Golden Thigh Ratio
The "Golden Thigh Ratio" (known as "zettai ryouiki", or "absolute territory" in Japan) describes the area of uncovered thigh between the skirt and the stockings that's apparently a total magnet for Male Gaze. Why? Who knows.
This trope is amazingly common in Japanese cartoons, and may have started as a way to emphasizes a shorter skirt without actually becoming creepy and showing the underpants. To be clear, the Golden Thigh Ratio has three separate components: the socks, the skin, and the skirt. An Action Girl may trade shorts or hotpants for the skirt, but if it doesn't include thigh-high socks and visible skin, its not the Golden Thigh Ratio.
Just to make it clear, Zettai Ryouiki is made up of three components: socks, skin, and skirt. An ActionGirl may trade the latter for hotpants but if it doesn't include thigh-highs and visible skin, it's not Zettai Ryouiki. PantyShot is an entirely different zone. See also SexySchoolwoman (who is usually showing a lot more leg than this) and Joshikousei.
Since this area is usually considered incredibly sensual without revealing the "naughty bits", it symbolizes the budding, innocent sexuality of The Ingenue,who is already aware of her attractiveness but not (yet) cynical enough to put it to use as a weapon (which is why many a Hostile Love wears this style). And that's Tooth-Achingly Cute. And Serious Business. Of course, as with any symbols, Genre Savvy characters can invoke it on purpose even if far from the described archetype themselves.
The appeal of the Golden Thigh Ratio is part of a more universal appeal of half-hidden beauty (also exemplified in such classics as a half-unbuttoned shirt, a semi-transparent laced dress, and so on). A revealing glimpse combined with a conservative cover-up of the other captivating parts is a classical bait for the curiousness and a powerful incentive for fantasy, which, applied to a girl, inevitably turns into attraction or, in more extreme cases, lust.
"Zettai Ryouiki" is currently the most popular fetish in Japan, besides breasts. (Or at least the one most people will admit to.) They are also a very popular fashion item with girls and young women in Japan, so the occurrence of the Golden Thigh Ratio can be regarded Truth In Television.
See also Stocking Filler (for stockings without the skirts), Mini-Dress of Power, Who Wears Short Shorts, and She's Got Legs. Compare with Opera Gloves, which correspond closely to this trope except that it involves the arms and gloves of various lengths (elbow-length and longer).
Special Note: This trope also covers knee/thigh-high boots as well as socks. In fact, if you believe The Other Wiki, this trope is the whole reason why go-go boots, and all of their successors in years since, were made.
- CodeLyoko: Yumi Ishiyama in the first episode.
- Starfire from Teen Titans. She's got thigh-high boots and a skin-tight skirt, which is probably the main factor behind Robin's attraction to her.
- Sheila from the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon gives us the thigh-high boots with short tunic variant.
- Yori in Kim Possible.
- In Legion of Super-Heroes, this can be seen in the costumes worn by Triplicate Girl, Triplicate Girl, and Triplicate Girl.
- Scooby Doo: Velma Dinkley's trademark outfit qualifies.
- Stacy from Phineas and Ferb. Also Candace and the Fireside Girls.
- Princess Mandie on The Fairly Oddparents. Her boots come up to mid-calf, then straps wrap around her legs up to her knees.
- Gargoyles Elisa Maza briefly sported this look when she went undercover as "Salli".
- The Simpsons Lisa in "Lisa Simpson, This Isn't Your Life".
- In Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season Three, Ahsoka has a vision of a potential future version of herself that's supporting this look.
- This is quite common in Ecchi and Hentai. Note that, in fully X-rated works, it is also very frequent for women to keep the thigh-high socks even while otherwise naked.
- Rin Tohsaka in Fate Stay Night. Let's see... 57 cm stockings: check. Double pigtail: check. Tsundere]: check.
- Kallen Stadtfeld in her school uniform from Code Geass, not to mention her Custom Uniform. She is also credited with popularizing the hotpants + socks variety of Zettai Ryouiki.
- Featured in the opening of Lucky Star.
- Kyou (and Ryou, although after a while she stops wearing them) in Clannad -- even when playing basketball. Kyou's power is truly without limit.
- Nanoha and Fate's basic Barrier Jackets in the third season of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S seem to have been designed with this in mind.
- Alice in ARIA since its part of her school uniform, making her of the very few main characters who wears something else aside from her undine outfit.
- Mahou Sensei Negima Considering that Ken Akamatsu has written about Moe on his blog, this is certainly intentional, and shows up quite often.
