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Dressed Like A Dominatrix

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An evil or antiheroic woman wears a costume inspired by Dominatrices, while not actually being one.

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
Rjinswand on Aug 18th 2015 at 4:02:04 PM
Last Edited By:
Morgenthaler on Apr 7th 2018 at 3:59:43 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: Trope

YKTTW now sponsored by Morgenthaler per Up for Grabs rules.


http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hellfire_club_1_by_john_byrne.png

Maybe it's a useful visual shorthand to show that a female character is evil (or at least antiheroic) and dominant. Maybe it's just an excuse for getting some Author Appeal or Fanservice past the censors. Or maybe it's both. In any case, many evil or antiheroic dominant female characters wear costumes obviously inspired by Dominatrix outfits.

However, these ladies are never shown to be actual dominatrices, in the BDSM sense. And their dominatrix-inspired costumes are their "work clothes" (superhero/villain outfits, uniforms, etc.) rather than something they wear to the bedroom.

Common elements include:

  • Leather or latex.
  • The part covering the body is usually either a leotard or a catsuit, or something very skimpy. A corset can be present.
  • High-heeled boots, usually thigh high ones. Fishnet stockings could also make an appearance.
  • Opera gloves.
  • A choker on her neck.
  • The costume will most likely be monochrome, usually black (red is also popular).
  • The character's hairdo is often a high ponytail.
  • Chances are, the character will be wielding a whip.

Note: To qualify for this trope, the character's costume as a whole, in conjunction with her personality, should be reminiscent of a dominatrix. On the other hand, if a character is an actual dominatrix, she's not this trope either.

This trope can overlap with Evil Is Sexy and Evil Wears Black (not all these women are evil, and not all these costumes are black) and Stripperriffic (not all these costumes are impractical for the characters that wear them).

May contain Spy Catsuit and Combat Stilettos. Evil Costume Switch often results in this. The character wearing this might be a Combat Sadomasochist, or an outright Sadist. The Baroness is sometimes dressed this way. Compare Bondage Is Bad.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime And Manga 
  • My Hero Academia: The "R18 Heroine" Midnight is a professional heroine with a dominatrix theme. She wears very revealing outfit and uses a whip as a weapon (although a bonus chapter reveals the revealing parts are actually skin-colored, skin-tight suit). However, personality-wise, she's just as upbeat and heroic as the other heroes.
  • As part of her costumes for the School Festival, Ami Kawashima from Toradora! wears a red dominatrix cosplay, whip included, to cheer students (especially the male ones).

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
    • Surprisingly, the famed villainess-turned-antiheroine Catwoman's appearances in comics didn't fit this trope until after the Batman TV series (see Live-Action TV). In the late 1960s she first got a weird green scaled catsuit with gloves and high-heeled boots, and then a campy black leather leotard with light blue tights, high-heeled buccaneer boots, and opera gloves. After some time spent wearing her original costume, and a gray fursuit (thanks, Frank Miller), she got a new variation on this trope — a purple catsuit with black leather thigh-high boots and black opera gloves. Only in 2002 she got a black leather catsuit that first appeared in the TV series. In most of her appearances she wields a whip.
      • Ironically, during the Frank Miller run she was retconned into working as an actual Dominatrix — but her costume at the time was the aforementioned fursuit, which didn't fit this trope.
    • Superwoman, an evil Alternate Universe version of Wonder Woman introduced in 1964, making her possibly the oldest example of this trope. Since Wonder Woman herself was created with certain BDSM undertones, it's no surprise her evil counterpart turned out this way. She originally wore a black leather leotard, high-heel boots, and a cape, and wielded the signature magic lasso which resembles a whip. A later version of her got opera gloves, as well. Her New 52 version wears a shoulderless black leather catsuit, opera gloves, thigh-high high-heeled boots and a cape, and wields a barbed lasso that makes the victim "obey and love" her.
    • Rose and Thorn: Thorn, the antiheroic Split Personality of Rose, wears a dark green leather costume with thigh high high-heeled boots and opera gloves
  • Marvel Universe:
    • X-Men:
      • The Hellfire Club's Black Queens and White Queens wear outfits like this. Emma Frost, even after leaving the Hellfire Club, continues wearing variations of her White Queen outfit, transforming it into her own identity. She's of course an Anti-Hero.
      • When Madelyne Pryor became the evil Goblin Queen, she wore a skimpy cropped black leather shirt, a leather loincloth, and thigh-high boots. In a rare male version of this trope, the same happens to her partner Havok who becomes Goblin King, complete with thigh-high boots.
    • Some versions of Madame Hydra's costume feature a skintight green sleeveless catsuit, opera gloves, and high heels. She's often portrayed wielding a whip.
    • Illyana Rasputin/Magik also tends to wear the all black leather bondage gear.
    • The Fantastic Four:
      • Invisible Woman's evil Sexier Alter Ego Malice wore a very skimpy black leather costume, a spiked collar, opera gloves with spiky bracelets, thigh-high high-heeled boots, a spiked gimp mask, and a cape.
      • Combining the two, in an Alternate Universe Sue Storm became Madame Hydra (Empress Hydra, to be exact). She rocked a green thigh-cut evening dress, a green choker, opera gloves, high-heeled boots, and a whip.

    Film 
  • Batman Returns: The villainess-slash-antiheroine Catwoman wear a costume similar to the one from the 1966 Batman TV series (see Live-Action TV), but covered in stitches symbolizing its hand-made origin. She also wields a whip. She's presented as the "wild side" of a meek timid woman.
  • The titular heroine of Catwoman, played by Halle Berry, wears a very Stripperific dominatrix outfit, complete with a whip.

    Literature 
  • Sword of Truth: The Mord-Sith are an elite group of female warriors who are infamously cruel and devoid of compassion. Their primary purposes are to capture enemy wizards using special magic, and to torture captives into mindless obedience. They carry leather sticks that resemble riding crops but function as agony beams, and wear full-body leather: usually brown, but white if they're not allowed to draw blood from their victim, and red if they intend to draw blood.
  • Unique:
    • Ophelia the vampire dresses in a glossy-black synthetic leather catsuit when she goes out for a night of clubbing and drinking. The occasions she dresses like that for are basically exercises in dominance over the "kine" around her. She even thinks to herself that she looks like she ought to be carrying a whip. It's partially also glorying in the fact that she's finally lived long enough to reach an age where a woman can get away with that sort of aggressively sexy clothes.
    • Early in the book there's a scene of her mentally sneering as she passes Emma (whom she doesn't know yet), who is also dressed in black leather but does so because it's practical for motorcycle riding, and who gets a minor predator's thrill out of wearing real leather.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Batman: Another early example of this trope. This 1966 version of the Femme Fatale villainess Catwoman wore a tight black leather catsuit with gloves, high-heeled boots, and often wielded a whip. Her comic book version at the time didn't yet wear anything like that (and wouldn't for more than 20 years).

    Professional Wrestling 

    Video Games 
  • SiN: In the original game, the Big Bad Elexis Sinclaire, a rich and powerful mad scientist, wore a red latex leotard with a weird midriff window, thigh-high high-heeled boots and a choker.
  • Battletoads: The Big Bad Dark Queen wears a black leather leotard, thigh-high high-heeled boots, opera gloves, and a cape.
  • Soul Series: Ivy Valentine usually wears some sort of skimpy costume, thigh-high boots and opera gloves. She wields a Whip Sword and loves being cruel to her enemies.
  • Battle Arena Toshinden: In the first game, Sofia wears a black leather leotard, thigh-high high-heeled boots, opera gloves, a choker, and a ponytail. She wields a whip. The Soul Series is a spiritual successor to Battle Arena Toshinden, so the similarities aren't coincidental.
  • Ninja Gaiden: One of the Ancient Greater Fiends, Ishtaros, is a powerful evil goddess. She wears black thigh-high high-heeled boots, some weird leather straps on her arms, and that's pretty much it. One of her arms sports Femme Fatalons, the other one is a tentacle she uses like a whip.
  • Guilty Gear: I-No is a mysterious cruel and manipulative woman, a playable boss in some of the games. She wears a skimpy red jacked and a red miniskirt, a choker, thigh-high boots, and a witch's hat.
  • Bayonetta: This antihero witch wears a black Sexy Backless Outfit with gloves and high-heels (which double as her guns), and can use whips to attacks. The only catch is that the whole costume is actually made out of her hair, and whips are usually hair as well.

