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Testosterone Brigade

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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 the presence of 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, It's Not for Little Girls?.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Dark Shoujo and Josei works like Vampire Princess Miyu or Pet Shop of Horrors are well liked by male anime fans, who tend to mistake them for Seinen.
  • 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.
  • Perhaps not so much in the United States, but in Japan and Latin America Cardcaptor Sakura is 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 worth specific mention: technically speaking, it's a Shoujo series, but the dark and violent nature of the plot could lead it to be easily mistaken for Seinen. The many religious/apocalyptic elements of the story made it popular among viewers who are into stuff like Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • Fruits Basket has a ton of male fans, but mostly because of the story and characters.
  • 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.
  • Most male fans of Maid-Sama! like it because of Misaki Ayuzawa, the female lead, and her dynamics with Takumi Usui, the male lead.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Pretty Cure is similar to Sailor Moon in that it has a large crossover demographic—at least in Japan. It has a long-standing reputation for in-your-face fist fights and No Holds Barred Beat Down to a degree that was uncommon in it's shoujo predecessors, since the tone-setting director for the first installments of the franchise is best known for Dragon Ball Z.
  • 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 would drive men away, right? Despite it's aesthetics it's regarded as one of the darkest Magical Girl anime alongside Madoka Magica with a very well-written story and romance, and it also attracts a lot of male viewers.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena starts as a shoujo Affectionate Parody, intentionally incorporating as many shoujo tropes and themes as possible, but it takes a critical approach to them. Male viewers have been known to come for the Les Yay subtext, and stay for the complex characters, dark themes, and multiple layers of meaning (it is compared with Neon Genesis Evangelion for a reason, after all.)
  • Sailor Moon is unmistakably a shoujo series, but the anime owes a fair bit of its global success to how successfully it courts a male following. All the Sailor Senshi are cute, kickass action girls with legs from here to the Moon Kingdom. There are Testosterone Brigades for approximately all ten of the female leads. This includes the Barenaked Ladies, who referenced the show and its "boom anime babes that make me think the wrong thing" in their song "One Week".
  • Shirokuma Cafe is a josei, but it has its loyal male fans.

    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 Supermodel Strut. 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 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.
  • Turning Red: Despite being marketed to tween girls, the movie has developed a huge male fanbase, owing to the cuteness of Mei's red panda form (as well as Mei's natural form and her friends) and the message that anyone can relate to in general (the movie itself has quite a gender-neutral Aesop if you bar the menstruation metaphors).

    Film — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The School for Good and Evil (2022): A lot of male fans are only interested in this female-aimed film because the actresses are good looking, particularly Charlize Theron as Lady Lesso.
  • Despite Madame Web (2024) being a female-oriented superhero movie by virtue of starring 4 heroines, the presence of Dakota Johnson and Sydney Sweeney has attracted the (possibly) unironic interest of male fans. It has been joked that they are the sole reasons for men to invest in yet another film of the so far mixed-to-negatively received SSU that doesn't feature Venom.

    Literature 
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was sent to American soldiers during the First World War, who liked it because it reminded them of home. The novel is written from the perspective of a girl, and constantly deals with feminine issues.

    Live-Action TV 

    Magazines 
  • 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.

    Music 
  • 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. This is especially true for Korean Pop Music groups and idols, so much so that girl groups made the entire top ten most popular K-pop acts among males on Reddit in 2021.
  • Kate Bush has a very large Testosterone Brigade among her fanbase. It possibly helps that she's Progressive Pop.
  • 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.
  • TWICE is one of the most popular A-list Girl Groups among male K-pop fans, with almost half the fans being male. It helps that - in addition to the girls being really cute and showing endearing personalities in most media when not being Ms. Fanservice on stage, and Tzuyu having been crowned the World's Most Beautiful Woman in 2019 - their music has matured past the bubblegum pop sound of their early years in a way that shows their Hidden Depths without normally feeling aimed almost strictly at girls *. This makes Twice one of the most accessible groups to males and females alike.
  • PJ Harvey's fanbase is pretty much 50/50 gender wise.

    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 with male fans 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 mocked 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.

    Sports 
  • 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.
  • Very controversially, the first college athletes to really profit from the NCAA's recent NIL (name, image and likeness) rule changes that allow athletes to earn money have been attractive females who are skilled at promoting themselves on social media, like gymnast Livvy Dunne and basketball players (and twins) Haley and Hanna Cavinder, and, naturally, males make up much of their fanbases.

    Stores 
  • 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 and making passersby think that they might have a "secret" of their own. 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 (1998). 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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