This trope is when a woman reigns under a masculine title, and usually with all the authority that title implies.
This might be because:
- The ruler in question is actually a woman disguised as a man.
- The ruler is openly a woman, but still has a masculine title.
- The woman rules under the outright legal fiction that she is a man,
- The laws that say a queen can't rule fail to specify that a king must be male. This is usually done as a way to get out of a Succession Crisis.
- The nation crowning the woman king wants to make it clear that she rules in her own right.
- The Queen is masculine, and the title of "King" denotes masculinity rather than the possession of Y chromosome.
- The title itself is gender neutral (unisex). Note that this depends entirely on the language of the title itself.
In terms of the ranks of Authority Tropes
, the tropes that are equal are God Save Us from the Queen
, The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask
, The High Queen
, The Good King
, and President Evil
. The next steps down are The Evil Prince
, Prince Charming
, Prince Charmless
, Sheltered Aristocrat
, Warrior Prince
, The Wise Prince
, and all Princess Tropes
. The next step up is The Emperor
See also Matriarchy
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Examples of women in disguise
- A filler episode of Naruto has a princess masquerading as her brother, the king.
- In Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, the main female character holds the title of "Maou" which can be translated as "Demon Lord" or "Demon King", but in it's original Japanese form, the title is unisex.
- This was the concept behind one of the earliest filmed versions of Hamlet. Hamlet, played by Asta Nielson, is a girl being raised as a boy so that she will inherit the throne on her father's death. This repression is the source of much of the young prince's famous angst, besides the true reason why "he" rejects Ophelia. (In fact, Hamlet is in love with Horatio, who doesn't know the truth until it's too late to reciprocate).
- In Mercedes Lackey's By the Sword, it's mentioned that the current Son of the Sun, leader of theocratic Karse, is a woman pretending to be a man, including wearing a faux mustache.
- Discworld: Technically happens in Guards! Guards!, but only because nobody'd thought (or dared) to ask the dragon who'd seized temporary rulership of Ankh-Morpork if it was male or female before they started calling her "King".
Myth and Legend
- The legendary Pope Joan, who, it was claimed, lived in the 9th century, disguised herself as a man and reigned as Pope "John" for a few years until she was exposed as a woman when she gave birth on horseback.
- In Soul Calibur: Legends The Masked Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire is actually a woman, despite having a (granted, rather effeminate) male voice with the mask on. You'd think gendered pronouns would give it away, but she always refers to herself as we. It gets weird when she says things like, "Don't tell anyone that we are a woman."
- In Fate/stay night, Saber is King Arturia Pendragon. She was pretending to be a male King Arthur, but according to the narrator, most people in her inner circle (besides Merlin and "Arthur"'s official wife, Guinevere, who both already knew) either realized or at least suspected that she is a girl, they just chose to ignore it.
Examples of women with a masculine title
Anime & Manga
- Various Ancient Belka Kings in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha still keep that title even if they are female. Specific examples are Sankt Kaiser Olivie Segbrecht and Ixpellia, the king of Garea.
- Sir Integra Hellsing. Although this is most probably a mistake on the part of the author (the proper title for a woman of her stature being "Dame"), Fanon holds the explanation that she took a masculine title in order to assert her authority over the Hellsing organization.
- Moukaku The Nanban King from Koihime†Musou
- Major General Armstrong of Fullmetal Alchemist is usually referred to as "sir" by her men.
Soldier #1: Hey, you do know that our CO's a woman as well...
Soldier #2: She's too scary to be a woman!
- The Idol masters in Idolmaster Xenoglossia are all girls. In the original game the idol 'master' was the player, a producer (master) of idols but because Sunrise made the anime In Name Only the 'masters' of the 'Idols' (giant robots in this instance) became female.
- In High School D×D, this is more of a chess motif during a Rating Game. An example would be Rias herself who is considered a King because she's the most important person in that particular game.
- Lord Satan in My Balls.
- Mukuro is one the Three Kings in Yu Yu Hakusho.
- Inverted in G Gundam with Chibodee, who gains the position "Queen of Spades" in the Shuffle Alliance. He finds this embarrassing, but sucks it up.
