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Estrogen Brigade

An enclave of female fans within a traditionally male-dominated fandom. They tend to focus on a particular character or actor, rather than the entire series. Occasionally both sides butt heads over largely superficial reasons, with buckets of opposite-sex awkwardness, which can get defensive. It should also be noted that not all female fans within such a fandom are necessarily of the Estrogen Brigade.

Unfortunately, it is because of this phenomenon that the female fan is sometimes regarded with suspicion — especially if she admits that she does, in fact, happen to find some of the male cast pleasing to the eye. However, finding certain members of the cast to be attractive does not necessarily preclude a fan from liking other aspects of a particular work — and, thus, should not automatically invalidate her as being a "true fan".

An Estrogen Brigade is easily attracted by hints of Ho Yay, since many members of such brigades seem to agree that Guy on Guy Is Hot.

Not to be confused with Amazon Brigade. Its Spear Counterpart is the Testosterone Brigade, which, while rarer, does exist.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • The Green Lantern Corps has a surprisingly strong following in the Feminist Comics Blogosphere, only in part because of the franchise's 50-year tradition of spandex-clad butt shots. Hal is "endearingly sexist", John is "the serious one", Guy is the "gruff den mother", Kyle is The Woobie, and Alan is the sexy older guy.
  • Deadpool has had an Estrogen Brigade of fun, quirky, female geeks for a few years now, mostly because they get a kick out of his Black Comedy sense of humor. Now he's getting a more traditional Estrogen Brigade, since he's being portrayed by Ryan Reynolds.
  • The female Batman fandom is still very small, but type any combination of male characters into the search bar on Deviant ART some time, if you dare. With all the Foe Yay, the fact Bruce Wayne is generally depicted as a rather handsome fellow, ass-kicking female characters, Nightwing, and a huge cast of interesting villains, many of whom are just begging for Draco in Leather Pants treatment… it's sort of a wonder the Estrogen Brigade for Batman isn't bigger.
  • X-Men: Nightcrawler and Gambit are probably the two most popular Marvel characters for fangirls.
  • Testosterone Brigade example can be found in the fandom of Witchblade, a comic whose main character is a Dude Magnet who also has Les Yay moments with her Lancer.

    Film - Animation 
  • The Lorax made the Once-ler a human. A very cute human. A very cute human with a sympathetic POV. Cue the fangirls.
  • Jack Frost from Rise of the Guardians is very, very attractive to the female fan base. His attractiveness is further solidified when Tooth Fairy swoons over his snow-white teeth while her baby fairies make heart shapes around him and faint whenever he smiles.
  • From Wreck-It Ralph, Ralph and Fix it Felix Jr are getting more and more fangirls. So are the three male Sugar Rush racers (especially Rancis Fluggerbutter), and even King Candy/ Turbo himself.

    Film - Live Action 
  • The Phantom Menace Darth Maul has an Estrogen Brigade. At least one "Estrogen Brigade" site for Darth Maul that was done mostly tongue-in-cheek, and it was brilliant.
  • Star Wars: Han Solo, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke, and Anakin can also be considered popular with ladies. All males except Palpatine and Dooku. Wedge has one in the Star Wars Expanded Universe; in one of the comics it's mentioned that he gets marriage proposals in the mail. Canonically, Luke has about six Zeltron fangirls, and one Zeltron fanboy in Marvel Star Wars.
  • Pick a male from The Dark Knight Saga. Any male from The Dark Knight Saga. They will have fangirls. Especially the Joker.
  • Rumor has it that the only reason those of the female persuasion agreed to sit through 300 with their boyfriends was the highly buff, almost entirely-male cast who seemed unacquainted with the concept of a shirt.
  • Pictured is the cover to a FoxTrot collection, showing how a good portion of Lord of the Rings viewers were fangirls oogling Orlando Bloom (many others differed chiefly in that they preferred Viggo Mortensen). Then there was the embarrassing fawning over an extra that female fans christened "Figwit."
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • The "mud wrestling" fight in Thor does a lot for the ladies in the audience...
    • ... although not as much as Chris Hemsworth's Shirtless Scene.
    • Thor has fans, but Loki's (and by extension, Tom Hiddleston's) Estrogen Brigade is incredibly vocal and devoted. They call themselves "Hiddlestoners." You can read a (very profane) Affectionate Parody of their behavior here. Tom Hiddleston's fanbase just exploded into existence after Thor, even though the film mostly presented Chris Hemsworth as the default hunk totty. However, thanks to Loki's characterisation and his Bishōnen looks (and Hiddleston's Mean Character, Nice Actor personality), Hiddleston became the Ensemble Dark Horse at least where the ladies were concerned, to the point where it took Marvel and the rest of the world by surprise. At the NYC ComicCon 2011, with plenty of stars and producers from the Avengers attending a panel, 99% of the audience questions were directed at Hiddleston, with audible gushing from the lady fans. And with plenty of awkwardness for the hosts and the rest of the panel members. It's notable because the hosts and the co-stars were clearly not expecting it, and even Hiddleston himself seems to have been overwhelmed by it. See it yourself, here.
    • In the previews for Captain America: The First Avenger, Chris Evans was already acquiring an estrogen brigade.
    • The Avengers. All of them. Special mention goes to Mark Ruffalo's Shirtless Scene, who already won the Estrogen Brigade over with his Stoic Woobie performance. It's almost unfair — the guys just get Scarlett Johansson, while the girls get an entire team of strong, muscular, virile men in either tight-fitting or sleeveless costumes.
  • Prince Nuada, from Hellboy II, also has an Estrogen Brigade. There's even a community to bring him back in a prequel movie.
  • The Italian Hercules movies were very popular with stay-at-home housewives in the late '50s and early '60s due to their ample displays of buff, shirtless male bodybuilders. As Moviebob put it:
    "Junior got a theoretically exciting movie about swords and monsters and heroes, while Mom got... ideas. Filthy, filthy ideas. And now you know what Dr. Frank-N-Furter was talking about when he said "we could take in an old Steve Reeves movie!"
  • The Estrogen Brigade launched by David Bowie (or, more accurately, his crotch) in Labyrinth is downright legendary. There's even an internet religion based around it.
  • Master and Commander: A lot of appeal came from the original source — the Aubrey-Maturin series. The film also comes with Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany, and a scene with a half-naked injured Stephen moaning in a way that sounds a tad erotic. While Jack's hands press down on his naked abdomen. No wonder fangirls love it.
  • The Hobbit: Dwarves are supposed to be much like what you see in LOTR, with Gimli and his father Gloin looking properly stout and bearded and not what you'd call hot. Then Peter Jackson decided that it'd be appropriate to give the parts of the Line of Durin to Richard Armitage as Thorin, Aidan Turner as Kili, and David O'Gorman as Fili. It worked.

    Literature 
  • Harry Potter. Have you seen the fangirl hordes? Mere death is no obstacle to Remus/Sirius. Then there's Draco Malfoy, the Trope Namer for Draco in Leather Pants (mainly upon the release of the sixth movie) and of course Severus Snape, at least after the seventh book. And let's not forget the Weasley twins, Ron (sometimes), and Harry himself. Hell, no male character is safe from this.
  • The Aubrey-Maturin book series is about the adventures of a naval ship captain during the Napoleonic Wars. Readers come for the history; they stay for the massive Ho Yay between Captain Aubrey and his best friend, the ship's surgeon and resident Badass Bookworm, Stephen Maturin. (Even without the slash, Stephen's pack of loyal fangirls would still give the Aubreyad a decently sized Estrogen Brigade.) It doesn't help that they call each other things like "my joy", "my heart", "my soul"... Stephen's LOVE INTEREST even says to him that "anyone would think you were married to that man"!
  • While perhaps falling short of this trope, Terry Pratchett says in The Art of Discworld that Greebo (yep, that Greebo) garnered a lot of female fans after his first appearance in human form. He also says of Vetinari "I hear he has his own, all-female, fan club." (The "Sisters of Vetinari").
  • Les Amis de l'ABC from Les Misérables: A group of 9 young revolutionaries, some of whom are very close, results in a pretty much all-female fandom. While there is a preference for Enjolras, fangirls often write slash involving any pairings of these. Hell, an almost entirely male cast of characters pretty much guarantees fangirls will find someone to Squee about!
  • In the first volume of Ivanhoe, the narrator spends a lot of time repeatedly pointing out how much the ladies enjoy tournaments and matches between knights even more enthusiastically than many men. Lampshade Hanging or just Genre Savvy?

