Follow TV Tropes


Real Men Wear Pink

Go To
The cherries represent the blood of our enemies!
Careful, they're still hot.

"The stronger a man is, the more gentle he can afford to be."
Elbert Hubbard

For some reason, gritty loners, hulking brutes, and all around Manly Men tend to gravitate towards at least one decidedly un-manly interest or hobby. Usually, it involves baking, sewing, or the color pink. While oftentimes this hobby is kept under wraps alongside the Embarrassing Middle Name, Mr. Badass quite often shamelessly enjoys it. Even more often, it's just one of those things you never bothered to ask about. Plus, apparently he was never instilled with the Pink Girl, Blue Boy archetype when he was growing up. Or maybe he was, and couldn't be bothered with it anyway. It's a safe assumption that he cares very deeply for his mother. And in other words, he is a Manly Man with a Sensitive Guy Streak!

The basis is that someone who's self-evidently "masculine" doesn't need to demonstrate his masculinity in the stereotypical ways. If the Manly Man sees something as manly then it will become manly as he himself is the definition of manly, kind of like how celebrities tend to change fashion in Real Life. Then some men just like to use this as a practical reason to start fights or enjoy the fact that no one will dare to mock him. (Would you?)

Note that if the cultural norms are different in the work's setting (such as fantasy, a period piece, or a work made in Asia) that is not this trope. If all the men are wearing skirts, or pink is a frequent color for masculine costumes or if many men are weavers: that's just a cultural difference. This trope only applies to individuals or a small group of connected characters (such as a family, religious order etc). It also only applies if the work specifically codes the activity or thing as feminine.

This trope doesn't work on extremely feminine looking Bishōnen or Gender Benders, as it's about manly men. If a character has enough girlish traits or hobbies that it starts to compromise his manliness, especially if they have an effeminate appearance, then the character may be In Touch with His Feminine Side. If he looks macho but never acts it he's just a Gentle Giant.

A primary character trait of the Cultured Badass and some House Husbands.

Compare Less Embarrassing Term, Princesses Prefer Pink, Emotional Bruiser, Real Men Love Jesus, Agent Peacock, Gay Bravado, Camp Straight, Purple Is Powerful (when people think just Graceful Ladies Like Purple) and Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak (this trope's distaff counterpart). Liable to overlap with Papa Wolf if the 'pink' in question is a loving nature. A common form of this is Briefs Boasting. Pink Is Erotic can come into play when the man is a lady killer and highly skilled in the art of seduction. Psycho Pink can also play if a man is psychotic and uses uncontrollable violence.

Contrast Sissy Villain, Pink Is for Sissies.

If someone has these sort of characteristics, but is trying to hide them, then they may have an Unmanly Secret.


    open/close all folders 

  • Toyota Racing did a "Sponsafy Your Car" contest that asked fans to go the Toyota Racing website and design their own paint scheme. In the commercial, a young girl named “Kimmy” designs a pink racecar for NASCAR star Kyle Busch. "Who doesn’t like kittens, bunnies and little baby seals?" Fiction has now become fact. He actually drove the pink car from the commercial in the 2010 NASCAR season.
  • In New Zealand in the early 2000s, Tararua Milk ran adverts featuring a 'macho-looking bloke' describing himself engaging in decidedly un-manly activities: "I wear a pink shirt, but not at the rugby... I'll ask for directions, but only if I have to!"
  • Oddly enough, "Real Men wear Pink" is a promotional tagline for Joop! cologne.
  • There is a classic TV commercial for the "real" Yellow Pages that used the slogan, "Get Connected With the Real Yellow Pages." The ad featured a huge, bearded, brutal-looking, tattoo-encrusted Hell's Angel who is upset because he simply is not getting what he needs hanging out with the guys drinking beer. So he consults the yellow pages. A moment later, we see the biker all smiles and sunshine, surrounded by gray-haired old ladies, happily a part of their quilting circle.
  • Played for Laughs in a commercial on the (now defunct) "Kids' WB!" in which characters from different cartoons revealed their favorite Pokémon. (As per the Rule of Three, the first two are perfectly logical while the third one comes completely out of left field.)
    Virgil Hawkins / Static: I choose Raichu!
    Jackie Chan: Hitmonchan!
    Wolverine: I pick Wigglytuff. (off Professor Xavier's look) Got a problem with that?
  • A BP gasoline commercial features three tough-looking guys in their van when "I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys comes on. One of them starts quietly singing along...and one cut later, all three are singing at the top of their lungs.
  • Commercials for Clash of Clans:
    • The Hog Rider is a mohawk'd Scary Black Man armed with a warhammer and riding (as the name suggests) a boar. He's put into paroxysms of glee by an air raid he mistakes for a "balloon parade," and when the town is under seige and needs reinforcements, his equivalent of lighting the beacons is to call "How Pretty!" into the summer breeze, which calls a horde of hog riders to the city. He also has a squeaky voice.
    • The P.E.K.K.A., a massive Black Knight with Glowing Eyes of Doom and wielding a BFS , is shown happily chasing a butterfly through a warzone.
  • Jake from State Farm: In "Bath Bomb" NFL quarterback Patrick Mahomes is a little embarrassed he's very into bath bombs, and keeps tossing bombs into an increasingly fizzy bath. Jake assures him that it's fine.

    Asian Animation 
  • Running Man has Kuga of the Bars Tribe. He is first shown to wear gloves just to hide his pink paws as he seems to be embarrassed on what the others think of them. In his tribe, having them is actually their Limit Break called the "Super Paw" in which they can blast powerful shockwaves from the palms of their hands. However, the user's confidence will affect the Super Paw's power. As evidenced that Kuga is still doubtful of himself that his Super Paw ability isn't that much powerful. Right after Kuga lost his gloves, he still covers them with bandages. For the last episodes when fighting with his doppelganger, Kuga finally accepted his powers and removed his bandages.
    Kuga: Pink is the color...for men.

    Comic Strips 
  • Played with in Pickles: Nelson wishes he owned a unicorn, and his grandparents question his burgeoning sexuality. It turns he made the wish "because it has a sharp horn and kills things."
  • In Zits, rebel punk drummer Pierce harbors a secret love of scrapbooking.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm has Thor quite firmly insist that real men do cry and there is no shame in it, also enjoying snuggling with his girlfriend and son and watching Doctor Who and The Lord of the Rings with them.
    • Loki, meanwhile, is perfectly comfortable shifting into female form to exploit a loophole in the requirement for men and women to be paired off on official entry at an Asgardian function.
    • And Steve, as per canon, is an artist who enjoys sketching. He's also a total sweetheart, and when he insists that he can be Darker and Edgier, Clint points out that the last time they went jogging together, Steve literally stopped to rescue a little girl's kitten from a tree, and that he's "about as edgy as cookie dough."
  • In The World in Black and White Ichigo is like this. How manly is he? He is a Vasto Lorde class hollow and it is greatly implied that he is the one doing the household chores and cooking while not gallivanting around Hueco Mundo. He's also apparently a popular writer of Shoujo Manga...
  • Gabriel Blessing's brilliantly done The Hill of Swords is a Fate/stay night and The Familiar of Zero crossover that has FSN's Emiya Shirou gain a reputation for being murderously competent on the battlefield... and enjoying washing dishes, clothes, and cooking. Those who know of his reputation usually have to fight their way past a BSOD moment the first time they encounter him humming along while performing such tasks.
  • Ryan Lee from Futari wa Pretty Cure Dragon is a tough-as-nails martial artist who will go to any lengths to protect his friends. He also attends a girls' school, wears ballet shoes with his school uniform, and has been studying aikido, which is a graceful and dance-like martial art, for years prior to the story. He even wears pink in numerous episodes (not counting the pink skirt he wears with his school uniform), including a couple of episodes where he wears a leotard.
  • There is a Pokémon ROM-hack called "Manly Pink Version". Its mascot is Audino.
  • In The Cracks That Show Harry's goblin account manager is secretly fond of crocheting, while a goblin elder admits to having enjoyed baking once upon a time.
  • Fallout: Equestria - The Chrysalis: Sickle may be a mare, but her pink coat and mane combined with... oh... just about everything else about her just screams this trope.
  • Power Rangers: Shuriken Force has Joe, the male Pink Ranger. Though he acts like a bad boy and mouths off when he can get away with it, the only comment he makes is a confident retort to Lila about how much better he looks in the suit than she would, and in later chapters it's shown he actually has a train he painted pink when he was younger because he wanted it to brighten it up. It's also the first gift his adoptive parents bought him, and later becomes his zord
  • In The Start of a New Life Sirius knits, having learned it from Harry's paternal grandmother. In the previous story he went up against Voldemort and about thirty Death Eaters and won. (Although it helped that he accidentally turned Voldemort into a cockroach...)
  • In Loki's Family Hogun the Grim secretly enjoys gardening.
  • In Bolt From The Blue, having his best friend deconstruct gender roles to him let Xanxus indulge in make-up. He's still able to literally roast your sorry ass.
  • In My Huntsman Academia, Izuku picks up numerous stereotypically girly hobbies over the course of his adventures at Beacon. He becomes a great cook after Nora drags him out in the middle of the night to make pancakes, a skilled figurine carver due to his fanboying over Toshinori, and a artisan bonsai tender as part of his botany class assignments. He also surprises himself when his cover of "Peace Sign" knocks it out of the park when Yang drags him to a karaoke lounge, with the latter joking that he should start a boy band. Of course, he's still a Genius Bruiser armed with a Super-Strength Semblance who is totally ripped and the story's main source of Eye Candy. Eijirou Kirishima, a member of Team MADE, also ends up being his team's cook despite being the manliest person on his team, which he both acknowledges and grumbles about.
  • In Infinite Coffee and Protection Detail, scary ex-HYDRA Super-Soldier assassin James Barnes takes an interest in styling his long hair, courtesy of Pepper, Natasha, and Maria, forming a little group they call the Hair Club. At one point, he buys a pretty glass French press and threatens to kill the thug who jumps him and makes him drop it, if the thug broke it. He also starts going into battle with his bangs pinned back with a sparkly butterfly-shaped hair clip, and develops a taste for chardonnay.
    Tony: "You don’t, I dunno, want to maybe drink something a little more manly?"
    Barnes: "Why the hell do I need to prove my masculinity."
  • Zim the Warlord: Irken Reversion: After encountering a unicorn, Zim shows an admiration for the species and states that he fails to understand why humans find them effeminate, noting that their horns and speed make them extremely dangerous.
  • In Tailor-Made Snape finds sewing relaxing.
  • Sognic: Mall-tiverse of Madness: Played for Laughs. Shadoo Hedhorg is an edgelord who is capable of beating Chroma the Cuttlefish to death. But he also likes animatronics and plushies, particularly Build-A-Bear.

  • Bowling King: Harsh gangster Suhnshyon Tzang is fierce, competitive, and intimidating. He also loves Britney Spears music and wears facial make-up often.

  • The campy appeal of the 2023 Barbie film has led to captioning pictures of various fictional characters (especially tough guys) with "# tickets to the Barbie movie, please".

  • Classical Mythology:
    • As punishment for killing somebody, Hercules is forced into slavery to Queen Omphale for a year, who forces him to wear women's clothing and help with the weaving, while she wears his lion pelt and waves his club around. He doesn't complain too much, because, honestly, who's going to make fun of Hercules for wearing pink? Also the weaving was actually relaxing.
    • He ain't the only one, either. Achilles spent a good part of his life Disguised in Drag per orders of his overprotective and worried mother, who wanted to keep him from dying in the war. Per The Achilleid, Achilles hates the idea at first, but Thetis tries to get Achilles on-board with pretending to be a girl by appealing to other Greek heroes and gods who took on feminine traits. She mentions that Hercules worked as a seamstress, Bacchus wore fashionable robes, Jupiter shapeshifted into a woman, and the great hero Caenus lived as both a man and a woman.
    • Dionysus is the god of wine. He parties all the time and dresses like a woman (the way you can tell is the length of the skirt: the chiton worn by men usually came to mid-thigh, the peplos worn by women was ankle length). Oh, and if you fail to show him the proper reverence he'll have his minions (drunk, horny women) tear you to shreds and eat you.
  • Norse Mythology: Thor and Loki had to dress up like girls to trick the Jotun giants into thinking Thor was Freia, whom the giant Thrym wanted to marry. This is one of the oldest, best-known and funniest of the Edda poems.


  • Or wield pink, rather. In the Cool Kids Table game Star War, Kip's lightsaber blade is offensively pink.
  • One episode of The Hidden Almanac ends with a Parody Commercial for Big Al's Lace Emporium — "You want lace? We got lace. We got more lace than you can possibly handle. We have lace that you can kill bears with. Come get this lace, if you think you're hard enough."
  • In episode six of Mystery Show, Starlee interviews wrestler Colt Cabana, who admits that he makes his own costumes.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech has House Marik of the Free Worlds League, who wear bright purple dress uniforms-and often paint their Humongous Mecha with either full or partial purple paint schemes.
  • Exalted's Malfeas; fallen king of the Yozi, font of unending and eternal rage, and lord of the dance. When lesser beings channel Malfeas' powers, they must be used for destructive, ruinous, needlessly brutal, overwhelming, intimidating, terrifying and cruel (and so on) purposes — and for playing music and dancing. His powers do not work for any other purposes. Ligier, his core aspect, is embarrassed about the fact that Malfeas likes dancing, but he still leads festival processions through the black streets of the Demon City.
  • Warhammer 40,000 uses this frequently:
    • The Dark Eldar wear a lot of purple and take pride from how classy and cultured they are. They also steal slaves and inflict misery and Cold-Blooded Torture on everyone they see (including each other) just for the hell of it, and they're vicious in a fistfight.
    • The Craftworld Eldar are nearly as bad, and they're even more cultured and classy than their For the Evulz kin.
    • The Blood Angels Space Marine chapter have a strong appreciation for things like art, poetry, and music, when they are not on the battlefield.
    • The White Scars almost deliberately evoke such a dichotomy, being every stereotype of barbaric Mongol warriors in power armor when on the battlefield, yet they prefer to spend their downtime practicing calligraphy, philosophy and general academia.
    • Subverted by the Emperor's Children. Sadistic, evil, merciless, traitorous junkie rapists, they also wear hot pink armour and have a thing for velvet. Sounds like a villain counterpart to the Blood Angels at first, but the hot pink is actually part of the metaphor for drug withdrawal — they constantly crave drug-like highs from abusing their senses, and garish clashing pink-on-black is one of the few things that still works.
    • From what little is known of the Bone Knives chapter, they're savage enough to believe that such a name is the best reflection of who they are as people, yet their official chapter heraldry is magenta.
  • Half-orcs make good rangers or druids in Dungeons & Dragons. One of the gods rangers and druids frequently worship is Ehlonna: Neutral Good patroness of cute fluffy animals and pretty flowers. Of course, rangers and druids can also make your face less pretty very very quickly.
    • In the Third Edition of the game: Geomancers, especially those that worship the aforementioned Ehlonna, are very likely to be this trope. Parts of their body take on the appearance of animals or plants, and they can gain the abilities of certain animals or plants. Depending on the player's choices, the character can be quite cute and cuddly or else pretty and graceful. They can also throw nearly every spell in the book at you, and all their spells are always the strongest they can possibly be. While animals are generally not that useful in the game due to their low hit points and slow advancement, a human with animal abilities can be terrifying. This is widely considered to be one of the most game-breaking prestige classes, despite the fact that you have to gimp your character for five levels in order to qualify for it (multiclassing comes with hefty penalties). Mainly because Geomancer spells are typically too hard for level-appropriate monsters without character classes to dodge/resist AND they can have ridiculously high skill modifiers thanks to their animal attributes.


    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Miles Edgeworth embraces his trope as he wears a berry-colored blazer with matching trousers to court (and everywhere else). His only update in a decade of law practice has been to make the tails longer and add slightly darker satin trim. If that weren't enough, there is also the ever-present three-layered poof of lace at his throat. In one Breaking the Fourth Wall commercial, he has a pink Nintendo DS. All of the buttons on the touch screen of his own game are his signature magenta.
    • Furio "The Tiger" Tigre from Trials and Tribulations: Ruthless Loan Shark with mafia ties. Personification of Brooklyn Rage. Literally roars like a tiger whenever he gets mad. Drives a pink moped.
    • Tyrell Badd is a grizzled Film Noir detective in a zany world, and a Memetic Badass whose very name has "bad" in it. He wears a Coat Cape covered entirely in bullet holes (there's also some in his tie). He also has an enormous Sweet Tooth and is constantly sucking on a pink lollipop. It does not at all detract from his manliness.
    • Winfred "Big Wins" Kitaki from Apollo Justice. Head of the local Yakuza family. Casually hands out death threats. Wears a cute green apron with a cartoon fox on it. Opens up a bakery after he leaves the crime business.
    • Shelly De Killer, the notorious assassin, sends out pink calling cards and openly wears a pink coat while posing as an ice cream salesman.
    • Kristoph Gavin from Apollo Justice wears nail polish at all times.
  • In Amnesia: Later, the stoic genius Kent starts to learn how to cook and bake because he doesn't know how to do basic housework, and ends up finding a passion in it. In a literal sense of the trope, when cooking together with the heroine, he dons a pink apron.
  • In Fate/stay night Archer himself, epitome of manliness, enjoys cooking, cleaning and making tea. Not that he really gets the opportunity to do so more than ten minutes into the game or so but...
    • As does Shirou, who also owns a pink apron on top of it. Although the housekeeping side of him is only shown before he starts doing anything badass. Of course, he and Archer are the same person.
      • He still does quite a bit even after he starts fighting. At the end of the Unlimited Blade Works route, right before the final battle, Shirou decides to get pumped up for the fight... by cooking everyone a gorgeous dinner. Also, in the True End of Heaven's Feel, he starts to make a big meal for everyone, and this is after he literally turned his entire body into swords.
    • In Fate/hollow ataraxia we find out that Lancer is this too as he became a florist at this point
  • One of the bathroom encounters in Monster Prom features Damien, otherwise the poster-demon for toxic masculinity, arguing about makeup techniques with the female love interests.
    I like to start with a palette of complimentary colors for my skin tone: blood red, baby-flesh pink, bloodshot crimson, and then do a basic blend with a soft-boiled chimera egg... what? It's called TECHNIQUE, FUCKERS!
  • Noct, one of the love interests in Songs and Flowers has a reputation as the school delinquent and frequently gets into fights, but also loves cute things and wears exclusively pink outfits with jewelry and hair clips.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner:
    • Strong Bad enjoys bubble baths and baking. And owns a pink shower cap with a cherry-red heart print. In his case, however, it's more proof of how he fails to be as cool as he thinks he is.
    • His big brother Strong Mad. 7 feet tall? Check. 100,000 pounds of muscle? Check. Ability to lift A.T.M.s, chomp computers, and bash your face in? Check to the third power squared. Purple singlet??? Check mate. He also has a lot of affection for small fuzzy things (like The Cheat).
  • In the Lady Lumps VS Boy Bumps video Metro City, Mike Haggar's clothes are burnt off in a car accident, so he makes a skirt out of the fire like any real man would.
  • Happy Tree Friends:
    • Flippy dreams about riding unicorns over flower meadows and having tea parties with pink penguins, and the Collect Them All feature on one of the DVDs mentions he knits sweaters. He's also a war veteran who can (and, if his Ax-Crazy Split Personality is in control, will) kill you three times before you hit the floor.
    • Cuddles, an impulsive and adventurous rabbit, literally wears pink. Pink bunny slippers, to be exact.
    • Superman Substitute Splendid enjoys baking and knitting clothes.
  • In the Battle for Dream Island episode, Lofty, after Snowball pops one of his teammates balloons due to being pink, Eraser claims that pink is manly too which they have a short argument about.
  • DSBT InsaniT: K-Seal is pink! He's also an evil, cannibalistic, Fat Bastard.
  • Rocky from The Grossery Gang webseries. He's a tough party animal donut, but also has bright pink frosting and is a fan of singer Katy Hairy.


Brick the Siren

She is the prettiest.

How well does it match the trope?

4.65 (17 votes)

Example of:

Main / RealMenWearPink

Media sources: