Tomboyish Ponytail
aka: Tomboy Ponytail
Action Hair for an Action Girl.

Basically using a ponytail to set off girls who are Tomboys, Ladettes, or at least don't act in a "proper" girlish manner.

This is Truth in Television for many tomboys in Real Life, due to being an easy to do style that gets your hair out of the way. In fiction, odds are that if a girl is wearing a ponytail (save for one paired with an elegant hairstyle), she's not going to act demure or feminine, at least not all the time. Bonus points if she wears overalls or is a Rebellious Princess.

Back when girls just didn't have boy hair, no matter what, ponytails were a way for tomboys to rebel against the curls their mothers wished they'd worn. At least this was the case in 60s-80s girl empowerment fiction.

Keep in mind that since not all tomboys wear ponytails, and not all "feminine" girls avoid ponytails, there isn't much point in listing aversions to this.

Compare Slipknot Ponytail, Girlish Pigtails, Braids of Action, Boyish Short Hair, Sailor's Ponytail and Samurai Ponytail.

Contrast Regal Ringlets, Ojou Ringlets, Long Hair Is Feminine, Prim and Proper Bun and Motherly Side Plait.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Bleach: Action Girl Yoruichi. She used to have short hair, but a hundred years spent mostly as a cat allowed her hair to grow out. Now she spends most of the time with it tied back in a ponytail while she kicks butt with the best of the men. Since her extremely high aristocratic rank wasn't quite high enough to be a Rebellious Princess, she also doubles as a Spirited Young Lady, too.
  • Usually averted in the Pretty Cure franchise. Every team has at least one character with a ponytail who is usually a white or blue Cure. Said Cures are often the most feminine members, though that doesn't stop them from being (competent) Action Girls. The only blue Cures who don't have a ponytail in their Cure forms are Cure Marine (Erika) and Cure Beauty (Reika), but they sometimes wear ponytails in their civilian identities. Notably, Reika wears a ponytail whenever she practices kyudo. The pink Cure Blossom and the yellow Cure Peace have also a ponytail, but both are Shrinking Violets, while the pink Cure Heart is at least described as a prince in her civilian identity, twice, both by a female and a male. The only Cures who play this trope straight are Cure Sword, Cure March and Cure Gelato, the latter two also having one in their civilian identities.
    • In The Movie, Reika cosplays Momotaro and wears a ponytail.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • Once More with Feeling: Asuka wears a ponytail -from episode 11 onward-. She's loud, brash, hot-blooded, aggressive, loves fighting and isn't at all feminine.
  • Bait and Switch (STO): Captain Kanril Eleya wears her hair in a slightly messy ponytail, and notes in her narration that she could have never gotten away with wearing her hair that long when she was an enlisted woman. The ponytail keeps the hair out of her face, but it's not like there's much she can get it caught in on a starship's bridge.
  • Doing It Right This Time: Asuka starts wearing a ponytail when she decides to ditch her hairclips and try a new hairstyle. She's also masculine, brash, and she prefers fighting over stereotypically girlish hobbies.

    Films — Animated 
  • Vanellope von Schweetz from Wreck-It Ralph has one, tied up with a piece of licorice, which shows her rough n' tumble attitude, despite the saccharine world she lives in.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Mean Girls Ponytails are usually used in the film to signify a character being less concerned with their appearance. Cady wore her hair like this before she joined the Plastics but starts wearing her hair down as she falls in with the Plastics, and then goes back to the occasional ponytail after her Heel Realization. The Plastics actually tell her that they have a rule about only wearing hair in a ponytail once a week. Janis, the goth/alternative outcast, always wears her hair back. All the Plastics wear their hair down throughout the film, but Regina starts sporting a ponytail as she gains weight and is forced to wear less glamorous clothing. She is also wearing a ponytail at the end of the film, where she is a lacrosse athlete and has a more down-to-earth wardrobe.
  • Thor: Sif, a talented woman warrior, wears one whenever she's seen going into battle.

  • The spunky Action Girl Kate from The Mysterious Benedict Society has her blonde hair constantly tied in a ponytail. She is a very agile and energetic Circus Brat so the ponytail is likely for convenience. Also Jillson, a completely unfeminine adult, who ties her ponytail with wire.

    Video Games 
  • Lara Croft from Tomb Raider may be the Trope Codifier for video games, especially 3D action/platformers. It's not only practical in-universe for the highly-physical nature of what she does in the games, but flowing hair is still incredibly difficult to render in 3D, while a ponytail can be done with much simpler physics modeling.
  • Sara Ryder, Mass Effect: Andromeda's female lead, is very tomboyish and wears a brunette ponytail as her default hairstyle.

    Visual Novels 
  • Mion of Higurashi: When They Cry wears her hair in a long ponytail. Mion is boisterous, perverted, and usually exhibits little in terms of femininity. She calls herself an "old man" regularly and in one arc Keiichi decides against giving her a doll (and instead gives it to their more feminine, mutual friend Rena) because he deems her too boyish for one. In contrast, her more girly identical twin sister Shion wears her hair loose. Mion is actually a subversion. She's much more feminine than she pretends to be. Keiichi giving Rena the doll upset Mion so much she ended up sobbing to her sister, which unwittingly caused Shion to become a Serial Killer.
  • Jessica from Umineko: When They Cry has a short, wavy ponytail and is very tomboyish for the most part, especially with her masculine speech patterns. Like Mion, she also has a hidden feminine side, though it isn't as emphasized as much as with Mion.

    Web Original 
  • Widget of the Whateley Universe, who is a tomboy and inventor who usually wears a ponytail pulled through a bicycle cap. And a Whateley labcoat. Despite that, she has a bad crush on Thunderbird and wishes Chaka hadn't snatched up Thunderbird when he was (apparently) available.

    Western Animation 
  • Applejack, a rough and tumble farmgirl from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, with a tomboyish streak a mile wide, to the point that she competes in events like racing and gate jumping, and gets dirty in her job all the time, has her mane tied up in a ponytail.

Alternative Title(s): Tomboy Ponytail