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Hide Your Otherness

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Alice is trying to fit in, but she has some kind of physical feature that makes it clear that she is not a human, or not a normal human. Thus she hides or removes this feature.

This particular masquerading comes in two flavors. It might simply be about The Masquerade, or it may be about her self-image. In the first case, the Maintenance can be nothing worse than a practical nuisance. In the second case, it's usually a part of a deeper pattern of self-hatred. Of course, these two flavors are often mixed with each other, and one might lead to the other.

May be prone to a Glamour Failure later on; Freakiness Shame may come into play when that happens.

This does not include social norms for what is proper or maintenance done for purely practical reasons: Only when it's done to pass for normal or human.

A supertrope of Inhuman Eye Concealers and Skin-Tone Disguise.

Compare to Hiding Your Heritage and Hiding the Handicap.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Conductor from Galaxy Express 999 is an invisible being, hiding himself in his thick uniform and panicking over the fact that anyone might be able to see his body. As revealed in the film Adieu Galaxy Express 999, this body comes from him being unable to decide over a human body or a mechanical one. At this point, he has accepted his invisible self.
  • Reki and Rakka from Haibane Renmei use a special dye to hide (and possibly slow) the fact that their wings' charcoal grey feathers are turning black. This is more than cosmetic, since it indicates that they are becoming sin-bound.
  • Most of the dragons in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid don't bother to hide their horns in public since they can just pass it off as cosplay. Elma and Kanna hide them since they have an office job and attend elementary school respectively (two environments where cosplay wouldn't be allowed).
  • All the yokai in Mononoke Sharing (except for Kuro) have to take measures to appear human when they're in public. Mizuchi wears a wig to hide her head plate, Yuki wears extra layers to keep herself from freezing everything, Yooko wears a hoodie to cover her ears, and Momi rips out her horns. Inverted with Chiehime, who dresses like a stereotypical yokai in order to hide the fact that she's functionally human.
  • Zig-Zagged in My Hero Academia; while humanity has mostly gotten used to people with physical traits that would be downright horrifying to us since it's caused by their Quirks, there is a case where some people's Quirks are seen as inherently more dangerous/evil than others and thus are picked on for having a "villain" Quirk. Some try to change this perception and be heroic such as Hitoshi Shinso, whose Quirk allows him to mentally command anyone who responds to something he says, while others adopt the moniker and become villains like the "Hero Killer" Stain, whose Quirk allows him to paralyze anyone whose blood he's ingested, although he has a few other issues.
  • Setsuna from Negima! Magister Negi Magi, on top of normally keeping her wings hidden, is implied to dye her hair and wear contacts to hide the fact that she's albino. The former is for the sake of the masquerade, while the latter is due to self-image issues (white wings were believed to be be an ill omen in her tribe and she was cast out by her family as a result).
  • When a small boy discovers a magical fish, he adopts it and names her Ponyo. Ponyo promptly morphs into a young girl, the better to interact with the boy and his mother.
  • In an early Urusei Yatsura manga chapter, the alien Oni girl Lum decides to try visiting Ataru's class looking like a normal human girl. Part of her disguise was to use a liquid that softened her horns so they could be flattened to look like ornaments. This was also used in the Date episode.

    Comic Books 
  • In Fables, Rapunzel goes to the barber all the time, so she can pass as a muggle mundy. Unlike other examples here, she is happy about being what she is (a supernatural Fable creature), it's just that The Masquerade has to be maintained.
    • It is also the reason that non-human Fables generally need to get Glamors in order to pass as human. Fables that can't afford Glamors or don't care about them are sent to the Farm.
  • Hellboy keeps sawing off his devil horns (and on one occasion,snaps them off). This is only a little to hide the fact that he's not human (given how even without horns he doesn't look remotely human) and mostly as he's the Anti Anti Christ and rejects his horns for representing how he's "supposed" to end the world.
  • The Martian Manhunter adopts the identity of deceased cop John Jones (whose name conveniently sounds the same as his Martian name, J'onn J'onzz) as his Secret Identity.
  • In Runaways, Karolina initially needs to keep her fake Med-Alert bracelet on or else she lights up like a Christmas tree, due to her Majesdanian heritage. Later in the series, she becomes able to suppress the glowing effect through her own efforts.
  • Superman (who was born Kal-El from the planet Krypton), when he's not doing the usual superhero duties of saving people and stopping bad guys, lives as Clark Kent, a mild-mannered human reporter. Though in his defense, Kryptonians are completely physically indistinguishable from humans, was raised by humans, and didn't learn of his alien origins until he was an adult. In All-Star Superman, his efforts to hide his Kryptonian heritage extend to completely altering his posture as Clark Kent.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Dragon Ball Z fanfic The Bond, Makoto, as a full-blooded Saiyan, retains a monkey tail. In public, he usually wraps it around his waist so people think it's a furry belt.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Dynasty: Chi-Chi is actually a half-demon on her mother's side. Fear of exposure led her to file her horns down for years, until Goku learned about them and convinced her to stop.
  • In Embers (Vathara), Ty Lee is secretly an Airbender through her Air Nomad heritage. She's best friends with the Fire Nation princess and hides her secret well, but not well enough that Azula hadn't known for years thanks to scrolls.
  • Lullabies and Fairy Tales: The 11th chapter involves a fish faunus (or a "merman" as many humans call them) named Lamar. He has green scales that he hides underneath his clothes in order to pass as human.
  • In Mudsnake, Hermione gets sorted into Slytherin. To avoid bullying for being a muggleborn, she tells everyone that she's a half-blood raised by squibs.
  • The oneshot Only Truly Dead is themed around the theory that a few Air Nomads escaped genocide a century ago. Ty Lee is descended from an Air Nomad woman. It's implied that Ty Lee is an Air Bender, not a non-bender like she says, but she hides her bending from others.
  • It's revealed late in the RWBY fanfic Resurgence that Ruby's mother, Summer Rose, was half-Faunus. As human-Faunus hybrids are subject to Half-Breed Discrimination from both races, she never removed her hood in front of others, even her own teammates, to hide her own Faunus ears out of shame. Around the time of Ruby's birth, she ultimately had the ears surgically removed.
  • RWBY: Scars:
    • Faunus have a word for those who try and pretend to be human: "Vaara". It literally translates to "Those who reject Devi's blessing" (with Mother Devi being their Ethnic God). Velvet calls Blake a vaara for hiding her cat ears beneath a bow.
    • Neo is a very human-looking Faunus. She usually doesn't intentionally pass as human, but people usually don't know she's a Faunus until they're told. She has a forked tongue but was born mute, so people rarely ever see her tongue. It works for Neo best as it lowers the amount of Fantastic Racism she receives.
    • Ilia is a human-looking Chameleon Faunus who spent much of her life passing as human. She even joined in her friends when they mocked Faunus. Unfortunately, Faunus are able to tell other Faunus, so this led to a lot of awkward and distasteful stares from Faunus.
  • Strange Times Are Upon Us has a pair of time-traveling Klingons wear headscarves to hide their head ridges, allowing them to pass as black in 1859 Pennsylvania (they're at one point mistaken for escaped slaves). When Brokosh, a Lethean decides he needs a drink, he suggests he could do the same by just telling people he's a Pacific Islander with old burn scars.
  • In The Weaver Option the AI Dragon is teleported into Warhammer 40k, specifically a Mechanicus forgeworld. On learning how "Abominable Intelligences" are viewed by the Imperium, Dragon transfers her mind into a custom-built cyborg body. She does note in passing that the cosmetic vat-grown tissue she used to disguise that she's an AI is actually more tissue than some of the other techpriests.

    Films — Animation 
  • The title character Chickenhare and the Hamster of Darkness is a half-hare, half-chicken hybrid. Chickenhare uses fake rabbit feet, a hat, and a jacket to hide his chicken features, but gets rid of them as he accepts his chicken half.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Like its source material below, Blade Runner involves a number of androids, or "replicants", posing as human. There's also hints that the protagonist, Rick Deckard, who hunts down and "retires'' rogue replicants for a living, may secretly be a replicant himself, but not even the people who actually made the movie can agree on whether he is or not.
  • Klaatu, the Human Alien protagonist of The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and its remake spends a good chunk of the film hiding from the military by posing as a man named Mister Carpenter who's renting an apartment with a local family, he soon becomes trusting enough of the family to let them in on his secret and elicit their help in getting back to his ship and preventing The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Evan Almighty features a beard that won't go away, similar to The Santa Clause.
  • In the live-action How the Grinch Stole Christmas! the young Grinch is teased for his green furry appearance. He tries shaving it off, but it only makes things worse.
  • In Human Nature, the protagonist has fur. She hates herself for it. She shaves her entire body (except the head, of course) every morning, and punishes herself by choosing a man who is utterly disgusted by female bodily hair.
  • Played for Drama in Man of Steel, which takes a deconstructionist approach to Superman. Clark's adoptive parents, Jonathan and Martha Kent, continuously stress to him the importance of hiding his powers and alien origins, as they're worried that humanity would fear and reject him due to his amazing abilities. These worries are more or less vindicated in the follow-up Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, where it's shown that there are many people around the world who are legitimately concerned that a Beware the Superman situation could happen down the road.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: After Loki discovers that he's actually a Jötunn, he never deactivates his Asgardian Glamour because he was raised by his adoptive society to hate and fear Frost Giants, and thus he's ashamed of his true lineage and doesn't want to look like a "race of monsters." Moreover, having been wholly assimilated into Asgardian culture, maintaining his Asgardian veneer is his way of proving to others that he's still very much a citizen of Asgard despite his alien background.
  • Most aliens in Men in Black do this, wearing some sort of disguise so they can pass as humans as part of a Masquerade.
  • Much like the Dracula example below, Nosferatu's Count Orlok spends a good chunk of the story pretending to be an ordinary (if weird-looking) human nobleman, which is only to be expected seeing as Nosferatu is just Dracula with the Serial Numbers Filed Off.
  • Scott Calvin in The Santa Clause kept shaving and dying his hair (he didn't want to look like Santa), only to have the beard grow back immediately, and the hair to go back to white.
  • The villain in Who Framed Roger Rabbit turns out to be a Toon in a Human Disguise.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X-Men: Professor X informs Logan that "Anonymity is a mutant's first chance against the world's hostility."
    • X2: X-Men United:
      • After Artie sticks out his dark, forked tongue at a girl who is eating ice cream, Storm chides him with "Not here."
      • At the museum's food court, Xavier admonishes Pyro for activating his fire-enhancing ability to play a prank on a rude young man.
        Professor X: The next time you feel like showing off, don't.
    • X-Men: The Last Stand: The film starts with a little Angel who tries to cut off his own wings in his desperation to be normal. Considering that he did successfully remove them, but he still has the wings as an adult, they must have kept growing back.
    • X-Men Origins: Wolverine: A young Victor Creed folds his arms behind his back to hide his claw-like nails from John Howlett.
    • X-Men: First Class: Fearful of humanity's negative reaction to mutants, Charles and Hank firmly live by this philosophy. Raven was initially influenced by her foster brother, but she has already grown frustrated with concealing her blue form in public when we first see her as an adult. Professor X tells Moira, "For us, anonymity will be the first line of defense."
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: 1973 Magneto invokes this as he's shouting at Xavier, "Hiding, you and Hank, pretending to be something you're not!" Beast in particular is very uncomfortable with his blue, furry form, and he creates a serum which temporarily suppresses his mutation so that he can appear human.

