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Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy

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Girls will be boys, and boys will be girls;
It's a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world.
The Kinks, "Lola"
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Basically, a couple consisting of a very feminine-looking/acting boy and a very masculine-looking/acting girl. Often comes from pairing the Action Girl with the Non-Action Guy and with doses of Crossdresser, Bifauxnen, Ambiguous Gender, Attractive Bent-Gender, Unsettling Gender Reveal, Viewer Gender Confusion, Dude Looks Like a Lady, Even the Guys Want Him and Even the Girls Want Her. Common in Gender Bender and "Freaky Friday" Flip series. Occasionally, House Husbands and their wives will fall under this trope.

Compare to Understanding Boyfriend, Pitbull Dates Puppy, and Violently Protective Girlfriend. Sensitive Guy and Manly Man, Tomboy and Girly Girl, and Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple work on a similar principle, but with two characters of the same gender. The Useless Boyfriend trope can be the result of this, but not always. Most likely are Cultural Rebels. Subtrope of Stereotype Flip.

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Important Note: While this is usually a straightforward trope, examples can still get subjective in regards to whether or not the woman is masculine enough or if the man is feminine enough. Keep a few points in mind when editing:

  1. Physical fitness and combat abilities relative to each other is irrelevant; what matters here is their comparative enthusiasm for these things.
  2. If the boy is immature, it needs to be in a feminine way, and if the girl is mature, it needs to be in a masculine way.
  3. The girl does not have to be a tomboy, and the boy does not have to be a sensitive guy. A Dark Feminine female and/or Noble Male can also invoke this trope.
  4. Being ambiguously gay or ambiguously lesbian is not a requirement for the boy and the girl in question to fit this dynamic.
  5. If the only context is that the boy is a wimp while the girl is action-oriented, it is not enough.
  6. The girl and the boy in question do not have to be in a romantic or sexual relationship. All that is needed for them to qualify is that they know each other to some degree, and have personalities opposite to their respective genders' expectations.
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    Advertising 
  • It is quite possible to spot this when the guy has a pink product, while the girl has the same one in blue.

    Comic Books 
  • In general, Wonder Woman's relationships with non-super powered men like Steve Trevor or even Batman, scream this trope. Since Diana metaphorically "wears the pants" in each relationship, the best guys like them can do is hold her back and be a cautious moral guide when it comes to mankind, due to her belonging to a Proud Warrior Race. Though this only became apparent in later adaptations as the proud warrior aspect of her character is a relatively new and often controversial addition and she was more of a Girly Bruiser in previous continuities.
  • Most continuities maintain Artemis' masculine woodsy hunter nature and her twin brother Apollo's feminine artsy lover nature from the original mythology while also having them generally appear together.
  • Downplayed but Gambit and Rogue have shades of this, mostly because Gambit is only couple degrees higher than a Badass Normal being a swift thief with kinetic explosion ability while Rogue is an immensely strong Power Parasite Flying Brick whose Story-Breaker Power puts her leagues above him, despite them being depicted as a Battle Couple. Personalty-wise, Gambit is cautious, tactical, and wears pink while Rouge is headstrong, tomboyish, and stubborn. Nationality also gives credence to this trope as from the French-center of New Orleans while Rogue is from Mississippi with her brash southern accent clashing with the Gambit's French tones. Rouge also often reverses the Bridal Carry with Gambit, however this trope is also subverted with Rogue and Gambit as ironically being with him, Rogue actually becomes more feminine and stops being such a Shrinking Violet.
  • Archie Comics:
    • Betty and Archie, from the main Archie Comics series, Depending on the Writer. When Archie's car breaks down, Betty fixes it. And there is even one comic where they try to enter a team surfing competition, but since Archie is too weak to carry Betty, Betty carries Archie.
    • Samantha and Bingo from That Wilkin Boy are Expies of Betty and Archie who fit even better. Samantha is physically very strong, while Bingo is a weak musician. This trope may explain why her father never succeeded in breaking them up or getting her to date a manlier man.
    • The Cabot twins from Josie and the Pussycats: Alexander is a rich fashion plate (or a coward in the Animated Adaptation), while Alexandra is mean and aggressive.
    • This gets played with sometimes with Moose and Midge. While Moose normally exhibits standard jealous male behavior in regards to his girl, it is often suggested that Midge wears the pants in their relationship.
  • In most variations Clark Kent aka Superman is a mild-mannered Momma's Boy from Kansas while Lois Lane is an outgoing, fiery determined city girl. Ironically Clark being more meek made his masculine alter ego Superman more attractive to Lois despite hanging out with Clark every day (or vice versa, depending on the continuity). They worked it out in the end though.
  • Possibly Redlance and Nightfall from ElfQuest, although the elves don't quite go for the same kind of gender stereotyping that humans do. More to the point, the siblings Suntop and Ember. When trying to get a studio to do an animated version of the comic, Executive Meddling said that you can't have a calm guy and a tomboyish girl, and this is one of the reasons the author quickly abandoned that studio.
  • The New Gods Mister Miracle (escape artist and acrobat from New Genesis) and Big Barda (renegade Apokoliptian gladiator) are in many ways a Happily Married version of this.
  • Robin (1993):
    • Tomboyish basketball player Callie Evans, who is shaping up to be quite The Lad-ette as her high school career draws to a close went on multiple dates and was close friends with the much more emotional Non-Action Guy Sebastian Ives.
    • Robin himself with his frequent love interest Spoiler; Tim Drake is an emotionally open, sensitive guy who's girlfriend, Stephanie Brown, is a playful, cocky tomboy.
  • Dale and Andrea from The Walking Dead. Dale's not feminine, but physically he isn't strong. Andrea is the sharpshooter, more energetic and take-charge personality.
  • Yorick and his love interest finally get together near the end of Y: The Last Man. He compares them to the main couple of Moonlighting (a UST-filled detective series starring Bruce Willis and Cybill Sheperd), but takes great care with specifying SHE is the Bruce Willis equivalent.
  • The Flash: Wally West and Jesse Quick are a non-romantic duo like this; Wally's The Heart and wears his emotions on his sleeve, who runs on The Power of Love. Jesse is studious and aggressively workaholic, known for being much less personable than him and the other Flash boys. His wife, Linda Park, is also a touch more masculine than he is, being a Passionate Sports Girl who often playfully chided Wally for not being a fan of sports.

    Comic Strips 
  • Peanuts: Initially, Patty and Violet's aggressiveness (both when they liked him and when they didn't) was meant as a foil for Charlie Brown's nature as a loser and a doormat. But then Shermy, who was also mean to Charlie Brown, was displaced by Linus and Schroeder, who are largely sensitive and introverted, while the girls' side gained the often ill-tempered and violence-prone Lucy and full-on Tomboy Peppermint Patty. Even Charlie Brown's own little sister Sally turned out to be an outspoken, in-your-face type. Of note is that of the four unrequited crushes in the strip, three are a girl pursuing a boy (with varying degrees of aggressiveness), and the fourth involves a character who's never even seen because frankly, that's the only level below being Charlie Brown.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney Animated Canon:
  • DreamWorks:
    • In Kung Fu Panda, Tigress is The Stoic, a tough-as-nails Action Girl, the stronger one of the two, has manly traits, lacks Tertiary Sexual Characteristics, and can take a while to warm up to people. Po is an All-Loving Hero, a Supreme Chef, easily emotional, clumsy, and can be one of the most soft-hearted characters in the series.
    • Astrid and Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon also a great example helped by the fact Astrid is One Head Taller and much more skilled in combat than Hiccup. Personality-wise, Hiccup is more introverted and creative while Astrid is stubborn and proud, so it’s satisfying when the dynamic is shifted and Astrid becomes more compassionate due to Hiccup and his Fluffy Tamer behavior.
      • Unfortunately this trope doesn’t carry into the second movie since Hiccup is more masculine and Astrid is pushed into supportive girlfriend role. However, it is worth noting that the second movie focuses more on Hiccup and his relationship with his long-lost mother, and Astrid is shown to still be tough-as-nails in the tv shows.
    • Gloria and Melman from Madagascar, with the former being a very tough and assertive figure who doesn't take any nonsense from her three male friends and the latter being an easily startled and nervous hypochondriac.
    • Roxanne Ritchi and Megamind. Career-oriented, no-nonsense Intrepid Reporter and a Camp Straight alien.
    • The teenage couple who appeared in Monsters vs. Aliens.
  • PJ and Beret Girl in An Extremely Goofy Movie have a lot of things in common, but they also have a few major differences in that Beret Girl is bold, aggressive, and flirtatious, while PJ is a timid, passive Insecure Love Interest. The couple inverts No Guy Wants to Be Chased, as Beret Girl takes the lead at every step in their relationship, and PJ enjoys this, contrast to how Beret Girl was annoyed by Bobby's attempts at flirting moments beforehand. Beret Girl also has a significantly deeper voice than PJ and is not much shorter, as well as going out of her way to protect him early on.
  • Pixar:
  • Colette and Linguini from Ratatouille. Linguini may not be an excessively effeminate guy, but he is very clumsy and soft-hearted in contrast to the irascible and rough Colette.
  • Coco has Imelda and Hector. Imelda is strong-willed and no-nonsense while Hector is more sensitive and artistic.
  • Barbie Fairytopia: Mermaidia's compassionate Prince Nalu falls for the brash explorer Nori. Their typical roles in the narrative are reversed, too- Nalu is captured by the Big Bad's minions, and Nori must brave the ocean's dangers to save him.
  • Wyldstyle and Emmet from The LEGO Movie. Wyldstyle is a feisty, stern, and no-nonsense Action Girl who actually shows competence in master building, while Emmet is a clumsy, childlike Butt-Monkey who is overlooked by his comrades and is useless for a good chunk of the film. He does take a level in badass near the end, though, when he truly becomes a Master Builder.
  • Rio has the two main macaws, Jewel and Blu, provide an example of this trope, especially during their early interactions. For a vast majority of the film, they are chained together, and whenever Jewel tries to get both of them into a risky situation, Blu keeps chickening out. The trope is downplayed in the sequel since Blu has now learned to fly and manned up a bit, and Jewel is a sweet wife who is accepting of his faults.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Fargo Marge Gunderson trails a couple of sociopathic kidnappers in her third trimester. Her melancholy husband keeps house and paints ducks for a hoped-for Post Office commission.
  • In Impromptu, George Sand is, by 19th century standards, a Ladette, and she takes the lead in her relationship with Chopin. Frederic Chopin is a frail, sensitive, Bishōnen musician.
  • In Mean Girls Janis Ian and Damian are best friends. Damian is a feminine gay man and Janis is a relatively masculine woman. Janis is bullied by Regina George for supposedly being a lesbian, based purely on her characteristics and fashion sense.
  • There was a short film featured on Logo that showed a Gender Flip of a heterosexual wedding. The bride wore a black pantsuit; the groom wore a white tuxedo and veiled top hat and held the bouquet as his mother walked him down the aisle. He was also kind of short. Even among the wedding-goers, all the men wore different suits while the women were dressed more low-key.
  • Peter Quill and Gamora (Guardians of the Galaxy), Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne (Ant-Man), and Peter Parker and Michelle Jones (MCU Spider-Man Trilogy) from the Marvel Cinematic Universe all follow this dynamic to some extent. Quill, Scott, and Peter are not afraid to show emotions whereas Gamora, Hope, and Michelle are all more hardened to the point of being The Stoic. In all three pairings, the man is also less aggressive than the woman.
  • Some Kind of Wonderful has best friends Keith and Watts, the former a shy and sensitive Starving Artist, the latter a Ladette drummer going through a Green-Eyed Epiphany.
  • Tomboyish nanny Chessie and sensitive butler Martin from The Parent Trap (1998).
  • A foster siblings variation with Raven and Charles in X-Men: Apocalypse. Both are mutant activists, but they use different methods when saving the world one mutant life at a time—the sister is more "active" and the brother is more "passive." Mystique is a forthright Action Girl who travels around the globe and regularly employs violence to free mutants who are in physical danger; she tells Caliban that she doesn't care what they do with their newfound liberty. Professor Xavier, on the other hand, is a sweet Non-Action Guy who remains at his home/school and coaches his mutant students on how to master their inherently hazardous abilities so that they're no longer a threat to themselves or to others, while at the same time nurturing them as individuals. In the final scene, Raven assumes a stern, no-nonsense approach when training the X-Men for combat, whereas Charles will continue to educate their minds and provide emotional support.
  • In Marketa Lazarová Alexandra is a wild beauty, who rides horses like a man would and flays animals herself, while her lover Kristian is a Pretty Boy and a Sheltered Aristocrat.
  • In On Moonlight Bay, Marjorie (Doris Day) is a baseball-playing tomboy. Bill is a college-educated intellectual. While Marjorie grows out of dressing like a first baseman, she still retains a lot of the personality (including fixing a car when it breaks down on a date, then driving off without Bill when he tries to claim credit for it).
  • Let It Snow: Angie, who goes by "The Duke", takes on the traditionally masculine role in her friendship with Tobin, who's a somewhat more feminine guy. She's more assertive with a tomboyish look, he's reserved and concerned with his appearance (causing a mishap while shaving his chest).

