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Butch Lesbian

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The contrasting counterpart to the feminine Lipstick Lesbian, the Butch Lesbian (also called a Masc Lesbian) is typically clad in heavy work boots, jeans or overalls, a leather vest, plain t-shirts, and other conventionally unfeminine attire — perhaps switching to a men's suit if she wants to look particularly classy. She's living proof that Gender Nonconforming Equals Gay. She'll have a short haircut or buzz cut and stereotypically male job (trucker, construction, landscaper), and often be taller and bulkier than her femme counterpart, though a lanky or Pint-Sized Powerhouse build is not unheard of. Breast-binding is optional, as is using a Tomboyish Name or even masculine pronouns. She will probably be vocal about gay rights and feminism (sometimes to the point of being a Straw Feminist), and may also be quite sporty (e.g. soccer, field hockey, softball). She may be a Badass Biker and ride a Harley in a leather jacket. On many occasions, especially at work in her construction hat, she can be mistaken for a man, and even the audience might make that mistake until a Gender Reveal.

Traditionally, butch lesbians are paired up with high femmes or Lipstick Lesbians. The overuse of this trope sometimes comes under fire for allegedly enforcing a quasi-male/female gender dynamic in homosexual relationships. A saying within the gay community is that a butch lesbian is "steel covering velvet" while a lipstick lesbian is "velvet covering steel". That's not too much of an exaggeration, as the toughest-looking Butch Lesbian can be cuddly and friendly to those she likes.

While Butch Lesbians are often poorly represented or offensively stereotyped, one existing in fiction is not a bad thing, and there are many sensitive and realistic portrayals, including ones created as self-images by real butch women. Some characters may openly self-identify as butch.

In Japanese anime and manga, expect the butch lesbian to be portrayed in a more positive but possibly fanservicey fashion. The name for a butch lesbian in Yuri community is tachi, which comes from the term tachiyaku (the player of a male role in Kabuki). Because of her natural self-confidence, she'll usually be successful in her romantic endeavors.

May overlap with Ambiguously Gay. The butch lesbian can be seen as the Distaff Counterpart to the Camp Gay stereotype (in embracing the conventional characteristics of the opposite sex). See also Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple if she has a femme girlfriend. Villains of this type will often be depicted as Psycho Lesbians.

No Real Life Examples, Please!, as this is subjective and speculative. In addition to being likely to encourage gossip and rumors about celebrities and edit wars, TV Tropes has a rule of no Real Life examples for Sex Tropes.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ymir from Attack on Titan, is one of the tallest characters and has a lean, muscular build. This results in some fans confusing her for an attractive male at first, especially since she wears a tunic and trousers when out of uniform. While she wears her shoulder-length hair in a ponytail with a decorative clip, she's noted for her abrasive and crude personality, as well as her masculine way of speaking. Reiner refers to her as a woman that doesn't look interested in men, something she readily agrees with. Her Love Interest, Krista/Historia, is petite and exceptionally feminine in comparison.
  • Lynn Lambretta of Bodacious Space Pirates, a rare example of a butch lesbian who is still portrayed as attractive. She does end up paired with Jenny Doolittle, a Lipstick Lesbian.
  • Dear Brother: Rei Asaka/Hana No Saint Juste is this trope played straight. Nanako is her femme counterpart.
  • Though her sexuality isn't made explicit, Brauma Ik from The Five Star Stories is designed after this aesthetic. Interesting, considering how waifish Mamoru Nagano's women usually are...
  • Zorin Blitz from Hellsing. In the manga, one of the other characters even calls her a bull dyke as an insult...which is ironic as the Nazis targeted homosexuals as well as Jewish people.
  • Kase of Kase-san is a short-haired, boyish track star who was widely rumoured to be a lesbian even before she got into a relationship with her girlfriend, Yamada. Yamada herself regularly describes her as 'beautiful and sort of boyish'.
  • Akira Kenjou in KiraKira★Pretty Cure à la Mode, who's so butch that several characters mistake her for a boy—including Ichika, who promptly crushes on Akira until her father points out Akira is a girl. For bonus points, her Cure form, Chocolat, is the Pretty Cure of Strength and Love.
  • In the manga Maka-Maka, Jun is a smoking, cocky, independent young woman to Nene's Lipstick Lesbian.
  • Hiraga Gennai in Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, to the point that many people think that she's a man on first meeting her.
  • A butch/femme lesbian couple is seen in a chapter of Pet Shop of Horrors Tokyo. One mentions to Count D that while their union isn't legally binding, "I'm her husband and she is my wife". The couple laments their inability to have children, but at the end of chapter one of the women is seen pregnant, having eaten a cake made with eggs that cause pregnancies. It's not explained how the pregnant woman is going to explain her condition to her partner...
  • Haruka Ten'oh/Sailor Uranus in Sailor Moon, as compared to her 'femme' girlfriend Michiru Kaioh/Sailor Neptune. This is significantly played up in the '90s anime, where she is only rarely depicted in women's clothes, while in the manga she is occasionally shown in dresses (and in the final series is forced to wear a girl's uniform when she switches schools).
  • The tomboyish captain of the volleyball team, lesbian Takarazuka girl Jun Ootori has a crush on Hibari in Stop Hibari Kun and is tsundere towards her.
  • Martha in Str.A.In.: Strategic Armored Infantry is a subversion, as is Ermengarde for the Lipstick Lesbian. They are deliberately set up to resemble these stock characters, and they're often seen together. There are two lesbians in the team, but it isn't them.

    Comic Books 
  • Alan Ford in his latest (past 500) volumes has a duo of incompetent villains and former singers named Tigre and Mammolo (Tiger and Pansy), a boyish-looking butch lesbian and her massive but very camp gay associate. She even flirts with the female lead Minuette, note  before learning that she's married. Generally speaking, lesbian characters who appear are either this or bifauxnen.
  • Peter Bagge's Apocalypse Nerd features a women's only commune eking out a living in the Cascade Mountains after North Korea nuked Seattle. Their leader, Lynn, and most of the other women sport buzzcuts and hairy legs, perform hard manual labor, are always armed, and are drawn in a way that makes them look buff. When Perry convinces Midge to allow him to stay for a while, she tells him that she ended up there because she broke up with her boyfriend and got involved with a girl there, but have since broken up. She tells him she won't get involved with anyone else there because there's too much Unresolved Sexual Tension as it is.
  • Batwoman: Played With in regards to Kate Kane in various ways:
    • When she was introduced in her civilian appearance in 52 it was as Reneé Montoya's ex-girlfriend, and she was wearing a stunning dress while having long red hair. Her superhero persona was pretty much Batman with a stylish mask, high heels and long flowing red hair of femininity. When she was reintroduced in her solo title, she was re-designed as having flat-heels in her superhero personae (the original heels were explained as the only boots her dad could find in red), her flowing red hair was now a wig to conceal her civilian identity as the short-haired Kate Kane, and she was given several tattoos that weren't present in 52.
    • In her backstory, Kate initially dressed fairly typically for a middle-school-aged, athletic girl. Later, as a West Point cadet, she was far more masculine, wearing Boyish Short Hair and opting for pants with her dress uniforms instead of a skirt.
    • In Detective Comics (2016), Kate has her hair buzzed, but her civilian clothes tend to be on the feminine side, and she even wears a wig at one point that mimics her hairstyle from the New 52.
    • The DC Pride story "The Wrong Side of the Looking Glass" depicts Kate as not only wearing masculine clothes and hairstyles as a high-schooler, but makes clear that she was having feelings of gender variance at the time because of it, not understanding why she didn't feel traditionally feminine.
    • Kate actually lampshades her appearance when she shows up at a high scale society dinner wearing a female cut tuxedo and as her step-mother points out:
      Catherine: Oh Kate, why couldn't you wear something more... Appropriate?... Not that I don't approve, It's your life, of course. I just didn't think it's appropriate for a formal event. It is like you are trying to draw attention to yourself.
      Kate: No, just making sure that I don't stay hidden.
      (she then went on to meet her future girlfriend Maggie Sawyer)
      Maggie: The good thing about a tuxedo (smash cut to Maggie wearing a full tuxedo while grinning like mad) You don't feel bad when other people show up wearing the same thing.
  • The Black Cat once faced off against a villainess team called "Leather and Lace". Leather dressed in a dominatrix outfit and appeared to be on steroids, while Lace wore pink lingerie and flew around in a cloud of golden sparkles. They haven't had a second appearance.
  • Bitchy Butch, the lesbian counterpart to Roberta Gregory's Bitchy Bitch character. Though comically stereotypical in many regards, (and like her straight counterpart, her short fuse is just part of her personality) she's still ultimately a sympathetic character.
  • Blue Is the Warmest Color: Emma's girlfriend Sabine, who dresses in a very masculine manner, can easily be mistaken for being a man, sports a buzz cut, and is an outspoken LGBT activist.
  • Dean, the leader of the vampire biker gang from Charm School.
  • Gus from Circles is a lesbian who is big and strong and hits the gym with Ken and his buds. She has a passion for boxing and can beat up any jerk they encounter. She also has a Lipstick Lesbian girlfriend named Lucy.
  • A theme of Alison Bechdel's autobiographical Fun Home is coming to terms with her identity as a butch lesbian as her closeted gay father keeps trying to push femininity on her, among other things yelling at her to wear pearls with an outfit. Her cousins nicknamed her butch as a kid, a nickname she loved even before she knew what it really meant. At another point, she was eating at a diner with her dad when a big, truck driving "bull dyke" comes in and little Alison was amazed that there were women who wore men's clothes and had short hair, and she describes how on some level she "recognized her with a surge of joy".
  • Gender Queer: A Memoir: Most of the women whom Maia dates are this, with short hair and very tomboyish attires.
  • Susan Veraghen in Grendel is an Apunkalyptic Butch Lesbian Samurai.
  • The Invisibles has Jolly Roger, an attractive lesbian biker with short-cropped hair, an eyepatch, and a fondness for over-the-top firearms.
  • Hopey in Love and Rockets tends to the butch, although her dress sense and hair vary over the years (but after the Time Skip in New Stories 4, she's the butchest she's ever been, with cropped hair, polo shirts, and male-styled spectacles). Several more minor characters tend to the trope, including the aptly named Bull Marie and bisexual Lois. Maggie's aunt Vicki Glori is very sensitive about people assuming she's a Butch Lesbian because of her hairstyle, physique, and profession as a wrestler. Gilbert Hernandez's work tends more to Lipstick Lesbians or femme bisexuals, but Maricela is mildly butch.
  • Rat Queens has Faeyri, Betty's off-and-on girlfriend. Faeyri has short hair, piercings, muscles, and a penchant for tank tops.
  • Hazel, from the "A Game of You" story arc of The Sandman (1989). She's a woman with a butch appearance, though her personality is very gentle.
  • Roxanne Richter from Scott Pilgrim. She's somewhat a Downplayed example as she does dress casually and have short pigtails, but a fierce fighter and a skilled sword-user. She's maltempered though her job is as an artist and she remains somewhat amiable with Ramona.
  • Dr. Chelli Aphra, introduced in Star Wars: Darth Vader. She's short-haired, often dirty, mechanically minded, feisty, dressed in a rather masculine style and she loves the ladies. It's confirmed that she was involved with Sana Starros in the past. Later she and Magna Tolvan become an item as well.
  • Maggie Sawyer was rather butch in her earlier Superman appearances, to get the message across without actually saying anything.
  • Viz has a character called Millie Tant, a strident feminist who has all the stereotypical butch features.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Quinn Thomas' sexual preferences are never confirmed but she's a walking stereotype so it probably wasn't felt that it needed spelling out. There are also pretty heavy-handed hints she has a crush on Diana.

