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Tertiary Sexual Characteristics

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They've got bows, makeup, pink attire, skirts, visible eyelashes, and high heels. Yup, definitely girls. We swear that's Minnie and Daisy.

Ben: What makes you think it's a girl?
Kevin: Yeah, if it was a girl, it'd have a big bow on the side of its head or something.

Writers tend to assume that for some reason most viewers will assume that the protagonist is a guy by default. So to make absolutely sure there's no Viewer Gender Confusion, developers will assign Tertiary Sexual Characteristics to the female characters, and sometimes the male characters as well. The male characteristics tend to be less obvious.

Note that many, many animals already have distinct sex-specific characteristics, though these are almost guaranteed to be totally ignored in designing fictional animal characters. (They are likely to remember that male lions are the only ones with manes, though.) The writers either didn't do their research, which can end up with Animal Gender-Bender, or assumed the viewers wouldn't know what they are.

For animal characters, this is caused by the assumption that the only way to convey gender in such characters is through gender stereotypes in design.


Feminizing accessories and traits include:

  • Noticeable eyelashes and sometimes eyeshadow. Even if the animal isn't anthropomorphized in any other way (including not possessing hair in the first place), long eyelashes are one of the quickest ways to establish that this character is, in fact, female.
  • A bow, or, less commonly, a flower of femininity.
  • Ears as Hair
  • Some type of jewelry, especially if the character is meant to be older.
  • Pink, purple, or pastel-colored clothes and/or accessories.
  • A pink, or purple pastel "girly" coloration, or at least lighter than the male.
  • An all-white fur color in mammals (As a feminine tertiary sexual characteristic, this is most commonly applied to cats and mice. White dogs, white wolves, polar bears, and beluga whales are also white or appear that way, but their white coloration is not applied as a feminizing trait, and the latter two animals are or appear white by default.)
  • Advertisement:
  • Midriff Baring Outfit.
  • Lipstick.
  • High heels, or a leg shape suggestive of them.
  • Painted fingernails/toenails/claws.
  • A skirt, with one possible exception. (Amusingly, equivalent male characters rarely wear pants, making most of them Half Dressed Cartoon Animals.)
  • Long or heavily-styled hair with decorations, even if their species doesn't even have hair in real life!
  • A head full of "hair". (Though this one would, technically, be a secondary sexual characteristic if the hair is natural.)
  • A full outfit, if equivalent male characters wear minimal clothing.
  • Sitting with legs closed, keeping limbs more to herself in general and of course the Girly Run.
  • If the character has a more human-like figure, a colored underbelly stylized in a way that resembles a leotard or a one-piece swimsuit.

Masculinizing accessories and traits are naturally far more generic:

Occasionally, the only difference between a boy and a girl will be the location of the bow. If it's a bowtie, it's a boy, and if it's a hairbow, it's a girl. (The bow itself may even be identical.) Human girl characters are sometimes depicted wearing bows on their head, but this is not as pervasive as depicting a female animal character this way.

On the positive side, these gender identifiers are pervasive enough to be considered shorthand for viewers who may be hearing impaired. On the negative side, they are pervasive enough to lead to Viewer Gender Confusion for male characters with stereotypically "girly" traits, including many a Bishōnen. Remember though that Tropes Are Tools and that use of these characteristics aren't bad in and of themselves and helps dispel Viewer Gender Confusion in a quick and easily understood manner.

A Super-Trope to:

Compare Secondary Sexual Characteristics, Group-Identifying Feature, and Non-Mammal Mammaries. For more drastic and often bizarre differences between the sexes, see Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism.


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  • In two similar Swiffer commercials, an old-fashioned string mop is spurned by its owner, and seeks female companionship from other inanimate objects. One ad shows it courting a pink (hence female) bowling ball, and the other, a rake with a leaf daintily stuck to its tines where this trope would normally place a flower.
  • M&M's: The green M&M and later, the brown M&M.
  • The Jamster female bunny character Snuggelina would usually be seen wearing a pink bow or a flower around her long ears.
  • Dairy Queen Lips: The picture charades ad reveals the lips have a girlfriend, who is pink in color and wears a flower.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Berserk (1997) Casca despite managing a Sweet Polly Oliver with her amour still wears a pink tunic in the anime, skin tight legging making her buttocks pronounced and even thigh-high boots in contrast to male of the Band of Hawk.
  • The Knight Sabers from Bubblegum Crisis come with rather silly high heels on their armour. Even the Fright Knights who were the rather bulky first concept for the suits had high heels.
  • Female characters from Croket! have shinier eyes, longer eyelashes and mouths that show no teeth or tongue when open (completely blank). The mouth thing is more typical of girls' manga (Croket! is a boys' manga), and it's especially jarring to see a female character next to a male one with fully visible teeth, a tongue and a uvula.
  • The shinigami Rem in Death Note has earrings and colored lips, and in the anime version her highlights were changed from dark blue to pastel purple. Despite this, she's often mistaken for male (possibly due to Ryuk having similar features already), though it's lessened now that there's an anime version with a feminine voice.
  • In Digimon Frontier, eyelash difference is the only distinguishing feature between male and female KaratsukiNumemon.
  • Earlier in Fujiko F. Fujio's career, notably while he was working on Doraemon, female characters were only set apart by their cuter eyes and feminine eyelashes, while their mouths and noses were generally the same as the males. Later, as he got better, female characters also gained more dedicate-looking mouth shapes and smaller and pointier noses (except for those who are considered uglier, like Gian's mom and his sister Jaiko who are essentially his genetic doppelganger).
  • Dragon Ball Z has the invading Saiyans Vegeta and Nappa visit a planet inhabited by sentient bugs. The only female bug shown on screen is bright pink, but otherwise indistinguishable from the male bugs.
    • Speaking of the Saiyans it's shown that female Saiyans e.g Goku's mom Gine had a skirt on her Battle amour and Fasha from Bardock's squad has a pink Leotard of Power.
    • Android 18 looking so similar to 17 has visible eyelashes on her eye lids but aside from that (and clothes) looks basically the same.
  • KouRyu and AnRyu of GaoGaiGar are basically just like the female Autobots, in pink and dark purple exteriors compared to primary colors. Note that all the other robots in the series have quite masculine faces, and the French Dragons have feminine faces and figures. Not to mention light-up breasts. Volfogg is also more purple than AnRyu, but that can be chalked up to his purple being the standard Ninja color.
  • In the gender swap arc of Gintama, female characters lose long eyelashes when they're turned into males, while male characters gain long eyelashes when they're turned into females. Sadaharu the giant dog was no exception: he was turned into a realistic female horse, but with luscious long eyelashes. Parodied with Shinpachi, who looks the same save pink glass frames... because he is the same. His glasses were the ones that were genderbent, playing on his status as The Generic Guy.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers:
    • Liechtenstein wears a cute little ribbon, bought for her by her Onii-sama Switzerland. This was required since, without her previous long braided hair, she looked very much like a boy (which she attributes to her non-existent chest, but may very well be because she simply looks almost identical to her adoptive brother).
    • Hungary was originally assumed to be male by everyone including herself. Then puberty hit her like a bombshell (not the first in the series), and so she started wearing a traditional Hungarian folk dress and a flower in her hair.
  • In Kamisama Minarai: Himitsu no Cocotama and its Sequel Series Kira Kira Happy Hirake Cocotama, Cocotama gender is determined mainly by whether their eggshell-shaped underpants have zig-zags or curves at the waistband. Male Cocotamas wear underwear that has zig-zags, while underwear with curves are worn by females.
  • In Nyaruko: Crawling with Love!, Hyrda-chan, the goddess of the deep ones, looks just like her male counterpart Dagon-kun, with an added pink bow and lipstick.
  • Pokémon:
    • Ash's Butterfree falls for another Butterfree, who just happens to be the only Pink Butterfree around (and this was before Shiny or gendered Pokémon were introduced in the main series). As it turns out, possibly as a Mythology Gag, Shiny Butterfree do have a pinkish tint, and have distinctly pink hands, feet, wings, and a mouth in the second generation.
    • The anime began using gender differences starting with Best Wishes. It's most obvious with Pikachu— he was always implied to be male however, thanks to female Pikachu having heart shaped tails post-Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, if he had been meant to be female they would have likely needed to retcon him male in order to avoid having to completely redesign him. Future episodes show Pikachu with gender differences and when Disguised in Drag Pikachu even has a heart-shaped appendage taped onto his tail. Oddly though, the fact no heart shaped tailed Pikachu appeared retroactively implies literally every Pikachu seen before has been male.
    • There's another episode where a female Charizard appears. No points for guessing how you tell.
    • The end of one episode has three wild Muk falling in love with three other Muk. The latter are identified vaguely as female by their more feminine Pokémon Speak voices, as well as having Blush Stickers.
    • Jessie's Dustox averted this trope, except for the episode she was released in. In it she wears ribbons on her antenna while her mate doesn't.
    • Meowth's crush Meowzie has eyelashes, unlike the other (presumably male) Meowth do. She also wears bows, which shows that she is both a female and that she is a pampered pet (in contrast to both Meowth and the others, who are street cats).
    • Serena's Eevee wore a ring of flowers on her head. When she evolved she became a Sylveon, which is usually male but has a very pink and frilly design that makes it look effeminate.
    • May's Bulbasaur had a heart-shaped mark on her head. Her gender was confirmed when she was depicted as a Venusaur.
  • The Electric Tale of Pikachu had a version of the "Pikachu's Goodbye" story where Pikachu hooks up with another Pikachu with a flower on its head. Its presumably meant to be female, with Ash's Pikachu being male.
  • It happens in Pokémon Adventures where one of the main characters, Yellow, has a Pikachu (named "Chu") that also has a flower in her hair, and is a mate to Red's own Pikachu, Pika. They even have a Pichu together.
  • Female characters from Rurouni Kenshin have longer eyelashes and shinier irises.
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun has Kongo's pet snake Ekatyerina wearing a pink bow. Justified in that there's usually no way to tell reptile genders apart without sticking your hand into a certain orifice and feeling up their... equipment.
  • Dolores in Zone of the Enders has a generally female shape, but nearly all the major Orbital Frames have somewhat androgynous shapes. She is, however, the only pink one. That would possibly make Jehuty (main game series) and Testament (Fist of Mars) subversions, as they have female AIs as well, but more masculine color schemes (Blue and brown, respectively) as more befitting h male pilots (Dolores has a male pilot too, but given her role as Robot Girl, pilots herself most of the time).
  • The cats from Whats Michael aren't that stylized or anthropomorphized, but female ones still get slight eyelashes treatment just like humans.
  • Female characters from Yu-Gi-Oh! have longer eyelashes and shinier irises.
  • Arina Tanemura depicts her characters with overt sexual dimorphism, quite typically like many other manga creators: guys tend be taller, have noticeable sternocleidomastoid muscles (SCM), smaller eyes which are mostly tsurime; while girls tend to be shorter, have no noticeable SCM, much bigger and childlike eyes which could be either tareme or tsurime (although being girls, their tsurime look softer and less sharp), and of course, absurdly long and luscious eyelashes. What's notable about Tanemura's style is that she has designed transvestite characters on more than one occasion (examples include Maora from The Gentlemen's Alliance and Maimai from Sakura Hime: The Legend of Princess Sakura), in which a male character, when donning a feminine outfit, barely resembles his male self at all: his physical appearance (all of those traits mentioned above) completely changes accordingly to his so-called "female disguise." That is to say, thanks to some weird rules in the Tanemura multiverse, a tall and hunky guy can completely turn into a little petite girl merely by putting on a skirt, some makeup and girly accessories. These characters tend to serve as mere plot twists that will put even the most adamant suspensions of disbelief to shame.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time features a female Goron. Only male Goron appear in the games and the species might be male-only. In the manga, a mother Goron is depicted with eyelashes and breasts.
  • In Osomatsu-san, multiple female incarnations and counterparts to the Matsunos have some characteristic that makes them stand out. The Girlymatsus had eyelashes and some wore lipstick among other changes, while other skits had a brother put on a feminine costume and wig. The straightest example are the female lookalikes from the Season 3 opener, who look exactly like the brothers save for distinct hairstyles and skirts.
  • In Ojarumaru, Denboko would look literally exactly like Denbo if not for two features that distinguish her as female - eyelashes and a ribbon.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: The bare minimum that is done to distinguish female characters is adding visible eyelashes to them, such as with Sweet S. for example. There are some characters with other feminine features such as lipstick, though.
  • In Oddbods, all of the female Oddbods are given a strip of eyelashes that matches the color of their jumpsuit. This also includes the generic background Oddbods, which gives the female ones an extra feature that the male ones do not, as all the background ones are simply in grey jumpsuits with no special antenna.
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, Wolnie has visible eyelashes and lipstick to distinguish her as a female in comparison to the male wolves, who don't have either feature.
  • In Simple Samosa, the four main characters all display some degree of tertiary sexual characteristics. Samosa, a boy, wears red shorts; Vada, another boy, wears blue shoes; Dhokla, yet another boy, wears blue shorts and shoes; and Jalebi, the only female of the main characters, wears jewelry (earrings), is usually seen wearing a pink skirt, and has visible eyelashes.