- Flay Allster and Miriallia Haww in Gundam SEED, since this is a part of their military cadet uniform. When Lunamaria "Luna" Hawke became a redcoat in ZAFT and asked for a customized uniform with a pink miniskirt, she also added long black socks to it.
- Shino in .hack//Roots and her Expy Atoli in the G.U. games.
- Frequently, Nico Robin of One Piece, if thigh-high boots count.
- Yoko from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann goes the hotpants route (which Kamina gets a good long look at). She later switches out the socks for boots of about the same length. But this is done very specifically: it emphasizes her butt instead of her legs, like a skirt would.
- Rosette from Chrono Crusade has thigh-high stockings and slits up to nearly her waist in her militia uniform, making it a variation of this trope.
- Seras Victoria from Hellsing, both anime and manga.
- Kaolla Suu from Love Hina seems to wear this quite a bit in the manga.
- Faye Valentine from Cowboy Bebop, though with hot pants and not a skirt.
- From 2007 onwards it was a requisite that at least one team member in a PrettyCure continuity had this.
- Most people don't notice but Macross Frontier actually has a lot of this. Nanase wears the traditonal variant with her school uniform, Ranka Lee has it with one of her stage outfits and Sheryl wears both the traditional and hot pants versions as well as a tantalizingly Stripperiffic, one-legged version.
- Ran Mouri/Rachel Moore from Case Closed/Detective Conan sports the look from time to time.
- Bleach The Arrancar Loly uses the boots plus miniskirt version
- Ryuuko Kounuma from Wolfen Crest is seen wearing a one legged version. Sadly, it's mixed with Fan Disservice as she's tied up to invoke Distressed Damsel as a part of Haguro's plan.]]
- Maria from the Witchblade anime gets these after her personality changes.
- The title character in Sailor Moon.
- Raf from Angel's Friends wears this style. Did we mention that she is 12?
- Appears many times during Empowered -- as part of Emp's Sexy Librarian Costume Inertia.
- One of Legionnaire Kinetix's costume's sported this look. However, given her penchant for changing costumes, it didn't last.
- Cyclone from the Justice Society of America. The fact that she displays so little in the way of skin compared to other superheroines arguably just makes her more attractive.
- Hack Slash: Cassie Hack, on occasion.
- Although Supergirl's boots usually don't go above the knee, one of her costumes during the seventies did in fact combine thigh-highs with a mini-dress. Curiously, the costume sprung up from a combination of designs from two different female fans.
- Undead girl Talia from Brody's Ghost sports the thigh-highs/mini-skirt combo as part of her Jacob Marley Apparel.
- Envy Adams in Scott Pilgrim. She loves gogo boots and short skirts.
- Bizarrely enough, Darkseid's normal outfit has this, but it goes up and down depending on the artist. Because this trope is associated with females, many artists have tried to update Darkseid's outfit to have pants of some kind instead of a skirt, but because of Grandfather Clause, Jack Kirby's original skirted design keeps coming back. Notably, the DCAU tries to avert this trope by giving him leggings at least to avoid the bare legs while maintaining the classic look, but even then it sort of comes across as forced.
- If you think of it as a tunic and armored greaves with kneepads it looks slightly less like the mighty evil overlord is trying to dress like a sexy lady, but since Granny Goodness is sort of rocking the opposite androgyny...
- Rose Walker of The Sandman wore them for a fairly lengthy sequence in The Kindly Ones.
- Stephanie "Batgirl" Brown wears this when infiltrating the Academy of Evil that is St. Hadrian's Finishing School for Girls in [[Batman|Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes. Several of the other students also wear their uniforms this way.
- This Fanpic, from a series reimagining the characters of Order of the Stick in manga style, gives Tsukiko a Golden Thigh Ratio.
- Felicity Shagwell from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.
- Gogo Yubari from Kill Bill.
- The eponymous DD.E.B.S. wear outfits like this.
- Shilo's outfits in Repo: The Genetic Opera.
- Just about every girl in St. Trinian's, most notably Chelsea and Annabelle. Annabelle also adds garter belts and fishnets on any uncovered thigh area. Even Tara and Tania, which is slightly disturbing given the fact they're two 10-year-old pyromaniacs.
- Not involving a skirt, but Trillian's outfit in The Movie of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, in her first main story appearance, has this as one of about a dozen things contributing to her overall sexiness. The socks are argyle, too!
- The thigh-high/mini-skirt combo was seen in many of the outfits worn by the girls in Clueless.
- In the first Scary Movie, Buffy has this as part of what appears to be a naughty schoolgirl outfit right after Cindy is taken down to the police station the first time.
- Then in Scary Movie 2, the Charlie's Angels parody has the girls remove their clothing to reveal... well, they initially forgot their Angel clothing, leaving them in just their underwear and shoes, which in one case consisted of a Black Bra and Panties and thigh-high stockings. Sadly, this lasts all of about three seconds.
- Supergirl's costume in The Movie qualifies.
- Cassie in Push, as part of her image as Little Miss Badass.
- Babydoll during her battle "dream sequences" in the Zack Snyder flick Sucker Punch. This was very true to the Japanese style, as she was wearing a traditional Japanese schoolgirl uniform, and her actress Emily Browning looked interestingly high school age in the film (despite being 22 in real life).
- In the 2008 film Tokyo!, a glimpse of this is the first thing to push a "hikikomori" (shut-in) to venture into the outside world.
- Jennifer Beals' character Alex in Flashdance, when she's wearing that dance leotard and leg-warmer ensemble.
- Abby in The Return of the Swamp Thing when she arrives at the Arcane mansion.
- Alice in Resident Evil 3 uses thigh-high socks. The only thing is that she doesn't use a skirt, instead she uses short pants.
- Pretty much every girl in Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl is sporting some Golden Thigh Ratio to some extent. Mostly because they're all schoolgirls or naughty nurses. The only exceptions are the girls in the Super Dark Girls' Club, because they are basically cosplaying as black people.
- Maggie Cheung's character in Heroic Trio.
- The main poster for Pretty Woman has Julia Roberts wearing the knee-high boots variant.
- Brittani Louise Taylor is a stunning [EMO WITCH!], with garter belts.
- Danielle Harris's character Alissa in Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet has the short skirt and high-heeled boots variant.
- Jess, the Hooker With a Heart of Gold from Cornered
- Probably every version of Pippi Longstocking wears it. And we're still talking about a franchise for kids.
- ABBA was playing around with this back in the 70s. See this version of Waterloo.
- Alizée, on many live performances of "J'en ai marre", wears hotpants and overknees.
- Shakira in the video for her song "Las de la intuiciòn". Fetish Fuel Oh, my...
- Madonna manages to pull a decent Golden Thigh Ratio in the video for her song "Celebration".
- Katy Perry and her companions show off their Girl Scout outfits in the video for "California Gurls".
- BritneySpears at the beginning of "Baby One More Time". In concert, the skirts were way shorter and the socks much higher.
- Some of the girls hanging all over Steven Tyler in the music video for his new single "(It) Feels So Good" are rocking the boots variant. The majority, however, go the opposite route for titillation.
- There's an old Playboy cartoon (probably from the magazine's early days) that features a bar graph made of three girls wearing ever-longer stockings (coupled with ever-shorter skirts). There was a caption about how the graph represented economic growth, and how the future was looking good. Hur hur.
- Amy Pond in the strip "The Golden Ones" in Doctor Who Magazine. The story is set in Japan, appropriately enough.
- Many male professional wrestlers. Most wrestlers wear a combination of wrestling boots, kneepads, and kickpads (essentially elaborate shin guards.) This usually leaves almost everything below the knee hidden, and depending on the tights they were, the Golden Thigh Ratio can occur. Before he changed to longer tights, A.J. Styles]was on of the most famous examples.
- Many flappers wore their stockings this way.
- Kilts. As one young lady put it: "Sexy men in sexy kilts with sexy knee-high socks? Yes please!"
- Some private schools have this look as a required part of student uniforms.
- This is the only step required to change a Halloween costume into a "Sexy" Halloween costume.
- Surprisingly, some male soccer players are able to pull the shorts variant more or less succesfully. This is actually a Justified Trope, since the long socks help them keep their shinguards in place. Pay attention the next time you see David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo on screen...
- Volleyball uniforms with knee high socks will most likely be connected to knee pads giving it the illusion of the Action Girl variant.
- Basketball players, too, more so at the college level (male and female). Of course, basketball shorts haven't been short enough to make this truly work since the 1980s. (Go back and look at pictures of NBA players from the 70s and early 80s -- or better yet, the ABA -- some time.
- United Autosports tends to have their promo girls wear this look, as seen here.
- In Magic: The Gathering, Chandra Nalaar shows off some thigh in this piece of promotional art.
- The promotional art for the latest set, Innistrad, has a Liliana Vess lookalike wearing a high level of this.
- Abby Sciuto of NCIS sometimes wears this kind of attire. And woo-ee, does she work it.
- By the seventh episode of Dollhouse, and Echo has already rocked it twice. Once using thigh-high boots, the other time using stockings (which can also be seen in the theme song sequence).
- Cameron pulls this off extremely well in the third episode of The Sarah Connor Chronicles (see here for some examples).
- Natsumi, the female lead of Kamen Rider Decade, wears tights with every outfit. In episode 10, she wears them with shorts, and is suddenly that much hotter.
- Maddie from The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.
- Surprisingly, Star Trek: The Original Series:
- The Athenian Academy uniform in Caprica includes this look. Likewise in virtual space in one episode Lacy wears a booted version.
- Kahlan's new outfit that appears regularly in season two of Legend of the Seeker features a side-split dress and thigh high leather boots.
- iCarly: Carly used this look (with blue and white striped socks/stockings) along with a fairly short skirt in iHave My Principals, where their regular School Principal was removed, and the harsh new leadership forced a school uniform. It was smoking hot. You could pretty much tell that Freddie wanted to pull her into a janitor's closet and have his way with her.
- Glee Rachel pretty much owns the skirt-and-stockings look (although her skirt is never really short enough for a true Golden Thigh Ratio.
- Torchwood: Miracle Day. Gwen sports this look when she and Jack pose as loud-mouthed Americans in "Escape to LA".
- Wendla in Spring Awakening wears these in the first scene, where she is chastised by her mother for their suggestive appearance. She switches to a less-revealing dress and, later, a frumpy nightgown in Act II. They reappear in the show's closing number in addition to being prominently displayed on the poster.
- Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark has female cast members wearing these during a song about the Military, of all things. Later, the female spider minions have Six.
- Joybelle from Barbie's Thumbilina line wears this. Not only is she the only character to be wearing stockings or leg coverings of any kind but her Fairytopia doll wears tights. This is aimed at little girls and pre-teens, by the way.
- The entire Duel Maid III line if collectable figures feature this trope. Every maid is dressed in a short dress with thigh stockings.
- The Lollipop Girl doll line has loads of this. Again, aimed at little girls.
- Venus from Metal Gear Acid 2 has Zettai Ryouiki so devastating that it had to be censored for her cameo in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops.
- Dragon Age has mage armor that certainly counts. Can also work if you get high enough boots on your rogue.
- Both Kasumia and Ayane from Dead or Alive wear this for their default costumes.
- Yuffie and Rikku's designs in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, respectively, also feature this.
- The redesigned Harley Quinn in Batman: Arkham Asylum.
- The Wood Elf Wardancers in the recent video game rendition of Blood Bowl achieve this look when they reach a high enough level (or receive the best boots in the real-time Blitz Mode). Though odds are that most people's attention will be on the massive mohawk they have, rather than their thighs.
- In the Rock Band games, it's possible to purchase a skirt for the female characters, called "Crinoline and Tears", that has this look in spades. Rock Band 3 has a few more.
- The Courtesan from Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood multiplayer.
- In World of Warcraft, the outfit worn by Alexstraza the Dragon Queen in humanoid form of combines thigh-high boots with extremely minimal pants.
- Kimiko does this very well in one of the MegaTokyo posters and in this magnificent poster.
- Fuchsia the Succubus gets into this in Sinfest when she dresses up as a schoolgirl to pander to her crush on Criminy.
- Yuki from Menage a 3 also sports the look.
- Angel Moxie: Tristan starts wearing stockings with her warm-weather uniform in this strip -- and has to argue with a teacher that it isn't against the school's dress code on the next page.
- In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob, the skirt and go-go boots Galatea sports in France would count -- although the viewer's enjoyment may be hindered by the fact that her legs have fur.
- Erfworld has Prince Tramennis, more girlie than the female characters in an armor skirt and jump boots.
- June of Tnemrot has so far been shown wearing this, along with a collar.
- You can be forgiven not for noticing (since she's, you know, a stick figure), but Tsukiko from The Order of the Stick is an example.
- The Cheerleaders, a trio of supervillains from The Butlerverse', consciously make use of this trope as part of their "Jiggle Fu" distraction powers against male opponents.
- In the Whateley Universe, Jade has discovered this. Along with the formula. Fear her!
- Almost all the girls from Roosterteeth's Pajamachievements series rock this look, with pajamas of course.