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Well you should see Polythene Pam
She's so good-looking but she looks like a man

Female characters who resemble pretty, androgynous boys in a positive way, usually coupled with an appropriate "masculine" outfit. Swooned over by confused females as much as outright Schoolgirl Lesbians. Sometimes in the episode they're introduced, they're confused for men until the other characters recognize and treat them as girls. Occasionally, it's also a roundabout way of adding a stereotypically "male" role to a show that doesn't have (or want) one. Very often subject to at least one Stupid Sexy Flanders gag, sometimes even after The Reveal of their true biological sex.

Interestingly, most versions are Prince Charming types and overwhelmingly "good" characters. Bifauxnen are — from an artistic standpoint — everything that is positive about masculinity while also not losing anything fundamentally "woman". Many characters, in fact, simply heavily associate with traits typically praised in men; the appearance is just another path to that. Most of the time the bifauxnen is not a Butch Lesbian, and is mostly oblivious to reactions they incite.


The major distinction between them and Tomboys is a direct and neat association with elegance and style, and they often appear older than they really are. Tomboys are often associated with playfulness and immaturity, but are still clearly female. Bifauxnen do have some sense of femininity most straight-up tomboys lack of, though this isn't a requirement. While it is common to have both types of characters in a series, two bifauxnen are less common, and tend to become playful or sexy rivals.

Bifauxnen, however, do not include trans men, as the latter are men, and not simply "mistaken" for men. Usually they can be distinguished by how they identify, such as Takatsuki from Wandering Son, though it may be ambiguous for some characters.

This is mainly a Japanese trope. Western examples do exist, dressing this way either throughout a work or in a single scene, but the Western example is generally not straight. Rather, dressing a female character up as a Sharp-Dressed Man was, in European and North American works in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, a standard Getting Crap Past the Radar way to imply that she was lesbian or bisexual when open acknowledgement and depiction of her sexuality, even in a negative way, would have been forbidden by taste-and-decency standards.


A subtrope of Lady Looks Like a Dude. The male equivalent is Bishōnen. Not to be confused with Sweet Polly Oliver, who only dresses like a man to achieve a goal that requires her to seem male. Compare to Samus Is a Girl, where the gender simply isn't discernible until The Reveal. Can also be a case of Bifauxnen and Lad-ette if there's more than one in a particular work or Everybody Wants the Hermaphrodite if she just happens to have a few male bits in the end. Also see The Lad-ette and Attractive Bent-Gender. May involve a Gender Reveal.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Pictured above: Oscar from The Rose of Versailles is the archetypal example, more or less cribbed from the otokoyaku (boytype) role of the real-life Takarazuka Revue performers. The Rose of Versailles just happens to be one of their most famous performances.
  • June from Coyote Ragtime Show. She's the knife-fighter.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Haruka Tenou (Sailor Uranus) is modeled on a real-life Takarazuka character. While this is less emphasized after her introduction in the manga, it made her very distinctive in promotional materials by adding some variety, and eventually became her major character trait in the original anime.
    • The Sailor Starlights from the final arc also qualify under this trope, at least in the manga, where they're only disguised as boys and not transformed into boys like in the 90s anime.
  • Ranma ½: Ukyou, specially around the time of her introduction. From the moment she puts aside her grudge with Ranma and Genma, she switches to a simple Bokukko. (Though she still invokes the looks when at school, as she wears a boy's uniform and does her hair in a boyish ponytail, save for a filler episode of the anime where she tries a more open Girliness Upgrade.
  • Ryuunosuke Fujinami from Urusei Yatsura, Ukyou and Ranma's authorical ancestor. Ryuunosuke is a girl, but her father was completely dead-set on having a son that when he discovered he had a daughter, it still didn't stop him from giving her a boy's name and raising her as a boy. As a result, Ryuunosuke is very masculine-looking, behaves way more manly than most male characters, speaks in a very masculine fashion and even girls who are aware of her gender swoon. Ryuunosuke is not happy about this, but no matter how hard she tries to behave feminine, her father always thwarts her efforts.
  • Mai Hi ME: Chie had hints of this. Her Mai-Otome version turned this up even more with her husky voice, flirty manner, predilection to blue roses, and association with the much-more-girly Aoi. It's even more obvious in Mai-Otome Zwei, where her Robe is a suit with a top hat rather than the standard dress.
  • Simoun: Paraietta, especially impressive given the premise of the show. Though the outfit and her physique don't fit the trope. It's more the attitude and facial features.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena:
    • Utena's status is made a bit more complex by her dislike of actually being identified as masculine. Rather, she assumes the qualities of a prince as a heroic, energetic, and proactive figure, and the rest is window dressing; she is clearly a girl wearing a modified boy's uniform and explains her odd red shorts are a concession to playing sports.
    • Meanwhile, in The Movie retelling, no real reason is given for Utena's 'new' uniform (an unmodified boy's dress uniform) besides the fact it allows one of the major characters to not realize Utena is female until he's halfway into a fight scene. Considering she is also not oblivious to Anthy and Wakaba's flirting this time around, she's a more typical Bifauxnen in this portrayal.
  • Galaxy Angel: Due to the lack of men in the show, the tall, husky voiced gun-nut Forte ends up playing one whenever the team requires. Especially ironic given her generic costume shows off her assets very prominently.
  • In Kare Kano, Maho Izawa is cast in a play as an android bishounen.
  • Hana-Kimi: Originally a pretty girl, Mizuki made a good Bifauxnen when she cross-dressed to go to an all-boy school. There, she is revered as a pretty boy. However, when she went back home for the holidays, her father mistook her for a boy upon seeing her with her short boyish hairstyle (not to mention, she was pretty flat too).
  • Kino's Journey plays with this deliberately, as the title character's gender isn't made explicit to the audience for a couple of episodes. Kino seems to be designed as an "everyman" (well, a woman) who everyone can identify with to some extent.
  • Maria Watches Over Us: Rei Hasekura is a subversion. She happens to be a Kendo Team Captain, tall, and short-haired, but this is the extent of her boyish qualities; her short, delicate-looking petite soeur Yoshino is the actual tomboy of the pair. Rei also tends to wear male (or at least male type) clothes when out of uniform, though this could be due to having difficulty find clothes in her size.
  • Megumi from Cheeky Angel is an unusual subversion as she was turned into a girl, and despite being unusually skilled at grooming herself, is mistaken for a one for her rough speech.
  • Maggie from R.O.D the TV is very tall with a husky voice, yet at the same time very shy and withdrawn.
  • Strawberry Panic!: Amane Ohtori ("the Prince of Spica"), as well as her predatory Evil Counterpart Kaname. In an amusing irony during the manga, Amane is almost railroaded into pairing up with Kaname for the Etoile contest, under the logic that her fangirls would be less upset about that kind of setup. The light novels add yet another bifauxnen, Makoto Kusanagi.
  • Hellsing:
    • Sir Integra. Back when most people's exposure to Hellsing came through the TV series, some people were genuinely confused as to her gender, despite a flashback episode in which, as a young girl, she is clearly shown wearing female clothing. The manga and OVA actually begin with this flashback, making such confusion nigh on impossible. Integra takes a Bifauxnen look because she wants to be seen not as the noble Lady Integra but as the Knight Sir Integra: IOW, "all business".
  • Minami Iwasaki in Lucky Star, although this is played up by her Fangirl classmate.
  • 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. Because of this, she's worried her current girlfriend is eventually gonna dump her for a guy, though thankfully, it turns out the girl genuinely loves her.
  • Rina from Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch is more tall and pretty than anything, but she wears the male uniform, and upon her introduction in the anime, Lucia and Hanon wonder, "That was a girl... right?"
  • Shiratori, Kisara's servant from Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple. In her first appearance and in every appearance since, she's had a bishonen-esque face and always wore a heavy coat and shirt, showing no hint of her gender. In chapter 489, Shiratori's real gender is revealed for the first time, Takeda's reactions pretty much showing what the readers had thought this whole time.
  • Minami-ke: Touma Minami (no relation) is first persuaded to pose as a brother, then later insists on being called a boy, even though she's not, probably because all three of her elder siblings are Aloof Big Brothers (to varying degrees). This provides some nice contrast to Wholesome Crossdresser "Mako-chan".
  • Miura of Yotsuba&! talks and dresses very much like a boy, so much so that Gentle Giant Jumbo gets confused over her gender when he first sees her.
  • Rin Asougi from Mnemosyne seems to have this down pat - if it wasn't for her rather large breasts, she could quite often be mistaken for a effeminate man. This is in large part due to her choice of clothes - a man's business suit. It doesn't help that she is by far extremely badass.
  • The Wallflower has Sunako-chan turning up at a 'boy/girl mixer' with her classmates, dressed as an extremely pretty boy, because it precludes the chance of any boys asking her out but still fulfills her promise to go out with them. She's,er... special. No, not that way.
  • Sai from Kaze Hikaru passes for a cute teenage boy fairly easily as a Sweet Polly Oliver - and her forbidden love for her captain makes them almost seem like Yaoi Guys. Even a few comically perverted guys in the manga fall for her to a degree- including one who goes past flirtation and outright into attempted rape, with rapidly disappearing 'comedy' aspects as it becomes clear what his intentions are and what this would mean for her prospects at continuing to pass for male.
  • Diva from Blood+ transforms herself to look like this after raping and killing her twin sister's adoptive little brother Riku in order to impregnate herself. To add insult to injury, it's his appearance she takes.
  • Protagonist Ryougi Shiki of Kara no Kyoukai is a subtle example, as there are few extraneous characters to comment on her handsomeness. In the first chapter, every phrase concerning her was written so that her actual gender was not mentioned until the second-to-last line. This probably has to do with her (originally) having two personalities, one male and one female. Though by episode 4 (chronologically 2) SHIKI (the male personality) sacrifices himself in the Void for Shiki (the female personality) to live on, wakes up from her coma, and gaining the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception.
  • Ouran High School Host Club:
    • Haruhi mostly doesn't care if she's taken for male or not and often dresses in feminine clothing when she's not at school... but since the rest of the Host Club is determined to keep her gender a secret, she wears a male school uniform. (Not helped by how she actually wore the male uniform before joining the club, since it was cheaper than the girl's one.) And she is considered to fill the "boy so pretty he could be a girl" demographic to the unknowing club customers.
    • Benio "Benibara" Amakusa of St. Lobelia Girls' Academy's Takarazuka Club, meanwhile, is a fully intentional example.
  • Negima!:
    • Setsuna Sakurazaki of Mahou Sensei Negima! has fooled some into thinking she was male while dressed in Edo-period clothes. Most cite it as her behavior around her charge Konoka.
    • In Negima!?, they swap roles: Setsuna is the Yamato Nadeshiko in a luxurious kimono and Konoka is the Bifauxnen and in a Shinsengumi uniform. But nobody makes any comment, because the only other girl around turns out to be Tsukuyomi...
    • Both Setsuna and Kaede wear men's-style suits fairly often in the Magical World arc, even to a formal ball. However, nobody has confused Kaede with a man.
  • Gintama:
    • Yagyu Kyubei is an unusual example - she exemplifies this trope, but not on accident; she was raised as a male. Otae says Kyubei was "born with a woman's body, but a man's heart".
    • Mutsu is also an example. Doesn't help that she wears men's clothing.
  • Both Yayoi and Lin from Kurenai. It's no wonder that they always end up fighting each other.
  • Kiri from Never Give Up ended up with the looks of her father. Furthermore, to follow her love interest, she gets hired as a male model. Her masculine features are emphasized by her love interest, Tohya, being an effeminate-looking boy. This is often joked about by Kiri's friend, Natsu:
    Natsu: I do think you two look good together.
    Kiri: Huh?! Really?!
    Natsu: Prince Kiri and Princess Tohya. You'd be best couple in the yearbook, for sure!
  • In Martian Successor Nadesico, an escaping enemy once confused the athletic, short-haired Action Girl Ryoko for a guy when she tried to contact him via Holographic Terminal. She was not amused. Note this was a one-off occurrence, as this confusion would not be possible in person thanks to the magic of Latex Space Suits, and the character in question had a particularly narrow view of "proper" mecha pilots.
  • The viewers weren't the only ones who were confused with the gender of the boyish Otto from Lyrical Nanoha. In the supplementary manga that featured the Numbers, it's revealed that most of the Numbers themselves were also unsure whether Otto's a man or a woman, and Quattro ordered the few who do know to keep a tight-lip about it. Also in the post-Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Strikers Time Skip, she's now working as a butler for the Belkan Saint Church, complete with matching suit.
  • In Hakodate Youjin Buraichou Himegami, there's several bifauxnen hiding almost in plain sight. The protagonist Hyou is one, though the women she protects all know. The primary villain, a French noble named Gawain, very surprisingly turns out to be one after everyone but her servants leave her home, and she undresses to be waited on hand and foot. That suit hides her bust very well.
  • Averted in Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer, since Sai Jounouchi has the looks but apparently wears a long skirt.
  • Kana, the Wrench Wench from Haibane Renmei. She dresses in a boy's uniform and her voice is low enough in tone to be passable for either gender, and every so often someone asks about "him". These aspects of her, however, are only lightly touched upon in the anime.
  • Cowboy Bebop: Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV. See Cowboy BeBop at His Computer for the confusion that resulted from her character design.
  • Hilling Care, Dark Action Girl and Ribbons' twin sister from Mobile Suit Gundam 00.
  • Baccano!: Ennis is a partial case, being obviously female but prone to dressing and carrying herself like a man in a time period where that didn't often happen. The real Bifauxnen however is Ricard Russo, who's more often taken for a cute little boy than a teenage girl by characters and readers.
  • Black Jack: Kisaragi Kei is an early example. She began living entirely as a man after her (cancerous) ovaries and uterus were removed. Subverted in that he has since fully embraced the life of a man and even tells Black Jack that he's happy he quit being a woman.
  • Cera Eguchi of Saki Achiga-hen, who has short hair, and doesn't like wearing the Senriyama school uniform, instead going around with a gyakuran top, t-shirt and shorts, thus comes off as looking like a boy.
  • Kiri-chan from Ga-Rei -Zero-. (Almost a carbon copy of the one in the picture above.)
  • Shadow in Shinkon Gattai Godannar!! manages to cross the line all the way to "are you sure she's not a man?" despite having an obviously female body. This is because she manages to be one of the few pilots to contract the Insania Virus, which is supposed to primarily affect men.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
  • Axis Powers Hetalia:
  • Lady Jo from Lupin III: Angel Tactics fits this trope exactly, with Fujiko even calling her "boy" when Jo tries to seduce her. Interestingly, she's explicitly described as bisexual, and seems to be somewhat fluid in her style. While she's introduced in a very masculine outfit and displays most of the other typical traits associated with this archetype, she eventually lets her hair down and dons a very fancy Pimped-Out Dress during the film's climax.
  • W Juliet: You would never know Miura Ito was a girl unless she told you, especially at the beginning of the manga. Likewise, her boyfriend Makoto makes a gorgeous woman, to the point where all of his male classmates are in denial when they find out the truth at the end of the manga. Ito is constantly given male roles in the school drama club (their teacher is apparently a huge Takarazuka fan), and the one time she was cast as the female lead it was supposed to be a comedy version of Swan Lake, with Makoto as the handsome prince.
  • Jun of Saki. Short hair, dress shirt and tie, husky voice, usage of male first-person pronouns, and a tall, lean figure? Even some viewers were thrown off by this despite her presence in an all-girl tournament.
  • A character in Monochrome Factor who is employed at Master's bar looks perfectly male as his shirt is always half open and you can see he (she) has a flat chest. However, after he goes a little crazy after telling Maya he (she) is actually a girl and Mayu rejects him, then is possessed by kokuchi she (he) seems to develop rather large breasts...
  • Nyan Koi!: Nagi is tall and flat-chested, also a gangster (the daughter of a Yakuza family) and the captain of the track team. She used to love girlish clothes and things, but started dressing and acting like a man after her first love rejected her.
  • Mashiro Ichijo's gender identity is a key part of the plot of the manga After School Nightmare.
  • He's Dedicated to Roses features Choi Ida, who masquerades as Choi Yodah in order to vent the frustrations of being under the thumb of Manipulative Rich Bitch Mimi. As Choi Yodah she accidentally attracts a female bully after rescuing her and a Bishounen named Naru because she resembles his dead little brother. If Ida's so poor and her room so small, where did she get and stash all those flashy male clothes? And where did she get them to begin with, or is Asian fashion that androgynous?
  • In her first appearance in Detective Conan Sera Masumi is mistaken as a Troubled, but Cute guy because of her short hair and style. Sonoko even comment on her good looks, and everyone keep referring to her as a guy until she shows up in Ran and Sonoko's class wearing the school's female uniform.
  • Boy Of The Female Wolf features Eun-soo Cha, who passes as a very attractive and hilariously vain ("You dare hurt my beautiful face!?") boy and gets into fights — the difference is she does it 24/7 (going to school as a boy was one incentive to move in with her mom). Her reason is that she sees women as frivolous and weak — her mom effectively abandoned her when she married a guy from overseas; her grandma recovered from a serious illness only to die suddenly, yet another abandonment, and all those schoolgirls fawning over her doesn't help either.
  • Love In The Mask: The heroine is a bodyguard to a wealthy girl and had to become a boy because "a female bodyguard wouldn't be taken seriously" (despite living with her charge there's no chance of Bodyguard Crush since they're Like Brother and Sister). Apparently it's not too successful since a character who only recently returned to Korea and never met her promptly addresses her with a female honorific and asks if everyone in the entire school is blind.
  • Akito from Fruits Basket actively fools people into thinking she's a man. Helps that she has a very similar hair cut to Yuki's. Does not apply in the first anime where Akito is obviously male. Akito being a Bifauxnen is actually a huge plot point in the manga and 2019 reboot. She was actually forced to act, dress and make everyone believe she was a man, per orders of her horribly abusive mother Ren, who did it out of petty jealousy over how Akito's dad adored her. Out of the Zodiac members, only the eldest ones (Hatori, Ayame, Kureno and Shigure) know that she's a girl and identifies as such despite how she was raised — Kureno later explains this to Tohru in what becomes a MASSIVE Wham Episode. The other don't learn this until almost the end, when the now reformed Akito appears in front of them in a female kimono.
    • Parodied with Yuki, who is quite the case of Dude Looks Like a Lady... and his best friend Manabu tries to trick his girlfriend Komaki into believing he's actually a Bifauxnen.
  • Kaoru Daichi from Ladies Versus Butlers! is both Akiharu's roommate and a girl crossdressing as a boy. Given what type of series this is, this makes for some awkward tension.
  • Yui Goido becomes one in The World God Only Knows after her capture.
  • Subverted in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED. During her first appearance, Cagalli is dressed in rather boyish clothes but does not do anything specific to hide her gender. People just assume she's a boy, and Kira almost immediately identifies her as a girl.
  • Pretty Cure:
    • Itsuki Myoudin from Heartcatch Pretty Cure. Justified because she had to take over her family's business, and her older brother Satsuki (who looks like a girl, oddly enough) is an Ill Boy, so she believes she has to dress like the opposite gender. And her disguise was so convincing, Even the Girls Want Her. She looks much more feminine as Cure Sunshine, however.
    • Akira Kenjou/Cure Chocolat from Kirakira★PreCure a la Mode. Unlike Itsuki/Cure Sunshine, she's this in both civilian and Cure form, with her outfit in Cure form having several elements of a typical "prince" outfit. In her debut episode, Ichika is convinced that she's a boy, even when Akira transforms into Cure Chocolat right in front of her, until her father corrects her.
  • Interestingly, another Itsuki is assumed to be this at first in Haruhi Suzumiya, but the title character quickly decides that "for now, he looked male".
  • 1/2 Prince has a variation. The main character is a girl who takes on the role of a male in a virtual reality MMORPG, very few people see through the disguise, and what few do only manage to do so after she gives herself away.
  • Ryo Kuromatsu in the manga The Magic Touch. She looks so much like a boy that even when she wears girl clothes, she looks like a guy wearing girl's clothes. Most characters in the manga know she's a girl, though.
  • Melk the Second from Toriko. Done so she can become the successor of her adopted father, the first Melk, or so she thought. Because he'd already decided she was worthy to be his successor and told her so, except he speaks so quietly she couldn't hear him.
  • The title character from Musashi Number Nine. The big reveal comes at the end of nearly every issue/story arc, especially early on.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing:
    • Lucrezia Noin believed that gender distinctions didn't matter in the battlefield, so she had rather boyish and elegant looks.
    • From Frozen Teardrop we have Katherine Oud Winner, one of Quatre's sisters. as seen here.
  • Even though the entire casts are underaged girls flying magical planes while not wearing pants, a few characters in Strike Witches can qualify, especially Waltrud Krupinski.
  • Actually a plot point for the Girls' Love manga Gokujou Drops. Turns out a boy Komari made a childhood promise with years ago was her current squeeze Yukio
  • Change 123 gives us Ginga who is easily mistaken for a boy, what with running around shirtless, and having a flat chest due to her muscle structure. It takes an accidental peek at her preparing for the bath (and later Kousukegawa getting his face pressed against her crotch after falling off the roof) for her to admit she's a girl.
  • Chizuru from Wandering Son counts at times. She typically looks feminine when in casual wear, but whenever she decides to crossdress in a boy's uniform she does looks like a Bishōnen with long hair. She's gained the attention of a few girls too.
  • During the Claymore episode "The Witch's Maw", Claire pulls this off by wearing a figure-concealing cape, pulling her already-short hair back, and lengthening her vocal cords to deepen her voice. The voice of her thoughts remains the same, however.
  • Eureka looks almost like a male in her soccer attire in episode 39 of Eureka Seven thanks to her hair loss.
  • Jun Kamigamo from Natsu no Arashi! looks unquestionably like a male until the reveal of her true gender.
  • Halfway through the series Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, the protagonist Kodaka Hasegawa was surprised to find out that his long forgotten male childhood friend "Sora" was Yozora Mikazuki, who was actually a female.
  • Shizu from Maria†Holic. She's Mariya's Half Identical Twin who's going to an all-boys school; a perfect parallel to Mariya who's a Villainous Crossdresser who goes to an all-girl school.