    Comic Strips 
  • Bloom County: One of Binkley's anxieties is Betsy Marple, the first girl he'll ever kiss because he will utterly humiliate both of them in the process. Betsy, who "end[s] up in a lesbian terrorist group", wears John Lennon-style glasses, a strange hairstyle something like a braided mullet, and an unflattering tank top, apparently without a bra.
  • Lois McGiver from Dykes to Watch Out For. Also Clarice, Ana, June, and a few others, including Alison Bechdel's Author Avatar Mo, to varying extents. Some of them including Lois, Mo, and Clarice specifically identify themselves or are described by other characters as butch.
  • Unintentionally done in Dilbert. Following reader complaints that Tina the Tech Writer was too stereotypically female, he created "AnTina", the anti-Tina, a female character who had a liking for sports, a muscular build, and short hair. Readers were not happy with her either, claiming Adams was making fun of lesbians.

    Fan Works 
  • Antipodes: Incendia is a the leader of a rebellion, has been self-trained in combat, can definitely take a hit, and develops a strong crush on the more feminine Tiptoe.
  • Boiling Isles and Beyond: Lilith is a downplayed version. She was sporty in her youth and wore a tuxedo during her wedding, but other then that is pretty Straight Gay.
  • Junior Officers:
    • Tweak and Anita, two mechanics with no qualms about getting dirty, and who are in a relationship with each other.
    • Sarabi, who is gruff and aggressive.
  • One of the most prominent Original Characters featured in the Punch-Out!! fanfic Ma Fille is Flying Feather, a muscular boxer second only to Mr. Sandman, who has a wife and daughter.
  • Natural Selection: Ryuko Kiryuin zig-zags this trope. Her overall personality as an aggressive, foul-mouthed tomboy falls within this archetype, but her dress code tends to fall more within the Lipstick Lesbian trope due to featuring a lot of silk and dresses.
  • Ruby and Nora let Vernal keep her canon attire while being in a relationship with Raven.
  • Song of a Northern Sorcerer has the very athletic, blunt and unrefined Lyanna wondering why she doesn't find appealing the prospect of getting married. She first believes her betrothed Robert's unrelenting whoring is the cause, only for Princess Elia Martell to become her Closet Key and enlighten her to the existence of "lady's ladies". Lyanna is mentioned to find Rhaegar Targaryen pretty, but he's just that beautiful and it pales compared to her attraction for Elia.
  • Stoneybrook Revisited: A Baby-Sitters Club Fan Series: The tomboyish Kristy is married to a woman.
  • Wicked Wiles: Dwarfs gender the world differently from humans but, in human terms, Grumpy would be a butch he/him lesbian. He's masculine, especially compared to his Lipstick Lesbian life-mate.
  • The Weaver Option: Taylor ends up in a loving relationship with Wei Cao. Taylor prefers to wear pants when possible and is heavily involved with the military.
  • We Can Be Heroes! (Steven Universe): Handy and Gunshow are as feisty and tomboyish as Rubies typically are, and are deeply in love with each other.
  • In The Price of Flight, Kiiki Pekisaalen is wiry, athletic, short-haired and tomboyish. It worried her commanding officer Olga Romanoff that she simply had not realised that two of her pilots were in a full physical relationship even when all the signs were there. The other half, Marina Raskova, is a homely Rodinian girl, well on her way to becoming a fairly stereotypical Husky Russkie in terms of build and look. In this case, two variations on the theme of Butch Lesbian elected to get it together. They end up happily married and running a reindeer ranch together in Swommi.

