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Tomboyish Ponytail

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Action Hair for an Action Girl.

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 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. At least this was 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.

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.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Sango in InuYasha has her long hair bound in a ponytail when she's in her battle-garb. Otherwise she has it tied at the end with a ribbon.
  • Signum of Lyrical Nanoha, a stoic Magic Knight and generally one of the least feminine women on the show.
  • Presea from Magic Knight Rayearth. Also, tomboys Tarta and Hikaru have their hair in a braid. Contrast to the girlier girls Emeraude, Alcyone, Tatra, and Umi, who wear their hair down. Caldina, Fuu, and Aska are harder to classify, since they have both tomboy and girly girl traits, but all wear different hairstyles.
  • Makoto, aka Sailor Jupiter, of Sailor Moon has a long ponytail, and she's the brawler in the group. Particularly in her earlier appearances, she also sometimes sported a Tomboyish Baseball Cap to match.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Tomboyish Action Girl Pikachu in Rocket Member keeps her hair in a ponytail.

    Films — Animated 
  • 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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • The titular character of Calamity Jane sports a Tomboyish Ponytail throughout the entire movie.
  • Belle in Beauty and the Beast (2017) starts out with a ponytail just like her animated counterpart (though later in the film she tends 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.

  • Annabeth Chase regularly wears her hair in a ponytail to show she's an Action Smart Girl .
  • 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.
  • 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.


    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Saints Row: The Third, Shaundi Took a Level in Badass from the previous game, and also traded her dreadlocks for a ponytail.
  • Sara Ryder, Mass Effect: Andromeda's female lead, is very tomboyish and wears a brunette ponytail as her default hairstyle.
  • In Persona 3 Portable, the female protagonist's Chariot Social Link, Rio Iwasaki, is a dedicated athlete who sports a sensible ponytail.
  • Undyne from Undertale wears her red hair like this and is the Hot-Blooded Captain of the Royal Guard.

    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 fact, she's the page image!
  • 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