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Menswear Ghetto

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"Whereas women can choose from countless myriad textiles, weaves, shapes, patterns and styles in millions of different hues, men must grab either their white or blue shirt, poke their arms through it, and go."
Mike Nelson, "Mind Over Matters"

On Virtual Paper Doll communities, there's often a lack of masculine clothing. This can be because:

  • Most of the members are women or crossplayers.
  • Feminine clothing is more fun to design because it allows for things like frills and sequins.
  • Men simply don't have as many clothing options as women, and for the most part, men are called 'unmasculine' for wearing a skirt unless culturally accepted (such as a Scottish kilt).

It can be very restricting if the Web site doesn't allow male avatar bases to wear female clothing. Usually a contrast to Gendered Outfit, where the same clothing looks different depending on the sex of the wearer, but both can be at play at once if the female versions of the outfits are more varied.



  • One book to learn Chinese teaches learners the word "Unfair" with a picture of the menswear department in a clothing store next to womenswear.


  • The menswear ghetto is likey a factor to why male fashion dolls, such as Ken, aren't as popular as their female counterparts. Barbie can wear anything from trendy modern clothes, historical garments, fantasy gowns and everything inbetween. Ken is limited to endless variations of pants and a top, castual clothes, a suit, a prince outfit, they're all just variations of pants and a top. Similiarly, Ken is often stuck with short, plastic molded hair.

Video Games

  • Animal Crossing:
    • The series averts this by allowing all clothing to be freely worn by all characters. Prior to New Leaf, clothes looked different depending on your gender, but players could wear all patterns nevertheless.
    • In New Leaf, most of the in-game clothing is unisex. What gendered clothing they do have can be worn by either gender, and although Mabel will mention who the item was intended for if you try to buy opposite-gender clothing from her and villagers sometimes acknowledge your crossdressing, the characters don't object to it.
    • New Horizons takes the aversion of this even further, and outright doesn't gender clothing at all. The characters don't care what the item is enough to specifically comment on it, instead sticking to their usual dialogue. Players who didn't want the NPCs to talk so much about their attire rejoiced.
    • While Pocket Camp is similar to New Horizons in that there's no gendered clothing, the options themselves are subject to this. Events will usually have themed clothes attached to them, though there's a higher chance the event comes with a dress than other clothing styles. Outside of events, premium collection wigs tend to skew more towards feminine hairstyles than masculine.
  • A Dance with Rogues is very conscious about doing this. Since it can only be played with a female Player Character, the creator didn't even bother making male armor models distinct (the default gear of your recruitable male companions being a notable exception), instead focusing on a variety of unique and sexy female outfits for you to try on. Like in many similar games, all of them magically transform into generic shirts and pants when put into a male character's inventory.
  • Final Fantasy XIV does its best to keep clothing options somewhat even for both genders, but many clothing options are either locked to female characters only or are designed with a more feminine design that looks better on females than males. The hairstyles for both genders are on more equal ground where everyone can use various hairstyles of different lengths and even share the same styles regardless of gender. Over the years, the game's slowly allowing several female exclusive clothing (such as the wedding dress and sexy bunny outfit) to be worn by males as well.
  • Kingdom of Loathing plays this straight, but gets around it: For every skirt (which can only be crafted by girl characters), there is a corresponding kilt (which can only be crafted by boys). Any given skirt/kilt combo will have the same stats as each other and the corresponding unisex pants. And while there are a few items that only drop for/can only be crafted by one gender, once they enter the game world they can be worn by anyone. There's one item that penalizes males for wearing it, though. Fortunately, you can get an Easy Sex Change by adventuring in the right area.
  • In Magician's Quest: Mysterious Times, there's a whole sub-type of clothing dedicated to skirts, but no shorts. Also, the vast majority of the "long clothes"-style outfits are dresses. However, male characters can still wear anything.
  • Women in Mass Effect, have a much more varied choice of hairstyles than men, who are pretty much limited to buzz- and crew-cuts along with a single set of dreads. Women's makeup is also much more extensive than men's beard options (Heaven forbid a man wear makeup or woman grow a beard!)
  • Pangya will sometimes go months before adding outfits for guys while the girls can get new outfits nearly every two weeks.
  • Second Life falls victim to this, despite the fact that there are many male characters, as the ingame clothing economy is tailored largely towards females; perhaps because they generally spend more energy and money finding clothes. This is especially noticeable when new male players are trying to find 'freebies'.
  • The Sims zig-zags with this. The Sims 4's base game has considerably less variety in hair and clothes with males than women, however a June 2016 update did away with gender restrictions for hair and clothes. Played painfully straight when it comes to custom content, with every single game in the series. You'll find mountains and mountains of clothes and hairstyles for female sims but hardly anything for male sims.
  • Phantasy Star Online 2 and Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis has a pretty bad habit of this. Typically for every new clothing set males get, females will get two. After over 10 years in service you can probably math out how much this imbalance adds up. Don't get started on CAST fashion either, which isn't even guaranteed on every banner.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon X and Y notably suffer from this trope. While male and female characters have access to a roughly equal number of articles of clothing, male trainers are mostly restricted to Palette Swaps of a handful of patterns for each type of clothing (i.e. shirts, pants, etc.), in contrast to the diverse pool of options available to female characters. There are also twelve possible hairstyles for female characters, but only four for male ones. Some of the restrictions are remarkably arbitrary; male characters can't even put star-shaped pins on their hats, as all three Metal Pin color variants are female-exclusive.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon attempted to even this out somewhat, but the female protagonist still has both more clothing options and hairstyles than the male protagonist.
    • Inverted in Pokémon GO, where male avatars have significantly more clothing options than female ones. For example, the same backpack is available in six colors for male trainers, but only four for female ones. You want it in something other than pastels, ladies? You're SOL unless you're willing to crossplay.
    • Averted in Pokkén Tournament DX, where both male and female trainer avatars have a wide variety of clothes and hairstyles. Unlike the mainline series, boys are allowed to wear their hair longer than shoulder length, and there are even male-exclusive styles like pompadours, mohawks, and dreads.
    • Pokémon Sword and Shield leans back into this trope. The "long" styles on boys are shoulder-length at best and they lack the bang customization that girls have, and their choice of shirts and pants are limited to button-ups, t-shirts, jackets, shorts, and trousers. Oddly enough for a game set in a British analogue, boys don't get kilts.
    • Averted with Pokémon Scarlet and Violet in an odd way, clothes and hairstyles are not gender restricted, however, the only clothing you have to choose from are unisex school uniforms, and you can't wear skirts or dresses at all.
  • The Touhou Project character creator create.swf also suffers from this. Justified, though, given the cast....
  • Downplayed in the Splatoon games, where while all pieces of gear can be worn by anyone, the first two games has some gear granted by amiibo have fancy designs when worn by girls, e.g. the School Uniform having a skirt if worn by a girl and the Enchanted Robe having a glittery decoration. Splatoon 3 heavily downplays this, as the aforementioned amiibo gear (except Marinated Top) are split into two variants that can be worn regardless of the wearer's style.
  • While not customizable, this appears in several Super Mario Bros. sports spinoffs. Peach, Daisy, and Rosalina receive sporty dresses while Mario, Luigi, Waluigi, and Wario wear their standard overalls. This is at least averted in Mario Tennis Aces and Mario Golf: Super Rush where the boys finally get sporty clothes for their competition. Though in the Mario Strikers games, as well as the original Mario's Tennis for the Virtual Boy does have the sporty clothes for the boys years before Aces and Super Rush did.
  • Averted in The World Ends with You: Since three of the four playable characters are male, the majority of clothing is unisex. And since the game lacks fully Gender-Restricted Gear, any character can potentially wear anything (as long as their Bravery stat is high enough). Gameplay and Story Segregation and Informed Equipment, however, prevents hilarity from ensuing.


  • Inversion: When Phil and Kaja Foglio introduced a fashion-designer clank into the Girl Genius side stories, Gil got two pages of outfits, while Zeetha, Krosp and Agatha only got one page each.

Web Original

  • In the early days of Gaia Online, there were separate clothes for male and female avatars, with only the appropriate clothing showing up in stores, so if you wanted to see all the clothing, you had to have two accounts. They stopped doing that pretty early on, and all later clothing is unisex. That said, masculine items became rarer and rarer in the site's later years.
  • On meez, male avatars don't have half the options females do. This is particularly confusing considering that things like certain sneakers and sunglasses are restricted to females.
  • This used to be in effect on Subeta, until the artists heard complaints about it and took action. Fortunately, their clothing has always been unisex.
  • Online sewing pattern designer Sewist literally only has options to design clothes for women and girls.