- The first thing Hero notices when meeting its archenemy the Demon King in Maoyuu Maou Yuusha is that it is actually a very polite, buxom redheaded woman.
- Deviantart has a Sleeping Beauty Parody featuring Naruto as the Princess and Hinata as the Prince. Despite this, Naruto was described in the history as a "he" and Hinata as a "she" so, when they ascend, it'll not only be a case of She Is the King but also a case of He Is The Queen.
- In "A Brief History of Equestria" this happens to Princess Platinum — as the only child of King Aurum in the patriarchal Kingdom of Unicorns, theoretically her father's death would have started a civil war among the members of the Deadly Decadent Court. To prevent this, Aurum exploited the Exact Words of the law, pointing out that "says that the queen cannot rule. Doesn’t say the King cannot be a mare," allowing Platinum to take the throne under the title of King.
- In Pirates of the Caribbean, Pirate King Elizabeth Swann.
- Also, the nine leaders of the pirates are called Pirate Lords, regardless of gender.
- In the Heralds of Valdemar series, starting partway through the Mage Winds trilogy the High Priest of Vkandis and ruler of the theocracy of Karse is a woman named Solaris, whose title is "Son of the Sun". Having been handpicked very publicly for the position by Vkandis himself seems to have thoroughly overcome the gender barrier that previously existed with regards to the role, but the terminology remains unchanged.
- Likewise, D'ol Falla in the Green-Sky Trilogy is High Priest of the Vine, and women who run guilds are called guild-masters.
- Xanth has this In this case The King of Xanth is defined as its ruler (at least among the human inhabitants) while The Queen of Xanth is defined as the King's spouse. Turns out, they never explicitly defined the King as being male, that had just been assumed to be the case for centuries due to the requirement that the office (which is not hereditary) has to go to a Magician. Since females with powerful magic were called Sorceresses, it was believed that they didn't qualify. Until somebody pointed out that a Sorceress is defined as a female Magician, and thus is also a Magician.
- Which not only paved the way for this trope, but for its inversion: a female King of Xanth's spouse is a male Queen.
- Not that it necessarily would have been impossible to just change the rule, but in the book where they figured this out, they had to replace the king regularly and quickly until they could defeat the villain who kept putting the kings into enchanted sleep, some of the most qualified successors were female, and this way was less headache.
- In Megan Whalen Turner's series The Queen's Thief, the Queen of Eddis is called Eddis when as a woman she should have been called Eddia.
- In Tamora Pierce's The Song Of The Lioness series, the Lady Knight Alanna is referred to as "Sir Alanna." This is because she masqueraded as a boy for literally the entirety of her knight training because girls weren't allowed to become knights, and as a result was knighted as "Sir Alan" and only revealed to be female afterwards. As a result she does not carry a shield with a distaff (feminine) border. Keladry of Mindelan, on the other hand, is "Lady Knight Keladry" because she trained openly as a female, and has a distaff shield.
- In Pyramids, there's precedent for the royal family of Djelibeybi being able to change sex by decree. "No, sire, she is a man. She herself declares this."
- In Honor Harrington, only men of the royal line can be Emperor of the Anderman Empire. At least once an emperor failed to produce any male heirs and it looked like there would be a dynastic civil war between his various nephews and cousins. Then his daughter proclaimed herself to be a man and took the throne, basically daring all her male cousins to object if they thought they could make it stick. They universally declined the offer and, by all accounts, she became one of the empire's longest ruling and most effective leaders since the original Gustav Anderman himself.
- In Temeraire, the Tswana society resolves around ancestor worship, and they practice telling stories of deceased loved ones to dragon eggs, so that the dragons are born as reincarnations of great leaders. This has lead to their entire empire being led by a young female dragon who is the "reincarnation" of their last king.
- In a later book (Crucible of Gold) we discover that the Inca Empire's human population has been so badly ravaged by European diseases that a woman currently holds the position of Sapa Inca due to attrition.
