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Tomboyish Ponytail

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Action Hair for an Action Girl.
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Basically using a ponytail to visually distinguish women and girls who are Tomboys, Ladettes, or otherwise don't act in a "proper" feminine manner.

This is Truth in Television for many tomboys in Real Life, due to being an easy-to-do style that gets your hair out of the way. In fiction, odds are that if a girl is wearing a ponytail (save for one paired with an elegant hairstyle), she's not going to act demure or feminine, at least not all the time. Bonus points if she wears overalls or a tank top, or is a Rebellious Princess.

Back when girls just didn't have boy hair, no matter what, ponytails were a way for tomboys to rebel against the curls their mothers wished they'd worn. This was especially the case in '60s-'80s girl empowerment fiction.

Keep in mind that since not all tomboys wear ponytails, and not all "feminine" girls avoid ponytails, there isn't much point in listing aversions to this.

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Compare Slipknot Ponytail, Girlish Pigtails, Braids of Action, Boyish Short Hair, Sailor's Ponytail, Samurai Ponytail, Glasses and Ponytail Coverup.

Contrast Regal Ringlets, Ojou Ringlets, Long Hair Is Feminine, Prim and Proper Bun, Motherly Side Plait.


Examples

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    Fan Works 
  • Bait and Switch (STO): Captain Kanril Eleya wears her hair in a slightly messy ponytail, and notes in her narration that she could have never gotten away with wearing her hair that long when she was an enlisted woman. The ponytail keeps the hair out of her face, but it's not like there's much she can get it caught in on a starship's bridge.
  • Doing It Right This Time: Asuka starts wearing a ponytail when she decides to ditch her hairclips and try a new hairstyle. She's also masculine, brash, and she prefers fighting over stereotypically girlish hobbies.
  • As shown in her college flashbacks, Ragyo in Kill la Kill AU donned one of these, even when she was dressed in an evening gown, and, in said college days (besides being a Hard-Drinking Party Girl), she liked to get into fights. Her post-college flashbacks have her donning a Prim and Proper Bun, apparently, signalling her transition into maturity.
  • Once More with Feeling: Asuka wears a ponytail -from episode 11 onward-. She's loud, brash, hot-blooded, aggressive, loves fighting and isn't at all feminine.

    Films — Animated 
  • Belle from Beauty and the Beast, while not quite a tomboy, is one of the most strong-willed and intellectual of the Disney Princesses, and she's also one of only two (the other being Rebellious Princess Jasmine from Aladdin) to wear her hair in a ponytail on a regular basis; even when She Cleans Up Nicely, the ponytail does likewise.
  • In The Book of Life, Maria is the only female character to wear her hair this way, and she doesn't seem to be as ladylike as the other girls in town.
  • In a deviation from the comics, the version of Wonder Woman in the DC Animated Movie Universe has her hair in a ponytail, along with sidetails, though she does lose them for most of the later films. Intrepid reporter, Lois Lane, regularly sports one as well.
  • Fiona in Shrek keeps her hair in a braided ponytail. While she tries to (initially) be girly, her tomboyish personality is ultimately what causes Shrek to bond and fall in love with her.
  • Vanellope von Schweetz from Wreck-It Ralph has one, tied up with a piece of licorice, which shows her rough n' tumble attitude, despite the saccharine world she lives in.
  • Wyldstyle from The LEGO Movie has a small one on the top of her head.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Belle in Beauty and the Beast (2017) starts out with a ponytail just like her animated counterpart (though later in the film, she tends to wear her hair either down or in a bun instead), and is even more tomboyish than the animated version, being an inventor as well as a bookworm, wearing a scrappier, more action-oriented outfit at the beginning, and favoring simpler, less fancy clothes even at the Beast's castle.
  • The titular character of Calamity Jane sports a Tomboyish Ponytail throughout the entire movie.
  • In Mean Girls, ponytails are usually used to signify that a character is less concerned with her appearance. Cady wore her hair like this before she joined the Plastics, started wearing her hair down as she fell in with them, and went back to the occasional ponytail after her Heel Realization. The Plastics actually tell her that they have a rule about only wearing hair in a ponytail once a week. Janis, the goth/alternative outcast, always wears her hair back. All the Plastics wear their hair down throughout the film, but Regina starts sporting a ponytail as she gains weight and is forced to wear less glamorous clothing. She is also wearing a ponytail at the end of the film, where she is a lacrosse athlete and has a more down-to-earth wardrobe.
  • Laney of She's All That, to show how she's too weird to be pretty. Which got mercilessly mocked in Not Another Teen Movie.
  • Thor: Sif, a talented woman warrior, wears one whenever she's seen going into battle.
  • Sarah Connor wears one for the vast majority of Terminator 2: Judgment Day and is a resilient, brave Action Girl.

    Literature 
  • In Garth Williams' classic illustrations for Charlotte's Web, pig-loving farm girl Fern wears her hair in various ways from scene to scene, but her most common hairstyle (and allegedly E.B. White's favorite for her) is a ponytail. When she starts to "grow up" and care more about Henry Fussy than farm animals, she switches to braided Girlish Pigtails.
  • The spunky Action Girl Kate from The Mysterious Benedict Society has her blonde hair constantly tied in a ponytail. She is a very agile and energetic Circus Brat so the ponytail is likely for convenience. Also Jillson, a completely unfeminine adult, who ties her ponytail with wire.
  • Annabeth Chase from Percy Jackson and the Olympians regularly wears her hair in a ponytail to show she's an Action Smart Girl.

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    Roleplay 
  • Jemimah from Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues is a sporty, rough-and-tumble judoka with little concern for her personal appearance. To that end, she usually keeps her long hair tied up in a rough ponytail so it doesn't get in her way.

    Video Games 
  • Becca from Bio Lab Wars has her hair in a ponytail, and is one of the three mercenaries you can play.
  • Marle of Chrono Trigger.
  • Coco Bandicoot from Crash Bandicoot keeps her hair in a ponytail in every game except Crash of the Titans.
  • Dixie Kong. Like Shantae, the ponytail is used as a weapon. It is also Helicopter Hair.
  • Princess "Eva" Evangeline of the Kingdom of the Northern Reaches, poster girl for Dungeon Siege II, sports this look, as did her predecessor from the first game, officially known as Farm Girl.
  • Alexandra Roivas of Eternal Darkness.
  • Intrepid Izzy: Izzy has her hair done in a ponytail.
  • Zoe from Left 4 Dead, which also has the advantage of being easy to convincingly animate.
  • Sara Ryder, Mass Effect: Andromeda's female lead, is very tomboyish and wears a brunette ponytail as her default hairstyle.
  • Samus Aran of Metroid, the galaxy's greatest bounty hunter, often sports a long ponytail and has been mistaken for a man when in her Powered Armor.
  • Lip of Panel de Pon, also a Tomboy Princess, has a very large and thick ponytail tied back with a big pink ribbon. Her Attract Mode bio even describes her as being "a bit of a tomboy".
  • In Persona 3 Portable, the female protagonist's Chariot Social Link, Rio Iwasaki, is a dedicated athlete who sports a sensible ponytail.
  • Pokémon:
    • Hilda (Touko in the Japanese version), the female player character in Pokémon Black and White, has a huge, voluminous ponytail, complete with Hair Antennae. Her look gives off a convincing Tomboyish feel, and fan interpretation commonly presents her as One of the Boys/a Lad-ette.
      • Earlier generations had Misty (Kasumi in the Japanese version), referred to as "the tomboyish mermaid" on her Gym's signpost (and perhaps the most physically brutal in combat out of Kanto's female Gym Leaders), whose trademark hairstyle, as seen in Gens I and III and every adaptation in which she's appeared, is a short ponytail tied to the side.
  • Action Girl Claire Redfield of the Resident Evil series sports a ponytail and is even described as 'a bit of a tomboy' in the instruction manual for Resident Evil 2.
  • In Saints Row: The Third, Shaundi Took a Level in Badass from the previous game, and also traded her dreadlocks for a ponytail.
  • Shantae keeps her hair like this, since swinging it like a whip is her main method of attack.
  • Super Cloudbuilt: Demi has THREE ponytails, and is an Action Girl proficient in Le Parkour.
  • Target Acquired 2016: Yura is a police officer who has her hot pink hair in a ponytail.
  • Lara Croft from Tomb Raider may be the Trope Codifier for video games, especially 3D action/platformers. It's not only practical in-universe for the highly-physical nature of what she does in the games but flowing hair is still incredibly difficult to render in 3D, while a ponytail can be done with much simpler physics modeling.
  • Undyne from Undertale wears her red hair like this and is the Hot-Blooded Captain of the Royal Guard.
  • Puyo Puyo protagonist Arle Nadja, who outright hates the idea of acting ladylike as stated by her in Puyo Puyo Tetris, has her hair tied up into a ponytail in the back.
  • The Caligula Effect 2: The female protagonist wears her hair up in a high ponytail.

    Visual Novels 
  • Mion of Higurashi: When They Cry wears her hair in a long ponytail. Mion is boisterous, perverted, and usually exhibits little in terms of femininity. She calls herself an "old man" regularly and in one arc Keiichi decides against giving her a doll (and instead gives it to their more feminine, mutual friend Rena) because he deems her too boyish for one. In contrast, her more girly identical twin sister Shion wears her hair loose. Mion is actually a subversion. She's much more feminine than she pretends to be. Keiichi giving Rena the doll upset Mion so much she ended up sobbing to her sister, which unwittingly caused Shion to become a Serial Killer.
  • Jessica from Umineko: When They Cry has a short, wavy ponytail and is very tomboyish for the most part, especially with her masculine speech patterns. Like Mion, she also has a hidden feminine side, though it isn't as emphasized as much as with Mion.

    Web Original 
  • Widget of the Whateley Universe, who is a tomboy and inventor who usually wears a ponytail pulled through a bicycle cap. And a Whateley labcoat. Despite that, she has a bad crush on Thunderbird and wishes Chaka hadn't snatched up Thunderbird when he was (apparently) available.

    Western Animation 
  • Captain Leela of Futurama is a no-nonsense gal who's by far the toughest member of the main cast, and has the ponytail to match.
  • In The Legend of Korra, the eponymous Avatar Korra combines the ponytail with sidetails to show she is a Boisterous Bruiser Action Girl.
  • The Loud House: Lynn Loud Jr has an absurdly messy and unkempt ponytail, and is the Passionate Sports Girl and roughhousing Ladette of the siblings. Ronnie Anne and Luan have these as well, though they are a lot neater and more well kept, while Ronnie Anne is plenty tomboyish, Luan is barely unfeminine enough to quality as a tomboy.
  • Applejack, a rough and tumble farmgirl from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, with a tomboyish streak a mile wide, to the point that she competes in events like racing and gate jumping, and gets dirty in her job all the time, has her mane and tail tied up in ponytails.

Alternative Title(s): Tomboy Ponytail

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