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Larynx Dissonance

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For most adults, it isn't easy to change the apparent gender of their voices. It can be done — some are practiced enough to pull it off, and some can just pull it off by natural talent — but otherwise, the voice will just sound goofy. A man imitating a woman will speak in a ridiculous falsetto, and a woman imitating a man will put on the deepest baritone she can muster. If the goofy voice is part of a joke in a comedy, it can still work. When done deliberately to make a manly-sounding girl or vice versa, it's this trope.

Cross-Dressing Voices is a Sub-Trope, which is an animation trope about adult women doing young boys' voices or adult men doing falsettos. Disguised in Drag and Sweet Polly Oliver are related tropes for visually impersonating the other gender. Not to be confused with Vocal Dissonance, which is when a person's natural voice does not seem to fit their appearance. See also Voice Changeling, who can mimic a specific person's voice.


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Imitating a Feminine Voice

  • This commercial features a young male moving into a new town, where every girl he meets sounds like a man. The only girl who doesn't sound like that is a very homely girl. It turns out that the commercial is for Ajinomoto Stadium — the girls sound like that because they've been constantly screaming at the games.
  • Two commercials for Honeycomb Cereal involve girls turning into the Craver (i.e. the personification of their hunger) with unambiguously male voices. The former gets points for the girl blurting "Yeah!" in the craver voice but her normal-sounding voice for "Honeycomb!" They stand out all the more given that other girl cravers have been given higher-pitched voices to distinguish them from the boy cravers.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The Lucky Star dub has Derek Stephen Prince play a number of female extras.
    • The original Japanese version subverts this, by having a female voice actor (Kujira) voicing female characters... with a male-sounding voice. (She also voices Orochimaru in Naruto, for those interested.)
  • And to complete the triangle, Derek Stephen Prince voiced Ma Toad in Naruto.
  • In the Golden Boy dub, one female minor character (who is seen for about 15 seconds in one episode), who is rather fat and unattractive, is voiced, rather badly and for laughs, by a man.
  • Shangri-La has two female-looking transgender characters obviously voiced by males.
  • On Sonic X, the maid Ella is voiced by Mike Pollock, who also plays Dr. Eggman in the same show.
  • Peace Maker Kurogane's resident pretty boy Souji Okita.
  • My Bride is a Mermaid (more prominent in the first OVA) Lunar's Papa talks alternately between his Moe voice and his manly voice.
  • In the Japanese version of Princess Mononoke, Moro's voice is provided by Miwa Akihiro, who has found something of a niche portraying mysterious older female characters.
  • Chimpette from the Zanpakuto arc of Bleach is voiced by a woman (Mitsuki Saiga)... who usually voices male characters, and uses a male voice for the role. Probably because the character (one half of Renji's Zanpakuto spirit Zabimaru) was originally a male baboon.
    • The dub similarly opted to cast Mary Elizabeth McGlynn as Chimpette, using a voice even deeper and huskier than many of her previous roles to match the original Japanese performance.
  • The English dub voice of Grell Sutcliffe in Black Butler sounds like she's trying to sound more feminine, which is quite appropriate seeing as Grell is debatably a trans woman. Whether this is on purpose or by accident...
    • Many people actually preferred Grell's voice in the English dub compared to Grell's seiyuu and found it to be one of the better decisions in the anime. Which is ironic, because Grell was the VA (Daniel Fredrick)'s first big role.
  • The Swedish dub for Galaxy Express 999 had over half the female cast voiced by a man. And... not very discreetly either. Imagine a female android entering a train cabin, she is completely naked, and looks like she is made of crystal, with long flowing crystal like hair. Then she speaks and you hear the voice of an old man... it. is. HORRIBLE...
  • In the Japanese dub of Papuwa, the character Harada Umako is done by Kouji Ishii to play up the fact that she's the manliest character in the show despite being the sole female. Subverted in the English dub, however, by Joanne Bonasso speaking broken English in a faux Russian accent.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Ugly old crone Uranai Baba was initially voiced by Junpei Takiguchi, who gave her a hoarse, wizened voice. In The Revenge of King Piccolo video game, Christopher Sabat does her voice in the English version, trying his best to imitate her usual English VA, Linda Young. Before Linda Young ever voiced the character, Baba was voiced in the Majin Buu arc and her one appearance in the Cell arc by Christopher Forbis (mainly Dr. Briefs and Dodoria) who gave a rather convincing rasp to his performance. Many mistook it for Laurie Steele, the actress for young Krillin. In the Ocean Group dub of the Buu arc, Baba's voiced by Brian Drummond.
  • Kaoru Hanase from Tamako Market, the beautiful florist who just so happens to be voiced by Daisuke Ono.
  • In an episode of Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, Oscar (Yūki Kaji) goes undercover in drag.
  • James in Pokémon: The Series whenever he dresses like a woman. He can pull off a rather decent-sounding female voice in the Japanese version, but in the dub (at least when voiced by Eric Stuart), he speaks in a cheesy Miss Piggy-esque falsetto voice that can actually be quite funny (especially in "Battle Aboard the St. Anne").
    "Like wow, don't I make, like, the COOLEST girl?"
  • In the first sequel series of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, the villain Gel Sadra is a woman, but is voiced by Masaru Ikeda, who gave her a voice more like that of a flamboyant man. This was to drive home how X's alterations made her inhumanly creepy, although this confused producers of the Eagle Riders dub, who initially translated her as a man until they had to explain away later episodes.
  • Played for Laughs in Inferno Cop, where every character is voiced by a small cast of male voice actors. Including crying pregnant women and babies that turn into sea creatures.
  • In the 9Go! English dub of Tamagotchi, it's clearly obvious that Flowertchi is voiced by a male. And to add onto it, KuroMametchi (an actual male) talks in the same voice when disguising as Lovelin in one episode, proving both are voiced by that same actor!

    Audio Plays 
  • The Firesign Theatre, being all men, do both male and female characters on their albums. The eeriest is definitely Phil Austin.

    Fairy Tales 
The Big Bad Wolf of The Wolf and the Seven Young Goats tries to trick the Goats that he's their mother by trying to imitate their mother's voice but fails the first time around. He than decides to get the blacksmith's help to make his voice sound higher.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Furlecia of Arlo the Alligator Boy is a female hairball with a masculine sounding voice, courtesy of Jonathan Van Ness.
  • Edna Mode of The Incredibles. She's played by the director Brad Bird himself because he couldn't find anyone else who could pull off the Japanese/German accent he wanted.
  • The 1989/1990 Afrikaans dub of Lucky Luke: Daisy Town. With the exception the female singing voices, all of the speaking cast are, for some reason, male and the female characters' voices are noticeably falsetto (this includes the main dance-hall singer's one non-singing line). The dub of the 1980s animated series (mostly with the same cast) averted this by actually having female voice actors.
  • Shrek:
    • Larry King as Doris the Ugly Stepsister in Shrek 2 doesn't even bother with a falsetto.
    • Neither does Regis Philbin in Shrek the Third, as the other stepsister. Given that the Ugly Stepsisters are traditionally played by men in drag (traditionally called "dames") in the pantomime of Cinderella, that was probably deliberate.
    • In the British release of Shrek 2, Larry King was replaced by a talk show host who is more well known in the UK, Jonathan Ross. While still hardly feminine, his somewhat more high pitched, lispy-sounding voice could be considered more convincing. In the Spanish dub, the role is taken by sports journalist Michael Robinson, who takes the same approach as King.
  • Roz, the dispatcher in Monsters, Inc. is voiced by Pixar story man Bob Peterson.
  • Both of Granny Goodness' appearances in movies in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line have this. In Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, Ed Asner reprises the role. In Justice League: Gods and Monsters, she's voiced by Khary Payton.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Carefree (1938), Connors pretends to be "Miss Satsuma Naguchi," a reporter for the Honolulu Daily Bugle, over the telephone. His voice is funny, but not remotely convincing; maybe he was hoping it would be chalked up to a bad long distance line. In any case, Stephen seems to buy it until he realizes that the caller is in a phone booth just a few yards away from him.
  • Some Like It Hot's very premise is about two male musicians dressing up as women to join an all-girl band to hide from the mob. Jack Lemmon had a fairly high voice already, and was able to do a decent tongue-in-cheek female voice while not having to adjust his natural voice very much. Tony Curtis on the other hand had to rely on a professional voice actor (Paul Frees) to dub his female voice.
  • White Chicks. It does not work at all, because the film expects us to buy that nobody sees through their disguises. Their Miss Piggy voices combined with the "No plastic surgeon is that bad" look to completely ruin the suspension of disbelief.
    • It does help that the people the Wayans are supposed to be interacting with seem to be really lacking in the intelligence department. "You can get knee implants?!"
  • Robin Williams managed an almost convincing voice in Mrs. Doubtfire. It may have helped that he played an old woman, not a young one. A British one, at that.
  • Edna Turnblad in Hairspray is this trope. She's a female character who was played by drag queen Divine in the original movie. Harvey Fierstein originated the role on Broadway.
    • John Travolta in the 2007 movie plays it more realistically, with a distinctly softer lilt than Fierstein's. Other stage versions have Ednas that barely try to sound feminine at all.
      • Also a case of Reality Is Unrealistic; several critics asked why Travolta was doing that weird voice, when he's actually playing Edna with a passable Baltimore accent.
    • Many fans of the original stage show despised Travolta's interpretation specifically because he was too believable a woman. Edna was intended to be played like a drag queen, and Travolta said there was "nothing gay about Hairspray" and somehow managed to de-gay the word "fabulous."
  • In Orgazmo, one of the women the titular character has to do a porno with is nicknamed "T-Rex" because she's so rotund. She probably has the deepest voice of any character in the film. Anyone who's since seen South Park will recognize that Trey Parker is dubbing her. Apparently the overweight middle-aged actress who was such a good sport to appear in the film didn't have a scary enough voice.
  • Averted: In To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, Patrick Swayze's drag voice is the second most convincing, aiming for soft and breathy rather than falsetto. The most convincing of all the drag queens, disturbingly, is John Leguizamo as Chi Chi Rodrigues, who only has to go up maybe half an octave.
    • That's because he has done drag as part of his comedy routine in the past, and already had a little experience in that area as opposed to macho men Swayze and Wesley Snipes.
  • Dustin Hoffman does a pretty convincing female voice in Tootsie. This is the reason his character speaks with a southern accent, as Hoffman found he was more able to hit the right register with one.
    • And then averts it: "!"
  • Liev Schreiber has done two drag roles, and he doesn't even bother to disguise his (rather deep and masculine) voice. One was Chris from Mixed Nuts, who complains "My voice doesn't suit me." The other is Vilma, who Schreiber described as a "gay man who wears women's clothing." He does, however, make his voice sound kind of gentler than normal.
  • In Kung Pow! Enter the Fist, a Gag Dub kung-fu film, Steve Odekirk voices nearly everyone. This results in humorously falsetto female voices.
  • In 7 Zwerge, the camera zooms in on Snow White singing beautifully while behind her. The camera then moves around her, showing her from the front and revealing that she isn't actually singing. The camera then moves to the window next to it, revealing that one of the dwarfs had been singing the whole time.
  • Monty Python's Terry Jones plays female characters in several sketch and film appearances, typically affecting a high-pitched but fairly gruff voice.
    • Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Terry plays the woman who argues with Dennis in the "Constitutional Peasants" scene.
    • Monty Python's Life of Brian: Terry much more prominently plays Brian's skeptical no-nonsense mother. In one scene he takes it full circle by having her in turn pretend to be male in order to take part in a stoning.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Summer Heights High, hit Australian TV-show. Chris Lilley voices a girl in high school and is actually pretty good at it without making his pitch much higher, more of making it more bitchy like the average teenage girl in any country. Also voices the 'gangsta' idiot kid where he sends his voice lower and the Drama Teacher where he adds a slight lisp and says the hilarious dialogue pretty straight to comedic effect.
  • Peter Sellers was able to produce scarily realistic women's voices, notably "Breathy Kensington Thing", who made several cameo appearances on The Goon Show.
  • In one episode of The Friday Night Project, guest host David Tennant appeared in a Doctor Who sketch as the female companion. He doesn't look half bad, but the voice is just weird- it's like he sounds like a woman and doesn't sound like one at the same time.
    • And then there's Davina...
  • While Monty Python's Flying Circus specialized in screechy and goofy woman voices, The Kids in the Hall usually played women's voices dead straight, e.g. Bruce McCullough and Scott Thompson as Cathy and Kathy.
    • Kevin MacDonald, in particular, worked very hard in Brain Candy at nailing the closeted gay man's aggrieved wife's pain and tone of voice.
  • The guys in The Whitest Kids U' Know often go with the "Monty Python" variety of female voices when they do drag roles; Darren is the only one who half sounds like a woman when he does it (though he has a high-pitched voice to begin with).
    • Although Timmy can be pretty convincing as well in the role of suburban moms and other such middle-aged females...
  • To see how the professionals do it, watch The Maury Povich Show when he has you guess whether that's a woman or a drag queen...
  • Used brilliantly by Colin Lane in an episode of Thank God You're Here. Colin, a male, was dressed up as a heavily pregnant woman. As soon as he was forced to say something, he effected the deepest voice he could, eventually culminating in this exchange (paraphrased due to a faulty memory).
    Merrick Watts as an Obstetrician: Obviously you don't want to give birth as a male.
    Colin: You wanna start something, mate?
  • In Eureka, S.A.R.A.H., the AI who manages Sheriff Carter's "Smart House", has a female persona. However, Douglas Fargo, her creator and the town's resident Butt-Monkey, based her voice on himself doing a female impression. (He claims he wanted to use Sarah Michelle Gellar, but she hadn't returned his calls). It's just obvious enough to freak out Carter.
    • Note also that Fargo used code from B.R.A.D. as part of S.A.R.A.H.'s AI, so there's further gender issues
  • Gypsy from Mystery Science Theater 3000 was voiced by men throughout the series. One used a falsetto, while another inhaled. It was later averted in the Netflix revival season, where Gypsy was voiced by a woman.
  • In the How I Met Your Mother episode where they all try to quit smoking, Lily's "smoker's voice" is dubbed over by Harvey Fierstein.
  • In 1964, in honour of William Shakespeare's 400th birthday, The Beatles performed a skit on a part of A Midsummer Night's Dream in their show "Around The Beatles". John Lennon played the role of Thisbe in a very deep male voice. Can be found on YouTube multiple times.
  • Averted and subverted in the Saturday Night Live "Gap Girls At The Mall" sketch. Chris Farley, David Spade, and Adam Sandler dress in drag impersonating teenage girls at the mall. In an intentional case, the three simply use high-pitched versions of their own voices. This becomes a Crowning Moment of Funny for Farley, in a skit where they're eating French fries, Spade's character says to Farley's character: "I thought you were trying to lose weight?" Farley breaks character by using his normal voice and saying, "Lay off me, I'm starving!" This has become Memetic Mutation for those familiar with Farley's career.
  • In an episode of Family Matters, Eddie, Steve, and Waldo go to a convent disguised as nuns to find Myra when they think she's joining up with them. Eddie and Steve put on ridiculous voices. Waldo, on the other hand, does not.
  • Eric Idle is probably the only member of the Monty Python group who doesn't speak in a shrill, high voice when imitating a woman.
  • When the Second Doctor puts on a Harmless Lady Disguise in Doctor Who, he speaks in an alarmingly convincing female voice.
  • The episode "You Gotta Have Hope" from The Golden Girls starts with a burly black man singing Puff the Magic Dragon in falsetto. None of the girls auditioning the performers is impressed. Here's the clip.
    Blanche: Thank you. That was... very odd.