    Literature 
  • In Phenomena one got the elven twins Alk and Ilke. Alk is gentle, mature, prefers reading compared to adventure, and doesn't really like fighting. Ilke on the other hand loves sparring, lies sometimes, is quick to action, hates admitting it when she's scared, loves adventure, and is all around a bundle of fun. This also makes some conflict between them as Alk fulfills the prophecy because he has to but prefers being with his girlfriend, while Ilke follows her heart and wants to save their people and others who are victims to slavery because she wants to. It's not a gender inverted Women Are Wiser either as Ilke does pick up things they have been taught even though she maybe daydreamed through the lesson.
  • Discworld:
  • In the Dragon Rider series by Cornelia Funke, Lola is a daredevil Action Girl. Twigleg, by contrast, is timid, sensitive, and much more at home with books and computers than with having hair-raising adventures. However, he and Lola often have to work together (as he is the only other person small enough to fit into Lola’s miniature aeroplane). By the second book, A Griffin’s Feather, they have become close friends, and Lola is highly protective of Twigleg.
  • This is a central theme in the Annie M. G. Schmidt story Het Fornuis Moet Weg ("The Stove Has To Go"). It's about a girl who wants to become a carpenter and a boy who wants to become a stay-at-home dad. They argue about it with grownups who are moving an old stove out of the house. Eventually, one of the grownups gets an idea: the stove can be seen as a symbol for the old times when a lack of modern household appliances meant that work around the house took all day and gender roles stayed reinforced. Because of modern luxuries, women now actually have time to study and choose their own careers, so there shouldn't be a need anymore for gender roles to stay as they were. The story is considered a children's classic in The Netherlands.
  • Older Than Steam, even: in 1620 England, in response to a pamphlet entitled Hic Mulier, or The Man-Woman, which discussed the evils of women who dress and act like men, another pamphlet was published, Haec Vir, or The Womanish Man, stating that women would stop acting like men when men stopped acting like women.
  • Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark in The Hunger Games trilogy are often called "The Star-Crossed Lovers from District 12" because of their romance while in the Hunger Games, where only one can survive. Katniss is a determined fighter and an excellent archer. Her strategy is to put on a brave face so as to not appear weak. Peeta is more expressive of his emotions as seen in his tear-stained face, artistic talent, and public confession of love for Katniss.
  • Classic and surprisingly example: Christine and Raoul from The Phantom of the Opera, out of the couple Leroux describes Christine as “the strong one” of the relationship. She just has better fortitude than Raoul, and she might be physically stronger than him given that Christine overpowers Raoul twice in the novel to protect him from Erik, also Raoul is quicker to emotion than her being apt to burst into tears more frequently. Although to be fair Raoul is good with a pistol and actually wounds Erik, but regardless Christine is still the one who saves Raoul from her titular Stalker with a Crush’s wrath. When this trope is subverted and Christine is more typically fearful it’s a sign of how much the fear of Erik has gotten to her. Averted in the stage and movie adaptions where Christine goes through Chickification and Raoul becomes a badass Master Swordsmen.
  • There are elements of this in the relationship between Vin (a blunt Action Girl assassin) and Elend (a thoughtful, bookish nobleman) in Mistborn. It's not completely straight — Vin does have a girly side and Elend will get dangerous if sufficiently motivated — but the trope can definitely be seen here.
  • Pinky and Rex about a boy whose nickname was Pinky (his favorite color was pink) and Rex, a girl who liked dinosaurs and soccer.
  • In the Warhammer 40,000 Ravenor novels, Patience Kys and Carl Thonius are described this way. Hyper intelligent, scholarly dandy Thonius is frequently referred to as a pussy, frequently by Patience herself, a vicious battle telekine. This might be entirely fair, as the novel mentions that anything short of an Astartes in full battle plate is a pussy compared to Patience Kys.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth, aesthetically at least. Jaime is said to be so handsome it spills over into "pretty" territory (although he's also widely regarded as the greatest living swordsman prior to losing his right hand, at least), while Brienne is known for her unattractiveness and her un-lady-like habits of wearing armor, wielding a sword, and beating the crap out of people who piss her off. They form something of an uneasy Battle Couple in A Storm of Swords. As people have observed, one of the fun things about them as a pairing is that they are very much a "beauty and the beast" couple... but which one is which changes depending on if you're talking about looks or about personality.
    • Jon Snow and Ygritte also seem to share this dynamic, much to Ygritte's amusement.
    • An additional example is a sibling pairing rather than a romantic one—Jojen and Meera Reed. Jojen is a frail, sensitive and psychic boy, and Meera a physically-inclined girl who protects him.
    • Another sibling dynamic, Theon and Asha, also qualify.
    • The Star-Crossed Lovers Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, Jon Snow's possible real parents, also had this dynamic. Lyanna was a vivacious, brave tomboy who loved to ride and was almost certainly the mystery knight known as the Knight of the Laughing Tree at the Tourney at Harrenhal. Rhaegar, a bookish, melancholy Long Haired pretty boy, while a noted swordsman, was a musician first and foremost, who only became a warrior because he believed the prophecy of the Prince Who Was Promised applied to him (and wasn't as good as Robert Baratheon, as was demonstrated fatally at the Battle of the Trident).
  • In a very unusual setup for a Romance Novel, Nora Roberts' Tears Of The Moon has as its romantic leads Shawn, a sensitive songwriter and pub cook, and Brenna, a feisty, tomboyish handywoman.
  • The main couple in Elinor Glyn's Three Weeks have shades of this, at least in terms of gender roles — Paul is boyish but virginal, beautiful and compared to Sleeping Beauty, and the Lady is older, independent, mature, compelling and in charge.
  • Depending on the Writer, Mara Jade and Luke Skywalker. When Timothy Zahn writes them, Luke is the sweeter, gentler one who prefers to avoid violence when possible, is always giving second and third chances, and is very open emotionally. Mara is more hostile to the world, blunt and direct and not about to let herself be jerked around, much more fiercely independent, and untrusting.
  • By our standards, this is the default in the world of A Brother's Price. Men being so rare they are kept protected and secluded, and internalize a set of gender roles that encourage softness, vulnerability, passivity, physical attractiveness, and affinity for the domestic sphere, while women run the world and are just about universally more assertive, daring, and calculating. A little girl in tears over a cut on her knee is even told that big girls don't cry. By his world's standards, Jerin is actually rather feminine, as he works to escape when captured and does know how to ride horses, pick locks, read, and use a gun - although he's quite stricken when he actually fires it.
  • Jeeves and Wooster: Bertie Wooster and some of the women who set their sights on him. Bertie is sweet-tempered, non-combative, and a bit of a dandy. He has an unfortunate tendency to attract women with frighteningly assertive personalities.
  • Yume Gari implies that Tatsumi's dead parents were like this. The Action Mom mother was the active yumegari who drove into people's dreams/subconscious and a Lethal Chef, the father watched over his wife's work as her yumemori and was a Supreme Chef. (And Tatsumi pretty much describes her dad as a male Yamato Nadeshiko.)
  • Avasrala from The Expanse series is a foul-mouthed, no-nonsense, tough alpha politician. Her husband is a gentle, philosophical academic.
  • Mortal Engines: Tom and Hester fit this trope, especially in the first half or so of the first book of the series. Hester hides her emotions, doesn't talk much, is a badass Action Girl, and is used to dealing with the rough world beyond the cities without complaints. Tom, on the other hand, is sensitive, emotional, naive, and is constantly shocked by the rough-and-tumble world around him. As the series goes on Tom becomes tougher, while Hester sometimes shows quite a bit of her emotional side, so this trope isn't always in effect — though there are still parts in the later books where Tom very clearly fills the more traditionally "feminine" role in the story, with Hester acting "masculine." (For example, towards the end of Predator's Gold — for much of the book Tom seems to fit the "masculine" mold more so than Hester, but towards the end, Hester becomes very protective of Tom, keeps him out of harm's way, and plays the macho action-hero while Tom fills a more sensitive and support-oriented role).
  • The two azi (roughly, clone servants) Florian and Catlin in Cyteen. Florian is sensitive, social, and a Friend to All Living Things, while Catlin is cold and militaristic. While they're both bodyguards, Catlin specialises in battle, whereas Florian is better at setting and disarming traps.
  • A non-romantic example in Little Women between Jo and Laurie — she's a no-nonsense, unmannered writer who feels uncomfortable in the presence of females, talks about her gender in a manner incredibly reminiscent of transgender people today, and finds sentimentality utterly repellent. He's an artist and a musician, is stated many times to have an acute sense for the beautiful, is initially (before his best friend stirs up his mischief and college gives him a gutter mind) described as always sweet and gentle, a hopeless romantic to the point of total despair when his heart is broken, and unfailingly sentimental. Just to clarify: Yes, Jo is the girl and Laurie is the boy, and those are both nicknames of their own choosing.
  • In The Moomins, Little My (a tough and plucky tomboy) and Sniff (sensitive, cowardly and delicate) is a non-romantic example.
  • The Protector of the Small series has Kel- a stoic girl dedicated to becoming a knight and fighting injustice- and her friend Neal, a healer-turned-knight who often uses White Magic to help his friends and is constantly lovesick over court women.
  • In the Ahriman Trilogy you have sensitive, brooding Simon with militant bruiser Zoe.
  • A non-romantic example in Hetty Feather by Jacqueline Wilson. Heroine Hetty is tough, feisty, outspoken, opinionated, proactive, and sometimes physically aggressive; while her foster brother Gideon is shy, passive, sensitive, fearful, and cries easily. Lampshaded in one scene where they are told that upon leaving the Foundling Hospital, Hetty will be sent to work as a housemaid and Gideon sent to the Armed Forces. They both agree they would each rather go into the opposite profession.
  • Both boys and both girls in The Mysterious Benedict Society are platonic examples. Sticky is panicky, soft-spoken, and sensitive while Constance is a sassy Bratty Half-Pint. Reynie is a mild-mannered bookworm while Kate is an energetic Action Girl.
  • Wings of Fire pairs forgiving, born-diplomat Clay with Peril, an emotional and easily annoyed soldier.
  • In The Grace of Kings, Gin Mazoti and her friend/lover Luan Zya fit this contrasting pairing. Gin disguised herself as a boy when younger and continues to shave her head and wear masculine dress as an adult. While she is very well-read on military strategy, she's characterized by being a very hands-on military leader with an emphasis on dirty tricks picked up from growing up on the streets. In contrast, Luan Zya was (briefly) disguised as a girl as a boy, and grew up pampered in an aristocratic family. Despite their being stripped of their holdings, Zya maintains the wide-ranging education he received as a boy as well as somewhat affected court manners, and as an adult, is a Non-Action Guy whose military contribution is in the form of gadgetry and war-room strategy.
  • Jesse from Bridge to Terabithia is a quiet boy who spends his time drawing and is in love with his school's art teacher. His best friend Leslie is a boyish-looking Outdoorsy Gal. Jesse is Mistaken for Gay by his parents, due to his interest in art combined with the fact his Only Friend is a girl, while Leslie's tomboyishness makes her ostracized at school. Both elements were changed in the 2007 adaptation.
  • Femysade and Aqib in the novella A Taste of Honey. Femysade is taller and stronger than Aqib, has a no-nonsense attitude, and spends her time studying mathematics and physics, while Aqib is — and remains for all his life — a slight, rather weak boy who prefers to avoid conflict and work with animals. Femysade expressly chooses him as her husband because Weakness Turns Her On but later leaves Aqib and their daughter behind to pursue her scientific interests, while Aqib stays behind and takes care of Lucretia. Also, during prayer dances, everyone prefers his performance because it's more feminine — and submissive — than those of more skilled dancers.
  • Animorphs has the very aggressive and assertive Blood Knight Rachel and her Love Interest, the mild-mannered Broken Bird Tobias.
  • Moribito: Balsa is a veteran Action Girl and The Stoic. Her childhood friend, Tanda, is a gentle House Husband who honed his healing skills by patching up her wounds over the course of 20 years.
  • The Lunar Chronicles:
    • Cinder is a jaded Wrench Wench while Kai is a diplomatic and soft-spoken gentleman.
    • Scarlet is a Gunslinger and a Fiery Redhead who was hardened after some Parental Abandonment and was raised on a farm, while Wolf, although an exceptional fighter, is extremely quiet and shy.
  • In Warrior Cats, Ivypool and Fernsong. Ivypool is a she-cat and one of the toughest fighters in the Clan, who survived literal Training from Hell, while Fernsong is a gentler tom. Ivypool wasn't certain about having kits since she didn't want to spend a whole six moons in the nursery, but they decided that once the kits were weaned, Fernsong would move into the nursery to take over their care until they became apprentices. His name is also often considered feminine by fans since both halves of it have been used more often for female characters.
  • Marcus and Caitlys in The Arts of Dark and Light would be a somewhat downplayed example. Caitlys is not exactly unfeminine, but she is a Magic Knight from the elves' secular culture, while Marcus is a kind-hearted and devout scholar type without combat experience (when they first meet). She saves him from villains several times, including once when he tried to Save the Villain and got backstabbed for it (whereas she wanted to just kill the guy all along).
  • This description of a young couple from The Picnic and Suchlike Pandemonium by Gerald Durrell:
    Perry and Marjorie, hand in hand, entered the restaurant. Marjorie was a handsome lady who did look a little like a Gauguin maiden, and Perry was a willowy, delicate, and rather beautiful young man in the Byronic style.
  • Things Fall Apart has shades of this with Nwoye and Ezinma, the two children of Okonkwo who get the most focus. Nwoye is the oldest of all his kids, but is too sensitive to live up to Okonkwo's expectations of a manly man; meanwhile, he outright says that Ezinma should have been a boy, as she's more assertive and prone to getting her way.
  • Kaiku and Tane from the first book in The Braided Path trilogy. She's a tomboy who grew up competing with her brother in just about everything, and later turns out to have fire powers due to being Aberrant. He's a healer and a trainee priest of Saramyr's earth goddess who poisoned his father after he raped Tane's younger sister.

    Music 
  • HoneyWorks:
  • In Barry Louis Polisar's "My Mommy Drives a Dump Truck", the narrator's mother is the breadwinner of the family and always drives the car, while the father is a House Husband who cooks, cleans, sews and takes care of the children. The mother even grew a beard at some point.
  • Androgynous, by The Replacements and also covered by Crash Test Dummies, is a rather sweet song about a couple who like to dress as the opposite sex.
  • Molly by Carrie is about a man being feminised by his more assertive partner.
    Passiveness turns her on, when she's strapped on.
  • Dar Williams' "When I Was A Boy" is a heartwarming take on this. The narrator is a woman who, as a child, thought she was a boy because she didn't conform to gender roles. Her parents discouraged her from climbing trees, not wearing a shirt, and going out by herself, constantly telling her that she needed to find a "nice boy." In the final verse, she tells the man she's on a date with that she knows all his tricks and submits to his superiority, only for the man to admit that he was into feminine things as a child and was similarly forced to be more masculine.
  • "Just Give Me a Reason" is a duet between Pink and Nate Ruess of the band fun.
  • Martha's "Sleeping Beauty" is about a brother and sister with this dynamic, who are nonetheless expected to conform to their parents' expectations.
Your football boots,
My football knees,
I hate the shoes they bought for me,
Inside gets boring but when I showed I had an interest in rugby,
They laughed at me.
  • The song "Not An Apology" by Bea Miller is sung from the perspective of a punk girl who forms this trope with her boyfriend. It's quickly shown that they couldn't handle each other's contrasting lifestyles, and so the girl chose to break up with him.
    "You're such a chick, it makes me feel like a dude."

    Myths & Religion 
  • Classical Mythology:
    • The twins Apollo and Artemis might be considered such, but only by modern standards. Apollo is sometimes thought of as a Bishōnen (as the god of "beardless youth") and He is the god of, among other things, music and art. He also spends a lot of time with the Muses. To classical Greeks, however, he was all man. Artemis, meanwhile, is a wild Action Girl who spends most of her time hunting in the wilderness with her Amazon Brigade.
    • Hercules and Queen Omphale. He was ordered to serve her for a year as punishment for a crime. She ordered him to wear women's clothes and spin cloth while she had fun strutting around in his lionskin and waving his club. Keep in mind that Hercules did that only because he was forced to and his real personality is very manly.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • "Exotic" Adrian Street and Miss Linda. Adrian was one of the most successful wrestlers to use the Gorgeous George gimmick, and Linda played a feminine inversion of the gimmick by being tough, aggressive, and dressing in black leather. Successors include Rico Constantino and Miss Jackie and Paradise and CJ Lane.
  • IWA Puerto Rico had rivalries where Barbie Boy and Queen Adonis were the feminine men while La Amazona and Juliette The Huntress were the masculine women. Albeit, an even more masculine woman, in Killer Kat, often teamed with Barbie Boy, as did the very feminine (but still violent) La Morena. The World Wrestling League later dusted off the Juliette\Barbie Boy feud when Barbie Boy tried to claim the Diosa's Title belt his old partner La Morena had left vacant before the new champion could be decided in an upcoming match between Santana Garrett and Andrea Mother at Wrestlefest. Juliette, now going by Ivelisse Vélez, took exception to Barbie Boy trying to claim another women's belt after he and Queen Adonis fought over IWA's while most of the women went to WWC, and took him on in the ring. Her victory caused WWL to name her the new champion and task her with defending it against Santana and Andrea when they arrived.
  • Beth Phoenix and Santino Marella. Santino also got a bit of this when he started dating Tamina as well but that didn't really last long.
  • Maxine and Derrick Bateman from NXT Redemption. They had an abusive relationship where Maxine would physically abuse Derrick but then coddle him, until his friends staged an intervention, after which Maxine entered a more healthy relationship with the more manly Johnny Curtis...until Curtis became a flamenco dancer anyway.
  • Ivelisse Velez was the more masculine half of her Lucha Underground Tag Team with XO Lishus. Velez isn't the most masculine woman imaginable, especially not post FCW revival and NXT, where she was basically forced to look more conventionally feminine and retained some of that look even into The Temple, but she still wrestles in basic sports bras, tights or leotards with kick pads. XO Lishus wrestles more dolled up and in a woman's two piece cheerleading outfit. Velez does have a few acrobatic moves, but she's mostly grounded, methodical and a fairly vicious striker who favors Choke Holds while Lishus isn't just more of a highflier but dances, twerks and makes prominent use of his ass in his offense. This trope was downplayed, however, when the two became a Power Trio with the more masculine, if sleazy Joey Ryan out of mutual dislike of Jack Evans.

    Radio 
  • In A Prairie Home Companion: Lake Wobegon, where "all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."

    Roleplay 
  • In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, this is the dynamic that Zia has with two of her male friends, Ivan and Ciro. Zia is athletic, cheerfully crass, and isn't afraid to throw down either physically or verbally. By contrast, Ivan is quiet, thoughtful, and physically unfit, whilst Ciro is kind-hearted, reluctant to fight, and has various feminine hobbies like cooking and cleaning.

    Theatre 
  • William Shakespeare:
    • Romeo and Juliet by their time's standards. Romeo is the one with emotional reactions for better or worse, whereas Juliet is more practical and stages their doomed escape. In fact, Romeo's Hot-Blooded nature puts both of them into HUGE trouble when he kills her cousin, Tybalt, to avenge the death of Mercutio, and Juliet is the one who, with the help of a local priest, tries to brew a plan to get both of them out of it. Romeo kills himself with poison, which is considered a feminine way to commit suicide, whereas Juliet uses Romeo's dagger, which was a weapon used typically by men.
    • This applies to some degree to many of the lead couples in Shakespeare's comedies; the woman is typically wittier and more practical, and the guy is emotional in different ways (Hot-Blooded, brooding, etc.)
    • Played with in Macbeth, with Lady Macbeth being the more aggressive and ambitious of the two. In fact, as soon as she finds out about the witches' prophecy she immediately begins formulating how to kill Duncan. While Macbeth is torn with internal guilt about his feelings, she's the one that goads him into doing it by questioning his manhood and saying he has no courage. Of course, after the murder, they "switch back" with Macbeth turning into a kill-crazy tyrant and Lady Macbeth so wracked with guilt that she goes insane.

    Tabletop Games 

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 

    Webcomics 
  • Lezhin's Korean BL webtoon Blood Bank's Humpty Dumpty is an androgynous slender boy with soft features. His grandmother Ghost has a masculine face and huge muscles.
  • High Class Homos: Prince August is soft-spoken and shy, while princess Sapphia is rebellious, outgoing, and isn’t averse to conflict at all.
  • The Joy (Badass Normal Action Girl) and The Sorrow (sensitive spirit medium) in The Cobra Days are a mild version of this, although Sorrow became a bit manlier in later strips.
  • In Digger, due to the matriarchal nature of hyenas, gender roles are reversed and this arrangement is the norm rather than the exception. One character, a scrawny skin painter, has to compete with every other male in the tribe for the affection of their strongest warrior. This is based on real life, where hyenas are basically matriarchal and males tend to be pretty battered.
  • Zombie children Bridget (Cute Bruiser) and Alphonse (master of Cower Power) from Far Out There are a non-romantic example.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, Parley is a loud, roughhousing Magic Knight who's One Head Taller than her Non-Action Guy boyfriend Smith. For bonus points, she starts as a Loving Bully towards him before she works herself up to confessing her feelings for him.
  • Last Res0rt toys with this when it comes to Jigsaw and Slick — Jigsaw's a bit of a tomboy (her main team color is light blue), while Slick's not above dressing in harem wear (and his team's main color is purple). Of course, they're not quite an Official Couple.
  • Ménage à 3 has a non-romantic example in Zii and Gary in early issues. (Things get more complicated later on.) Zii is a promiscuous punk rocker with very masculine traits, while Gary is an awkwardly dorky virgin who has serious problems with being assertive.
  • Borderline example in The Order of the Stick. While Haley is not overly masculine, she is much more direct and goal-oriented than her boyfriend, the ditzy and sensitive Elan. Even after Elan Took a Level in Badass, she's still a better fighter.
    Haley: I really don't like where this is heading.
    Elan: Don't worry. You'll keep me safe.
  • Tonari No Kinniku Joshi has the scrawny Tsundre Dalia who outside of studies is an excellent cook, pining over next-door neighbour Ruby, a very buff young woman, who regularly weightlifts.
  • In Two Guys and Guy, Guy and Wayne are this, evidently.
  • Homestuck:
    • Tavros and Vriska. Tavros is a sweet, shy, kind boy with low self-esteem and a great love of animals and fairies. Vriska is an aggressive, dominating Munchkin and a Jerk with a Heart of Gold with emphasis on the 'jerk'.
    • Karkat and Terezi fit this as well. Karkat's interests are heavily wrapped up in romance and feelings; he loves romance stories, is always eager to help others with relationship issues, and is somewhat passive and manipulative when it comes to getting things done. Terezi's interests fall more on mystery-solving and law enforcement, which is noted to be something of a violent pursuit in Troll society (given that the Trolls are an extremely violent race by nature, this is saying something), and is the more action-oriented and aggressive of the two.
  • In Girls with Slingshots, Zach is jokingly called the "girl" of his relationship with Hazel, because he's more sedate, mature, and wants to settle down and start a family, while Hazel is a rowdy, irresponsible boozehound. Their differences ultimately prove irreconcilable.
  • Siblings Cucumber and Almond of Cucumber Quest: He's a sensitive mage and very much does not want to be a hero while she's an aggressive swords-woman who Jumped at the Call.
  • Peanut and Grape Jelly Sandwich of Housepets! have this sort of dynamic. Peanut is a soft-hearted and sweet comic book nerd whereas Grape is a tough and sarcastic tomboy.
  • In Sticky Dilly Buns, Ruby and Andy grow into something like this pattern. Andy may be a well-muscled professional lifeguard, but people respond more to his looks than his personality in a way that would look classically sexist if he was a girl, and turns out to be borderline asexual, while Ruby, despite being something of an introvert, is more proactive (eventually being the one to initiate a sexual relationship), can look aggressive because of her insecurities and touchiness, and usually dresses in a relatively plain but smart style. In the end, although they have genuine mutual affection, she's using him for stress relief while he just wants her to be happy.
  • The main trio in Castoff consist of: Arianna, the Action Girl Bounty Hunter mage with No Social Skills whose favoured spells list begins with Magic Missile Storm, Vector, a Cute Bookworm Shrinking Violet who honestly wants to make friends and Frankie, a Genki Guy Naïve Animal Lover who hates being violent.

    Web Original 
  • In the original fiction version of Keit-Ai, Tomoyuki the "Cherry Boy" is an asthmatic and oftentimes bullied effeminate boy whose earliest childhood memory was him crossdressing. Meanwhile, (either version of) the super-athletic "Amazon Queen" Seiko is the captain of her sports club (in Tomoyuki's universe, it's the Karate Club and in AU Seiko's universe, it's the Judo Club).

    Web Videos 
  • The Nostalgia Critic:
  • Rebecca Stoné and Tacoma Narrows in Demo Reel, as she's a Lady Drunk berserker who'll genuinely try to kill you if you hurt anyone she cares about, while he's the Only Sane Man who likes the fact that he looks good in a dress and finds it better to talk things over. She and Donnie also fit the dynamic.
  • Parodied in this (NSFW) YouTube video, where the girl dresses up increasingly like a guy.
  • Mystery Skulls' animated music video for their single Ghost features Lewis, a pink ghost who makes decisions based on his emotions, and Vivi, a blue girl with strong arms (she can carry a man and a dog with no sweat) and a strong appetite.
  • Played in a very literal and disturbing way in Punishing Psychiatry - when the protagonist looks at her parents, the mother becomes a phallic figure, while the father warps into a mound of tits with a crotch-like mouth. Yeah, it's that kind of video.
  • Cream Heroes has DD and TT fill this dynamic. DD is a gentle and fluffy cream colored male cat with a very soft mew and calm demeanor. TT is a tough, grey female cat with a rather raspy meow and a tendency to punch whoever comes near.

    Real Life 
  • Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Bill feels your pain; Hillary votes to attack Iraq and is asked to join the watch party when the US takes out Osama bin Laden.
  • Frederic Chopin is a Polish pianist, composer, and sickly. He was paired up with George Sand (the nom de plume of Amantine Dupin), a Tomboy writer overlapped with The Lad-ette.
  • For red eared sliders, the females are bigger and far more aggressive than the males who are smaller and attend to be more docile and shy, especially when handled.
  • There are several animals that exist where the females are dominant over the males, such as hyenas and spiders.
    • Mosquitoes are an interesting case. Both genders eat nectar and fruit juices but the females are the only ones who feed on blood.
    • Another interesting case is the Phalarope. The females are brightly colored and go courting, while the males are dull-colored and brood the eggs.
    • Also the case with emus, in which females are the aggressive and territorial ones, while the males are the ones left with the responsibility of raising and protecting the chicks.
    • Many birds have the burden of parenthood placed primarily on the shoulders of the male. It turns out that this may be an evolutionary trait, as maniraptoran dinosaurs display this behavior as well (the fossils of brooding raptors lack a specific bone that is only found in nursing females, leading to the conclusion that all these brooding raptor specimens were male).
    • The aforementioned spotted hyenas are an extreme example, as females not only are larger and more aggressive than males, but even their genitalia look very penis-like. This "pseudopenis" even can get erect, but males can penetrate it only when it's flaccid. Since it gets erect when males act too aggressive with females, males need to remain docile or otherwise are unable to mate.
    • Seahorses are the Trope Namer for Mister Seahorse for a good reason. Males have a special pouch in which they carry the fertilized eggs in which the embryos develop. In some species, the females even have an ovipositor, basically a somewhat penis-like tube they can use to insert eggs in the male's pouch.
  • Philippe I, Duke of Orleans, the younger brother of King Louis XIV of France, was a feared tactician (to the point that his own brother removed him from command in fear he would overthrow him) and a master of the courts. But he was also, essentially, Camp Gay avant le lettre, known for his effeminacy and for wearing female attire at balls and parties, and known for his long-term relationships with male "favorites." Meanwhile, his wife, Elizabeth Charlotte de Baviere, loved hunting, could walk faster than most men at the court, and refused to wear a mask outdoors like the other ladies did to avoid a "weather-beaten" complexion.
  • Japan now calls this the "Herbivore Man, Carnivorous Woman" phenomenon. In short, more men are identifying themselves as meek, passive, and indifferent to the opposite sex, while women are becoming more assertive, aggressive, and eager to date. Thus, it's not uncommon for women to walk up to the man they're interested in and ask for his phone number, a date, or even sex. Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on whom you ask.
  • Jimmy Reed was a sensitive and often vulnerable blues artist, and he often leaned on his wife, Mary Lee, for guidance and moral support. Mary Lee had a tough persona and did not take shit from people.
  • Michael Jackson and his first wife, the self-described tomboy Lisa Marie Presley.
  • King Gustaf V of Sweden was seen as shy and feeble and took up broidery as a hobby. His queen, Victoria of Baden, ruled the Swedish court with an iron fist, was a brilliant horse-rider, liked to wear military uniforms, and was even made an honorary colonel of the German Empire.

Alternative Title(s): Pink Boy Blue Girl, Tomboy And Sensitive Man, Tomboy And Girly Man

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