    Comic Books 
  • Wellington Grey's Miscellanea gives female stick figures skirts (and occasionally a square head).
  • In all versions of The Moomins, the distinguishing sexual characteristics of Moomins seems to be largely limited to what clothes (if any) they wear. Snorkmaiden has her trademark hairstyle though.
    • In the original books, Snorks and Moomins are different species, so to speak. And the white skin, incidentally, is fur - and Snorks can actually change the colour of theirs (though that was hastily forgotten after the first book Snorkmaiden and her brother appeared in).
    • Averted for The Groke and Too-Ticky, who are female but have practically no gender clues. Several Finns have been surprised to find out the characters are female, as Finnish doesn't have gendered pronouns to point this out.
    • In the books, The Groke wears skirts (yeah, thats not her skin). Though so does Hemulen...
    • Surely that averts the trope, then, because the book explicitly states that the Hemulen inherited that dress from HIS aunt.
  • Used a lot in the Swedish comic Bamse most commonly in that female characters tend to have much larger and detailed eyes than male ones.
  • Averted in The Sandman for Luz in A Game of You. She's an anthropomorphic parrot wearing a dickey with a bowtie, a typically masculine form of apparel. You have to pay attention to the pronouns others give her to figure it out.
  • The animal characters of Tooth and Claw seem to have the sexual dimorphism of their real life counterparts. Meaning a character's gender isn't always apparent. In light of this the females tend to wear tiaras with decorative threads that give the impression of long, feminine looking hair.
  • While X-23 is very clearly a young woman, creators Chris Yost and Craig Kyle have said that the arrangement of her claws was intended to be this, and that two claws in the hands and one in the foot is a female trait for Wolverine's particular mutation.
  • Sonic the Comic:
    • As in the games, Amy is pink. Unlike the games Sonic is not naturally blue furred. He gained blue fur in an accident that caused his superspeed. What this means for Amy is never specified, except for one issue that insisted she originally had brown fur too. It had numerous issues so whether it's accurate is dubious.
    • Minor character Sally Acorn has a bow on her head while her younger brother wears goggles.
  • In Catstronauts, all the female cats in the series have the hair on the sides of their heads styled like a woman's hairdo.
  • In one Growing Paynes strip in The Dandy, the Paynes attend a wedding, and the boys wear kilts. Percy hasn't had a haircut in a while, and people keep mistaking him for a girl. In the end, he gets frustrated and proves he's a boy by lifting up his kilt to show off his... blue underwear.

    Comic Strips 
  • Used in typically snarky fashion in Pearls Before Swine: The female crocs and pigs are identified by Simpsons-style beehive hairdos. Maura the non-anthropomorphic duck is given a hair (?) bow to distinguish her from her identical boyfriend Guard Duck - so that when they're both wearing helmets in a recent strip, her bow rides atop.
  • Bill Amend has an odd variation for FoxTrot: Female characters have attached earlobes while male characters have free earlobes.
  • Gary Larson had some fun with this in The Far Side, and it's possible that the aforementioned Pearls Before Swine took some inspiration from him. Female characters (but usually not the cows) would usually wear ridiculous flower-print dresses, beehive hairdos, and fancy rimmed glasses.
  • Garfield's girlfriend Arlene has pink fur, eyelashes, and lipstick. She's also drawn to look more graceful and sinuous than Garfield.
    • This has also caused decades of Viewer Gender Confusion for poor little Nermal. This is largely because Jim Davis has a tendency to depict baby animals with eyelashes regardless of gender. Even Orson Pig, who started out as a piglet in the US Acres strip, had this applied to him. But the ultimate example of this goes all the way to the eighth life in Garfield: His 9 Lives special, where a very young Garfield and Odie are seen, and they too had eyelashes.
    • Of course, in Nermal's case, the fact that he had a clearly female voice actor in the cartoon doesn't help with the confusion at all.
  • The writers of the Scamp newspaper comic decided to go against the Gender Equals Breed deal with Lady's and Tramp's puppies, and make one of Scamp's sisters a boy, giving Lady and Tramp two daughters and two sons. The only real difference between Scooter and his sisters Fluffy and Ruffy is that Fluffy and Ruffy have eyelashes and wear ribbons around their neck, and Scooter does not.
  • In Sherman's Lagoon, you can only tell Sherman and his wife Megan apart by Megan's pearl necklace and slightly darker coloring. In a brief arc where Hawthorne had a girlfriend, the two were distinguished solely by the girlfriend's having eyelashes. This didn't work well—some of the dialogue only makes sense if one assumes even the writer forgot which was which.
  • Luann uses this and inverts it. Most male characters other than Aaron are given dots for eyes, big round noses and simplistic bodies. The women almost always have full figures, pouty lips, droopey/sexy eyes, etc. Luann herself has a big round head and nose with a line for a mouth.
  • A Cathy comic in the Sunday paper a few years ago that featured a newborn baby. When asked by her grandmother what gender the baby was, the mother replied that she wasn't going to say, because it was the baby's one chance to be treated by people without gender preconceptions. The grandmother immediately begins gushing over the mischievous glint in its eyes and tiny fists that prove that it's a boy. When the mother exclaims that "it's a girl! A tough, strong girl!", the grandmother immediately shifts gears with, "Well, of course it is! Look at that precious dimple!"
  • In Pogo, the female citizens of Okefenokee Swamp usually wear aprons and/or bonnets, and Hepzibah wears a skirt. Lampshaded in an early strip when Miz Hop Frog successfully hides her gender from Pogo by simply removing her apron. Slightly later, Pogo complains about a butterfly who's decided to take up residence on his head because it makes him look like a girl.

    Fan Works 
  • In Pokémon fanworks certain Pokemon are almost always depicted as one gender or the other despite the fact they can be male or female. For example, when Espeon and Umbreon are paired together (and they almost always are) the Espeon (which is a pink, slightly feminine looking species which is associated with the sun) will always be female and the Umbreon (which is black colored and associated with the moon) will be male, despite the fact Yin and Yang (which is their motif) are female and male respectively and that Eevee have an over 80% chance of being male. Other Eeveelutions follow similarly (for example the scruffy looking Jolteon are usually male while the more feminine looking Glaceon, Vaporeon, and Sylveon are usually female).
  • This is slightly justified in ''Kill la Kill AU, because of the overall artstyle, leaving one to figure out if a character is a boy or a girl by their clothes mostly, as they don't have the usual tells (like eyelashes, for example). A more overt case is Mako, in that, if it wasn't show to a degree with her green bow and dress, one would have thought she was a boy, as she had shorter hair than the other girls, while Shiro verges on Dude Looks Like a Lady (with his hair). We also have this with a baby Ragyo, as her incubator has pink decals.

    Films — Animation 
  • Anastasia - At the end, Bartok gets a love interest. You can tell she's female because she has eyelashes, a Furry Female Mane and her mouth is drawn to look like there's lipstick on it.
  • In early Russian Stop Motion classic The Cameraman's Revenge, a (presumably) sexy nightclub dancer is represented by a dragonfly with long, delicate wings.
  • Finding Nemo: While the franchise generally averts this with their characters, there are still a few examples:
  • Very subtly done in Happy Feet. The female emperor penguins have purple undersides under their beaks and males have orange. The females also have their chest feathers shaped to vaguely resemble breasts.
  • Female animals in the Ice Age movies tend to have longer eyelashes, lighter colored fur and, when applicable, obviously feminine bodies. Female sloths in particular have girly "hair" and what appears to be lipstick. In the audio commentary for The Meltdown, it is joked by the character designers that they would have saved themselves a lot of trouble if they'd just stuck a bow on Ellie's head rather than try to modify Manny's design to make it feminine. Dawn of the Dinosaurs features Scrat facing off against a female Scrat for an acorn. Scratte has dark foxy coloring, a significantly curvier body, eyelashes, and blue eyeshadow. She may possibly also be a separate species since, like female gelflings, she can glide.
  • This may have been an attempt to get around the all-too-common Reptiles Are Abhorrent effect, but Master Viper in Kung Fu Panda has eyelashes, flowers on her head, and slightly reddish lips; pretty much the opposite of Master Tigress (see below), who is androgynous to the extent that many people (including her own voice actress) initially thought she was a guy. This also suggests that it may be a deliberate choice on the part of the character, who seemed a bit more secure in both her femininity and her martial prowess than the Proud Warrior Woman Tiger. It could also be because that's all she could be wearing and still believably move like a (cartoon) snake; it's harder to pull off Civilized Animal without copying either clothing or human movement.
  • Inverted with Littlefoot in The Land Before Time. A notable part of his design is his long, feminine eyelashes, despite being a boy.
  • The Lion King:
    • Male lions cubs have black ear markings, while as adults they have none. While with the exception of Sarabi and adult Vitani, none of the lionesses have ear markings. Oddly, when Simba first appeared as a newborn cub, he lacked these ear markings.
    • All the male lions from cubhood onward have visible whiskers, while none of the females do.
    • The hyenas feature this trope. The males have dark fur patches that resemble Perma-Stubble, while the only noticeably female hyena Shenzi has eye patches shaped like heavily applied eyeshadow, and a mane extending to having bangs and a fringe. Shenzi also has no eyebrows, just like her voice actor Caryn Johnson, aka Whoopi Goldberg.
    • This trope is the reason for a huge debate in the fandom. The cub at the end of the first movie has male markings but the cub in the sequel film is a female named Kiara. They have numerous design differences which have not gone unnoticed by viewers. This has caused Epileptic Trees that the cub in the first film is actually Kopa, Simba's retconned son in series of books released shortly after the first film, and Kiara is actually Simba's and Nala's second cub.
  • Shrek:
    • Donkey doesn't realize that the dragon is a girl until she leans in close, into the light, and he can see she has long eyelashes as well as pinkish skin and some coloration to draw attention to the lips. Also a hint of purple on the eyelids, too. She looks like she has an enormous makeup mirror stashed somewhere in her treasure hoard.
    • While Shrek hardly appears to have any hair at all (except in his ears), the ogre form of Fiona has a full head of hair. Granted, Fiona is not a natural born ogre like Shrek so this may have something to do with it.
    • In the spinoff Puss in Boots the main cue that Kitty Softpaws is female is that she has long eyelashes, which don't appear till after she removes her luchadore mask and stay around when she puts the mask back on, maybe Puss was just being unobservant that day?
  • Smallfoot: Female yetis have thicker fur around their legs, suggesting that they are wearing skirts.
  • Moxy, the lead character in Uglydolls is pink with hair-like extensions and thick eyelashes. She is the only Uglydoll in the movie to have the latter.
  • WALL•E has the chunky and functional (male) WALL•E next to the sleek (female) Eve. The other Axiom robots who are (presumably) male are more angled and squareish, reminiscent of WALL•E's cube shape. The sole exception is the hairstyling and makeup bot, which speaks in a female voice, subverting the trope. Part of the reason for Tertiary Sexual Characteristics is that closed captioning doesn't confer gender identification. The PR-T's are also all pink... save for a single blue one visible in the background in one shot.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Just look at the cover of the film Space Buddies. Can you spot the token female?
  • In the live-action Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, the Chipettes have longer hair than the boys and eyelashes. They do wear clothes for the majority of the film, but their first scene has them arrive from the wild (no clothes) with no NonPrimate breasts or Hartman Hips in sight. (And then later, they possess both features, which they shake during their big musical number.)
  • In Gremlins 2: The New Batch, one Gremlin gets into a potion that turns it female, resulting in long hair, a garish makeup job, and streetwalker clothes.
  • In the live action/CGI/animatronics Cats & Dogs dealt with the Tertiary Sexual Characteristics dilemma by having no female cats and picked a long-limbed and overtly slender breed of dog to play the one female dog character.
  • A rare live action version shows up in the short film Darth Vader in Love: Vader's female counterpart is dressed in a pink and white version of his iconic outfit, and the edge of her helmet has been restyled to resemble a woman's "flip" hairstyle.
  • Another rare live-action example in The Descent, where the male Crawlers are bald while the female Crawlers have long hair.
  • This was specifically asked for when Saban asked for new footage in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers when it came to the yellow ranger. Dubbed "Zyu 2" by fans since the yellow ranger has a male build and didn't act differently in terms of mannerisms in terms of mannerisms compared to pink in the new footage ordered it was specifically asked for the yellow ranger to simply act (while still played by a male in suit) more feminine by keeping her legs together when teleporting, being more of pink's friend and simply just acting more girly. The build difference is noticable when seeing the Zyuranger footage compared to seeing Trini actually wearing the suit herself, especially at the back of her hips.

