Girliness Upgrade
Left: Dora the Explorer.
Right: Dora the Valley Girl.

Our heroine is a tomboy — rough and tumble, as interested in fashion as she is interested in watching paint dry. However, in the reboot or in the doll, she becomes a girly girl. Often complete with princess dress or at least a Pimped-Out Dress, tween fashion and long hair, often with hair decorations. More often than not, the girl gets aged up.

This trope does not overlap with Chickification, which is when a once-capable female character becomes a wimp. note  The trick is that the girl becomes more dainty-looking, but keeps at least a good part of her core personality.

Used to Be a Tomboy is an in-universe case of this trope.

Please refrain from equating this trope to the female character becoming inherently worse for merely starting to prefer girlier things. Such things tie into the equally misogynistic notion that femininity is inherently bad, and that women must be stereotypically masculine to be seen as strong and worthy of respect.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Digimon Adventure: Sora was introduced as a soccer-playing tomboy, but by Digimon Adventure 02, she has changed her wardrobe and switched to the traditionally "feminine" sport of tennis, and in the "25 years later" epilogue, is a fashion designer.
  • Ice Revolution: An interesting variation occurs in the manga when karate champion Masaki arranges her own Girliness Upgrade by switching to figure skating, which she views as a prettier, more feminine form of athleticism. She manages to secure her macho father's support only by proving that a "girly" activity like figure skating is a physical sport every bit as demanding as karate (as it is.) Ironically, she scores poorly every time she tries to skate a program that emphasizes femininity instead of athleticism.
  • HeartCatch Pretty Cure!: Happens to Itsuki in as part of her Character Development. She starts out hiding her love of stuffed animals and desire to doll up in cute clothing behind a masculine exterior, out of a desire to be a respected martial artist like her Ill Boy twin brother Satsuki. After joining the Fashion Club (and later, becoming a Cure herself), she learns that it's alright for her to enjoy both martial arts and cute things (helped by Satsuki begining to get better). Eventually she grows her hair out a bit and starts wearing the female uniform during the finale.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia: When she was younger, Hungary was a Cute Bruiser Bokukko who thought she was a boy. As she grew up, she graduated to a Team Mom who wears frilly dresses and flower Hair Decorations. Notably, she actually Took a Level in Badass while becoming more feminine and maternal: as a Team Mom Meido Hungary is physically stronger than she used to be as a Cute Bruiser Bokukko... only that she looks girlier when she does so.
  • Fairy Tail: Mirajane underwent this process before the story begins; Lucy is shocked to learn that Fairy Tail's resident Silk Hiding Steel Team Mom used to be bitter rivals with Action Girl Erza. It's explained that this happened due to the disappearance of Mirajane and Elfman's younger sister, Lisanna.
  • Ranma ˝: Ukyou Kuonji decides to try wearing the girls's uniform and acting girlier after she becomes concerned that Ranma considers her just One of the Boys. While she does manage to attract a lot of "who's the new girl" attention from the other Furinkan students (at least until they realize it's just Ukyo) Ranma only wants to know why she's acting so weird. Once Ukyo realizes that Ranma likes her fine just the way she is she decides to just be herself. She does wear the girl's uniform at least once afterwards (and lampshades it in the original, though not in the English dub) but she doesn't act any girlier wearing it.
  • Wandering Son: Takatsuki was treated as a transsexual boy for most of the run and showed general dysphoria and a disdain for feminine things. Part way during high school Takatsuki became a model but started androgynous. Eventually Takatsuki grows her hair out, begins wearing girl's clothes, decides not to transition and leans more toward Girly Girl than Bifauxnen tomboy. It's been speculated that Takatsuki's specific case was more about disliking being a girl than actually being trans sexual or gender dysphoric.
  • Future GPX Cyber Formula: Asuka Sugo and Kyouko Aoi. Asuka starts off as a Tsundere, while Kyouko starts off as a Rich Bitch manager. Both become more girly and more like full-grown women as the series goes on.
  • Averted with Pao-Lin/Dragon Kid in Tiger & Bunny. The ending of the show seems to imply that she's starting to become more feminine, but by the time of the second movie, she's even more tomboyish, complete with a much shorter haircut.
  • Tokyo Ghoul: Touka initially starts as a rough Jerk with a Heart of Gold tomboy who fought as "Rabbit". While she was always pretty she gets even prettier in the sequel manga, with less of a temper.

    Comic Books 
  • In the seventies, there was a Wonder Woman action figure, that due to Executive Meddling, became a Wonder Woman doll, with a sparkly pink costume, brushable hair, and a pony. In those days, her comic book wasn't doing well; the author even regretted it.

  • Empath: The Luckiest Smurf's version of Sassette goes from her original tomboy appearance to a girl in a T-shirt, pink pants, and a pink ribbon bow on her head instead of a Smurf hat. Compare this to this.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Kick-Ass 2, Hit Girl abandons her Action Girl vigilante ways for a trip down girly-girl lane with the resident vicious Girl Posse, in order to please her guardian Marcus. However, by the end of the movie she reverts to her Little Miss Badass self.
  • In the book of Bridge to Terabithia, Leslie is a boyish looking girl with short-cropped hair who wears plain, androgynous clothes. In the 2007 adaptation she has medium-length blonde hair (instead of brown) and dresses in more feminine looking, brightly toned clothes. Word of God is that the change in design was due to the Setting Update. What was unusual for a girl in the 1970s was different from what's unusual in the 2000s.

  • The Ultra Violets : Scarlet gets a very minor one in book 2, Power to the Purple! She begins wearing a tutu with her rocker shirt, wears ballet shoes with pride, and auditions as Little Orphan Annie in the school play. She's also much more comfortable with her dancing superpowers. She can still and does beat the crap out of bullies.
  • Mistborn: The Original Trilogy: Vin undergoes a couple of these over the course of the story. She starts out as a street thief who habitually dresses as much like a boy as possible to keep the men from getting interested in her, gets recruited by the heroes and given dresses and courtliness training as part of a plot to infiltrate the nobility, then still later becomes a master of them in her own right. Since her badass level is also going through the roof during this transition, this is definitely not Chickification.
  • Journey to Chaos: Tiza begins the story as a rough, crass and prickly tomboy. By the second story, she's grown her hair out to her shoulders and wears ear rings (she insists both are practical to her mercenary job). In the third story, Kallen suggests that she has become a Proper Lady due to spending a couple weeks with the Noble Heleti Family. Eric thinks that's impossible. Thus, she wagers ten Ataidar gold coins that Tiza will wear a dress to second Mana Mutation Summit. She arrives in Skirt over Slacks. Kallen's response? "A small dress is still a dress; five gold".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones: Arya only has a mild one and not one of her own volition but during Season 5, she's given a bath and a new set of clothes, which is perhaps the first time we've seen Arya in a dress since Season 1.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: This is reversed with Counselor Troi in the sixth season, when hardass substitute captain Jellico orders her out of her informal and rather revealing jumpsuits and into a standard Starfleet uniform.
  • iCarly
    • The show devoted an episode to this, with Carly trying to help Sam become more girly. She was back to normal by the end of the episode, because Status Quo Is God.
    • Also inverted it in an episode where Carly tries to stay with Spencer. Carly turns herself into a punk chick with full black clothing, metal spikes and chains, and a streak of blue hair.
  • Hannah Montana generally did this to Lily as the show wore on. When she first showed up, she was a skateboard riding tomboy and by the end she's as girly as Hannah.
  • Primeval:
    • Claudia Brown was mostly dressed in business suits in Season 1. She's replaced by Jenny Lewis in Season 2 - a journalist who is always shown dolled up and wearing the latest fashions. By Season 3 she's wearing a few outfits more sensible for hunting dinosaurs.
