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Testosterone Brigade

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His gaze turns little girls into men.


The Spear Counterpart to the Estrogen Brigade, the Testosterone Brigade is an enclave of male fans within a traditionally female-dominated (or at least gender-neutral) fandom. While they may dislike the frequency of the Female Gaze or Mr. Fanservice characters, it's very likely that they were pulled into the series in the first place because of one or more female characters they find pleasing to the eye. Depending on the series, they may view it as a Guilty Pleasure due to the number of female fans. Occasionally, as with an Estrogen Brigade, both sides will butt heads over largely superficial issues, with buckets of opposite-sex awkwardness, which can get defensive. It should also be noted that not all male fans within such a fandom are necessarily of the Testosterone Brigade.

A Testosterone Brigade is easily attracted by hints of Les Yay or by fanservice from main characters. See also Multiple Demographic Appeal, Guilty Pleasure, Best Known for the Fanservice. When the creators of a work acknowledge this demographic and make a "girly" show that's actually aimed at men, then you've got a Jiggle Show or the trope What Do You Mean Its Not For Little Girls.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Most male fans of Maid-Sama! like it because of Misaki Ayuzawa, the female lead, and her dynamics with Takumi Usui, the male lead.
  • Fruits Basket has a ton of male fans, but mostly because of the story/characters.
  • Sailor Moon. While it is primarily a shoujo anime, it has quite a bit of a male following as well, with all the Sailor Senshi being really hot, kickass action girls. There are Testosterone Brigades for approximately all ten of the female leads.
  • Pretty Cure is also one, similar to the aforementioned Sailor Moon, has a large male fanbase in Japan, it has plenty of kickass action girls and fight scenes, what sets it apart is its sheer amounts of in-your-face fist fights and No Holds Barred Beat Down, for a shoujo anime. It helps that it was produced by Toei, the same company behind Super Sentai, Kamen Rider and the above mentioned Sailor Moon.
  • Shirokuma Cafe is a josei, but it has its loyal male fans.
  • Part of Missions Of Love's appeal is that Yukina is a really hot, unusually busty, smart and independent girl who likes to take the lead. Guys really dig that.
  • While the Yaoi Fangirl is a common stereotype of Hetalia: Axis Powers fandom, there are male fans who are attracted to either the history, characterizations, or the female Nations.note  Somehow ironic considering it was originally intended for adult men.
  • Ouran High School Host Club:
    • Though the article says it is rare, it has a substantial male following for two main reasons — it's very funny, and Haruhi is cute.
    • There's an in-show Estrogen Brigade for each and every male character, as well as an IRL one.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena is nominally intended to be a Shoujo Series, but has many male fans as well, due its complex plot (it is oftenly compared with Neon Genesis Evangelion for a reason, after all) and also the Les Yay subtext.
  • Perhaps not so much in the United States, but in Japan and Latin America Cardcaptor Sakura was surprisingly popular among male viewers, being considered the most successful Magical Girl series since Sailor Moon. There was even a fan-made live action opening made in Japan (Please notice how said opening was played entirely by men.)
  • Most of the CLAMP fandom. It helps that CLAMP is basically an Estrogen Brigade themselves.
    • Speaking of CLAMP, X1999 is also worth mentioning: While, technically speaking, its a Shoujo series, the dark and violent nature of the plot could lead it to be easily mistaken for Seinen. Also, the many religious/apocalyptic elements of the story made it popular among viewers who are into stuff like Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • Similarly, other dark Shoujo and Josei works like Vampire Princess Miyu or Pet Shop of Horrors are well liked by male anime fans who usually mistook them with Seinen.
  • And in the case of the light-hearted Josei Bunny Drop, the anime adaptation is well liked among male viewers simply because they find the story to be incredibly adorable and heartwarming.
  • Princess Tutu is a children's anime about a duck who turns into a human girl who falls in love with a prince and goes through a series of ballet dances in fairy tale-like setting. The girly premise is enough to alienate audiences, right? Apparently not, as despite being a children's anime, it also attracts a lot of male viewers, as it's deemed one of the darkest Magical Girl anime alongside Madoka Magica with a very well-written story and romance.

    Film — Animated 
  • What male fans exist of the Disney's Tinkerbell movies tend to be a Testosterone Brigade, as there is a surprising amount of fanservice in the films.
  • The Disney Princesses in general, especially those from the Disney Renaissance. It's been joked that they helped usher an entire generation of adolescent boys into puberty in The '90s.
    • This is invoked in the first American Pie with Jim gushing over how hot Ariel is (a sentiment Norm Peterson shared years before in an episode of Cheers and Joey Tribbiani shared years later in a late episode of Friends).
    • Also invoked in an episode of The Big Bang Theory when the girls get a Disney Princess makeover at Disneyland. When Penny walks into Leonard's apartment he immediately drops his pants after seeing her dressed as Aurora. Howard does pretty much the same thing. Poor Amy fails to get Sheldon's attention.
    • One Disney Princess in particular worth mentioning is Elsa from Frozen, who, despite being a queen and not a princess like her contemporaries, has become probably the most famous animated sex symbol since Jessica Rabbit due to her long blonde hair, clingy outfit, and Sexy Walk. It helps that Elsa's and Jessica's dresses have similarities. Yes, there are definitely a lot of Elsa fanboys on the internet. This is also the character that made a name for cosplayer Anna Faith Carlson, just for being a really accurate cosplay of Elsa!
    • Pocahontas applied a lot of Adaptational Curves to its heroine by Executive Meddling - in real life Pocahontas was only twelve! The animators were told to make her as sexy as possible, so she has a beautiful mane of Rapunzel Hair and a skintight dress that teases exotic Fanservice. There's one very gratuitous moment where she's crawling up a rock and her ass is fully on display.
    • Although not an official Disney Princess, Esmerelda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame attracts this for a very sexy scene where she performs a pole dance for an adoring crowd. She's drawn to be far more voluptuous than the typical Disney heroine, and gets a feisty Action Girl personality too.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Blue Crush features Kate Bosworth, an underage Mika Boorem, and several other hot actresses in bikinis (and sometimes even less than that) for almost the entirety of its running time. Best. Movie. Ever.
  • The Bring It On movies. For the women that they were aimed at, they're about cheerleading as Serious Business. For men, they're about seeing Eliza Dushku, Kirsten Dunst, Christina Milian, Hayden Panettiere, Ashley Benson, and a whole bunch of other good-looking young women in cheerleading uniforms. Amusingly, one of the TV spots for the original film even intentionally invoked this.
  • Mean Girls. While written by a woman and marketed heavily to teen girls, it was released at the height of Lindsay Lohan's "it girl" popularity, and features Lohan and a number of other young women (specifically, former Party of Five star Lacey Chabert and then-unknowns Rachel McAdams and Amanda Seyfried) in provocative dress throughout. It's no surprise that a lot of guys watch it for the hot high school chicks. The original version of the film (the script for which can be read here) was more explicitly targeted at both men and women. As originally written, Mean Girls was a hard-R sex comedy that homaged films like Porky's and American Pie, filled with innuendos, drug references, and topless scenes from Regina and Karen; creator Tina Fey said she originally envisioned it as having "wall-to-wall titties." It was Bowdlerised after Lohan was cast as the lead (she was still considered family-friendly then), and traces of this still show up in the final film.
    • Mean Girls also has a huge following among gay men, who love the catty characters and endlessly quotable catchphrases.
  • This is the point of the article Top 10 Chick Flicks That Men Secretly Love.
  • The Hunger Games, despite (or perhaps because of) it being a particularly girl-powered film with a very feminist slant, gets quite a lot of this. Part of it has to do with the action and the premise and the deep political and social commentary, but the pre-Games scenes also heavily feature Jennifer Lawrence looking drop-dead gorgeous.
  • The Bling Ring is almost an entirely female-centred story, with teenage girls robbing celebrities' clothes and jewellery. The only prominent male character is also gay. But all four female leads, including Emma Watson, are continually done up to the nines, walking around in sexy outfits and showing off their beauty. Marketing even centered around Watson on Fanservice duty, abusing one shot of a seductive tongue roll for advertisements.
  • A lot of guys admitted to watching Aquamarine as a Guilty Pleasure just to crush on Sara Paxton playing a sexy mermaid - with an Adorkable personality too.
  • The Princess Diaries was what turned Anne Hathaway into a star, and many male fans watched it for her - along with those of Mandy Moore. The character Michael is also something of an Audience Surrogate for boys watching as well, giving them someone to relate to.
  • You're So Cupid! is a 2010 Made-for-TV Movie about teenage sisters playing matchmaker, and caters to an Estrogen Brigade for Jeremy Sumpter. Quite a few tuned in to gush over the beauty of the Tomboyish sister Emma and her gorgeous blonde Rapunzel Hair.

    Live-Action TV 
  • America's Next Top Model, as well as any of the other Top Model shows, has enough fetish material and Fanservice to attract male viewers.
  • Project Runway to a much lesser degree, but it still has hot girls and sexy moments.
  • The L Word, as was inevitable for a show about a bunch of very good-looking lesbians. It pandered generously to straight males through extensive sex scenes, making one of the girls bisexual (which ensured at least some scenes would include a straight guy), featuring mainly straight guys in the supporting cast, and reducing gay guys to extras. Series creator Ilene Chaiken publicly claimed that the show would never have been made if it hadn't also brought in a male audience.
  • Sex and the City. It's a show about four sexy older women who like to have sex and talk about it — and this being HBO, they don't cut away from the nudity. (Out of the four main cast, Sarah Jessica Parker was the only one who had a no-nudity clause and didn't have to bare her naughty bits for the show — and perhaps not coincidentally, she's also the one who is most frequently called "ugly" in lads' mags and gossip blogs.) While its male fanbase is often stereotyped as being composed primarily of Camp Gay men who watch it for the fashion, during its prime it also had a very large contingent of straight male fans, as it featured a ton of female skin and enough of the male perspective (at times) to occupy straight men's interest.
  • The same could be said of True Blood and other female-targeted HBO shows, for much the same reason (plus this one doesn't exactly skimp on the gore and violence). Jessica (part-time Magical Girlfriend, full-time Cute Monster Girl) seems to have been created specifically so straight guys would have a character to gush over.
  • Desperate Housewives. Its description on this wiki even describes it as "not a porn mag, but a US TV drama." At the height of its popularity, ABC even ran an ad with a guy admitting he watched it… and (unconvincingly) claiming that it was for the story. Riiight.
  • VH1's Single Ladies, for many of the same reasons as Sex and the City.
  • A very, very frequent occurrence with teen- and tween-oriented shows, especially American and Australian ones. (And if any British tropers feel the UK is an exception, one word: Hollyoaks.) The lead actresses are often meant to be viewed by such shows' young female fans as the type of people that they wish they were... which includes looking gorgeous. Not surprisingly, appearances in fashion magazines and (for shows that skew a bit older) men's magazines are frequent for the stars of these shows, while those under the age of 18 may find themselves subject to some fairly creepy gushing.
  • Pretty Little Liars, being aimed at girls, has an amazingly high amount of good-looking males in the cast. It also has an amazingly high amount of good-looking females in the cast (Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale, Shay Mitchell, Janel Parrish, Sasha Pieterse, Tammin Sursok...), a trait shared with most of its fellow Warner/Alloy series like Gossip Girl (which featured Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, and a young Taylor Momsen) and The Lying Game (Alexandra Chando, Alice Greczyn, Charisma Carpenter, Kirsten Prout in season 1).
  • Victorious featured a cast made up of some of the hottest young actresses on the planet. While still aimed mostly at fellow teenage girls, Elizabeth Gillies, Victoria Justice, Daniella Monet, and Ariana Grande attract a huge amount of interest from guys (and in the latter's case, her music career is only making it grow faster). Precursor show iCarly also developed one of these once Miranda Cosgrove and Jennette McCurdy grew up in the last few seasons, as did the short-lived crossover spinoff Sam & Cat with McCurdy and Grande. More Nickelodeon examples, like Kira Kosarin of The Thundermans, Brec Bassinger of Bella and the Bulldogs, and Jade Pettyjohn of School of Rock followed afterwards.
  • The Disney Channel, being a veritable Teen Idol machine that employs a lot of attractive young people (see the point above about teen shows), often winds up with this no matter how sickeningly sweet and kid-friendly they make their shows. Some (of-age) Disney stars, past and present, that attract this include Selena Gomez of Wizards of Waverly Place, Demi Lovato of Sonny with a Chance, Bridgit Mendler of Good Luck Charlie, Miley Cyrus of Hannah Montana, Hilary Duff of Lizzie McGuire, Debby Ryan and Peyton R. List of Jessie, Laura Marano of Austin & Ally, Dove Cameron of Liv and Maddie, Bella Thorne and Zendaya in Shake it Up, Zendaya again (plus Veronica Dunne) in K.C. Undercover, and Lauren Taylor of Best Friends Whenever. (Proving how old this trope is, it goes right back to when Disney began in TV (Through The Mickey Mouse Club) - as demonstrated and proved by Annette Funicello.)
  • As badly as Netflix's entries to the Kid Com market, Richie Rich and Some Assembly Required, were received (although the latter is still well-respected in its native Canada), that didn't stop them from receiving testosterone brigades. The former is centered on Brooke Wexler and the aforementioned Lauren Taylor; Jenna Ortega, the other female on the show, is still a little too young to apply. As far as the latter goes, while Charlie Storwick isn't without her fanboys, it still pales in comparison to Sydney Scotia's (which is shown in-universe in the "Cupid's Bow" episode).
  • The producers of Charmed tried to invoke this around the fifth season and so made sure the actresses' clothing was as sexy as possible. They also created plenty of episode plots where the sisters would be transformed into various magical creatures that required a different skimpy outfit. Alyssa Milano got the worst of it; a common joke was that her belly button deserved its own billing in the opening credits. (In fairness, a series with Shannen Doherty, Rose McGowan, Holly Marie Combs, and Alyssa Milano was always going to have this.) Season 8 adds the beautiful Kaley Cuoco to the line-up as well.
  • For more than a few male viewers, Hayden Panettiere is the primary/only reason to watch Nashville. (And, it has to be said, Heroes.)
  • H₂O: Just Add Water attracted this around its second season, when its three lead actresses had noticeably gotten older. It's a show about three teenage mermaids, all played by very beautiful actresses. As it's set in Australia, there are plenty of episodes featuring the girls in bikinis or walking around in short-shorts. Plus rather a lot of episodes revolve around parties, so the three leads are often dolled up. Interestingly enough the show doesn't feature that much male Fanservice, with Lewis only getting a couple of shirtless scenes (at least until Will comes along). Both this show and the trope did help make Claire Holt and Phoebe Tonkin make it to the worldwide mainstream when they were brought over to The Vampire Diaries and The Originals.
  • Gossip Girl, in the same vein as Mean Girls, is about elite high school girls and features a lot of cattiness and girl-oriented stories. But the fact that its two leads are the fantastically beautiful Blake Lively and Leighton Meester, and later on Jessica Szohr and numerous stunningly pretty guest stars - and the camera letting you experience their beauty to its full extent - gave plenty of straight men opportunities to tune in.
  • The Partridge Family specifically cast Susan Dey as Laurie to invoke this - so guys watching could have someone to swoon over who wouldn't put off David Cassidy's Estrogen Brigade.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch was about a a witch called Sabrina, and dealt with lots of teenage girl issues - while the majority of the cast was female (her two aunts, best friend and Alpha Bitch), only her boyfriend Harvey and the talking cat Salem as male presences. Of course, given that Melissa Joan Hart was gorgeous, as were her aunts and the other guest stars - and the magic elements, along with genuinely funny writing - it went down in history as a hallmark of many 90s and 2000s kids' childhoods. In her autobiography, Melissa even described the show as "a geek's wet dream".

  • Female fashion magazines and general female magazines feature enough sexily dressed women (especially in the ads) and attractive female celebrities to attract straight men who usually won't admit to flipping through them to ogle all the hot women in them.
  • Allure has its own yearly "Nude" issue, that has featured Kaley Cuoco, Bridget Moynahan, and Ashley Tisdale to name a few, that feature tasteful nude pictures of females. This alone is justification for a straight man to flip through it.

  • This has been the rule for most female pop/R&B idol singers and girl groups within the last 30 years. The girls come for the music, the boys come for the ladies singing it. Oftentimes, female musicians go for Hotter and Sexier images (or have it pushed onto them) specifically to invoke this.
  • Kate Bush has a very large Testosterone Brigade among her fanbase.
  • Female-fronted symphonic metal bands such as Nightwish, Epica and After Forever. While metal music as a whole already has a very large male following (and an Estrogen Brigade), a good number of these bands' fans are listening and going to concerts for a bit more than just the music.
  • The Wiggles are one of the very few children's music groups to sometimes include attractive female dancers in some of their videos, thus catering a bit to the fathers out there stuck watching the videos. Dads tend to be fans for that.
  • The rise of "poptimism" has made it common for Hipsterish music critics to gush over the legitimately great songcraft and performances found in bubblegum Pop acts marketed to teenage girls.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Female wrestlers in general are a case of attempts to exploit this trope working to the detriment of the medium. In many cases, pro wrestling companies, recognizing that many guys were watching the women's matches for the sexy catfights, have dropped all pretense of their women's divisions being about athletic competition in order to use them to supply as much cheesecake as possible. This, however, turns off many fans who had been watching because they were legitimately interested in the matches. It's telling that the most celebrated female wrestlers, past and present, among the IWC are those who were genuine Action Girls rather than just models hired to look the part.
    • Lita is an interesting case. She became popular with young girls because of her One of Us image (she was a Lad Ette). She also became popular with boys because of that as well. In addition to that, boys also were turned on by the fact that she had her thong on display and removed her top in several matches.
    • Trish Stratus was a similar case too; the majority of fans fell in love with her stunning looks (male and female) but along the way earned numerous amounts of respect for her desire to improve. So in Trish's case, the fans came for her beauty and stayed for the wrestling.
    • Mickie James got over big time with men due to her lesbian stalker gimmick in which she would kiss women and in one instance grabbed Trish's privates and seductively licked her fingers afterwards getting an earth-shattering pop for it. Even after abandoning those characteristics, she still remains popular due to her sex appeal, Girl Next Door nature and the fact that she, like Trish, can actually wrestle.
    • Paige represents a similar case of trying to cultivate a One of Us feel. Without tanning, she adopted a Raven Hair, Ivory Skin appearance, overlapping with Unkempt Beauty - and had fans in the palm of her hand. A documentary about her reveals that she was this before she was in WWE too. Her mother said all she had to do was slap her daughter's picture on something and it would sell.
    • Most Diva fans hated Maria Kanellis during her WWE run (she was an Acceptable Target on Diva Dirt for a long time). Male fans loved her, for obvious reasons.
  • Total Divas has a huge male fanbase. Producers likely had this trope in mind - which is probably why wherever the Divas go, they always have perfect hair, perfect make-up and flattering clothes. Various episodes feature the girls going on vacations (getting them into bikinis) and even multiple appearances by a sex therapist. The show draws roughly a million viewers every week and not all of them are women.

  • Race car driver Danica Patrick, who has parlayed her Testosterone Brigade into both a NASCAR career and modeling work. She's a damn good racer, making the pole position for the 2013 Daytona 500, leading laps and finishing eighth (highest finish by a female in a Sprint Cup race so far) there, as well as a good 12th place finish at Martinsville, but most people seem to best know her for her GoDaddy ads.
  • The strange case of high school pole vaulter Alison Stokke.
  • The Dutch women's field hockey team at the 2012 London Olympics have developed one of these.

  • This was the genius of the lingerie chain Victoria's Secret (and its many imitators). Instead of only selling their products through brick-and-mortar shops, they did it through a catalogue, allowing men to shop for lingerie for the wives without the embarrassment of being seen doing so at a store. Even after the company got bought out by The Limited and focused more on selling directly to women, their catalogues were still very popular with men. To this day, Victoria's Secret stores have scads of pictures of half-naked women in the windows to get men into the store, they sponsor burlesque fashion shows that are aimed as much at men as women, and their models (known as "Angels") are regular features of men's magazines.

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • Otome games tend to have a pretty wide Testosterone Brigade, since while there are plenty of pretty boys to encounter, the heroine will be just as beautiful, if not more. Her interactions with the boys can endear her to the male audience, and if there is an H-scene in the game, it is likely to be focused on her. One particular poll for Amnesia: Memories put its heroine in the top 10 most popular characters, with a quote from one of the voters asking why she wasn't dateable like everyone else.

    Web Animation 
  • Bee and Puppycat: A cartoon heavily influenced by Shoujo anime, which only needed two short episodes to become one of the most popular animations from Cartoon Hangover, along with Bravest Warriors, which seems to be well liked by male viewers who enjoy stuff like Adventure Time. Considering that it was created by an artist from that series this isn´t very surprising.
  • Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse has a diverse following that the creators actively nod to, complete with scads and scads of Shout Outs. The following has been likened to that for My Little Pony, even spurring the epithet "Brobies", but "Dreamhousers" (as they prefer to be called) reject the comparison.

    Western Animation 
  • When a show is packed with as much Fanservice as Totally Spies!, it's bound to pick up a lot of male fans along the way.
  • Kim Possible, as evidenced by the kind of fanart showing up on DeviantArt and the abundance of Dark Fics.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: The famous "Brony" fanbase is a rare example that doesn't use Fanservice. (Not for most people anyway.) Female Cosplay and Gijinka (personified fanart of non-human characters) of the characters invokes different reactions.
  • The Powerpuff Girls. Much like the above example, this show garnered a decent male fanbase without resorting to Fanservice. Many can speculate as to why, but it's probably no small part due to it being one of the few shows with G-rated ass-whooping on Cartoon Network at the time.
  • Jem had and has tons of male fans. Part of it is a LGBT Fanbase, but many boys watched it for the girls.
  • She-Ra, for boys who couldn't quite relate to uber-hunk Prince Adam and his army of beefcakes.
  • Daria: Despite being centered mostly in a female cast (Something very atypical for an adult animated sitcom series, especially at the time) the show managed to avert the Girl-Show Ghetto thanks to its snarky humor and complex characters, as well due its subtle balance of comedy and drama and relatable topics as well.
  • The Loud House is actually pretty gender-neutral in terms of its target audience, but there's no denying that a LOT of teenage boys and young men take an interest in it.
  • Glitch Techs: Thanks to her Hartman Hips and overall cute design, Miko became infamous for inspiring a slew Rule 34 fanart, over a year before the show even premiered.


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