    Films — Animated 
  • Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse: When Miles attempts to escape the Spider Society base, a very masculine young woman can be seen in the foreground of the crowd he runs into; thick build, short hair, and a sleeveless top to show her muscular arms. She instantly dons an intimidating suit of spider-armor for the ensuing chase. Word of God states that this woman is a variant of Anya Corazón.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The documentary The Aggressives was about the culture of black butch lesbians (or "aggressives") in New York City.
  • Alena: Josefin in the film is portrayed as a downplayed example, wearing pretty masculine clothing and though her hair is still long it's in a less than feminine style.
  • Anna and the Apocalypse: Steph, who mentions she's got a girlfriend, has Boyish Short Hair and masculine attire.
  • Below Her Mouth: Dallas, who sports short hair, dresses in a very masculine manner, and works at a stereotypically male job along with her sexuality. She's also the top in all the sexual encounters she has with women.
  • Bit:
    • Roya wears very masculine clothing, has short hair, and has a terse, blunt personality. She's a lesbian like the rest of her group.
    • Duke, their leader, is a more soft butch lesbian. She's got a hairstyle similar to a mohawk, wears leather at all times, with a hard-edged personality and a punk style overall.
  • Blue Jean: Jean has short hair and fairly masculine clothing. Her girlfriend Viv is a bit more butch, with even shorter hair while she usually wears punk-style clothing. A couple of their friends and other lesbians who visit their local gay bar also have butch looks. Jean also works as a PE teacher, which is a less stereotypically feminine job.
  • Bodies Bodies Bodies:
    • Downplayed. Calling Bee butch might be a stretch, as she simply dresses more tomboyish compared to her girlfriend, Sophie.
    • Jordan dresses in rather masculine clothes, doesn't shave her armpits, and wears no makeup for the entire film (which even Bee, the other more tomboyish girl in the cast, dons at some point). She also slept with Sophie, or so she claims.
  • The Boondock Saints had an incident of this in the opening credits of the film: though Rosengurtle Baumgartner's sexuality is never brought up, her attire and mannerisms (and subsequent kicking of one of the brothers in the crotch for cracking jokes about her 'Rule of Thumb' rant) solidify her as a member of this trope. She also has a tattoo on her neck that reads 'Untouched by man'.
  • Gina Gershon plays Corky, a butch lesbian in Bound (1996), who Gershon modelled after James Dean. She has very short hair and masculine attire similar to a 50s greaser. Director Lana Wachowski included some details of lesbian culture into the film such as Corky's labrys tattoo, a symbol of lesbianism and female resilience. In one scene, she's even mistaken for a man by Joe Pantoliano's character.
  • But I'm a Cheerleader: Subverted quite brilliantly with Jan, the most butch girl, who realizes that she's straight. Graham is however a straight example, pun definitely intended, though a soft butch.
  • Causeway: Lynsey is gay and works as a soldier, with a tomboyish style overall.
  • Chasing Amy: Alyssa's lover Kim and several other women in the lesbian bar have short hair with masculine clothing.
  • Clueless: Downplayed with Ms. Stoeger. Cher guesses her to be a lesbian after seeing her trying to impress another female teacher with her athletic skills, but it's never explicitly confirmed. She works as a gym teacher, dresses in very androgynous clothes, does have long hair but she always wears it in a sloppy unstyled ponytail, and doesn't wear makeup. When she attends a wedding, she wears a suit and tie rather than a dress.
  • Cynara: Poetry in Motion: Byron has long hair, but always dresses in a man's shirt, coat, trousers and boots, which was much more shocking in 1883, while pursuing another women without shame or hesitation.
  • Dope: Diggy is a lesbian and dresses in a very masculine fashion, to the point of her being mistaken for a boy often.
  • Drive-Away Dolls: Some minor lesbian characters in the bars Jamie and Marian visit have masculine styles, e.g. short punk haircuts with cut off shirts.
  • Femme Fatale (2002): Laure sports this look at the beginning of the film, having a toned physical appearance and short haircut while seducing Veronica. Later she also has sex with Bardo, so she's likely not a lesbian. Still, her sexuality is left ambiguous.
  • Depicted and discussed throughout Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives.
  • Foxfire (1996): Legs is indicated to be one, sporting short hair and having masculine clothing. Goldie in the book is a lesbian as well, but her sexual orientation isn't specified in the film (although implied as she retains this look).
  • Gia: Not too butch but Gia does sport a short haircut and dresses more androgynous (when she's not modeling), along with some tomboyish mannerisms in comparison to her lover Linda.
  • In If These Walls Could Talk 2, three lipstick lesbians are downright hostile to and jealous of the Butch Lesbian their fourth housemate has begun dating, outright forcibly removing her leather jacket and trying to dress her in more feminine clothes when she comes to their house for dinner until the latter stops them.
  • The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love: Randy is a tomboy who has boyish short hair, wearing flannel shirts and shorts most of the time. She dates two women during the film. Her aunt Rebecca is also one.
  • Jack & Diane: A mild example. Jack, a lesbian, has short hair and wears boyish clothes at all times (except while swimming). Otherwise though she has none of the stereotypical traits.
  • Heavily coded in the 1933 film Ladies They Talk About. Linda gives a tour of the jail to Nan and says to watch out for the one woman because she "likes to wrestle." She is always seen smoking a cigar and wearing masculine clothing.
  • Life Partners: Sasha is a downplayed example. Though not so butch as some, she is the most tomboyish of the lesbians who appear in the film, including both girlfriends whom she's with.
  • Lost and Delirious: Paulie (though she claims not to be a lesbian, just into Tori specifically), would be a downplayed example, something of a ladette by her appearance and behavior.
  • Love Lies Bleeding: Jackie (a female bodybuilder) is in a lesbian relationship with Lou, who comes off as more butch with her mullet, tank tops and pickup truck. Midway through the film Jackie clarifies she's bisexual. This is apparently what Lou is into, given her copy of Macho Sluts.
  • Maggie & Annie: Maggie has short hair, wears boyish attire, works as a mechanic and loves softball. Her lesbian friends all have the same style. We see a couple others too in the bar they take Annie to one night, with one hitting on her.
  • Margarita: Jane is a mild example, with short hair and more masculine clothing. However, she's otherwise not an example (i.e. in personality or interests).
  • My Animal: Downplayed by Heather, a young lesbian who likes to wear flannel, fairly masculine clothing overall with shorter hair and work out. She cuts her hair to a buzz cut level near the end of the film.
  • Played for Laughs in My Fellow Americans. The Camp Gay Secret Service agent offers to help the former presidents hitch a ride with some friends of his. Gilligan Cut to the ex-president (not the biggest of men) on the back of some motorbikes driven by a chapter of the "Dykes on Bikes" motorcycle club behind two burly women.
    Kramer: (shakily) I ought to change my stance on gays in the military. The Army could use a few of them gals.
  • The New Mutants: When you take her short hair and masculine clothing into account, Rahne definitely gives off this kind of vibe. This is downplayed though since she's otherwise not really butch.
  • Not Okay: Harper is a mild example, with very short hair, wearing dress shirts and ties over pants, and having a Tomboyish Name. She's established as queer early on.
  • The Novice: Dani wears tanktops with pants most of the time, has Boyish Short Hair and sees Alex, another woman. She's the most masculine of any woman in the film.
  • Risa from Out at the Wedding is a butch lesbian who is hired by the (straight) protagonist to pretend to be her girlfriend.
  • Princess Cyd: Katie seems like an example, with her hair in a mohawk and having pretty masculine clothing. However, she's actually short and slim, while not having a stereotypically masculine job (she's a barista). At one point she's mistaken for male, while Miranda even wonders if she's transgender (though it's uncertain).
  • In The Producers, one of the members of Roger DeBris' stage crew is this, serving as the sole female of his crew.
  • Rafiki: Kena is a downplayed example, with very short hair and a more masculine clothing style, who's into playing soccer against guys she knows, while not seen having female friends, only them. She also only reluctantly puts on a dress once, and then quickly takes it off. The film is about her relationship with another woman, while she doesn't show interest in men that way at all.
    Blacksta: Kena? She plays [soccer] like one of the guys!
  • Ready Player One (2018): Aech, aka Helen is a very butch Black woman in "real life." Her online persona is not just male, but a big, burly ogre of a warrior. Wade is a bit surprised about it, as between Aech's online persona and their conversations about hot girls, Wade always assumed Aech was male.
  • Riot Girls: Scratch is a lesbian punk who wears a leather jacket (with epaulets), she sports a mohawk and gets described as giving "zero fucks", with an aggressive, tough attitude. However, in truth, she does have a soft side, especially toward her girlfriend Nat.
  • Room in Rome: Alba has short hair and wears pretty masculine clothing. It's downplayed however as nothing else about her is that butch.
  • She Hate Me: One batch of Armstrong's customers consists of these, with more masculine styles and in a few cases too a far more aggressive attitude in bed.
  • Sheroes: Ryder is an athlete who's very skilled at martial arts and skateboarding with very short hair, who often wears flannel shirts and leather jackets. She has a relationship with Daisy, her more girly female friend.
  • Signature Move: Zaynab is a short-haired lesbian, wearing men's suits while at her job as a lawyer, or masculine shirts and jeans when off work. She also works out frequently and as a result has a trim, muscular build. Her mother Parveen chides her for this, saying it makes her look too much like a man (she's unaware of Zaynab's sexuality at first). A supporting character, Killian, is also a lesbian with even more masculine attire and her hair in a mohawk.
  • Tár: Lydia Tár is a lesbian who wears tailored suits, has a domineering and confrontational personality, and prefers to be called "maestro" rather than the feminine "maestra." She also introduces herself as her daughter's father at one point, and takes on the stereotypical "fatherly" role compared to her wife.
  • They/Them (2022): Although she's actually bisexual, Veronica fits the butch stereotype quite well, with short hair, masculine clothing, and aggressive attitude (as that was toward the conversion therapy camp staff, one can't blame her), ending up with Lipstick Lesbian Kim. Her bisexuality is also an Informed Attribute, as Kim is the only one Veronica shows attraction to.
  • Unpregnant: Bailey is something of a tomboy in her attitude and dress style, but isn't really full on butch, though it turns out she's a lesbian. She meets a butch lesbian however at the carnival, flirting with and briefly kissing her.
  • V for Vendetta: Valerie's girlfriend Ruth is a downplayed example. She's first seen dressed as a man, sporting short hair, while Valerie always has it long.
  • When Evil Calls: Kirsty, downplayed. She's far more tomboyish and even a ladette in comparison with her very feminine lover Molly, sporting a short haircut too.
  • Yes or No: Kim is pegged for one by most people from the get go due to her masculine appearance, but denies it initially. She turns out to be one though. Kim has very short hair, wears shirts (whose sleeves she rolls up) and jeans. There are also other butch lesbians with similar looks in the films.

