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!
An Action Girl is a female Badass
who is just as tough and kicks just as much butt as the guys do. Damsel in Distress
? Not her. She proves that girls aren't only "not helpless", they are strong
. 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 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, the view of this as a subversion has faded in some media, leading to stories where Action Girls are the norm rather than the exception, such as stories set in a World of Badass
, and especially a World of Action Girls
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 experiencing 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
- Action Girlfriend: She either makes up the other half of a Battle Couple, or covers for her non-action boyfriend.
- Action Mom: An action girl (woman more likely) who has given birth and kicks ass.
- Amazon Brigade: A group of Action Girls who consistently work together with no male teammates.
- Badass Princess: She's a princess.
- Black Magician Girl
- Cute Bruiser: She might look small, sweet, and mostly harmless, but she hits like a freight train. Not sure if this is exclusively female or not.
- Dark Action Girl: Because they aren't always heroines.
- Dragon Lady: She comes from Asia, and is often associated with The Triads and the Tongs or the Yakuza. Very likely to be a Dark Action Girl.
- Fair Cop: ...when female.
- Girls with Guns: Girls who are good with guns in general.
- Girly Bruiser: The Action Girl happens to be a Girly Girl.
- Jeanne d'Archetype: Action girls modelled on Jeanne Darcnote (Joan of Arc).
- Jungle Princess: Lives in the jungle, often protecting native tribes and animals.
- Kick Chick: Not only fights unarmed, but doesn't even favor her arms.
- Lady of Black Magic: A sorceress who's elegant in appearance and mannerism, who wields immense power with an air of dignity and grace.
- Lady of War: The Lady of Black Magic's sword/polearm/bow and arrow wielding counterpart.
- Little Miss Badass: Very young Action Girls who are notable for skills and abilities other than, or in addition to, physical strength.
- Little Red Fighting Hood: An Action Girl version of Little Red Riding Hood
- Lovely Angels: Two Action Girls who work together as a consistent team.
- Magical Girl Warrior: A magical girl who realizes spells and The Power of Friendship aren't always enough, so they're prepared to get physical.
- More Deadly Than The Male: If she wins fights by looking like the exact opposite of an Action Girl, and then being cunning and cutthroat.
- Never Mess with Granny: Sweet little senior citizen who can still kick your ass; may also be an Old Master.
- Ninja Maid: Her official job is as a household servant or employee: maid, butler, babysitter or nanny are the most common.
- Pirate Girl: She's a pirate.
- Pregnant Badass: If she's capable of fighting while pregnant. If she's extra ferocious because of said bun in the oven, this overlaps with Mama Bear, above.
- She-Fu: Action Girls tend to use lots of flips and cartwheels in fight scenes.
- Silk Hiding Steel: She's gentle and lady-like, but she'll cut you to ribbons if need be.
- Small Girl, Big Gun: Prefers a BFG.
- The Squadette: The only female in an otherwise all-male unit.
- Undercover Model: She's a police detective going undercover in a beautiful-woman-related job to investigate a crime.
- Valkyries: Work for Odin as choosers of the slain. They have an awesome theme tune.
- Waif-Fu: For when a small woman has to fight a much larger man.
- World of Action Girls: For works dominated by this character type.
Examples of Action Girls who don't fit into any of the sub-tropes above: