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!
The Action Girl is a female fighter who can go toe to toe with her male counterparts without breaking a sweat. Damsel in Distress
? Not this time. She doesn't sit around waiting to be rescued. She's headbutting her jailer and breaking herself out,
if they even manage to kidnap her in the first place. She proves, with her very being, that girls aren't only not
helpless, they're strong. But not just "any girl with a fight scene" can be considered an Action Girl. An Action Girl is usually Badass
, and routinely and reliably gets in on the combat. And what's more, she wins
Because of Double Standards
, and their effects on Real Life
society most works draw on, true Action Girls are less common than male Badasses. If you want to get more into the why of that, check out the Gender Dynamics Index
or our very own Action Girl Analysis
page. The short version however, is the concept that Men Are Strong, Women Are Pretty
and females should Stay in the Kitchen
. For a very long time, females who did something outside of waiting to be rescued by men were unusual and rare. Even now, women aren't automatically assumed to be able to fight and protect themselves the way men are. Society has progressed since then and Action Girls are popular and more common than ever, but girls still haven't completely caught up with boys when it comes to expectations in media, hence the continued existence of this trope.
That being said, one must watch out for the dreaded Faux Action Girl
. With the popularity of the Action Girl increasing, creators are trying to slip them in for more appeal without actually giving them a chance to show themselves off. The "Action" part of the character is left as an Informed Attribute
, with characters constantly playing up how much of a badass she is, and yet when it comes to facing the music, she proves otherwise by being a Damsel in Distress
or suffering the effects of being on the wrong end of a Curb-Stomp Battle
, assuming she gets any action at all
. Basically she can talk the talk, but she can't walk the walk. Oh, and if she's on the right end of a Curb-Stomp Battle
, she's a Dark Action Girl
Sometimes an Action Girl can start off well, but derail
into a Faux Action Girl
or a full-on Damsel in Distress
over time, with no adequate justification for it. This is known as Chickification
When the Action Girl is mixed with the Smurfette Principle
trope, she is called a "minority feisty."
Compare the Action Girl with her Evil Counterpart
, the often far-more-aggressive Dark Action Girl
, and the more mundane versions You Go Girl
and Plucky Girl
. Not to be confused with Affirmative Action Girl
, who is just a girl added to the cast in an adaptation or new season to balance out the gender ratio, no matter what role she actually plays (though, often, the girl is
an Action Girl herself).
Not to be confused with Action Girl
, a comic series about
an action girl.
A Super Trope
- Action Mom: An action girl (woman more likely) who has given birth and kicks ass.
- Boobs of Steel: When girl's power is measured by the size of her chest.
- 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
- Lady of War: Adult Action Girls who are stylish and graceful.
- Jeanne d'Archetype: Action girls modelled on Jeanne Darcnote (Joan of Arc).
- Mama Bear: Adult, and only becomes an Action Girl when her children are threatened. However, sometimes Mama Bear was already an Action Mom, in which case threatening her children is likely an effective form of suicide.
- Never Mess with Granny: Sweet little senior citizen who can still kick your ass; may also be an Old Master.
- 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.
- Team Mom: Adult, and works with a group of younger people whom she considers her "children" (whether blood-related or not).
By preferred weapon or method of fighting:
By preferred weapon and teammates:
- Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: A female who uses a ranged weapon, paired with a male who is a melee fighter.
- Sword and Sorcerer: Similar principle, but replace "ranged weapon" with either "sword" (if she uses weapons) or "magic" (if she's the magic user instead). Her partner uses the other one.
Action Girl Attire
Closely related tropes, and tropes which often overlap with Action Girl:
Please list examples in the appropriate subtrope pages. Examples of Action Girls who don't fit into any subpages may be listed here: