Follow TV Tropes

Following

Sexy Dimorphism

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/t_regina_0.png
It's either this or we put a bow on her.
"I've always thought it a bit odd that the male orcs, trolls, and undead are all hunched, twisted monsters, and the females are all basically just discoloured human hotties with bad dentistry."
Advertisement:

Sexual dimorphism refers to physical and physiological differences between the sexes, which, in the case of fictional fantastic species, tends to be very pronounced. In many media geared towards men, males of a species are depicted in various ways, but females tend to be depicted as feminine humanoids whose secondary sex characteristics (such as breasts, butts, and body fat) tend to closely resemble those of humans. Coincidence, obviously. Rarely do female members of sapient alien species display more realistic traits (resembling those of nonhuman species on Earth) such as being larger than the males, lacking prominent mammaries, or drinking blood while the males are vegetarians.

This is because male characters being bestial and inhuman can still fulfill a power fantasy, while attractive female characters can still be a source of fanservice. That way both sexes cater to a male audience's interests.

Advertisement:

Subtrope of Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism, which is for all cases where male and female beings are radically different in appearance, and of Men Are Strong, Women Are Pretty, which is for when male design elements are geared towards toughness (in this case "monstrous" traits that are representative of their supposed species), while female design elements are geared towards femininity (or in this case, Rule of Sexy).

Sister Trope to Ugly Guy, Hot Wife and Beast and Beauty; this trope is similar to those appearance dynamics but applied to all members of the same species. Related to Cute Monster Girl, when female monsters are drawn in a sexy, anthropomorphic way and Humanoid Female Animal, which covers artistic representation of female anthropomorphic characters. In science fiction, the females of a Sexily Dimorphic species are often Green Skinned Space Babes. Tends to be an Always Female trope. May result in Non-Mammalian Mammaries. For particularly egregious cases of this, see Only One Female Mold.

Advertisement:


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • The Bugrom from El-Hazard: The Magnificent World are a race of all-male insect warriors, with hulking battle-tank physiques balanced on sticklike limbs and topped with bug-eyed, helmet-like heads. Their female queen, Diva, looks like a tanned, curvaceous human dominatrix with pink hair and antennae. Go figure...?
  • Fal 'Chavamee' of Halo Legends has the typical Predator Pastiche look of the Sangheili, but his wife Han looks a bit more like a pretty human, lacking her race's Monstrous Mandibles and having Alien Hair. The animators of the segment she appears in admit that they used Artistic License to make her more sympathetic, as all other Halo media depict Sangheili females as more similar-looking to the men.
  • This is notably averted in 'Interspecies Reviewers. Men and women of different species tend to heavily resemble each other, such as both male and female treants looking like trees. This fits with the theme of different tastes found throughout the manga.
  • In Keyman: The Hand of Judgement, we have the beastmen. Females tend to look more like a Little Bit Beastly, while the males have the look of a Funny Animal.
  • In Killing Bites transforming half-human hybrid "Therianthropes" come in two flavors. Females retain most of their human body; growing animal ears, fur, fangs, and claws; and end up looking arguably more attractive than their base human form. Males on the other hand grow far more fur/scales, and even transform their entire head and bodies, looking more like bipedal versions of animals than girls in light furry cosplay. The exceptions to this rule are the more unhinged or evil female fighters like Kaede, Ena and Koyomi. They either start out looking bestial like the males do or transform further into such a form.
  • Grand Princess Fire Dragon from Maoyu looks like a beautiful human girl with little horns and a flaming tail. Her father is a bona fide Fire Dragon.
  • Monster Musume: Played with as the series goes on, with some of the rare few extra-liminal species males appearing just as good-looking as their female counterparts. Definitely played straight where the centaurs are concerned, where the males are complete Gonks with brains to match while the centauresses are considerably more appealing.
    • The short-lived browser game based on the series makes orc into a straight example too: while the males seen in the manga look like typical JRPG Pig Man orcs, the orc woman in the game looks like a buxom, bodybuilding, green-skinned gyaru.
  • Seton Academy: Join the Pack!: The males are pretty much Funny Animal Beast Men while the females are a Little Bit Beastly.
  • 12 Beast, by the same author as Monster Musume, treats minotaurs the same way, with males being the typical bull-men while females are tall, muscular and buxom women with hooves, tails and horns... and whose standard casualwear seems to be cow-print bikinis.
  • Mermaids in Delicious in Dungeon are of this variety. Mermen are more fishlike and start out as fish with arms when they are born, while mermaids are more mammalian in structure and fit the typical depiction of mermaids (gorgeous human top half, fish tail bottom half).

    Arts 
  • The statue "Sea God" in Stockholm, created in 1913 by Carl Milles, depicts a bulky, monster-faced, shark-toothed merman embracing a beautiful, well-endowed mermaid.

    Comic Books 
  • The Skrulls' appearance tends to vary a lot Depending on the Artist (and this makes sense in-universe, since they're a race of shapeshifters and can adjust their features however they like), but it's generally consistent that their trademark ridged, lumpy chins are much more exaggerated and grotesque on males, but understated and often scarcely noticeable on females.
  • XXXenophile: Martian females are all gorgeous, buxom, four-armed women, and the males are tiny, squat, furry, mostly shapeless (and, incidentally, non-sapient) hexapods with disproportionately large sex organs. This is then given an extra twist at the end of the story. After making "First Contact" with a human explorer, a giant battlesuit bursts into the room — and the Martians assume that the giant robot must be a human female.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • Bas-Lag Cycle: Male khepri are giant, non-sapient beetles. Female khepri are sexy women with beetles for heads.
  • Book of the New Sun: Abaia and Erebus are mountain-sized, multi-headed tentacle things according to a vision from Severian the Torturer. Their daughter-wives, the Undine, are beautiful albino women who are indistinguishable from humans other than being 60 feet tall.
  • InCryptid: Dragons and wadjets and ukupani have a really extreme case of Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism, with one gender looking essentially like humans (usually rather attractive ones) and the other gender looking like... not humans. For the first two, the females are the humanoid ones, and the males are well, dragons and huge, intelligent cobras, respectively. Gender inverted in the case of the Ukupani, where males can shapeshift into a Shark Man or fully shark form, but females are just really huge, intelligent sharks. Downplayed with gorgons, where the females of the Pliny's gorgon species are human-sized Gorgeous Gorgons, while males tend to be over 7 feet tall, and thus less able to interact with humans.
  • Myth Adventures: The male inhabitants of Trollia are Trolls (enormous, hairy, frightening creatures right out of a fairy tale) and the women are Trollops (gorgeous and human-looking except for green-tinged skin and hair). Despite their smaller size, the women are as strong or stronger than the males. The women are widely believed to be much more intelligent than the males, but this is actually a case of the men who leave their homeworld playing dumb to land good-paying jobs as dumb muscle.
  • Tarzan: The people of the lost city of Opar consist of a tribe of stunted, hairy, almost apelike men ruled over by beautiful, entirely human-looking woman. It's justified in the city's introduction, where it's explained to Tarzan that the ape-like features stem from the degenerate Oparan men interbreeding with local she-apes, and in fact Oparans of both sexes are born with appearances on a spectrum of "man-like" to "ape-like". The Sexy Dimorphism is deliberately selected for, as the Oparan men kill any sons who are too human-looking as well as any daughters that are too ape-like.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek: Most on-screen the Orion species feature their women, who are considered among the most beautiful of all humanoid women, and their men, who are big bruisers (sometimes as much as twice the size of their women), usually ugly and not very smart.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, female dragonborn are comparatively lithe—dragonborn of both sexes are over 7ft tall and built like walking tanks, females are just a little less tanklike—and have relatively small but obvious breasts. Justified in-universe by the fact that A: dragonborn, like their dragon cousins, belong to an entirely unique, partially magic-based, taxonomy that combines reptilian surface attributes with mammalian internal anatomy, and B: the dragonborn reproductive model most closely resembles a monotreme, so they lay eggs and nurse their young on milk.
  • Pathfinder: The Lashunta are a humanoid species where the males are compact, muscular, and hairy, and the females are tall, lithe, elven, and beautiful. This is retconned in Starfinder, which is set in the future of Pathfinder. It's revealed that all Lashunta can develop into one of two subspecies — the short and hairy korasha and the lithe and graceful damaya — depending on environmental factors. Cultural restrictions and gender roles in Pathfinder's time meant that all females grew into damayas and all males into korashas, but by Starfinder this is no longer the case and neither subspecies is particularly gender-restricted anymore.
  • RuneQuest: Female Zabdamar merfolk are classic mermaids, with the bodies of beautiful human women and glittering fish tails. Male Zabdamar look "like toothless walruses, except more ugly". There are several stories of female Zabdamar who sought human lovers because they found their own men too ugly.
  • Shadowrun: Downplayed with the giants, a troll metavariant distinguished by large noses, bark-like skin and routinely topping three meters in height. For reasons unknown, it's common for giant births to express as otherwise entirely normal humans — but only female births. About one in four female births result in human girls, but males are always born as giants.
  • Talislanta: The Batrean race, whose females are green-haired space babes (except when they're blue-haired) with seductive pheromones, and whose males are gangling hairy ogres. Technically also true of the singular race of Gnorls and Weirdlings, although not for the usual reasons: Although Gnorls (the females) look like someone's 80-year-old grandma, that's still prettier than their male counterparts, the Weirdlings (who look like anorexic Yodas in their skivvies).
  • World Tree RPG: Gormoror, the most sexually dimorphic prime species, have men who are, for all intents and purposes, bipedal bears with opposable thumbs. Their women are much more anthropomorphic, with flatter faces and breasts.

    Toys 
  • Not exactly sexy, but Daibadi's Motoroid line shows the females as cute, mouthless Fem Bots with Metabee eyes. It's still a step up from the males according to lore, who look like your standard bulky mechs. Their Polynian line averts this, though, as both males and females are drawn attractively.

    Video Games 
  • Bunny Must Die: Female bunnies look like anime bunnygirls, while male bunnies look like actual rabbits.
  • Dofus and Wakfu:
    • All Sadida have dark skin, green hair, athletic builds, and a general lack of clothing to show them off. But the hair of male Sadidas covers their entire face.
    • Much more blatant with male Sram from Dofus, who look like skeletons, while the females look like cute girls.
  • In Dota 2, Slark, Slardar, and Slithice (Naga Siren) all belong to the same species, the Slithereen. The former two are male, and both have Scary Teeth and a monstrous facial structure. The Naga Siren, meanwhile, has the upper body of a beautiful woman (complete with Non-Mammal Mammaries, and Non-Mammalian Hair with certain cosmetic items) and a human-like face.
  • Grandia: Milda is an otherwise humanoid woman who doesn't look any different from any of the other long-eared beastfolk of the game. Then you get your first glimpse of the males of her tribe when you meet her husband Darlin, who is... a large, robed, bipedal cow.
  • Pathologic has Worms: large, grey hulking bipedal creatures. Female Worms are called Herb Brides and look exactly like scantily clad women. The sequel/re-imagining Pathologic 2 averts this trope by implying that Herb Brides are human women who choose to take on the role.
  • In Redneck Rampage, the male aliens are rather grotesque, short, and nude. The alien "Vixens," on the other hand, are tall and lithe with very large breasts and dress in what appears to be leather fetishwear. Virtually the only thing distinguishing them from human women is their blue skin.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • In the beta version of the game, both male and female orcs were muscular, hulking creatures, and both male and female trolls were lanky with a hunched back. After some feedback from the players, they kept the male models with no changes, but changed the female models to what looked like green- and blue-skinned sexy human women, albeit with pointy ears and Cute Little Fangs. Slightly downplayed by Zandalari Trolls, where even the males stand straight. According to the more recent fluff, the males of other Troll hunch deliberately, but the Zandalari are too proud for that.
    • The three of the four playable Beast Man races, Tauren, Worgen and Pandaren also use this trope, with animalistic males (hunched back and savage facial features in the first two, large Acrofatic build in the third), whereas the females have more human-like build(Tauren and Pardaren are much huskier, though), erect posture, visible breasts and slightly more anthropomorphic facial features. The more recently added Vulpera avoid this, with both males and females being equally anthropomorphic (which is to say, both are very human-like rather than just the women).
    • For the non-playable races, the Naga are an extreme example. The males look like monstrous snakes with two arms, with completely reptilian faces, whereas the females look like a Gorgeous Gorgon, with sexy, humanlike upper bodies and faces, and four arms. This may actually be justified surprisingly; the Naga were created when Queen Azshara made a deal with N'Zoth, and she Does Not Like Men.
    • Downplayed with the Dryads and their male counterparts, the Keepers of the Grove. Both are centaur-like creatures with the well-toned upper body of an elf and the lower body of a deer, as well as leaf-like hair, but the Keepers have a few more non-humanoid features like large, deer-like antlers and root-like fingers on one hand that the Dryads lack.
    • On the Alliance side, the Draenei are even more dimorphic than the orcs and trolls of the Horde. The men are large, hulking brutes with a beard of tentacles, whereas the women are pretty and slender, with small horns on their head. The only similarity between the two genders is their blue skin, hooves and tails.
  • Severely downplayed with the Hive from Destiny; the female morphs (Wizards, Thralls) are slightly more lithe and humanlike than the male ones (Knights, Acolytes), but they're still corpselike Insectoid Aliens that you'd be hard pressed to describe as sexy. With the other alien races, this is either averted completely (it's near impossible to tell male and female Fallen apart) or straight-up inverted (female Cabal are even more monstrous than males, possessing a pair of fearsome tusks).
  • Shantae has several creatures with male and female counterparts; in almost all instances, the male will be more monstrous and the female will be a Cute Monster Girl. For instance, there's the Wetman a humanoid one-eyed lobster, and the Wetgal, a pretty lady made out of water with fins on her head and arms. Averted with the Scorpman and Scorpgal (where both are attractive) and the Muckman and Muckgal (where both are monstrous).
  • Legends of Runeterra stumbled into a bit of this with regards to minotaurs — all male minotaurs (including the playable Alistar of League of Legends) are giant mountains of bulky muscle, whereas the "Thorn of the Rose" depicts the first female minotaur as very skinny and curvaceous, to the point that many fans were confused and assumed the was just a normal human with a bull-shaped mask. However, the "Ruined Reckoner" released not long after depicts another female minotaur who's just as big and muscular as her male kin, so it doesn't seem to be a universal rule.
  • Justified in Medabots; the "female" Medabots are all from lines deliberately designed to reflect feminine archetypes, such as the Nurse or Siren, which in turn are marketed at female Robattlers. They are deliberately designed to look like cute Robot Girls because it makes them more appealing to their intended purchasers. Medabots not marketed specifically towards girls are given more generically robotic forms.

    Webcomics 
  • In Charby the Vampirate, the mermaids are beautiful women with fish tails while the mermen are giant fish people.
  • Draconia Chronicles: Male tigers and dragons are quadrupedal (and in the latter case, are several times the size of the female). The females still have animal attributes but otherwise resemble curvy humanoid women (female dragons look like nothing so much as they do succubi, having "flight muscles" that look and act suspiciously like tits).
  • Oglaf: Parodied (like everything else) in "Dimorphism" by examining this trope from the monsters' perspective. A number of different fantasy species (including T. rex, Ents/Dryads, and mushroom people) have monstrous males that fit the species name, and females that look like curvaceous humanoid beauties in a Sexy Whatever Outfit. The mushroom people decide to wage war with humanity precisely because they're the only race that doesn't prescribe to this phenomenon (since both males and females share the same physiology, the men are described as "blobby chicks you wouldn't fuck").
  • GlitchedPuppet on Twitter, the author of Floraverse, is most certainly and hilariously not a fan of this one.
    Seriously it's 2017 I expect better from everyone by now.
    Image of a male rat next to a cute rat-eared girl: Stop doing this shit
    Image of identical male and female rats: I will now buy your game
  • Sluggy Freelance; in the "Years of Yarncraft" arc, all females of all species in the titular World of Warcraft spoof have the same swimsuit model body type (just with different heads), while the males vary in appearance (this includes slimes of all things, with Riff wondering how he didn't notice this while out on a quest to get an item only female slimes drop).

    Western Animation 
  • Rick and Morty: The planet Gazorpazorp is inhabited by the Gazorpian species. Male Gazorpians are savage, animalistic monsters looking like bulky, red, furry, Multi-Armed and Dangerous humanoids. Female Gazorpians look like beautiful human women with extra arms, and are intelligent and civilized. The two genders never interact, and reproduction is done via sex robots.
  • Futurama:
    • While most male robots are your basic Tin-Can Robot, most fembots have more complex humanoid body shapes and design elements that make them look like stylized metal sculptures of attractive human women. (The distinction is particularly apparent whenever Bender has a Love Interest.)
      • The gender roles are sometimes reversed, like with the farmer's robot daughters (two of which are humanoid but the one Bender finds most attractive is some kind of sentient harvester vehicle) or the computer that a couple of human women in their underwear are "undressing" by taking off its shell.
    • Played for Laughs with Zoidberg's species, the Decapodians; the show takes care to point out that the Non-Mammal Mammaries on the women are actually their "egg sacs."
  • Lava is a Downplayed case. The male volcano is short, squat, and looks like an ordinary volcano that had eyes and a mouth carved into it's side, the female volcano is taller, slimmer, has hardened lava running down her "spout" made to look like hair, and is noticeably more attractive due to her more detailed face, but they are both still very conical in shape like actual volcanoes, the female one having no hourglass shape or Hartman Hips to speak of.
  • Played for Laughs in the Wander over Yonder episode "The Hot Shot"; the hero of the episode's title saves the day on multiple planets and is always rewarded with a kiss from the resident princess, all the princesses being nearly-identical Space Babes bearing far more resemblance to each other than to their planets' established species.

Top