    Live Action TV 
  • The David Duchovny Estrogen Brigade (The X-Files) was epically famous. The X-Files fandom was one of the first that was massively discussed on-line. It got to the point where there was a one-hit wonder by Bree Sharp called "David Duchovny, Why Won't You Love Me?", and several singers tried to copy that concept.
  • Doctor Who is very known for having Estrogen Brigades. The Peter Davison, Paul McGann, and David Tennant Estrogen Brigades are the most famous examples.
    • The episode "The Shakespeare Code" even had the bard joining the Tennant Brigade in-universe.
    • There was a Sylvester McCoy Estrogen Brigade on rec.arts.drwho.
    • Christopher Eccleston still has his own, slightly more mature, college-age following. Impressive, considering he only got one season.
    • Consider that Paul McGann only had one TV movie, yet still got a Brigade. It's called Paul McGann's Estrogen Brigade. Some of the fangals recruited from Hornblower fandom. His Lt. Bush is frequently considered the hottest among the Navy guys, and the competition was very tough with Ioan Gruffudd and Jamie Bamber aboard.
    • Matt Smith's brigade is getting bigger by the minute.
    • Tom Baker was the first Doctor to get one, and he also slept with lots of them (a factor in the breakdown of the relationship he was in at the time). In his autobiography he mentions a sexual encounter with a fan who dressed up in his costume and asked him to 'come with her through time and space', which he recalled finding a bit weird, but 'at least she didn't want to whip [him]'.
  • The John Crichton Estrogen Brigate was very vocal during the run of Farscape.
  • For an example of this phenomenon at its peak, go visit a Supernatural convention. Guaranteed at least 90% women. One notable convention, Wincon (formerly known as WinchesterCon) used to have a women-only policy — male fans were only admitted if they were accompanied by a female fan. They've relaxed that restriction, but still maintain a strict anti-harrassment policy to create a "safe space" for female fans to express themselves. Female fans and queer fans too. For a sample of Supernatural's appeal to the GBTQ community, check the recaps on on Television Without Pity, where longtime recapper Demian (a gay man) provides strong story analysis while calling Jensen Ackles "Ducky Lips."
  • The Sliders fandom came to be referred to as JODSers, short for "Jerry O'Connell Droolers Society".
  • The Star Trek franchise has had one from the beginning and every incarnation of the show is guaranteed to create one.
  • Battlestar Galactica has spawned a few of these:
    • Jamie Bamber has a posse of girl fans known in the community as "Bamber Bunnies", and yet people still misspell his name as "Barber".
    • "Baltar's Nymph Brigade". Note that by the final season, he had gained an in-show, religiously fanatical Estrogen Brigade derided as a "nymph-squad" by the President.
    • "Trucco's Troops" is another one.
    • Apollo and Starbuck each have quite a fangirl following as well during the original show's run.
  • It's only appropriate that Jamie Bamber get his own brigade for Battletar Galactica, because he had one during his run in the Horatio Hornblower TV movies, probably due to his Pretty Boy looks and proclivity to wavering between being a daring hero and a complete woobie. The Nineties fandoms are weirdly dedicated, and Crumpeteers — his character Archie Kennedy was fondly called "Crumpet" — swoon over Archie and write fan fic about him in The New Tens.
  • The Colbert Report, being primarily political satire, has more or less equal gender appeal — but Colbert's personal Estrogen Brigade has to be seen to be believed. There are threads on the show's official forum dedicated solely to collecting pictures of his fingers.
  • Jon Stewart The Daily Show gets some of this, usually in response to the latest episode where he rips some douchebag a new one.
    • At one point, Robert Patterson was the guest, and Jon joked about having a hoard of new viewers because of it. Cue the next day, when the title of the segment was: "Wait, don't leave! Here's a picture of Taylor Lautner."
  • The Marcus Cole Estrogen Brigade, honoring the Ranger from Babylon 5, is still in existence. It doesn't talk about Marcus very much any more, but it has a distinctive voice and staying power.
  • Vincent D'Onofrio has acquired a brigade based on his work in Law & Order: Criminal Intent, though his weight gain seems to have caused a lot of internal friction among them. The beard has also led to raised eyebrows.
  • One of the earliest Estrogen Brigades was David McCallum's, which sprang to life when the 60s spy series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. introduced us to minor character Illya Kuryakin. Kuryakin almost immediately caught the attention of (mostly) female fans, and McCallum went from mere Recurring Character to series regular to second billing (behind series lead Robert Vaughn) in the first season alone. By the second season, McCallum shared equal billing with Vaughn.
  • All three presenters on Top Gear (Clarkson sometimes jokes about Hammond being on the show solely to attract female viewers). And The Stig. And producer Andy Wilman. And James May's blue-patterned flowery shirt…
  • The Magnificent Seven has seven of these, one for each character. They are: Larabee's Ladies, Buck's Babes, Vin's Vixens, Josiah's Jezebels, Nathan's Nightingales, Dunne's Darlins, and (the only non-alliterative one) Ezra's Brigadears.
  • Angel: Angel and Wesley have the biggest Brigades in this fandom.
  • The men from Mystery Science Theater 3000 all seem to have their own little pockets of fangirls if one puts enough effort into finding them (i.e.: head onto Deviant ART or LiveJournal, for starters). Joel, Mike, Forrester, Frank… even Torgo has his fangirls. And if you look on youtube, you will find that Crow and Tom both have their fair share of fangirls too. Despite (or because?) being robots.
  • Iron Chef, particularly in the later years. Sakai, Chen, Kobe, and Morimoto all have their fangirls. Kaga's got some as well, naturally, but surprisingly there are quite a few for the announcer, Kenji Fukui.
  • Iron Chef's successor, Iron Chef America is the same way.
  • Methos of Highlander: The Series had/has a Boxer Brigade, due to his appearing in his underwear in an episode.
  • During the run of Beauty and the Beast, Ron Perlman acquired one. On account of Perlman rarely giving interviews and being a virtual nobody at the time, most viewers didn't even know what he looked like out of makeup and the Brigade was therefore based on sheer romanticism.
  • Peter Capaldi of The Thick of It has a sizeable Estrogen Brigade, including plenty of women who want to be bollocked by Malcolm Tucker. Most of them seem to be around half his age, and many are also fans of Jamie. Angry Scots seem to be very attractive for some reason.
  • Sherlock:
  • "The Giddies", a group of female The Goodies fans, described in The Clue Bible as having a shared interest in the shortness of Graeme's shorts in "Scoutrageous".
  • Conan's HCPN (Hot Coco Picture Night) Wenches. Go to the Team Coco Facebook page on a Sunday night to witness lots of R-rated drooling over photos of him.
  • In Once Upon a Time, both Robert Carlyle and (in a rare female example) Lana Parilla have developed sizeable, occasionally combative, Estrogen Brigades.
  • Merlin has Arthur, Merlin, grown-up Mordred, and all the Knights. Take your pick.
  • Person of Interest has quite a few female fans who are only watching it for either John Reese, Harold Finch, both, or hoping the two of them get together. The creators are now apparently very aware of this last part and have been having fun teasing and trolling the Estrogen Brigade (see, for example, the Bowtie Scene from Season 3's "Provenance").
  • Disney XD was created as a male-targeted counterpart for Disney Channel. Of course, there's a cast of good looking male actors, such as Hutch Dano, Logan Miller, Billy Unger, and Spencer Boldman.

    Music 
  • The Beatles, especially compared to their indie years.
  • A rather unconventional Estrogen Brigade, but Rammstein has one as well.
  • Most men in Heavy Metal bands tend to have rugged looks and long-flowing hair. Do the math.
  • Some historians credit Elvis Presley with advancing the feminist movement because his concerts were places that female fans could go crazy and it was totally okay.
  • Many modern Country Music "hunks", like Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, and Florida Georgia Line, owe much of their success to their enormous female fanbases. A number of country music journalists have noted that the front rows of their concerts tend to resemble those of prominent pop and rap musicians, being dominated by squeeing fangirls. This is especially common in the genre known as "bro-country", which incorporates elements of Country Rap and classic rock along with lyrics about partying, trucks, and hot chicks, forming what has been called the country equivalent of Hair Metal or Glam Rap.
    • Before the bro-country wave, there were the "hat acts" of The Nineties, who were often hunky young men in cowboy hats. Many of their critics often accused them of trading on their good looks in order to cover up a lack of talent and derivative music.
  • Chris Brown. It's been argued that the only reason why he still has a successful career after what he did to Rihanna is because he's just that damn sexy.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Tends to be rather obvious in Professional Wrestling, and tend to have their own favorites apart from the rest of the crowd. Ever notice how the cheers for a Jeff Hardy, or a Randy Orton, or especially John Cena are much higher-pitched than the cheers for any other wrestler? Especially when Jeff takes off his shirt…
  • This can certainly be traced back to Ricky Morton of the Rock 'n' Roll Express, who was one of the first wrestlers to be continually beat up to appeal to the mothering instincts of female fans.
  • "Clique"-era Shawn Michaels was blatantly marketed at female fans, to the point of doing a spread in Playgirl. Of course, the result was the male fans turning against him in a way that makes the current reaction to John Cena seem positively tame, culminating in Madison Square Garden rabidly cheering Sid of all wrestlers at Survivor Series 1996. In the pre-Attitude era, that type of fan revolt was shocking. Many male fans take great pleasure in the stunned reaction of a female fan in the front row of that match when Sid pins Michaels clean in the middle as MSG erupts in cheers.
  • Jeff Hardy made an appearance for Ring of Honor. At the time Jeff's popularity with the smark crowd was at a low ebb. Hardy's Estrogen Brigade came to the RoH show just to see Jeff Hardy, and their shrieking seemed to set the RoH regulars off. They booed literally everything Jeff did, and at one point started a "shut the fuck up" chant against the estrogen brigade.

