Follow TV Tropes

Following

Tomboy and Girly Girl

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tomboy-and-girly-girl_parent-trap2_5061.png
Advertisement:

When the main characters in a show are both females, or if there are only Two Girls to a Team, it almost always leads to a case of this trope. The "Girly Girl" will highly care about her appearance, pursue "girly" interests, and is often (though not always) The Chick. The "Tomboy", who is often The Big Girl, will be into sports, mechanics, house and/or building construction and/or renovation, or the like. She couldn't care less about her hair or makeup but is often an Unkempt Beauty anyway. Like their Spear Counterparts, Sensitive Guy and Manly Man, they are candidates for an Odd Couple and Odd Friendship brought together in the attempt to make hilarity ensue.

The two ladies will have some sort of relationship with each other, whether they're best friends, sisters, on the same team, or even explicit lovers. Even when they aren't explicit lovers, this may lead to deliberate or accidental Homoerotic Subtext due to the overlap with the Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple stereotype. If they're together for reasons outside their control (i.e., part of a team), they might initially dislike or confuse each other with their ways, until the inevitable Girls' Night Out Episode forces them to put aside their differences and forge a common bond (note: if there are more than two girls in the group, these two must have some kind of relationship over the others). When one is the mother of the other, the mother will almost always be the girly girl, and the daughter will almost always be the tomboy. If they're female twins, chances of this trope are more than fair. If they are sisters of different ages, the older sister will almost always be the girly girl, and the younger sister will almost always be the tomboy.

Advertisement:

This trope can find itself incarnated in musical theater with the Soprano playing the girly girl and the Mezzo/Alto (or, face it, any female with a significantly lower vocal range) playing the tomboyish one, or the girly girl role being the role that requires a lot of singing, while the tomboy role requires more dancing.

It may lead to Fan Dumb or Hate Dumb if one is portrayed as being "better" than the other, if the girly girl is portrayed as shallow or less strong, or if the tomboy is portrayed as a cold man-hater or even Ambiguously Gay for taking a less traditional gender role. Works that involve Values Dissonance are particularly vulnerable to this. At its most extreme, it reinforces the mindset that Men Are Generic, Women Are Special, where males on the team have varied personalities unrelated to their gender (due to maleness being seen as normal) while the females are defined by their femininity or lack thereof (thus limiting their characterization and role variety).

Advertisement:

There are two types of tomboys and two types of girly girls, depending on their degree of femininity vs. masculinity:

  • Types of tomboys:

  1. Butch Tomboy tends to be very masculine, to the point of actually being "manly", and has very few, if any, feminine qualities and interests. She may also hate anything that is girly and feminine, such as the color pink.
  2. Effeminate Tomboy tends to be fairly masculine, but not overly masculine, nor overly feminine either, although she does not necessarily hate traditionally "girly" things. Although most of her qualities and interests are masculine, she may also have a few "feminine" qualities and interests as well.

  • Types of girly girls:
  1. Proper Girly Girl has all of the qualities and interests that are traditionally associated with femininity. She is usually not good at any type of sports, other than perhaps dance sports.
  2. Moderate Girly Girl tends to be somewhat more masculine than a proper girly girl, but nonetheless still retains a significant portion of feminine qualities and interests. If she's good at sports, she plays sports that are typically considered "feminine", such as golf, tennis, and volleyball.

Keep in mind that just because a girl is a tomboy, regardless of which type she is, does not necessarily mean that she is a lesbian.

Compare the mannish one and the sweet-naive one of the Four-Girl Ensemble.

Feminine Mother, Tomboyish Daughter is a Sub-Trope that uses this contrast to explore changing gender norms.

Compare/contrast Bifauxnen and Lad-ette (the equivalent of this trope, only without the girly girl involved), Light Feminine and Dark Feminine (the other equivalent, usually without the tomboy), and Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple (an equivalent involving a couple). Contrast Silk Hiding Steel, Spirited Young Lady, Girly Bruiser, Lady of War, and often Pretty Princess Powerhouse; all of which are a mixture of the two. When a third girl is part of the dynamic but does not fit in either category, then she's among the Town Girls (Butch, Femme and Neither).

Important Note: While this is usually a straightforward trope, examples can still get subjective in regards to whether or not one of the girls is tomboyish enough, the other is girly enough, or whether they're different enough. Keep a few points in mind when editing:

  1. The two girls do not have to be polar opposites of each other to fit this trope.
  2. The tomboy does not have to be a total man-beast with no feminine interests (Tomboy with a Girly Streak).
  3. The girly girl does not have to be a total priss with no masculine interests (Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak).
  4. Using #2 or #3 to justify deleting an example invokes the very same negative stereotypes mentioned above.
  5. When you post an example, be sure to explain how one is a tomboy and how the other is a girly girl, not necessarily which type of tomboy and/or which type of girly girl each girl is.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • The Burger King Kids Club: Boomer (tomboy) and Snaps (girly girl). They are later joined by Jazz (as a tomboy and a girly girl, thus having a split personality) in the early 2000s.
  • Sanrio's Cinnamoroll features two girls in the group: the quick running sports buff, Chiffon, and the fashionista, Mocha.

    Fan Works 
Avatar: The Last Airbender
  • Kyoshi Rising: Mei eagerly dresses up for special occasions and acts like a proper lady, while her sister Kyoshi is an Earthbender who has a serious aversion to being dressed up and would much rather stay at home and work on the farm.

Dragon Age

  • Skyhold Academy Yearbook: Bethany is The Fashionista, having a college degree in fashion design and manufacture, and many of her activities throughout the series fall in line with her love of pretty clothes. Her sister, Hawke, meanwhile, makes a number of remarks about her dislike of dressing up, has Boyish Short Hair, and delights in her best friend Varric's assertion that "you're the only person in Thedas who can kick my ass." The sisters are extremely close, however.
  • Twice Upon an Age: Lady Inquisitor Victoria and her good friend Cassandra are both sword-wielding warriors, but Victoria, unlike Cassandra, is perfectly willing to let her hair down and put on a dress. Cassandra is a Tomboy with a Girly Streak, however, owing to her love of romantic literature and gestures.

The Hunger Games

  • A neat summary of Katniss and Glimmer’s dynamic in the Valkyrie On Fire series, with Katniss rougher around the edges and with little clue about how to use her femininity while Glimmer is the better dressed and more obviously attractive, even if they’re each skilled fighters.

Kamen Rider

One Piece

  • One Piece: Parallel Works: While Aki loves pretty Chinese dresses, is usually concerned about her appearance, loves to be with her boyfriend, Heathcliffe, and is a weaker fighter, Yuki-Rin is a great fighter with a katana, loves to explore new islands, and fully embraces and supports her pirate lifestyle.

Crossover

  • Erin's Total Magical Adventure:
    • Sylvia hates girly stuff like dresses and prefers wearing a skirt over her pants, and kicks butt, while Selene wears dresses aside of her standard outfit, which has pants, and is more openly feminine, likes cute stuff.
    • Artemis is a stubborn, brash and feisty jock, while Svetlana is a perky, Olympic Gymnast who wears lipstick and mascara.
    • Coco wears pink comes from a rich family and is interested in fashion and hates being dirty, and her main outfit is skimpy, Hollie, on the other hand, is a shy, clumsy Cute Bookworm, wears blue and her main outfit has sneakers.
  • A Shadow of the Titans: Jade hates girly stuff like dresses, while Jinx wears a skirt and is more openly feminine (and, according to TT canon, likes unicorns). Ironically, they seem to have an Odd Friendship going on.

    Jokes 
  • Two women are talking:
    Alice: I just broke up with my boyfriend.
    Betty: Why?
    Alice: Could you live with an unemployed chain smoker who swore a lot?
    Betty: No way.
    Alice: He couldn't either.