  • Multiple P.D.Q. Bach works call for singing by a countertenor (that is, a man singing in the vocal range of a woman). Naturally played for laughs.
    • There's Truth in Television here: Contraltos (female tenors) exist; so do countertenors (male altos). Compositions are sometimes written seriously specifying these ranges.
      • The part of Baba the Turk (a bearded lady) in Igor Stravinsky’s opera The Rake's Progress is frequently played by a countertenor.
      • Countertenors and falsetto singers are also called upon to take operatic roles originally written for castrati. Sometimes the director will cast a female singer instead.
  • Both the male and female voice in this song, "Shoes by Tiga," are done by the same man (the aforementioned Tiga) with the help of audio-editing software.
  • On the The Pogues' album Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash, Shane MacGowan does both the male and female parts in "The Gentleman Soldier". His female voice is of the screechy, Pythonesque variety.
  • Eurobeat singer Davide di Marcantonio often did this, likely with the aid of pitch-shifting, especially in Rose & John - Living in America.
  • White Town's "Your Woman". On surface level anyway - the Title Drop is "I could never be your woman", yet vocalist/sole consistent member Jyoti Prakash Mishra doesn't attempt to make his voice sound feminine. However, Mishra has also said he meant the POV of the song to be ambiguous, and that it could also be about a straight man being in love with a lesbian, or a gay man being in love with a straight man.
  • Neil Sedaka, especially in this song.
  • Carole Pope of Canadian band Rough Trade is a Butch Lesbian with a very deep voice. See for yourself.
  • Jack White (of the The White Stripes) sang the secondary lead vocal on Electric Six's "Danger! High Voltage" using a distinctly more feminine inflection. The video features a woman miming to his vocal part.
  • Nick Pitera, who is capable of singing all the vocal parts of multiple Disney movies, both male and female.
  • Russel Mael of Sparks, who usually has an insanely feminine voice.
  • Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind & Fire was usually indistinguishable from the female backing singers that the band hired when singing in his trademark falsetto.
  • The song "Brighton Rock" by Queen was originally supposed to be a duet, with both a male and female vocalist. Unfortunately, the band had trouble finding an appropriate female vocalist, so Freddie Mercury ended up singing both parts himself.
    • A similar case with "Barcelona" by Freddie Mercury: although there was a female singer (Montserrat Caballe), Mercury recorded the song himself.
  • In Fleetwood Mac songs from 1975 onwards, it's sometimes hard to tell who is singing, as Stevie Nicks (female) and Lindsay Buckingham (male) have very similar voices.
  • Eminem frequently plays female characters in his songs.
    • On "Kim", he's particularly convincing, perhaps aided by how the subject matter of the song means most of Kim's lines are sobs and screams.
    • Despite being able to do a convincing female voice, when rapping as the female character in "Superman", his voice is digitally pitched up instead and sounds squeaky and silly - probably to reinforce the contempt he feels for her.
    • He often pinches his nose and speaks with an effeminate, lispy accent in order to voice stupid or condescending female characters.
    • On "Fast Lane", he briefly imitates Nicki Minaj's voice and flow in order to hit on her.
  • Rob Zombie does a duet with himself in "Demonoid Phenomenon." One of the voices is digitally altered to sound vaguely feminine.
  • Eddie Vedder uses his normal singing voice in the Pearl Jam song "Daughter."
  • KMFDM recorded a version of Madonna's "Material Girl" with deep-voiced En Esch singing all the original lines unaltered.
  • Velvet Underground: The female voice on the track "Sunday Morning" from The Velvet Underground & Nico, which many believe to be Music/Nico, is actually Lou Reed, putting on a hardly unrecognizable imitation of a female voice!
  • Stefan Poiss of, despite his normally bass-baritone voice, does a decent female impersonation on "Unknown", possibly aided by the vocoder.
  • Luc Arbogast, medieval countertenor. Large, shaved head, tattooed like whoa, and has the voice of an operatic diva.
  • A lot of Van der Graaf Generator songs have Peter Hammill doing this, including "Afterwards", "Refugees", "House With No Door", "Pioneers Over C", "Lemmings" and "A Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers".
  • TR/ST's Robert Alfons, like Stefan Poiss, is naturally a baritone, but can very convincingly perform feminine vocals, without the use of falsetto or pitch-shifting.
  • When Bunny Bennett of Steam Powered Giraffe was transitioning from male to female, she had to work diligently to get her voice up into a more feminine range. She has largely succeeded, but still has an impressive baritone.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Muppet Show:
    • Miss Piggy is probably the most famous example of this. It still works, because part of the joke is that she isn't really that feminine. Frank Oz even described her as a trucker trying to be a woman. "You're saying moi is not feminine? Hai-YAH!"
    • Like, Janice as well, although Richard Hunt does a more convincing female voice than Frank Oz. Fer sure. This one was averted in the first season, when Eren Ozker played Janice (with a completely different characterization). Pretty much everyone agrees that invoking this trope after her departure was an improvement.
  • In the 1970s 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.