- In the Vorkosigan Saga, some time during Barrayar's Time of Isolation, a Countess was legally declared a male in order to inherit (and later had "that bizzare lawsuit" about her marriage). By the time of the books, Lady Donna Vorrutyer finds a modern, technological option.
- In The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, king and queen are unisex titles in dragon society, and apparently quite different in function. when Cimmorene, a human princess from a typical medieval fairytale kingdom asks female dragon Kazul why she takes the title of king rather than queen when she becomes the ruler of dragonkind, Kazul retorts that the perks and duties of the queen of dragons are much less desirable than those of the king.
- In the Dragaera novels, members of aristocratic Houses are broadly referred to as "____lords" (Dragonlord, Dzurlord, etc) regardless of gender, and the Warlord may be of either sex. At least one inversion — the Lady of the Chairs, an official court office currently held by a male — is mentioned in Iorich. Averted with noble titles such as Duke, Count, or Empress, which do get adjusted for gender of their incumbent.
Live Action Television
- In Star Trek up until Voyager female superior officers were called "Sir". Janeway refused that, insisting on being called Captain or "Ma'am". In spite of this, the bridge crew still called her "Sir" periodically.
- "Mister" Saavik in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
- Ronald Moore decided this was worthy of exporting to the rebooted Battlestar Galactica. Thus Lieutenant Starbuck, President Roslin, Admiral Cain, etc. are addressed as "Sir". Although "Ma'am" remains in civilian usage. So President Roslin's aide Billy Keikeya addresses her as "Ma'am" and Captain Apollo addresses her as "Sir" because she's his commander-in-chief.
- In the Doctor Who episode "The Next Doctor", Miss Hartigan is pronounced the CyberKing.
- On Farscape, Zhaan refers to herself as a priest, not a priestess. Her native word for her job is "Pa'u", but she's rarely called anything other than just "Zhaan". This is at least potentially an aversion, since Zhaan is actually a plant-based species, so gender might be a muddled issue with them anyway despite looking female.
- On Due South, Fraser habitually refers to his boss, Inspector Thatcher, as "sir".
- In Hikari Sentai Maskman, Prince Igam is working with the bad guys in order to restore the Igam Clan to their former glory (and gets into friction with the others because her goals aren't always in line with her boss's.) She uses male pronouns. However, bizarrely, a number of characters are astonished when she is "revealed" to be female even though she did nothing to alter her obviously female features and voice.
- The new captain on Castle is a woman who insists on being called "sir".
- In Traveller, among the Aslan on the rare occasions that there is no male heir for a male position it is known for females to be declared "legally male". She must swear celibacy and act as a male in all duties appropriate to her gender. According to canon, this is more common in Aslan legends than in practice.
- "Prince" is the title for the vampire ruler of a Camarilla city in Vampire The Masquerade or pretty much any city in Vampire The Requiem, regardless of the prince's sex. The former explains the title as a tribute to Niccolo Machiavelli, as a Camarilla prince secures his/her position through cunning, charisma and brutality, not heredity.
- In Masquerade, the Sabbat use a lot of titles from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, although nothing stops women from holding any specific office. The rough equivalent of a Prince would be an Archbishop.
- In the Tir Tairngire supplement for Shadowrun, all members of the nation's ruling council are called "Prince", regardless of gender. The female council members are the ones who insist upon this practice, as they believe "Princess" would convey too much of a frilly-Disney-eye-candy public image.
- Inverted: Some references in Exalted suggest that whoever ascends to control of the Realm will continue the title of Scarlet Empress regardless of their own gender (although the tendency to assume that the new ruler will be an Empress may just be acknowledgement of the fact that most of the prime candidates are women).
- In Planescape, this is the apparent case with Shemeshka the Marauder, a yugoloth who calls herself King of the Crosstrade, due to being the undisputed master of the largest network of spies, thieves, assassins and other unsavories in Sigil, and who flies into an infamouse rage if the matter of her technically being the Queen of the Crosstrade is brought up. According to the "Uncaged: Faces of Sigil" sourcebook, however, there's another reason why she insists on being called king over queen: "she" is actually a transsexual male, who dresses up like, acts like and basically pretends to be female to the point it's whispered she's given birth to a tiefling daughter, as pretty much everybody is fooled.
