Created By: movie007 on October 19, 2011 Last Edited By: movie007 on November 4, 2011
Troped

Light Feminine and Dark Feminine

Two (usually) female characters portray different aspects of femininity.

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Trope
This is another character contrast trope. Unlike the Tomboy and Girly Girl trope, both female characters are decidedly feminine - but in different ways. Light Feminines (Sweet and Serene) are generally angelic, conservative, and feels love - which Dark Feminines (Sexy and Sassy) are generally devilish, liberal, and plays with desire. In short, Light Feminines exude the aspects of traditional femininity - while Dark Feminines are feminine in a much less innocent fashion. Either type can be the Girly Girl portrayed in the Tomboy and Girly Girl contrast.

Related to Madonna–Whore Complex and The Three Faces of Eve (Child/Wife=Light; Seductress=Dark). In a Betty and Veronica love triangle, Betty is usually the Light Feminine - with Veronica being the Dark Feminine. Also, the Light Feminine is typically the Blue Oni - while the Dark Feminine is typically the Red Oni.

Examples:

  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Fluttershy (Light) is kind, caring, very much like a mother to the animals. Rarity (Dark) is vain and bratty, though not quite as much so as she seems.
  • Non Sequitur: Kate is the Light Feminine, while Danae is the Dark Feminine.
  • Overlord: The potential queens fall into this. In the second game, the first two mistresses fall into Tomboy and Girly Girl - but also serve as a collective "Light Feminine" to the third.
  • Catherine: Catherine is the Dark Feminine, while Katherine is the Light Feminine.
  • Adventure Time: Marceline is the Dark Feminine, while Bubblegum is the Light Feminine.
  • Final Fantasy X: Lulu is the Dark Feminine, while Yuna is the Light Feminine.
  • Glee: (Male example) Blaine Anderson (Light) and Kurt Hummel (Dark). Blaine is kind, nurturing, generous, and little oblivious, Kurt is prissy, bitchy, arrogant, entitled, self-absorbed.
  • Gone with the Wind: Melanie is the Light Feminine, while Scarlett is the Dark Feminine.
  • Dragon Age: Origins: Leliana is the Light Feminine, while Morrigan is the Dark Feminine.
  • Sunrise: The Woman from The City is the Dark Feminine (hedonist, cheater), while The Wife is the Light Feminine (goodie goody all the way through).
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: Russell is the Dark Feminine, while Monroe is the Light Feminine.
Community Feedback Replies: 24
  • October 19, 2011
    Koveras
    I wouldn't use the term "femme" unless you want this trope to only be about Lipstick Lesbians. :)

    Otherwise, sounds like a variation of The Three Faces Of Eve with just the Seductress and a hybrid of Child and Wife. I imagine they also often form a Hair Contrast Duo and Betty And Veronica triangle.
  • October 19, 2011
    captainpat
  • October 19, 2011
    Duncan
    In a Betty And Veronica love triangle, the girls are usually this.
  • October 19, 2011
    movie007
    Definitely not a lesbian trope. Changed it from "femme" to "feminine".
  • October 19, 2011
    Damr1990
    I'm Thinking the "Mother" and "Seductress" Faces of The Three Faces Of Eve

    • Also Catherine And Katherine from the game Catherine
  • October 19, 2011
    captainpat
    How is this not Madonna Whore Complex?
  • October 20, 2011
    Koveras
    ^ That one seems to about how all women in a work fall either into Madonna or Whore category, while this one is about female duos where female characters embody the dichotomy (but it is not stretched out to the entire female cast), as well as the dynamics of their interaction with each other and, optionally, a common love interest.

    I can also see a Action Girl and a Dark Action Girl forming such a duo.

    I am not following Adventure Time, but would Marceline (dark) and Bubblegum (light) count?
  • October 22, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    Fluttershy (kind, caring, very much like a mother to the animals) and Rarity (vain and bratty, though not quite as much so as she seems) from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic.
  • October 22, 2011
    JohnDiFool
    Comic Strips:

    Non Sequitur: Kate is the Light one and Danae the Dark.
  • October 22, 2011
    Bisected8
    The potential queens in Overlord fall into this. In the second game the first two mistresses fall into Tomboy And Girly Girl but also serve as a collective "Light Feminine" to the third.
  • October 22, 2011
    RazorSmile
    Isn't this pretty much Betty And Veronica?
  • October 22, 2011
    Grahami
    This kind of reminds me of Black Swan
  • October 22, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    Note also that Rarity uses her popularity among male ponies to get her way. (See also ep 26.)
  • October 22, 2011
    Epif
    Is this specifically for female characters or feminine ones? Note that men can be just as feminine as any other person... I'm just saying that "feminines" as a noun on its own isn't specific to any gender. It should say "feminine females" if its so specific.
  • October 23, 2011
    ImaginationInterpreture
    FFX, Lulu and Yuna.
  • October 23, 2011
    PacificState
    ^^Blaine Anderson and Kurt Hummel. Blaine is kind, nurturing, generous, and little oblivious, Kurt is prissy, bitchy, arrogant, entitled, self-absorbed... Note that the conservative vs liberal part of the trope is bull, since it's hard to be more liberal than the Granola Girl, and she's totally nice and nurturing.
  • October 23, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    ^ Perhaps what's being implied is that this contrast is a conservative concept, in that it associates "playing with desire" with being devilish.
  • October 24, 2011
    PacificState
    Well playing with people's feelings, especially the strong ones, is a bit of a dick move. Unless you're very "civilized", then it becomes the default mode of interaction.
  • October 24, 2011
    movie007
    Disclaimer: I'm not familiar with any of these fandoms, so far - so I'm just listing the examples as I'm reading them. I might drop the "conservative" and "liberal" descriptors, if there's a sizable consensus against it.
  • October 24, 2011
    juliannechat
    Back in the day, white Southern (U.S.) women looking for role models had a choice of Melanie (light) or Scarlett (dark) from Gone With The Wind.
  • October 24, 2011
    drdeathray
    This would be better as a Super Trope, because it doesn't seem to work on it's own.
  • October 25, 2011
    Koveras
    Female Love Interests in Dragon Age Origins are Leliana (Light) and Morrigan (Dark).
  • October 26, 2011
    Cahoots
    Sunrise - The Woman from The City: Dark, hedonist, cheater. The Wife: Light, goodie goody all the way through.

    Gentlemen Prefer Blondes? Russell: Dark Monroe: Light
  • November 4, 2011
    atheywa
    Madonna Whore Complex refers to when one character is (or appears to be) sexually repressed and one is (or appears to be) sexually liberated. Light Feminine And Dark Feminine is when a character chooses to be sexually reserved and the other is matter-of-factly sexually outgoing. Betty And Veronica is when one is a-sexuall (Like Brother And Sister) and the other is sexually unattainable (Miss Fanservice). Three valid tropes.
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