    • Abby Maitland was a bit of a punk-rock Tomboy for the first three seasons - with Boyish Short Hair. After being trapped in the Cretaceous Period for a year, her hair grew out long and she kept it after she returned. She also got a few more feminine outfits, though this was downplayed overall.
  • Laverne & Shirley: Played with in an episode where Laverne tries to attract a guy by dressing and behaving in a more feminine manner. It doesn't change who she is inside, and she ultimately decides she would rather be herself.
  • House of Anubis: Patricia is the cool goth who says what she thinks, does what she wants and scares the rest of the students in all three seasons, but come season 2 her personality started to soften up overall. What happened? She met Eddie and started to turn a bit nicer. Not to mention the whole near death mystery stuff and the power of friendship. If those things can't begin to chip away at someone's icy shell, nothing can.
  • A rare Super Sentai example: Mako Shiraishi from Samurai Sentai Shinkenger starts off as a Lethal Chef. By the time her cooking skills come out better as the series progresses, she might fit in this trope.
  • One Tree Hill: Peyton in Seasons 1 to 4 - usually wearing jeans, band t-shirts and a leather jacket. Peyton in Seasons 5 and 6 - frequently wearing dresses and just dressing in a more feminine manner
  • Step by Step: Al starts off as a tough tomboyish girl who is into sports like her brothers and has a Tomboy and Girly Girl dynamic with her stepsister Karen (an aspiring model Brainless Beauty). However she becomes more feminine as time goes by, and by the end she's every bit as girly, fashionable and boy crazy as Karen. This is mostly because actress Christine Lakin grew up into a beautiful young woman during puberty and the producers wanted to take advantage of her physical attractiveness.
  • Roseanne: In the first seasons, Darlene was a sports-obsessed tomboy who always had her hair tied back into a tight braid to give a boyish appearance. Then she becomes a depressed gothic chick, wearing black all the time. After falling in love with David, she becomes more girly and starts wearing dresses more often.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Ami was always portrayed with Boyish Short Hair. In the live action her civilian self has long hair and, while her Sailor costume has the short blue hair, it's in a much more feminine style than the anime and manga. Ami's character also gets upgraded from just The Smart Guy to also being The Heart as well.
    • This is inverted, with Makoto, when she always has the status of the resident Tomboy, she never actually acted masculine, it is her size and strength what makes her tough, but in this show she tends to act more butchy and never wears skirts or dresses, while in the manga and anime she dresses as girly as the rest of the girls.
  • Punky Brewster was a tomboy up until midway through the third season (first syndicated season—the first two aired on NBC) when she falls for a boy some six years older than she is. From that point, Punky's tomboy days had become history. This was most likely manifested in an early season three episode when Allen leaves, which makes Punky cry.
  • Hollyoaks: Grace Black started out as a businesslike, ruthless crook determined to make her mark in the male-dominated world of organised crime (while her sister Clare had been known as a Femme Fatale.) When it turned out that viewers preferred the actress's natural warmth over the character that had been written for her, Grace got a new, more "feminine" look and became softer; with her storylines shifting focus to her home life with boyfriend Trevor and desire to have a baby. Even her shot in the opening credits changed to a pink background instead of black.
  • In RoboCop: The Series, having her brain transplanted into a computer seems to have agreed with Diana Powers, as she went from a frumpy, bespectacled, ponytailed secretary to a loose-haired cybernetic siren in a lamé dress after losing her body.

  • Rachel Stevens commented on this after she began her solo career. She remarked that in S Club 7 she had mostly worn jeans and t-shirts in her videos but wore more make-up and feminine outfits in her solo videos (not to mention getting a lot more provocative).
  • In the beginnings of Girls Aloud's musical career, they were dressed in fatigues and tomboyish clothing. As their singles progressed, they began to wear more make-up and feminine outfits. Compare their images in "The Promise" to "Sound of the Underground" and the difference is astounding.
  • Atomic Kitten wore casual clothes in their first few music videos. After Jenny Frost joined the band, they received this along with a Fanservice Pack. In all their videos they would be shown with styled hair, more make-up and more fashionable clothes.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • As her career went on, Aja Kong got progressively more monstrous and until her appearance at Future Of Wrestling as "Erica". This would later be taken Up to 11 at Fighting Opera Hustle, wear she got valentine shaped blush stickers painted on her face and started handing out flowers to audience members.
  • Chyna already had gone through plenty of Fail Polish by the end of the year 2000. Then all of a sudden when she entered the women's division her ring gear became more feminine and she lost weight as well as wearing dresses and high heels backstage.
  • Gail Kim went from cackling masked villain, to antisocial rogue, to a vague Matrix type gimmick to...posing nude for a Korean cellphone company and proclaiming herself the most beautiful woman in pro wrestling.
  • Natalya Neidhart suddenly got very pretty at the end of 2010 where she was seen dolled up to the nines any time she wasn't wrestling. Her partner Beth Phoenix got in on this around mid-2011. The Bella Twins actually commented on this in their shoot interview, stating that they taught Nattie how to do the "Diva thing" while they were training - as she was not used to making public appearances.
  • Inverted with both of the Chick Busters. According to Kaitlyn, when they were on NXT AJ was not allowed to wear Chuck Taylors and Kaitlyn herself was forbidden from wearing a dress that "wasn't colourful enough". She says that management wanted all of the Divas to wear sparkly dresses. But as time went on, both of them developed their own signature styles - and became popular for their Lad Ette sense of style.
  • In 2011, El Brazo, a relatively short but burly man known for twisting arms, joined the ranks of AAA's exoticos as "La Braza". Exoticos of course cause submission less through pain than through emasculating their opponents until they are too embarrassed to continue.
  • Inverted with Nikki Bella. After the Bella Twins Heel–Face Turn in 2013, the two started exploring different styles for themselves. Nikki opted for more tomboyish looking wrestling outfits (a t-shirt, baseball cap and soccer socks) and a more power-based offence. Though in a weird way, Brie played this straight - wearing her hair in girlier styles and favouring outfits with ruffles on them. This gave the twins a Tomboy and Girly Girl dynamic.

  • American Girl: Kit of the doll line is mentioned to despise pink and, in the books is the Tomboy to her best friend Ruthie's Girly Girl. For the most part, her line has kept this, but when The Film of the Book came out, her blue school outfit and pajamas were both slowly phased out for girlier, pinker outfits that would be much more in-character for Ruthie to own... despite Ruthie herself getting her own doll and line of clothes.
  • Troll Dolls- cute gender neutral toys have now become fashion loving tweens called Trollz.
  • My Little Pony was meant to be gender neutral according to Zachelere. Hasbro disagreed but early media was still roughly unisex. G1 were stated female on their cards, except for the Big Brother and Mountain Boy ponies. Slightly larger and with the foot feathering of Clydesdales, they came in pastel shades like their sisters but had names like Salty, Slugger, Chief and Fireball. As you get deeper and deeper into The '80s the characters and media became more feminine and girl geared. By G3, which is from The Noughties, it didn't even have male ponies.
  • Inverted with the Easy Bake Oven. The later models are more unisex looking and marketing is trying to appeal to boys as well as girls. Other toys of this period were marketed equally to boys and girls; look up "pink Lego controversy".

    Video Games 
  • Kingdom Hearts: Kairi is rather tomboyish in the original game, but becomes more feminine (with longer hair, a pink outfit, and whatnot) when a year passes in Kingdom Hearts II.
  • Pokémon Box Ruby and Sapphire: Brigette, the young host, used to look a lot more like a tomboyish teenage girl in her first appearance, as she had short hair, a Dangerously Short Skirt, and brown sandals. When she reappeared as the host for Pokémon Bank, she was given a more feminine redesign, with a dress, longer hair, and girlier green sandals; she still looks a bit like a tomboy, but far less so.
    • In the same vein, in Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire, the female Player Character (May/Haruka) wore a red and black collared shirt with a longer white shirt underneath, black bicycle shorts, black and white gloves, shoes with black socks and a bandanna. As well, her bangs were quite angular to complete her tomboyish look. Her Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire redesign gives her a red and black tank top, white shorts over black bicycle shorts, dumps the socks and the gloves and replaces the full head bandanna for something more akin to a bow with her bangs gaining more curves to it.
  • In Robopon, several Robopon became more feminine and cute in Moon, and in 2.
  • In the Banjo-Kazooie franchise, Kazooie originally looked much more tomboyish which was guilty of many players' Viewer Gender Confusion. In the later installment, Nuts And Bolts, she appears a lot more feminine and curvy.
  • In Five Nights at Freddy's 2, Toy Chica is much more feminine than the original Chica from Five Nights at Freddy's, with a slimmer, curvier figure, long eyelashes, and even a pair of pink short shorts. The original Chica also appears in 2 and actually looks less feminine than before, but since it's either a possible prequel or one of the Bite of '87 victim's many nightmares , this is another straight example.
  • In the classic era of Sonic the Hedgehog, Amy Rose was a tomboy, sporting a less girly and more colorful outfit. When she got redesigned for Sonic Adventure, she equipped a more feminine outfit and girly traits, such as love for shopping and the color red as her main color.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Sheik received one Super Smash Bros Brawl. While she still looks androgynous to the point where she's often mistaken for male, they made her more "obviously" female and gave her a braid. Sheik also isn't referred to neutrally or as male like in most official The Legend of Zelda sources, instead being explicitly referred to as female.
  • Coco from Crash Bandicoot started out as a Tomboy with a Girly Streak until her redesign in Crash of the Titans. She was aged into a teenager, given more feminine clothes, and her Tomboyish Ponytail was let loose. This was inverted in Crash: Mind Over Mutant where the even older Coco looks much more tomboyish than she did even in the classic trilogy.
  • Sheik in Hyrule Warriors is the most feminine looking incarnation of Sheik yet. She still looks androgynous enough so that she can pass as either a bishonen or a bifauxnen, however it's more obvious that she's a Sweet Polly Oliver. The game makes it ambiguous if it's supposed to be obvious who she is or not. While she physically looks a lot like Zelda, she isn't gendered in the English version but is referred to as male in the Japanese version (so at least in-series people think she's male).

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius: inverted with Cindy. While shown to be a good fighter during the climactic battle in the movie, the series upgrades her skills to the point that she can compete even with a member of a warrior race of aliens, and in general puts more emphasis on her passion for karate. To match, she trades her Girlish Pigtails for a Tomboyish Ponytail.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has this In-Universe with The Ember Island Players. For example, Princess Azula is usually a rather unfeminine warrior, but her Ember Island Players counterpart wears pink, has makeup and nail polish, and wears Combat Stilettos.
  • Dora the Explorer:
    • Over the years the series has been gearing itself more at girls, what with Princess Dora being a thing and Dora appearing more often in dresses.
    • The Dora's Explorer Girls series features an older Dora with longer hair, a headband, a dress, and tights. Although it's not unreasonable, given that she's now "Tween Dora" and has aged a few years.
    • Backpack has even gotten this treatment in Dora and Friends: Into The City. After conveniently being destroyed she was rebuilt as a girly pink backpack with eyelashes. No more Viewer Gender Confusion at least.
  • Strawberry Shortcake:
    • Zig-zagged. Her first design had a round cupcake country-cottage look, then she became a cute tomboy then became slightly more feminine looking in a timeskip, and the third reboot has her as a long haired strawberry blond girly tween.
    • Raspberry Torte (originally "Raspberry Tart") inverts and then plays it straight. She was originally just as feminine as the other girls but was made into a sporty tomboy for the 2003 reboot. The 2009 reboot made her even more feminine than originally, being a big Girly Girl.
  • In the first of the My Little Pony TV Specials, Megan looked like someone who could reasonably work on a ranch, with jeans, boots, a gingham shirt, vest, and a Tomboyish Ponytail. In later G1 My Little Pony works, she has frilly blue overalls, a slightly puffy, white shirt, and her ponytail is longer and wavier and tied with a pink ribbon. The original Megan was a case of Adaptational Badass while the latter portrayal is closer to the toys, though still more of an Action Girl.
  • Looney Tunes: Lola Bunny is an interesting variation. She went from being a no nonsense Passionate Sports Girl in Space Jam to a bubbly, airheaded Valley Girl in The Looney Tunes Show. However this is a case where Girliness Upgrade doesn't overlap with Hotter and Sexier, as her original Space Jam character was nothing more than a tomboyishly beautiful sex symbol with few defining traits other than "sexy" and "athletic", while her Looney Tunes Show counterpart is cute and girly but not overtly sexual or seductive, and has a real funny personality, without being just a Ms. Fanservice.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • This happens a lot with the toys. Tomboys Applejack and Rainbow Dash sport Tareme Eyes and come with pink frilly hair accessories. Applejack's hat is absent from almost all toys. Pinkie Pie's tangled mess of a mane is perfectly groomed, and several Princess Celestia toys are pink even though the box art depicts her as white.
    • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls went this route, most infamously with Applejack and Rainbow Dash. Their personalities and roles remained the same as their pony counterparts. Their default outfits had skirts on them (though it should also be said that their pony counterparts didn't mind wearing dresses every now and then).
  • Ben 10 :
    • Gwen was this after the time skip. Her original series incarnation was a sharp-tongued 10 years old smart girl with slightly tomboyish characteristics (mainly martial art skills, short hair, and temper). Her Alien Force incarnation, while retaining the intellectual personality and remaining a competent Action Girl, has an obvious more feminine appearance, is less of a Deadpan Snarker and more calm and responsible (at least in the first two seasons), becoming something of a Team Mom, and has a All Girls Want Bad Boys relationship with Kevin.
    • This also happened to Gwen's Evil Counterpart, Charmcaster. In the original series, Charmcaster wore a trenchcoat that covered most of her body, had her hair in a Tomboyish Ponytail, and had a rough personality like Gwen. In the new series, she wears a sleeveless top and a miniskirt, wears her long hair straight, and has a more coy, seductive personality.
  • Mike, Lu & Og: Invoked in the episode "For the Love of Mike". When tomboy Mike's increasingly dirty methods of trying to keep Haggis and Baggis Cuzzlewit away only make them more attracted to her, Mike decided to do the opposite and girls herself up with a pretty dress, lipstick and perfume. It works.
  • Recess:
    • In the mid-2000s, Disney Channel gave Spinelli, the tomboyish female, a bit of one when she appeared in promos for the show. The advertisements only featured her, and she spoke like a borderline Valley Girl. This also happened when Disney Channel was going through their own girliness upgrade. This version of Spinelli went as quick as she came in.
    • Gretchen gets one in an episode where she hangs around with Ashley A. She's shown getting her hair styled and wearing more colourful outfits.
  • The Powerpuff Girls:
    • Blossom and Bubbles are both Girly Girls but the tomboyish Buttercup received a huge one of these. All the girls were made taller and skinner, were given makeup, and have "girlier" hair. These versions were placed on things like makeup bags, and they had more emphasis on "girly" activities like shopping and makeup. It didn't seem stick around for long so it's hard to find anything on the internet regarding this phase though. Reportedly, Craig McCracken was not pleased with this at all, so there's little wonder it didn't stick.
    • This was parodied in a timeskip episode where Buttercup grows up to be a shopping obsessed Valley Girl. She and her sisters end up trying to hit on the Rowdyruff Boys while Townsville is under attack.
  • Played for Laughs in the Phineas and Ferb episode "That Sinking Feeling" where a friend of Baljeet comes to visit him for the first time in years, having gone through this in-between events. Baljeet actually thought she was a boy the whole time and that "he" suddenly became a girl.
  • Pearl's original design in the Steven Universe pilot is rather androgynous looking. Her finalized design is more feminine and has a ballerina-inspired design.
  • In The Real Ghostbusters, Janine Melnitz underwent a Girliness Upgrade in the third season and onward to appease the Moral Guardians: a new voice actress who toned down her old Bronx accent, a softer appearance, and a less harsh personality. This was actually justified in the 5th season episode "Janine, You've Changed"; she had made a deal with a ghost to be made over to win Egon's affections, and the ghost had hidden the changes from the cast. Ironically, the series had also found excuses to send her into the field more and more often, even as this was going on.

    Real Life 
  • Joan of Arc's image in media is often given this treatment, portraying her as a Lady of War. In real life, Joan wore men's clothes in order to be seen as equal to the troops and to avoid possible rape attempts.
  • While Gwen Stefani had always been known for having a unique and eclectic sense of style, many noted that around the time No Doubt went on hiatus (which was also the time she started her solo career and began developing her fashion line,) there seemed to be a sharp swerve from tomboyish to more glamorous and feminine.