  • A group of concentration camp inmates from the autobiographical book by Dutch author Anton Tellegen.
  • Black Dogs: Sinai always has short hair, wears entirely leather masculine clothing and carries a sword strapped onto her back which she's quite good with, while having a female lover.
  • The Chronicles of Dorsa:
    • Joslyn is a tough, taciturn woman who's quite stoic at first. She has short hair (at least relative to female norms in the story-shoulder length). As a soldier and bodyguard, she's usually in a military uniform with her sword. Given her profession, Joslyn has a muscular build and is very skilled with a sword. Eventually, she and Princess Tasia (whom she's charged to protect) fall for each other. She's explicitly slightly taller than Tasia too.
    • In the third book, Megs and Akella are introduced. While they don't get described as much, both of them are also women warriors (Megs a soldier, Akella a pirate) who fall for each other (while they both also had other female lovers). They both appear to wear masculine clothing too.
  • Ciaphas Cain: Corporal Mari Magot is a Fiery Redhead of a soldier and a Blood Knight, and is implied to be in a relationship with Grifen, a fellow soldier.
  • Circle of Magic:
    • Daja, the most tomboyish of the three main female characters, is eventually revealed to be gay. She's a magical metal-smith, very fit, and an outright Action Girl. She does have long hair, although it's usually braided up in her people's traditional style.
    • Of the main protagonists' foster mothers, Lark fits into the Lipstick Lesbian role, while the testier, short-haired gardener Rosethorn fits closer to this trope (although she's actually bi).
  • A Confederacy of Dunces features a group of rowdy, fightin' lesbians who associate with a group of Camp Gay men.
  • Eugenie Danglars in The Count of Monte Cristo is strong-willed and resistant to marriage, and begins dressing as a man when she runs away with her femme piano teacher (whom she is at one point discovered in bed with).
  • Diane from Dark Places is a big woman with short hair and a no-nonsense attitude, and she lives with Valerie, a woman who is "as delicate and motherly as Diane was big and hulking."
  • De skandalösa by Simona Ahrnstedt has Nora Gripklo as a 17th-century example of this trope, especially if you compare her to her beautiful and docile Lipstick Lesbian lover Venus Dag och Natt. Nora used to be a tomboy, who loved to hang out with her brother Gabriel and learned how to steer a ship. And as a grown woman, she is more brassy and "mannish" than a lady was supposed to be in that era.
  • Yanang Bai in Destructive Harmonics. She's a wiry, weight-lifting 5'2" motorcycle-riding Boisterous Bruiser and the only member of an all-female heavy metal band to have short hair. She also, in-universe, placed Number Two in an online "Hottest Butches" list—she was pleased to be nominated but resented coming in second to Rachel Maddow (a self-described "big lesbian who looks like a man").
  • In an Older Than Feudalism example, in one of Dialogues Of The Courtesans by Lucian of Samosata, one of the courtesans, Lena, is explicitly seduced by a woman who reveals herself as a bald, masculine lesbian named Megilla who refers to herself as a boy and has already "married" a matron. The details aren't told, as Lena found them too disgusting to remember. Some have interpreted Megilla as a trans man however, given the male self-reference and reacting badly to being called a woman, plus preferring "Megillos" (i.e. the male version of "Megilla", though granted that could go either way).
  • Dragonvarld: Bellona is a short-haired, aggressive warrior woman who wears very masculine clothing (armor frequently early on) and even passes as a man for years. She's taciturn and shows little emotion, let alone affection, to anyone but her lover Melisande.
  • Karina from Elancia Chronicles is an abnormally tall anthropomorphic dog-woman, who is built like a tank, highly skilled in combat, and secretly has feelings for other women.
  • Anti-Villain Tiphane D'Ath in S. M. Stirling's Emberverse.
  • The title character of Friday by Robert A. Heinlein runs into these on occasion, and while not encouraging their advances does respond to them due to her Really Gets Around nature—they turn out to be good kissers.
  • Idgie in Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe with Ruth as her femme counterpart. (Although, while the book is quite explicit that they love each other, any sexual aspect of their relationship is left to subtext.)
  • The mother of gangsta rapper 50 Cent, according to his autobiography From Pieces to Weight: Once upon a Time in Southside Queens. She bought him his first bike and taught him to deal crack.
  • Gideon, the titular protagonist of Gideon the Ninth, is tall, buff, and short-haired, is very into sword-fighting, and has more than a passing interest in the ladies.
  • Dekka in the Gone series demonstrates some masculine traits and isn't very feminine overall, is tough and good in a fight, and is in love with her female friend Brianna.
  • John Doe from jPod was raised on a commune of radical-leftist-hippy-butch-lesbians.
  • Last Night at the Telegraph Club: Lily is immediately drawn to a picture of the drag king Tommy Andrews, and later also sees many other lesbians dressed in masculine garb while visiting the Telegraph Club. It's made clear she finds them appealing and she'd noticed such women before. They're described as wearing men's clothing and having short hair. Jean, Kath's friend, has this style too. Lily soon meets many more and Kath herself adopts the butch style too in time. Rhonda pegged Kath for a "baby butch" a mile away earlier.
  • Maria Watches Over Us:
    • Subverted with the very close cousins Rei and Yoshino. Rei looks like the typical Butch, so an outsider like Yumi believes that it's Rei who's wearing the trousers in the relationship. Soon she finds out that she couldn't be more wrong.
    • Sei's design, especially in the manga adaptation, is similar to a stereotypical butch. It's even more so after she graduates high school. She cuts her hair very short and starts wearing pants more often (due to a lack of school uniform in university).
  • Kirika from Masks of Aygrima is very aggressive and mean and acts as The Big Girl of the girls from the wagon. She is revealed to have started a relationship with Prella another girl from the wagon in the third book.
  • A Master of Djinn: Fatma likes to wear bowler hats, very nice suits and has a cane. She also wears her hair short and she works as a detective, being among the few women doing this. Due to this, she also gets mistaken for a handsome young man repeatedly, indicating her style makes her look bifauxnen. She's secretly lovers with Nubian woman Siti.
  • The One Who Eats Monsters: Described as a tomboy by other characters, Ryn is aghast at the idea of wearing high heels, and considers pants a technological leap over the skirt.
  • Sarah Dowling from Patience and Sarah comes from a family with only daughters. Her father decided to raise his biggest daughter similarly to a son, so since age nine Sarah has been her father's surrogate son. She wears men's clothes and does manual labor, which is scandalous in the 1810s setting of the work. Sarah is quite tomboyish and Hates Wearing Dresses. Patience falls in Love at First Sight with Sarah. Sarah in turn easily falls for Patience (and only ever loves Patience).
  • Several in the works of Mary Renault: Colonna Kimball in Purposes Of Love, Thalestris in The King Must Die, Axiothea in The Mask Of Apollo. Axiothea is based on a real character, one of Plato's two female pupils, who "is said to have worn men's clothes".
  • Presidential: Downplayed by Jill, one of Connie's Secret Service agents. She's a lesbian who's described as having a large build and she wears a flannel shirt while not wearing her uniform. As a supporting character though she doesn't get described much further or focused on.
  • Talia (Sleeping Beauty) from The Princess Series might be considered this, if athleticism and aggression in a lesbian character (which she is) are enough to qualify. Besides a fighter, she is a cynical, blunt-speaking Broken Bird. Her traits are more apparent by contrast with her more "femme" love interests, especially Faziya the healer.
  • Redfern Jon Barrett's 'ambitopian' novel Proud Pink Sky is set in the world's first gay state – and features Diesel, a district just for butch lesbians.
  • Reign of the Seven Spellblades: Lesedi Ingwe is a tall, muscular Kick Chick with a long-running grudge against resident Depraved Bisexual Khiirgi Albschuch for seducing several past girlfriends of hers and then making them cry.
  • The Rollerskater saga has an interesting example in Chelsea Rose. Chelsea is a trans woman and presents somewhat feminine, but eschews dresses and makeup in favour of jeans, T-shirts and leather jackets. It is stated in one chapter that Chelsea's choice to present less feminine is a result of her realising that there is more than one way to be a woman.
  • Various characters in the Sarah Waters canon would be considered butch, though (due to the time period) they're not wearing the dungarees regalia. Not only are they mostly sympathetic, it's acknowledged they can even be attractive. Nan in Tipping the Velvet looks masculine to the extent she can pass as a rent boy. She later joins a community of lesbians who have a word for a butch woman: "uncle". Waters' butches are generally teamed up with feminine girls; a butch in The Night Watch even reflects 'You couldn't go with a girl from the same side'.
  • Seveneves has Tekla, a butch Russian cosmonaut and samboist who sports a crew cut and thinks that courage is the most important trait to give to her offspring, which eventually results in her genetic line becoming specialized as super-soldiers.
  • Winter Ihernglass in The Shadow Campaigns, who also combines Sweet Polly Oliver (she initially has to crossdress to join the Army) and Wholesome Crossdresser (even when the Army starts accepting female troops and she could legitimately drop the masculine disguise, she chooses to continue wearing short hair and male-variant uniforms).
  • The Sirantha Jax Series: Dina is described as a butch blonde woman who can "bring home a girl who's never looked twice at her own sex". None of Dina's exploits are shown "on-camera" but she mentions them via innuendo on a regular basis. She also works as a ship mechanic.
  • Many characters in Stone Butch Blues, including the protagonist Jess. Jess takes hormones to pass as a man because she can't find any cultural space to be a butch woman.
  • Swan's Braid & Other Tales of Terizan:
    • Swan is a short-haired lesbian who's a rather masculine warrior as well.
    • Terizan, the lesbian protagonist, is a tomboy who isn't described as much but probably also falls into this, with short hair herself.
  • Tales of the Pack:
    • Mitch is initially presented as a lesbian girl who dresses so masculine that Lexie mistakes her initially for a boy, while she's also fine being called he. Subverted however in Hungry Ghost when it turns out he's a trans man though.
    • Lexie is later drawn to Archer, a female carpenter and woodcutter who wears masculine clothes who's a lesbian as well.
    • In the sequel Hungry Ghost Randy is introduced, a lesbian with very short hair who likes to wear leather jackets, boots, flannel shirts and rides around on a motorcycle.
  • Tell Me How You Really Feel: Rachel is a short-haired, tomboyish lesbian whose outfits always consist of t-shirts and jeans, with a blunt, abrasive personality (at first).
  • Verge: Stories: The protagonist of the Short Story "Mechanics" is a masculine lesbian named Eddie. She's a car mechanic and claims her father inadvertently taught her to be "the man of the house."
  • Stephen Gordon in The Well of Loneliness, which was published in 1928, is one of the first well-known examples from Western literature. (Radclyffe Hall, the author of the novel, would also qualify as a Real Life example.) Stephen has a Gender-Blender Name because her parents expected a son. From a young age, she was very tomboyish and at age seven she had her first crush on her parent's housemaid. As an adult, Stephen crossdresses and wears her hair short.
  • The Winnie Years: Erika in Thirteen Plus One wears a wife-beater, army fatigues, and combat boots, and is described by Winnie as butch. She has a femme girlfriend.
  • In Zenobia July, Zen's aunt Lucy has short hair, and Lucy's wife Phil has a dyed Mohawk and multiple piercings. Both wear men's clothes, which causes problems when they try to help newly out trans girl Zen pick out girl clothes at the start of the school year.

    Live-Action TV 
  • All American has Coop, who doesn't even go by her first name, Tamia. She dresses in hoodies and jeans most of the time and typically hangs out with men.
  • Batwoman (2019) had one of the few butch leads on American television, Kate Kane. She has short hair, a number of tattoos, regularly wears masculine clothing and has several women as romantic interests.
  • Betty: Kirt, a very tomboyish female skate boarder who's The Lad-ette and a lesbian. While she has long hair, otherwise she has a very masculine clothing style and acts like a frat bro.
  • During an episode of Californication, Hank visits his daughter's boyfriend's home. The young man's mother is a combination of Lipstick Lesbian and Cloudcuckoolander, but her partner is a more stereotypical butch lesbian (with a bit of Psycho Lesbian).
  • Class of '07: Tegan is short-haired and wears fairly masculine clothing, while indicating her attraction to women once briefly.
  • A rare positive example of a Butch Lesbian from American network television can be found in the Cold Case episode "Best Friends". The case involves a dashing black butch woman and a feminine white woman who fall in love. Unfortunately, since it's the 1930's (when the Ku Klux Klan was still a major political power in some states), and a "cold case", it all ends in tears.
  • Control Z: Alex is a mild example, with short hair and fairly masculine clothing a lot of the time. She's not averse to wearing more feminine clothes though and is otherwise not stereotypically butch. Alex is secretly dating another woman.
  • Counterpart (2018): Baldwin is attracted explicitly to women and also has to be tough as an assassin, with skill using guns, knives or unarmed combat. She has Boyish Short Hair in comparison to her Lipstick Lesbian counterpart's long hair, and has more masculine clothing (usually hoodies with jeans), wearing a leather jacket often as well (all in dark colors). Baldwin is stoic, aggressive and ruthless, aside from with her girlfriend or counterpart Nadia.
  • The Crowded Room: Downplayed with Ariana, who is actually bisexual but is too afraid to get close to anyone in general. She is seen kissing Annabelle, has sex offscreen with her, and has sex with Jerome, an ex (kind of) boyfriend. Ariana wears her hair in dreadlocks, has a slightly punk style of dress and puts on a tough attitude, but at heart is very vulnerable.
  • Dark Desire: Karina, Zoe's friend and roommate, is a lesbian with a mild butch look. It's close to goth attire, with short hair, piercings, lots of leather, and mostly black clothing.
  • Dates: Kate is mildly butch. She's a bit aggressive, showing hostility toward men and bisexual women. Her looks are less masculine than most, but still much more than Erica, with her long hair pulled back so that she appears to have it put into something like a mohawk at first. Overall she's got a very goth look, with many piercings.
  • Deputy: Deputy Bishop has short hair and always dresses in nice suits while on duty. They're established to be a lesbian in the pilot, then nonbinary with they/them pronouns later too. It leads to Bishop's breakup with their first girlfriend, and later dating another woman.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Ace is sometimes written as one, as much as was allowed by late-'80s BBC programming. She's very tomboyish, her preferred methods of problem-solving being "hitting things" and "blowing things up", she wears a tuxedo instead of a dress when the situation calls for dressing in formal wear, and she immediately strikes up a very close friendship with a female guest star in more than half her stories, most of which are filled with Homoerotic Subtext, and the subtext has been confirmed to be completely intentional by at least one writer. On the other hand, some writers had her show an interest in her male co-stars instead, making her average out to being a Butch bisexual.
    • Twelve's companion Bill (short for "Billie") is a downplayed example. She's definitely into girls, definitely favors tomboyish clothing, and is about as ladylike as Ace (read: not much).
    • "The Ghost Monument": Angstrom, one of the two racers, has short hair and mentions she had a wife who was killed by hostile aliens.
  • Equal: Stormé DeLarverie, a lesbian with short hair who wore nice men's suits, is highlighted as being the probable spark of the Stonewall Uprising. After being arrested and manhandled by the police (who initially took her for a gay man, she angrily asked why other people didn't do something, causing them to fight back.
  • ER's Maggie Doyle, despite being long-haired and pretty, epitomizes this with her tough-as-nails personality and interest in more masculine pursuits—she likes to relax by going to a shooting range.
  • Feel Good: Mae sports short hair and very boyish attire. She even gets mistaken for a man sometimes as a result. Otherwise however she's not stereotypical, though she mostly tops in bed with her girlfriend George. It's later confirmed Mae is actually bisexual though and nonbinary, but otherwise it still applies.
  • Flowers (2016): Hilda, Amy's girlfriend in series 2 is a short-haired lesbian with a masculine clothing style.
  • Frasier. Flamboyantly gay Gil Chesteron's wife Deb seems to be one; he describes her as being good at auto-repair, being in the military reserves, and so forth.
  • Game of Thrones: Yara is established as The Lad-ette since her earliest scenes. She dresses as the other Ironborn men do and is just as hard a drinker and tough a fighter as any of them and commands her own longship. She's revealed to be a lesbian or at least bisexual in the Season 6 episode "The Broken Man" by picking up a female prostitute and speaking enthusiastically of having sex with her. Her actress reckons it's the latter. In any case, she is definitely not straight.
  • Anne Lister from HBO's Gentleman Jack is as close as you get to a butch lesbian in 1830's England. She wears a black skirt and overcoat, carries a cane, and wears a tophat. She also owns her own estate and works to build a coal mine. Based on the diaries of a real woman, considered the first modern lesbian.
  • Hanna: Jules, who is a short-haired tomboy, turns out to be lesbian. At the same time her sexuality is stated, she begins criticizing Utrax's heteronormative attitude (her cover involved a boyfriend, for example) and espousing some Straw Feminist views.
  • Hightown: Jackie always has masculine clothing, sports Boyish Short Hair, and notes with pride that she's a "goldstar" lesbian (meaning she's never once had sex with a man). She's very much a ladette in personality, and always tops as she's with women until Season 2, when she bottoms to Leslie once, and explains she doesn't do that usually as topping is part of being butch for her.
  • In How I Met Your Mother, Robin's doppelganger is referred to as "Lesbian Robin." LR is seen only once, always in the same take, but sports the stereotypical short hairstyle, wears what could be a man's plaid shirt and jeans, and is carrying a baseball glove, and while she walks into view, has just finished spitting (possibly chewing tobacco) into a garbage can.
  • I Am Not Okay With This: A downplayed example - Syd isn't particularly athletic, but has short curly hair and boyish attire usually (she puts on a dress to attend prom, but it looks out of place on her). While she has had sex with Stan, she notes that something was 'missing' from it and figures out just what it was when she kisses Dina. Her diary seems to be explicit about her lesbianism as well if Brad is to be believed-apparently in there she went on at great length about Dina and her feelings for her.
  • Intergalactic: Verona is a short-haired, tough female thief who's quick-tempered and fierce, always wearing tank tops with pants. She turns out to be into Ash (the female cop who arrested her originally) after the pair go through many dangers together, and kisses her. Later they have sex offscreen as it's shown that Ash is a bisexual woman and reciproates her attraction.
  • In the Dark: Sterling, who gets involved with Jess, has Boyish Short Hair and also dresses in a pretty masculine way. Sam, meanwhile, is also revealed as being with her and even more of an example: she's a shaven-headed stone-cold badass female gangster.
  • Subverted with Grace Polk in Joan of Arcadia who looks and acts the part and who many think is a lesbian, but is really straight.
  • Just Shoot Me!: Maria, the female boxer in "Finch and the Fighter". She has masculine looks and her ex-girlfriend Kelly dating Finch causes her to act with aggression toward him from jealousy.
  • In The Killing's third season, homeless teen Bullet fits the description (apart from being short and slight), with a masculine short undercut hairstyle, baggy jeans and hoodies as clothing, and an androgynous face. It causes Holder to initially mistake her for a boy before she corrects him.
  • The Last of Us (2023): Ellie is a girl with tomboy tendencies who had feelings for her female best friend Riley, which she acted upon before they were both attacked and bitten by a Stalker.
  • A League of Their Own (2022): Jess, Lupe, and Jo favor more masculine clothing and Jess constantly wears pants in public even though she always gets fined for it. Lupe and Jo also wear their hair short and Jess ties her longer hair into a tight braid in the back. Vi, the owner of the gay bar all of them visit, is also short-haired and always wears a suit.
  • Lip Service:
    • Sam and Frankie are both prone to wearing pretty masculine attire, along with short hair although the latter swings both ways.
    • Fin also has this style, along with her football team.
  • The L Word:
    • Supporting characters Candace, Dusty, Jamie and Robin all have short hair and more masculine attitudes/attire.
    • Moira appeared to be one until he came out as Max.
    • Shane arguably qualifies as butch. She doesn't think of herself as one, as evidenced by her bemused but slightly puzzled reaction in an episode where she and Max help carry some luggage for the others, and Max refers to both himself and Shane as "butches." Overall Shane's look is more bifauxnen.
    • Tasha is a soft butch, and definitely a tomboy. She starts out as a tough, tacturn soldier suffering from PTSD who wears tanktops often or sleeveless shirts in civilian garb, with long hair but having it pulled back in a bun mostly.
  • Dr. Elizabeth "Mac" Macmillan of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. Never seen out of three-piece trouser suits, and officially revealed to be gay in the first season (though the hints were fairly blatant even in the pilot episode). The original novels amp up the butch factor even more by describing her with rather masculine features and wearing her hair in an Eton crop.
  • In the Modern Family episode "Schooled", one of Lilly's classmate Connor's moms partially fits the trope—she wears her hair long like her partner, but works as a contractor, wears boots, speaks in a husky voice and is quick to complain about being stereotyped (often hypocritically, since it turns out that most of the stereotyped assumptions about her are true).
  • Motherland: Fort Salem: Raelle is short haired, tomboyish and soon gets involved with another witch at Fort Salem, Scylla. She later confirms that she's no bisexual when she adamantly insists that she's not interested in men.
  • Never Have I Ever:
    • Fabiola's a milder example, in that she's tomboyish and has interests in activities that aren't considered traditionally feminine.
    • Eve's a mild example, with short hair, masculine clothing, and is an LGBT activist. Eleanor compares her androgynous look to Kristen Stewart in Charlie's Angels.
  • One of Us is Lying: Janae usually has baggy, fairly masculine clothing with her hair up in a grungy style, and bluntly tells Addy she's a lesbian when the latter mistakenly thought that she romantically loved Simon (they were actually just best friends). At the school dance, she wears her hair down with a dress shirt and pants while she's wearing black lipstick.
  • Subverted in the TV version of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. In the book, it's stated that the main character never wears skirts. In the film, she almost always does, but she still falls in love with a femme girl.
  • Orange Is the New Black:
    • Big Boo refers to herself as a "diesel dyke" and has "Butch" helpfully tattooed on her arm, with short hair plus very masculine attire. She seems to be in high demand given her many conquests throughout the show.
    • Downplayed with Nicky, who is not very feminine in personality nor appearance—she has wild hair and isn't overly concerned with personal appearance—but thanks to being played by Natasha Lyonne, she still has natural good looks and has no problem attracting the likes of Morello.
    • Suzanne is a lesbian and also rather masculine. One of the COs even explicitly calls her this trope, with great distaste.
    • Downplayed with Poussey. She is a lesbian and both her looks — even by prison standards — and mannerisms are conventionally unfeminine, but she still appears more androgynous than butch and apparently doesn't identify as the latter.
  • "Our Flag Means Death": Mary Read wears what looks like a blacksmith uniform, runs an antique shop with her partner Anne Bonny, and hunts for their dinner.
  • The Pact: Cat is a short-haired lesbian with a masculine clothing style and slightly hard-edged personality.
  • Perry Mason (2020): In the lesbian bar Della and Anita visit there are several patrons with short hair wearing nice men's suits there in the early 1930's style in "Chapter 13".
  • Persons Unknown: Erika is a short-haired (she has cornrows), man-hating aggressive woman who quickly shows attraction to Janet. Her very first scene has her mug a guy for different clothes after she was unwillingly put into a dress. Thereafter she always wears a tank top and tight jeans. She's also got prison tattoos. Perhaps bisexual, given that she has a child.
  • The Power (2023): Roxy is a short-haired, tough tomboy attracted to women who favors fairly masculine outfits most of the time (although she also likes men, so more of a butch bisexual).
  • Izzy Garcia from Power Rangers Dino Fury and her girlfriend Fern both somewhat qualify for this. Both are athletic and competitive, though both have longer hair than your average butch lesbian.
  • Rescue Me had an episode with the gang's Bar being over run by "Bull Dykes".
  • The Rising: Neve fits a lot of the motifs, as she's a short-haired Badass Biker who prefers masculine clothing and is attracted to women. However, she's bisexual, with a boyfriend at the start.
  • Shadow and Bone: Tamar is a tough female mercenary fighter who's also into other women, with short hair and masculine garb (though admittedly most straight women warriors have similar clothes on the show).
  • Shameless (UK) has Norma—a big, black Geordie trucker who lives in a caravan on the Gallaghers' front garden in series 4-6, making her possibly the inspiration for Roberta, or as she prefers, Bob, an African-American trucker with whom Monica Gallagher is involved in season 1 of the American series.
  • Special Ops: Lioness: Bobby is a lesbian with short hair and a Tomboyish Name to match who mostly wears very masculine clothing. She's also One of the Boys with her team.
  • Commander Jett Reno in Star Trek: Discovery, as played by Tig Notaro, a short-haired Wrench Wench in masculine clothing (usually work coveralls). Several episodes after her introduction she mentions she's a widow who had lost her wife in the Federation-Klingon War.
  • S.W.A.T. (2017): Chris is a rare bisexual example. She's a tough, tomboyish ladette who's the only woman on a SWAT team, with short hair and fairly masculine clothing while off duty. She can be pretty blunt and will put up a hard exterior, but at heart is a very kind woman. In Season 2 she also gets into a polyamorous relationship with a man and woman. She'd mentioned her bisexuality prior to it too. It's also later revealed she's involved with LGBT+ self-defense, and she has many friends in the community.
  • Tipping the Velvet (2002): We see a number of lesbians who seem to prefer men's clothing and masculine mannerisms. Nan also gets a bit more butch over the course of the series.
  • Twenties: Hattie is a lesbian with a buzzcut plus a very masculine clothing style and mannerisms. She's repeatedly mistaken for male due to this.
  • Vagrant Queen: Downplayed. Elida is a short-haired tomboy who's an action girl good with a gun (or unarmed), always has masculine attire in the present and experiences mutual attraction for Amae, another lesbian.
  • Vida: Eddy is quite butch in her appearance, having short hair and very masculine clothing. It's also revealed she binds her breasts. In the second season, a bunch of others are shown. They even discuss the idea of advertising that they're lesbians by masculine clothing and hairstyles. Nico is one of them, who Emma then gets involved with.
  • We Are Who We Are: Sarah is a downplayed example, with short hair, masculine clothing, and being an officer in the US Army, along with her wife. However, otherwise she's quite ordinary.
  • The Wilds: Toni is a tough, aggressive lesbian and committed athlete who has long hair but mostly wears it back while wearing fairly masculine clothes most of the time.
  • Willow: Kit's a short-haired tomboy who has a masculine clothing style and showed no desire to marry Prince Graydon, training to swordfight with her female "best friend" Jade. It's soon made clear they're in love.
  • The Wire:
    • Snoop wears men's clothing, has a gravelly voice, and is generally masculine enough that some viewers took a while to realize she was female. Her lesbianism is only revealed by a single line, though.
    • Kima is a door-kicking, beer-chugging cop who is more than a match for her male colleagues. She usually dresses in jeans and hoodies and only wears more feminine clothing when undercover. She defies the butch stereotype in that she attracts quite a lot of attention from men, some of whom hit on her despite her having a live-in girlfriend.
  • One half of the lesbian couple in the Mini Series The Women Of Brewster Place is this. She is notably the "meaner" of the two—less interested in befriending anyone in their neighborhood, preferring to hang out only with other gays, as well as much darker-skinned, raising unfortunate implications as to how this supposedly relates to her personality.
  • Yellowjackets: Van wears pretty masculine clothing (for Doomcoming, she wears trousers and a vest when all other girls are in dresses) and has a tomboy air. Her style's more of a soft butch, though, as this isn't too pronounced and she still wears her hair fairly long. She's dating Taissa, another girl, in 1996.