  • Ray Goulding, ironically enough the big, burly half of Bob & Ray, used the same matronly falsetto for numerous female characters. It was a lot more convincing when he was younger; in their earliest shows, he also had a breathy, right-over-the-top voice for their soap opera heroines: "Ooh, David, kiss me, my darling!"
  • The Reduced Shakespeare Company Radio Show has special appearances by several female celebrities, whose voices sound a little deep. This is because they're not actually female celebrities, but Reed Martin, Professional Impressionist!
    • Female Shakesperean characters are mostly played by Adam Long. This is authentic, people!
  • Benjamin "Katon" Carignan's female voice, as heard on Loids are not Christmas.
  • I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again had Tim Brooke-Taylor as Lady Constance and various women with a strong similarity to Lady Constance. Lady Constance made a comeback as one of the Ugly Sisters in the Radio 4 Panto Black Cinderella II Goes East, along with Graeme Garden as Moaning Minne; as Queens Victoria and Boudicca in the I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue's Yet Another Christmas Carol; and as the Duchess (with Minnie as the Cook) in ISIHAC's Alice in Wonderland parody.

  • Most modern performances of A Midsummer Night's Dream, as part of the Bad "Bad Acting" of the play within a play, will deliberately have Flute unable to pull off a believable female voice (or appearance) for Thisbe.
  • In Matilda, Miss Trunchbull, traditionally playeneed by a tall baritone-voiced man, often suffers from this, most notably when Bryce Ryness played her on the first US tour, although Bertie Carvel, the originator of the role, performed a very convincing female voice.

