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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 Green Eyed Red Head.
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.
Some archetypes commonly given freckles include:
- Bratty Half-Pint
- Tagalong Kid
- Redheaded Stepchild
- Class Clown
- Butt Monkey or Chew Toy
- Unlucky Everydude for older boys
Girls with freckles have some additional associations, as freckles tend to be associated with girlish innocence. They are Fetish Fuel to some people.
- Tomboy (since she's active outdoors)
- One of the Boys
- Girl Next Door
- Girlish Pigtails (to emphasize the innocence)
- Plucky Girl
Anime & Manga
- Pictured above: Ahiru from Princess Tutu.
- Makoto "Mako" Ariga from Wandering Son has freckles; she dislikes them, thinking they make her look less cute. Her mother also has freckles.
- Sasami from Tenchi Muyo
- Ace from One Piece 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. It turns out to be a case of Strong Family Resemblance: his mother Rouge also had freckles, and she clearly fell into Plucky Girl territory.
- A non-canon example: Amanda from the second TV special has freckles.
- Max from Beyblade.
- Housaku Samon from Kyojin no Hoshi. He fits none of these types, though, since he's pretty serious and focused; he also loses them as a young adult in Shin.
- Prince Alor / Bandor from GoLion / Lion Voltron, who starts as a Bratty Half-Pint.
- Freckles Friendly from Richie Rich.
- Rosharch from Watchmen is in the misfit category.
- Archie Andrews in Archie Comics.
- The 1915-45 comic strip Freckles and His Friends.
- Dennis the Menace US:
Films -- Animation
- Young Ellie from Pixar's Up is a Tomboy Girl Next Door.
- Rapunzel from Tangled.
- Princess Mérida from Pixar's Brave.
- Coraline has freckles and is also a Plucky Girl/Tomboy, but her hair is dyed blue, not red.
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.
- All of the Weasley kids in Harry Potter.
- Jack Merridew in Lord of the Flies.
- Julianne Moore's children's book Freckleface Strawberry is about a young girl.
- Pippi Longstocking has Girlish Pigtails and is a Tomboy.
- Anne of Green Gables: Anne is the Plucky Girl type with Girlish Pigtails like Pippi.
- In the Disgaea novels, Captain Gordon, Defender of Earth! and Jennifer's daughter Jane gains these along with Girlish Pigtails in her second appearance, where she is 13.
- Freckles in Gene Stratton Porter's Freckles
- Nyumba in Someone Elses War.
- 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.
- The Friendly Freckles Blythe doll.
- Mass Effect
- Homika from Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, which may be a first for the franchise.
- 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.
- Ashe Ubert (Durant in the JP version) from Fire Emblem: Three Houses.
- Gemini Sunrise in Sakura Wars V.
- Eerie Cuties: Chloe the succubus.
- Marcy from Pv P.
- Ava von Hall from Superego. In this case, she's more of an Adult Child.
- Alexander Hamilton from The Dreamer.
- Mac in Impure Blood
- Phoebe of Heavenly Nostrils. She's nine years old and a bit of a tomboy.
- Kim Possible has several:
- The Fairly Odd Parents: Arthur Lebowitz, who also wears glasses and has buck teeth.
- Chuckie from Rugrats: Chew Toy.
- Henry from Ka Blam: Chew Toy/Butt Monkey.
- Sheila and Bobby from Dungeons and Dragons.
- They're barely noticeable, but Libby from The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron has some in her season 2 redesign.
- Eugene and Lila from Hey Arnold.
- My Little Pony
- Applejack from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic.
- Applejack and Bowtie from My Little Pony's pilot special.
- Evangelyne and her sister Cléophée, from Wakfu.
- The titular character of Jay Jay the Jet Plane.