  • Fairy Tales by Eric Lane Barnes has the song "The Ballad of Tammy Brown", which tells the story of a girl who was close friends with a girl named Tammy, who had no other friends in school because she spat, swore, cut off most of her hair, and everyone called her queer. When her friends heard rumors she was friends with Tammy, they ordered her to prove this untrue or become an outcast like Tammy. She follows their orders, and tells Tammy she hates her, and never saw Tammy again. She never forgave herself for what she did that day, and only wants to see her again one more time so she could apologize to her.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Jessie Kresa—who later got fame in TNA as ODB—tried out for the first season of WWE Tough Enough and later revealed that MTV asked her to pretend to be a lesbian (due to her tomboyish appearance).
  • Downplayed with Sonya Deville—WWE's first openly lesbian performer. She's not overtly feminine and plays up her MMA background (in contrast to Ronda Rousey being given Amazonian Beauty treatment).
  • Also downplayed with Mercedes Martinez, who while openly gay (though WWE has not acknowledged it), also doesn’t act over butch.
  • WWE tried to portray Chyna as this at first, due to her masculine appearance.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Exalted
    • Iron Siaka, a signature character of the Sidereal Exalted. She's depicted with somewhat masculine features (including a boyish haircut), and a passion for both bloodshed and beautiful women. Ironically enough, she represents the Chosen of Serenity; it's just that she often finds serenity in beating the crap out of someone.
    • Significant Butch Lesbian characters are not hard to find in Exalted given how liberal it tends to be with social matters. There's also the Tya — sea-faring women who adopt a hypermasculine lifestyle and looks to bypass a sexist restriction set by ocean spirits (the Storm Mothers won't allow women more beautiful than themselves on boats, and the Storm Mothers are ugly). Basically, a fleet of hardy sailors and angry pirates who happen to be women. While not necessarily lesbians, their distinguishing features sit well with butch lesbian aesthetics.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The Sisters of Battle, being the all-female combatants that put the militant in Church Militant, often get characterized this way by fans. Granted, there's nothing officially stating this to ever be the case, and in fact different Orders have different rules (from either outright chastity to encouraging a little bit of fun now and then,) most of the ones that are mentioned are either too devout to care or simply straight.
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse: This is the stereotype of the entire Black Furies clan of werewolves.