    Video Games 
  • Bonita Soleil from Psychonauts, though like Doctor Girlfriend below her voice actor doesn't even attempt to give her a feminine voice.
    • This is used as a joke when Raz first talks to her. He finds her in her dressing room, crying in a high female voice—but the sobbing is actually a recording to help her get into character. When Bonita finally speaks, her voice is far different and the crying continues until she turns it off.
  • Lady D from Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure. The game isn't voiced in the traditional sense, but when she talks, sound bites of deep, throaty coughs punctuated by VERY masculine "Yoo-Hoo"'s play.
  • Stronghold uses the Monty Python variation for the game's few female characters.
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy has Jason Spisak voicing Bartz, a mimic-type character who copies the attacks of other characters and mimics their tone of voice when doing so. In the original game the only female on the hero roster was Terra, and Spizak didn't even attempt to imitate her. Then the prequel came out, and Tifa, Yuna and Lightning joined the group, and Bartz's lines were re-recorded to be better imitations of the person he was copying. Thus, Jason Spisak had to imitate four very different-sounding female characters. And he pulled it off. His impressions are so good in fact, some wondered for a time if it was a distorted version of the original voice and didn't think it was actually him.
  • Gruntilda and her sisters from the Banjo-Kazooie series. Grunty and Mingella have Python-esque women's voices (Speaking Simlish), while Blobelda's voice has almost no trace of femininity.
  • A random male hobo in Deus Ex: Human Revolution does a surprisingly good impersonation of newsreader Eliza Cassan.
  • In Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Kaz does some very poor quality impressions of female Metal Gear characters (Naomi, Meryl and The Boss). Apparently, though, they had to be re-recorded badly because the voice actor got the original delivery really close, which doesn't fit Kaz's character.
  • Namu Amida Butsu! -UTENA-: Ashuku Nyorai, voiced by Yūsuke Kobayashi, sounds surprisingly convincing for the most part except during default combined attack, where she lets out a decidedly unfeminine doRYAAAAA!
  • Persona 4 showcases this spectacularly during the cross-dressing pageant. Yosuke tries, but doesn't do a great job; Kanji doesn't even bother.
  • An odd example is the dub of the first Samurai Warriors game, with the series' portrayal of Ranmaru Mori (a historical figure who was actually a boy) as a young woman... voiced here in English by a guy (Tony Oliver, in fact). All subsequent games with an English dub would follow the original Japanese version by casting women as Ranmaru.
  • Gladys, the third parasite from The Cat Lady, is voiced by a man trying to imitate a female voice... and it shows. This makes her even more creepy than she's already supposed to be.

    Visual Novels 
  • Chihiro Fujisaki from Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is a frail boy who dresses as a girl to avoid the stigma of being a, well, frail boy that gets bullied because he is not the Japanese-standard of how they think a young man should look and act. His Japanese voice actor is Kōki Miyata, a guy who's been pigeonholed in "cute boy" roles.

    Web Animation 
  • All of the main ponies of the PONY.MOV series, except Twilight Sparkle.
  • Homestar Runner: Strong Bad does a "growly" variation for his "Teen Girl Squad" toons.
  • Red vs. Blues PSA announcement on how the Internet is different from real life: an obvious guy in a pink suit saying "I am a girl. Tee hee hee."
  • In Steve Cutts' Where Are They Now?, Cutts himself voices all of the has-been cartoon characters, including Jessica Rabbit, giving her a gravelly Cockney accent.

    Web Videos 
  • While Jonathan Sullivan on Escape Pod is still recognizably masculine, his girl-voices aren't parodies.
  • Atop the Fourth Wall:
    • Linkara, when he reads dialog from any ladies in a comic. He has a few different female voices, ranging from "passable" to "Miss Piggy".
    • His girlfriend Liz too. She can do a good vocal imitation of a man, but not a woman!
  • The Wiiviewer doing Princess Peach.
  • Some male Lets Players tend to do this. An infamous example being raocow with his voice for Marisa. With it being strangely bizarre and hard to get out of your head.
  • PlayStation Access: For Rule of Funny, they didn't get a lady to play Rob's Mum. They just got a guy to put on a white dress, not show him above the neck, and have him do a comically shrill impersonation of a middle age British woman's voice.

    Western Animation 
  • For some reason, all actors who have played Arthur's little sister, D.W., have been male. Prepubescent, mind you.
  • The Venture Bros.:
    • Dr. Girlfriend is voiced by Doc Hammer, using the lowest and most gravelly vocal register possible. This has led many to think that she is transgender (both in the fandom and the show), but the in-story justification is that she smokes a lot (Jefferson Twilight asked her if she smoked cigarettes or ate them).
    • Dr. Orpheus's master always takes on a different form each time he appears on the show, from a three-headed dog to Santa Claus, with his voice being the only consistent trait between forms. In one episode, he takes on the form of Orpheus's ex wife, thus invoking this trope.
  • In Moral Orel, Miss Censordoll is voiced by Jay Johnston.
  • In Superman: The Animated Series, Granny Goodness was played by Ed Asner. Who, it must be noted, was instructed not to try to hide his voice. Hearing an old granny with a man's voice can be rather nightmarish, which fits right into Granny's character. It may also be an extension of the panto tradition of evil dames like Cinderella's Stepmother and Stepsisters.
  • Another rather disturbing DCAU instance happens in Batman Beyond, when Talia, after being absent from Bruce's life for decades comes back in his life... only to reveal that it's actually her father, Ra's al Ghul, who put his consciousness into her body to cheat his own body's death, and who now wants Bruce's body, as he prefers being a he. The last word in this phase, and all subsequent ones uttered by the villain, are in his male voice despite, his current female body:
    "I did not mean for you to find out this way. But I suppose what's done is done... detective!"
  • In Futurama, all of the member of the Waterfall family are voiced by Phil Hendrie, including Frida. It's less ridiculous than most examples, but still fairly Miss Piggy-esque.
  • Sit Down, Shut Up's Sue Sezno is voiced by Kenan Thompson. Surprisingly enough, it works.
  • Brendon Small's shows Home Movies and Metalocalypse frequently use male voice talent for female characters. Then there's McGuirk at the Medieval Fair reading his line "in Elizabethan".
  • One episode of Clerks: The Animated Series shows that all of Randall's ex-girlfriends have become lesbians, and all of them are voiced by men.
    • Including one that may have been Kevin Smith himself.
  • South Park does this often, though slightly less so in recent seasons - especially when the female character in question is a real-world celebrity whom they're attempting to mock (such as Martha Stewart).
  • In a Family Guy episode in which the Griffins get superpowers Peter's power is shape-shifting; at one point he disguises himself as Britney Spears but he doesn't disguise his voice at all, and yet everyone falls for it.
  • Bugs Bunny did this fairly often when tricking his enemies.
    • Speaking of which, there have been cases of Mel Blanc voicing one-shot female characters when Bea Benaderet or June Foray weren't available.
  • In Sonic Underground, once you realize Jaleel White (Steve Urkel from Family Matters) is also voicing Sonia, you cannot unhear it.
  • On the short-lived FOX Family cartoon Monster Farm, Cowapatra (the Egyptian queen cow) is voiced by a man named Kevin Killebrew. Come to think of it, since there aren't that many female characters on the show (except for the ones that appear for one episode only), the only female character to have a female voice actress is Zombeef (voiced by Tifany Lenheart).
  • Brian Doyle-Murray played Agnes Delrooney, the escaped lady convict and Grandma-ma lookalike from Duckman. You won't soon forget Doyle-Murray's gravelly voice saying "You know what I haven't had in a long time? A man!". He also played Coach Gills, the female goldfish coach in My Gym Partner's a Monkey.
  • There's Alice in Superjail!, but the voice is certainly not feminine, in fact all that's traditionally feminine about her is her breasts and her name. Justified, since she's a transgender woman, and most trans women have masculine voices due to transitioning after they've gone through male puberty.
    • The lunch ladies are also clearly voiced by men, with deep raspy voices to go along with their gruff, sadistic personalities.
  • In the Total Drama series, DJ's mom is voiced by Clé Bennett, who also voices her son and Chef.
  • Willo the Wisp (1981) had Kenneth Williams as the voices of Mavis Cruet and Evil Edna. As well as everyone else.
  • Tim Brooke-Taylor again, as the villainous Auntie in Bananaman.
  • Tina Rex in The Amazing World of Gumball is voiced by an adult male (originally the same guy who voices Richard) before being pitched way the hell down. The same goes for both of Ms. Simian's voice actors.
    • And when the Watterson kids accidentally eat their father's hormone supplements in "The Mustache", making them hulking and hairy, Gumball and Darwin keep the same voice actors but are pitched down while Anais's voice is replaced with what's obvious an adult man's voice.
    • Coach Russo, Jamie's mother, has a deep male voice (also provided by Richard's voice actor). Gumball and Darwin didn't know she is a woman until the end of her debut episode.
  • Adventure Time:
    • Lumpy Space Princess, who is basically series creator Pendleton Ward playing a Valley Girl with little change in timbre. Lampshaded by the genderswapped version of LSP sounding and looking the same except for some facial hair. The only time his voice sounds different is when LSP herself tells his story, which had it changed to a regal British accent courtesy of Peter Serafinowicz.
    • LSP's best friend Turtle Princess has a low, dopey and masculine voice. Minor character Muscle Princess also has a deep and growly voice.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Squidward's School for Grown Ups", when Squidward and Patrick attend an opera near the end of the episode, SpongeBob comes out dressed as a female Viking warrior (prompting Patrick to comment, "She's beautiful!") and sings opera in a female voice.
  • Princess Pony Apehands on Spliced has a deep, obviously male voice, but the vocabulary and sentence structure of a three-year-old girl.
  • Kaeloo is voiced by an adult man in every language (except Polish). She usually comes off sounding like a young teenage boy, and it especially comes out when she sings.
  • Mother Brain of Captain N: The Game Master was voiced by Levi Stubbs, who used the exact same voice he used for Audrey II. It kinda sounded like a woman, albeit a very gravelly one.
  • The episode "Bridle Gossip" of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has the Mane 6 afflicted by a pranking plant in various ways. Fluttershy's usually soft and very feminine voice is replaced by a very deep sounding male voice actor, namely, Blu Mankuma.
  • Paul Frees once voiced a minor female character in Mr. Peabody's Improbable History using the same voice he used in Some Like It Hot (see above). In addition, Walter Tetely, Sherman's voice actor, also voiced a little girl character (Napoleon's daughter) in one episode. This trope is due to there not usually being any female characters in the show, and thus, there was no need for female voice actors, except on the rare occasion the major historical figure was female (i.e. Cleopatra).
  • Grenda from Gravity Falls sounds like a professional wrestler, and is voiced by Carl Faruolo.
  • Tina from Bob's Burgers is voiced by Dan Mintz, using his natural, deep voice. In this case, it works for the character, giving her an extra layer of awkwardness. Linda is also voiced by a man (John Roberts).
  • On Over the Garden Wall, sisters Auntie Whispers and Adelaide of the Pasture are voiced by Tim Curry and John Cleese, respectively. Adelaide talks in a somewhat high-pitched voice, but Tim Curry doesn't even bother making Auntie Whispers sound feminine in the least.

