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It's expected for schoolgirls to get crushes on masculine girls

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
ClockStopping on Sep 6th 2018 at 9:16:13 PM
Last Edited By:
ClockStopping on Sep 14th 2018 at 6:43:42 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

A group of girls stand huddled in a group, watching an athlete in awe. Another leaves a fifth love note in said athlete's locker, sighing with joy. Who is this mystery man, so beloved by the girls of the school? The bishounen? The harem protagonist? No - it's a girl, and one whose boyish charm has won her many fans!

In East Asian media, it's often taken as a given that any sufficiently sporty or cool female character will be very popular with the girls. The reason and nature of that attention varies. Sometimes it's pure admiration, the woman taken to represent the confidence and ability her girlier fans lack. Sometimes the girl is seen as a stand-in for a man, either because men are unavailable or too threatening. And in other cases, the attraction is explicitly romantic, representative of a lesbian butch/femme dynamic.

In any case, the popularity of this trope is highly related to common East Asian views about sexuality, where it is entirely common and normal for girls to engage in romantic-coded behaviour with one another, so long as they eventually grow out of it. This trope makes that behaviour seem even safer, because of the clear excuses listed above - that girl fawning over a female athlete isn't a lesbian, she's just practising for her sporty boyfriend! Add in that tomboys are also typically expected to outgrow their masculine traits, and it all seems entirely non-threatening. However, some (though not all) Yuri Genre authors do take this trope to explicitly non-heterosexual places.

A possible version of Tomboy and Girly Girl. Compare Even the Girls Want Her, when a female character is attractive to everyone due to sheer beauty, and Only Has Same-Sex Admirers, about girls who are ONLY popular with other girls, and aren't too happy about it.


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  • Anne Happy 's Ren parodies this, being a boyish girl SO attractive that not only do girls flock to her, females of all species love her, leaving her constantly surrounded by female animals.
  • In Ban G Dream Girls Band Party, the princely Kaoru can barely leave her school without summoning hordes of fangirls to gush over her - and she herself delights in the attention, calling them her 'kittens'.
  • Tomoyo from CLANNAD is introduced beating up a bunch of thugs, and is immediately flocked with adoring fangirls. Kyou, an extraverted tomboy, also receives love letters from girls pretty regularly.
  • Tomboyish track star Kase from Kase-san is very popular, and receives a lot of Valentine's Day gifts from other girls, even though she attends a mixed-gender school.
  • As soon as Maki from Lemonade joins high school and becomes an athlete, she gains herself a mini fanclub of supportive girls.
  • Tombyish athlete Tomari from Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl often receives love letters from other girls, embarrassing her greatly.
  • In Ouran High School Host Club, Benio, a short-haired Takazuka actor who specialises in male parts,
  • In Revolutionary Girl Utena, Utena is a popular tomboy who is well-known for her athletic skills and her insistence on wearing the boy's uniform. When she walks into school, all the girls fawn over her.
  • Lady Oscar from Rose of Versailles is the classic example, being a girl who was raised to dress and behave as a boy, who was very popular with the young women of the court.
  • Rei from Sailor Moon is very popular among the girls at her all-girls school due to her confident, no-nonsense, hard-working behaviour and fiery personality, traits considered pretty masculine in Japan.
  • In Strawberry Panic!, Amane is seen as especially popular even among other popular characters due to her princely appearance and athletic ability.

    Video Games 
  • In Fire Emblem Awakening, butch Lad-ette Sully is said to have many female admirers who look up to her as an inspiring example of what women are capable of. In her support conversation with Inigo, superhero fan Cynthia also admits that she often receives love letters from girls, which Inigo guesses is as a result of her 'boyish charm'.

Feedback: 20 replies

Sep 6th 2018 at 9:27:23 PM

So. This is a trope I've wanted to launch for aaages, ever since being unsatisfied with how many characters in Even The Girls Want Her seem to be mainly just popular with girls, and noticing this particular trend in depiction. Since I first thought about this trope, apparently someone has launched Only Has Same Sex Admirers, which does obviously have overlap. But, I think that this is a specific trope that crops up often enough that it could be a new page.

Some things I'm less sure of: how far should it be extended? The Rei Hino example is one in particular I'm not sure should be included - she certainly seems popular for traits that are considered masculine in Japan, but it seems a stretch to call her a tomboy in anyway. For that reason I'm not super happy about the title either, as this site differentiates tomboys and bifauxnen while this trope really covers both.

It also seems to be primarily an east-asian trope, in that all the examples i've seen that deliberately called attention to it were Asian, and I suspect that western examples would be more obviously lesbian in nature, which feels different? I don't know.

Sep 6th 2018 at 9:30:40 PM

Also, I'm not familiar with either series but these two examples I've seen on other pages also seem to fit:

Kei from Akiko Morishima's Angelic Girl is an interesting Deconstruction. She definitely fits the archetype, but is insecure about the fact that girls seem to like her largely because they view her as "practice" for a boyfriend, or because they find the idea of sex with her less intimidating than sex with a real boy.

Yuu Kashima from Monthly Girls Nozaki Kun, with her short haircut and preference for men's clothes, is easily mistaken for a pretty guy. She also has a reputation as being the school's Prince, which she takes pride in.

Sep 6th 2018 at 9:33:15 PM

You'll want to use the All Caps or Folder markup for the medium titles. Also you need to separate the examples from the description with some dashes and a section title

Sep 6th 2018 at 9:40:17 PM

Right, done. Really need to memorise how to do that rather than have to open up a trope page and copy it every time...;;

Sep 6th 2018 at 9:53:23 PM

Also actually I'm not sure the example of Yuri from Bang Dream should count, either. She isn't really either a tomboy or bifauxnen, but she does have a mature, cool aesthetic, and I'm pretty sure that I'm misremembering Himari's quote and that she actually compared Yuri to a boy, with Yuri indicating that's happened a lot... might have to try and check that up, but that could also be an edge case.

Sep 7th 2018 at 12:18:27 AM

Even The Girls Want Her isn't as narrow as you think - and if you try to change that I'll report you.

Sep 7th 2018 at 1:45:22 AM

There's no need for that, 4tell0life4.

  • Early portrayals of Samus Aran from Metroid in Nintendo's comics, manga and promotional material did this (this was before the ending of the first game, which gave us the name for Samus Is A Girl, so it was played off as her being a popular with the ladies, intentionally or not).

Sep 7th 2018 at 3:47:49 AM

^ Thing is, I doubt "the target girl being boyish" gives an extra meaning to Even The Girls Want Her enough to make this draft a subtrope. (At least that's what I think this draft aims to be...)

Sep 7th 2018 at 9:29:17 AM

This seems to be a mostly Shoujo trope, where the School Idol is a cool tomboy that all the girls have Homoerotic Subtext crushes on. I think this is related to Romantic Two Girl Friendship, or specifically the Japanese idea that lesbian love is a phase girls go through as practice for "real" (heterosexual) relationships.

Definitely a valid trope, but I think the name is overly broad.


  • In Revolutionary Girl Utena, Utena is a popular tomboy who is well-known for her athletic skills and her insistence on wearing the boy's uniform. When she walks into school, all the girls fawn over her.

Sep 7th 2018 at 9:56:48 AM

I agree with naturalironist. I think the description should mention that this is (almost) exclusive to Eastern media (I'm sure Western examples exist but I can't think of any), and the trope is caused by Japanese ideas about homosexuality: where homosexuality amongst youth is fairly well accepted under the condition that they use it as practice for a 'real' relationship. So the more masculine partner is a 'safe' (as she can fool around with her without 'tarnishing' her purity - because the Japanese don't consider lesbian sex 'real' sex) stand in for a man. Having a bit more on the culture behind this trope would better help it stand out from Even The Girls Like Her.

Sep 7th 2018 at 5:40:31 PM

Yeah, I honestly wasn't sure if this could still be considered distinct enough from what we already have to count as a trope, but I wanted to put it out there to see what people thought. The fact that it is considered just natural for girls (especially young girls - the Fire Emblem example is a deviation but ages in that are pretty ambiguous so) to act out crush-like behaviour on a girl who is sufficiently boyish did seem like it was a particular subset of something, especially given that a number of the examples specifically call attention to this connection.

And I definitely welcome other title ideas!

I'll edit the description to include more of that culture connection.

Sep 7th 2018 at 6:01:10 PM

^^ I'm wondering about Japan's stance on male gays though. Bara is a thing, while I don't know if they consider BL (Boys Love, what people commonly call "yaoi") as "safe" as this. (And I thought lesbians only count in Japan if they're at the legal ages?)

Sep 7th 2018 at 6:21:56 PM

^ In the Western world, because All Men Are Perverts and All Women Are Prudes, male sexuality tends to be considered less 'safe' in general (hell, lesbian sex sometimes isn't even counted as real sex at all). Since there isn't really an equivalent 'huge group of guys gather to gush over a cute guy' trope, that might indicate that's the case in Japan as well? Yaoi Guys exist but that can be more 'what a weird guy' than 'this is a normal part of growing up.' Especially since anecdotally I feel like there's way more examples of a guy acting like he has a crush on another guy and it NOT being returned, or even rebuffed angrily, than for girls in anime. It's also true that Yaoi Genre is MUCH more likely to involve adults than Yuri Genre.

IDK, it is tough to tease out because this kind of anime by definition is niche, and generally goes further than mainstream Japanese values would allow for. Bara Genre is absolutely niche and much more explicitly by and for queer people than Yaoi Genre and most Yuri Genre, though.

Sep 12th 2018 at 12:02:55 AM

I think part of it why this is Always Female is that tomboys aren't seen as weird while people who are Camp Gay or Camp Straight usually are, so men aren't expected to like feminine guys.

Sep 12th 2018 at 7:23:33 AM

A related trope seems to be Female School Prince, which is commonly applied to well-groomed tomboys in Asian media set in high schools.

Sep 12th 2018 at 1:37:04 PM

Instead of "A possible version of Tomboy And Girly Girl" (which inappropiately implies a supertrope-subtrope relationshipnote ), I'd say "May lead to the birth of a Tomboy And Girly Girl duo".

Sep 12th 2018 at 6:21:52 PM

In Attack On Titan we have Krista Lenz the girlygirl who is in love with Ymir and the latter is a tomboy and accodring to the creator the duo are considered as Badass Gay

Sep 14th 2018 at 1:56:06 AM

Azumanga Daioh: Kaori has a massive crush on Huge Schoolgirl Sakaki. Sakaki herself isn't really a tomboy, but due to her height and frequently bandaged hands (she tries to pet cats, who hate her and happily bite/claw her) she's believed to be a delinquent by the rest of the class.

Sep 14th 2018 at 6:43:42 PM

Bumping for comparison with Female School Prince mentioned ^^^^^