  • In Animorphs, female Andalites have smaller tail-blades than males. Male Hork-Bajir have three horns on their faces, while females only have two.
  • Played with in A Brother's Price. Jerin Whistler wears ribbons in his long hair, jewelery, and walking robes. In-universe, this makes him a normal, masculine man. His sister Corelle, on the other hand, is chastised for letting her hair grow too long. At one point in the story, though, Jerin has to disguise himself as a woman, as to not draw attention to himself. However, the kind of women he can most easily disguise himself as is a whore, as due to male Gender Rarity Value, whores are usually women who try to look as masculine as possible. Jerin dons make-up, and a feather boa to hide his adam's apple, and his shirt is arranged such that it looks like he's hiding breasts underneath. It works, as most men dress a bit less colourful than that, and don't walk around unveiled and unchaperoned. (The Real Life equivalent would be a woman dressing up as Drag Queen.)
  • In one of Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan novels, Trooper Taura wears a pretty bow to make herself less fearsome to the kids they're rescuing. While she is visibly female, Taura is also... a large woman. And powerfully built. And she has fangs. And claws. Let's not forget the claws — in her introduction, she scratches through a heavy-gauge plastic forced hot-air pipe... and no, the nail polish she favors later does not hide them.
  • Discworld, of course, messes with this:
    • Dwarf men and women look exactly the same. Originally it was frowned upon in dwarf society to openly identify their gender, but recently some females dwarfs have begun to wear makeup and dresses to differentiate. Amusingly, nearly all of these are derivations on what the others wear; Cheri is shocked at the idea of shaving, clarifying dwarfs still want to be dwarfs.
    • The only Dwarf known to shave is the very male Casanunda. He is also depicted as wearing very frilly clothes in some illustrations, while other dwarves of both sexes wear armour.
    • When the extremely prim and proper Miss Maccalariat insisted that male golems could not clean the ladies' room, Moist re-named one of them Gladys and had "her" start wearing a blue gingham dress. He does rationalize any golem gender-identification is largely arbitrary, but was more disturbed by Gladys reading women's magazines and slowly acquiring a more obviously female personality. "She" starts to develop a crush on him too. If you thought he was disturbed when she started acting feminine, that's nothing compared to some of the happier sorts of thoughts that cross his mind when he cottons on that she's getting sweet on him.
    • At one point he compares her to "the male golems", before reminding himself that they aren't male, any more than Gladys is really female.
    • And what about the "boys" conscripted into the Borogravian Army in Monstrous Regiment? (Socks.)
  • In the Mr. Men books, the "Little Miss" characters usually have a bow or other hair decoration to set them apart from their male counterparts.
  • In Joan Manley's She Flew No Flags, the young heroine discovers that her equally prepubescent male friend is really a disguised girl when she notices that "he" has pierced ears.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, fraternal twins Jaime and Cersei Lannister, as children, would sometimes switch clothes, causing adults to mistake them for one another.
  • In Slimy Underbelly, the only way to tell which of a pair of Senior Citizen Gods is female is that she has big floppy red bows decorating one of her many tentacles.
  • In The Goblin Emperor Chenelo gives her son Maia her only pair of earrings that is suitable for a boy to wear. There's pearls on them. Later on, when Maia becomes Emperor, he wears so much jewellery that one wonders what makes jewellery feminine in this universe. Gender roles clearly exist in the very patriarchal setting.
  • In Barbapapa, all of the girls have flowers on their head. Since the Barbafamily consists of amorphous blobs, it's the only sign. Interestingly, they all have eyelashes. This is best illustrated in the Google Doodle for the 45th anniversary of the books.
  • In Paths Not Taken, some amateur wand-wielders use probability-magics against a gigantic monstrous arm, which had seized them when they tripped a sorcerous security-system. One of the unleashed change-effects causes the arm to transform from masculine to feminine, complete with pink nail polish on its claws.
  • Stick Dog: All of the female dog characters can be identified by their eyelashes, like Stripes and Karen.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Also seen on Friends, when Rachel sticks a pink bow on Emma's head because everyone keeps saying, "What a cute little boy!" While Amy goes one step further in getting the baby's ears pierced.
  • Another baby example: Alfie/Stormageddon from the 2011 series of Doctor Who is dressed in blue, but Doctor Who Confidential reveals that the main "baby actors" in the episode are female twins.
  • An interesting example might be Power Rangers. With a few rare exceptions, when morphed, the female rangers (at least the ones that are female both here and in Japan) have a skirt wrapped around their suit. Considering the fact that usually female rangers are pink, it's not likely confusion will occur. Notably when the series features female Blue Rangers, their suits are always a paler shade than the normal. Compare Tori's suit and Madison's to Billy's.
  • Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger puts an interesting spin on this.
    • The Gokaiger can copy the powers of past Ranger teams. A few of them have access to suits previously worn by the opposite gender - except the suits will gain or lose the skirts depending on who's wearing them. This is especially funny for GokaiYellow, since many of her predecessors were already gender-flipped by Power Rangers.
    • Also, occasionally, a female ranger's helmet's had earrings. This stopped with Maskman and Fiveman, but it had been there since the beginning with Goranger (although, at least then, her earrings were bombs, so they were at least useful.) And then, there's Battle Fever J where Miss America had a feathered blond hairdo on top of her helmet.
  • As with Lola Bunny (see below), Abby Cadabby is a serious point of contention for some Muppet fans, and for many of the same reasons. Abby is a bright pink and purple Fairy Princess (it looks disturbingly like the character was designed by a marketing committee), complete with pigtails and a skirt. In contrast, very few other Muppet creatures on Sesame Street -or several other Muppet productions come to think of it- have any really obvious gender clues. Miss Piggy is the only one who springs readily to mind.
    • Janice from the Electric Mayhem band has long blonde hair, huge black eyelashes, and enormous red lips.
    • Prairie Dawn from Sesame Street is prepubescent, but has pigtails (complete with hairbows), eyelashes, and a blue gingham dress to clue viewers in that she's a girl.
    • Word of God is that Abby looks different from the other female Muppets not because she's the girly girl (although she is), but because she's a Fairy. Apparently, the idea is that Fairies are a different puppet "ethnicity" (which may explain why she looks so much like the Sprites in Johnny and the Sprites NB— Abby's voice actress was Ginger in Johnny and the Sprites).
    • Zoe the Monster (Elmo's Distaff Counterpart) originally just had the generic "girly" eyes seen on some female Muppets and a somewhat soft color scheme as her tells. Lately, however, she's noticeably smaller and wears bangles and bows at all times — and occasionally wears a fluffy bubblegum pink tutu.
  • The Red Dwarf episode "Parallel Universe" featured Distaff Counterparts of all the cast (except the Cat). The "female" Skutter (a steel-blue utility robot with a claw-like hand and a single eye) was bright pink and had eyelashes and a 'skirt' around her chassis. Averted in Series V•III, which introduced a female Skutter called Madge who looked identical to every other Skutter. The Cat's parallel is, much to his disappointment, a humanoid (male) dog.
  • On Mystery Science Theater 3000, the robot Gypsy has a high-pitched voice and over-sized lips.
  • In a parody of a then-famous TV shows about animals, the German humorist Loriot presented the stone louse (a stone-eating bug) to us. This is how the female looks like.
  • Invoked and Played for Laughs in Le cœur a ses raisons:
    Criquette: Let me see out baby! Is it a boy? Is it a girl?
    Brett: My medical expertise allows me to see that the pajamas are blue, so it's either a boy or a colorblind girl.
  • Discussed at least twice in Out of Jimmy's Head.
    • Jimmy initially mistakes Dolly for Golly before he notices her bow.
    • The cartoon side plot of Episode 3, "Sleepover." At the beginning, Dolly loses her bow and her dress gets torn to shirt length, and she comments on how those were the only ways anyone could tell she was a girl. Later, Golly puts the bow on, and the situation is treated as a Gender Bender plot among the toons.
  • In Li'l Horrors, the tomboyish werewolf Claudia wears a pink bow in her fur.
  • The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss: Many of the female Muppets such as Jane Kangaroo, Sarah Hall Small, Eliza Jane, Pam-I-Am, Lady Fretibula, and Princess Tizz have these.

    Music Videos 
  • The music video to Angus And Julia Stone's "I'm Not Yours" portrays the molly cat as having breasts, wearing a dress, and having eyelashes while her husband has no eyelashes, wears a tie, and has darker fur. His other lover is actually darker than him - averting Pale Females, Dark Males - however she has breasts too, wears a dress, and has a bow on her head.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • OI4k members Irish Airborne and Sami Callihan are represented by a skull missing its lower jaw and crossbones. Nevaeh is a member too with the same symbol, only with a pink bow tied around the bones.
  • A variation of the skull with bow symbol is also used by Shantelle Taylor, who added cracks that resemble eyelashes.
  • Jay Briscoe put a bearded skull on his personal Ring of Honor title belt.

  • The Bad Idea Bears from Avenue Q use the bowtie/hairbow version, plus the 'female' bear has eyelashes and a pearl necklace.
  • Mystère: Bebebe has a pink bow or two in her hair, which makes the performer appear more childlike.
  • The Wiz: In the original Broadway production, Dorothy wore red bows on her Girlish Pigtails. The TV special featured her wearing a headband.

  • Sylvanian Families figures are exactly the same whether male or female. The only way to tell them apart is from their clothes; boys wear various dungarees and shorts while girls wear dresses with flowers and bows. You can swap clothes without noticing the difference. There are four families with horns or tusks; however there are currently at least 61 families, and more if you count family members that only come individually in accessory sets.
  • My Little Pony: The Big Brother Ponies are a bit larger than other adult ponies (all female), have overall bolder color schemes, and are given hilariously exaggerated "masculine" names, accessories, and occupations. However, their most prominent designating male feature is... big hairy feet.
  • ''LEGO Life on Mars theme has the female Martian Cassiopeia, whose gender is distinguished from the male Martians by her eyelashes.
  • The BIONICLE toy line rarely used traditional characteristics; the most female-looking character as definitely Roodaka, the spider queen. However, the line created an internal Tertiary Sexual Characteristic, the color blue. The only female tribe to get toys was the water tribe, and at least ninety percent of all blue figures were members of the water tribe. So, any figure that was blue was assumed to be female until otherwise noted. Though in the current iteration of the franchise, called Gen 2 by the fans, this rule may no longer apply. Korgot, Protector of Earth, is confirmed as female.
  • Leap Frog Scout and Violet toys, specifically the “My Pals” line, are basically the same internally. The only three things to tell them apart: Their names, their colors (Leapfrog uses the “Purple Girl, Green Boy“ variant) and the fact that Violet has eyelashes. If you drill them down to only the internals, you cannot tell which belongs to which even if you power them on- this is of course done to save costs, since they’d have to host two different sets of programming data online otherwise. Other Violet toys which doesn’t have the customizations capabilities gives her a more feminine voice.

    Video Games 
  • Mocked in Ace Attorney Investigations by Edgeworth, where he objects to its use on the Pink Badger, the Blue Badger's Distaff Counterpart.
    Edgeworth: I suppose this is the Pink Badger? But since it has the same design, doesn't it seem forced to call this one a female?
    Kay: You think so? I mean, just look at how long her eyelashes are!
    Edgeworth: That's the only difference.
    Kay: And the fact that she's pink.
    Edgeworth: Yes, and?
    Kay: And her lips are red! See, lipstick!
    Edgeworth: (thinking to himself) What? She has nothing to say about the giant pink ribbon, or is that too obvious?
  • In Angry Birds some later bird additions and merchandise have stylized "feminine" eyelashes and bows on their heads.
  • Animal Crossing:
    • Your player character will wear a t-shirt and shorts if they're a boy, and a dress if they're a girl. They'll also each have a different set of hairstyles (though at one point in the game, girls can get boy haircuts and vice versa.)
    • In the Nintendo 64 original title, and its updated versions on the Nintendo Gamecube, the female protagonists wore cone shaped hats while the boys wore viking helmets, that they were unable to remove. Custom hats in future games still use these designs.
    • On the NPC end, animals will have either blue or pink name boxes during conversations depending on their gender.
    • Averted starting with New Leaf, where it's possible to cross-dress and even make your character look exactly like the opposite gender. NPCs wont react to it, but other players might. Also getting your hair done a certain amount of times at Shampoodle (New Leaf only) will unlock opposite gender hair options.
  • Pablo Sanchez of Backyard Sports has a baseball cap, is bald, and wears shorts. In every game except Skateboarding where he wears a helmet.
  • In Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, Rare apparently got tired of the years of people going "Kazooie's a girl?!", so they re-made her appearance. She now has long eyelashes, "curly" hair, and a more curvy look, to make her more obviously female. And then, once you beat the game, she starts wearing a bowtie (yes, it's a bow, but it's a masculine bow). Kazooie even keeps her Eyelashes in Super Smahs Bros. Ultimate to show that she is undoubtedly a girl.
  • In Benji's Bananas, Benji's girlfriend differs from his by the flower in her hair, her eyelashes, and her clothes. Benji himself is just a normal monkey.
  • In BoxBoy!, the only difference between Qucy and the other two boxes is that she's got a big grey head bow. That being said, Qbby (and later Qudy and Qucy herself) can avert this due to the gendered clothing options not being restricted to any one character.
  • Bubble Bobble:
    • The protagonists of Bubble Symphony, a sequel to Bubble Bobble: Coro and Kulu, who have bows on their heads, are the female duo Beta Couple to Bub and Bob.
    • Pab and Peb, the new Beta Couple in Bubble Bobble Plus (WiiWare). (See the Title Operations Guide in the Wii Shop Channel.)
    • Rainbow Islands: Three out of eleven random people who have all been imprisoned in The Alcatraz and transformed into green bubble dragons are female and thus have a pink bow on their head.
  • In Chack'n Pop, Miss Chack'n can be told apart from Mr. Chack'n by the ribbon in her hair.
  • Chrono Trigger: Atropos, Robo's Distaff Counterpart, Duel Boss, and girlfriend is pink and wear a bow. In fact, after you beat her in her Duel Boss fight versus Robo, she gives you her ribbon as a special Robo-only equippable item.
  • All Creatures games exhibit a mix of this (many official breeds differ by hairstyle, two have makeup on the females, and one C1 breed had pinkish females and bluish males) and more typical sexual dimorphism (different coat colors, horns on male Fallow Norns.)
  • Cuphead cleverly uses the same accessory as one for male and female at the same time. One of the bosses fought is a large domino with a masculine top half named Pip, and a feminine bottom half named Dot. There is a bow in the middle of the domino that would serve as a bow tie for Pip, as well as a hair bow for Dot.
  • "Big Sis Prinny" from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness is pinkish-purple rather then blue like the generic Prinnies.
  • Isaac's female alter-egos from The Binding of Isaac:
    • Maggy has a blonde wig with a bow in it.
    • Eve has a scraggly black wig, Excessive Evil Eyeshadow, and a dead bird in her hair that could be mistake for a bow at a glance.
    • Lilith has a long, red wig.
  • Three of the four female Kongs in the Donkey Kong Country series have long, blonde hair. The only one to not have it is Wrinkly Kong, as she is an old lady.
  • In Ever Oasis, male and female Seedlings are sexually dimorphic. Male Seedlings have woodier, more branchlike horns, female Seedlings have split-down-the-middle horns that resemble seed pods.
  • In the Gremlins: Gizmo video game, you can choose to care for a couple of female mogwai, distinguishable by their long eyelashes.
  • Becoming a Super Mutant in Fallout causes one to lose secondary sexual characteristics and become sterile, muscle-bound, and masculine-looking. Two female Nightkin in Fallout: New Vegas accessorize to look feminine: Lily wears a gardening hat and shawl, while Tabitha sports a pair of heart-shaped red eyeglasses and a blonde wig with a bow.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy IX, female Moogles are distinguished from the males by wearing pink vests.
    • In one quest from Final Fantasy Tactics A2 you rescue a kidnapped Seeq beauty queen. Her sprite is indistinguishable from a male Seeq viking, but in her portrait she's... a male Seeq viking with lipstick.
  • Whenever you perform a task in your schedule in Growing Up, a simplified version of your avatar is shown doing it. Female avatars will wear a ponytail regardless of their hairstyle.
  • Halo:
    • Halo: Reach: Female Spartans are skinnier, curvier and have Jiggle Physics in contrast to previous games and lore which asserted that Spartan's gender were indistinguishable when wearing Powered Armour.
    • Halo Legends: Female Sangheili are more humanoid, with far less pounced mandibles and even have hair.
  • The Henry Stickmin series has Ellie Rose. Before she speaks, she has a feminine-style haircut and a red mouth for lipstick to showcase that she is female.
  • The protagonist of I Wanna Be the Guy, The Kid, gets a bow in his hair on Normal Mode, to suggest the less than masculine choice of playing on the easiest setting As if the extra save points with "WUSS" written on them weren't enough of a clue. Ayane gives Ryu one in the Xbox Ninja Gaiden if he selects Ninja Dog mode.
  • In Ice Climber, Nana (the P2 character) is just the Popo sprite with a pink parka instead of blue.
  • In Kingdom Hearts, the Bouncywild, the Distaff Counterpart of the monkey-like Powerwild, has blonde pigtails and a bow.
  • Kingdom of Loathing: Female avatars have ponytails. Many of the alternate avatar images, as well. The male version of Vestments of the Treeslayer is a tree. The female version is the same tree, with a little bow tied to one branch.
  • Kirby:
    • All over the place in the Kirby series, where characters are given bows to show that they're female. It's most obvious with Chuchu the octopus and Ribbon the fairy. The only two exceptions seem to be Keke and Adeleine. This caries over into the fandom, where fanmade female characters are usually given a bow, or at least big ol' eyelashes.
    • The blue Lololo's distaff counterpart Lalala is pink and wears a bow.
    • Taken to the extremes with Kaboola/Kabula, an airship boss in Kirby's Dream Land and Kirby Super Star Ultra. Her most recent redesign has eyelashes painted on her hull.
    • Many male characters in this series tend to have big bushy eyebrows.
    • Inverted in Kirby's Epic Yarn with an angler fish couple Kirby is responsible for reuniting, as the male is smaller, pink and wears a bow around its body.
  • In Later Alligator, it's easy to tell that Pat's baby sister Angelface is female because she wears a pink bow.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    Random Phantom: (to Zelda) YOU SEEM CUTER THAN USUAL. WHY.
  • Determining a Sackboy from a Sackgirl in LittleBigPlanet is based solely on what clothing and design options the player places on them.
  • The female Chain Chomp that sometimes appears when the Pocket Chomp item is used in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time has a bow on its head.
  • Mass Effect:
    • The only female krogan seen wears a full body-covering robe, while males are almost always wearing combat armor, and the few who don't wear simple shirts and trousers. However, they still were able to split off from the males and form their own exclusively female clans that are doing just fine on their native Death World Tuchanka without any males protecting them from wild beasts and raiders, so it's more likely that the one example of female clothing were special priestess robes rather than common clothing for women. And even then she still had no problem at all with taking a shotgun from the person next to her to shoot a cyborg assassin coming up behind him.
    • Quarian females generally wear a hood or veil over their helmet, while males have little hook things hanging from their rebreathers. These are on top of form-fitting full-body environment suits that clearly show very prominent humanoid sexual dimorphism note , moving away from the trope somewhat.
  • Bandage Girl in the Meat Boy series wears a distinctive flower.
  • Now that it's no longer a secret that Samus Is a Girl, Samus's Powered Armor in the Metroid series has undergone a slight-but-noticeable makeover to make the gender of its wearer more obvious. It possess a rather slender waist and a large Breast Plate, and its visor is now more obviously transparent, usually showing off Samus' eyes... and her rather long eyelashes.
  • Nintendo's Miis have all the same facial and hair combinations, however males wear a shirt and pants and females wear a dress that flares out.
  • In The Movies, the full-body animal costumes are the few unisex outfits, because they replace the character model for the actor rather than fitting over it. Except, the gorilla suit has a male and a female variant. The lady gorilla has a bow and lighter fur (but, curiously, no cleavage!) And no, you can't cross dress it; it always matches the gender of the actor.
  • In Nuts & Milk, Yogurt looks exactly like Milk with the addition of two pink bows on her head.
  • Ms. Pac-Man has a bow on her head. In the Animated Adaptation, Sue, the Distaff Counterpart of Clyde, became a purple ghost with eyelashes and earrings.
    • Ms. Pac Man also has an eyelash, and a mole, and if you look real closely, you can also see lipstick.
    • Discussed in an exchange in Wayne's World, which provided this trope's alternate title:
    "Well, she's got a bow on her head!"
    • The minuscule difference between Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man was played with in Drawn Together, where Pac-Man reveals that he is Ms. Pac-Man when he puts on the bow.
    • One of the ads for a home video game system version of Ms. Pac-Man had the titular yellow gobbling-disk try to convince us otherwise, by singing "Honey, don'tcha know / I'm more than Pac Man with a bow!"
    • The cartoon version of Pac-Man at least got an article of clothing like his wife: he's almost never seen without his trusty red hat.
  • The Paper Mario games do this quite a bit:
    • Generic Toad NPCs are identified as female by having long hair and eyelashes, which is a little strange, given the Viewer Gender Confusion suffered by the original Toad over the years.
    • Bombette, a female Bob-Omb, is pink, has a blond, braided fuse, and a heart-shaped windup key.
    • Goombella is also pink, and she has a blond ponytail.
    • Goombario wears a blue cap similar to Mario's, while his sister Goombaria wears an orange-red bow. And has a pink body. Their mother is also pinkish in color and wears a pink head kerchief, although their grandmother is brown and merely has a lacy cap. However, none of his three female relatives have hair, unlike Goombella.
    • Ms. Mowz, a Mouser, has a heart-shaped tail and wears high heels.
    • Interestingly, Watt and Sushie are aversions. Sushie otherwise looks like an ordinary Cheep-Cheep except for purple and orange coloring, and Watt, a Sparky, has only a pacifier (to signify that she's young). There's still some confusion among gamers regarding Watt's gender. The fact that the game refers to Watt as both male AND female at different points doesn't help either.
    • Petuni, the only known female Puni (other than the Elder), can me distinguished by the pink orb on her antenna.
    • Koops's girlfriend is a Koopa Troopa with eyelashes, hair, and Blush Stickers and is the only female Koopa Troopa in the game.
  • Gokujou Parodius and Otomedius G have the giant female Moai head Yoshiko, who wears lipstick and earrings. The latter game reveals that it's not her real face.
  • The female Player Character in The Pedestrian has the lower half of her body be composed mainly of a triangle with legs coming out the bottom. This triangle is meant to be a dress.
  • Pokémon: Gender-specific physical differences were created for some Pokémon in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl and carried over to future games. Most of them, as well as earlier attempts at portraying sexual dimorphism in the franchise, fall under Secondary Sexual Characteristics, being random changes or based on real life animals, but a few, such as female Wobuffet's lipstick-like markings, are closer to this, via Rule of Funny.
  • Oniko from Puyo Puyo looks much like her crush Onion Pixie, but with a red ribbon on her head, a dress, and visible eyelashes.
  • Lady X Subsistance from Rumble Roses to emphasize she is supposed to be a female despite being a robot has wide hips, high heeled shaped feet, and feminine eyes. The "Substance" model appears a bit more human-like but is still obviously a robot and has long hair alongside clothes that shows her belly and covers the vital spots females have to cover.
  • Rebecca, the female hedgehog from Shadow of the Wool Ball and its sequel, can be recognized as female because she has visible eyelashes and long hair.
  • The Sims:
    • In The Sims 2, you can build male and female Servos (robot butlers). The male looks like a generic robot, but the female looks like the male with a pink bow and lipstick.
    • MySims:
      • Sims are technically neither, though the specific characteristics they're given tell the tale. The player-controlled Sim can be given any available characteristics you want. (Feminine voice, eyelashes, and attire with a masculine hairstyle and a five-o'-clock shadow? Go for it!)
      • In MySims Kingdom, on the other hand, you choose a gender for your Sim, and that puts a limiter on what your Sim can wear, what kind of hair is available, etc.. Sometimes, it changes what outfits you get as a reward. For example, there's a reward that lets males choose from a selection of outfits that are shorts-only; females get two-pieces, some with shirts over them (split near the bottom).
  • When Amy Rose first appeared in Sonic the Hedgehog CD, her defining sexual characteristics are being pink (a contrast to Sonic's blue), eyelashes, and a skirt. When she was redesigned for Sonic Adventure, her femininity was more emphasized by changing her hairstyle (up until then, it was exactly the same as Sonic's), giving her an actual bust size (she was changed from eight years old to twelve), and giving her large golden bracelets to wear on her wrists. Archie gave her secondary characteristics. Played straight with most characters in the games, where the only differences are eyelashes and clothing styles.
  • The main characters of Snipperclips seem to be male and female based solely on their tertiary traits. One of them wears a bowtie and sneakers, while the other has long eyelashes, and wears a scarf and flared heel boots.
  • Spyro the Dragon:
    • In Spyro: A Hero's Tail, girl dragon (and expy of Amy Rose) Ember is pink, has a necklace, and has a heart-shaped tail tip. Spyro and Flame on the other hand are purple and bright red.
    • In Spyro: Year of the Dragon, some of the female dragons hatch out of their eggs already wearing a bow.
  • Star Fox Zero features a pink colored vixen. She also has a Tuft of Head Fur, though not the Furry Female Mane Krystal has.
  • Street Fighter has human females and thus through their figures and clothing it is easy to tell their genders. The girls do however have a trait the men don't in that they are not allowed to look unpresentable thus they don't appear goofy or their jaws do not deform when hit by certain attacks.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Wendy O. Koopa has a pink hairbow, a pink shell, makeup, jewelry and high heels. Interestingly, despite being the only female Koopaling, Wendy is one of only two Koopalings with no hair.
    • Pom Pom, a feminized version of Boom Boom. Even her boomerangs have bows on them.
    • A recurring quest in Super Mario Odyssey requires the player to capture a Goomba and meet up with another, female Goomba somewhere in the kingdom. You can tell she's a girl because she has long eyelashes, blush stickers, and—oh yeah—is pink. (Actually, she looks a lot like Goombella.) Atypically for this trope, though, she also wears a red cowboy hat.
  • Averted in Super Mario RPG. At one point Mario and company encounter a Chain Chomp visually identical to every other Chain Chomp in the game. Bowser however is easily able to determine that it is a girl and then "acquires" her as a weapon that he can hurl at enemies.
  • In Twinbee, one of the ships (not just the pilot of said ship, the ship itself) is female. How can you tell? Winbee is pink. Later adations have also shown that her cockpit is shaped like a heart, though this is somewhat excused - with two rounded bumps on top, it also shows she's the second 'bee ship. Twinbee, the original, has a round cockpit (one "bump"), while Gwinbee, the third, appears to have a rounded arrow pointing down (three bumps on the top part of the cockpit).
  • The Flash game Vision by Proxy is about a round blue alien with one big eye, who looks like a blue Mike Wasowski. The sequel Ms Vision By Proxy is about a round pink alien with one big eye, a bow on her head and, for some reason, a belt. Taking it up a level, the alien from the first game appears in the opening cut scene and has grown a moustache.
  • Throughout the Xenoblade Chronicles series, determining the gender of Nopon (who are all shaped like furry spheres) comes down to contextual clues. In 2, Zeke reveals that this applies In-Universe as well, stating most people can only tell Nopon boys from girls by their clothing. The boot is on both feet, however, as the same scene reveals party member Tora thought Mòrag was a man. She takes it quite personally (while she does speak with a gruff tone and is never seen out of her military uniform, a human would be unlikely to make that mistake). The setting even takes pronouns into account: in Japanese, Mòrag uses collective or masculine pronouns as befits her rank; in English, the Noponic dialect doesn't use them, so Tora never knew the difference between "he" and "she".

  • Faux Pas has foxes where the females have slightly darker fur and eyelashes, as well as makeup-style fur around their eyes. The humans in the comic are likewise confused. Randy, a male red fox, even was miss April once: "Some humans are weak on details".
    • The "gloves" on the vixens are a fairly straight example in the comic.
  • Inverted in 8-Bit Theater where Berserker assumes that all of the Light Warriors are women due to their lack of beards. To be fair, he is a Dwarf.
  • xkcd typically distinguishes female from male stick-figure characters by giving the former hair.
  • Kay Wai Jellese/Kaye Haychold in Jennifer Diane Reitz's webcomics Unicorn Jelly and To Save Her. Kay/Kaye (like the author) is actually male but transgender, as her species defines that. In Unicorn Jelly she's a conical blob with eyes and a mouth and wears a bow that's held in place on her "forehead" by a small stud. In To Save Her she (or a version of her) assumes humanoid form (with a female figure)) and still wears a bow on her forehead.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, after one of the lobster-like Pirates of Ipecac is suddenly revealed as female, she is then always portrayed with eyelashes and slightly rounded curves on all the pieces of her shell. Up till this point, both pirates had been drawn identically. Since the transition occurs between panels of the same strip, Cleaveland is probably Hanging A Lampshade on this trope.
  • In Pokey the Penguin female characters are just smaller copies of Pokey with a bow or colored down on their heads.
  • In the almost never safe-for-work Oglaf, there is a specific reference to the Bow of Shame in "Son of Kronar". They affix it to the head of a newborn baby girl before throwing her in the wolf pit. She tears the wolves limb from limb, causing Kronar to proudly declare her his son.
  • Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name has a bat with lipstick, eyelashes, and possibly eyeshadow. It's a bit justified by the fact that she's a vampire who has shapeshifted into a bat, and therefore has retained some of the traits she has in her more humanoid shape. (There's a vampire who, in bat-form, continues to wear glasses.)
  • Lucy in Bittersweet Candy Bowl wears a bow for this reason. Or did. Puberty has since fixed this problem, but she still does out of likely habit.
  • Schlock Mercenary has elephants with eyelashes.
  • Fruit Incest mostly averts this. Nelly looks exactly like Wally but with a horn. Dahlia has long eyelashes, but that's more to do with her personality than anything else.
    • Also inverted with Molo and Zeke. They're both male, but Zeke has a feminine tuft of hair, curlier whiskers, and lighter colored fur.
  • Pretty straightforward in Mountain Time, where females always wear skirts. They also have hair much more often than males.
  • minus. illustrates the titular character's problem with lacking Tertiary Sexual Characteristics here. Many readers have probably thought she's a guy, too.
  • Housepets! has Peanut Butter helping Grape prepare for a date, revealing what he'd done with a mirror.
    Grape: (Gasp!) Wait, did you just comb my eyelashes out?
  • In Goblins, all female humanoids have an hourglass figure. Goblins, however, don't typically have hair on their heads, and it is not considered an attractive trait. Complains, however, finds those that do have head hair to be absolutely gorgeous.
  • Crow Cillers leans hard on the eyelash subtrope, even when body switching is in play. The sole exceptions are Bloodwolfe and Ru'mel.
    • Lampshaded in the pilot episode, where a combination Mons strategy guide and furniture catalogue features a pink desk with legs shaped like a pearl necklace captioned with "SHE IS ONLY FOR YOUR FUCKING."
  • Played for Laughs in this Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.
    Sweetie, you're becoming a woman now. Soon you'll develop long eyelashes and a hair-bow.
  • Off-White: Kaya, the female wolf Iki takes a liking to, has eyelashes. Very ugly eyelashes, even the co-author doesn't like them. Thankfully they are only visible in closeups.