    Real Life 
  • A staple of many stage comedians. For example, Gabriel "Fluffy" Iglesias.
  • Also worth noting that, with the right software, one can sound like the opposite gender. Morph Vox and others are pretty convincing if you set them up right.
    • This is exactly how the female voices are done in Hyadain's video game music covers, according to Word of God.
  • To avert this in real life, you have to remember that doing a convincing female voice is not a matter of how high you can go. It's a matter of resonance. Most male voices, even higher-pitched ones, have a "boom" in them that women lack. Taking the boom out of your voice out will get a much more convincing result. You may sound like a woman with a deep voice, but you'll at least sound like a woman compared to the standard comedic routine of someone on helium and/or crack.
    • In speech (as opposed to singing) verisimilitude is not in the pitch or the timbre, as there's a fairly large overlap in both between male and female voices. For about the upper two-thirds of the tenor range and about the lower two-thirds of the alto range, speech mannerisms, subtle and less so, dominate. Skillful manipulation of these can produce a convincing voice (male, female, or genderless) in almost anyone of any sex or gender. For that matter, a person's timbre is more flexible than most people give it credit for.
    • There are quite a few YouTube tutorials on this, mostly intended for transitioning trans women. CandiFLA (slightly NSFW note ) might be the best-known.
  • Drag Queens are a mixed bag on this. Some manage to sound like typical women because their natural male voices are that high, but can be a little jarring to watch a queen elegantly lipsynch to Janet Jackson, then turn on the microphone and say in a deep gravelly voice, "How the fuck is everyone?!" But for many queens, the jarring difference between speech and appearance is part of the fun.
  • Very common in early-transition trans women, as hormone reassignment doesn't effect the voice box, requiring several months of vocal therapy in order to amend the problem.
  • Back in the late 1980s, there was a kerfuffle about a phone sex operator named Raven, who was a young black man impersonating a woman. The ads, needless to say, were false advertising.

Imitating a Masculine Voice

    Anime & Manga 
  • Pulled off to varying degrees of success by Mayo Suzukaze in Rurouni Kenshin—the Battousai voice is a very convincing heroic tenor. The goofy, boyish voice Kenshin is meant to have the rest of the time drifts between believable and obviously female.
  • Same with Masako Nozawa as the Japanese voice of Goku in the Dragon Ball franchise. Nothing out-of-the-ordinary when he's a kid, but as an adult, especially a strong and powerful one, it takes some getting used to. Ditto for all of Goku's male relatives (sans Raditz), especially Bardock. In all non-Japanese dubs, this trope is averted and all these characters are voiced by men as adults and women as children.
  • All over the place in Simoun: there isn't a single male voice actor in the show. Justified in that everyone in the world of Simoun is born female, and any men are women who either chose to be so or allowed the Spring to randomly chose for them.
  • Pokémon's Maddie Blaustein is an interesting case. Besides Meowth, she mostly played males, including the ridiculously gruff Lt. Surge. Of course, Maddie is transgender, which could possibly make her an exception if that wouldn't also make her an exceptional case of Crossdressing Voices as she also played young, soft-voiced boys and A.J.
  • The Bakuras in Yu-Gi-Oh! are very obviously played by a woman, though, even with Yami Bakura, it fits due to his/their feminine looks. Its downright amusing in the last season, however, when the much more masculine Thief King Bakura sounds the same as Yami Bakura. Averted in the English and American Spanish dubs, where Bakura is voiced by a man.
  • One Piece gives Luffy a raspy woman's voice, courtesy of Mayumi Tanaka. She is really able to highlight Luffy’s childish nature and easily brings out his serious, angry and tragic sides when needed.This is most definitely award deserving voice acting.

    Fan Works 
  • Escape from the Moon: In the sequel The Mare From the Moon, the voice-changing effect of Poison Joke is replicated in chapter 16, this time on Sweetie Belle (as a demonstration of the plant's abilities). Scootaloo is barely restraining herself from laughing herself sick at the results, and Spliced herself has to suppress a snort of laughter when she hears it gives Fluttershy the same voice.
  • Abridged series again. (eg: Malachite of Sailor Moon Abridged, played by the FTM transgender Whip0fAlchemy)
  • Several (otherwise unremarkable) attempts at abridging The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya on YouTube have had Kyon being voiced by an obvious female.
  • The Superman: Red Son motion comic has Cindy Robinson, Lois Lane's voice, also voicing Braniac, although with a drastically pitched-down voice.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Subverted in the Whoopi Goldberg movie The Associate, where she disguises herself as a white male investor to get ahead on Wall Street. At first, the Drag Queen coaching Whoopi tries to get her to deepen her voice ("If I go any deeper I'll be talking out my uterus!"), but eventually she just uses a slightly-raspier version of her natural voice and fools people all the same (it helps that Whoopi already has a pretty deep voice for a woman).

  • Shellpeople in The Ship Who... books don't breathe and can't open their mouths, but inputs implanted in their throats carry impulses to speakers. They learn to speak in a different way from most humans. Helva, the titular Ship Who Sang, was complimented on the quality of her humming and decided to find a way to sing, ending up capable of manipulating her throat, diaphragm, and even nasal cavities in such a way that through her speakers she can sing any part she wishes, deep voiced males included. This becomes extra helpful in Dramatic Mission, where combined with her recall she can play any of the parts required of her in Romeo and Juliet.
    • Carialle, The Ship Who Won, idolizes Helva and took a certain degree of voice training herself. She didn't turn out to be musically inclined, but it does give her the ability to voice male and female characters in the improvisational fantasy role-playing game she plays with her brawn Keff.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In one of the "Gimmick of the Week" episodes of Charmed, Prudence turns into a guy. No, wait. She turns into Shannon Doherty in a bad wig and mustache. Her voice was just as unconvincing.
  • Happens in Fringe when Olivia is possessed by William Bell. Anna Torv does a pretty good job of it, too.
  • In an episode of Out of This World (1987), the main character pretends she's a guy over the phone. It doesn't quite work. Her friend notes that the guy had a "nasally voice".
  • Sabrina magically turns into a guy so people will take her more seriously in Sabrina the Teenage Witch. In other words, she gets a hair cut, baggy jeans, and a jersey. She sorta puts on a voice, but it's supposed to be funny because it's bad. It works, though. Though the guys she talks to think she's weird.


