Follow TV Tropes


Viewer Gender Confusion / Webcomics

Go To

  • Kano from Kagerou confused readers in the beginning. We could tell his gender based on his colorful clothes, but as the comic went on, we were all sure he was a guy.
  • Tristan from Angel Moxie, due to her Tomboyish Name and pretty masculine hair cut. (Also, even though she does wear a skirt on her first appearance, with the art style it can easily be confused with a pair of shorts.) This might be why Dan Hess decided to give her feminine makeup and longer hair later on.
  • Advertisement:
  • Most of the animals in Ursula Vernon's Digger, including the main character, have no Tertiary Sexual Characteristics the way most furry characters would. This, combined with absolutely no one bar the hyenas having gender issues, leads a lot of first-time readers to assume Digger is male until someone lets slip a third person pronoun.
  • During the infamous Schedule Slip of Avalon, a debate built up on the forums as to whom Ceilidh would end up with. The most popular answers were "no one" and "Phoebe", with Joe (whom she had already dated) a close third. One forumite, however, found the latter two unlikely and the foremost cruel, so he put his chips down for the yearbook committee chair, Pasquale...not realizing "he" was every bit as female as Phoebe, with less sexual ambiguity. (By the way, answer: Phoebe.)
  • Advertisement:
  • Housepets! invoked this intentionally with Grape, setting up for an early gender reveal. The confusion of the readers was shared by Peanut and Max.
  • The Order of the Stick:
  • Girl Genius:
    • During her first appearance, the female jäger Jenka's gender was more ambiguous — most notably her Breast Plate was much less pronounced and she was less attractive than the recently-introduced Bishōnen jäger Maxim. Later it became more obvious.
    • There's also Bifauxnen Grantz, Baron Wulfenbach's monster hunter. Honestly, if you don't pay attention to the pronouns used, it's quite easy to mistake her for a hulking guy. Even with the pronouns, confusion can happen — at one point Gil refers to Grantz as "he".
  • Advertisement:
  • When Aylee first appeared in Sluggy Freelance, she had no visible gender and was even referred to as "it" by other characters. Since her species reproduces face-hugger style, it seemed reasonable to assume they didn't have males and females. However, once she started working as Torg's secretary, everyone started referring to her as a "she" (though whether she was actually biologically female or just self-identified as such is unclear). Most of the forms she's taken have also had no discernible sex characteristics, creating the potential for this trope at many different points in the series. Her current form, however, closely resembles a human female, even down to the "naughty parts".
  • Skin Horse:
    • Similar to Digger — Sweetheart, being a female, (mostly) non-anthropomorphized dog (one who's a genetically-altered, talking killing machine)
    • In the first few strips, Tip himself qualifies, until it's made pretty clear that he's male.
  • HERO. Yes, that's a dude. And Ganymar. And pretty much anyone not wearing a dress or with visible breasts.
  • Ghastly's Ghastly Comic has this one-off Shota vs Loli comic, but since the people in the forums were debating who was Shota and who was Loli, Ghastly addressed their concerns in the way he likes best.
  • Something*Positive provides an amusing in-story example (poor Jhim).
    Mannish woman: Uh, I know men like to look at breasts and all, but could you stop staring? Mine aren't even that big.
    Jhim: They're larger than what I'm used to.
  • Abel and Mink from Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures. Both male, for the record... at least we think Mink is male, since he doesn't wear a shirt and is flat-chested. Amber's drawing style tends to make male characters look a bit feminine, and it doesn't help that both Abel and Mink habitually wear skirts. Mink's effeminacy may be deliberate, however, since he is laden with feminine Tertiary Sexual Characteristics (long hair, pink and purple colour scheme, long eyelashes, jewelry, skirt).

    Mink's Color Scheme is stated to be a clan quirk. All members of his clan are pastel colored in their natural forms regardless of gender. Cubi are also shapeshifters which complicates guessing. Mink also has rather girly mannerisms. Look at him playing with his head tentacles in this comic, for instance. Also, nobody in the comic has used a third-person pronoun to refer to Mink. Mink doesn't even know what gender they are — Link
  • Awkward Zombie:
    • The Author Avatar can be rather... confusing at first. Skinny and flat, wears a baseball cap, and, when representing characters with Purely Aesthetic Gender, is usually drawn in the male character's outfit. Long-haired, yes, but that's about it as far as visual femininity. Looking closely at the copyright signature on the sidebar, however, should clear things up — given that not many men are named "Katie". The author is just a Gamer Chick. However her avatar later got short-haired, which will probably cause more confusion down the line.
    • Played with regarding her boyfriend Norrin, who is usually depicted in a masculine version of the girl's clothing but hardly ambiguous due to his Perma-Stubble.
  • The Adventures of Wiglaf and Mordred:
    • Wiglaf. See the first comic for example. Although as the comic progresses he becomes more clearly male.
    • And Driver. Even Wiglaf couldn't tell she was, in fact, a girl when they first met. Mordred cleared that up. In fact, the page even shares it's name with this trope. [1] Driver however could easily tell that Wiglaf was male. Also, word-of-god has stated that she does have a very masculine voice, adding to people's confusion.
  • First Folio from Terror Island, who is explicitly revealed to be a girl only on the cast page. Especially since all the characters are played by genderless board game pieces. The only hint she's a girl is that Sid and Stephen propose feminine names for her, but since they're both Cloudcuckoolanders, it's easy to miss.
  • Soli from The Meek has caused at least one case of gender confusion in-universe, and many more out-of. Unlike the characters, however, the readers should know Soli's gender after a quick trip to the cast page. Readers asking whether Soli is a man or a woman has actually become something of a sorespot for the author, eventually causing them to put their foot down.
  • Last Res0rt gets this more than it should ( you really think all the boobs would help) — folks repeatedly think Jigsaw and Veled are male, at least until they get a load of Jigsaw in that dress. Word of God blames it on a "feminist" art style that doesn't go straight for the high heels, Stripperific outfits and Gag Boobs like most comic books do. (She is, however, starting to give the girls some serious eyelashes to help make up for it.)
  • The gender of the Author Avatar main character in Chaos Life confused some viewers until an FAQ section clarified that they are agender and don't identify as male or female.
  • Scandinavia and the World:
    • In universe example with Sister Denmark. In some strips, the readers have also initially mistaken her for her brother.
    • Also, people aren't entirely clear on Ireland.
    • Also Sister Denmark's nephew Christiania was thought to be a girl by a lot of people. It's even discussed in this strip.
  • The cat from Living with Insanity is female, but it's hard to tell since Salvi draws it in a mangy style, to the point where when it was revealed she loved a tom before the strip began, a few fans thought she was gay until Word of God cleared it up.
  • In the introductory comic of El Goonish Shive, Elliot states that yes, Tedd is a guy. People were left guessing at Noah for a while.
    • Still occasionally happens to Tedd, since he sometimes switches genders without fanfare. This has lead to an in-comic (though non-continuity) rant.
    • Even Grace (Tedd's girlfriend, who has seen a lot of him in both male and female forms) can't tell the difference, and in this comic she needs to feel him to make sure he's transformed back into male.
    • Eventually Tedd was revealed to be genderfluid, and develops the ability to switch between male and female.
  • Happens in-universe in Prophecy of the Circle when Shan'rekk is referred to with male pronouns by members of a different species, but is later revealed to be female in a Perspective Flipped chapter.
  • Happened in Homestuck:
    • To the Peregrine Mendicant at first. She was intended to be a guy at the start, but then a few people wondered if she was actually a girl. Hussie saw the theories and basically went "Well sure, why not?" He then officially made PM a girl. Most new readers still assume she's male until they get to the part where she's referred to as a "Miss".
    • Also to Kanaya Maryam (grimAuxiliatrix), as nobody saw what she looked like at first, we only had her text to go by. Some people still thought she was a very girly guy even after seeing what she looks like.
    • Newbies to the comic have confused Terezi Pyrope for a guy, partly because her normal sprite doesn't look all that feminine. Bonus points in this case since her name comes from Tiresias.
  • The Property of Hate took a Word of God to confirm that the protagonist was indeed a girl.
  • Todd Allison & the Petunia Violet's author has had to state countless times that Long-Haired Pretty Boy Meredith is indeed male.
  • Kid Katydid from The Bug Pond is often mistaken for a male by first time readers.
    • In some cases, Eldwin is confused for female.
  • The author of The Order of the Black Dog is getting a bit tired of telling readers that Sedjet (the slim, long-haired fennec who likes men) is a guy.
  • Several readers of Savestate have mistaken Nicole for a male because of her tomboyish attitude and barely noticeable breasts...despite the name and the character sheet stating she's Kade's sister. It has happened so often that the author eventually lampshaded it in a strip to clear things up.
  • Several in Stand Still, Stay Silent. A lot of this is due to the characters always wearing rather bulky clothing, making secondary sexual attributes hard to spot. To wit:
    • Braidy, the feminine-looking person with the long bright-red braided hair, is a guy named Reynir.
    • The extremely gung-ho captain with short, red hair is a woman named Sigrun.
    • Tuuri is a slightly heavyset woman in her early twenties, not a chubby ten-year-old boy.
    • One of or the three recurring pre-pubescent children is a long-haired boy.
  • Created intentionally for Blaise Zabini in the Harry Potter fan comic Voldemort's Children: Word of God states that Blaise has a gender identity that is obvious to the other characters, but it is not revealed to the readers.
  • Konami from Consolers is female, but has been mistaken for a guy by quite a few readers. Valve has also gotten this occasionally.
  • Invoked and played with in The Bedfellows; when new viewers had trouble guessing Fatigue's gender, the creators decided to roll with the idea and have Fatigue's gender be undecided. People refer to Fatigue as a man or woman, Fatigue has a tampon in his purse, Fatigue appears to be peeing standing up in one episode when he's really pouring spoiled milk down a toilet...
  • Lame Selfie Bee is female, or at least based on situations that are relatable to women and girls. Her design doesn't have any Tertiary Sexual Characteristics and she's treated as a 'neutral' This Loser Is You in a way female characters usually aren't, so some readers might be in for a shock in the comics which show her shaving her legs for a miniskirt or putting on her makeup wrong.
  • The titular protagonist from Dum Cat is female, via Word of God, though has previously been much speculation due to the animal's gender-neutral appearance and lack of pronouns.
  • Almost every character in The Wretched Ones has the audience guessing their gender.
  • Sock from Welcome to Hell is a young, androgynous looking character who wears a skirt and has a unisex name. He however is a boy. It's made more confusing by the fact he's voiced by a girl in the animated short.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: