Since Haruhi is not trying to act like a boy, much of her behavior is still distinctly feminine. “She was always not really meeting societal standards of being more masculine. So, for example, she’s never rough,” Hatori explained. In fact, her gentle nature is precisely what attracts the clients to her. Hatori would also draw Haruhi in “subtle cute poses” to maintain her feminine nature even in her boy uniform.
On top of being cute and gentle, Hatori also wanted Haruhi to be a nurturing character. “She always had this intention of doing something for someone,” he recalled. This intention guided Haruhi’s behavior, particularly in conflicts. “Something that Haruhi would never do would be discriminatory against someone,” Hatori revealed.
When Tamaki discovers that Haruhi is a girl, she insists that “it’s more important for a person to be recognized for who they are rather than what sex they are.” By toeing the line of gender ambiguity, Haruhi proves that the most important part of being a woman is being yourself, whether that person is more feminine or masculine. The performed aspects of gender, like haircuts and outfits, come second. Even in a totally masculine role — pretending to be a boy — Haruhi maintains her femininity. This is a strong message for young girls that has kept “Ouran High School Host Club” relevant for decades.