  • In Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Hedwig's second husband, Yitzhak, is traditionally played by a woman. His distinctly feminine voice is the only giveaway underneath the fake facial hair and men's clothing, which emphasizes how he is a feminine person who is forced to act masculine.
  • Traditionally, the role of adult Gary Coleman in Avenue Q is played by a woman with a deep voice.

    Video Games 
  • AkaSeka: Rie Kugimiya obviously isn't even trying when voicing the little boy Yamato Takeru. Whether this is to further his The Cutie image is up for interpretation.
  • In their appearances in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Smash Bros., and Hyrule Warriors, Princess Zelda and Sheik always have the same voice actressnote , resulting in Sheik having a muffled yet feminine voice. Sheik is Zelda in disguise as a male Sheikah.
  • Onmyoji: As if Tamamo-no-Mae (himself a Gender Flip of a female mythological figure) isn't androgynous enough, Romi Park's performance as him sounds more awkwardly nasal than convincing, which is unexpected from an All-Star Cast game whose voice work is otherwise flawless. Gets even worse in his Awakened forms when she outright gives him a feminine voice.

    Western Animation 
  • It's quite common for pre-teen boys to be voiced by female actors.
  • In one episode of Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels, Taffy impersonates a man during a telephone call.
  • Done in the Clone High episode "A Shot in the D'Arc" when Joan of Arc poses as a boy in order to play on the basketball team. The disguise is basically a baseball cap, a fake mustache, and a terrible baritone. Somehow, everyone else is fooled by her disguise.
  • In The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius episode "Trading Faces", Jimmy and Cindy are accidentally body swapped, taking their voices with them. At school, they attempt to affect each other's voice in order to fool people. Since Jimmy is already voiced by a woman, he is unsurprisingly able to pull off a good fake of Cindy's voice. Cindy's attempts to sound like Jimmy, however, fall squarely into this trope.
  • The late Dick Beals made a living voicing children in his career, as his voice was buffeted by his 4-foot, 7-inch body frame. He was Speedy Alka-Seltzer, and was the voice of not only Buzzer Bell on The Funny Company, but also Shrinkin' Violette (a girl) on the same show.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998):
    • In episode "Bubble Boy", the girls capture Rowdyruff Boy Boomer and plant Bubbles disguised as him among the others. That the other Rowdyruffs could not suspect anything, given Bubbles' normally higher-pitched voice and baby-blue eyes, speaks volumes of their intelligence.
    • Similarly, Bubbles is the head of a poorly made male disguise in "I See a Funny Cartoon in Your Future", and again, the villain doesn't catch on to her disguised voice being abnormally high.

    Real Life 
  • It is not uncommon for female gamers to deepen their voices or use voice-masking tools when going online, so that they're not constantly hit on by creepy basement dwellers with no sense of boundaries.
  • While less common than the inverse, trans men may end up with this issue and need to take up vocal training. Plus, as mentioned above, there are other ways to change others’ perception even if you are not lucky enough to hit your desired tone naturally. This is less an issue of pitch than it is resonance in most cases. note 

Can go either way

    Live-Action TV 
  • The drag queens of RuPaul's Drag Race can go either way depending on the queen. Some, like Jade Jolie and Willam Belli, have naturally high voices that work great in drag, but become jarring when we see them as men. Others, like Rebecca Glasscock, Raja, and Latrice Royale have very deep male voices that they don't disguise in drag, leading to scenes where you'd have a gorgeous female body in front of you speaking in a baritone male voice (especially Rebecca who's one of the more passable queens...until she opens her mouth).

    Video Games 
  • In Rock Band, a lot of the time the on-screen singer will make for something of an incongruous contrast with the original vocals. Female characters somewhat more often, since most of the available songs are sung by men, but it's just as bizarre to see a big hulking mountain of a man singing in the voice of Alanis Morrissette. Or, even worse/better, GLaDOS.
    • The same goes for Guitar Hero, where you can have Lars Umlaut sing 'Stop staring at my D-cup'.
      • Even better, the vocalist generally acts on stage as if their sex was based on that of their singing voice. So not only will he sing like a girl but also sway his hips.
      • This wasn't a problem in the earlier games, where your character didn't do the actual singing - there were two separate vocalists, one of either gender.
    • Of course, making your lead singer of ambiguous gender can account for songs sung by either gender. For example, Poison.
    • While Guitar Hero: Van Halen exclusively has male lead singers because all the songs are sung by males, the backing vocals (sung by the guitarist and bassist in the game) can be either gender depending on the song, and anyone can be assigned to them. Try assigning Lars Umlaut or even Eddie Van Halen to those roles when performing "Pretty Fly for a White Guy", or any female to the same role when performing "Master Exploder".
    • In Rock Band 2 you could be forgiven for thinking the developers made a mistake by assigning a female singer to "Visions" by Abnormality. While it is a very deep vocal part, it's actually a woman doing a death metal growl.

  • Audio books are pretty much the biggest source of Larynx Dissonance. Most have one person playing EVERY character so, unless the book being read only has characters of one gender, this is going to happen. That said, Tropes Are Not Bad; most audio book narrators are good at acting as the characters and making the Larynx Dissonance sound less weird (and audio books are great when you want to read but aren't able to actually read the book).