- Inverted in the flash series Alice Is Dead, The Queen is always referred to as "he".
- Pony Fantasy VI features Emperor Gilda, who is based on a rather tomboyish Jerkass from one half of the source material.
- In Final Fantasy VIII, the Card Club uses card terminology for all its members. The club's leader, Quistis, is the female "King". She actually won the title from the Garden's doctor, who is also female.
- Final Fantasy Tactics A 2: The Grimoire of the Rift features the Bonus Bosses, the Five Kings of Cinqueleur, the Red, the Blue, the Green, the Black, and the White, each focusing on that type of Color-Coded Wizardry. They are all called "kings", even though the Red and the Green are part of a female One Gender Race.
- Fire Emblem: Awakening: In the Japanese version, Emmeryn's formal title is "Holy King"; outside of its use, everyone just calls her the queen. The English version removes any gender confusion by calling the ruler of Ylisse the "Exalt", a pretty much gender neutral term.
- In Quest For Glory V, the Rites of Rulership are in place to crown a King of Silmaria. Series Action Girl Elsa von Spielburg is in the running for it. Fortunately, few people treat this like it's a bad thing. Though the events of the game result in the Player Character being the first choice to become King, the player can refuse the throne, which will lead to Elsa taking it up in his stead. Nothing is made of what the result is if the player also chose to marry Elsa.
- In SaGa Frontier, the human girl Asellus is made the "Prince" of Facinaturu, the Land of the Mystics. This is probably because a) there, "princess" is a term for Lord Orlouge's mistresses; and b) because the Mystics don't seem to care much about gender (this part of the game contains a lot of gay subtext.)
- Symbolic application in Misfile. The best of the local street-racers is crowned 'King of the Mountain', and right now, that happens to be Ash, who is (currently) female. When she first won the title, they tried to change it to 'Queen of the Mountain', but due to her recent Gender Bender, she protested. LOUDLY.
- The Basitin King Adelaide from Two Kinds. In Basitin culture, rank is derived solely from your prowess in battle. The female king stands head and shoulders above any other Basitin.
- A More Personal Union: The Polish Sejm, worried that the throne of Poland will devolve to the Hapsburgs, promises to legitimize any child Sigismund II will have with his mistress. The child is female, and becomes King Augusta of Poland. Augusta becomes a Tomboy Action Girl, who when pressured to have an heir worries that her child will be a female again. The Sejm once again vows to accept any child, male or female, as an heir. Augusta has a daughter, who she names Jadwiga.
- Gender Flipped in the Adventure Time episode "Princess Cookie," which featured a male character who wanted to be a princess. Although in Ooo princesses are so common that pretty much anyone can take up the title if they want. Also from how he acted it does not appear he realizes that he means to say Prince.
- Inverted in Beast Wars where Inferno called Megatron his Queen, because Inferno was based on a fire ant. Megatron found this rather annoying, but grudgingly accepted it, as Inferno was one of his most powerful and reliable followers.
- Inferno gets it from a glitch in his programming. The ant's instinct is dominant, so he truly believes that he is an ant.
- Gender Flipped in an episode of The Fairly Odd Parents when Timmy is crowned Queen of the Skate Park, though his friends keep correcting him with "King" when he says "Queen".
- Jim Button: Well, Li Si was considered for the position of King of the Sky Kingdom but she turned it down. Anyway, her father is the Emperor of Mandalia and it's not clear if she'll become Emperor or Empress once she inherits the throne.
- The Simpsons: When The Simpsons bought a pool, Lisa became popular. Envious, Martin hired people to install a better one. He gloated to himself and the people building the pool about how Lisa thought she's the summer queen and then he said he would be the queen. Seeing their reactions, he quickly corrected himself by saying "King".
- Older than Dirt: More than one woman has gained the throne of ancient Egypt:
- Hatshepsut was Pharaoh of Egypt. Because the Pharaoh was, mythologically speaking, the son of Ra, he had to be a man, even if he was a woman. She even insisted on being called "His Majesty." Statues of her go so far as to depict her with a male body, but an obviously female face. It's often mentioned that she wore a false beard, but that's not significant as male Pharaohs did so as well.
- Sobekneferu (reigned 1806–1802 BCE) is the first known female King of Egypt, which makes her the Ur Example of this trope. She reigned during the twelfth dynasty, but women might have been crowned King as far back as the first.
- Likewise, Cleopatra despite often being referred to as Queen of Egypt in popular culture was actually Pharaoh. She and her brother (who were married) constantly vied for the throne until his untimely death, and then another younger brother became her co-ruler before he died as well.
- Jadwiga of Anjou, King of Poland. This one is a fine case of Loophole Abuse: Although the law made no provision for a ruling queen (Regina Poloniae), no law said that the king had to be male. By crowning a woman King, Poland avoided a Succession Crisis.
- Although the Latin word for "Queen" is "Regina", Elizabeth I of England ruled as Elizabeth Rex; Rex is Latin for "King". In one famous speech, she stated that even though she had the body of a woman, she had the heart and stomach of a King of England. Then her navy went out to kick the Spanish Armada's ass.
- Her mother Anne Boleyn was made the Marquess of Pembroke (a masculine title, despite the feminine-looking ending) by Henry VIII. The actual female equivalent is "marchioness"note .
- Queen Elizabeth II is the Lord of Mann (on the Isle of Man). Since English titles held by the monarch revert to the crown, which is why Cornwall is recreated every reign.
- She is likewise the Duke of Normandy, in her capacity as the ruler of the Channel Islands, not the Duchess.
- On the occasion of the invasion of Silesia by Frederick II, King of Prussia, the sort-of Holy Roman Empress Maria Theresa, who also was Queen Regnant of Hungary (technically, King of Hungary—see below), appealed for aid to her Hungarian subjects in their Diet, at which, we are told, a number of cavaliers rose, drew their swords, and shouted, "Moriamur pro nostro Rege, Maria Theresia, Let us die for our King, Maria Theresa".
- Averted with her main title, though. While she ruled in her own right as Archduchess of Austria, Queen of Bohemia, etc., etc., etc., she was officially only Holy Roman Empress-consort (or later, Dowager Empress): the Electors refused to elect a female Emperor, giving the position to her husband Francis, Duke of Lorraine. Though in practice, Francis left the governance to his wife, with most of his own efforts going to the Empire's finances.
- The ruler of Hungary, historically, had to be a King by law. So, the two female rulers of Hungary, both Maria Theresa and a much earlier predecessor, Mary of the House of Anjou (a sister of the Polish King Jadwiga above, by the way), were formally titled Kings of Hungary. The same was true with a number of other countries as well (e.g. King Jadwiga of Poland listed above).
- Peggielene Bartels, the first female king of Otuam, Ghana ("king" here being more of a local village-leader position).
- Irene of Athens was regent in charge of the Byzantine Empire during the reign of her son Constantine VI (780-797). Upon his death she took the throne, ruling as "emperor" rather than "empress".
- Inverted with Elagabalus, a third century Roman emperor who much to the dismay of his subjects preferred to be referred to as "empress", and who would (probably) be considered transsexual by today's standards.
- Tamar of Georgia was known as King of Kings and Queen of Queens, and she is always referred to in the Georgian language as King Tamar.
- Christina of Sweden, nicknamed "the Girl King," was educated in typically-masculine pursuits, and took her coronation oath as king.
- In fact, the legal title for the Dutch monarch is "King of the Netherlands", regardless of gender. So the former queens were legally kings.
- Similarly, the constitution of Denmark defines just the office of "The King", while also specifying explicitly that this office can be inherited by women. Any particular female king will be referred to as "queen" even in formal, official documents.
- The Scottish cities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow all have a Lord Provost instead of a mayor. Anyone who holds the title is referred to as Lord Provost, regardless of gender.
- This is true of many other positions in the UK with "Lord" in them, including the offices of Lord Privy Seal, Lord President of the Council, and Lord Chancellor (three very senior positions in HM Government—about which see more below—typically held by very big fish indeed). Thus far, no woman has ever been Lord Chancellor, but the other two have been held by women: Harriet "Three Hats" Harman was Privy Seal 2007-2010, and five women were Lord President under Tony Blair and Gordon Brownnote , and all of them continued to use "Lord" rather than "Lady"
- There is a reason (probably) that no women have been Lord Chancellor just yet. Lord Privy Seal and Lord President are emphatically political positions—they are generally being given as a sinecure to bring someone with a more pragmatic but less prestigious title like Deputy Prime Ministernote or Leader of the House of Commonsnote into Cabinet. However, the Lord Chancellor was, until 2005, the the speaker of the House of Lords and a government minister responsible for the judiciary and sat on a number of judicial and quasi-judicial bodies, as well. As such, the Lord Chancellor was always both a barrister (almost always a Queen's Counsel) and a Peer—and even today, these are very much male-dominated areas (to give an idea, of 443 applications for silk in 2005-06, only 68 were submitted by women; of the 175 actually appointed QC, only 33 were women—better than the average, but there was a conscious effort to create more women silks). To streamline the government, Labour decided to strip the post of Lord Chancellor of almost all its powers and create the positions of Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Speaker with most of the post's old executive and legislative duties, respectively. Thus far, all three Justice Secretaries have been Lord Chancellor, and if a woman is appointed to the post, it is likely she will be called "Lord Chancellor"; somewhat amusingly, both Lord Speakers since the establishment of the post have been women, and both followed the same rule.
- Plenty of corporate and other leaders' positions convey an official title of "Chairman", no matter what gender holds that position. Political correctness has caused some of these titles to be truncated to "Chair", but others remain grammatically-masculine.
- Wu Zetian was the only woman to ever be crowned Emperor in China. She's usually referred to as Empress in English translations, but her actual title in Chinese was the male huangdi as the Chinese word for Empress only refers to the wife of a ruler. She was given somewhat of a Historical Villain Upgrade after her reign due to some unsavory things she did or ordered, but many modern historians believe she wasn't much worse than most male Emperors, and that most of both her ethically questionable decisions and her latter vilification were caused by the hostility of the traditionally patriarchal chinese society of the time to a woman ruler.
Examples of gender neutral titles
- Black Lotus and Scarlet Rain from Accel World are the kings of their respected domains.
- Maou in Maouyuu Maou Yuusha is this seeing as she's the ruler of the demon world.
- In The Twelve Kingdoms, the ruler is referred to as the "king" regardless of gender (at least in some translations). The original Japanese word translated as "king" is closer to the gender-neutral "monarch".
- In the dub of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's and some translations, Signum, Zafira and Reinforce refer to Hayate as "Master Hayate" (or "Meister Hayate"). The original Japanese title they use for her is "Aruji", which is gender-neutral.
- The title of "King of the Pirates" in One Piece has both male and female pirates striving for it, as well as some whose sex is unclear.
- In ElfQuest, Winnowill becomes "Lord Winnowill" after Lord Voll's death.
Live Action Television
- In the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, officers and officials of both genders are referred to as "Sir."
- In the Branion series by Fiona Patton, the sovereign's title ("Aristok") is unisex, and all the others are male (Prince, Duke, Knight, etc) but can equally well pertain to females. A consort, whether male or female, is just that, a consort.
- In Patricia C. Wrede's Dragonsbane (also titled Dealing with Dragons), the first volume of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, it is explained that the title of King of the Dragons is gender neutral, Kazul is a female dragon and contestant for the title of King. In what is arguably an inversion, Queen, a boring secretarial position unrelated to being the ruler or ruler's consort, is also a gender-neutral title, and the most recent holder of the now-vacant post was male.