    Sports 
  • Formula One. Ask a girl why she's watching it, most likely she'll say for the pretty boys.
  • Rugby — a few years ago, the most commonly cited reason from female English fans as to why they like rugby would have been "Johnny Wilkinson's legs! Phwoar".
    • The Vicar of Dibley uses Geraldine as an example of this.
    • Rugby has a fairly large Brigade in New Zealand, as well. The most popular seems to be Dan Carter, flyhalf/underwear model, Richie McCaw, Captain of the All Blacks, and inside centre Sonny Bill Williams, who caused quite a stir when he changed his jersey in the middle of the game in the opening match of 2011 World Cup.
  • A few soccer players. Helps that the players usually exchange shirts at the end of a game. In the 70s and 80s, the size of the shorts also helped.
  • Most female St. Louis Cardinals fans do follow the game, but may end up crushing on a player that they like. It's not usually enough to be called an Estrogen Brigade, but now David Freese is developing one since he saved the Cardinals from losing the 2011 World Series at the very last minute of Game 6 and he's cute as a button.
    • Many signs at the victory parade read "DAVID FREESE, WILL YOU MARRY ME?"
  • Women's interest in baseball in general increased when the uniforms switched from baggy knickers to spandex tights.
  • Australian Rules Football. Their shorts are tiny. The sleeveless guernseys help, too.
  • Ice-hockey. There is nothing like tough man, most of them total Hunks, who fight on ice. So hot!