    Visual Novels 
  • Rider from Fate/stay night wears a black leotard dress with matching high legging boots and gloves. Her Weapon of Choice is spike chains that she can wrap her opponents in. She also wears a eye mask. Though, that last bit is justified since she actually Medusa and needs to cover her eyes.

    Western Animation 
  • In Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Superwoman was an Alternate Universe Mary Marvel (even though in the comics she is Wonder Woman's evil analogue). She wore a black leather leotard, fingerless opera gloves, thigh-high boots, a choker, and a high ponytail.
  • Powerpuff Girls: Sedusa is a villainess who can use her prehensile hair as whips. She wears a red leotard, black leggings with red fishnets, red thigh-high high-heeled boots, and red opera gloves.
  • Fairly OddParents: Hair Razor is a superheroine turned evil. She wears a black leather leotard, thigh-high high-heeleed boots, a choker, and a leather jacket.
  • Metalocalypse: Villainous Stalker with a Test Tube Lavona Succuboso and her followers wear a uniform of low-cut black bodysuits, black tights, Opera Gloves, and high-heeled boots.

    Other 
  • Defied in the Evil Overlord List:
    33. I won't require high-ranking female members of my organization to wear a stainless steel bustier. Morale is better with a more casual dress-code. Similarly, outfits made entirely from black leather will be reserved for formal occasions.

Feedback: 69 replies

Aug 18th 2015 at 5:49:43 PM

  • In Unique, Ophelia the vampire dresses in a glossy-black synthetic leather catsuit when she goes out for a night of clubbing and drinking. Early in the book there's a scene of her mentally sneering as she passes Emma (whom she doesn't know yet), who is also dressed in black leather but does so because it's practical for motorcycle riding, and who gets a minor predator's thrill out of wearing real leather.

Aug 19th 2015 at 3:46:08 AM

Compare The Baroness, who may dress like this.

Aug 19th 2015 at 10:09:04 AM

^^ Could you please elaborate on your example a bit? As it is, I don't see dominatrix connotations, just an evil woman wearing a black leather catsuit.

^ Thanks! Added.

Aug 19th 2015 at 11:17:46 AM

  • The mord-sith in the Sword Of Truth series are basically dominatrices, with the critical distinction that their subjects are not willing. Their primary purposes are to capture enemy wizards using special magic, and to torture captives into mindless obedience. They carry leather sticks that resemble riding crops but function as agony beams, and wear full-body leather: usually brown, but white if they're not allowed to draw blood from their victim, and red if they intend to draw blood.

Aug 19th 2015 at 2:55:16 PM

^^Not really evil, but the occasions she dresses like that for are basically exercises in dominance over the "kine" around her. She even thinks to herself that she looks like she ought to be carrying a whip. It's partially also glorying in the fact that she's finally lived long enough to reach a time where a woman can get away with that sort of aggressively sexy clothes.

Aug 19th 2015 at 3:32:01 PM

^^ Thanks! Added.

^ Thanks for the clarification! Added. Though I guess the werewolf woman's example still needs some clarification.

Aug 20th 2015 at 2:31:35 PM

^ Not sure if it's not just Evil Is Sexy. From what I see, she wears a leopard bikini, a cape, and some boots. Not very dominatrix-y really.

Aug 20th 2015 at 4:41:27 PM

You could probably mine a lot of examples from Whip It Good.

Aug 20th 2015 at 5:59:22 PM

^ Thanks, great idea! And that trope's description even describes this trope as a common example, so it could be edited or potholed when we launch this trope!

As of now, potholed Whip It Good in the description. I'm gonna definitely peruse that list.

Aug 30th 2015 at 12:50:35 PM

I added in that this also is frequently done with latex. Not just leather. It's the exact same trope either way.

Aug 30th 2015 at 1:56:36 PM

^ Oh yeah, thanks. Don't know why I forgot about latex.

Should the name be changed then, though?

Aug 30th 2015 at 2:13:00 PM

We can always add redirects. That said, it's pretty clunky. Dominatrix Style Outfit maybe?

Aug 30th 2015 at 10:50:48 PM

^ It can work, it's clear and concise. I was just overly cautious knowing the fate that befell Dom Boots.

By the way, I just noticed I also used "leather" in most examples, while some of them might have been latex. It's so difficult to tell with non-photo/video examples. What would be the best course of action there?

Aug 30th 2015 at 11:12:50 PM

Look at the images and guess which makes the most sense.

Aug 31st 2015 at 8:41:45 AM

^ Well, the comic book examples are almost impossible to guess: you probably know how superhero comics are notorious for rarely drawing clothes materials in realistic ways. And with the highly stylized art of Western animation, or graphical limits of video games, there's just no way.

I think the best way to go about it is to choose either "leather" or "latex" as the default for all the cases where we don't know for sure. Which one would you suggest?

Aug 31st 2015 at 8:49:30 AM

In comics at least, let's go with leather. It tends to get implied more. Generally if it's meant to be latex in comics it's drawn as really really really shiny.

Aug 31st 2015 at 10:16:47 AM

I suggest Leather Lady as a more consise and witty name, although it might be less clear than the current one.

Aug 31st 2015 at 10:19:16 AM

^ That name will get misused so fast your head will spin and this will be filled with biker chicks and cowgirls.

Aug 31st 2015 at 10:30:50 AM

Dresses Like A Dominatrix

Alliteration for wit, clear and concise that the person isn't a dominatrix, they just dress like one.

Saying a Dominatrix Dresses Like a Dominatrix is redundant and thus ruled out.

Sep 1st 2015 at 2:37:16 AM

^^^^^ Fair enough. I think I have only one example that I can undoubtedly call "latex" (the Big Bad from Si N). I'll use leather for all others.

^^^^ I concur with shimaspawn, it sounds too much like a character trope that might get misused a lot.

^^ I like this. As you said, it shows that the woman wearing the costume is not a dominatrix, so hopefully it would discourage misuse.

Sep 1st 2015 at 4:35:10 PM

  • Shadow Chie's true form in Persona 4 is like this. She's a giant dominatrix sitting on a stack of grey Chie-lookalikes. And she does use a whip. This represents Chie's secret jealousy of her best friend Yukiko's beauty and popularity, and delight that Yukiko constantly depends on her. The real Chie herself is far from this, however.
  • Shiraki Meiko from Prison School has an obvious dominatrix theme. She's taller than any of the boys, wears high heels, wears very skimpy school uniform, and constantly doles out physical punishment to the boys.

Sep 1st 2015 at 4:52:54 PM

  • In Sorcerer Hunters the sisters Tira and Chocolate wear dominatrix inspired outfits and weapons. Tira wears a black latex lace-up bustier, thigh-high boots, opera gloves and choker and fights with a whip. Chocolate wears black leather pants, knee high boots, gloves, and a pair of suspenders, sans shirt. She fights primarily with a garrote, but has also used hand-cuffs.

Sep 2nd 2015 at 1:44:21 AM

Um, guys... I'm not sure about these examples, they seem a bit too young.

Sep 2nd 2015 at 3:29:06 AM

  • A heroic example happens in Sailor Moon with the Sailor Star Lights. They do wear a striperiffic outfit made of black leather with Thigh High Boots and a tankini, but they are on the good side.

Sep 2nd 2015 at 7:38:10 AM

^^ True Shadow's examples are a 17 year old's psychological issues, and an 18 year old senior. They're both at the end of high school. They're borderline, but at least the Persona one isn't skeevy. It's more allegorical than sexy.

Mine are adults.

Sep 2nd 2015 at 8:40:24 AM

^ I think if we want to include examples like Shadow Chie, the definition might need to be reworded somehow to make it less sex-related, but I don't know even where to start.

Tira and Chocolate, I'm sorry but online sources say they're 16 & 17. As for Prison School, the work itself sounds kind of iffy (ecchi set in a school).

By the way, what about the Sailor Star Lights?

Sep 2nd 2015 at 8:43:53 AM

^ If Tira and Chocolate they are, it's in name only. I don't remember their ages ever being mentioned in the US release, but I could be wrong. The work itself treats the cast as adults with a job and responsibilities, but anime is weird. Supplemental materials might tag them as younger. I watched a good chunk of the anime no one in it seemed like children. Then again, they might have also been aged up in the US release.

The Sailor Star Lights are weird. They're a group of three male idol singers who transform into women in leather thigh high boots, opera gloves, and go go shorts, but it's not quite dominatrix like so much as it's just weird. This is what they look like. Ages aren't stated.

Sep 2nd 2015 at 11:13:20 AM

^ I see. Here are the links I've used: 1 2. I personally haven't seen the anime or read the manga, so I don't know whether it's true or not.

As for the Sailor Star Lights, I only know that the main Sailor Scout team is ~15-16, so I'm suspicious about them.

UPD: The Sailor Moon wikia lists their civilian forms' ages as 16: link

Sep 2nd 2015 at 12:29:16 PM

^ Yeah, that wiki is under the Japanese name. I have no idea if the ages are the same in the U.S. version. That's really weird. They don't look or act like teenagers. Huh.

Sep 3rd 2015 at 3:21:56 PM

The Starlights are supposed to look like 17, but due the art style, 17 is more like 21. I don't know if they're too young for this list, I didn't know there was an age limit.

BTW, we didn't have a problem with Age Inappropriate Dress and many examples are very explicit.

Sep 3rd 2015 at 8:41:10 PM

We have age restriction now? It was never mentioned anywhere in the description. And I don't know how my Shadow Chie example's wordings is even remotely sexual.

And regarding Sailor Starlights, I thought we're listing antagonists only? In that case:

  • The "R18 Heroine" Midnight in My Hero Academia is a professional heroine with a dominatrix theme. She wears very revealing outfit and use a whip as a weapon (although a bonus chapter reveals the revealing parts are actually skin-colored, skin-tight suit). However, personality-wise, she's just as upbeat and heroic as the other heroes.

Sep 3rd 2015 at 9:17:29 PM

I didn't think we had age restrictions.

There are plenty of superhero/fantasy characters that are under 18 and still get Ms Fanservice and other suggestive tropes applied to them. Particularly with costumes like Dangerously Short Skirt and the like.

I think it's not so bad as long as there are no live action action underage examples.

Sep 4th 2015 at 10:54:45 AM

^^^ I might be wrong, but I think there's a restriction on applying sexually charged tropes to too young characters.

^^ There's no problem with your wording. The trope itself is sex-related. And I'm not sure if it's possible to rework it into a non-sex-related one.

Thank you for the new example, by the way!

^ Maybe I should ask the P5 for clarification.

Oct 4th 2015 at 8:46:46 AM

Bump, this needs to continue growing

Oct 13th 2015 at 5:23:24 AM

As much as people hate this film, the title character of Catwoman, played by Halle Berry, should also be mentioned.

Oct 13th 2015 at 10:39:30 AM

^ Audience reception is NOT relevant to an example's worthiness as an example.

Oct 13th 2015 at 11:33:40 AM

^ Of course not. I'll try to phrase it as an example.

Oct 13th 2015 at 1:11:40 PM

Being In Name Only is also not relevant to the example.

Oct 13th 2015 at 1:12:49 PM

^ I added that to make clear it's a different character from the one in Batman comics, thus deserves a separate heading.

Oct 13th 2015 at 1:31:44 PM

^ Still not relevant to the example.

Oct 13th 2015 at 1:43:47 PM

it doesnt take anything away either. whats wrong with more context

Oct 13th 2015 at 1:47:15 PM

^ It has to be relevant to the trope. Otherwise it falls under Word Cruft. Now you could note that Catwoman in the comics averts this trope in that example... that is unless she ever dressed like this in the comics, in which case it should be noted in the comics section.

Oct 13th 2015 at 2:11:50 PM

OK, then just shorten the example this way, to make everyone happy:

Oct 13th 2015 at 4:58:11 PM

Would a dude dressed in a BDSM outfit count here? Ira Gamagoori from Kill La Kill comes to mind.

Jun 12th 2016 at 9:03:19 PM

Stephanie Mc Mahon inexplicably dressed like a dominatrix for her "climactic" match against Brie Bella. The fact she pretty much dominated despite being a non wrestler either added to the humor or exasperation, depending on the viewer.

Aug 25th 2016 at 3:26:07 PM

Light Novels:

Aug 27th 2016 at 12:40:38 PM

Aug 27th 2016 at 3:05:57 PM

Aeon actually IS a dominatrix, though. (See especially in "Thanatophobia".)

Aug 27th 2016 at 3:56:45 PM

Visual Novel

  • Rider from Fate Stay Night wears a black leotard dress with matching high legging boots and gloves. Her Weapon Of Choice is spike chains that she can wrap her opponents in. She also wears a eye mask. Though, that last bit is justified since she actually Medusa and needs to cover her eyes.

Sep 3rd 2016 at 9:55:32 AM

This looks ready for launch.

Oct 13th 2016 at 2:53:06 AM

Actually, it seems that Rjinswand has been inactive for about a year, so this is Up For Grabs. Anything else to do here before launch?

Nov 22nd 2016 at 9:19:53 AM

I'm not sure about the name. Simply calling it "Dressed Like A Dominatrix" seems like it's going to attract a lot of shoehorning with editors using it for every character that's "Dressed Like A Dominatrix"

Nov 22nd 2016 at 12:48:42 PM

I actually posted a Toradora example in August that fits this trope, but apart of that and other examples that also fits here and wasn't added yet, seems to be ready for lauch already

Nov 25th 2016 at 7:57:24 PM

From what I see, this trope is about a costume; a fully costume with all the little pieces and is supposed to be a visual shorthand that the character is evil or dominant. Also, if the person actually is what they are dressing as, then they don't count as this "trope". So then it has to be someone that is not a dominatrix but just dresses and acts like one. Third, all of the above could not be present and it's just Author Appeal or fanservice. This thing is headed for misuse.

Another thing, if we already have a trope for Dominatrix then why do we need another page for people that just dress like them?

Nov 26th 2016 at 2:33:25 AM

The 2004 Catwoman film is still missing from the list (I suggested it above but my suggestion got attacked for phrasing reasons)...

Nov 26th 2016 at 3:50:33 PM

another X-Men example: Illyana Rasputin/Magik also tends to wear the all black leather bondage gear.

Jun 13th 2017 at 11:08:26 AM

I could have sworn this launched already.

Jun 13th 2017 at 2:26:27 PM

Krizalid of King Of Fighters 99 wears bondage gear beneath his coat, although it's supposed to be a "battle suit".

Dunno if that counts though

Apr 6th 2018 at 3:25:08 AM

This has been long overdue. Took over the draft, added an image, and updated examples to here.

Apr 6th 2018 at 10:59:11 AM

Something like "Dominatrix In Looks Only"?

Apr 6th 2018 at 11:46:17 PM

  • Defied in the Evil Overlord List:
    33. I won't require high-ranking female members of my organization to wear a stainless steel bustier. Morale is better with a more casual dress-code. Similarly, outfits made entirely from black leather will be reserved for formal occasions.

Apr 7th 2018 at 8:25:11 AM

^^ Maybe. Either works, I think.

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