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[[quoteright:350:[[Franchise/TheSmurfs http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/SmurfSexRatio.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Take note of the Male-to-Female ratio.]]
->''"I'm the only girl."''
-->-- '''Marzipan''', ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner''

''For any series not aimed solely at females, odds are high that only one female will be in the regular cast.''

The Smurfette Principle is the tendency for works of fiction to have exactly one female amongst an ensemble of male characters, in spite of the fact that roughly half of the human race is female. Unless a show is purposefully aimed at a female viewing audience, the main characters will tend to be disproportionately male. Said only woman will almost always be used as half of a [[TokenRomance romance subplot]].

In many series, men will have various different personalities, but women will always be TheChick. Thus, by TheLawOfConservationOfDetail, you only need one.

In other cases, the women are [[DistaffCounterpart feminized versions]] of existing male characters.

This trope has lessened over time, but even now it often applies to animated fare aimed at boys or a general audience. This is especially serious when the regular cast is full of synthetic entities or other species which have a voice or are sufficiently humanoid; these will always be more masculine than feminine, with any feminine examples receiving special attention, [[MenAreGenericWomenAreSpecial suggesting that women are merely an unusual subtype of men]].

Why does this trope happen? Often, the problem lies with the source material -- the work's an adaptation of something [[ValuesDissonance written or created decades before]] equal recognition for women started to gain momentum. Sometimes, however, writers will try to correct this problem by inserting a few more female characters or at least an AffirmativeActionGirl.

When the time for merchandising comes, unless the cast is all female, manufacturers won't create as many (or sometimes not at all) figures of the female members as they would males of the franchise even if the series is MerchandiseDriven (or at least, until the mid-90s). This creates a vicious cycle in which The Smurfette Principle is upheld by both toy manufacturers and TV writers, each reasoning that the other will enforce it anyway. This may be because, statistically, companies believe that action figures of female characters don't sell as well as the male ones, all evidence to the contrary. Of course, the shortage of female action figures to base those figures on can lead to another vicious cycle.

In classic comedy animation or shows, especially slapstick, women are often absent because [[WouldntHitAGirl hitting a girl]] just isn't [[DoubleStandard considered]] [[DudeNotFunny funny]]. (In the case of harmless AmusingInjuries, this [[SlapstickKnowsNoGender isn't always the case]].)

This trope can also be {{justified|Trope}} by its [[TruthInTelevision accuracy]] in certain contexts. It is fairly realistic for [[MenAreTheExpendableGender armies]], police forces, adventuring parties, and similar groups to be predominantly male, especially if set in a non-PoliticallyCorrectHistory.

As noted in the examples below, this trope is nearly universal in all forms of media. Most writers try to balance this out with PositiveDiscrimination, [[GirlsNeedRoleModels making the girl]] more intelligent and [[WomenAreWiser level-headed than everyone else]], but it still doesn't change the simple fact that there's only one of her. Usually, all it does is turn her into a MarySue for [[TheScrappy everyone to loathe]].

Writers who recognize the problem after a season or two may expand the cast with {{Affirmative Action Girl}}s. This is usually more effective.

Interestingly, this can extend to {{Mooks}} and the MonsterOfTheWeek with MonogenderMonsters, to avoid the UnfortunateImplications of violence against women.

ActionGirl[=s=] and other strong, usually supporting female characters who are the only girl or are only one of a few girls in the group are sometimes called "minority feisty" or "token feisty." They may even have some commentary about sexism or male domination, but the majority of the characters are male.

The name of this trope was first coined by [[http://www.nytimes.com/1991/04/07/magazine/hers-the-smurfette-principle.html an article in the New York Times printed April 7, 1991, called "The Smurfette Principle"]]. The article discussed the negative message which this trope gave its young audience: that males are individuals who have adventures, while females are a type of deviation [[NeverASelfMadeWoman who exist only in relation to males]].

Contrast TwoGirlsToATeam, UsefulNotes/TheBechdelTest, GirlShowGhetto. This is also DistaffCounterpart to TheOneGuy. See also SmurfetteBreakout when the character becomes popular on her own, and TerritorialSmurfette when another female is added to the show and the character reacts negatively.
!! Sub-pages and examples
* TheSmurfettePrinciple/AnimeAndManga
* TheSmurfettePrinciple/ComicBooks
* TheSmurfettePrinciple/{{Literature}}
* TheSmurfettePrinciple/LiveActionTV
* TheSmurfettePrinciple/{{Music}}
* TheSmurfettePrinciple/TabletopGames
* TheSmurfettePrinciple/VideoGames
* TheSmurfettePrinciple/{{Webcomics}}
* TheSmurfettePrinciple/WesternAnimation


* Played straight in the ''Fanfic/EmpathTheLuckiestSmurf'' story series, since it's mostly based on [[WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs the cartoon show]], though the reason for the disproportionate number of male Smurf characters is that Papa Smurf's generation (which consisted of both male and female Smurfs) ended up having mostly male offspring, with only one female Smurf offspring, [[spoiler:which turned out to be Sassette]].
* UpToEleven in ''Fanfic/MyLittleUnicorn''. According to WordOfGod, the population of Unicornicopia consists mostly of males. While the story has at least five female winged unicorns in it, only Starla (who is mostly there as the LoveInterest) and Dementia have any form of slight significance to the overall plot.
* A very interesting example in ''FanFic/MyLittleHetaStuckMSTs''; [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Twilight Sparkle]] is not only the only girl in the [[{{MST}} riffing group]], she's also the leader.

[[folder:Film - Animated]]
* Like its source material, the 2011 film ''WesternAnimation/TheAdventuresOfTintin'' exemplifies this trope. It has only a handful of female characters, and only two of them (Tintin's landlady Mrs. Finch and opera singer Bianca Castafiore) have names, dialogue, or any importance to the plot.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheBookOfLife'', Manolo's Grandmother is the only female Sanchez bullfighter.
* ''DragonsFireAndIce'' Has only [[ActionGirl Kyra]] among a male-dominated cast. The [[DragonsIITheMetalAges sequel]] adds a second woman with [[BigBad Scylla]].
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Megamind}}'' has a single Brainbot with a pink frill and lipstick. The DVD commentary states that she was an InvokedTrope, and considered "the Smurfette of the Brainbots". There is also Roxanne Ritchie.
* Susan/Ginormica is the only woman in the main cast of ''WesternAnimation/MonstersVsAliens'' ("We are in the presence of the rare female monster."). However, she is the main character and has the most CharacterDevelopment of anyone else, going from TheChick to ActionGirl. The rest of the female characters are in small, stereotypical roles, with the exception of the girl [[AutoErotica making out in a car]], which reverses the usual role by being more assertive than her milquetoast boyfriend.
** The jury is still out on whether [[spoiler:Insectosaurus is female or not, since he/she has eyelashes in his/her final form as a butterfly]]. Even so, the ratio of female monsters to male would still be 2:5.
* 7 is the only female ragdoll in ''WesternAnimation/{{Nine}}''. The twins 3 and 4 never talk, so their gender is ambiguous, but that's still a 1/2/6 ratio. On the other hand, only 7 is a fighter or independent by nature. Justified; they all seem to stem from the Scientist's soul, so odds of his soul containing a lot of feminine qualities are very low.
* The Disney Renaissance films were a bit bad about this, though some were improvements:
** ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid'' - Ariel as the protagonist and Ursula as the villain. All of the supporting cast are male, making it a 6:2 ratio. Ariel's sisters have no importance and Carlotta the maid has only a handful of lines. The sequel adds Ariel's daughter Melody, has another female villain and bumps up Carlotta's importance somewhat.
** ''{{Disney/Aladdin}}'' has only Jasmine. Aladdin's mother was originally in the film too but got cut. The protagonist (Aladdin), main villain (Jafar), best friend/mentor (Genie), and sidekicks (Abu and Carpet) are all male. The Sultan rounds out the cast of male characters. Female characters do populate the world so this is arguably faithfully reflecting the kind of world where power games are played out between men and Jasmine's story would revolve around the necessity of her finding a man to marry. It still doesn't solve the diversity/representation issue but it's somewhat logical.
** ''Disney/TheLionKing'' - Nala and Sarabi are the only female protagonists. Nala is there as the TokenRomance while Sarabi is Simba's mother. Somewhat balanced out by having Shenzi as a prominent villainess. Again, the sequel fixes this by making the protagonist Simba's ''daughter'', the villain being the female Zira and also including her daughter Vitani. But again Sarabi and Shenzi were dropped and Nala was even less important.
** ''Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame'' - only Esmerelda, making the main cast at a 3:1 ratio. Likewise in the gargoyles, it's 2:1 with Laverne as the only female.
** ''{{Disney/Mulan}}'' - Mulan herself is the only woman with any importance. Her mother and grandmother feature prominently at the start. In this case it's justified since there aren't supposed to be any women in the Chinese army.
** ''Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast'' - Belle is the protagonist with Mrs Potts in a big supporting role. There's also a sizeable collection of female side characters like the wardrobe, the feather duster and Gaston's three Bimbettes.
** ''{{Disney/Pocahontas}}'' - in addition to the main heroine, there are two female supporting characters with big influences on the plot. Grandmother Willow is TheMentor while Pocahontas's friend Nakoma ends up an UnwittingInstigatorOfDoom.
** ''{{Disney/Tarzan}}'' - Jane is Tarzan's prominent love interest. His mother Kala plays a big role in the story and his best friend Terk is also female (though voiced by Rosie O'Donnell leading to some ViewerGenderConfusion). WordOfGod confirms that Sabor the leopard is female too.
* Two recent Disney films, ''Disney/ThePrincessAndTheFrog'' and ''Disney/{{Tangled}}'', are ostensibly aimed at girls, and have female lead characters, but otherwise they both have 1:3 female-to-male ratio -- female lead, male {{love interest|s}} and co-lead, two male (animal) supporting characters. Then one woman in a supporting role (a mentor in ''Princess,'' a villain in ''Tangled''). ''Princess'' does slightly better, featuring Tiana's mother and her supportive friend, Charlotte.
* ''{{Disney/Frozen}}'' only has two female characters, but the bonus is that they are both the protagonists. Aside from Anna and Elsa, the only other females in the film are in the trolls (who are one-scene characters) and the girls' mother who dies within the first twenty minutes. The core "team" thus consists of Anna, Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf giving us a 1:3 ratio. Adding in Hans and Elsa the ratio of important characters goes to 2:4.
* For all their [[EmotionalTorque perfection]], one major complaint about Creator/{{Pixar}} is the lack of films that have a notable number of prominent female characters:
** ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory'''s main cast includes a young boy's toy collection, with predictably male-oriented rather than girls' toys. Bo Peep was the only female in the cast, a domestic woman and SatelliteLoveInterest with no part in the main action. ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory2'' and ''[[WesternAnimation/ToyStory3 3]]'' even out the gender inequality, though not by much. Even though Toy Story 3 had many more female characters than the other two, it should be worth mentioning that [[spoiler:Andy got rid of Bo Peep]].
** ''WesternAnimation/ABugsLife'', despite having a few female royalties, is guilty of the InsectGenderBender; biology dictates its protagonist should have been female. The Seven Samurai-esque troupe has a 3:1 (6:2) male-to-female ratio.
** The only major female characters in ''WesternAnimation/MonstersInc'' are a little girl with limited dialogue, the forgettable love interest Celia, and [[spoiler:Roz the undercover CDA agent]], who has little screen time. The ratio is 4:2.
** ''WesternAnimation/FindingNemo'' has 9:3. The writer explains on the DVD commentary that in fact ''Dory was originally male'' until he saw Creator/EllenDeGeneres on television and realised that was the sweet-but-scatty tone he was looking for.
** ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles'' averts this by being demographically balanced (main cast: two female, two male; supporting cast: one each; villains: one each). Also, each of the adult females are shown to be independently competent, and the main villain finds out that treating his female ally like an expendable resource [[MistreatmentInducedBetrayal will have consequences]].
** ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}}'': the ratio is 9:3. In the first film, [[ViewerGenderConfusion the racecar sponsoring RevNGo]] is actually the only female competing in the Piston Cup, and in the sequel, Carla Veloso, the Brazilian racecar is the only female competing in the World Grand Prix.
** There is only one female rat in ''WesternAnimation/{{Ratatouille}}'', who speaks to Remy at the end of the film. She only gets one line, though. Remy's family consists of a father and a brother. The major human female character, Colette, is very much aware that she is the only female chef in the restaurant and in a definite minority in the profession in general. She was forced to claw her way up and as a result, feels that she has to be tough and defensive to succeed in a career she worked so hard for. However, when her protégé, Linguini (and secretly Remy the Rat as well), make it clear that they deeply respect her expertise, she [[DefrostingIceQueen softens]] to become a good friend and more later on.
*** The ''Ratatouille'' video game and ''KinectRushADisneyPixarAdventure'' features a female rat with a speaking role named Celine.
** ''WesternAnimation/WallE'' has 4:3, plus a male-sounding text-to-speech program for the autopilot. D-Fib has been confirmed as female in obscure media.
** ''WesternAnimation/{{Up}}'' has 4:2 (4:1 living).
** ''WesternAnimation/{{Brave}}'' has 1:3. However, this is Pixar's first movie with a female protagonist.

[[folder:Film - Live Action]]
* The casting for ''Film/TheAvengers'' is even ''less'' balanced than the Sixties teams. While the original team had a 4-1 ratio ([[Comicbook/TheIncredibleHulk Hulk]] left almost as soon as [[CaptainAmerica Cap]] joined) and the second had a 3-1 ratio, the movie's inclusion of [[NickFury Fury]] and Agent Coulson as "title" characters put the central cast at ''7''-1. Needless to say, some chunks of fandom took note. Maria Hill was added to adjust the ratio a little.
** JossWhedon himself was not happy about this, and has said he chose to add ScarletWitch to [[Film/TheAvengersAgeOfUltron the sequel]] partially for this reason. Meanwhile, the ''Marvel Universe LIVE!'' stage show (which was inspired by the movie and the [[MarvelCinematicUniverse MCU]] in general) added TheFalcon and [[MsMarvel Captain Marvel]] to the team to help offset the racial and gender disparity.
** It's very common in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in general. Just like Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy also have exactly one female teammate (Gamora) and Thor's friends are the "warrior three" and one female warrior (Sif).
* Jennifer Parker in the ''Film/BackToTheFuture'' films. Creator/RobertZemeckis and Bob Gale say that had they intended to do a sequel at the time they made the original film, they would not have put "the girl" in the car at the end. Sure enough, in the second film, she's sedated less then five minutes in and pretty much spends the rest of the series that way.
* ''Bimbos in Time'' inverts this by having only one male character in the hero team (referred to as "the male Bimbo"); indeed, the only other male character with a major role in the story is the villain.
* Outside of the secretary that hits on Steve and out of all the support crew for {{Film/Captain America|TheFirstAvenger}}, Peggy Carter is the only significant female member of the SSR's personnel. She, however, is arguably one of the main characters of the movie, though.
* The Smurfette Principle was dissected and explained with disturbing precision in ''Film/DonnieDarko'' as being a non-existent issue, because all Smurfs are asexual. While it's true that they reproduce by stork, this doesn't stop them from falling in love with Smurfette. More on this issue in Comics, above.
* In ''Film/FightClub'', Marla Singer is the only major female character -- Fight Club itself is entirely male. On the commentary track, Creator/HelenaBonhamCarter talks about how she was glad when the support group scenes were being filmed because it was effectively the only time there were other women on set.
** The movie is about universal frustrations. By portraying these frustrations as male and implying that few females could relate to it, it invokes the trope even further.
** The movie is in fact concerned with male frustrations, being narrated by and about a frustrated and idealised masculinity. Specifically, how modern consumerism has an inherent effeminacy (e.g. "the Ikea Nesting Instinct" & "we used to read pornography: now it was the Horchow Collection..."), versus the classic masculinity of the pre-historic "hunter / gatherer" ideal that Tyler Durden advocates. The Gender Binary is destabilised both by the sexually aggressive, non-feminine Marla; and Bob who has his testicles removed and grows breasts. The Narrator (and therefore Durden) are consumed by the implications of (post-)modernity for the masculine subject, hence why the Fight Club is male only.
* ''Film/GalaxyQuest'' parodies this on ''Franchise/StarTrek'' (see Live-Action TV below) by having only a single female character on the show, whose actress was constantly annoyed that her only roles on the show were {{Fanservice}} and repeating the computer.
** At the end, [[spoiler: when the show is revived, [[AffirmativeActionGirl Laliari]] joins the cast]]
* The Toho films are notorious for this. Throughout their famous {{Kaiju}} (specifically Franchise/{{Godzilla}}) film series, only 6 monsters have been explicitly female. These monsters are Mothra, Rodan (one of the monsters in the original film was a female), Manda, Kamacuras (arguably, since there is more than one), Megaguirus, and Biollante. This becomes especially evident when one begins to wonder where the heck Godzilla's son came from. Some fans believe that [[Film/GodzillaVsDestoroyah Destoroyah]] and Kumonga are female, but that has never been confirmed by Toho. The original Japanese films are ambiguous on the manner, because they never refer to the monsters with gendered pronouns; all the monsters, even Godzilla, are referred to as an [[ItIsDehumanizing "it"]].
** In the British Godzilla knock-off ''Film/{{Gorgo}}'', the ''monster'' (the big one at least) is female, but there are no female human characters ''at all''. In the ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'' version, this made it difficult for the bots to complete their "Women of Gorgo" calendar.
* All three main characters in ''Film/TheHangover'' films are male and so are nearly all substantial supporting characters but Jade from the first film comes closest to being a female lead. The second film effectively has ''no'' important female characters in terms of screentime - even Stu's fiancee has only a few lines.
* In ''Film/{{Immortals}}'', Athena is the only female god seen in the entire film. Phaedra is also the only female travelling with Theseus.
* ''Film/{{Inception}}'' has a crew of around six guys and one girl. There is one other important female character, and [[spoiler:for most of the film, she's a projection of the main (male) character's subconscious.]]
* Other than her mother's brief appearance early on, Isabelle is pretty much the only female character in ''Film/JackTheGiantSlayer''.
* ''JoyeuxNoel'', set during the Christmas Truce, has soprano Anna Sørensen. {{Justified|Trope}}, of course, by the film's WorldWarOne setting.
* In ''The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen'' (both [[Film/TheLeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen the film]] and [[Comicbook/TheLeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen the graphic novel]]), Mina Harker/Murray was the Smurfette in the otherwise all-male League. However, she is by no means TheChick -- she is the League's leader in the graphic novel. In the movie it's made clear early on that she's a vampire who can kick all the other League members' collective asses. Creator/AlanMoore said he titled it "Gentlemen" to reflect the sexist tendencies of Victorian times.
* In TheFilmOfTheBook as with [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings the book]], ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'' has very few female characters. The film tries to combat this trope by giving Arwen the roles of Glorfindel ''and'' her brothers Elladan and Elrohir, and writing up her part in other ways. However, by cutting out the whole Tom Bombadil section it also leaves out Goldberry, one of the few other female characters.
** In the Creator/RalphBakshi [[WesternAnimation/TheLordOfTheRings animated version]], the only female character with a speaking part is Galadriel. The only others to even appear are [[ActionGirl Éowyn]] (who gets a few seconds of standing behind Théoden's shoulder) and a pair of unidentified women in the background of The Prancing Pony.
** This is also almost certainly why Galadriel turns up in the film of ''Film/TheHobbit'', when she does not in the book. The second (and probably the third) part of ''The Hobbit'' introduced a completely original female character, an ActionGirl elf woman named Tauriel, so that there would be at least one prominent woman in the story.
* In ''Film/{{Marianne}}'', Marion Davies, playing Marianne, is the only female with a speaking part.
* ''Film/TheMatrix Trilogy'' is an interesting case. True, Trinity is the only female in the [[PowerTrio main group of characters]] throughout the trilogy, but incidental characters are far more likely to be female.
* In ''Film/MeanGirls'', the two Mathlete teams we see each have a single female member, presumably because of the double-funding incentive Kevin mentions.
* The Film/MenInBlack don't have many female agents. The end of the first film shows agent L, a woman who becomes J's new partner. However she is neuralyzed between films and given a WrittenInAbsence to make way for the return of Creator/TommyLeeJones.
* In ''Film/MysteryMen'', The Bowler.
* With the exception of Kelly, the female characters in ''Film/MysteryTeam'' play very little part in the story, and are only in a few scenes each.
* In ''Film/TheNakedSpur'', Lina Patch (Janet Leigh) is the only female in the five-person MinimalistCast. Her obvious sexual desirability is used by the bad guy, a fugitive who's been caught by a bounty hunter, to sow tension between the bounty hunter and the two partners the bounty hunter got stuck with.
* ''Film/OceansEleven'' and, for that matter, essentially every crime movie with an ensemble cast.
** The second movie averts it by bringing in Catherine-Zeta Jones, and the third movie plays it straight by dropping Creator/JuliaRoberts and Jones and bringing in Ellen Barkin. It should be noted that all three of these women were a love interest for one of the main (male) characters.
* ''Film/PacificRim'' has roughly 9 major characters, only one of which--Mako--is female. She's more assertive and plot-relevant than most examples, has her own story arc, and isn't presented as a LoveInterest despite some ShipTease with Raleigh. Sasha could have made the movie an aversion if she'd had more screen time [[spoiler:and if she hadn't been swiftly killed off via TheWorfEffect]].
* In ''Film/{{Predators}}'', Isabelle is shown to be the only female cast in the entire film.
** In the original ''Franchise/{{Predator}}'', the cast was made up of a bunch of battle-hardened marines and one female prisoner-of-war whose primary function was to create an EnemyMine situation.
* ''Film/PrinceOfPersiaTheSandsOfTime'' has princess Tamina as the only female character in the movie, but she proves she's not just there to look pretty. [[spoiler:[[RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething The fate of the world lies in her hands.]]]]
* In ''Film/{{Red}}'', Victoria and Sarah are the only female characters in the team, and Sarah is not even an official member, being a civilian who was caught up in the mess along the way.
* Dorothy Lamour in the Creator/BobHope/Music/BingCrosby "Film/RoadTo" movies (''Road to Morocco'', etc). Creator/RogerEbert referred to "Dorothy Lamour Syndrome" in his Little Movie Glossary; when two men and one woman have a dialogue in a movie, the woman is usually reduced to looking back and forth between the two men as they talk. Lamour had an excuse, as Hope and Crosby were frequently off-script and adlibbing.
* Film/{{Salt}} was the only known female CIA agent and Russian spy.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'': Leia is the only major female character in the original series, and Padmé is the only major female character in the prequels.
** It affects the merchandise, too. Toy producer Creator/{{Hasbro}} has always been reluctant to make action figures based on Padmé's various gowns, but have settled for releasing one a year.
** ''Film/ThePhantomMenace'' has a DoubleSubversion. It appears there are two major female characters, Queen Amidala and Padmé, but [[spoiler:in the end they turn out to be the same person.]]
** After the ThereIsAnother line in ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'' someone suggested to Creator/MarkHamill that the mysterious second Jedi might be Leia. Hamill joked that she had too much power already. "She's the only woman in the universe! If you don't make it with her, you're a monk!" An early draft of the script for ''[[Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack Empire]]'', written by Creator/LeighBrackett, included Luke's twin sister -- who was ''not'' going to be Leia, but instead another Jedi, already in training on some remote planet. This idea was never developed, though the "ThereIsAnother" line might be a reference to it.
** ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'' was originally to include shots of several female Rebel pilots in the attack on the Death Star, with at least one getting a substantial amount of dialogue, but for unknown reasons these shots were all removed from the final cut. The one line of female dialogue that remained in the scene ("got it!") was over-dubbed with a male voice.
* In the 2011 J.J. Abrams' film ''Film/{{Super 8}}'', Alice Dainard is the only female in a group with 5 young boys making a film and navigating their way through their adventure. In fact, she's pretty much the only female in the entire movie, other than one of the boys' mothers.
* Sif is the only ActionGirl in Film/{{Thor}}'s gang of warriors. This is {{lampshade|Hanging}}d in the film, where it is noted that Sif is the only girl in Asgard to want to become a warrior, and must do so in the face of entrenched sexism. Anyone who knows about Norse history or mythology will find this odd, since Scandinavian women enjoyed more freedom than women almost anywhere else in the world during the medieval period, and Norse Mythology features several {{Action Girl}}s.
* The ''TransformersFilmSeries'' has exactly one female Autobot, who gets one short line and appears on screen in ''Film/TransformersRevengeOfTheFallen'' for the entirety of thirty-eight seconds (before getting blasted away), making her appearance more or less a cameo.
** Depending on the medium. In the film itself there are three female Autobots: Arcee, Elita One and Chromia. Arcee gets the most screen time and the line, but the sisters do get a good fight scene with Sideswipe at the beginning. In the novel and comics Arcee is the central component with Chromia and Elita One as drone units she controls and they can combine into a larger robot.
** Arcee was cut at the last minute from the [[Film/{{Transformers}} first movie]] and was replaced by Ironhide because of negative fan reaction to her. Also, it was decided that there wasn't enough time to discuss why there were female Transformers in the first place (not that it stopped them from appearing in the [[Film/TransformersRevengeOfTheFallen second movie]]). There are a handful of female human characters, though most are simply eye candy.
* In the 2010 film TheTraveler, Jane Hollow is the only female police officer present in the film, and the only female who took part in the assaulting of the drifter 1 year prior to the story.
* In ''Film/{{Wanted}}'' (2008), the sociopathic female [[ActionGirl killer-for-hire]] Fox (played by Creator/AngelinaJolie) is the ''only'' female member of an ancient fraternity of assassins, and (what else did you expect) the top-ranking member. Sex sells even [[StrawCharacter Strawman Political]] orgies of violence.
* Notice that before the 60's, almost all film adaptations of classic adventure novels by Verne, Wells, London, Rider Haggard, etc... try to shoehorn a lady even if the original literary work had no use for them.
* ''Film/TheScribbler'' [[{{Inverted|Trope}} inverts the trope]]; the character of Hogan is the only guy in an otherwise all-female psychiatric halfway house.
* The Canadian cheese-fest, TheFinalSacrifice, has literally only one female character in the entire film...dear old Aunt Betty. Any other feminine presence consists of the voices of a phone operator & radio announcer and a photo on Zap Rowsdower's dashboard (Servo: 'I'm Sherry!'). With the exception of Betty, the whole film is a sausage-fest from main characters, the villain, mooks & extras (one, actually, a gas station attendant). How the Ziox people managed to exist for eons is anyone's guess...maybe the evil Ziox cult's like the Taliban.

[[folder:Multiple Media]]
* While ''Literature/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory'' has a not-bad 3:2 male-female ratio for the Golden Ticket finders and 5:4 ratio for the parents/guardians who come with them (the latter reduced to 3:2 in adaptations), there is a tendency for the GreekChorus of Oompa-Loompas to be depicted as almost or exclusively male in adaptations, even though the novel makes it clear there are females. Only males are seen in [[Film/WillyWonkaAndTheChocolateFactory the 1971 film]] and [[Theatre/TheGoldenTicket 2010 opera]] (the latter has an all-female squirrel chorus as a counterpart). While ''hundreds'' are seen in the [[Film/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory 2005 film]] only ''one'' is depicted as female, though this is partially because [[ActingForTwo one actor plays all of them]]. The [[Theatre/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory 2013 stage musical]] has about equal numbers of male and female Oompa-Loompas played by the chorus.

* Atalanta was the only women on board the Argo in ''Jason and the Argonaunts''. Some myths state that Jason refused to allow a woman on the ship, which meant that Medea would be the only woman on the voyage back.
* Of all the gods and goddesses in the Roman pantheon, UsefulNotes/{{Venus}} was the only one to have a planet named after her.
** It wasn't always like this. Originally, the six planets were Sun/Sol (male), Moon/Luna (female), Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Two out of six isn't that bad. After Sun and Moon were removed, the next planet that was discovered was named Ceres, also female. So for a short time two of five planets were female. Ceres was later demoted into an asteroid, just like Pluto a few years ago.
*** Dwarf planets avert this. Of the five most recognized, three (the aforementioned Ceres, Eris, and Haumea) are feminine. Similarly, moons are more often female than male, with many of Jupiter's moons being named for his lovers ([[ImmortalityBisexuality but there's still some guys in there]]).
** It's worth noting that many pantheons that assign a gender to the Earth itself make it female, including the Roman Terra, which is occasionally used as the "proper" name of Earth.

* Red Hot in ''Pinball/BanzaiRun'' is the only female racer.
* Of all the patrons in ''Pinball/{{Diner}},'' Babs (a caricature of MargaretThatcher) is the only woman.
* In Creator/{{Bally}}'s ''Pinball/DungeonsAndDragons,'' the only female adventurer is the Valkyrie.
* As with the arcade game, Chun Li is the only female fighter in ''Pinball/StreetFighterII''.
* Occurs with "Lola" in Creator/WilliamsElectronics' ''Pinball/{{Taxi}}'' pinball, the only female character in the game.
* In [[Creator/{{Zaccaria}} Mr. Game's]] ''Pinball/MacAttack'', only one of the HeroesRUs team members is female... and she's relegated to a FauxActionGirl, to boot.
* Barely averted in ''[[Pinball/BugsBunnysBirthdayBall Bugs Bunny's Birthday Ball]]''; Honey Bunny is the single most prominent female character, but she's also accompanied by She-Devil on the playfield.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* [=PPVs=] also fall victim to this since there will often only be one women's match per PPV (apart from Night of Champions when they had two titles so they had two matches; they skated around this in 2010 by having the unification match at Night of Champions) and indeed, as is often the case on the regular TV shows, a mixed tag match will often be counted as the token women's match despite the women usually taking a backseat in those matches. There have also been a few PPVs in which there are no women's matches at all.
* This is especially glaring in Wrestling/{{WWE}} where of course there are far more men than women on the roster with several different divisions devoted to the men while having a separate single women's division. For a while they had two different titles for the women (one for Raw, one for Smackdown) but they have since been unified leaving the women with just one title to fight for.
* In Wrestling/{{TNA}} they have a singles and a set of tag team titles for their women but in contrast to WWE, not enough women on the roster to have full fledged divisions for both. Indeed for the majority of 2010, the same woman (Madison Rayne) held the singles title and was one of the tag champions. While she was built up as a strong singles champion, the tag titles were mostly forgotten about and three months went by without the belts being defended at all. When new champions were crowned, one of them actually did not appear on TV at all after winning them and left the company a few weeks later while the other appeared once before also leaving.
* It's a problem in both WWE and TNA that each episode of their show typically features one women's match. Often, Impact and Raw will feature two women's matches (usually the three hour Raws where there is more time) but mismatched rosters means that Smackdown has about five women while Raw has about eleven and in 2010 most of the time the women were only featured in backstage segments on Smackdown since they had to avoid being too repetitive with matches. Then of course there's the odd time where there won't be any women's matches at all. Since the advent of the "Supershow" format, no divas matches on RAW and [=SmackDown=] are becoming the norm as the WWE tends to focus on its more popular male wrestlers like Wrestling/JohnCena, Wrestling/{{Sheamus}}, Wrestling/RandyOrton, Wrestling/AlbertoDelRio, Wrestling/TheBigShow, Wrestling/{{Kane}}, Wrestling/CMPunk, Wrestling/TripleH, and [[Wrestling/BryanDanielson Daniel Bryan]]; who provide huge TV ratings and are more over with the WWE Universe than the Divas (with the exception of Wrestling/VickieGuerrero, of course).
** Raw is a big offender since the most the women usually get for a segment overall is on average five minutes at best. 2010 had an outrageous series of weeks where a match was one minute long, the next week 50 seconds and the week after that less than 20 seconds. Though on the 3 hour Raws, the women will usually get more time for matches.
*** Rectified on the BShow, at least after it has been established and main eventers give way to those who need more screen time. Women get as much time to wrestle here as the men and promos as backstage segments are rare.
* In fairness though, while episodes will normally feature only one match, WWE and TNA do generally try to feature all their women on TV regularly. There have been cases where multiple storylines for the women have taken place at the same time with backstage segments and pairing the women with male Superstars. WWE have recently been quite good at making sure all their Divas are featured on TV regularly (without throwing them all in a multi diva tag match). NXT has been a big help with this, as is ''Wrestling/WWESuperstars'' and ''Wrestling/WWEMainEvent''.

* ''Dead Ringers'' featured a primarily male cast, with a single female member. This allowed the male impressionists to stick to the impressions they were good at or otherwise fitted their voices (and on the TV adaptation, appearances), while the sole female impressionist had to be three times better because she had to do ALL the women.
* When Sandi Toksvig first appeared on ''Radio/ImSorryIHaventAClue'' in the 1990s, she remarked how proud she was to be 'in the long line of women who have appeared on the show' (she was the third, and the show had been running for about twenty years at that point.) This provoked considerable laughter from the audience, and a sort of 'oooh' noise from Tim Brooke-Taylor.
** Barry Cryer proceeded to make the apologetic comment "Well, they were all [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosie_the_Riveter in the factories]] [[LongRunners when we started]]!"
* ''Radio/ImSorryIllReadThatAgain'' featured a primarily male cast, with a single female member who played fairly stereotypical female characters.
* Betty Marsden was the only female performer to appear on ''Radio/RoundTheHorne'' and its predecessor, ''Beyond Our Ken''.
* Creator/TheBrewingNetwork's Justin tries hard to make sure there is at least one woman on The Session- usually it's the chat moderator, with the role mostly filled in the early years by Daniela and afterwards by Beevo. Occasionally Suzie Q would join the crew. Listeners have criticised the show as being overly blokey as a result. The other shows are almost always 100% male, though Beevo occasionally makes a contribution to The Sour Hour, as she is working at The Hop Grenade while the show is recorded.

[[folder: Roleplay]]
* The Dino Attack Team in Roleplay/DinoAttackRPG has had 241 named agents over the course of seven and a half years, out of whom only 20 are female. While we're at it the medicinal department has fifteen major characters out of whom only four are women. There are still a number of female [=NPCs=] outside the team, though.

* Most action toy lines in general follow this trope, generally on the basis that boys won't buy action figures of female characters. This was the reason Katara from ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' never got an action figure despite being an ActionGirl on the main cast, while a male character, Bumi, who was only in ''one'' episode, got one. Howver, there were a far share of males who missed out on figures, like Iroh and Ozai, and a live-action Katara was made.
* Before they became animated series, the ''Franchise/GIJoe'' and ''Franchise/MastersOfTheUniverse'' toy lines debuted with a single female character each (Scarlett and Teela, respectively). Each added a female villain before long (TheBaroness and Evil Lynn). For a while ''G.I. Joe'' added one woman per year, plus variations on the existing characters. ''Masters of the Universe'' added...one.
** Although ''Franchise/MastersOfTheUniverse'' eventually spun off an entire Distaff Counterpart franchise, ''Franchise/SheRaPrincessOfPower'', which featured only three MALE characters amongst an otherwise all-female cast. (And two of those males, Kowl the owl and Loo-Kee the elf, were pretty androgynous anyway.)
* ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'' series' toy lines. All of them. [[FridgeLogic Though one could argue why alien robots conform to human genders in the first place]].
* Across Franchise/{{LEGO}}'s various themes:
** In ''Franchise/{{BIONICLE}}'', every major Toa team is composed of five males and only one female. The same goes for the Matoran villagers; the story focuses on six [[OneGenderRace One Gender "Tribes"]] of Matoran but only the tribe of water is female, and consequently all but two female characters are coloured blue. To make this even worse, most villainous groups of six, such as the Piraka or the Barraki, are entirely male. More Matoran tribes exist and are mentioned in the ExpandedUniverse: eleven male tribes, three female (Water, Lightning, and {{Ps|ychicPowers}}ionics), and a tribe of Light composed of both genders (for what it's worth, the tribe of Plant Life was intended to be female, but a typo set the tribe's male status in stone forever). So it took a while, but the ratio is now somewhere around four-to-one and therefore slightly more balanced than the main ensemble tends to be.
*** When the focus shifted to the Agori race on another planet, it was established that their tribes don't have the one gender rule. In theory, there can be more females than there were before since no one tribe ''has'' to be male[[note]]though later story material revealed that the Rock Tribe does banish its women[[/note]], and said females could be of any tribe. In practice, only one female character was introduced as a set in the one-and-a-half years of this story... and she was ''still'' the blue one. Supporting material discusses this somewhat -- the story arc in question focuses on [[GladiatorGames arena gladiators]] [[SeriousBusiness with survival of the race as a whole at stake]] (not the most feminine profession) and it's mentioned that female gladiators are generally less common because the villagers are less inclined to put their faith in female gladiators, which they perceive to be weaker. Of course, said sole female gladiator introduced really isn't at all fond of the sentiment.
** ''HeroFactory'' has a worse case of this, with the core group only having a single female character, Natalie Breez, and most of the villains also being male. The backstory does attempt to even out the ratio, but these toyless characters are still usually placed into insignificant and often stereotyped roles -- the entire Hero Factory telephone operator staff is made up of fembots, and the AnimatedAdaptation also introduces a typical bitchy TV-reporter. Since all characters are robots, perhaps their "gender" is specifically designed to fit these roles.
** In Life on Mars, an older theme from the TurnOfTheCentury, there is exactly one female character: Cassiopeia, a female Martian (distinguished from the others by her [[TertiarySexualCharacteristics eyelashes]]).
** LEGO's "Minifigures" series has received criticism for only having two female minifigures per series of 16. It doesn't help that they're stereotypes like cheerleaders and nurses.
*** ...and surfers, snowboarders and cavewomen.
** LEGO themes in general get this pretty badly - compared to most, BIONICLE actually had it downright ''good'' -, to the point that the fanbase tends to get excited by the female minifigs of the Minifigures series so that they can actually have a slightly more feasible number of females in their city setup or whatever. Hell, the theme which had the best ratio was probably the ''Franchise/HarryPotter'' licence, and even it downplayed every female except Hermione (with the next-most important female character, Ginny, only appearing in three sets across the decade of the line's existence; anyone else is lucky to get more than one). When ''[[WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars The Clone Wars]]'' animated series came along, LEGO's ''Franchise/StarWars'' licence also started doing a better job with more frequently occurring female minifigs; before that, any female minifig besides Leia was something of a rarity, and even Leia was an uncommon occurrence. In fact, Padme only popped up in her handmaiden disguise until a minifigure of her in her queenly garb appeared in a 2012 set.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* There are around two or three females in Visual Novel ''VisualNovel/{{Morenatsu}}'', none of which have in-game sprites.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Chain of Hearts'' tends to have a large imbalance of the male-to-female ratio. Granted, there are plenty of female characters (as the cast is massive), though this is overshadowed by the fact that the most powerful characters are male.
** Inverted in "The Watchers" arc. The title organization has about nine members, and only one of them is male. He's the second-in-command, and is often teased by the female members for being the only guy. But this is probably the author's subversion and attempted attack on the Smurfette Principle. It seems to go against the themes of previous arcs, but The Watcher arc is written by a different author (the other arcs alternate between three other guys). Oddly, the author behind "The Watcher" arc has a tendency to make fun of the other three authors by writing characters that are presented as male at first, but turn out later to be female...
* Anita Sarkeesian of WebVideo/FeministFrequency tells Hollywood that it is in fact possible to have more than one woman in your script. You could even have 2 or 3 women or even the majority of your cast be women.
* With Website/CollegeHumor's ''WebVideo/HardlyWorking'' skits, Sarah Schneider was often depicted as this.
* ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'' has Marzipan as its only female character. The fact that it uses such a MinimalistCast makes her ''the only female character in the universe''. She {{lampshade|Hanging}}s this fact in the page quote, found [[http://www.homestarrunner.com/whosaidwhat.html here]]. The creators of have repeatedly tried to add another female to the cast, but have never been satisfied that they've found a good enough concept to justify it, aside from the sake of adding another girl. This was spoofed in a special feature on the "Everything Else vol. 2" DVD, ''Why Come Only One Girl?''.
** The commentary to ''Why Come Only One Girl?'' points out that Teen Girl Squad eventually became their "new female outlet".
** The Cheat Commandos, as a parody of '80s cartoons, do this explicitly with "Foxface", whose action figure boasts "Lady Type!" and "Not One of The Guys!!" The latter is a direct reference to the token females of ''Franchise/GIJoe''. Even then, Foxface has never had a speaking part (though Crack Stuntman's girlfriend got a brief speaking part as a character in one episode.)
* WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick talks about this in a video titled "[[http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/thedudette/nostalgia-chick/16616-the-smurfette-principle The Smurfette Principle]]". At that point, she was also an example of it, though two other women joined the site at the same time, and Website/ThatGuyWithTheGlasses, as a site, has gone on to build a larger female cast. Her hiring was, in fact, an attempt by Website/ThatGuyWithTheGlasses to apply The Smurfette Principle: there were no female reviewers on the site at the time, and the site advertised a contest specifically to find a DistaffCounterpart to WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic.
* In ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'', Tex is very much aware that she's the only girl, until another is introduced in the fifth season. She also gets notably huffy when Donut is mistaken for a girl because of his new pink armor, and her teammates imply that she's not a "real" girl. She's also, undoubtedly, the biggest BadAss of the show.
* The trope is {{discussed|Trope}} in ''WebAnimation/GEOWeasel'', and referred to as "the law of webtoons". The same episode introduces the main female character, Sapphire, who is the only female character to appear for a while, though some later episodes feature Cass along with Sapphire before the series goes back to Sapphire being the only girl.
* ''Franchise/{{Noob}}'' has a decent number of female members, but the titular guild spent time with just one woman early in the work's run before introducing its female HonoraryTrueCompanion. The fact was blatant in the webseries, but the first installements of both the novels and the comic made sure to introduce the HonoraryTrueCompanion before the end. The two elite teams both have only one female player and a male SixthRanger, [[spoiler:plus one of them took in its male Team Wannabe over the course of the series]]. One of these teams got a second female member, but only in the novel storyline.