    Music 
  • Dschinghis Khan. You also get this vibe from Henriette Strobel-Heichler and Edina Pop, the ladies in the 80's disco band. In the video for "Moskau, Moskau", "tomboy" Henriette wears a red and gold jumpsuit similar to that the guys wear (one of them being her husband) and "girly girl" Edina is dressed in a very feminine yellow dress.
  • M 2 M. Marit was the tomboy and Marion was the girly girl.
  • Puffy AmiYumi. As mentioned, Yumi Yoshimura and Ami Onuki, when they're on stage.
  • "You Belong With Me" by Taylor Swift: "She wears short skirts/high heels, I wear T-shirts/sneakers, she's cheer captain and I'm on the bleachers..." which refers respectively to the nerdy neighbor girl protagonist and cheerleader antagonist of the song.
  • t.A.T.u. Yulia (tomboy) and Lena (girly girl). Hardly a surprise, considering the marketing.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "Girls Just Wanna Have Lunch" invokes this trope in the first line. "Some girls like to buy new shoes/ while others like driving trucks and wearing tattoos...."
  • Fleetwood Mac: Christine McVie is the tomboy and Stevie Nicks is the girly girl. McVie admits this in a 2015 cover story on Stevie: “I’m a tomboy,” says McVie. “I love men. I love hanging around with men. And Stevie is kind of a girly girl.”
  • Akira (tomboy) and Marcy (girly girl) from Disacode. This is due to Akira being a Bifauxnen wearing men's clothing in music videos and performances along with her hairstyle being a slightly spiky long black hair with a blonde streak and has been a female model for Kera and Kera Boku alternative magazines and having an occasional career as an actress since she played Narase Kaoru in the Live-Action Adaptation of Ai Ore! Love Me! and in a Crosscast Role as Uesugi Kenshin in the stage show adaptation of Sengoku Basara, while Marcy tends to wear colorful clothing, in addition, bleaching her hair blonde (as she is a natural brunette and at one point, she sported pink hair) with a Hime Cut and sometimes sporting her hair down, in a ponytail, in Girlish Pigtails or in odango buns.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling:
    • Classic tag team the Beauty Pair are probably the Trope Codifier for this in professional wrestling. Short-haired and athletic Jackie Sato was the tomboy while long-haired and pretty Maki Ueda was the girly girl. It was a formula AJW would repeat later on with the even more successful Crush Gals with Lioness Asuka in the Jackie Sato role and Chigusa Nagayo in the Maki Ueda role, although both girls leaned far more towards the tomboy side.
    • And after that, Toshiyo Yamada (tomboy) and Manami Toyota (girly girl). Aside from their physical appearances, Yamada used a lot of stiff kicks, while Toyota focused on speed and high-flying maneuvers.
  • Smoky Mountain Wrestling: Dirty White Girl & Tammy Fytch (Tammy "Sunny" Sytch), the latter briefly took up a Stay in the Kitchen attitude after being in a few matches and continued to rely more on manipulation and seduction to solve problems even after learning the error of her ways.
  • WWE: Trish Stratus vs. Lita. Trish, in her early days, was a former fitness model and only good at being Ms. Fanservice (although she did improve as time went on) while Lita was a punk-rocker with actual wrestling experience. Later Stratus was the tomboy compared to Stacy Keibler.
  • The ChickBusters AJ Lee and Kaitlyn. The personalities were played with as although AJ is smaller and more frail, she is the Tomboy with an interest in comic books, action movies and cars. Kaitlyn is the big muscley girl who was presented as a clumsy ditz. Kaitlyn has described herself as the girl who was both Homecoming Queen and Class Clown.
    • On the NXT season the two of them were on, they were both the Tomboys along with Aksana (former body builder albeit with Amazonian Beauty) contrasted with former dancer Naomi, Ice Queen Maxine and former nurse and ring announcer Jamie Keyes.
  • The Bella Twins:
    • WWE has Nikki as the Tomboy to Brie's Girly Girl. Nikki was a soccer captain in school, played video games and is a Big Eater. Brie was a ballerina (though she also played soccer), is a lover of nature and animals (as well as being a vegan). Around 2013-ish, their ring gear and wrestling evoked this: Nikki wore a Tomboyish Baseball Cap and wrestled with more power moves. Brie wore ruffles on her tights and utilised Waif-Fu moves.
    • Oddly enough it's the other way around when they're not in ring gear. Brie is more likely to be shown in jeans and a t-shirt while Nikki dons cocktail dresses and high heels. Additionally Total Divas first presented Nikki as the Alpha Bitch to Brie's Granola Girl.
  • The brief alliance of Team BAE had Becky Lynch as the Tomboy to Sasha Banks's Girly Girl. Becky was a rocker who loved to head bang, while Sasha favoured outfits with lots of rhinestones on them. To a lesser extent, Becky Lynch is also the tomboy to best friend (or Arch-Enemy) Charlotte Flair's girly girl. The two are "The Man" and "The Queen" respectively. Their example is similar to AJ and Kailyn's above in that while Charlotte is big, tall and muscular (though Becky has a decent, well toned muscular physique in her own right, though she's not as big as Charlotte), Becky has the more tomboyish personality. Since her 2018 heel turn, Becky has been compared to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin with a rough and edgy attitude (even before the heel turn, Becky once did a re-enactment of Stone Cold's famous King of the Ring speech along with fellow male superstars) and wears shirts, dark pants and jeans. Charlotte, especially when heel, has an Alpha Bitch type of personality and often wears attires which sparkle and shine. Even before her heel turn, Becky was always the "lass kicker" who just enjoyed to fight and wasn't bothered about looking glamorous in front of the camera.
  • "The Punk-Rock Ragdoll" Heidi Lovelace and Princess Kimberlee/Kimber Lee. Heidi has worn Boyish Short Hair at times during her career. Kimberlee has long blue or even purple hair, along with her usual blonde. In Olde Wrestling in Ohio, they were repackaged as Heidi The Riveter and "Kickin'" Kimber Lee, a wrestling Flapper. Dori Elizabeth Prange (Heidi) was a rock climbing instructor in college, while Kimberly Frankele has a Ballet background and has worked as a ballet instructor away from wrestling. That said, Heidi (WWE's Ruby Riott) cleans up very nicely as seen in this post from her Instagram. Also, both of them are Pint Sized Powerhouses who have been able to throw around MEN who are much bigger than they are.

    Toys 

    Real Life 
  • Queen Elizabeth II was, in her youth, a Tomboy Princess who was trained as a mechanic during WWII. Her younger sister Princess Margaret was deeply invested in music and ballet in her lifetime.
  • Tennis rivals, and good friends, Martina Navratilova (Tomboy) and Chris Evert (Girly-Girl). The various contrasts between the two played a big role in cementing their rivalry in the public eye, even as the two have kept a close friendship throughout the years.
  • Alyson Michalka has claimed to be the Tomboy to best friend/costar Ashley Tisdale's Girly Girl.
  • When The Runaways were still a band, two of its members consisted of leather-donned, foul-mouthed Joan Jett and corset-wearing, sexy Cherie Currie.
  • Real-life best friends and co-stars of Charlie's Angels (2000) self-proclaimed tomboy Cameron Diaz and girly girl animal lover Drew Barrymore are this.
  • This dynamic applied to the Simpson sisters' respective musical (and fashion) styles. While Ashlee rocked out in sporty tees and runners, Jessica was pure pop in blouses and stilettos.
  • From the Aughts music scene, Vanessa Carlton and Michelle Branch, two pop singers of the anti-Britney wave of female musicians who often got mistaken for one another due to their similar looks. Vanessa was more baroque pop with her piano, wore skirts and had a breathier voice while Michelle Branch wore more black, did rock pop with her guitar, wore jeans and black outfits and tended to belt it more.
  • For the ladies of NewTens Country Music (who did "Somethin' Bad" together): Miranda Lambert, huntsman and carnivore; and Carrie Underwood, activist and vegetarian. Ditto for Anglo/Nordic vs. Greco-Latin/Mediterranean women. The first are encouraged to be very independent and career-oriented, while the latter are more expected to be traditionally feminine.
  • This trope is the most popular stereotype of lesbian relationships: the short-haired and gruff Butch Lesbian dating a beautiful high-femme Lipstick Lesbian.
  • Offstage, the actresses of Takarazuka Revue follow an unspoken rule of dressing/behaving in public according to their professionally-assigned gender. This is in effect until they have graduated from the Revue. Thus, otokoyaku (male role actresses) are the tomboys, and musumeyaku (female role actresses) are the girly girls.

Alternative Title(s): Girly Girl Tomboy, Girly Girl And Tomboy

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report