  • And Then I Turned Into a Mermaid: Merfolk of all kinds lose their tails and gain legs when they're on the land, but sirens have wings that they can't hide. When the mermaids made a deal with the British government allowing them to live on land, they didn't include sirens in the deal. Some sirens cut their wings off to pass for human to escape the pollution in the water.
  • In Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception, pixie Opal Koboi plans to abandon the world of faeries and get herself adopted as a human child. As part the scheme she has a human pituitary gland implanted in her skull, in an attempt to make her body generate more growth hormones.
  • Biological androids are commonplace in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and one of the core plot threads involves rogue androids posing as human to evade capture (or because they prefer being human), aided by the fact that they are physiologically indistinguishable from the genuine article. The only way to know for sure is a special test to see if they have empathy, which androids supposedly lack though it becomes increasingly clear that this isn't true.
  • Count Dracula poses as an ordinary human nobleman for most of the first half of the story, as part of his evil plot to get some Londoners to nosh on.
  • In Hoshi and the Red City Circuit, Operators, who have a disability similar to autism, wear a glowing navis under their foreheads to help them function. When Hoshi is disguised as a normal, she wears a hat to hide her navis and sunglasses to hide her lack of eye contact.
  • In InCryptid, many of the more humanoid cryptids live in or interact with human society by hiding their more unusual features.
    • Therianthrope species like fūri, tanuki, and chupacabras can simply transform into a human form.
    • Gorgons, particularly female ones, wear wigs (often with a Beehive Hairdo to give the snakes more room) and special glasses to counteract their petrifying gaze.
    • Young sirens look just like humans, though often with fantastic hair colors, and sometimes unnatural skin colors (for humans). In their twenties, they start developing scales, and by 40 they've turned into a classic mermaid.
    • Sasquatch can shave their body hair and pass for very tall humans.
    • Dragon princesses (actually female dragons), sylphs, jinks, and several other species look identical to humans on the outside.
  • In The Iron Teeth, Blacknail the hobgoblin keeps his large horns filed down. He misses the intimidating look of the horns, but filing them off lets him pass as human with just a hooded cloak, and that offers possibilities too fun to pass up.
  • Ravirn naturally has (somewhat) pointed ears, and 'cat-slit' irises, and has to be reminded to cover up (with a glamour) when around "ordinary mortals"; his girlfriend, as a fellow member of The House(s) of Fate uses a glamor as well. The reason he doesn't cover up all of the time? There's a dress code for visiting Family, which doesn't include the glamour.
  • Cory Doctorow's Someone Comes To Town Someone Leaves Town. Mimi has wings. Attempting to be 'normal', she has her boyfriend cut them off every time, but they keep growing back.
  • The Syrena Legacy: Purple eyes are a trait of Syrena, so when Galen enrolls in a human high school, he wears blue contact lenses.
  • The Protagonist of Terminal World by Alastair Reynolds belongs to a posthuman race of "Angels", complete with wings. To go among normal humans, he underwent extensive surgical modification including removing the wings, but he has to keep having them amputated with increasing frequency, as they always grow back. Furthermore, his eyes begin to turn an unnatural shade of blue if he goes too long without maintenance...not the iris, the entire eye.
  • Thora:
    • The mermaid Halla used to be a champion open water swimmer who wore a special wetsuit called a Halla-Skin to make it look like she had legs instead of a tail.
    • In the first book, Halla teaches her half-human daughter to keep the purple scales on her legs and feet covered, and wear a ponytail to hide the blowhole on her head.
    • The Green Sea-Unicorn has the mermaid Pamela Poutine, who left the sea and moved to London to become an actress. She drags herself around on crutches and wears long skirts with hoops to hide the shape of her tail.
  • Who Censored Roger Rabbit?: Most humanoid toons try to pass themselves off as human as possible. This includes preferring verbal speech over word balloons.

    Live-Action TV 

    Myths & Religion 
  • In Celtic mythology, The Fair Folk will sometimes abduct human infants and replace them with infant (or sometimes elderly) fairies, attempting to pass the replacements, known as Changelings, off as genuine human babies so the parents won't notice that their child had been stolen. Depending on the story, the changeling might wither and die within a short period, become a threat to the family, be easily found out and dealt with accordingly, or be raised as a human, not finding out its true nature until its well into adulthood.
  • Many mythical creatures, such as the Japanese jorogumo or the Welsh morgen, disguise themselves as beautiful (often nude) women in order to attract men, usually luring them to their deaths.
  • Demons, angels, and gods posing as human are common enough in mythology and mythology-derived fiction to have their own tropes.
  • Many Conspiracy Theorists, such as David Icke allege that various assorted world leaders and public figures are actually Reptilian Conspiracy shapeshifted into human forms so that they can secretly control the masses and advance the goals of whatever Ancient Conspiracy it is that they happen to belong to, as evidenced by the fact that their pupils kinda look like vertical slits when photographed from certain angles.
  • Most versions of The Men in Black urban legend have them displaying peculiar traits (bulging or sunken eyes, very long fingers, exaggerated body language, odd speech patterns) that lead witnesses to believe they are something else (usually aliens) masquerading as human beings, but given their elusive nature, this is never confirmed.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Yuan-ti purebloods appear mostly human with minor reptilian features and primarily work as infiltrators against non-yuan-ti societies.

  • Trevor's incredibly ashamed of his lizard skin in Lizard Boy, sequestering himself in his apartment for an entire year to avoid having to confront people.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY:
    • Blake is a cat Faunus. Unlike most Catgirls, she has no tail and has two sets of ears (one human and one cat) as Faunus are only born with one animal trait. She hides the cat ears under a large bow to pass as human.
    • Ilia is a chameleon Faunus who comes from a Mantle Dust mining community. Being able to pass for human gives her parents the chance to try and get her a better life. They insist she suppress her Faunus traits to allow her to function in an Atlas prep school, and make friends. She isn't allowed to tell her friends anything about her family, and she has to go along with her peers whenever they mock or insult Faunus. When tragedy strikes the Mantle Faunus and the humans laughed about it, everything changes: outed when she turns blue with grief, she responds to the nastiness of her former friends by breaking their teeth.


    Web Videos 
  • Fjord from Critical Role Season 2 is a half-orc who was bullied as a child for having tusks, so he removed them and now keeps them filed down out of habit.

    Western Animation 
  • Chicken Boo from Animaniacs, a six-foot-tall rooster who tries to pass as human. Despite his Paper-Thin Disguise and acting exactly like a chicken, he somehow fools almost everybody.
  • In Futurama, Leela has an operation to change her one large eye into two normal-looking ones. She's ecstatic that she can go out into a crowd and nobody pays her any attention. Of course, by the end of the episode she's learned an important lesson and has another operation to revert the change.
  • In Invader Zim, Invaders disguise themselves as other species to prep their planets for invasion/destruction. Zim is comically bad at it, not even bothering to hide his green skin or lack of a nose or ears; his robot servant, GIR, likewise uses a green dog outfit but still walks on his hind legs. His more competent rival, Tak, uses holograms that are far more effective.
  • The Owl House:
    • It's shown via photos that Eda would hide her Pointy Ears under a bandana whenever she was messing around in the Human Realm. [[spoiler:The Hexsquad do something similar during the several months they spend trapped on Earth in "Thanks to Them" (save for Halloween, since they could just pass it off as part of their costumes).
    • Luz normally doesn't bother hiding the fact that she's human while on the Boiling Isles, save for one example where she wore a hat during her trip to the past in "Elsewhere and Elsewhen" since Philip Wittebane was the only known human in the Demon Realm during that timeframe.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil:
    • Miss Heinous, headmistress of St. Olga's reform school, has cheek marks like the Butterfly Royal Family but uses special methods to hide them from anyone who may see them. It was eventually revealed why: She's actually a lost member of the original Butterfly line, the half-monster/half-mewman daughter of Queen Eclipsa and King Globgor who was taken by the Magic High Commission and sent to St. Olga's under the care of robotic "mothers" that would hide all her monster traits to keep up appearances and prevent her from knowing her true heritage, through various abusive means. She stops hiding them once she loses her means to suppress her magic and later when she learns who she really is.
    • Tom Lucitor, despite being royalty, also had to resort to this to avoid discrimination from the mewmans, hiding his natural demon tail and using his status as a member of demon royalty to get bigoted mewmans off himself. Thanks to Star's guidance and support for the rights of monsters to be treated as equal he grows out of it.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: In "thirteensomething", Babs disguises herself as a human to get a part on the titular sitcom.
  • Zig-zagged with Miss Martain /M'Gann M'orse in Young Justice (2010), who hides her Martain identity in her civilian identity Megan Morse. However, she is also hiding her identity as a white Martian from her teammates for most of the first season, having suffered Fantastic Racism from the Green Martians and fears anyone seeing her true monstrous form. By the end of the first season, she had revealed the truth to her teammates, and in the third season her Miss Martian form has white skin, showing she has embraced her heritage.

Alternative Title(s): Masquerade Maintenance, File Them Off Every Morning