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Cross-Dressing Voices

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Anne Hathaway: [voiced by John Linnell] I guess I'm the type of girl who loves foley work.
David Remnickopf: [also voiced by John Linnell] You mean you're doing a girl's voice?
Anne Hathaway: No, no. [sigh] I am a girl. I'm a girl.
They Might Be Giants, "(She Was a) Hotel Detective in the Future Commentary"
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Sometimes, an animated character is better suited for being voiced by a voice actor of the opposite sex. A higher voice is needed for a male, a lower voice is needed for a female, or an opposite-sex actor auditioned and it sounded right.

A common example is prepubescent boys being voiced by adult women. This is because, in addition to the usual child labor laws pertaining to young actors, an actual boy's voice is going to break and deepen from puberty sooner or later. It is possible to replace a young male character's voice actor once he ages out of the role, but it is more economical to cast a single grown woman for the entire series. Alternatively, if a male child is in a cartoon as a one-off, it is easier to have a main female cast member provide the voice rather than going through the trouble of finding a child who can do it. You're more likely to see Children Voicing Children in movies or guest appearances as opposed to regular characters in a series that lasts several years.

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In some cases, when dubbing a foreign work (mostly anime), sometimes there would a be a character where the original voice actor is voiced by a male, yet the dub casts a female voice actor instead. This is caused by Vocal Dissonance between languages and the voice actors, as a male voice actor's vocal range would be so high-pitched that it would be relatively difficult to dub properly with another male voice actor. This is apparently more common in Japanese to English dubs in anime and video games, where a character that is voiced by a man in Japanese would have a female voice actor in the English dub instead, due to the difficulty of dubbing that character with a male voice actor in English. Kazutomi Yamamoto and Ayumu Murase are noticeable examples where many of their roles that are dubbed in English are voiced by a woman instead. It's quite often reversed as well. Teenaged boys, often soft spoken, quiet or effeminate ones, have a decent chance of being voiced by a woman in Japanese, but then are often voiced by a male in the English dub. See Voiced Differently in the Dub for a similar trope.

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The live-action equivalent is Crosscast Role.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Asian Animation 
  • Baby Shark's Big Show!
    • The English version has the titular Baby Shark voiced by Kimiko Glenn.
    • Chucks is voiced by Alex Cazares in English version.
    • Hank is voiced by Georgie Kidder in English version.
    • Goldie is voiced by Cole Escola in English version.
  • Happy Heroes, in the original Chinese, features:
    • Female Liu Hongyun as males Happy S., Careful S. (post-Season 1), Doctor H. (in Season 6), and Headmaster Tele.
    • Female Deng Yuting as males Doctor H. (in all seasons besides Season 6), Kalo, Lightbulb Jr., and Lele.
  • The original Chinese dub of Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf features:
    • Female Zu Qing as males Weslie, Night Wolf, and White Handsomey.
    • Female Liang Ying as males Paddi and Wilie.
    • Female Liu Hongyun as males Sparky and Banana Wolf.

    Films — Animation 
  • Averted in Disney's Peter Pan: Although the character of Peter was traditionally portrayed by a woman on stage, his voice actor Bobby Driscoll was the first notable male actor to take on the role.
  • In An American Tail, the thick New York accent of Tony Toponi is actually portrayed by a woman, Pat Musick.
    • In the Japanese dub, this is subverted with Fievel by having him voiced by a male child actor for the first two films (including Daisuke Namikawa in the first), but played straight with the direct-to-video sequels, which had Fievel voiced by Ikue Otani.
    • Fievel was voiced by a girl in the Brazilian Portuguese and French dubs of the first movie, but by a boy in Fievel Goes West.
    • Fievel was voiced by two different girls in the Latin Spanish dubs of the movies (Laura Bustamante for the first two which were dubbed in Los Angeles, Alondra Hidalgo for the direct-to-video sequels which were dubbed in Mexico).
    • Also played straight in the Italian dub of the TV series (and the last two movies), Czech, Polish and Greek.
  • Edna Mode from The Incredibles was supposed to be voiced by Lily Tomlin, but she had trouble getting the accent just right. Writer/director Brad Bird demonstrated what it should sound like, only for Tomlin to remark that he did the voice so well he should have the part instead of her.
  • In Monsters, Inc., the character Roz is played by male storyboarder Bob Peterson.
  • The Ugly Stepsisters in the Shrek films are both voiced by males with a deep voice - Larry King (Jonathan Ross in the UK version) and Regis Philbin.
  • In Animalympics, the lioness Kit Mambo is voiced by Michael Fremer.
  • Percy and James were respectively voiced by Linda Ballantyne and Susan Roman in Thomas and the Magic Railroad. This came about fairly late in the movie's production — both were originally voiced by Michael Angelis (then the narrator of the Thomas the Tank Engine series in the UK), but test audiences thought he sounded too mature for either character. It is often agreed that this change created the issue of making them sound too feminine.
  • Few people know that Casey Jr. from Disney's Dumbo was actually performed by a woman, Margaret Wright, who would speak Casey's lines into a special voice changer which made her voice sound eerily metallic.
  • Quillo (one of Penny and Lou's three sons) from Over the Hedge was voiced by Madison Davenport.
  • The male children penguins and elephant seal pups from Happy Feet movies were voiced by female actresses including Baby Mumbles in the first movie who was voiced by Elizabeth Daily who also does Erik's singing voice in the second movie.
  • Chicken Little: Goosey Loosey was voiced by Mark Walton.
  • Robots: Big Bad Madame Gasket was voiced by male actor Jim Broadbent.
  • The title character from The Brave Little Toaster best fits this trope. The Toaster actually has a Viewer Gender Confusion controversy, causing many fans to think it is either male or female. Ironically, while the Toaster is referred to as a male character in the movies, "his" voice actress Deanna Oliver calls the Toaster "she" and "her." The gender also varies in several countries, in which sometimes (in Brazil, for example), the Toaster is actually female. Although most dubs have him voiced by women, he is actually voiced by a male actor in the Latin Spanish, German, Finnish, and Croatian dubs. (Most notably Germany, due to "toaster" being masculine.)
  • In a rare example of a man voicing a woman Granny Goodness undergoes this in both Superman/Batman: Apocalypse where's she's reprised by Edward Asner, and Justice League: Gods and Monsters, where she's voiced by Khary Payton.
  • In Zootopia, Nick Wilde as a child is voiced by Kath Soucie. This is averted in almost all the foreign dubs, where they hired male child actors.
  • In a similar way to Edna Mode in The Incredibles, Sing had the film's writer and director, Garth Jennings, voice Ms. Crawly the elderly iguana.
  • In Meet the Robinsons, Cousin Tallulah is voiced by Steve Anderson.
  • Clara Rumyanova was most famous for voicing little children and animals in the classics of Soviet animation. Her parts include Lillebror from Carlsson On The Roof, Alyosha in The Black Hen, and many others.
  • In Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, a young Tim Drake and Jason Todd are voiced by Tara Strong and Grey DeLisle. This is averted with Dick Grayson, with 14-year-old Lincoln Melchoir voicing him.
  • Billy Batson's cameo in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies has him voiced by Rachael MacFarlane.
  • In Minions, Bernie and Binky, two baby boys, are voiced by Lori Alan and Tara Strong.
  • In the first Little Polar Bear movie, this is averted with Lars the titular polar bear, who is voiced by a male child actor, but played straight with Robby the seal, who is voiced by Brianne Siddall. The sequels play this fully straight, where Brianne Siddall now voices Lars and Robby is now voiced by Lara Jill Miller. In the German version of the movies, both charaters are voiced by actual children.
  • In the Albanian dub of Pinocchio, the titular character is voiced by Suela Qosja.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The male Babe is voiced in the first film by Christine Cavanaugh and in the second by Elizabeth Daily, both female.
  • The androgynous Tobio in Wild Zero was played by a man and voiced by a woman.
  • In the film version of Lionel Bart's successful stage musical Oliver!, the singing voice of Mark Lester, who played the eponymous hero wasn't up to snuff, so his singing was dubbed by Kathe Green, whose father Johnny was the film's music arranger. It makes for very eerie watching.
  • In Pee-wee's Big Adventure, when Pee-wee arrives at the Warner Bros. studio lot and starts looking for Rusty, he asks two passersby, one male and one female, where he can be found. They respond, the male in a somewhat feminine voice and the female in a deep, male-sounding voice.
  • The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure: Both Toofie and Goofie were voiced by females (Malerie Grady and Misty Miller).
  • Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets: Emperor Haban Limaï is voiced by Elizabeth Debicki.
  • In Critters Attack!, Steve Blum voiced all the Crites, including the female Bianca.

    Literature 
  • Every narrator for an audio version of a book not done with a full cast fits this trope. In particular, Jim Dale, the American reader for the Harry Potter series, received an award for doing over 500 distinct voices for Order of the Phoenix, including Hermione, Ginny, Minerva McGonagall and Dolores Umbridge.
  • Lorelei King often has to voice multiple male characters when doing audiobooks for the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. As she has a fairly low voice, she pulls it off rather well.
  • Happens in-universe in A Brother's Price. In a world where men are fantastically rare, an opera casts a woman who sings in the alto range to play the part of a man whose infertility nearly wrecked the country.
  • Barbara Rosenblat is the (author-appoved) reader of the Amelia Peabody audiobooks, voicing the alto Amelia, the tenor Ramses, the soprano Nefret, and the baritone (headed for bass) Emerson, along with all the other characters, in a full range of accents. She also reads plenty of other titles and series.
  • In the universe of Twig, to help the Lambs spy on Shipman and Gordon's breakup, Mary lipreads and relays Gordon's lines while Jamie does the same with Shipman's lines.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Parodied in an episode of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Zack calls up the school that he and Cody goes to and "disguises" his voice as his mom, while it is obvious that they taped his mom's voice for the scene and he is lipsynching.
  • One episode of Hannah Montana sort of qualifies. Oliver tells Miley and Lilly that he has to leave soon lest he invoke his mother's wrath. Cue a decidedly not feminine voice to ring through the air, telling Oliver to hurry up.
    Miley: I thought you said your mom was driving you.
    Oliver: Yeah, when she gets mad, she uses her "man" voice.
  • Spoofed humorously in the ending to an episode of Sonny with a Chance where Nico finally goes up to talk to a girl he had been staring at throughout the episode. After he introduces himself and asks what her name is, she replies "Brittany" in an abnormally deep creepy voice. Nico reacts by being carried away by Grady in fear, exclaiming it to be worse than the giant snake the two had accidentally let loose in the studio earlier in the episode.
  • In an episode of Phil of the Future, Phil changes Keely's voice with a future app to have her pretend to be a male guidance councelor over the phone with his teacher. This was strictly Played for Laughs.
  • Greek dubs of most live-action Disney shows tend to use this trope for boys, unlike most animated Disney works, that use the Children Voicing Children trope.
  • Exploited for one episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. To portray a genderless alien race, they used women (in form-concealing robes and bald caps), then redubbed with male voices. One of the more inventive solutions in the series, it worked pretty well.
  • On Babylon 5, the original plan was to do this with the character of Delenn in season 1. The character would be male, played by a female with a male voice actor. The transformation that occurred between seasons 1 and 2 would also have been a gender change with Mira Furlan then taking over voice duties as well. It wasn't convincing, so they just went with the character as female from the beginning.
  • In Barney & Friends, both BJ and Riff were voiced by women (Patty Wirtz and Michaela Dietz).
  • Doctor Who:
    • Robot child example - in the story "The Dominators", the Quarks are Cute Machines portrayed by little boys. They are voiced by an adult woman doing a childlike voice with something of a public schoolboy sound.
    • The Ambassador from Alpha Centauri in "The Curse of Peladon" and "The Monster of Peladon" is portrayed by a male actor and usually referred to with male pronouns, but dubbed by a squeaky-voiced actress. The Doctor later explains Alpha Centauri is bigender.
  • In Mystery Science Theater 3000, Gypsy was voiced by several men in different seasons, except in the 2017 revival, where she's voiced by a woman.
  • Lampshaded in the Henry Danger episode "Toon in for Danger". The first cartoon made about Kid Danger and Captain Man had Henry voiced by a female voice, much to his dismay.

    Music 
  • The singing voice of Studio Killers lead singer Cherry is provided by Finnish male singer Teemu Brunila.
  • In Queen's song "Brighton Rock", the vocals are supposed to be a duet between a man and a woman, but Freddie Mercury ended up doing both voices.
  • Dudley Moore's "Die Flabbergast" is likewise a fake "male/female" duet, but played for laughs.
  • mind.in.a.box, both members of which are male, occasionally uses pitched-up and highly vocoderized vocals to produce a synthetic female voice.
  • Ke usually sang in a faux-female voice.
  • According to Tommy Scott, the lead singer of Space, the vocal on 'Avenging Angels' is this. It's in the style of Marlene Dietrich.
  • Plenty of HoneyWorks' songs uses the (female) voicebanks of GUMI or vflower to sing male parts.
  • In the famous Electric Six song "Danger! High Voltage", the "female" singer was provided not just by a guy, but by Jack White!
  • Evelyn Evelyn is a music act starring a fictional set of conjoined twin sisters, Evelyn Evelyn. One is voiced by Amanda Palmer while the other is voiced by Jason Webley.
  • Hyadain would use a voice-changing program for the female voices in his songs.
  • Porter Robinson indulged in this in his sophomore album nurture, which in contrast to previous works consists primarily of his own vocals rather than guest features, and he stylistically alternates between using his normal singing voice and a "female" one achieved through audio effects. The song "Something Comforting" ends the final chorus switching between the two voices at random to fully display to the listener that it's all him.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In Spitting Image, Margaret Thatcher was voiced by Steve Nallon.
    • Nallon actually appeared in live-action as Thatcher in an episode of The New Statesman, though to hide his gender he had to be shot in sinister silhouette.
  • Janice from The Muppet Show was puppeteered by Richard Hunt.
    • Not to be outdone, Miss Piggy is voiced by Frank Oz.
    • In the 1970s episodes of Sesame Street, many female Muppets were voiced by males. One main example was Gladys the Cow, performed by Richard Hunt. Additionally, Hunt and Jerry Nelson and Frank Oz did many other incidental/one-time female characters, many of Oz's female characters sounding almost exactly like Miss Piggy.
    • Baby Natasha was voiced by Kevin Clash who also does the voice of Elmo. Merry Monster was voiced by Joey Mazzarino who also does the voice of Murray Monster. Elisabeth's cat Little Murray Sparkles was voiced by Stephanie D'Abruzzo and Alice Dinnean Vernon. In 2002, Phoebe was voiced by John Tartaglia.
      • To be fair, during the first season of Sesame Street, Jim Henson, Frank Oz, and Caroll Spinney were the only regular Muppet performers (occasionally they would be assisted by John Lovelady or Danny Seagren).
  • Gypsy of Mystery Science Theater 3000 was played by Jim Mallon until 1996, when he handed the role off to Patrick Brantseg. Josh Weinstein played her during the KTMA era. All three did it by inhaling as they spoke. (This is averted, however, in the revival, where she's voiced by Rebecca Hanson.)
  • Wimzie's House has Bo, Wimzie's baby brother voiced by Liz MacRae.
  • In PBS Kids Sprout's Good Night Show, Star was voiced by Stacia Newcomb.
  • In Thunderbirds all young boy characters were voiced by Sylvia Anderson or Christine Finn. In "The Duchess Assignment" the eponymous Duchess of Royston was voiced by Ray Barrett.
  • Averted in another Supermarionation show, Joe 90, where the title character was actually played by a young boy.
  • Fraggle Rock:
    • It has Marjory the Trash Heap voiced by Jerry Nelson.
    • While several foreign versions avert this, the Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish dubs also have her voiced by a man.
    • The French Canadian dub has Wembley voiced by a female actress (more specifically, Johanne Léveillé, best known for voicing Bart Simpson).

    Radio 
  • On The Goon Show, Peter Sellers often played a spookily convincing seductress, usually referred to in the scripts as "Breathy Kensington Thing".
  • In the Final Fantasy Tactics Advance Radio Edition, Marche was voiced by Yuka Imai (who also voiced Larsa), Mewt was voiced by Asami Sanada, Montblanc by Kumiko Yokote, Nono by Masako Jo, and Babus by Kumi Sakuma.
  • The BBC produced an adaptation of The Jungle Book in which Mowgli was played by Indian actress Nisha K. Nayar.
  • The cast of Riders Radio Theater is entirely male, any female supporting character is usually one of the Riders doing falsetto.

    Softwares 
  • Vocaloid:
    • Len Kagamine, voiced by the same actress as his mirror image/sister Rin. Valshe, a female singer, does quite a few covers of Len songs, leading to a recursive example of this trope.
    • Iroha Nekomura is voiced by utaite Kyounosuke Yoshitake, giving her a tomboyish sound.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • The entire cast of Of Weasels And Chickens is female, despite there being many male characters.
  • The Grossery Gang:
    • Originally, all of the Grosseries were voiced by Jade Ubrien, meaning the male Pizza Face, Rocky, Doc Broc, and Egghead were voiced by women. After the change to multiple voice actors, Pizza Face and Rocky were given male voice actors.
    • Despite the swap, Doc Broc and Egghead are still voiced by women (Laila Berzins and Alexandra Ryan, respectively).
  • X-Ray & Vav has Gus Sorola as X-Ray's Mom and Jack Pattillo as Mrs. Terwiliger.
  • Also from Rooster Teeth, Camp Camp has Lindsay Jones as Space Kid.
  • Homestar Runner: Matt Chapman, who voices almost all the characters on the site, also voices Cheerleader, So and So, What's Her Face and The Ugly One in the Teen Girl Squad series. In this case, it's also in-universe; it's actually Strong Bad doing the voice-overs of his comic series.
    • Let's not forget Shut Up Lady, the disembodied old lady voice (provided by a man) who's told to shut up every time she says something.
    • In an unfinished cartoon, Tis True, Pom Pom, Tis True, Marzipan, typically voiced by Missy Palmer, is instead also voiced by Matt, making her sound rather like Strong Sad.
    • In the crude-looking cartoons that are created by The Cheat, the Homestar characters, including Marzipan, are all voiced by a male (in this case, Matt's brother, Mike).
  • Big Bunny has Sam, voiced by the creator, Amy Winfrey. This didn't carry on to Making Fiends, where her husband Peter Merryman (who voiced Big Bunny) voices the male children. On the other side of the coin, Peter Merryman voiced Mrs. Minty, and quite convincingly too.
  • In The Most Epic Story Ever Told in All of Human History, all ten characters are voiced by the same person. The voice actor is male but two of these characters, Little Miss Epic and Epically Avoids You, are female.
  • Sniffles the anteater from Happy Tree Friends. Cub as well, due to being a baby.
  • In Welcome to Hell Sock, who is a young(15-20) male, is voiced by Ann Mendenhall, a woman.
  • This is quite common in Object Shows.
    • In Battle for Dream Island A bunch of female characters are voiced by male actors and in BFB, There are a few male objects voiced by female actors.
    • In Inanimate Insanity, some female characters are voiced by males. Examples include Apple, Lightbulb, Suitcase, and Test Tube.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 


Alternative Title(s): Cross Dressing Voice, Cross Gender Voice Acting

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