  • Kei from The Beautiful Skies of Houou High looks like a boy. Her mom sent her to an all-boys school, full of Bishōnen boys, to make her more feminine.
  • The entire main cast of Ai Ore! Love Me! is made up of girls who look like men.. Well, most of the main cast. The one boy, Akira, looks like a girl.
  • Believe it or not, Sakura Kinomoto pulled this off at least once in Cardcaptor Sakura. Most noticeably in the Sleeping Beauty School Play where she was cast as the Prince and donned a boyish outfit really well.
  • Sheryl Nome from Macross Frontier does this for some of her concerts as a costume while singing (and cleans up quite well). Is quite Hilarious in Hindsight considering her love interest "Princess" Alto.
  • Kei from IRIA: Zeiram the Animation is revealed to be a girl after everyone believed her to be a boy for most of the series.
  • There's a oneshot manga called Kuroneko Guardian where a young singer is given a bodyguard. She's dressed as a boy because "it'd be easier to work if people didn't know she was a girl".
  • Elfen Lied: The Agent was confused for a man for almost all of her appearances, but was revealed as female at the very end, where her shirt rips, and reveals her cleavage.
  • Yuri Ishtar from Anatolia Story/Red River. She was mistaken to be an attractive young boy while she was pretending to be a dancer. She's also mistaken for a boy when one of Kail's brothers comes to visit. Hilarity Ensues.
    • Played more seriously later, when a local queen is told that "a young boy" is conquering several territories for the Hittites. Said Queen's pre-teen daughter, in a well-intentioned by VERY misguided move, decides to sneak out and offer herself to "serve" said "boy", implicitly in a sexual manner, in exchange for the safety of her people. Yuri is shocked at this, then explains the deal to the princess and makes her one of her ladies-in-waiting instead. (Not to mention the girl's mother was not happy either when she found out.)
  • Subverted with Alicia "Jeudi" Brandel in the Honoo no Alpen Rose manga. She only dons the look for a short time after having to get her hair cut short and donning boy's clothes to fool Count Germont and cross the Austrian/Swiss border without trouble, and though she can pull it off surprisingly well, after meeting Leonhardt and telling him she's a girl to gain his favor and then being tracked by the very persistent Count , she returns to wearing dresses almost immediately.
  • Natsuki Hayami from Amakusa 1637. It's actually VERY plot important since, when she's thrown into the past with her friends, she turns out to be the Identical Stranger of a certain local leader who looks like a girl...
  • Mikusa from Arata: The Legend gets revealed to be a crossdressing girl a few chapters after her appearance. She was as a boy because the girls of the Hime clan were being slaughtered, and the artstyle retains in keeping her looking rather boyish for a long time. After some time, Mikusa wants to embrace her being a woman and begins to wear feminine clothes.
  • Chihiro from Battle Spirits Heroes. She seems like a Bishōnen boy but is revealed to be a girl in episode 31.
  • Ryou from Strawberry Shake Sweet. A lesbian singer in a Visual Kei band, she cultivates an androgynous image.
  • Souseiseki from Rozen Maiden.
  • Lampshaded in Dog Days, where Cinque is surprised that Eclair was a girl.
  • The plot of I Girl is that a women has to disguise herself as her younger twin brother, who is a high school teacher. He cuts her hair and suddenly looks near identical to her, just with a rounder and shorter face. It turns out that a large number of the students have crushes on her brother...
  • Kaoru Sayanomiya of Campione! is a powerful miko, head of the Tokyo branch of the History Compilation Committee, and heir to her powerful family. Her only flaw is her tendency to wear men's clothing, even at formal events where she's known to be a woman. Many of her female classmates have fallen in love with her and she makes no effort to correct them on her gender or discourage their attempts to win her over.
  • Kagerou Days: Kido. During her first (very brief) appearance, Shintaro mistakes her for a guy. She's noted to have a pretty face by other characters, but it (and all aspects of her figure) is usually hidden by her hoodie and hair.
  • 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. It's even used as a plot point in chapter 45, where Wakamatsu mistakes her for being Seo's boyfriend, never having seen Kashima in the school uniform where she wears a skirt.
    • Kashima at one point parodies the cliche where boyish girls wish to get a Girliness Upgrade. When she gets a cold her voice deepens, leading another character to wonder if she'll get sad she now seems even more like a boy.. Kashima promptly flaunts her androgyny and masculinity around.
  • The protagonist of Nozomu Nozomi is a boy who looks androgynous. When he gets turned into a girl he still passes as a boy. His haircut is fairly neutral and he has an almost flat chest.
  • In Naruto, the epilogue shows us a very boyish teenage girl... She is Mirai Sarutobi, the very androgynous-looking daughter of Asuma and Kurenai.
  • Maya and Karen in Bamboo Blade look rather androgynous when wearing their kendo uniforms, though Maya looks more thuggish than Bishōnen.
  • Tomo from Tomo-chan Is a Girl! can easily be mistaken for a guy because she dresses and acts in a very boyish manner (in spite of having Boobs of Steel), though she can look quite stunning when made up in more feminine clothing. In fact, her Childhood Friend Junichiro actually did think she was a guy until middle school when he saw her wearing a skirt...granted, before that he'd seen her going into girls' bathrooms and still didn't put it together, but in hindsight he fully admits that it was Selective Obliviousness.
  • Tsubasa of Comic Girls is extremely boyish (she even writes shonen manga!), and both Kaoruko and Koyume consider her extremely handsome, to Even the Girls Want Her levels.
  • The eponymous Kurau from Kurau Phantom Memory often wears man's clothing that reveal her gender quite well, accentuated by her short her and the fact that she's extremely bad-ass to boot. During one stint as a bodyguard the only thing that gives away she's a woman is her voice. Of course, her gender becomes quite obvious once she changes into one of her skintight outfits.
  • In Asteroid in Love, Moe made her sister Megu dress like a butler, instead of a meido, when they work at their family bakery. Megu looks handsome in this uniform, something the customer agrees.


    Comic Books 
  • Happened to Jubilee of the X-Men at least once. In a slightly odd turn of events, the dinosaur-riding tribe who made the mistake actually had her half-way to the altar with a choice bride standing by before the misunderstanding could be cleared up.
  • In the early Star Wars comics, the ones produced by Marvel, there was a prince who went to Luke Skywalker for help; later in the arc it was revealed that this character was that prince's twin sister, as the prince himself had died. In order to keep her planet's morale up, she'd needed to keep his death a secret. At the end of the arc the princess also died, and the two of them met Yoda in the afterlife - the princess was clearly shorter and somewhat narrower-shouldered than her brother, but still fairly androgynous. Without looking at the word balloons, it's actually rather difficult to tell that she's female.
  • Carrie Kelley, the successor to the Robin mantle in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, is mistaken for a boy by the police. Somewhat of an inversion on how Robins on New Earth are either mistaken for or portrayed in other media as girls.
  • Fey Truscott-Sade, an androgynous action hero companion from the Doctor Who Magazine comics. The writers describe her as "an androgyne"; she has a feminine body, presents with masculine clothing and hair, and uses feminine pronouns. And she's a badass bisexual 1930's spy.
  • Sir Ystin, the Shining Knight, was mistaken for a boy in Seven Soldiers and mistaken for a girl in Demon Knights. In the latter case, the truth is a little more complicated...
