked just like Yui and then crossdress Shinji for the role all while saying how beautiful "she" looks; Fuyutsuki's actions soon become overtly sexual.
The issue is not helped by Maya, who is essentially Shinji in a female officers uniform. And female, obviously.
Mumu Momoyama from ChocoMimi gets mistaken for female by both Choco and Mikachin when they meet him. He does occasionally wear skirts, and once dressed as a maid to advertise the class cafe, but he doesn't like being mistaken for a girl. Mikachin does assume he's a Sweet Polly Oliver once though.
This gets really weird in the English dub, where apparently the casters didn't get the memo that Regene Regetta was a guy, and gave him a very obviously female voice actress. The end result is an androgynous person with a female voice whom everyone refers to as male. The Japanese VAalso sounds very feminine, even more so than the English VA!
Black Bird has Kyo, whom Misao mistakes for a pretty girl upon seeing him as an adult.
Ciel from Black Butler. Joker even had to ask if he was a boy to make sure.
Finny, the gardener, has a slim figure, long eyelashes, and hair clips to keep his bangs out of his face.
Kenshin of Rurouni Kenshin, who was based on a real historical figure who used his feminine appearance to his advantage, getting up close to his targets so he could assassinate them and hiding out in brothels after a kill.
Hinata (Hina) Omori of Desire Climax looks just like his beautiful twin sister Mio Omori.
A few characters in Code Geass, namely Lelouch (in one picture drama he's made to look prettier than the girls simply by putting on an Elegant Gothic Lolita dress), V.V., Rolo, Clovis, and Kanon.
Frequently done in Kaori Yuki manga, not just in terms of art, but as part of the storyline.
In Count Cain, the only thing Cain needs to do to convincingly crossdress is to wear a wig. He managed to fool a man into thinking he is high class call girl once, even though the man was literally inches away from his face.
In Angel Sanctuary, the only thing Rosiel needed to do to fool mooks into thinking he was a woman was to talk in falsetto.
Lucille, the vocalist in the manga Grand Guignol Orchestra, is often mistaken for a woman.
Yukinari from Girls Bravo. In Season 2, Episode 6 he was made to look like a girl with a wig, a girl's outfit, and fake breasts. His disguise was so convincing that even the entire audience and Fukuyama (who hates guys) thought he was a pretty girl. And Fukuyama didn't realize Yukinari was actually a boy until after he grabbed his crotch.
Historical figure, Nasu no Yoichi, from Drifters is presented this way.
Sunao, Ran, and Nanami from Sukisho. Also, Hiromu.
Hong Kong. Several fans thought he was a tomboyish girl. Until the author placed "her" in the grouping of males. Futher doubts were dispelled in the Hetalia Blood Bath 2010, when he takes off a maid outfit and we see a rather masculine (if slim) body.
A few characters in Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru. Most notably Yuki who's even told he looks like a girl by other characters. Which is quite understandable as he has been a girl in all of his previous lives.
And in episode 14, Sodom, once he reveals his human form.
Lucy Monostone from MPD Psycho. Of course, the name doesn't help much either.
Daisuke Niwa from D.N.Angel. He was made to dress up as the princess in a play and made a very convincing girl with just a wig and dress. On one occasion one of his friends even comments on how girly he looks.
Lady Bat from Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch. His name doesn't help, though there are hints that show that he is really a guy. But of course, the fans are divided between the ones who claim that he is a guy, the ones who claim that he is a girl, and the ones who don't care...
Shun in Here Is Greenwood. As a practical joke several older residents of the dorm convince the main character (who is Shun's roommate) that Shun is in fact a crossdressing girl. This deception holds until Kazuya runs into Shun using the urinal.
A number of guys from Tactics, especially Kantarou Ichinomiya.
Izou from One Piece, probably due to being the only non Gonk crossdresser in the series - and the only crossdresser who actually shaves. Probably also Haruta though his/her gender isn't actually known as of yet.
If you prefer to believe the Doji actually have genders (they are supposed to be robots) then Ultimo, Desir, Jealous, and most especially Sophia and Service all count (the former for his feminine name, and the latter for being a Captain Ersatz of Tamao)
Minoru in AKB49 - Renai Kinshi Jourei, which inspired him to cross-dress and participate in the same auditions as his crush to secretly provide her some moral support.
In Pump Up! the protagonist mistakes a male classmate for a girl. It doesn't help that their uniform is androgynous, aside from girls wearing skirts and boys wearing slacks, and he's short for a boy. His feminine looks have made him popular with guys too.
Korbinian ("Bini") from Mingamanga is a Heavy Metal fan and has the hair. Also, the teacher mistakes "Korbinian" for "Korbinia".
Loki of The Mighty Thor spent around four years real-time as a woman. He identified as both genders, though like Thor (who still referred to him as "brother") he mostly seemed to think of himself as male. The trope was referenced by name on the official Marvel bio site, that termed this period of his life: Loki looks like a Lady
Film — Animation
This is Francis the male ladybug's shtick in A Bug's Life. He has a very feminine face as well as a very masculine voice. This is lampshaded a couple of times; for example, when we first meet him, two bugs in the audience start hitting on him when he performs.
The '60s comedy What's New Pussycat? opens with Peter Sellers, in a velvet suit and shoulder-length hair, arguing with his wife who accuses him of seeing another woman. She demands "Is she prettier than me?" He shouts "Is she prettier than you?! ...I'm prettier than you!"
Inverted in the film version of Dark Shadows. During the party at Collinwood, Barnabas mentions that Alice Cooper is the ugliest woman he's ever seen, not realizing that he was looking at a man. (He was confused by the name.)
Most males in the Anita Blake series fit this trope except for Richard and a couple of others. Most of them are swooningly subservient, have feminine faces, slender bodies and long flowing hair.
The Fool in Robin Hobb's works. He even spends a few years passing as a woman, and for most of the series the Fool's exact gender is unknown, until the final book of The Tawny Man series, where it is revealed that the Fool is actually male.
Well, hir belongs to a non-human species and some of hir physical attributes are continually changing (skin and hair colour). It is entirely possible that zee physically changes hir sex in intervals (it seemed more like zee was genuinely thinking of hirself as female-gendered for a time, not just pretending), or that hir physical sex wasn't determined until the last trilogy, considering zee was still adolescent before that.
Lani Garver, from What Happened To Lani Garver. In fact, although the narrator finally just refers to Lani in the masculine form, the issue is never actually resolved.
Nakajima, protagonist of the Digital Devil Story series, is described as handsome in a feminine way. Specifically used as a taunt at one point.
Seregilunintentionally manages to have a very straight man fall in love/lust with him using only a very modest dress, a little make-up, and his acting skills. (He already has a slim body, long hair, and apparently no facial hair growth.) He spent many days in that disguise surrounded by the same people on a cramped ship, and nobody noticed. His apprentice also developed a bit of a crush on him, and later unconciously choses a female prostitute who looked like Seregil in drag. Of course, later it turns out that the kid is bisexual and just hadn't realised it yet.
Sword Art Online due to the random generation of the avatar, Kirito, who already looks rather feminine ends up with this appearance while in GGO. As if he didn't have enough problems already (what with a guy running around do real PKs), he now has to go around looking like Snow White!!!
Vince Noir of The Mighty Boosh is mistaken for a woman (or more specifically, as his friend Howard's wife or girlfriend) in nearly every episode. He addresses his oddly compelling androgyny himself in the episode "Party": "Of course you [fancy me] — all men do! I'm the confuser! 'Is it a man? Is it a woman? I'm not sure if I mind!'"
Dennis Finch in Just Shoot Me!, though he is more often confused for being gay.
The CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode "What's Eating Gilbert Grissom?" features a guy killed after he is mistaken for the female victim the murderer had already picked out. The murderer did have vision problems though, due to bad laser surgery, but not confusing your victims is Serial Killer 101.
An episode of the German police procedural Tatort had a short scene from a rapist's point of view while he was looking for a new victim. The camera lengthily gazed over several longhaired beauties, among them one which caused the POV to rapidly shift to another when he turned around.
An episode of Mad About You had Paul and his cousin first mistaking an obese "woman" as pregnant - and when correcting for that mistake, discovering it was a man. After it was solved, they call the waiter who asks "And the lady?".
While Kurt from Glee doesn't look like a girl per se (though he's Bishōnen enough that him doing drag isn't hard to picture), he certainly sounds like one: the second thing he usually has to say when answering the phone is "No, she's dead, this is her son." It's been lampshaded a bit, like like Sue calling him "lady face" and when the mean jocks in theatricality mentioned that they couldn't tell the difference between him and girls.
Chappelle's Show: During Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories skit about Prince, Charlie Murphy remarks how Mickey Free, a member of Prince's crew, looked like a girl.
When he joined the group, I heard mad cats like, "Yo, Shalamar got a new girl in there, man, bitch fine like a motherfucker." They was talking about Mickey Free, man, okay? Mickey Free is not a girl."
Noah's Arc: Even aside from the effeminate clothes, Romeo's physical features are remarkably feminine.
2 Broke Girls: Han remarks in one episode that a Camp Gay couple asked him if he was a "rice queen on the downlow"
Sophie: Where's that Asian lady who usually brings me my menu?
Caroline: That's Han ... Han's a man.
Sophie: If you say so ...
In the Bones episode "The Girl in the Mask", a doctor flies in from Japan to aid with the investigation and the team spends most of the episode trying to figure out his/her gender. Angela divines at the end of the episode through a very thorough hug that he/she is a man, despite the fact that the character was played by a woman.
In 30 Rock:
Bucky Bright: I wandered the building all night. I didn’t run into another single living soul. Except one giant lesbian. Who is Conan O’Brien, and why is she so sad?
Id. Acknowledged oh so many times in-universe. Not to mention that it's pretty much guaranteed that anyone who first reads the series is going to think he's a she.
"Lady Stardust" from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is about a male performer who is initially laughed at for his long hair and makeup, but charms everybody of both genders in the room by the end.
Look at his video "Boys Keep Swinging". Those three girl backup singers? They're all David Bowie.
Jeffree Star has made a career of looking 'fierce'. Many don't realise he's a boy for quite some time. See here◊
It's even funnier when you imagine what the other members of the boygroup he's part of must be thinking of the guy. Seriously, one day he looks completely normal and then poof, suddenly mascara! By this point, "Bill" looks girlier than Madonna.
Before he finally finished puberty, Bill Kaulitz of the german Rock Band ''Tokio Hotel''◊ was most of the time mistaken for a woman for both, his looks and his voice. (Styling himself like a J-Rock singer might have had something to do with it as well.) 90% of the bashing the band got (And there were whole websites dedicated to bashing that band) were actually targeted against Bill's androgynous looks, which supposedly gave "real men" in german showbiz a bad name.
It's also worth noting that one of those bandmates is his identical Twin Brother, Tom. He had the same features, but manned up his look considerably with the use of piercings and long dreadlocks.
Jonne Aaron, singer of the Finnish band Negative. Quite possibly more feminine than Kaulitz.
It's not so much that he was more feminine than Bill, it's just that his was a much more natural femininity. He didn't use half as much make up.
People still mistake the 100% pure man J-rocker singer Gackt for a chick (despite his deep manly voice, rock-hard flat abs and personality) — it might have something to do with his pretty◊ factor.◊ He himself has stated that he thinks he would lose in a contest for looking like a manly man, but that he'd kick everyone's ass in an androgyny contest.
This was especially funny around the time his new movie "Bunraku" was announced with a picture of him next to Josh Hartnett. Many fans of Hartnett who saw the picture on forums made comments like "Wow! That asian chick is so pretty! Who is she? Is she his love interest in the movie?"
This can also be applied to many other Visual Kei artists and J-rockers, often intentionally. Although in a the case of Miyavi◊, he looks girly even without make-up, skirts and hair.
It isn't just Miyavi who looks feminine even without trying. Shinya◊ from Dir En Grey has to be the best example of that. X Japan's Yoshiki is the same. It must be a drummer thing. As for Gackt- well, he doesn't seem to be mistaken for a woman very often really, but maybe that's because when he was at his most androgynous he was within close proximity to Mana◊, and that can distort perceptions a bit.
Michael Jackson spent some time between plastic surgeries looking exactly like his sister Latoya.
Ryan Ross◊ from Panic At The Disco. Every time he decides to grow facial hair life feels like a bizarro acid trip where nothing makes sense.
There is a pic of him and his ex-girlfriend where they looked exactly like a lesbian couple. Also this picture◊ where he must have been at least 19. He looks like the young girlfriend of the guy he's in the picture with.
Spencer Smith◊ (on the left). In his younger◊ days◊ he often looked girlish which was compounded by the fact that he sometimes wore girls'◊ clothing and jeans and usually stands with his hip cocked. You can see it in motion here◊. Now he still has a pretty face but usually covers it up with a beard◊ that's fuller at some times than others and a bigger, manly figure, also at times. He still ends up looking like a bearded◊ woman◊ sometimes though.
Everybody in the Japanese heavy metal band Dir En Grey used to look like females at the start of their career, especially because of the makeup.
The artist who painted the front cover of Daryl Hall And John Oates' self-titled 1975 album (the one with "Sara Smile" on it) make them look very effeminate◊ against the duo's will, especially Daryl, which would lead to stories that the duo were gay lovers. Daryl would joke in their 1998 VH-1 Behind The Music episode that on the cover he looked like "the woman I always wanted to go out with".
David Gilmour with his long hair and slightly effimite appearance did fall into this trope when he was younger.
Religion and Mythology
In Greek Mythology, Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection. Some say that he mistook it for a beautiful woman, while others say that he recognized himself. He was then turned into a flower that bears his name. This happened because he spurned the affections of a young man named Ameinias and a (female) nymph named Echo, who prayed to Nemesis for revenge.
In Jerusalem, Ginger is mistaken for a woman by the Professor, though this is only because the former has long hair and the latter is a senile and possibly crazy old man. Nobody else has any doubts about Ginger's sex, which makes sense given that Mackensie Crook doesn't look much like a woman at all.
Tatsuya Suou from Persona 2: Innocent Sin and Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, especially on the Japanese box art for Innocent Sin.
The male cleric from Disgaea takes the cake for being the most feminine. In fact, the anime adaptation has an episode where Laharl encounters a "biker gang" and this nameless member of it was given a female voice with a British accent when dubbed Never mind the male voice in the original audio and label in the actual game.
Link in The Legend Of Zelda Twilight Princess. He's shown as manly in the concept art, but leaves much to be desired regarding that area in the actual game; high cheekbones, pointy chin, full lips and big eyes are serious clinchers for this category.
Even moreso in Skyward Sword.
Raiden, from Metal Gear Solid 2. Like Rune, he got patted down, but in... er, a different area. By the US President. It doesn't help that we're so used to visual representation of the male body as having no hips (they do, just not as pronounced as women) that Raiden is relentlessly mocked because of the figure-enhancing suit he wears. ("Hips Don't Lie" is a minor meme for male character models that look like they're just very flat women.)
Then there's Raikov, from the follow up game Metal Gear Solid 3. Raikov was created in response to the controversy surrounding Raiden following his replacement of Solid Snake as the main character. Hideo Kojima on more than one occasion has commented on Raikov's beautiful looks.
Pokémon brings us several Pokémon with a M/F ratio of 25%/75%, including decidedly feminine-looking Clefairy, Jigglypuff, Delcatty, and Cincinno. Special mention goes to Gothitelle, who looks a lot like a woman.
Fire Emblem has a couple of these. The first one seen by Westerners was Lucius◊ from the seventh game, Blazing Sword. He's even mistaken to be a woman by Serra in-game.
Libra from Fire Emblem: Awakening gets mistaken for a woman by practically everyone who talks to him, due to not only looking but sounding very feminine. So much that some of them occasionally forget that he's a man, even after he points it out to them.
And then there's Kuja from Final Fantasy IX, who is wearing the most feminine, Stripperific outfit imaginable (except for the codpiece...), has feathers in his long, flowing, luxurious hair, and is wearing lipstick and eyeshadow, not to mention the feminine hips and waist. There's a reason he's the poster guy for the Viewer Gender Confusion page. Only once is this commented on in-story, when Queen Brahne calls him girly.
Cecil from Final Fantasy IV has long, flowing hair, an angelic face, and even wears lipstick.
In the DS version, Cecil gets a decent outfit that doesn't look terribly girly after changing to a Paladin at Mt. Ordeals.
I'm pretty sure the purple lips aren't because of lipstick, but because he's half-Lunarian.
The (in)famous cross-dressing quest from Final Fantasy VII cannot be left out of this category. Cloud is generally presented as withdrawn and Badass, but he's clearly a pretty man if there's a way for Don Corneo to pick him in the competition.
Check out the people on the cover of Magna Carta: Tears of Blood. One of them is a man.
Here's more◊. That's the male part of the cast. With such androgynous males it's practically happens in reverse - you start seeing traps that aren't there. Like on this pic◊, featuring female part of the cast, the right-most girl can be taken for yet another trap.
Then there's Adelheid Bernstein of The King of Fighters 2003 and afterward. He was actually designed as a girl (that name? The standard nickname for it is "Heidi"), but then SNK decided to make the child of Rugal that did the fighting into a guy. It's easy to tell the designs started as a female.
Leon in the Resident Evil series. Often complains women won't listen to/ignore him. In Resident Evil 4 at the start talking to the Spanish policemen in their car results in them asking "Why you back, forgotten your makeup?"
As of Resident Evil 6, Leon still has the same haircut, but his face looks more rugged and masculine than before. He's even got a bit of facial hair going now.
Kingdom Hearts has plenty of guys who could be women at first glance, most notably Marluxia, whose original design was supposed to be female anyway, but was changed to a guy after he was partnered with a woman and they decided two women who tried to rebel against the rest of the (male) Organization and failed would have severe Unfortunate Implications.
Ron DeLite. The personality doesn't help matters, nor does his hairstyle being one half of Yurika Kirishima's hairdo.
Jean Armstrong is an... odd, example. He's obviously male due to his beard and muscular arms, but his nature is so dainty and feminine that the judge actually asks him whether he's a woman. He even refers to himself as a 'girl' at times, which makes it even more confusing.
Zelos Wilder from Tales Of Symphonia in spite of his masculine build. No doubt because of his long, wavy, red locks and wardrobe color of choice being pink.
Mithos is far worse as he looks almost like Colette. Considering Colette was the result of controlling marriages over time in an attempt to create an almost exact body duplicate of Mithos' sister for the purpose of becoming Martel, this is justified.
Ranmaru Mori of the Samurai Warriors series has a very feminine appearance, to the point that he gets mistaken for a woman in universe to the point of Running Gag status—he even "counts" as a lady for the purposes of Designated Girl Fights. Amusingly, one of his battlecries from Warriors Orochi is "I'm as dangerous as I am manly!"
Jikun Hu from Cosmic Break, the fact that most human powersuit users are all women doesn't help
The Prince of Falena (the main character) of Suikoden V. Somehow this is not really commented on in-game, but he has a feminine face (ESPECIALLY in the higher-detail opening sequence), slender shoulders that he emphasizes with a shoulderless breastplate, long, braided white hair, and he wears tights and appears to be wearing a skirt. Even one of his two voice options (which is only heard as grunts in battle) is distinctly high-pitched. Before the game was released, many people thought it was going to have a female protagonist.
Rief's gender was the subject of a great deal of online Wild Mass Guessing for quite a while. Leaked clips of his Voice Grunting didn't help, since Golden Sun uses the same set of squeaks for young boys as for female characters.
Early material on the European official website billed Amiti as a girl, despite a leak of his Shirtless Scene. This was eventually corrected.
Factor in Amiti's Bishōnen father and the fact that Rief and Amiti are second cousins it becomes apparent that this is a hereditary trait.
Kanon of Umineko No Naku Koro Ni. Though it might be a reason for this since it is hinted that he and his "sister" Shannon actually are the same person. Specifically they're implied to be alter egos of Yasu, whose gender is unknown.
Jacob the Rag doll from Monsterful, his long hair and shy personality make it even worse.
Parodied in Insecticomics when Moral Guardian Lady Jaye attempts to make the 'naked' robots all wear censor bars. Override, who is female but has a gender-neutral body, taunts Lady Jaye by asking how many censor bars she needs. Lady Jaye eventually puts a censor bar on her groin but not on her chest, having decided that Override is male.
Given that in the original show Override's show was dubbed from she ''was'' male, it's not completely surprising.
Leslie from Flaky Pastry has an ambiguous name, dresses androgynously, works as a barmaid (complete with skirt and tube top) and is surprised when the girl he asks out thinks he is gay.
In Gold Coin Comics, Theo, whose job class (healer) is normally reserved for girls, is mistaken for a woman when Lance first meets him.
Randy, who is male, once was miss April on a calendar.
Kano, the main character of Kagerou. The artist has made specific note of his "absurd girl hair".
Eutropia of Amazoness — it's actually a plot point.
Chovek, a minor character in Inhuman. The fact that he's pink doesn't help.
Lampshaded heavily and hilariously in Chasing the Sunset, as Leaf is so girly that it often takes ages for someone meeting him to realize he's a guy. But then, he's an elf, so bishiness is pretty much par for the course.
In spite of being an adult male well into adulthood, Vinci of Vinci And Arty is often mistaken for being a female, at one point being mistaken for a pregnant woman in labor when pulled over by a cop. It Makes Sense in Context.
Unwinder's Tall Comics: Dr. Minivan, after losing his hair (for science), buys a wig to hide his baldness. The wig is so long that he gets mistaken for a woman. When this happens in a public restroom, he panics and hides in a stall, and tries to figure out how to get back out of the restroom without incurring further confusion. This takes so long that he grows a beard. Problem solved!
Teahouse: Linnaeus. With his pink hair and love for jewels, he is far prettier than many of the other Teahouse workers.
Sunstone has Alan, who is so protective of what facial hair he has not even his wedding day could part him from it. Some of the characters (And a portion of the fanbase) have a vendetta to get the man to cross dress.
Axel from Demyx Time enjoys mocking Marluxia for this. Inverted when Demyx firmly believes that Larxene is a man.
In the Dissidia: Final Fantasymachinima "Real Men", there's a segment where Squall states, "Only a real man hangs out with the ladies." Cloud responds with, "You know that's a guy, right?" but Squall firmly states that it's a chick, until he finally decides to ask the man/lady in question, who is Bartz. Bartz replies, "Oh yes, I am male-I mean, FE-male." Squall's response?
Squall: "...Oh you're dead... *gunclick*"
Phase, in the Whateley Universe, looks and sounds so girly that he's given up and dresses in mannish girl's clothes that fit him, while he tries to find a way to change himself back to a manly guy. Even in pants and heavy coat, he still gets tabbed as a girl, much to his disgust.
More than a few viewers of this demotivational poster believed the photo on the right to be of Emma Watson with a new short haircut. Both photos are of Justin Bieber.
Gaia Online's Gino Gambino at one point looked very feminine despite the memetic "Twinkie Brows"; the description for his collectible doll states that he's often mistaken for a girl. More recent manga updates featuring him have been making him a little more masculine, via Art Evolution and an Important Haircut.
Home Movies - Brendon comes home to find his mom and her boss looped on wine. On seeing him the boss shouts "Well, look at you! What a perfectly adorable little young lady!". Brendon anxiously replies "Ah...well...I'm not so little...". Brendon is considered to be kind of girly by lots of folks, including his friends.
In an episode of Johnny Bravo, Johnny is at the beach when he approaches what appears to a woman in a bikini, but as soon as the person turns around, it turns out to be a slender man with long hair in a speedo.
Johnny: Whoa! I thought you were a chick!
Inverted in an early episode of Family Guy, where Peter punches out a rude man at a little league baseball game...but then it turns out that it's actually an extremely mannish woman, and Peter gets placed under house arrest.
"Stand back, give her some air!" "You mean 'give HIM some air'." "She's going into labor!" "You mean 'HE'S going into labor'...oh boy!"
Stylistically, it was common for painters in the 1700's to portray young boys as looking almost female. The fact that they wore dresses as children didn't help either...The second from the left is actually a boy◊.
Leonardo Da Vinci's tendency to do this has caused speculation about just who is sitting next to Jesus (is that the Apostle John or Mary Magdalene?) in his painting of The Last Supper.
Yoshiki Hayashi, again - because he has been confused offstage in pics at events unrelated to his band.
In a really truly depressing real life example, one of the victims believed to have been killed by the real-life Monster of Florence was a young male German tourist, traveling with another male friend. It's believed that they were mistaken for the killer's more usual targets, a heterosexual couple alone in their car, because of the one man's slight build and long blond hair.
Somewhere between this and Cross-Dressing Voices: Haydn's Die Schöpfung (The Creation). The oratorio has three angelic soloists. Gabriel is played by a soprano.
The Venture Brothers co-creator Doc Hammer is self-admittedly a very feminine-looking guy. Ironically, he does the extremely masculine voice for Dr. Girlfriend. When asked at a con whether or not he would do Dr. Girlfriend despite her manly voice. Doc answered in the affirmative, then turned it around:
"Would you do me if I had a really sweet girl voice? I'm telling you, from behind, it doesn't make much of a difference!"
Quite of few of the guys in this news report on the "Teen Werewolves" phenomenon, especially their unofficial leader.
Persian Crown Prince Abbas Mirza Qajar◊ did some very manly exploits, notably fighting the Russians during the Napoleonic Wars and afterwards and having 26 sons, but paintings of him have him with big doe eyes, rosy cheeks, and flowing dark hair. Even after he grew a thick, manly beard, he still was quite slender, and the tight robes he wore did not help.
Seattle drag queen Jerick Hoffer (aka Jinkx Monsoon, who will be appearing on RuPauls Drag Race season 5) looks and sounds like a lady even when out of drag.