    Web Original 
  • Dorf Quest: The girls are pink! And the gods, Blue.
  • Parodied by The Crew of the Copper-Colored Cupids, where Juliet-178 is the only known female Cupid (seemingly created by a quirk of the Great Foundries), and the only practical consequences of this are that she has long eyelashes, a high-pitched voice, and wears a bow. Also Justified, of course, in that the Cupids are clockwork beings who are only very stylized representations of humanoid figures.
  • Game Grumps has Danny lampshades this when he finds out Birdo is trans by saying that pink bows are "practically video game genitalia"
  • Zero Punctuation features red bows on female imps.
  • In the Homestar Runner cartoon "Costume Commercial", the ghosts used as decoration are typical white blobby ghosts, until the announcer says "and for the ladies..." at which point it's a pink background and the ghosts have bows on their heads.
  • Lampshaded by The Nostalgia Chick in the Mulan review (after Samus is revealed to be a girl):
    Lindsay: (as Mulan) At least I have eyelashes again.
  • Neopets didn't always have gender differences, but after the pet artwork received a global update, female pets gained conspicuously longer eyelashes over their male counterparts — or, in the case of the insect-like species: partially-closed eyes.
  • Martynne "Martie" Bennet from Killerbunnies has a mostly gender-neutral or rather tomboyish appearance, however, one can tell she's girl due to her eyelashes and her frilly socks. Similarly, this can occur for Mullein "Muli" Wayleaf who's distinguishable as a girl due to her eyelashes and pigtails.
  • Feminist Frequency: Discussed in Ms. Male Character – Tropes vs Women:
    The design elements that were used to transform Pac-Man into Ms. Pac-Man are referred to as feminizing gendered signifiers – the bow, the makeup, the long eyelashes are all specific stylistic choices; they are all part of our culture’s visual vocabulary intended to convey information about gender to the viewer. Game designers use these stereotypical attributes as a sort of shorthand to quickly identify a given character as female.
    Childlike hair decorations are by far the most frequented accessory used for this purpose. It’s standard practice for creators to, just, put a big bow on top of an anthropomorphized animal or personified object in order to communicate that the character is not male.
  • Played with in Llamaswith Hats in that the llama on the left hand wore a hat brighter than Carl and was even adorned with a daisy. Later on the llama revealed he is a guy called "Paul" to which Carl only replied he needed to delete some photos.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Animals of Farthing Wood, The vixens (Vixen, Whisper, Charmer, Dreamer and Lady Blue) have 'hair' that resemble human headdresses. Sinuous the Snake is the rare male version, with markings on his face that look like a moustache.
  • Eva from Bernard could be differentiated from Lloyd by the ponytail that she wears.
  • Various non-human characters from Oggy and the Cockroaches have pronounced eyelashes and other human-like feminine features:
    • Cats: Olivia (Oggy's love interest), Monica (Oggy's twin sister), Oggy's mother and Oggy's unnamed female relative all have eyelashes, with Olivia wearing a bow, while Monica has a Girlish Pigtails and pink rollerskates; Oggy's grandmother is an exception but she does wear a dress and has pink nail-polish.
    • Others: Lady K (the roach in Olivia's house and Joey's love interest) and the fat bee that Joey had a crush on have eyelashes, thick lips and breasts; Dee Dee's cow and one of Oggy's pet snail have eyelashes and thick lips.
  • The Smurfs:
    • The evil wizard Gargamel takes his revenge on the Smurfs by creating a 'Smurfette' to trick them. While the male Smurfs all wear white pants and had very little hair, the original Smurfette had long black hair and a white dress. In a nutshell, the Smurfs disapproved of her because she wasn't a real Smurf. So Smurfette visited Papa Smurf, and he turned her into a pretty blond in a sexier white dress, heels, long eyelashes, and a flirty attitude. Unfortunate Implications and gender stereotyping in one fell swoop. No wonder poor Smurfette has a trope named after her — and it isn't a positive one either.
    • A second and third Smurfette (named "Sassette" and "Nanny Smurf" respectively, to avoid confusion) were introduced latter. Sassette (who is also an artificial Smurf) wears overalls, like Handy, but hers are pink and she has long, red hair, which she wears in Girlish Pigtails. Likewise, Nanny Smurf (Who knows where she comes from) is identified as female by having hair and a female voice. It should also be noted that all three Smurfettes have notably smaller noses than the male smurfs.
  • In the Ewoks animated series, princess Kneesaa wears a pink hood and her best friend Latara a long braid and a hood that looks more like a hat. While both have subtly implied breasts just like most other female characters in the show, it's only aunt Bozzie and the second season version of Shodu Warrick who wear dresses and have prominent breasts. Seemingly, the only other character seen in a dress, mistress Kaink, has moustache.
  • Parodied in South Park. Cartman pretends to be trans in order to get his own private bathroom at school. He continues to wear the exact same clothes as usual and simply adds a bow to his hat.
  • Haley Long in American Dragon: Jake Long. She doesn't have the bow, but when she transforms, she always has her hair. Though this seems to be true for all the characters when they transform, male or female, her dragon form is also pink (in season 1 she was purple, which is considered more unisex though leaning towards feminine than Jake's red tone). When Fu Dog is showed macking on a female dog, she usually has a bow, lipstick, and/or a sparkly collar. Hey, Fu digs the girly-girls.
  • Care Bears come in all colors - though a female Bear's fur tends to be more noticeably pastel. And nearly all of the pink-furred characters are female by default. In some series, they even wear girlie clothes too. (Note that this applies to cases where the writers had made up their minds as to who was what.) Subverted with Swift Heart. Even though she had a very obviously feminine voice and behavior, nobody realized she was a girl since she's a blue rabbit with no bow or anything. Swift Heart might actually justify this trope on a meta-level.
  • There's an episode of The Fairly OddParents where Timmy wishes everyone would look exactly the same. Everyone turns into a gray blob... and the female characters have gray lipstick and heavy eyelashes. In one episode, Timmy accidentally wished he was a girl... and was turned into a girl with a ponytail, a bow, eyelashes, lipstick, a blouse, and a skirt. Although, Wanda granted it because he was acting a bit sexist, and presumably chose how he looked.
  • In their heyday, Looney Tunes inadvertently became the Talking Animal equivalent of a sausage party. Over the years, attempts were made to add some ladies into the cast for a more even gender balance. The results were... mixed:
    • Babs Bunny in Tiny Toon Adventures has the eyelashes, the bow (one for each of her ears, in fact), and a skirt, and her fur is bubblegum pink. Similar tells are on Shirley the Loon (long hair/feathers, a dress, and a bow) and Fifi LaFume (a bow and purple fur). The good news is, their personalities were strong enough to transcend these obvious cues.
    • Originally, Lola Bunny from Space Jam was going to be little more than a pink-furred, shorter version of Bugs. Oddly, Warner Bros. toned down her Tertiary Sexual Characteristics too much. This was an attempt to avoid upsetting anyone, especially the merchandise makers. But the story goes that the McDonald's execs took one look at the prototype toys and outright refused, saying that there was no way that they would accept Bugs Bunny flirting with a rabbit who looked like a 10-year-old boy. Speaking of Lola. She stands as a point of major contention for fans of the Classic Looney Tunes, and it's partially because her gender-specific traits are so obvious. It makes the addition of a female member to the cast seem all the more forced. She even had the hair bow in Baby Looney Tunes.
    • This trope is pervasive enough to have caused decades of Viewer Gender Confusion for poor little Tweety Bird. He even used to be pink (changed to yellow when Moral Guardians thought he looked too naked). Oh, but now Word of Executive says Tweety is female? Look at that. Guess he had a sex change after I Taw a Putty Tat.
    • Whenever Daffy is mackin' on a lady duck, she tends to have very obvious tells.
  • On the Disney side, in early cartoons, Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck would be virtually indistinguishable from their respective beaus if it weren't for the lashes, hair bows, heels and skirts. In an interesting footnote, Minnie seemed to favor going topless, while Daisy's skirt barely covers her bare bottom. Not that there's anything there to hide, but...
    • Interestingly enough, take a look at some of the characters who popped up in Mickey and Minnie's wake and you'll come away with the impression that Minnie was the Trope Maker for "Well, she's got a bow on her head!"
    • More recent designs of the two characters have toned down their more obvious tells. In particular, Daisy now looks more graceful and feminine (for a waterfowl) and less like Donald Duck in a dress. She has also acquired some Non-Mammal Mammaries. Even in the classic days various artists differed in their ability to make them look feminine. The Art Evolution went towards the obvious side of this trope.
    • House of Mouse lampshades this by mentioning Minnie's obsession with hairbows, sometimes making it part of the plot. In one episode Mickey and Donald had to crossdress as their own girlfriends (pictured above) to replace a picture of Minnie and Daisy they broke while playing football inside the house.
  • Oddly, only Blossom of The Powerpuff Girls has the hair bow, though she and her sisters are all in dresses, and all look like little freakish bigheads, as do the Rowdyruff Boys, and the counter-Blossom has the baseball cap tell.
    • The episode that introduced the Rowdyruff Boys has the girls sporting long eyelashes in a ploy to disarm and eventually destroy them by using their feminine wiles (i.e.: kissing them).
  • Phil and Lil on Rugrats pretty much have to do this as they are fraternal twins distinguished solely by their voices and gender-appropriate clothes. They frequently switch around to confuse their parents. They also had different shaped ears. They also have different colored shoes, Lil wears a dress, and Phil has pants.
  • Yin Yang Yo! is all over the place. Yin herself has the eyelashes and the hairbow. Her friend Lena seems to get by on just lipstick. The Aardvark Princess has the clothing, but neither lipstick nor bows. Villain Smoke has the secondary sexual characteristics. No bows, no lipstick, but a Sailor Scout type outfit, and big breasts. Villain Saranoia has the secondary sexual characteristics, as well as the lipstick. Carl's mother has the lipstick but not the clothes or the breasts. The Chung Pow Kitties all have the eyelashes and bows. Which is justified, because they communicate only with kitten-like meows. One really couldn't tell without the eyelashes and bows.
  • Chowder:
    • Panini has the eyelashes and the girly color scheme, but wears a sweatband/scrunchie around her ears rather than a bow. Chowder in comparison is light purple, which is often considered feminine though can be unisex. Chowder and Panini are the same species but look nothing alike.
    • Also, in the "Thrice Cream Man" episode: compared to the titular creature, which is an aqua-blue blob of living thrice cream, the Thrice Cream Woman is pink (strawberry-flavored?) with lipstick, eyelashes and breasts.
  • The short-lived series Sitting Ducks pokes fun at this concept, by having the main character Bill be completely unidentifiable (even being mistaken for a girl at least once) until he is given a bow to wear around his neck. All the ducks are identical, and are only distinguished by their clothes. Some of the female ducks wore makeup and jewelry, except for Drill Sergeant Duck, who lacked every tell except the actress (who was an alto). This was so prevalent that in one episode the aversion was lampshaded. ("Stop calling me sir, I AM A LADY!")
  • Early female Transformers always had breasts or breast-like torso armor, "feminine" coloration (pinks or pastel shades), narrow waists, and hips. Some modern ones however, aren't like this, sometimes due to being characters whose toys were originally molds used for male characters, other times just due to being less conventional character designs.
  • In The Land Before Time, females tend not to appear particularly different from males, although in some art, Ducky and Cera are given near-pastel color schemes. In the fourth film, a guest character called Ali is written in, who is the same age and species as Littlefoot, although a different gender. To get the effect, Littlefoot's design is copied, but the eyelashses are lengthened slightly, eye colour is changed from red to blue and her overall colour is slightly redder. Another new female character, an Oviraptor, is added into the series — and she's pink. And she's named "Ruby", presumably to help the colorblind. Amusingly, Ali's appearance evidently isn't enough to establish her gender to the other characters — Ducky checks.
  • Most of the female robots in Futurama are like this (with some notable exceptions).
    • Bender gets hammered into Fembot shape in one episode, including reworking implied genitals that he has never demonstrated before or since— his lack of such was vital to saving him from the Space Amazons. Another episode had a robot with an obvious "fembot" figure that turned out to be anything but... at least until "she" finished her payments. And the Crushinator may be a piece of big, clunky Lunar farming equipment, but she's still pink, sporting pigtails, and still female... still has a woman's needs.
    • There's also the female Nibblonians, with ribbons on their eyestalks and long eyelashes — though oddly enough, their race also has a more realistic sexual dimorphism in the males having larger canines.
    • The bows and eyelashes are also somewhat justified here, as that makes the girl Nibblonians even cuter!
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Series has Angel, who is a copy of Stitch but with a very high-pitched voice, pink fur, long eyelashes, an hourglass figure, and long antennae that look like hair. She has a heart marking on her back in her first episode. Her special power involves singing, which causes anyone that used to be evil to turn evil again.
  • Female Irkens in Invader Zim have long eyelashes and curled antennae. Tak and Invader Tenn are the only female Irken characters (aside from Tallest Miyuki, whose episode was never finished), but several Irken with the same traits show up in crowd scenes, and are presumably female as well. To be fair, this may be the only difference between male and female Irken, as it's heavily implied they don't even reproduce sexually.
  • The Darkwing Duck episode "Trading Faces" swaps Darkwing and Goslyn's bodies. The only physical change made to them was that Darkwing's body had eyelashes and Goslyn's body had none.
  • Sartana of the Dead from El Tigre is an undead skeleton-headed woman. She wears a dress, has lipstick and eyelashes, as well as Hartman Hips.
  • In Happy Tree Friends, Giggles, Petunia and Lammy all have long eyelashes. Petunia wears a flower on her head, while Giggles and Lammy have hair bows.
  • In Animaniacs, Dot has a yellow flower around her ears (which sometimes appears with a pink bow), a pink skirt and on fancy occasions wears a pink dress and matching jewellery. She also has tufts of fur from the side of her face that make her look like she has a pixie-like haircut. Rita the cat has eyelashes, as does Slappy Squirrel, who also has a hat with a flower on it. On the male side, Yakko and Wakko have shorter hair than Dot, with Yakko wearing pants (oversized slacks with a large belt) and Wakko not, although he does wear a blue sweater and red baseball cap. The Hip Hippos also had a Pink Girl, Blue Boy color scheme.
  • Inverted in the series What-a-Mess. Well-groomed Afghan Hounds naturally have long hair on their heads, and long hair that tends to make them look like they're wearing fancy clothes. Despite all this, the Afghan Hound protagonist, What-a-Mess, is a male dog. However, this trope is played straight with the cat, Felicia. She has long eyelashes and a bow.
  • In kids' show Dive Olly Dive, the female submarine has curly eyelashes, pink eyeshadow, and a heart-shaped headlight.
  • Christmas special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (the stop animation one) has Claurice, a doe that Rudolph is attracted to. How do we know Claurice is female? Well, she has no antlers for one thing, but she also has lighter fur, eyelashes and a bow on her head. Yup, definitely a female deer. In real life though, both reindeer sexes have antlers. In fact, the females shed theirs later in the year than the males do; the reindeer that have no antlers by Christmas are the old males.
  • The female locomotives from Thomas & Friends were all specifically designed after real locomotives that appear "feminine" to the show's writers. For example, Daisy has eyelashes and lipstick, Mavis and Flora both have cowcatchers and runningboards that resemble skirts, both Emily and Molly have large drive wheels, Rosie and Lady are both colored pink, and Belle's smokebox is extended in a way so that she appears to have long hair.
  • In Looney Tunes, Petunia Pig wears red ribbons on her pigtails.
  • In Mega Babies, Meg's eyelashes and ponytails distinguish her from her brothers Buck and Derrick.
  • My Little Pony:
    • My Little Pony 'n Friends: In "The Golden Horseshoes, Part 2", the goblin mother, the only female in their family, wears a pink dress and bow, an apron, and low high heels. Her husband wears a sailor outfit.
    • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
      • As far as secondary characteristics go, males lack eyelashes and have more angular muzzles and narrower ears than females. Some are noticeably taller and stockier, but not all; for example, the exposed muzzle is the only way to determine Wonderbolt (and Shadowbolt) genders (unless they really want to let you know). There are, however, a couple of mixed and non-standard character designs in the background cast, which have been cause for endless confusion. Also, most male ponies note  tend to have ruffled or spiky hair while almost all female ponies' hair are completely smooth and straight. In one episode, Rarity was shown to wear false eyelashes, and she's been seen applying mascara to Fluttershy. The main difference seems to be the size of the male ponies who are always one-half or one head taller than all the females (with the obvious exception of the Princesses, of course). For ponies, who are around three heads tall, this is actually quite a large difference.
      • One particularly unconventional difference is that female ponies' eyes are usually rendered with two catchlights (and fillies have three), while the males only have two.
      • Female phoenixes have pink feathers and different head feathers. Or so it might seem at first, but if you know much about real birds' sexual characteristics you will know that it is the smaller pink phoenix who is the male (or just look at the confirmed-female phoenix, Philomena).
      • Male Breezies have shorter manes and rounder eyes, but still look just as girly as the females with their eyelashes.
  • The Simpsons: Only women and girls have visible eyelashes.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes: One episode has Jimmy making a Dagwood Sandwich and then using it as a Companion Cube. He made it female be putting a ribbon on it.
  • Rocko's Modern Life: "From Here to Maternity" involves shopping for essentials for a baby that Filburt and Dr. Hutchison are expecting to be hatched from an egg while Heffer nurtures it. Filburt and Heffer obviously expect the little tyke to be of opposite genders, considering that instances involve Heffer picking out a frilly pink dress while Filburt picks out a football jersey. There is even a montage involving Filburt playing baseball with the egg and teaching it how to shave, while Heffer dresses the egg up in a tutu and dances ballet with it and plays tea party with the bowed egg.
  • On an episode of Bugged, a female bug appeared who was differentiated from the (presumably) male central bug by having bows on her antenna and lipstick.
  • If it isn't otherwise obvious, the easiest way to tell if a dog or puppy on Pound Puppies (2010) is male or female is to look for eyelashes. If there are some, it's a female; if not, the pooch is a male. (Unless, of course, the dog's person is making up their male dogs as female for some reason.)
  • Adventure Time uses this for some characters in the Gender Bender universe—for example, the female version of Cinnamon Bun wears a dress and bow, while the male version of Tree Trunks has a mustache and a bow tie. In the normal universe, neither wears clothes.
  • In kids' cartoon series Captain Zed and the Zee Zone, the rather macho dream policeman Captain Zed has an assistant called PJ. In early series it is very, very, hard to precisely work out his/her gender, which subverts this trope. The best guess you can make is "maybe a tomboyish female. Or a teenage boy." Later series of Captain Z make it rather clearer: PJ is a normally endowed human female, physically recognizable as such by the usual secondary sexual characteristics, ie wider hips, facial features and a hint of bust.
  • Often unnoticed: In Kim Possible the women all have a pronounced upper lip (not supposed to indicate lipstick, as it only applies to the upper lip, and the occasional woman with lipstick has both lips accentuated) while male mouths are completely surrounded by thin lines.
  • Word Party: How do you tell that Franny and Lulu are girls aside from their name and voice pitch? They both have eyelashes.
  • Toucan Tecs: The otherwise androgynous Red Leader wears a pale pink scarf. Averted with Fifi, however, as apart from her voice and name, there's absolutely no indication that she's female.
  • Penelope Pitstop's Wacky Races car, the Compact Pussycat is not only various shades of pastel pink and bright red with a pair of ruby red lips as a grill, but her dashboard features lipstick application, hair dryer, and other feminine options.
  • Rota Ree on Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch is a yellow convertible who is also Wheelie's girlfriend. Her windshield is the form of a pink bow.
  • Zee from Moose and Zee is a small blue bird who wears a flower on her head.
  • Clifford's Puppy Days: Zo and Daffodil, a female cat and rabbit respectively, wear bows on their heads. Daffodil was initially pink before becoming white-furred later on.
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: The mob frogs. While male frogs all seem to have small mustaches, female frogs seem to all have fuller lips. Outside of that, they're all very similar, especially considering they all wear the same outfits.
  • Spoofed in the South Park episode "The Cissy," when Eric pretends to be a "transginger" girl named Erica, and the only difference is a pink bow slapped on top of Eric's hat.
  • All women in Family Guy have noticeable lips while the men do not.
  • QT-KT from Star Wars: The Clone Wars is an astromech droid, the same model as the more famous R2-D2. She has the same cylindrical, domed chassis and general design of markings, except she's painted pink instead of R2's blue, her beeps and chirps are distinctly higher-pitched and "breathier" than R2's, and her name is pronounced like "Cutie Katie".

  • In the Finnish comic The Swearing Hedgehog female hedgehogs have eyelashes to distinguish them from male ones. Except for the main character's grandmother, who is recognisable by being nearly bald and even more foul-mouthed than the title character.

    Real Life 
  • Human babies. Without their little pink or blue onesies, they're undeniably androgynous.
    • They have actually done several social experiments with this. The point of the experiment was to show how people treat female and male children differently. Each time they would just use one baby and just give it different clothes (pink and bows for a girl, blue and maybe a sports shirt for a boy). No one could tell the difference.
    • To many observers, a frilly blanket implies that the baby's a girl, even if the blanket is blue.
    • Not all white babies are bald. People generally assume any baby with long hair is female, any baby that's bald is male, and that any baby that has short ''hair'' is male, and any baby with pigtails is female.
    • In a hospital's neonatal ICU, you can tell which of the scrawny plum-colored creatures in the Isolettes are the girls: they're the ones with a loop of pink ribbon, in the rough semblance of a bow, gently taped to their bald heads.
  • It is sometimes hard to tell clothed boys from girls before puberty just by looking at them, aside from hairstyles and clothes differences.
    • Likewise, many children are naturally androgynous due to them lacking obvious sexual characteristics and voice types being more variant. It's not unusual to see a girl with a rather deep or scratchy voice, or a boy with a feminine one. The voice type typically relates to how people talked to the baby as an infant.
    • Women and teen and tween girls have voice types that are every bit as variant as that of prepubescent girls. It's boys voices that get distinctly deeper become less variant in types as they hit puberty. It's not unusual to see a women with a rather deep or scratchy voice, but it is unusual to see a man with a convincingly feminine one. This is also the reason why female voice actors are often hired to voice children, whether they are boys or girls. Male voice actors usually cannot do it.
  • The only thing distinguishing the man from the woman in bathroom signs is a dress on the latter.
    • Attempts at doing something different (such as one Scottish sign showing men in kilts and women with extremely large breasts) can be hilarious.
    • It's true when we talk about stylistically neutral signs. More stylistic signs are more versatile, but it usually is either clothes (skirt vs. trousers, suit vs. dress), footwear (flat heel vs. high heel) or headwear (top hat vs. lady's hat).
  • The most noticeable difference between the mascots of the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and the WNBA's Charlotte Sting (now defunct), other than the gear of their respective teams? Eyelashes.
  • Banksy's Happy Chopper piece, painted on a wall in Shoreditch in 2003 (the special effects were supplied by deep fat fryer).


    Anime & Manga 
  • Somewhat subverted in Chotto Edo Made, because boys who are cute still have lightly pronounced eyelashes. Soubi, a boyish girl also has that kind of light eyelashes, while her love interest, a girlish boy has much more pronounced eyelashes.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew:
    • Subverted in a way, as the aliens, all male, tend to have some feminine hairstyles. The most prominent of the three would be the youngest, Tart, who has pigtails. They all have very thick eyelashes to confuse you more.
    • As for the Cat Girl and title character, Ichigo, when she becomes a cat, she has black fur. This makes it very hard to see her eyelashes and when the male cat Ryou comes by and has such obvious eyelashes against light fur, it throws you off. Sometimes voices are the only way you can tell, and even then it's hard, since you have some Crossdressing Voices going on. Though, this is anime...
  • Much of Osamu Tezuka's works. Most male characters designed by him has long eyelashes, and in certain cases, even end up looking feminine (Astro Boy could easily pass off as a girl if his name didn't make it clear that it's a he). Kimba the White Lion actually caused some Viewer Gender Confusion, and it didn't help that he was voiced by Yvonne Murray in the new dub.
  • Eyelashes appear to be the only difference between males and females of most species of Digimon. The voices usually readily reveal gender - but not always. Season 4 has a male Biyomon with the same appearance and voice of the female Biyomon who was a main character in Season 1. The male Biyomon in Season 5 has a more masculine voice, but he isn't any less adorable 'n' pink... and with his debut, we've officially seen more male than female versions of the most stereotypically feminine rookie-level Digimon.

    Comic Books 
  • Subverted in ElfQuest where Picknose the troll often wears a dainty bow on the end of his beard. Maybe his girlfriend tied it.
  • Tangle of Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) averts this, as she has a rather boyish appearance and a gender-neutral color scheme (black, orange, and yellow). If it weren't for the eyelashes and Sega's no-pants-on-boys-allowed clothing mandate, you wouldn't be able to tell at first glance.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dykes to Watch Out For: In "The Indelible Alison Bechdel", author Bechdel discusses the irritation of comic books wherein The Chick is distinguished by slapping a female characteristic (lips, long hair, the proverbial bow) on the male default. She also discusses how she was initially unable to draw women and only drew men — and was finally able to draw women only by thinking of them as lesbians and drawing them rather androgynously.
  • Subverted, dragged behind the shed, chopped into pieces, and disposed of in several dumpsters by George Herriman's Krazy Kat, where the lead character looked male but was treated by the author as indeterminately gendered; when a pronoun was used, it was usually "he" (perhaps in a nonstandard gender-neutral sense?), but Herriman deliberately muddied the waters with the romantic triangle between Krazy and the indisputably male Offissa Pupp and Ignatz Mouse. Most people since have treated Krazy as definitively female based upon the strip's cultural context. Which is odd, as he will bow to ladies, tip his hat (if he has one) and occasionally be subject to the wiles of the local "vamp." Of course, he'll start comparing himself to Juliet one panel later. Essays have been written. Not to mention the fact that "he" wears a red bow on his neck. And no, not a bowtie.
  • In Garfield, the grey kitten Nermal is believed by many to be female due to his long eyelashes and excessive cuteness (and in the TV series, female voice actor), but Nermal is actually a young tomcat.

    Films — Animation 
  • In 9, all of the stitchpunks are artificial lifeforms with no defining characterisitcs, but 7 has a female voice. Other than that, she shows no feminine habits of dress; if anything, her birdskull helmet and militant stance are so stereotypically male as to create a Samus Is a Girl effect when 7 first speaks. The only notable difference is that her fingers are shown to be smaller than 9's.
  • Parodied and subverted in A Bug's Life, where Francis, a male ladybug, has long eyelashes, full lips and a beauty mark, and voiced by Denis Leary.
    Francis: SO! Bein' a ladybug automatically makes me a girl! Is that it, flyboy?!
    Flies: YIKES! She's a guy!
  • Kung Fu Panda's Master Tigress completely lacks the usual tells — no hourglass figure, cleavage, "lipstick" or long eyelashes. Her clothes are not stereotypically girlish either. Not quite obvious, but still subconsciously telling signs might be her feminine "seductress" eye shape and (but only in comparison to male characters in the movie) lean, not obviously masculine body shape.
  • In the first Lady and the Tramp film, the Darling's son has an extremely pink bedroom and an equally pink wardrobe. The sequel released decades later swapped it for blue, probably due to pink becoming less unisex since the original film.
  • The Rescuers Down Under:
    • Apart from her name, Joanna the Goanna has nothing that indicates she is female, due to her lack of gendered features and ability to speak.
    • Marahute, a female golden eagle, has a more realistic design compared to other animals in the movie, and thus lacks any typical feminine traits. Much like Joanna, she is incapable of human speech as well.
  • Sabor the leopard from Tarzan has no feminine characteristics, and doesn't speak. She however is confirmed to be female and apparently had offspring according to some material. The gorillas too lacked heavy gender differentiation aside from their voices (although Kala has dark eyelids that look like she wears eyeshadows), which led to Viewer Gender Confusion with Terk, who was voiced by Rosie O'Donnell.
  • Uglydolls:
    • Wage, unlike Moxy (listed above), has no defining feminine features. This is due to being a Gender Flip of the original toyline's Wage, who was a male character.
    • Similar to Wage, Wedgehead is another male character in the movie flipped to be a female one, with no defining features, save for her voice. However, she is colored bright yellow in the movie, compared to the dark blue that her male toyline counterpart is.
  • Up:
    • Subverted when we find out Kevin, the brightly-colored bird with no obvious male or female distinguishing characteristics is both female and a mother. Which makes even less sense, as in most sexually dimorphic bird species it's the male who is colorful and often sports long tail feathers, brightly-colored wattles, or eye-catching patterns, while the female is of a muted color that blends into the background.
    • But play straight with Ellie, who as a child looked so tomboyish in her explorer gear, the only indication that she was a girl was the pale, pink bow on her messy moptop.
  • The Boob from Yellow Submarine sports very prominent eyelashes.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Baby Herman of Who Framed Roger Rabbit fame not only has eyelashes and a hair bow, but his hair bow is pink.
  • In Stuart Little, the fluffy white cat, Snowbell, is male and voice acted by Nathan Lane.

  • Bruce Coville's Rod Allbright Alien Adventures series features a female alien with no real sexual characteristics the human protagonist could recognize except for her voice, but even then he wasn't sure at first. (For an added bonus, one of the other aliens is neither male nor female and asks to be referred to by the pronoun "it".)
  • In The Goblin Emperor, female and male mazei (mages, basically) wear the exact same robes and wear their hair in he exact same way. The reader knows this because when the Adremaza introduces Kiru Athmaza, he hopes to be able to pass her off as male nohecharis, but Maia can immediately tell she is a female nohecharo. At no point is it mentioned that the female character changed anything about her appearance before or after this incident. As the setting is quite patriarchal with strict gender roles, it is quite possible Maia would not have seen through it if the character had worn gendered clothes.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Very pointedly averted in Blue's Clues. Blue is (duh) blue — and female. Her non-girly color was deliberately chosen for this reason. Blue's friend Periwinkle the cat, despite the girly name, is both pastel and a cat... and male. Furthermore, since most characters have generic "little kid" voices, you frequently can't tell if a character is male or female until someone uses a pronoun on them. Random side-characters were actually far more likely to be female!
  • Ojo from Bear in the Big Blue House is female, but lacks any human hair, eyelashes or makeup, wears no clothing or accessories, has a Tomboyish Voice (keep in mind that prepubescent boy characters tend to be voiced by women) and her fur is a darker shade of orange than Bear's, inverting Pale Females, Dark Males. Even her name sounds like a boy's name (though it appears to be a derivative of "Jojo", which is typically a girl's name). It's enough to cause some Viewer Gender Confusion.

    Video Games 
  • Best Fiends has a tendency to use eyelashes, with the occasional lip tint, to signify the female Fiends. However, some girl Fiends avert this, with only their bios giving their proof of being female, such as Karma (a chameleon that goes by feminine pronouns despite having an unknown gender) and Dina (a hickory horned devil caterpillar who has been mistaken in-universe for Gene, a blatantly male Fiend).
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Ribbons in Final Fantasy Tactics A2 can normally only be equipped by the female-by-default races, Viera and Gria, and by female Humes... but the otherwise male-by-default Moogle and even Bangaa races have a job that can teach them "Ribbon-bearer" support ability. Guess what it allows them to do?
    • Also played with in one mission, where there is a rule against harming characters of the opposite gender. The fight features Night Dancer, an apparently female bangaa with long eyelashes, lipstick, and a feminine way of speaking. This is not breaking precedent; unique characters are allowed to have a different gender than the species standard (such as Adelle, Frimelda, and Penelo, the only playable female humes in the whole game - though Penelo has access to the Viera class set). However, if you attack Night Dancer with a female, you're suddenly informed that you broke the law - which means "she" is a cross-dresser!
    • In Final Fantasy Tactics set the precedent of Ribbons as female-only equipment but made a very special exception for guest star and one-time (forced) cross-dresser Cloud Strife.
    • A similar thing happens in Dissidia Final Fantasy with the armor set "Allure of Honey" made up of items from Cloud's famous cross-dressing adventure. He and all of the female characters can wear the set... along with Kefka.
  • In Zombies Ate My Neighbors there's a power-up potion that temporarily transforms the player character into a hulking unclothed purple beast. Julie's monster form is identical to Zeke's — one can't tell the gender of the underlying human via visual inspection. This trope is applied in that it is Julie, not Zeke, who retains a characteristic of her human appearance so that the two can be distinguished when both transformed at once. This trope is downplayed in that the retained characteristic is... her bright red baseball cap.
  • Despite being pink, no one seems to mistake Kirby for being female.
  • Smiley from the Riddle School games has a mouth as her characteristic...seriously. As a style choice, Jon Bro made all the children bald and gave all the adults hair. Since Smiley didn't have the usual TSC of hair, he tried giving her a mouth instead. It didn't work: The special features section in Riddle School 5 lists "Smiley is a guy" as the biggest misconception about the series.
    • The Art Evolution in Riddle School 5 gave her slightly more feminine-looking eyes. Even with that, it's still slightly difficult to tell since Riddle School 5 regularly shifts art styles, and this change is most prominent during sequences when you're in the space ship.
  • Averted in 3 in Three: the title character (a talking digit) is addressed as "Ms. 3" despite having no Tertiary Sexual Characteristics.
  • Played with in Team Fortress 2: The Pyro, whose gender is up for debate, has a flower purse in his/her/its locker and a Southern Baptist-styled Nice Hat as one of its possible headwear.
  • Parodied in the online game Lee-Lee's Quest. In the intro, the titular character Lee-Lee, a blue blob, assumes that Lulu, the pink blob standing next to him, is his girlfriend. Lulu is OF COURSE just another guy who happens to like pink and have long eyelashes. Though, the sequel opens by revealing that Lulu is pregnant and heavily suggests that she was just saying anything she could think of to get Lee-Lee to leave her be.
  • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Hooktail is actually a female, but has no typically feminine features to speak of.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's:
    • Watch a Let's Play video, and chances are the player will refer to Chica as a "he" or a "mister". No bow, no eyelashes, a dingy yellow color, and wearing just a bib that says, "LET'S EAT!!!" in gender-neutral purple and yellow letters. Played straight with her redesign in the sequel, though.
    • Bonnie spawns similar confusion in the fandom, with having a feminine name and a purple color scheme, but wears a red bow tie that usually designates a male.
  • There are two female Mighty Number robots in Mighty No. 9. Dynatron is feminine-looking and humanoid, but Cryosphere has nothing that signifies her as "female" besides her voice.
  • Splatoon's Inklings have practically no physical differences between genders; the only tells they have are males having slightly larger eyebrows and girls being imperceptibly curvier. Besides that and the different hairstyles, they look identical, act identical, and can even wear the same clothes (nothing is stopping a male Inkling from dressing up as Squid Girl, for example)—heck, girls couldn't even wear skirts until the second game! On the NPC side, Callie, Marie, and Marina all have long eyelashes, though it could just be makeup, while Pearl has no visible ones like other female Inklings. All of the idols have beauty marks, but while Marie and Pearl wear dresses, Callie and Marina both have shorts.
  • In Pokémon, we get Primarina and Lopunny, which can't be told apart as male or female, while most other pokemon can be (as detailed above), as they both look rather feminine in some sense or another (the former looks similar to the usual mermaid and the latter looks a like a playboy bunny). Adding to this, Primarina's gender ratio is about 87 and a half percent male.
  • In Guild Wars 2, nearly every non playable race in the game has male and female members, but in most cases the only way you can tell them apart is from their voices. Particularly notable in the case of ogres, where the females look exactly as masculine and hulking as the males.

    Web Comics 
  • Totally averted in Digger, which may confuse people used to tertiary sexual characteristics in Humanoid Animals. Digger is female, as are many of the matriarchal hyenas, but you'd only know it from the dialogue. She does have what look like Non-Mammal Mammaries, but Word of God suggests they are pectoral muscles, as a wombat's mammary glands are in her pouch.
  • Homestuck: Calliope, a Cherub who happens to be female, has visible eyelashes. She shares a body with her brother Caliborn. When he is first properly shown, he also has the eyelashes. Both wear the same, gender-neutral outfit (the main difference being Calliope wears a suit jacket with her symbol, while Caliborn takes it off to reveal his on their shirt), and the way they're told apart is by their eye and cheek colors. This is most likely to make them look as androgynous as possible.
  • In Sluggy Freelance neither talking rabbit Bun-Bun (who's male) nor talking ferret Kiki (who's female) are given any sexual characteristics, tertiary or otherwise. Likewise Aylee (an alien with Involuntary Shapeshifting powers) has often had no features indicating she's female, though her current Green-Skinned Space Babe form has plenty of female features, right down to the "naughty parts."
  • Vattu zigzags with this one; the women of the dog-like Sahtans are distinguished by their clothes and particularly their veils, but otherwise lack any overt dimorphism. Fluters on the other hand are a complete mystery to all outsiders.
  • Subverted frequently in an untitled stick figure webcomic that expresses the differences between males and females in body language and anatomy. Usually keeping both a circle with five lines and deriving humor (and elitist criticism) from the fact that most people perceive some thing without clear gender specification as male by default.
  • Invoked, Subverted and Conversed in the span of a single page in Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures. The character invoking the trope was not recognized as female, and the one subverting it was not recognized as male. The latter justified the aversion of the trope on the grounds that they're part of a race of shapeshifters, making such traits superficial at best.
  • It's even mandatory for one-celled organisms, as this installment of Super-Fun-Pak Comix demonstrates.
  • In the Pokémon webcomic Lil Char and the Gang, newer readers often have to be told that Wartortle and Ivysaur are teenage girls, since the dialog rarely mentions their gender and they have no obvious feminizing features.
  • The Order of the Stick: To his surprise, Roy remains bald when he uses a magical Gender Bender to disguise himself from assassins, forcing him to improvise a wig from a mophead.

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia: MicroAngelo is a pink snail with visible eyelashes, and also happens to be male. By comparison, the female snail Bessie is purple and lacks eyelashes.
  • Wonder Pets! has another toy-around with this. The hero, Linny the Guinea Pig, wears a baseball cap and cape. She's a girl, though. (The fact that her name sounds like "Lenny" doesn't help the Viewer Gender Confusion, of course...)
  • Spongebob Squarepants has female style eyelashes. They're probably there to make him look even cuter, as he has an endearing child-like demeanor. Real-life sea sponges are hermaphroditic animals that reproduce asexually. The show's creator was a Marine Biologist so...
    SpongeBob: Can you reproduce by budding?
    • When Mr. Krabs tells him that a hat he's wearing makes him look like a girl, SpongeBob happily takes it as a compliment:
    SpongeBob: (starry-eyed) Am I a preeetty giiirl?
    • Later when Krabs tells him that he isn't beautiful, SpongeBob lets out a sad, little "I'm not?" and gets tearful.
    • Lampshaded sometimes when some characters actually do mistake him for a girl, or aren't sure what gender he is.
  • Kaeloo has no visible features which distinguish her from the males whilst other females are given breasts, curves and eyelashes. Possible Fridge Brilliance in that she is a frog, and hence would not have breasts or hair. Played Straight in the games she and her friends play, as fake moustaches and bows are often donned.
  • Recess:
    • Spinelli shares a first name with The Ashleys clique... and nothing else. She does wear a skirt, but she gender-neutralizes it with her very masculine boots, coat, and hat. She has pigtails though, so she's not completely neutralized.
    • The show actually subverts the cartoony way of not really having any tertiary sexual characteristics, like the eyelashes, as none of the girls (or if anyone's wondering, the boys) have any. The only characteristic the girls are given to look different are that they're drawn with full lips (with the exceptions of Cornchip Girl and a few others). In fact, the only female character drawn with eyelashes is Miss Grotke. She probably wears mascara.
  • Oddly, the Russian animated series Nu, Pogodi!! features a little hare, who, despite sporting long eyelashes, big blue eyes, pink cheeks, engaging in girly activities such as watering flowers, and being voiced by a woman, the artist insists is a male. It's a Zig-Zagging Trope where Hare is concerned- There's no Viewer Gender Confusion in this case in homeland Russia, because the hare in question is called/named just the Hare, and the Russian word for "hare" ("Zayats") is masculine by default, implying that the Hare is indeed a boy. Don't ask. He is also wearing shorts. Unfortunately, the rest of the world who watched the exported version of the show were rightfully confused given that the English VA preserved Hare's high-pitched voice, left the scenes where he engages in feminine activities uncut, and girls, and just assumed the pants to indicate a tomboy. The trope is played straight with a lot of other anthropomorphic animals appearing in the series, whose gender is mostly determined through the pants vs. skirt method.
  • On one of The Simpsons Halloween episodes, the aliens Kang and Kodos are revealed to be siblings — and male and female respectively. Both have identical appearances and deep voices (though if you listen carefully, Kodos's voice is slightly higher).
  • Played with for the inherent humor, in The Venture Bros.. Doctor Girlfriend's physical tells are obvious — she likes the same pink dresses and pillbox hats Jackie Onassis wore. But if you only heard her and her very masculine smoker's voice...
  • Mama Condor in the Looney Tunes short The Bashful Buzzard has none of these, looking like an ordinary cartoon vulture.
  • Challenge Of The Go Bots averted this by assigning gender to the (presumably genderless) toys in a completely arbitrary fashion. Small Foot in particular has no human-esque gender indicators apart from her voice.
  • Zigzagged in The Backyardigans: Tasha in 'reality' is a typical girly-girl in a cute dress and takes similar parts in the pretend adventures, while Uniqua wears overalls more usually characteristic of males or Bokukkos and gets an impressively gender-neutral selection of roles. Then again, she is also pink with darker spots.
  • In Happy Tree Friends, Flaky lacks the long eyelashes of the other girls. Between this and the fact that the series has very little intelligible dialogue, there has been quite a bit of Viewer Gender Confusion.
  • Jerry and Nibbles/Tuffy of Tom and Jerry inverts this with his long eyelashes and cute face, leading to Viewer Gender Confusion for some. Female cats in the shorts had long eyelashes, wore lipstick, bows and sometimes female clothes.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • Inverted majorly: eyelashes aren't exclusive for female characters. Darwin the fish has feminine eyelashes and a rather girlish voice, although his VA is a boy. Contrast with other female characters like Tina (a relatively realistic T-rex), Masami (a cloud) [[note: This was lampshaded once by Gumball not being sure if she's really a girl]] Molly (a brontosaur), and Carmen (a cactus), who have very gender-neutral appearances. Several other male characters also have eyelashes (Richard the rabbit, Alan the balloon, the donut cop) while only about half the female ones do.
    • As for the Wattersons, despite the fact that eyelashes aren't a telltale sign, Nicole and Anais's eyes are completely round, as opposed to the guys' eyes which looked like straight tubes. All of their eyes are rounded in later seasons to make them all cuter, and now all eyes are perfect circles instead of ovals
    • That said, any time a flashback shows Nicole as a child, she's always wearing a red/pink bow, likely to obscure how she looks almost identical to her own son.
    • In the episode "The Blame," Gumball impersonates his mother by wearing her outfits and drawing eyelashes on his face. He doesn't account for when he closes his eyes and the lashes don't match, though.
  • Arthur has at least one. Similar to the Wonder Pets listed above, there was a young female character with a gender neutral voice and a baseball hat nickname "W.D."; she also has a gender neutral haircut and wears masculine clothing, to emphasize she's a tomboy. Her name is "Wilhelmina", but no one calls her that.
  • Mostly averted in The Penguins of Madagascar and played with in "Miss Understanding". Due to some mistake, Skipper's led to believe that he is actually female. Once he accepts it, he promptly puts on a big pink bow.
  • As mentioned above, the "Big Brother Ponies" from My Little Pony were essentially the only male Ponies up until G4. They looked almost exactly like the girls except for "boyish" flank markings, being a tiny bit larger than the girls, and unshorn fetlocks. Depending on whom you ask, several of them look even more feminine than the girls. Fridge Brilliance pops in when you remember that G1 liked to be accurate, and horses have long eyelashes.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Speaking of G4, lots of casual observers think Rainbow Dash is The One Guy because it's exactly the sort of art style where a blue character would generally be Color-Coded for Your Convenience. Additionally, her mane (though still long) is a lot closer cropped than the rest of the Mane Six, her voice is about the same timbre as Spike (who is a prebubescant male dragon), and she is tomboyish in behavior.
    • Zecora has the more angular muzzle of male ponies, though much slimmer. Casual viewers may mistake her for a male until she speaks. This has been adopted by the fandom as a feature of Zebras in Equestria's world.
    • The Breezies. Fans have been searching far and wide for any way to tell their genders apart, but nothing yet has been found. Not even the voice, as, being tiny fairies, it's high pitched enough to leave room for confusion.
  • From around 1947 to 1955, Mighty Mouse was given eyelashes. They were absent from the 1959-61 TV-budget shorts and the Filmation series then reinstated in the Bakshi series.
  • PB&J Otter had Baby Butter Otter as the baby sister with no tertiary sexual characteristics, which was a triple whammy when came to Viewer Gender Confusion with her also having a similar character model to her brother Peanut and being One of the Boys.
  • Bunny Maloney stars titular Bunny, a pink male rabbit, and his girlfriend Candy, a pink female rabbit. Bunny looks like the "men" silhouette on a restroom door if it had rabbit ears and a tail; Candy has a much curvier figure, Blush Stickers, eyelashes, and a red scrunchie on her left ear.
  • While the female Care Bears tend to have lighter, more pastel colors than their male counterparts, color is not always a giveaway, and, of course, more than one bear has flipped gender between generations. According to TCFC, the way to distinguish males from females are the eyebrows, but it's not that females have them and males don't — it's that females have three, while males have only two.
  • Summer Smith from Rick and Morty is one of the few female characters on the show to lack eyelashes.
  • In Steven Universe most female characters and gems aren't drawn with eyelashes (and most gems apparently have no breasts). Ironically, the one who does have noticeable eyelashes is the very masculine, evil Jasper. Steven himself averts the cliche that only girls wear pink, as his clothes and powers are both pink.
  • Most boys in As Told by Ginger have no eyelashes. Minor character Ian has eyelashes, possibly to emphasise that he is a "Pretty Boy", while the campy and effeminate Brandon also has eyelashes.
  • Darla "The Geek" Gugenheek from The Adventures of Sam & Max: Freelance Police is drawn without lashes, further emphasizing her tomboyish appearance.
  • In Wildfire, all the foals are given long eyelashes, including the colt Brutus.
  • Subverted with Little Sneezer from Tiny Toon Adventures. Eyelashes? check. High-pitched voice? Check. But make no mistake, he's a male.
  • Subverted in the Looney Tunes short "Back Alley Oproar". Sylvester (before his Flanderization to Tweety's Butt-Monkey) hands off a bit of sheet music to a big orange cat who looks stereotypically male (and the thing is, it's hard to say exactly how). She proceeds to sing a lovely soprano aria from an opera — before getting clobbered with a shotgun butt and staggering off the roof.
  • An old animation trope was to draw all babies with eyelashes to make them look youthful and innocent. This can be seen in many shorts from the early-to-mid 1900s but has gone out of style since. This is why Tweety from Looney Tunes has prominent eyelashes—he's a chick.
  • In a scene of the very first episode of The Ruff & Reddy Show (the "Planet Pirates" story arc), Ruff is given eyelashes.
  • The Beatles: In "Not A Second Time," a very off-model Paul is given eyelashes as the boys rehearse their song.
    • In a singalong host segment when John asks Ringo for props to support a romantic ballad, Ringo emerges in a ballet dancer's tights ("I'm a ballad dancer!"), with eyelashes to boot.
  • The 1939 Warner Bros. cartoon "Screwball Football" has a team kicking off to start the game. The entire line is posed post-kickoff and then performing a cutesy dance recital and finishing it with a curtsy.
  • Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! had Fred identifying the Mystery Machine as "she." Shaggy questions "The Mystery Machine is a girl??" After which Scooby looks under the chassis and asks "How can you tell?"
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog is a pink, male dog.
  • ''Sofia the First: All the female characters have eyelashes while the males don't, although Prince Hugo happens to have tiny eyelashes.

    Real Life 
  • In ancient Egyptian illustrations, men had darker skin than women. The same goes for ancient Greek and Roman art. It's because ideally women stayed indoors, in their view, with men tan from being outdoors. To modern eyes this can look very odd, like it's all interracial couples (although that wasn't intended).
  • The notion of pink for girls and blue for boys is a recent one. Before the 1940s (in America, at least), there were no specific colour attributions to gender. In fact, when pink and blue came into play, it was more likely to be blue for girls, who are 'dainty' and 'flighty', and pink for boys, as it was considered a stronger colour - as decided by manufacturers and retailers and declared thus in a June 1918 article from the trade publication Earnshaw's Infants' Department. Before the twenties, all children wore white dresses until their first haircut, as this was considered gender neutral.
  • There are many species of animals the sexes of which are completely impossible for humans to distinguish visually. Among Albatross for examples, even trained scientists have to use genetic sequencing to tell the male apart from the female in mated pairs (this effort led to the discovery that many Albotrosses live and raise chicks in same-sex female pairs).
  • Among birds, especially waterfowl, it is always the male who is more colorful; because the flashier you are, the more babies you have. (Here's a male wood duck and his female counterpart for reference.) And he always courts the female, who in turn is always "less pretty", right? Meet the Phalarope. They're essentially a whole genus of Wholesome Crossdressers. The females even court the males and the males brood the eggs. It's not yet clear as to why this one group of little Arctic shorebirds has switched gender roles, but it causes a bit of Birdwatcher Gender Confusion for those not in the know.
  • Men, especially macho men, typically have longer eyelashes than women because they have more body hair. Long eyelashes are likely associated with femininity because they make the eyes look bigger, and feminine eyelashes also have a prominent curl, which does naturally occur in babies.
  • Similarly, some time periods (notably the '60s, '80s and especially 2010s) consider thick eyebrows to be an ideal of feminine beauty. Unibrows are actually considered youthful and attractive in Tajikistan, with women using a special herb to make them more prominent.
  • Some toilet signs avoid the outdated "women wear dresses" implication by having XX and XY instead, the female and male sex chromosomes, respectively (this would still be a problem to some intersex people however).

Alternative Title(s): Put A Bow On Her Head, Tertiary Sexual Characteristic