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Youthful Freckles

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Freckles are associated with being young and given to both children and teens to emphasize their age. It can also be used to brand a younger person as a misfit, perhaps because it's a easily visible mark that other children can make fun of.

Freckles are caused by exposure to sunlight, especially on those with fair skin. The propensity to freckle is determined by genetics. Redheads are genetically associated with both fair skin and freckles, although Hollywood tends to overemphasize the connection, similar to Significant Green-Eyed Redhead.

Because freckles are caused by sunlight exposure they are associated with those who run around outside all the time, symbolizing youthful energy (in both positive and negative forms). Freckles can be used to symbolize youthful innocence as well. They can also be a sign of poverty, as poor children are more likely to be Free-Range Children.

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Aside from the association with red hair, different hair colors combined with freckles can indicate something about the character:

Black hair and freckles: This character may be East Asian with a touch of But Not Too Foreign.

Brown hair and freckles: Such characters are often Hollywood Homely, especially nerds. But it can be found on the Girl Next Door and adorkable characters as well.

Blonde hair and freckles: Common on the Bratty Half-Pint, and somewhat of the Phenotype Stereotype of American southerners.

Some archetypes commonly given freckles include:

Girls with freckles have some additional associations, as freckles tend to be associated with girlish innocence. They are a fetish to some people.

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Compare to Childish Tooth Gap, another design trait used to showcase a character's youth.


Examples

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    Advertising 
  • This 2018 Apple "Share Your Gifts" ad featuring Billie Eilish's "Come Out and Play", features a young Shrinking Violet lady with black hair and freckles who keeps her drawings in an art storage box. When a winter wind blows her drawings to the street, she goes out to recover them, with some of the people in the crowd picking up and looking at some pieces of her art, and liking them so much they come up to her, encouraging her to not be afraid to express her creative talents.

    Anime & Manga 
  • From Anpanman, Yakisobapanman's younger sister, Yakisobakasu. Her name's actually a pun on yakisoba (like her brother, her head is made out of yakisobapan, a bun filled with yakisoba, so the noodles act as their hair), and of sobakasu, which means "freckle".
  • Several characters in Attack on Titan have them.
    • Marco Bott is the brown-haired, adorkable variant.
    • Ymir has the black-haired variant, which works since she has Titan powers and is from a completely different culture/group than the rest of the cast.
    • Hannah is the standard red-haired variety.
    • Ilse Lagner had them, which is significant since she was an Identical Stranger to Ymir. It confuses a Titan she encounters, and allows her to leave vital information behind in her Apocalyptic Log.
  • Max from Bakuten Shoot Beyblade is one of the youngest characters and is freckled.
  • Outside of Decode, Tsutomu Senkawa from Birdy the Mighty.
  • Candy from Candy Candy. Tomboy? Check. Girlish Pigtails? Check. Plucky Girl? Check!
  • Santi from Kujira no Josephina, is a pre-teen boy who has freckles on his face and the series is his Coming-of-Age Story.
  • Though an older teen instead of a child, Laughing Under the Clouds's Takeda has some freckles, is the youngest in the Yamainu and is more inexperienced and hotheaded than the other members.
  • Ja'far and Koumei in Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic have them. Coincidentally, they are Beleaguered Assistants to two of the most powerful men in the world.
  • Lolo Endive of Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force, a brown-haired Genki Girl with Girlish Pigtails.
  • One Piece:
    • Ace has these; odd given that he's in his twenties and a great deal less childish than his brother Luffy. His backstory though makes it pretty clear that he fell under the Bratty Half-Pint category.
    • His mother also had these, and she clearly fell into Plucky Girl territory.
    • Charlotte Linlin, better known as Big Mom, is depicted with freckles when she was a cheerful five-year old.
    • A non-canon example: Amanda from the second TV special has freckles, as does Toma, the kindhearted teenage Marine swordsman from the fifth movie.
  • Ahiru from Princess Tutu.
  • Sasami from Tenchi Muyo! has these, but they tend to appear and disappear depending on the scene/series/incarnation/frame of animation.
  • Makoto Ariga from Wandering Son has freckles. She dislikes them, thinking they make her look less cute. Her energetic mother also has freckles.
  • Rebecca from Yu-Gi-Oh! has freckles, and also has Girlish Pigtails in Season One and Season Five.
  • Izuku Midoriya, the protagonist of My Hero Academia, has a cluster of freckles on each check just under his eye, which reflects his youthful idealism in the face of the many trials and tribulations he endured to achieve his dream of becoming a superhero.

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • West of the Kingdom Hearts fic Reconnected has of the "brown hair and freckles" variety, serving as both a Genki Girl and Cute Clumsy Girl.
  • In From Muddy Waters, All For One of all people is said to have these. This is what unnerves All Might, Gran Torino, and Sir Nighteye when they see Izuku, who is said to be the spitting image of his father, complete with curly hair and Quirk.
  • The Royal Sketchbook depicts Luna as having been dappled as a foal. Eventually her spots went away, aside from her blotchy Cutie Mark. This gives off the impression of freckles.
  • When two recent graduates of the Guild of Assassins School go backpacking across the Discworld's equivalent of the African continent, a Running Gag is that whichever culture or country they are in, the vividly red-haired one gets a nickname in the local language that translates to something like {{Oh, her? Ginger-With-Freckles}}. When she finally reaches her own native country after nearly eighteen months of travelling and is conscripted into her nation's army for her National Service, her Army nickname is Sproetjie - "Freckles". Read more in "Gap Year Adventures" by A.A. Pessimal.

    Films — Animation 
  • Young Ellie from Pixar's Up is a Tomboy Girl Next Door.
  • Rapunzel from Tangled.
  • Dash Parr from The Incredibles is a 10 year old boy with freckles which are even more noticeable in the sequel.
  • Princess Mérida from Brave.
  • Coraline has freckles and is also a Plucky Girl/Tomboy.
  • In an unusually literal example, Odette in The Swan Princess had freckles, for just one summer while she was a tomboy. Once she grew into a more elegant, feminine woman the freckles were gone again.
  • Frozen:
    • 18-year old Princess Anna has freckles to go with her spunky, youthful persona.
    • Queen Elsa shares her sister's freckles, but in her case they're very light and hard-to-notice. Her freckles symbolize her youth (only becoming queen at 21 after the death of her parents at 18).
  • In Meet the Robinsons, Lewis has some faint ones. His older self, Cornelius does too, but even in close shots of his face they're hard to notice.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Natalya Rudakova in Transporter 3, playing the kidnapped daughter Frank is forced to drive around with him. She certainly proves troublesome until they warm up to each other.
  • Elizabeth Swann in Pirates of the Caribbean had lots of freckles as a child (as seen in a flashback in the first film), and none as an adult.

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Howdy Doody's titular character is a red-haired, freckle-faced marionette, who started out with 48 freckles for each of the United States, which was later increased to 49 and 50 when Alaska and Hawaii joined the Union.
  • Punky Brewster is a Tomboy with brown hair and Girlish Pigtails.
  • Alo from Skins series 5 is a boy type #1.
  • Harriet on Small Wonder.
  • Maeby Funke in Arrested Development, definitely very adventurous/rebellious and something of a tomboy.
  • Dean Winchester in Supernatural possesses freckles, which become less obvious after the first couple of seasons. In the episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One" (S02, Ep21), the Acheri demon, who poses as a child, also has freckles.
  • Bellamy Blake in The 100 has freckles, despite being the oldest of the 100 sent to Earth.
  • Luke Ross from Jessie. Despite being the second oldest of the Ross kids, he's not the most mature.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Inverted with Nikki Roxx, who was very pale in her youth and referred to as "La Gringa" while wrestling for LLF in Monterrey. She got more freckles as she aged, likely due to Arena Femenil being an outdoor venue. The Hollywood Homely aspect was used in TNA when she dyed her hair brown and became a target of The Beautiful People, though given she was the baby face in the feud it might have also been a subversion.

    Toys 

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • Yuuko Shirakawa of Katawa Shoujo, a college student who works part-time as a librarian and waitress and isn't much older than Hisao or his classmates, has them. The same applies for one nameless girl in Lilly's route who is said to be an underclassman, the only student not in third year apart from the April Fool's Day character Rika.
  • In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Junko Enoshima has a light dusting of freckles over her nose, which she tells Naegi is one of the things that gets airbrushed out of her glamour shots. It's a plot point, actually: the girl who presents herself as Junko and has freckles is not Junko, but her twin sister and decoy Mukuro Ikusaba. The real Junko, the Big Bad behind the evil Monokuma, has no freckles.

    Web Animation 
  • Toothy from Happy Tree Friends, with a Butt-Monkey trait to match.
  • RWBY has Oscar, a young Farm Boy who has freckles dusting his face. This is used to show how young he is, but still having to take on the burden of being the show's former Big Good's Legacy Character, even though he is yet to be clarified about what he is facing and why is he facing it.

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 


Alternative Title(s): Red Hair And Freckles

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