  • Luci (yes, that Luci) from The Wicked + The Divine, doing a damn fine impression of Bowie's Thin White Duke
  • In Masqued Mayhem, one of the Adventure Time Graphic Novels, Marceline's fancy-dress costume is as a male Classical Movie Vampire.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Cassie and her best friend George are tomboys who could easily pass as boys, with George going out of her way to appear androgynous. They're also both conventionally attractive so far as teen boys go and are well liked at school.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Ellen Page is a very scary Bifauxnen as Hayley Stark in Hard Candy.
  • In Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Mr. Rooney finds who he believes is Ferris at the arcade, but turns out to be a girl.
  • In Victor/Victoria, the title character is played by Julie Andrews. Female both in real life and in the movie, she plays the eponymous Victor, an ostensibly male drag queen. Part of the plot is fueled by various women being very attracted to "Victor" (as a subplot, a few of the male characters have a Stupid Sexy Flanders reaction to "him.")
  • The actress Tilda Swinton, who started her career by living this trope. She is attractive to both genders, while being androgynous enough to apply for Even the Girls Want Her and Even the Guys Want Him, depending on the character.
    • She played the technically sexless Angel Gabriel for the movie Constantine.
    • Orlando from the film adaptation of Orlando, who begins as an androgynous man in the 16th century, becomes ageless, and later changes sex into an androgynous woman.
    • The novel on which the film is based was written by Virginia Woolf, writing it as a fictionalised biography for the author-poet Vita Sackville-West, with whom she had an affair. Vita's son would later describe it as "the longest and most charming love-letter in literature".
    • Also a feature in many of Tilda's glamour shots. There are several which try to make half of her look like a woman and half of her look like a man. It's strangely attractive.
    • Conan O'Brien has said that Tilda should play him in a movie. She said she'd do it.
  • Johnny (Jane Birkin) from Je T'aime Moi Non Plus. She ends up giving the gay protagonist Krassky (Joe Dallesandro) a major case of Stupid Sexy Flanders after subjecting him to an Unsettling Gender Reveal.
  • Cate Blanchett playing "Jude Quinn" (Bob Dylan) in I'm Not There. Fetish Fuel ensued. Suffice it to say that Cate makes a rather hot guy. The fact that her voice is very much on the huskier end of the scale helped.
  • Chloë Sevigny from If These Walls Could Talk 2
  • Angelina Jolie in Girl, Interrupted was wonderfully Johnny Deppish. She was also androgynous in her role as Legs in Foxfire, and spends the last act of Salt with a short haircut, wearing men's clothes while she's in disguise as a man, complete with facial prosthetics which she removes, while keeping the hair and clothes.
  • Imogen Stubbs, as Viola/Cesario in the 1996 adaptation of Twelfth Night. Olivia's infatuation is completely understandable...
  • Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander in the original film version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is another dark example.
  • Laure from Tomboy is androgynous looking. She's able to pass herself off as a boy, and even normally she looks like a boy.. It helps that she's only ten, so a haircut and boys clothes is really all she needs to pass as male.
  • Some Kind of Wonderful: Watts is just a raggedly dressed tomboy for most of the film, but becomes this in the last act after donning a male chauffeur's outfit.
  • Yet another example from Ellen Page in Mouth to Mouth, though only after she shaves her head.
  • The lead character in Frozen Days is this after her Traumatic Haircut.
  • In Blue Is the Warmest Color, Emma at the second part of the film where she has blonde hair and wears more sophisticated clothing that is expected of a well-respected artist. It also symbolizes the passage of time between the two chapters and how much her character has other priorities aside from her domestic life.
  • One of the earliest examples is Greta Garbo in Queen Christina. Her father King Gustavus Adolphus, lacking a male heir, essentially raised her as a boy, so she acts like a boy and dresses in men's clothes. But she still looks like Greta Garbo.
  • Missy plays the western, lesbian version of this trope to the hilt, ahead of its time in Colette.

  • In Anne Rice's The Vampire Lestat the vampirized Gabrielle, Lestat's mom, usually adopts male clothing and hair style to be free to do as she wished. During the time (late 18th century) it was difficult for women to get away with living so independently, so she does this for practical reasons.
  • Nan Astley and Kitty Butler, of Tipping the Velvet. Both are male impersonators in late Victorian England.
  • Played with (and subverted) in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. Secondary protagonist Bree is a six-foot-plus, strapping Scottish redhead who waltzes around in the 18th century in trousers— but only passes for a man if you're really not looking, and is goggled at, flirted with (with cracks about stepladders) and horrifies her father.
  • Many female fans were extremely pissed off to discover that Maladict from Monstrous Regiment is, in fact, a girl.
  • Chronicles of the Kencyrath
    • Jame is mistaken for a boy on a regular basis, is declared to be officially a boy in a fair few contexts throughout the books, and is mistaken constantly for her twin brother (in low-visibility situations). She's flat-chested and androgynous, though she has very long hair (which she tends to wear hidden under her cap).
      • Subverted at one point in God Stalk: The courtesan Melissand is flirting with her, and Jame assumes Melissand thinks she's a boy. She doesn't—she knew Jame was a girl the whole time.note 
    • Jame, Rue, and Caldance—a fairly diverse group of people—all call Brier "handsome", and with her short hair and neat, military dress, she falls right in the bifauxnen aesthetic. She's Jame's Number Two, and they have a Bifauxnen and Lad-ette thing going on.
    • Kirien is almost, but not quite, a Sweet Polly Oliver—she never actually claims to be male. But she looks (and dresses) like a handsome boy, and lets people go with their assumptions.
  • Leisl in the Ravenloft novel Vampire of the Mists is a thief who dresses as a boy to survive better on the streets.
  • In "A Scandal in Bohemia," Irene Adler admits to Sherlock Holmes that she frequently dresses as a man to go out in public because of the freedom that male costume allows her. As shown in theatrical versions of the story, the result is apparently Bishonenesque.
  • In Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson, Kumiko muses that Molly greatly resembles the stereotype of the Japanese bishonen: "elegant, deadly and fey."
  • Kitai from Jim Butcher's Codex Alera, partly to do with the fact that she's an underage Marat with vaguely boyish features (until they come of age, Marat wear baggy tunics and aren't acknowledged to actually have any biological sex except in the academic sense). Tavi doesn't much care for her initially, because she was kind of hostile for little apparent reason, but once he realizes she's a girl, he starts to notice she's kind of pretty.
  • Tzigone, one of the central protagonists of Counselors and Kings, is a very slender and flat-chested young woman, and as she's a Master of Disguise she's quite practiced at tricking people into thinking she's male. She does female disguises too, though.
  • In the world of A Brother's Price, whores service women. Many of them try to look as much like men as they can, and it's to be noted that men in this world are seen as soft, beautiful, graceful creatures. These wear ivory strap-ons called bones at their groins to complete the look.
  • The Little Lord in Hawk And Fisher is essentially a female Gentleman Thief; a tall, handsome woman who dresses in slightly old-fashioned upper-class male clothes, complete with short hair and monocle.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the 7th Heaven episode "Don't Take My Love Away", the youngest daughter Ruthie wants to wear a tux to her parents' vow renewal ceremony. In the same storyline she doesn't want her brother Simon to move out of their bedroom.
  • Blackadder:
    • In the first episode of Blackadder II, Bob, Lord Blackadder's page, (who is actually a young woman named Kate) is so attractive she manages to turn the head of the staunchly heterosexual Lord Blackadder even before The Reveal.
    • Another incarnation of Bob appears in the Blackadder Goes Forth episode "Major Star", having lied to British Army recruiters and joined as a boy. This time Captain Blackadder isn't fooled for a minute, but lets it slide. The same episode features General Lord Melchett falling in Love at First Sight with George's drag act, and then thinking Reality Is Unrealistic when the unit fakes "Georgina's" death and substitutes Bob as the drag perfomer.
  • Zigzagged wonderfully by Bellino in episode one of the 2005 Casanova miniseries. Introduced as an accomplished singer, she presents herself as a man, albeit a castrato. The decidedly heterosexual Casanova is convinced that Bellino is a woman - and an attractive one at that - so he confronts her. After some intense flirting, he's shocked to find out that she really is a man, and then surprised some more to realise that he's still attracted to Bellino and wants to pursue a relationship anyway. Finally, convinced that his affections are serious, she admits that he was right the first time: she faked the "evidence", and she really was a woman all along.
  • Doctor Who:
  • In the original pilot for the Get Smart TV show, this was done with Agent 99. When Maxwell Smart first meets Agent 99, she has a pageboy haircut and is dressed in a not-very-flattering chauffeur's outfit. While she actually still comes off as quite sexy and clearly female right from the start... this is Max we're talking about. It takes him most of the episode to realize that she's female.
  • Shane from The L Word. And in Real Life, Katherine Moennig, the actress who plays Shane. In fact, fans of the show often conflate the actress with her role, which is lampshaded in this tongue-in-cheek interview.
  • Marcy from Married... with Children was often accused of being a boy. Ironically, in one of the final episodes of the series Amanda Bearse appeared as herself (a classic ladette). It was probably the most obviously female she'd appeared through the entire series.
  • In Orphan Black, the (not usually very butch) lesbian Cosima turns up to a mock-Victorian dinner party dressed in Victorian male evening dress, in order to troll the conservative values of its villainous host.
  • Batchi, in The Rich Man's Daughter has delicate looks and is masculine in appearance but is nonetheless good-looking and fashionable in an androgynous manner effortlessly looking sharp in sleeveless shirts, men's shirts, and is also acknowledged as "handsome" by her colleagues and her Lipstick Lesbian best friend.
  • Anjali Jay as Djaq in Robin Hood; the most stunningly beautiful "boy" you've ever seen.
  • In the 1986 adaptation of the Lord Peter Wimsey novel Strong Poison, the 'anti-man' Eiluned Price dresses in waistcoat, trousers and a bow tie, and cuts her hair short. Given the 1930s setting of the story, it's a strong implication that 'anti-man' is code for Butch Lesbian.
  • Witchblade:
    • "Diplopia": After castigating her younger partner Jake for homophobia while investigating the murder of a gay man, Sara shows up to investigate the victim's bar dressed as a man, just to mess with him a little more.
    • "Palindrome": The champion at an all-male underground fight club turns out to be a disguised woman, specifically a Doppelgänger of Sara herself.

  • Annie Lennox of Eurythmics deliberately plays up her androgyny. Some American audiences were shocked by the video Love Is a Stranger because they thought that Lennox was a man in drag.
  • The dancers in the video for "Blame It on the Girls" by Mika are half-Bifauxnen: their costumes and wigs make their right half look like a girl in a dress with a bob, while the left half looks like a man in a tux with Beatles hair. See it here.
  • Elly Jackson, singer of La Roux, often invokes this. Yes, she's not the only person involved.
  • Shirley Manson of Garbage dresses this way in the video for "Androgyny." Seen here.
  • Hitomi Yoshizawa got this treatment during her earlier years with Hello! Project. It's especially obvious in this video.
    • Tenth-generation member Haruka Kudou is currently filling this role, to the point where she refers to herself as a boy in blog posts and interviews.
  • Thai singer Zee Matanawee Keenan.
  • Played with in girl group Mamamoos "Um Oh Ah Yeah" MV which features Moonbyul, Hwasa and Wheein all dressed up and made to look like men. Moonbyul just wears a suit and short wig, and pairing those up with her nice feminine features makes her out to be a typical pretty boy; the other two however wear prosthetic makeup and less flattering wigs, and dress like a 1950's greaser and nerd. Moonbyul's minimal changes actually make sense, as she is portraying a very androgynous woman, though her admirer Solar fails to notice that at first.
  • Valshe, known for her roots as an utaite doing covers of songs featuring Len Kagamine, has a very masculine voice that's part of her Signature Style. Official artwork of her depicts her as a boyish-looking woman with short blonde hair, and this would extend to her real-world appearance once her actual likeness started being used in media.
    • Speaking of Vocaloid, the GYNOID vocal bank Flower is this in her V4 character design. The bank in general is stated to have an androgynous theme, so her more boyish appearance is better reflective of that.
  • Akira from Visual Kei band Disacode tends to wear men's clothing in performances and music videos in addition to sporting slightly spiky long black hair with a blonde streak and eyeliner. This helped by the fact that she is also a fashion model, having modelled for Kera and Kera Boku magazines along with starring as Narase Kaoru in the Live-Action Adaptation of Ai Ore! Love Me! and in a Crosscast Role as Uesugi Kenshin in stage show adaptations of Sengoku Basara.
  • Singer/songwriter/rapper Amber Liu of the Korean girl group f(x), whose androgynous image has resulted in lots of Even the Girls Want Her among the group's female fans, and a fair share of Viewer Gender Confusion for those unfamiliar with the group. This music video is just one example of many.
  • Janelle Monáe, the genre-blurring Genki Girl singer, is rarely seen without her proper tux and a white starched shirt. It also helps her bifauxnen image that she has what can only be described as "epic hair."
  • Taiwanese singer Zhang Yun Jing, known for her androgynous image. She has been described as both "handsome" and "beautiful". Even the Girls Want Her, as her a large part of her fandom is comprised of females who take great pleasure in squee-ing over her various attractive features, masculine or feminine.
  • Omi, Mally and sometimes Jyou from exist†trace are considered this, which has caused some Viewer Gender Confusion like for example, someone who isn't familiar with Visual Kei will look at Jyou, Omi, and Mally and think "Wait, the guys in the suits are actually chicks?". Bassist Naoto can look quite masculine as well, but not in a bifauxnen-type way, while the odd one out in the band is Miko, who lacks of the bifauxnen aesthetics.
  • In March 2017, Chinese Boy Band FFC-Acrush (now called FanxyRed) revealed that they were in fact female.
  • Heloise Letissier, the sole proprietor of the French electropop act Christine and the Queens, AKA Chris,adopted this look with her third album.


    Video Games 
  • Bloodline Champions has the Nomad bloodline's Officer outfit. There's has cleavage on her, but otherwise looks very androgynous. There's a piercing under their lip which one could mistake for a soul patch.
  • King from The King of Fighters. She dressed as a man in the original Art of Fighting, due to an incident regarding her gender and childhood training in Muay Thai (which back then didn't accept female practitioners), as well as being forced to be a bouncer by a local gang. In that game, she is presented as a male at first (besides baring her bra if beaten with a super move and having different dialogues when this happened), but future games acknowledge her as a woman who chooses to wear male clothes both for personal taste and practical reasons. She continues to dress in masculine clothing in almost all her later appearances; the closest concession, clothing-wise, is either wearing dresses in artwork and in her ending in The King of Fighters XI (and the last one is because she is in a date) or showing up in two-piece swimsuits in the Dating Sims.
  • Another SNK example - Koujiro whom her name is actually Kaori, the Sweet Polly Oliver/Half Identical Twin of The Last Blade. Thanks to a gender-ambiguous name, her gender is debatable until her story-mode ending, when her supporting cast are relieved that she can go back to Staying In The Kitchen. Thankfully, she has other ideas.
  • Razzy, a major supporting character in the underrated game Summon Night: Swordcraft Story is very ambiguously gendered (To characters anyways, she's first introduced as another character's "niece"). In fact, throughout a good chunk of the game, the player character and various NPCs think that Razzy is a boy. One NPC even comments that Razzy will be a handsome man when he grows up. Coupled with this boyish look is that, out of the five available weapons in the game (sword, axe, spear, knuckles, and drills), Razzy uses knuckles. Also adding confusion is that it is hinted that (read:Immediately starts addressing you as Onee-sama and directly wonders if two girls can get married), while playing as the female option, Pratty, Razzy will acquire a crush on you.
  • Hikaru of Power Instinct Matrimelee is a almost a parody of characters like Bridget from Guilty Gear (like many characters in the game). Her gender is so well hidden that nothing in the game itself actually mentions it, not even in her ending. The only way someone would be able to determine her true gender is from other documentation.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Faris, the pirate captain in Final Fantasy V, whom Bartz and Galuf swoon over before The Reveal. This is what Amano originally drew her as. The SNES's graphics messed the twist up. (Except for fans who assumed that the pretty, long-haired man was one of the series' many Long Haired Pretty Boys.)
    • Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII generally doesn't qualify due to her obviously feminine appearance in the game... however, she later pose for a fashion magazine... men's fashion magazine, that is. In the third game in her series, she can wear men's suits, and gets mistaken for a prince in the NPC chatter.
  • Persona 4:
    • One of the main characters, Naoto Shirogane, the masculine, pistol-wielding, uniform-wearing, amateur detective-turned high school student is a biological woman dressing as a man because she believes that she won't be taken seriously in a mostly male field of work. After her gender and identification are revealed, Naoto decides to keep the boyish looks and behavior — unless she's specifically asked otherwise by the Protagonist, and only when they are alone.
    • Izanami's human form looks a lot like the Protagonist, despite being a woman, and looks even more boyish in the manga.
  • Sakura Wars:
    • Maria Tachibana and Kanna Kirishima are tall and have husky voices, so they usually play male roles in their musical productions.
    • Later we get Leni Milchstrasse, who is petite and waifish and talks like a boy.
  • Touhou:
    • Wriggle Nightbug, the only member of the massive cast with both short hair and pants, leading to a lot of Viewer Gender Confusion and subsequent jokes about other characters mistaking her for male.
    • Shou Toramaru, whose boyish name, appearance, and career caused more Viewer Gender Confusion.
    • Toyosatomimi no Miko, who's based on a real male historical figure and has a hefty dose of masculine arrogance, though she still wears a long skirt as part of her outfit.
    • An obligatory PC-98 example, Meira from Story of Eastern Wonderland, whose demands to fight Reimu for her powers were mistaken for a proposal by Reimu... and accepted. Meira clarifying her gender didn't help.
  • Atelier Annie: Annie is practically the embodiment of this trope. Seriously, look at this and see what your reaction is... If the existing image wasn't so good, she'd be the banner girl for the trope. Of course the game itself wastes no time in poking fun at her for this, with several NPCs mistaking her for a boy at first glance.
  • In SaGa Frontier, Asellus is a girl who is mistaken for a man by a maid who made a suit for her, who develops a crush on her. According to a sourcebook, this (and Asellus's feelings for her companion, Lady White Rose) is due to the magical blood transfusion she got from the Charm Lord, a Dracula-type character. (It doesn't help that the Lord insisted that Asellus become the "Prince" (not princess) of his kingdom.)
  • From Infinite Undiscovery: Vic's true gender soon becomes fairly obvious, with several hints shortly after Vic joins your party.
  • Leo Kliessen from Tekken 6. Short hair, check. Masculine name, check. note  Masculine outfit, big check (includes a white masculine tuxedo).
  • Halo: The "tough" type female Marines (including one voiced by Michelle Rodriguez in Halo 2), and Tedra Grant from Spartan Ops, all with short hair and figure-concealing armor. Kat from Halo: Reach borders on this, but her figure is noticeably more "feminine" than her squadmates, despite being in full armor 24/7.
  • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker has Dr Strangelove, with her short hair and androgynous tailored clothes.
  • Perfect Dark: Joanna Dark in the original, less so in the XBLA rerelease.
  • Kumatora from Mother 3. A little kid mistakes her for a boy at one point. And the Magypsies.
  • Jill from Mighty Jill Off. Even more so in her appearance in Super Meat Boy.
  • Jess from Advance Wars has a buzzcut and wears a military uniform with pants. If not for her name and some *slight* bumps in the chest region, she'd be indistinguishable from a male. The second game enhances this effect my making her carry around a somewhat phallic-looking tank shell.
  • Ione of Vanguard Bandits is more than a little manly in appearance to the player. This doesn't stop The Hero from complimenting her beauty anyway.
  • Until her more feminine design in Nuts & Bolts, Kazooie.
  • Miyako Yakumo from Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 5. She looks completely like a boy, dresses like one, fights like one and has an ambiguous voice to boot.
  • Makoto Kikuchi from The iDOLM@STER was raised to be more like a boy by her father, who wanted a son, and thus she looks and acts very masculine out of habit. However, what she really wants is to be more feminine and get more attention from boys, so she became an Idol Singer to reinvent herself. Unfortunately for her, the majority of her fanbase In-Universe is made up of girls with crushes on her.
  • Yuri from Harvest Moon: A New Beginning would probably be mistaken for a boy a lot more often if she wasn't introduced as Emma's daughter and one of the girls the male player character can marry. (She is also a secret bachelorette, meaning only those who go to sites that show all the potential candidates will know she is one.)
  • Fire Emblem Awakening:
  • Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag: The character first known as "James Kidd", and actually named "Mary Read" is quite clearly voiced by a woman, and is revealed to be one midway through the game.
  • Wario Land 4: Princess Shokora, whose appearance changes in the end cutscene depending on how many treasures you collected. In the 100% Completion ending (which presumably shows her true form), she could easily be mistaken for a prince.
  • South Park: The Fractured but Whole has a child variant. If you choose to make the New Kid a girl, the boys will comment on what a feminine-looking boy "he" is, how soft and smooth "his" skin and hair are for a boy, etc. They never actually manage to connect the dots, and the only party member who does, Call Girl, promises to keep the New Kid's true gender a secret.
  • Overwatch has a villainous example in Moira O'Deorain. She has short hair, a rather angular face, a slim build, and a low voice. But what really puts it over the edge are the shirt and tie she wears in her origin story video and in some of her sprays. And then her "Glam" and "Moon" skins are pretty much knock-offs of Ziggy Stardust, David Bowie's most Bishōnen stage persona.
  • Senran Kagura has Miyabi, who is this despite being well endowed in a World of Buxom. She gets mistaken for a boy frequently, to the point she has her own Instant Fan Club.
  • Love Nikki - Dress Up Queen plays around with the trope quite interestingly:
    • Kaja is a popular rock star from the Miraland world, popular with men and women alike, and owner of very boyish looks. She often challenges Nikki to duels that include very boyish clothes (often tagged "Unisex"), in order to broaden Nikki's style horizons.
    • Nikki herself is very much a Girly Girl, but Kaja's challenges will require her to dress up as a bifauxnen. Which can be a nasty surprise for new players, since "Unisex" clothes tend to be a bit hard to find among the sea of girly dresses, tops, coats, wigs, etc.

    Visual Novels 
  • They Are My Noble Masters: Averted was Natose, who is a semi-bifauxnen, the only thing is she has boobies (huge ones in fact), and she wears panties under her clothes.
  • Both Colonel Sebastian Moran and Henrietta Irving in Shikkoku no Sharnoth. In the beginning, Mary doesn't know the latter's true gender and has a bit of a crush.
  • Chris in Princess Waltz. She not only dresses like a boy, and has the interest of all the girls; she was told she was supposed to be born a boy and plans to become one through magic. Even after she starts sleeping with the main character, her ultimate goal doesn't change. Somehow Chris' gender isn't obvious to Arata after the second chapter. No, not even after seeing her in the bath.
  • Fate/stay night:
    • Saber aka Arturia Pendragon, having been stopped in her natural growth at around the age of fifteen, had posed as a man, although a very Bishōnen man. This is due to how she easily kept a cold and professional face, in addition to wearing men's clothing. However, she was under a genuine Gender Bender spell at one time in her backstory, which was how her "son" Mordred was conceived. She dresses in more contemporary menswear in Fate/Zero, a sharp, formal black suit with her hair in a short ponytail. Irisviel fixates on what a handsome protector Saber makes, and contemplates what a beautiful couple they make when she's escorted in public by her.
    • From Zero as well, Kiritsugu's partner Maiya also dresses rather austere and masculine, and keeps her hair short.
    • In Fate/Grand Order, one of the Memorial Craft Essences has Saber of "Red" dress up in brown suit that lets her look very much like a "bad boy" version of Saber, which is quite fitting since she's Mordred, Arturia's aforementioned "son".
  • Rei Ijuin, of Tokimeki Memorial 1, who has to pose as a boy in front of everybody due to a family custom, and this until her coming of age. It's a well-kept secret the Ijuin family zealously protects, to the point that even her little sister Mei doesn't know she's actually a girl!
  • Kriska Stares from Sunrider.
  • Saori, the Player Character of Shall We Date?: Ninja Shadow, is one who uses her boyishly good looks to a Dead Person Impersonation after her brother Kaname's murder, so she can pursue her revenge and become a member of the all-male vigilante group that Kaname was supposed to join.
  • The entire Twin Switch plot of Ladykiller in a Bind hinges on the fact that Player Character the Beast, being the Half-Identical Twin of the Prince, is a dead ringer for her brother while wearing one of his suits.

  • Asha from Kubera. So much that Ran still thinks she's a guy even though she is wearing a dress. Yes, he thinks of her as some weird guy who dresses up in women's clothing.
  • Building 12, by Chris Hazelton's: Alex. She was selected to an exclusive program to fill a diversity quota because her application was smudged and they thought she was a guy (it gets mostly female applicants), so now she's pretending to be male.
  • El Goonish Shive: A weird example, Tedd accidentally sets off his transformation gun and is turned into a girl. His friend doesn't notice until Tedd points out the twins. Then it overlaps into a weird mix of Real Life and Wrong Genre Savvy: he transforms in an off-continuity Q&A-style storyline. The next strip? 'A ridiculous number of viewers claim they didn't notice I was a girl in the last installment until they noticed Grace was a guy!'
    • Tedd accidentally turned into a girl during a card tournament due to a magical spell and her friends again don't notice until she specifically pointed out her breasts and and her pink hair was it's natural purple again.
  • Grantz from Girl Genius, Baron Wulfenbach's monster hunter. Especially considering Phil Foglio's art style...
  • Part of an Instant Cosplay Surprise (sort of) inflicted on Alex by Lita in Cheer! for their "date". Don't think she didn't have an agenda there.
  • Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki: Die-hard anime fan Yuuki seems to be deliberately aiming for this effect with her boy's uniform but can't quite pull it off due to the Most Common Superpower.
  • Sister Denmark from Scandinavia and the World. In the comic entitled "Confusion", France (one of the only countries so far primarily personified as female) propositions Sister Denmark believing her to be an androgynous-looking man only to be disappointed and angry when the clothes come off and she discovers her mistake.
  • Brooke Lynn of Eerie Cuties is one complete with 'That guy from summer camp.' Cue Cross-Popping Veins and possible Berserk Button.
  • Some female readers of The Meek were shocked to learn that Soli was a girl...and even more shocked when they realized how little they cared. And now she's surprised at least one person in-universe.
  • Pieta of The Watcher Of Yaathagggu due to her fairly androgynous figure, the clothing she wears and the lack of other characters addressing her for most of the first chapter.
  • In this Drowtales Self-Parody, it's Played for Laughs:
    Phani: Had she the look of a real woman, she sould have been more lucky in love.
    Zala: Do not mock her so. It is not her fault if she looks like a man... a very pretty man.
  • In a few strips in Sinfest, Monique played around with dressing and styling her hair in a very androgynous way to mess with Seymour and have fun with Slick and Squig, but after being exposed to the Patriarchy, she adopted this look as her default appearance.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Cybersix: The title character's secret identity involves wearing glasses, recombing her hair and dressing as an English teacher named Adrian, and manages to fool everyone). She dresses in much looser clothes which hide her figure and speaks in a lower voice.
  • Sonic Sat AM: Sally Acorn is an unintentional example. She is pretty much one of the only female characters in the entire franchise to dress in the same manner as the males.
  • Steven Universe: Pearl wears a tux in the Musical Episode "Mr. Greg", and pulls off the look quite well.

    Real Life 
  • Female crossplayers are a particular real-life version of this trope, as groups will often pick their most masculine-looking female friends to cosplay Bishounen characters. This will often lead to bizarre situations occurring at Anime conventions, though people have generally learned not to question the gender of those entering bathrooms.
  • "Otokoyaku" (boy role) actresses in Takarazuka Revue. Often leading to copious amounts of Even the Girls Want Her.
  • In Andrew Loomis's Drawing the Head & Hands, he more or less sums up this trope when he talks about how artists have more leeway in drawing masculine-looking women than feminine-looking men (keeping in mind this was in the early 20th century, before bishonen characters became popular).
  • Genderqueer androgynous model Rain Dove.
  • Swedish model Erika Linder. She is a model for both women's and men's fashion.
  • Pete Burns, bisexual lead singer of Dead or Alive, managed to invert this trope. He had been cosmetically changing his appearance to resemble a woman before he married his wife of nearly 30 years. So feminine was he in his appearance already that when they applied for a marriage license, the clerk snarkily asked which one was the bride. Burns was not amused, recalling it as a "feeble joke" and the only thing that ruined such a perfect memory for him. In general, he was known for passing off a feminine look very well, at least until his surgery money ran out and he encountered one botched operation after another - his hobby was going under the knife to change his style whenever he felt like it, but that all changed when he met the wrong doctor. Sadly, he was unable to repair the damage before he died.
  • Julie d'Aubigny, more famously knows as La Maupin, was a real life example from 17th century France. The daughter of the secretary of Louis XIV's Master of Horse, she grew up learning to ride and swordfight, and dressed as a boy from an early age. Later on, she ran off with her swordfighting instructor and made a living as a cross dressing fencer. She later joined the Paris Opera where her singing voice and androgynous looks made her quite popular, especially with the ladies. This actually got her in trouble when she defeated three noblemen in an illegal duel when they challenged her after she kissed a lady they were courting, forcing her into exile in Belgium. Later in life, she had a relationship with Marie Louise Thérèse de Senneterre, la Marquise de Florensac, and was devastated when she died, retiring from the opera and entering into a convent, where she died at the age of 33.
  • Cara Delevingne is gorgeous but could pass for a feminine guy sometimes.


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