    Theater 
  • Roger from RENT definitely has one! As does Mark to a lesser extent.
  • The title character of The Phantom of the Opera has a pretty large one, resulting in an almost all-female fandom. And if you don't like Erik, there's always Raoul...
  • Les Misérables probably got its initial female fanbase almost entirely from Michael Ball (the West End's original Marius), Michael Maguire (Broadway's original Enjolras), and/or Colm Wilkinson (the original Jean Valjean). Although it's fair to say that all the barricade boys have become immensely popular, with Grantaire as a particular breakout.
  • The cast of 1776 is populated largely by intelligent, handsome men in period clothing. Who can dance and sing.

    Video Games 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10 and its sequel are both aimed at preteen boys, but the shows have garnered a fair amount of teenage-and-up female fans. Some of them enjoy the show as an entity, but others just watch it for one of the male characters (or for the Shipping…). Kevin is the most popular (particularly when he grows up), but some girls prefer Grandpa Max. This seems to be a recurring theme for Man of Action, with similar fanbase for Generator Rex and one already developing for Ultimate Spider-Man.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender 's target demographic is 6-11 year old boys, so how do they explain this? Perhaps to answer this question one should partake in a bit of a drinking game. Whenever you see a male character on Avatar lack a shirt take one shot. If you can see their chest but they still have their clothes on, take half a shot. There is your answer. note  It is LiveJournal and Most Fanfic Writers Are Girls.
  • Young Justice had a large female fanbase, despite being aimed at young boys. In fact, Paul Dini set off a minor controversy after he explained to Kevin Smith that one of the major reasons the show was Screwed by the Network was because it had too many female viewers in the eyes of the execs.
  • Transformers has always been aimed at boys, with female characters in the franchise few and far-between. Despite this, the series has a female fanbase — which is commonly portrayed in the fandom as being full of fangirls who ship Megatron/Starscream. Starscream in general seems to be fangirl bait, no matter the continuity. Nobody's really sure why.
  • Dragon Booster was also aimed at boys, with only a smattering of female characters. The message board which provided the nexus point for most of the fandom, however, has a substantial female population.
  • Storm Hawks was aimed at boys. Girls have fallen for it as well, however.
  • The Warden from Superjail!, and by extension, David Wain in Wainy Days. David Wain joined deviantART. He spends his time there adding sexy fanart of his character to his favourites. It's… unsettling.
  • Fan-Art of South Park tells a lot! It got parodied in the episode "The Ring", where they point out that most girls for the Jonas Brothers (or any boy band for that matter) just go to their concerts to look at them rather than listening to their music.
  • In King Arthur's Disasters, Lancelot has his own little cult of ladies following him around in "The Yodeling Dolphin of Kirkwall" and "Mission: Implausible." Hell, some guards were hired in one episode to drive 'em away.
    Random girl takes a lock of Lancelot's hair
    Random Girl: I'VE GOT SOME OF HIS HAIR!!!!!!
  • Similarly to Avatar: The Last Airbender , Teen Titans, despite being originally aimed at boys aged below 12, has attracted many older female fans, mainly due to a crapload of characters serving the role of Estrogen Brigade Baits.
  • Danny Phantom apparently has a huge college age female following. A lot of that has to do with Vlad and Dark Danny.
  • Regular Show has many female fans. Part of the reason could be the close relationship between the main characters (making it a major target for the Yaoi Fangirls) and also because the show has many romance moments in some episodes.
  • It's pretty safe to assume that 3-2-1 Penguins! has plenty of female fans who fangirl over one of the eponymous penguins.
  • A few teenage girls have been known to love the U.S. Acres segments of Garfield and Friends.
  • Scarecrow is the most popular character from The Magic Adventures Of Mumfie among female fans.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door due to the cute shota characters and romance subplots in later episodes.

    Real Life 

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