- In The Fifth Elephant, the dwarf Low King is quite strongly implied to be female (it's never explicitly confirmed either way). Most dwarves don't acknowledge gender distinctions; in traditional dwarfish culture, all dwarfs are effectively male.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, a certain key prophecy refers to The Prince That Was Promised, but most of the signs are pointing very clearly at a female character, Daenerys Targaryen. The fandom guessed that the term translated as "Prince" was gender-neutral in Old Valyrian, the language the prophecy was written in. This was proven exactly correct in A Feast For Crows: all Valyrian nouns are gender-neutral. If Dany's late older brother Rhaegar, who at first thought the prophecy referred to him and later that it referred to his son, had taken that into consideration, it might have spared the kingdoms some grief in the Backstory.
- Played straight and subverted in the Destroyermen series. The term "high chief" is used for both males and females, contrary to using "chieftess" with even a character lampshading it. It is subverted, however, in that the kingdoms of Aryaal and B'mbaado the terms king and queen are used for their respective genders.
- In A Confusion Of Princes, the titles of Prince and Priest are applied to both genders, reflecting the idea that Gender Is No Object.
- In Judaism, any number of verses, both in the Bible and in other sources, refer to God in the feminine form instead of the more common masculine form. This isn't to suggest that God is a female being, but rather one that can be referred to both in the masculine and feminine gender. An omnipotent being likely doesn't have fixed genitalia.
- The Imperator of the Novus Orvus Librarium in BlazBlue, aka Saya.
- Knights in Dragon Age use the honorific 'Ser', which is gender-neutral.
- Likewise, the next step up on the Fereldan ladder of nobility is "bann", roughly the equivalent of baron, which is also a gender-neutral title.
- As is the title of Viscount of Kirkwall in Dragon Age II.
- The title of "Keyblade Master" in Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep'', as demonstrated by Master Aqua.
- From the Fire Emblem series, Lyn and Eirika both start out with the Lord class, with Lyn promoting to Blade Lord and Eirika to Great Lord. This is mostly a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation, however, as Lord is the traditional class for any protagonist of royal ancestry, regardless of what their actual title may be. Both Lyn and Erika are princesses and referred to as such in their respective games.
- The Daedric Princes of the Elder Scrolls series are an interesting example. They don't actually have set genders due to their nature, but since almost all of them tend to adopt distinctly male or female forms this trope is effectively in place.
- Likewise, in The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim the Jarls (pronounced "Yarls") can be either male or female, and apparently children can inherit the title from their parents regardless of gender.
- In Avatar The Last Airbender, just before her impending coronation, Azula refers to herself as "Fire Lord". The Sequel Series The Legend of Korra makes clear that Fire Lord is a gender neutral title. The website for the series states that Zuko has officially retired and his daughter is now ruling the Fire Nation as Fire Lord.
- Most republican titles, such as president and prime minister, are gender neutral (at least in English), with an exception noted below (senator/senatrix).
- While under current law women are barred from the line of succession, historically eight women have held Japan's Chrysanthemum Throne. All of them used the same title as their male counterparts: "tennō". While the title is normally translated as the masculine "Emperor", the literal translation is "Heavenly Sovereign", which is gender-neutral.
Blended and Other Examples
Anime and Manga
- Because of a Gendercide plague, the shogun and feudal lords of Japan are all female in the manga Ooku. They also adopt male names when assuming their titles, and audiences with foreigners are elaborately stage-managed to give the appearance that the ruler is male.
- Not to mention for the early part of Iemitsu the Younger's reign, she was disguised as a man partly to hide that her father had died, and because the whole intention was to create a shell game until she could produce a male heir. When the main opponent to woman formally assuming positions of power died, Iemitsu then stopped that dead when she appeared at the fealty ceremony in all her womanly glory and commanded all to look upon her as shogun.
- Utena often refers to the fact that she wants to be a prince, though in context it refers more to an ideal than an actual royal title, and the entire point of the series is to heavily deconstruct the idea of princes and princesses.
- Winnowill in ElfQuest is Lord of the Gliders. A suggested reason is that the Gliders only ever had one ruler before that, and for something like 10,000 years, so she just took over the title.
- In Heir Apparent, Giannine plays a role-playing game which ends up threatening her life through a fault in the machine in which the goal is to be crowned the king. Even if the player is a woman. Yeah, the designers didn't think that one through.
- Tanith Lee’s East of Midnight features the Moon King, the female ruler of a female-dominated society.
- In the Dragonlance saga, Dragon Highlord Kitiara is referred to by the masculine title because Dragon Highlady would have just sounded silly. Word Of God has it that if the subject had ever come up in the story, Kitiara would have laughed and said she certainly wasn't a lady.
- Though Kitiara does have some explicitly feminine nicknames (she is known as both the Blue Lady and the Dark Lady), in person she is always addressed by her followers as "Lord Kitiara" or "My Lord".
- By the same logic, both male and female members of the ruling council of Tir Tairngire, from the Shadowrun game setting, are formally titled "Prince", because "Princess" carries so many silly Disney-cutesie connotations.
Live Action Television
- In Angel, Illyria, God-King of the Primordium, is referred to as "she" after her resurrection. This is presumably because the Old Ones lacked any real gender identity, whereas she's now inhabiting a female body, which affects her personality. In her original language what's been translated as God-King was probably a genderless title.
- It's revealed very late in Brutal Legend that the title of "Emperor" amongst the Tainted Coil can be used for either gender. In fact, the previous Emperor was the protagonist's mother.
- Toyosatomimi no Miko of Touhou is a genderbent version of Crown Prince Shoutoku, and retains his (masculine) title. However, it isn't clear whether or not she was openly female.
- In Fallout New Vegas, the Sink Central Intelligence (which is programmed to act as a valet) adresses the protagonist as "Sir", even when you play a female character. If you bring up the subject, it will apologize and explain that it never were programmed to adress anyone in any other way (there's only one other notable female at the Big Empty, and she prefers to be called "doctor", nevermind being a brain in a jar with only a tenuous hold on gender identity), and it's hardcoded so it can't be changed.
- Storm Hawks. Master Cyclonis is the Empress of Cyclonia. This seems to have also been the title used by her Grandmother.
- When using Latin titles, swapping the "-or" for "-rix" is a general rule when the holder of a position is a woman. (This is seen in dominator/dominatrix. you may also know it by the anglicized suffix "-ess", as in actor/actress) Hence, the feminine form of the Latin word "senator" is "senatrix". The rule was once used with Latin-derived words in English, but this is now essentially extinct, which means "senatrix" is virtually unknown in English and "senator" is now considered unisex.
- In Canada, women senators are called sénatrices in French, as opposed to the more usual feminisation "Sénateuse."
- In modern Romanian language, all political and professional titles are correctly and formally masculine, even if held by a woman - one is expected to address a female as "Mrs. Doctor" or "Mrs. Senator". Even as the (widely used) informal speech allows for plenty of gender-specific forms, those are considered rude and impolite.
- It is the same in modern Russian, except the professional titles are rarely used to address.
- In modern Swedish, most professions use the male form regardless of the person's gender, such as "professor" or "doctor". The archaic female forms, "proffesorska" or "doktorska" is hardly ever used except in period-pieces and does not actually mean "female doctor" or "female professor" but "a woman married to a doctor or professor". Interestingly, the case is very different with the word "sjuksköterska" ("nurse") which is a female title that is also used by male nurses. The male equivalent, "sjukskötare" was already taken to mean "male attenders at asylums" which had a different and much less extensive professional training.
- Like the Russian and Romanian examples above, it's a reminiscence of the French model in schools and administration: in the classic and formal French language all offices and professional titles were and may still be masculine, so the correct way to address a woman in office is "Madame le Professeur" or "Madame le Juge". Other Francophone countries are less strict in the matter.
- Elizabeth I of England (mentioned above) also referred to herself in her speeches and writings as a "prince," which, although it has masculine connotations, was an accepted term for a monarch at the time.
- Her sister, Mary I, and cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots, also referred to themselves as Princes. This is because the term "prince" originally could be applied to rulers, regardless of sex. (It comes from princeps, a word meaning "first.") When Machiavelli talks of "princes" in Il Principe, he's referring to any sort of person in power, whether they are a duke, a king, a queen or a prince.