  • In Chicago, Mama Morton is often portrayed as very butch, which puts a completely different spin on her character and the song "When You're Good to Mama" than in the movie version.
  • Middle and Regular Alison from Fun Home's musical adaption. Middle Allison has a pixie haircut with male clothing while her 43-year-old self has a shorter haircut and wears baggy male jeans and a male polo top. In both the book and musical, Allison was forced into feminine clothing by her overly obsessive father Bruce, but after seeing a butch delivery woman at a diner (depicted through song with "Ring Of Keys"), she began to feel more comfortable with herself.
    Alison: Since like 5, I guess!
    I preferred to wear boy's shirts and pants
    I felt absurd in a dress!
    I really tried to deny my feeling for girls
    • Alison's college roommate/girlfriend, Joan, also fits this trope.
  • Alice's girlfriend Deb from The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals seems to fit this trope, speaking in a slightly deeper voice, protecting Alice from the Smoke Club, and wearing beanies and flannel.
  • While understated because of the time period the show is set in, Sheila from Love in Hate Nation wears a stylish leather jacket, claims to hate wearing dresses, and is very vocal about civil rights.
  • In The Producers musical, Roger DeBris's lighting designer is Shirly Markowitz, a stereotypically Butch Lesbian. Incidentally, everyone else in Roger's little entourage is extremely Camp Gay.
  • Emma from The Prom is much more traditionally masculine than her girlfriend, called "butchy" by another character in the show and visibly uncomfortable when wearing her prom dress.

    Video Games 
  • Female V, the Player Character in Cyberpunk 2077 can be made to look like this, with short hair (or even a shaved head), no makeup, and appropriate clothing. Her potential partner, Judy, isn't really femme or butch exactly, but she will almost always be more feminine than a butch V, due to her makeup and gentler, more introspective nature than the Ladette V.
  • In Disco Elysium, there's late-comer character Ruby. She's a trucker by trade with an impressive talent for tinkering with radio technology, and manly enough to be considered one of the Hardie Boys. The Hardie Boys, despite mostly seeming like classic, thick-headed Good ol Boys, are aware of and completely accept of her sexuality.
  • Linda in the original Double Dragon. The remake, by contrast, made her a stripperific dominatrix.
  • Dragon Age:
    • You can play one in Dragon Age: Origins, providing a counterpoint to Leliana's feminine side with simple practicality.
    • Similarly, the player can build Hawke from Dragon Age II like this, and her default appearance can be considered to be rather butch in comparison to Isabela and Merrill. While Aveline isn't a lesbian, the implication is that she may have been interested in a female Hawke anyway, so to an extent she also fits the trope.
    • A Female Inquisitor can be built like this, too, especially if they are a Dwarf of Qunari.
  • Fallout:
    • Brick of Reilly's Rangers in Fallout 3, who is an ersatz of Vasquez from Aliens.
    • Corporal Betsy in Fallout: New Vegas is an NCR sharpshooter who wears her hair in a buzzcut and will flirt with a female Courier if they have at least 7 Charisma.
    • Christine Royce from the Dead Money DLC of New Vegas is a tough, bald, former Brotherhood of Steel knight. She's also Veronica Santangelo's ex and can have some romantic interactions with a female Courier who has the Cherchez la Femme perk.
  • Lonnie from Gone Home. Although the player never sees her, she is a member of the junior ROTC and is described as dressing butch even when not in military uniform.
  • Gareth from Granblue Fantasy. She dresses and acts as a man in her guise as a knight while being in love with the more feminine Isabella.
  • Vivica in Growing Up is a rebellious punk rocker who likes smoking weed and going to rock concerts. She's only dateable if you're a girl.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn has the side character Petra, who flirts with the Player Character Aloy and mentions encounters with other wandering Nora tribegirls in her time. She's a Wrench Wench who would've probably fixed up muscle cars and drive a motorcycle if she lived in modern times.
  • Baozhai in Indivisible is a swaggering, hard-drinking Noble Demon Pirate who enjoys liquor fit to strip paint off a house. She also turns bright red and struggles to form a full sentence upon first laying eyes on Thorani, cleaning up her act around the elegant deva and asking Ajna to "put in a good word" for her.
  • The Last of Us: Ellie. While merely hinted at in the first game, in which she is only fourteen and doesn't really interact with any other girls, she does find a gay male porn magazine and shows only bored amusement over it instead of anything else ("Hold your horses, I want to see what all the fuss is about."), and Word of God later clarified the situation. The Left Behind DLC throws all ambiguity off the window and is a story about Ellie and her best friend Riley realizing that they like each other. By the time of the sequel, it's no longer a secret.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Female Shepard tends to take this role if played as gay or bi, especially by contrast to Liara or Traynor.
    • As of patch 1.08, Mass Effect: Andromeda allows all hairstyles on both sexes, allowing Ryder to be one. If romanced by a female Ryder, Peebee and Vetra also fit.
  • Strangelove in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is the Bifauxnen variety. She does go on to mother Otacon with Huey, but her heart still belongs to The Boss.
  • Ishara from the interactive romance novel Moonrise. She's described as "butch beauty," has short hair, and wears suits to parties.
  • The poster girl of Overwatch, Tracer, has short Anime Hair who served as a pilot in the Royal Air Force and Overwatch, and is in a relationship with her flatmate, Emily.
  • The female boss/president in Saints Row IV is already One of the Boys, and the game parodies the Romance Sidequest by letting you "romance" any (or all) of your crew members with a single button press regardless of gender or even species (one of your crew is an alien whose mind has been uploaded into a floating spherical robot).note  Just put on a short hairstyle and only go after the girls.
  • The Star Trek Online mission "House Pegh" has Trevana, a female Klingon warrior with the typical brutish attitude. Her engineer mate B'Eler is much less of a typical Klingon, being a far better Wrench Wench than fighter, which makes Trevana come off as this.
  • Undyne from Undertale is the Hot-Blooded head of the Royal Guard who doesn't do anything without making it extreme, engages in Toilet Humor, and yep, she likes the ladies. She even hooks up with Alphys in the Golden Ending.
  • Yes, Your Grace: Both halves of the young lesbian couple that can potentially form by the end of the game are Tomboys.

    Visual Novels 

  • Jordan of Agents of the Realm is the most masculine of the five girls, dressing in man's clothes, keeping her hair short, and not wearing any make-up. She dates another girl, Mackenzie, and her dialogue implies it's not experimenting.
  • Amazoness depicts Sappho as a butch lesbian, based on a description of her as "small and dark".
  • Clover & Cutlass: Maggie has short hair and wears traditionally masculine clothing.
  • Crimson Dark: It turns out Kari is a lesbian, with a girlfriend named Ren who's also a pilot. Kari habitually has a short haircut and wears masculine-style military clothing.
  • Darkest Night: Mags is a short-haired lesbian with a masculine clothing style. She's also taller than either Ava or Nessa, with a stockier build. When she goes in a hot tub along with Nessa, the latter has Otto (her uncle) give Mags his "butchest" swim trunks to wear. Mags wears them with a sports bra.
  • Sidney from Distillum is bleedin' savin the world, while, by her own admittance, "not into dudes" (also, "Erin, don't go" from the flashback/vision/whatever it was might be a clue, as long as it was her memory).
  • In El Goonish Shive, Nanase had a makeover with short hair and large boots occurred shortly before she came out as a lesbian.
    • Sam thought that he was a butch lesbian before realizing that he was actually a transman.
  • Ennui GO!: Darcy is a downplayed example, mostly because of her usual outfit and preference for dressing up as magical girls. That said, Darcy being tall and bulky, aggressive and stoic in nature, being prone to violence and her other, more masculine interests (such as weightlifting) lean her toward this trope.
  • The Evolutions of Homosexuality and Suicide: Discussed, along with Camp Gay. The blond scientist wonders why many gay people seem to be gender non-conforming. The bearded scientist supposes that it makes it easier for them to find lovers by signaling their gayness to other gay people (this is assuming it's not cultural etc., which he admits could be the case too).
  • Girls with Slingshots:
    • The trope is discussed when Hazel comments that Jamie can't be a lesbian because she isn't butch. (Hazel is repeatedly noted not to know much about lesbians.)
    • It's then subsequently lampshaded when Jamie begins questioning her sexuality and goes to a gay bar to experiment. The bar is full of butch lesbians, and Jamie finds she has nothing in common with any of them. Disheartened, she talks to Hazel's Lipstick Lesbian boss Thea, who tells her that this is a specialty bar for butch lesbians.
  • The Constructicons' "daughter" in the Insecticomics. It's hard to get more butch than turning into construction equipment.
  • Ménage à 3:
    • The trope is discussed when circumstancesnote  convince the not-very-bright DiDi that she is une lesbienne; she has to be stopped from hacking her hair into une coupe Longueuilnote  and getting rid of her pretty dresses because she is convinced that she is "too big to be the femme."
    • Pro wrestlers Roxie and Lynn both play the trope (ahem) straight but in a moderate way. Both are quite compact and muscular, have short hair, and seem to avoid "girly" traits like dresses or obvious makeup—and both are, indeed, wrestlers. However, both are more wiry than bulky, and Lynn especially can be downright dapper, dressing up (when out of costume) in suits and the like. Maura calls her "handsome".
  • Myrthala Wong in Miss Abbott and the Doctor, who dresses in masculine clothing and eventually falls in love with Rebeca.
  • Princess Princess (2012): Amira is an action girl always dressed in a uniform with a sword and her hair in a mohawk, while she goes around rescuing people, taking up the traditional male hero role. She falls for Sadie, with the epilogue showing them getting married.
  • Questionable Content:
    • Dora seems to think Tai (rather small and cute for the stereotype) qualifies. Veronica apparently agrees.
    • After Faye begins working in robot repair, the lesbian characters notice she has become "buff". Sure enough, she later ends up in a relationship with the even more buff "Bubbles" despite having had no interest in female partners previously.
  • In Relativity, Irina Novak always wears short hairstyles, masculine clothes, and likes women.
  • Monette's girlfriend Lisa from Something*Positive, who was initially drawn more feminine but whose character re-design around 2007 gave her a more traditionally butch appearance.
  • Sun Jing from Their Story is a tomboy with some ladette qualities and wears a tie with her school uniform, instead of the normal bow. In official art she is full bifauxnen mode, with shorter hair and masculine attire; however, she has yet to cut her hair in the comics. Her love interest, Qui Tong, is quite feminine.
  • In Too Much Information (2005), Rocky is a 6'4" bald black lesbian who rides and works on motorcycles, and her best friend and housemate is Carly, a Japanese gay transvestite Wholesome Crossdresser. After Rocky gets pregnant with Carly's child, she's rather annoyed that the resulting hormones are causing her to grow breasts, making for probably the first example of D-Cup Distress in a character who doesn't even rate an A-cup.
  • Yoona from Welcome to Room #305 has shades of this. She looks rather feminine but her personality has masculine qualities. It was more obvious when she was a rowdy, short-haired kid.

    Web Original 
  • 1 For All: Eva's a stocky, short-haired female warrior who's always in armor while very aggressive toward most other people. She's seen eyeing up multiple female NPCs, and has never shown interest in men. Antrius does accuse her of trying to make "EvanDrizzt" a thing but her fixation on Drizzt is more of the fangirling variety rather than anything sexual.
  • Cracked Photoplasty Famous Images, As Seen From a Different Angle has the linked-Venus lesbianism symbol on Rosie the Riveter's bicep.
  • Artemis in Thalia's Musings, though she insists she's asexual and Athena is just a friend. Athena is more femme, but her status as a battle goddess and her penchant for armor as casual wear don't quite make her a Lipstick Lesbian.
  • Touhou: a Glimmer of an Outside World has Mokou, who seems to suffer from Testosterone Poisoning apart from her hair.
  • Hippolyta of the Whateley Universe. Over six feet tall and muscular, can bench press eight tons, keeps her gold (not flaxen, gold) hair really short, smokes cigars, beats up other superpowered mutants at Whateley Academy if they tick her off. How butch is she? Her comparatively femme girlfriend is an Eldritch Abomination who terrifies half the school.
  • Jane from The Veronica Exclusive has long hair and wears some makeup, but is much more aggressive, tough, and masculine than her girlfriend, Veronica.
  • Yasha and Beauregard from Critical Role are both very butch and have both shown interest in women. Yasha was confirmed to have been married to a woman in the past. It... didn't work out.
  • Out With Dad: New Vanessa, or Nessa, in contrast to Rose and Claire. She has Boyish Short Hair, usually wears tank tops and similarly overall masculine clothing, with her personality also being somewhat more brash. Plus her collection of piercings.
  • In Witches Among Humans, being a witch from the Boiling Isles, Luz is more crass than her canon counterpart and is in a relationship with Amity.

    Western Animation 
  • Psycho for Hire Rojo in Ben 10 was the tomboyish leader of an all-female biker gang, and in Ben 10: Ultimate Alien she briefly returns as part of an Outlaw Couple with another woman, Azul.
  • Connie in Brickleberry who has a large build (parodied in that it gives her Super-Strength because she's gay) is attracted to Ethel, voiced by a man, and routinely mentions she needs to shave.
  • One of Jeff's moms in Clarence is always depicted wearing masculine clothes and having her hair cut short. The other leans towards being a Lipstick Lesbian.
  • Parodied in Clerks: The Animated Series, in which all of Randall's ex-girlfriends are butch lesbians voiced by men.
    • This was once again brought up later in the episode. A group of geishas are "assigned" to Randall and said geishas claim they are there to "please him". He, completely oblivious, ends up sending them to execute minor chores, including getting him Asian porn magazines. However, in the end, when he comes to rescue them, they have all changed to butch male-voiced lesbians and urge him to "continue their fight".
    • It should be noted that he doesn't date butch lesbians. They just switch sides after breaking up with him. Randall takes it as a compliment, however.
    • It is implied that Randall is the representation of "male worthlessness", which is the reason why they "went lesbo."
  • Clone High: The P.E. teacher was the clone of Eleanor Roosevelt. No explanation is given why the evil scientists cloned her 30 years before the other clones, but she's big and butch and her voice is provided by a man, who adds on an extra layer of creepy as she enjoys watching Joan of Arc's walk.
    Eleanor Roosevelt: If you like talking so much, you can talk your cute little butt down to the principal's office. Slowly. Oh yeah...
  • A banned episode of Cow and Chicken had the Buffalo Gals, a group of very manly-looking girl bikers who broke into homes to chew on people's carpet.
  • Craig of the Creek: Kelsey Pokoly loves adventures, wield her own sword and speaks in her mind of own inner monologue. In episode "Fire & Ice", she realizes she have feelings for her friend Stacks and tells her how she feels.
  • Family Guy:
    • Parodied with a Mr. T Distaff Counterpart named Deirdre Jackson. She's the strongest female boxer in the country. Her fists are so dangerous, she's not allowed to be a lesbian.
    • When Meg tries to come out as a lesbian, she is serenaded by a barbershop quartet of Butch Lesbians all of whom are voiced by men, and one in particular has such as deep bass voice it would have made Barry White sound soprano.
    • There is also the episode where Peter gets into a fight with another parent at a school sports fixture; being rebuked and reviled for hitting the other kid's mom, he refuses to believe it. The parent he has laid out turns out to be the butch half of a gay couple.
    • "Go Stewie Go" had a not-so-subtle rip-off of Sesame Street with the characters "Bernie and Gurt", who were essentially a lesbian couple dressed as Bert and Ernie as a reference to the many, many gay jokes surrounding the two.
  • In The Goode Family lesbian couple Mo and Trish are both like this.
  • Hailey's On It!: Becker Denoga is very tomboyish and likes to destroy stuff. In the episode "Catching the Felines", she developed a crush on the titular character Hailey Banks, but in the episode "Along for the Slide", she gets into a relationship with her former rival Kennedy.
  • The Owl House: Luz Noceda is a downplayed Bisexual example. She is a tomboyish teen with a pixie cut and shorts, but she also has a feminine side to her. She is energetic and expressive, embraces full-fledged dresses and hair growth, has feminine hobbies like romance and cute critters, and is excited about wearing a custom dress in the Distant Finale.
  • In the 2021 Rugrats reboot, Phil & Lil's mother Betty was changed from a masculine tomboy to a straight example of this.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power:
    • Two episodes showcase Huntara, a buff, muscular outlaw who's introduced flirting with the waitresses (and who sets Adora's eyes to sparkling).
    • Subverted with Scorpia, who mostly looks the part because she's enormous, muscular, short-haired and mostly wears a military uniform, and is pretty unambiguously a lesbian, but has a very friendly Cuddle Bug personality and on the rare occasions she chooses a different outfit for herself she tends to go for a more femme look. Calling her "butch" is something of a Berserk Button to chunks of the fandom.
    • Catra is very obviously in love with Adora (though she doesn't even admit it to herself) and is seriously butch. At the Princess Prom, she shows up in a tuxedo rather than a dress and does so again in Adora's dream. Following her Heel–Face Turn in Season 5, she also gets a new outfit and a short haircut.
  • Although not her usual outfit, Patty from The Simpsons took on the attire and attitude in the episode "Homer Simpson, This is Your Wife". Then again, there were a few jokes and hints made before she came out and even Homer himself was hardly surprised at this.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Ruby is a butch lesbian: she's an alien who has No Biological Sex but she uses female pronouns, is very tomboyish, and is in a romantic relationship with Sapphire, another non-binary femme-presenting alien.
    • Mystery Girl from "Last One Out of Beach City" fits the bill appearance-wise, complete with flannel, and she seems interested enough in Pearl to give her her number.
    • Bismuth is a gem who has masculine mannerisms and appearance. She is romantically interested in Pearl.
    • The Topazes are large, masculine-looking (but not vocally) Gem guards who care very deeply for each other.
  • Q-Force:
    • Deb of the Q-Force
    • Dirk's assistant Louisa Desk is equal to Deb.
  • The Venture Bros.: The episode "Dr. Quymn, Medicine Woman" features a beefy lady named Ginny who is revealed in one line to be interested in sleeping with the eponymous Dr. Quymn as well as openly being hateful of men, though she says it's because she hasn't met a real man yet. She also pursues Brock Sampson — whether it's to "distract" him from the sexy Dr. Quymn or some strangely gender-bent Even the Guys Want Him is not revealed.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender eventually reveals Zethrid as one of these. She's the tallest and bulkiest of Lotor's generals, with a deep voice and aggressive personality. Season 7 also implies that Zethrid is in a relationship with the smaller and more feminine Ezor.


Video Example(s):


Fuji, The Fighter

Armed with nothing but a hot pink leotard and her bare fists, Fuji is a powerful wrestler and mixed martial artist who can punch the heads of zombies clean off, as well as being Cordelia's girlfriend.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / BoxingBattler

Media sources: