Action Girl
Don't fight like a girl...FIGHT LIKE A WOMAN.

"I'm a big haymaker in a title fight.
I'm a cute black kitten with a nasty bite.
I'm an action double-feature on a Friday night!
I'm me!"
— "I'm Me", Vanessa Doofenshmirtz from Phineas and Ferb

An Action Girl is a female badass who is tough and kicks butt. Damsel in Distress? Not her. She's featured in far more than the Designated Girl Fight. Expect regular appearances in actions scenes, facing dangerous foes and deadly obstacles, and expect her to win.

For the longest time in many cultures, Double Standards in both fiction and real life meant that when it came to action and fighting, guys definitely outnumbered girls. Men Act, Women Are was the rule of thumb, which led to the Action Girl being a subversion of what was acceptable. As society has marched on, this view has faded in some media, leading to stories where Action Girls become the norm rather than the exception, such as stories set in a World of Badass, and especially a World of Action Girls.

Recently this trope has come under fire from two sides. First from a Feminist direction that claims that it disregards the strength of real world women, who have persevered and made their mark, despite being physically weaker than real world men. Also, because it is so ingrained today, that one would be hard pressed to find a fantasy setting where the majority of female characters are NOT this, with attempts to explain to the audience exactly why a hundred and ten pound 13 year old is capable of fighting evenly with two hundred pound adult men becoming unnecessary. So conditioned are we to expect this, that any fantasy heroine that does not exhibit a fighting ability far superior to her experience, size, and strength(if not all three at once) is differential due to gender will almost certainly be called out as a Mary Sue, even if she has no actual Mary Sue traits. Despite this, it is far from a discredited trope.

The broad Action Girl concept can take many forms. Faux Action Girl is a case of presenting a character as this, only for them not to live up to the standards of this trope. Dark Action Girl is the villainous variety, and Affirmative Action Girl is a cast addition intended to balance out gender ratios that typically also falls under this trope. Less action-y versions include You Go, Girl! and Plucky Girl.

This is somewhat of a Cyclic Trope, with Action Girls often having surges in popularity in the 1940s, 1970s, 1990s and 2010s, probably not coincidentally times when the women's movement increased in prominence.

See below for even more subtropes and other variants.

Not to be confused with Action Girl, a comic series about an Action Girl.

A Super Trope To:

Genres and worlds populated by Action Girls:

Examples of Action Girls who don't fit into any of the sub-tropes above:

Alternative Title(s): Action Chick, Hot Chick With A Sword