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Tomboy and Girly Girl

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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 Heart or the Team Mom. 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 (e.g., part of a team), they might initially dislike or confuse each other with their ways, until the inevitable Girl's 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.

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).

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. Tender Tomboyishness, Foul Femininity is another subtrope where the tomboy is nice while the girly girl is mean.

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: although if the tropes are used together then the Dark half is usually the tomboy and the Light half is the girl girl), 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.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • The Burger King Kids Club Gang: 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.

    Asian Animation 

    Comic Strips 
  • In Dennis the Menace Gina usually wears jeans and sneakers and plays sports with the boys. Margaret wears a flouncy skirt and pushes a doll in a baby carriage. Dennis, who makes a big deal about his own butchness, is more comfortable with the former.

    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.

Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation: Mo Dao Zu Shi / The Untamed

  • An Acceptable Arrangement has this dynamic between Nie Hongshan's two wives, Hou Yue and Sun Qiu. The former is demure, more traditionally feminine, and loves sewing and walks in her garden. The latter's favorite pastime is archery and she bitterly misses Night Hunts when she can't go on them. Hou Yue is still said to have gone on Night Hunts, however.

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.


  • 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.
  • Khaos Omega turns several canon tomboys into girly girls, famously including Galaxy Angel II's Anise Azeat. This is largely because Khaos has preferences for long hair and high heels, two things usually seen on the girly girl.
  • Several pairs in The Night Unfurls have this dynamic:
  • 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.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail:
    • Of the Red Lotus Quarto, we have girly-girl Chloe Cerise with her dresses and flowing red hair in comparison to the pantsuit stoic Amelia Hughes.
    • Chloe is again the girly girl to the pants and sneakers wearing Grace Monroe.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Iggy Azalea has served as the tomboy to the girly girls of Charli XCX , Ariana Grande , Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears in “Fancy”, “Problem”, “Booty” and “Pretty Girls” respectively.
  • "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 wasthe tomboy and Stevie Nicks was the girly girl. McVie admitted 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 A.J. 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. Speaking of which, Becky has played the tomboy to quite a few other more feminine wrestlers over time.
    • 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.
    • Then there was her feud with Lacey Evans with Evans acting as the "lady" to her "man". With Becky's aggressive persona looking to be ground-breaking in the women's division and Lacey's Southern Belle-cum-Alpha Bitch persona that appears to be a throwback to The '40s and '50s, they couldn't foil each other better if they tried. Even better is how this dynamic is fully lampshaded between the two, with Lacey arguing that her mission is to bring "class" back to the women's division that Becky is ruining by being a bad example for young girls and even making barbs about Becky being a "typical man".
    • Becky Lynch can also be considered the tomboy to Sonya Deville's girly girl. The interesting thing here is that they both started out as tomboys, and despite the two not having that much to do with each other on-screen, Sonya has made an effort to copy Becky's masculine persona to get herself over (they each refer to themselves as "The Man" and "Daddy Deville" respectively, at least as far as social media is concerned). But ironically, Sonya has been undergoing a gradual on-screen Girliness Upgrade over time (compare when she made her debut to her recent dominatrix look, for example), in contrast to Becky's Tomboyness Upgrade since her earlier years.
    • However, earlier when she was paired up with Mandy Rose, Sonya herself was very much the tomboy to Mandy's girly girl, with Sonya as the tough one who had an MMA background and Mandy as the hot and sexy one.
  • "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.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Season 2 of Roland Rat The Series introduced Roxanne Rat, an assertive and ambitious career woman who was after Roland's job, in contrast to Glenis the Guinea Pig, who is pampered and unworldly due to growing up in Harrods' pet department.


    Web Animation 
  • DSBT InsaniT: BFFs Portica the Tomboy, and Kayla the Girly Girl.
    • Portica is sassy, tough, and has low tolerance for stupidity.
    • Kayla is super-cheerful, will react extremely to things she finds gross, and sometimes talks like a valley girl.
  • ETU - Animated Stories: Toni is a tomboy who grew up on a farm with her tomboy grandmother, in contrast to her sisters and mother. They aren't very accepting of it.
  • hololive:
    • The majestic, lovey-dovey phoenix, Takanashi Kiara, and the introverted, tomboyish shinigami, Mori Calliope certainly qualify (although Calliope mentioned she dislikes the term "tomboy" as a whole), highlighted in part both to their personalities and their music. While Kiara's first solo song is an idol ballad about how she'll never give up, Calli's is a crass rap song that pulls no punches when it comes to explaining her job. It's no wonder why they're constantly paired up and shipped by the audience and fellow members of Hololive. Opposites attract, much?
    • As far as Hololive EN goes, Callie and Amelia (A First-Person Shooter expert with a crude sense of humor and a tendency to get mad at hard games) are the tomboys, Kiara and Ina (a soft spoken artist described as 'girly' by her own character description) are girly girls, and Gura is somewhere in the middle.
    • Hololive GAMERS has the laid-back prankster Okayu and the clingy, cutesy Genki Girl Korone. They are best friends who joined hololive together and are widely shipped by fans similarly to Callie and Kiara above.
  • Kitty and Paula have this dynamic in No Evil. Kitty is a slender Southern Belle who loves textile work, keeps a garden, and is the Team Mom, while Paula is a huge, friendly Action Girl from a family of lumberjacks. Despite their differences, there's little doubt that they're extremely close, to the point where a significant chunk of the fanbase is pretty sure they're an item.
  • RWBY: Ruby Rose is the tomboy to Weiss Schnee's girly girl. This applies to Yang Xiao Long and Blake Belladonna, respectively.

    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.
  • Demi Lovato (Tomboy) and Ariana Grande (Girly Girl).
  • 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.


Video Example(s):

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


Flora & Fauna

Flora is the gentle and feminine sister, Fauna is the brash and tough sister.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / TomboyAndGirlyGirl

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