One common method used in creating a Spin-Off is taking the main character of the show, creating an equivalent that's mostly the same except for being the opposite sex, and then packing the new character off to her own series. This allows the station or network to fill up extra space on the schedule with a known quantity, while (in theory) stretching its demographic to female viewers. This method is very popular among action-adventure series, which mostly appeal to young males. However, sometimes it can lead to a Counterpart Comparison situation.
While heroes are usually the ones to get this kind of treatment, it's been happening more and more to villains too.
They're also the third kind of Spin-Off, with a long-lost sister showing up or a new girlfriend brought in, only to repeat whatever circumstances gave the main character his powers/duties/what-have-you.
Just like how many female characters are defined by their relationship to the default or already established male character, many distaff counterparts are defined primarily by their relationship to the male counterpart. This can be shown through their visual properties, narrative connection, and occasionally promotional materials. They are often a wife or girlfriend, but can be a sister or friend to the male counterpart. Often, and especially if the characters in question are animals, the female character will have a bow on her head or other Tertiary Sexual Characteristic defining her as female and to set her apart from the "default" male characters. In other words, the male character or characters may have little or no stereotypical masculinizing gender specifiers, but his or their distaff counterpart or counterparts will have stereotypical feminizing gender specifiers to mark them as female. If the distaff counterpart is a girlfriend, she is usually the Love Interest to the male character.
A male character who goes through the Gender Bender will find himself turned into his own Distaff Counterpart. The implications for the character, writers, and audience are left as an exercise for the reader.
NOTE: "Distaff" means "female". Therefore, the inverse of this (a male counterpart to an existing female character or Always Female trope) is technically and traditionally a Spear Counterpart (which was named for the spearhead-shaped end of the symbol of Mars that represents males. You may also be thinking the "spear" meant something else).
SECOND NOTE: A "distaff" is a spinning device, used with a spinning wheel and, even before that, with a spindle. More here.Textile Work Is Feminine; that's why it's used to symbolize femininity.
Usually tends to wear a Gendered Outfit.
Compare Gender Flip, which reverses roles based on gender, rather than cloning them. If a normally gender-specific trope is played on its opposite gender anyway, that's a Gender-Inverted Trope (otherwise known as a rare male/female example). If they're fan-created, it's Rule 63. If this appeals to a fan fetish, it's a form of Playing To The Fetishes. When you take this trope to its literal conclusion, you get an Opposite-Sex Clone. See also Contrasting Sequel Main Character.
The laws of probability and large numbers will in all likelihood turn this into Truth in Television eventually for most of us.
Soul Eater (Manga): The whole Spartoi group.— When the group goes into the Book of Eibon after Noah and Kido-kun, the first chapter, "Lust" turns the males female and vice versa. They then make comments on how odd they look, until a team of Female Succubus come and try to defeat them.
By the same token, their partners in Digimon Adventure: Takeru Takaishi — Hikari Yagami
Seraphimon — Ophanimon
Devimon/NeoDevimon — LadyDevimon
Daemon — Lilithmon
Wizardmon — Witchmon
Beelzebumon — BelleStarrmon
Devilman Lady was spawned from Devilman, although it evolved into its own strange series. Since that name kind of doesn't make much sense, the official English version of the anime is called The Devil Lady.
This was at least partially the inspiration for Kinnikuman Lady - though in that case, it's an alternate universe where everyone is gender-flipped except Meat. Instead of being about the world's beefiest buffoon, it's about the world's ditziest bimbo. Joining the "stupid, inherently contradictory name" race is Kinnikuman Lady's bestest pal Terryman Girl.
In chapter 98 of Ai Kora, Maeda runs into a girl named Chizuru who turns out to be a "parts lover" like him... and happens to think he has really sexy hands.
Black Jack = Ray, from the manga and anime series of the same name.
Daily Lives of High School Boys has an interesting In-Universe use. A series of stinger skits called High School Girls are Funky features Habara, Yanagi and Ikushima, three girls who look, act and talk remarkably like their male counterparts Tadakuni, Hidenori and Yoshitake, respectively.
Eyeshield 21 has The Hero Sena and Action Girl Karin. Both were recruited initially against their will to join a football team. Both are considered the best in their specialty (running back and quarterback respectively) and both Apologises a Lot with low self-esteem and being the Nice Guy / Nice Girl. The only thing really different about them is their gender and appearance.
While both are genderless, the Mewtwo in the 16th Pokémon movie is more feminine than the more masculine one seen in the first one. It is also more of a pure hero, while the one in the Kanto movies was more of an Anti-Hero.
The Terminator comic "End Game" has Jane Connor, which is apparently what you get if Sarah Connor gives birth in a hospital. The birth of Jane Connor apparently cuts the war against Skynet's timeline in half, with the humans winning earlier.
Supergirl is the Trope Codifier. Although not the first female copy of an established hero (Mary Marvel and Bulletgirl preceded her), she has had the most longevity and the most incarnations, including her own movie. Despite this, DC never really seems to know what to do with her, and the character has never found her niche.
Power Girl, being originally Supergirl's alternate universe counterpart before Crisis on Infinite Earths brought her to the main DCU, is also a distaff counterpart of Superman. DC's done a better job of finding a niche for her.
In the New 52, a significant addition to Supergirl's Rogues Gallery has the distinction of being the Distaff Counterpart to two major Superman foes- Reign has a very Doomsday-like originnote a Super Soldier created on Krypton from an alien infant, Gone Horribly Right, and a very Zod-like personalitynote Smug Super conquerer with a personal vendetta against the protagonist's family, deeply driven to make said protagonist submit to them. Incidentally, she basically presents herself as Kara's Evil Counterpart as well.
The Authority featured several issues where the team recruited distaff counterparts from alternate dimensions.
Immensely common in comic books. The first one was probably Mary Marvel, spun off from DC's Captain Marvel in the 1940s, and it continues to the present day, with characters like Supergirl, Batgirl, She-Hulk, Spider-Woman and Stargirl (both a female Star-Spangled Kid and a female Starman). Some of these are also Legacy Characters. They can also exist in Alternate Universe Fics that are written by fans or Elseworlds published by the companies themselves, where different female characters receive the Call to Adventure in lieu of their male counterparts in the mainstream universes.
In comics, this is necessary for the purposes of trademark and copyright protection, since if the comic companies don't publish the obvious derivative characters then others would be legally able to do so. One well-known example of a company losing a counterpart trademark is how one of DC Comics's most famous characters is Wonder Woman, but Marvel Comics was able to secure the trademark to Wonder Man. Stan Lee specifically mentions the Wonder Woman and Wonder Man trademarks as a reason why Marvel created Spider-Woman to secure rights to the Spider-Woman trademark.
Marvel tends to subvert the trope more than DC.
Despite the similar name, Spider-Woman is not a spin-off of Spider-Man. She does not resemble Spider-Man, and the characters have nothing to do with each other. (Though, like all Marvel Universe characters, they occasionally cross paths.)
Ms. Marvel, although starting as a distaff counterpart of Captain Marvel, has now taken the Captain Marvel title herself, and is more important to the Marvel universe than the original Captain Marvel ever was (making her more of a successor, rather than a spin-off). [Note that this is referring to Marvel's Captain Marvel, not DC's Captain Marvel (which spawned the distaff counterpoint Mary Marvel, as mentioned above).]
She-Hulk (the less-prominent cousin of the original Hulk) plays the trope straight, however.
Some of the distaff counterparts are very obscure, like Element Girl, the female Metamorpho. She is mostly known for being saved by Death from a sad and lonely existence in The Sandman. Since then she has made another appearance outside of DC continuity in Wednesday Comics. The concept has since been recycled in the form of Element Woman, a new Korean American successor to Element Girl.
One particularly shameless example is Thor Girl, obviously a counterpart to Thor. What makes it silly is that "Thor" isn't a superhero alias, it's just Thor's name. Putting "Girl" on the end of it is roughly equivalent to calling Supergirl "Clark Kent Girl" or Spider-Woman "Peter Parker Woman".
And then Loki had to go and one-up this; he became his OWN Distaff Counterpart for awhile by stealing the reincarnation body intended for Sif.
Aquagirl, the female equivalent of Aquaman's sidekick Aqualad.
The graphic novel Camelot 3000 features Sir Tristan reincarnated as a woman, forcing him to re-examine his medieval views toward gender roles, especially since the feelings between him and Isolde, also reincarnated as a woman, are unchanged. Their enduring passion for each other ultimately transcends gender, and the two remain together.
It gets a bit confusing when you consider that Earth 11 features Gender Flip versions of characters that already HAVE Distaff Counterparts, or who already ARE distaff Counterparts. For example; Superlad.
The Ame-Comi universe features most of the primary hero roles in the hands of the usual female distaff counterparts. So Jesse Chambers is The Flash, Carrie Kelly is Robin, Natasha Irons is Steel, etc.
Metal Men Issue 32 features a story called "The Metal Women Blues", where the team gets jealous of Tin and Nameless and get their creator, Will Magnus, to create opposite sex counterparts for them. During the subsequent mission, a rift grows between the males (Gold, Iron, Lead, Tin, Mercury, and Platinum Man) and females (Gold Girl, Iron Girl, Lead Girl, Nameless, Mercury Girl, and Platinum).
In the '90s, the producers of the Zorro comics introduced spin-off character Lady Rawhide, who, although sharing his quest for justice, was otherwise decidedly not a distaff counterpart. In the interest of being accurate to the Wild West setting, she was rather plain and wore a demure, tasteful costume. Or not.
Zatanna, the daughter of Zatara. Rare case where the distaff counterpart completely overshadowed the original in terms of popularity.
She-Hulk — made shortly after a The Benny Hill Show sketch which showed a woman hulking out — was a deliberate move by Marvel to ensure that a copyright for a female Hulk character was established.
There were also rumors at the time that CBS was planning on making a spin-off of the wildly successful Hulk TV series starring a female Hulk. At first Marvel assumed that they would automatically receive royalties from CBS should it happen. However, when Marvel moved to collect royalties from the Benny Hill sketch, Marvel's own lawyers told them they couldn't. Marvel realized that they wouldn't receive any royalties from CBS either, so they created She-Hulk.
Sharon Ventura aka Ms. Marvel II who became a female version of the Fantastic Four's Thing. She doesn't like the codename She-Thing.
The new Marvel NOWFF series introduces Miss Thing, a young woman in a Thing costume.
"All the ladies just want to be me, I guess." — Spider-Man, Incredible Hercules #139
American Dream, in the Marvel Comics 2 universe Spider-Girl comes from, is a distaff Captain America. A little more than half of the heroes in this 'verse are heroines, in fact.
A villainous example from Marvel Comics 2 is Magneta, a female version of Magneto with her own Sisterhood of Evil Mutants. And then there's Aftershock, the daughter of Electro, an enemy of Spider-Girl who's picked up the feud their fathers had.
The Ladyhawk twins, who were inspired by (and wear costumes patterned after) The Falcon.
Rikki Barnes started off as (essentially) the female version of Captain America's sidekick Bucky.
Sunfire's little sister Sunpyre, who had a costume and powerset nearly identical to those of her brother.
Carrie Kelly, the Robin from The Dark Knight Returns. Stephanie "Spoiler" Brown's brief run as Robin may also count.
She's this to Daken as well, possibly even more so than with her father.
Rachel Alves, the female partner from Greg Rucka's run on The Punisher. She wears the exact same outfit as her male counterpart, with very little skin showing. Rucka's run ended with Alves hauled off to prison after accidentally killing an innocent cop, and his concluding "War Zone" miniseries has Frank freeing her to carry on the mission in Los Angeles.
Tallulah Black from Jonah Hex. Like Hex, she's a physically and mentally scarred individual with absolutely nothing to lose.
Several of Spider-Man's villains have had this done to them. A female Vietnamese scientist was transformed into Quicksand (and ironically started out fighting The Mighty Thor), Doctor Octopus has Lady Octopus as his girlfriend/student/successor, Kraven the Hunter's wife and daughter have taken up his mantle, Scorpia acquired superhuman powers and a mechanical tail similar to those used by the Scorpion, and among the several people who've taken up the mantle of Jack O' Lantern is Maguire "Maggie" Beck.
Not to mention newcomer Lady Stilt-Man. Who has since dropped the "Lady" despite remaining a lady.
Oddly enough, Lizard's distaff counterpart Komodo does double duty as both this and as a good counterpart.
The Venom symbiote once took a female host, known as She-Venom. A clone of the symbiote has had two hosts, both female - one called She-Venom (again) and one called Mania.
Namora and Namorita to Namor the Sub-Mariner. All half-human and half-Atlantean, part of the Atlantean minority of being born pink skinned (although Namorita would later develop blue skin), with Flying Brick power set, raised within the Atlantean royal family and more importantly all known more for their connections to other hero groups than their solo adventures.
Miss Martian to Martian Manhunter. Notable in being one of the few superheroine distaff counterparts whose costume covers more than the male version; Miss Martian wears a Sailor Moon style outfit, which covers quite a bit more than "two leather straps and a speedo." In personality she started as pretty much an Expy of the animated Teen Titans Starfire.
On the subject of distaff counterparts with a more concealing costume: Bombshell to Captain Atom. Bombshell wears a t-shirt and trousers, while Captain Atom is effectively naked.
Natasha Irons started off as the replacement Steel when her uncle John took a break from his Powered Armor. She ended up changing her Code Name to Vaporlock after gaining her own powers.
So you know Deadpool? There's also a female Deadpool in another universe. Named Wanda Wilson, her official name in her timeline is Deadpool as well. But she's also called Lady Deadpool, in the same way that "Zombie Deadpool's Head" is called Headpool.
In one issue, Deadpool was being coerced into joining a team of Canadian superheroes. First came the hockey-themed Puckman. Then, there was... Ms. Puckman.
Batwoman was introduced as a distaff for Batman back in 1956 (as well as to quell some vicious rumors circulating about Batman and his young ward), serving as a feminine counterpart to his crime-fighting adventures (using "feminine intuition" and having cosmetic-themed gadgetry, for example). When she was re-introduced in 2007's 52 and given the lead role in Detective Comics her personality and history were updated. The Cutter arc of Detective Comics goes into an explicit examination of the parallels between the two characters, with alternating pages (And sometimes even alternating panels) following both characters as they each tracked a separate criminal (eventually revealed to be the same criminal, but the Batman scenes were about five years earlier), each one going through the same motions, victories and setbacks as the other.
Gamma Corps Black is a trio of Distaff Counterparts to Hulk villains. Aberration (Female Abomination), Axon (Female Zzazz) and Morass (Female Glob).
That first one is a little redundant, since the Gamma Corps proper already has Mess, a female counterpart to the Abomination.
Galactus now has a daughter called Galacta, who is essentially the same concept, if less powerful, pickier about her diet, and considerably more adorable. Think Empowered (same creator), but replace Emp's image issues with food issues and a daddy complex.
The Darkness universe has a triad of both Distaff and Spear Counterparts: The Darkness itself is a male entity in a male host and is diametrically opposed to the Angelus which is a female entity in a female host. In between the two is the Witchblade, a male entity in a female host.
In the pages of Marvel Age Magazine, Fred Hembeck introduced a Distaff Counterpart to Brother Voodoo, appropriately named Sister Voodoo.
The villain Thanos briefly created Terraxia the Terrible during his run in The Infinity Gauntlet, in an attempt to replace Death as his consort. Terraxia was an Amazonian Beauty female version of himself (she has the same purple skin, black empty eyes and wrinkled chin, as well as dresses in similar gold and blue). She apparently had all of his (non-Infinity Gauntlet) powers as well, including Thanos' strength, in that she was easily able to slay Iron Man and Spider-Man.
For a while Pepper Potts was a Distaff Counterpart to Iron Man, under the name Rescue. While her armour was destroyed, she still has implanted repulsor-tech, giving her a few Iron Man-like powers.
It can get confusing when you realize that there are currently two Hawkeye's in the Marvel universe - the original, Clint Barton and his Distaff Counterpart Kate Bishop. The latter took up the mantle (later officially acknowledged by Captain America) as part of the Young Avengers when the former was dead. When Clint came back, he ended up acknowledging that Kate was the best archer he'd ever met and simply allowed her to keep the monicker, even when he went back to being Hawkeye himself.
One short story from earlier comics has a Coalition player who happens to be Omega Zell's boss in real life turn out to be a Straw Feminist version of Omega Zell ; the fact even gets lampshading by Gaea.
Shaun of the Dead: There is a recurring female character, a friend of Shaun's named Yvonne, that is a sort of parallel universe version of Shaun. A scene where the two, along with their respective survivors, meet in someone's backyard is one of the film's highlights. At the end of the movie She appears with the British Army and saves Shaun and Liz, who are alone and have been cornered by zombies; her party's fate is assumed to have been much happier than Shaun's.
There is a Soviet movie called "My Dearly Beloved Detective", featuring two female detectives named Holmes and Watson. The male ones are fictional in the movie.
In Lethal Weapon's third installment, Lorna Cole is very much the female Riggs.
A person wrongly convicted of murdering their spouse, escaping from custody, determined to track down those responsible, pursued—and eventually aided—by an equally determined lawman played by Tommy Lee Jones? No, not Richard Kimble. Libby Parsons. The filmmakers tried to jazz it up by having the spouse in question having faked his death and having Libby escape from parole rather than prison, but viewers and critics weren't fooled. There's a reason Double Jeopardy is referred to as "The Female Fugitive", to the point where people genuinely needed to be reminded that it was not another sequel.
Eisenhorn — By Dan Abnett of Warhammer 40,000 brings us Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn, a moderately powered Psyker who falls for one Alizebeth Bequin. Alizebeth is a "Blank" who not only cancels out his powers, but is difficult for him to be around as it causes him pain. Never the less they fall in love.
Mr. Men — Little Misses. In some cases, they are explicitly stated to be the sisters of the corresponding Mr Men. Specific ones include:
Mr Happy — Little Miss Sunshine
Mr Chatterbox — Little Miss Chatterbox
Mr Greedy — Little Miss Greedy (originally Little Miss Plump)
Mr Noisy — Little Miss Loud
Mr Small — Little Miss Tiny
Mr Uppity — Little Miss Splendid
Mr Tidy — Little Miss Neat
Mr Clever — Little Miss Brainy
Mr Bump — Little Miss Whoops
Mr Busy — Little Miss Busy
Mr Rush — Little Miss Quick
Mr Impossible — Little Miss Magic
Mr Quiet — Little Miss Shy
Angie's First Case is about Angie Zane, the distaff to Leroy "Encyclopedia" Brown, written by the same author. It didn't go over so well with readers.
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy — Queer Eye for the Straight Girl replaced five gay guys with three gay guys and a lesbian and a Straight Guy with a Straight Girl. On Straight Girl, Robbie (aside from being adorable) would frequently model the women's clothing.
Far more interesting was Straight Plan for the Gay Man.
iCarly: Dave and Fleck are the male versions of Carly and Sam respectively.
A couple of years after The Greatest American Hero ended, there was an attempted revival in which cranky FBI agent Bill was paired up with a new "Greatest American Heroine" in the form of a chirpy, flakey, relentlessly optimistic young teacher with '80s Hair who was something of a Genius Ditz.
In Doctor Who, Romana was a female Time Lord who was every bit as clever as the Doctor (although inexperienced). Hell, Romana II even dressed up in a pink and white version of the Fourth Doctor outfit sometimes.
The Rani was also, basically, a female version of the Master.
Columbo — Mrs. Columbo, which blatantly ignored Columbo's continuity, forcing the producers to change Kate Columbo's name, background, and even the show's name before it got cancelled after one season. In a later episode of Columbo, he refers to a young woman running around pretending to be his wife.
Kamen Rider Dragon Knight has Kamen Rider Siren, the girlfriend of Kamen Rider Wing Knight, who's got the same kind of personality and also kicks a lot of butt. In the original Japanese version, Kamen Rider Ryuki, Siren was actually called "Femme" and fell more under The Smurfette Principle. Among other things, Dragon Knight expanded the character's role; Femme was only around for a single Alternate Continuity movie, and she died at the end of it.
Before all this, Kamen Rider Stronger partnered up with Tackle, a girl who had likewise been cybernetically augmented by the series' villains. She was never called a Kamen Rider, which remained a sore point with fans for years and required various justifications over the yearsnote The Alternate Continuity manga Kamen Rider Spirits suggests that Stronger wanted her to rest in peace as a normal person and not as a warrior.
Kamen Rider Kabuto, already reminiscent of Stronger in many ways, carried the Homage further in one of the stage shows by introducing Kamen Rider Lady, effectively a modernized version of Tackle; her names derives from her theme insect being the ladybug.
The Movie for Kamen Rider Decade introduced Kamen Rider Kiva-la. While her civilian identity, Natsumi Hikari, was indigenous to the Decade canon, Kiva-la is part of Kamen Rider Kiva, this she kinda doubles up as a Distaff for both Decade and Kiva.
Spoofed/referenced in Entourage, where Johnny Drama was a supporting character in a Hercules-esque show, which got completely overshadowed by its female-centric spin-off.
Old Battlestar Galactica — New Battlestar Galactica: Boomer becomes Sharon "Boomer" Valeri, Starbuck becomes Kara "Starbuck" Thrace, Commander Cain becomes Admiral Helena Cain. There's also a female president, but she succeeds the late (male) President Adar, who was also in the original series.
Hannah Montana also features a fictional version called "Indiana Joannie"
A rare example of this happening in-universe occured on Married... with Children when Kelly got a job as a gatekeeper at a local amusement park. She quickly turned into a Distaff Counterpart of her father Al, complete with her own horror stories involving fat women who come to the gate and generally miserable, bitter outlook on life.
Another example occurred in one episode where Peg watches a preview of "Psycho Mom", a female version of "Psycho Dad", Al's favorite TV show.
Just Shoot Me! had Finch meeting his distaff counterpart Betsy, which at first seems like an incredible coincidence. It turns out he stole her entire personality in college.
Beaten to the punch in 2005 with Power Rangers S.P.D.. Giving us the first female Red Ranger in the entire history of either franchise, ironically given the masculine name of Charlie.
An unusual variant of this trope is present in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger: Due to the series' gimmick, the costumes and powers of various past Rangers who were male are now in use by female Rangers, complete with an appropriately gender-flipped costume.
In the Seinfeld episode "The Invitations" Jerry falls for a woman who's the female version of him played by Janeane Garofalo and they get engaged. Soon, though he realizes he can't be with someone like him because he hates himself so he breaks up with her.
She was about to do this herself. Probably the most mutual breakup of the series.
Home Improvement — Last Man Standing. In both shows, Tim Allen plays the father to three kids. The difference is, in Last Man Standing, all the kids are daughters instead of sons.
In The Sarah Jane Adventures, a spin-off of Doctor Who, Sarah has developed into a cool older character who fights aliens, and likes having younger people around to share in the magic of the universe; in other words, a female version of the Doctor.
The Big Bang Theory has Sheldon — Amy Farrah Fowler. And before Amy's indroduction there was Sheldon — Mrs. Hofstadter. While the latter acted almost exactly like Sheldon in every way, the former started off as such but the character grew to have her own personality and quirks to differentiate herself from Sheldon.
Prince's music factory cranked out a whole series of distaff Prince bands: Vanity 6, Apollonia 6, Wendy and Lisa, Sheila E...
Fifth Harmony - One Direction, since they both have 5 members and they both started out on The X Factor (The former in the US version, the latter in the UK version).
That's not all, they both consisted of five solo artists who were put into a group after getting rejected, they both finished third, and they have similar shorthand names (5H and 1D).
Quite surprisingly, Chris Boltendahl of Grave Digger has one in Federica de Boni of White Skull, despite his voice being about as gruff as you can get without edging into death growl territory. Chris has even done guest vocals on a couple of White Skull songs, seemingly just to demonstrate how uncannily similar their vocal styles are.
The incubus (a male demon which lies upon sleepers, in order to have sexual intercourse with them) has the succubus as a female counterpart.
Freyr and Freyja in Norse Mythology. Their names are even the masculine and feminine form of the norse word for "lord".
For April Fools' Day 2009, everyone at OAFEnet was replaced by their distaff counterpart — except Artemis, whose male equivalent was "Apollo". The entire site was turned from blue to pink, and even one of their running jokes got gender-flipped for this cartoon.
Rule 63 is an internet phenomenon in the vein of Rule 34 that any sufficiently popular male will be drawn as a hot female.
Including some characters, mostly Superheroes, who don't need to be drawn as such because, as mentioned earlier in comics, they already have a Distaff or Spear (yes, it's done to female characters as well) Counterpart.
Sara Del Rey in her initial face persona was this to Bryan Danielson (she was trained by him). She used his Le Bell Lock finisher, used "The Final Countdown" as her entrance music and called herself "The American Angel" (he was "The American Dragon").
Lita was this to the HardyBoyz (bonus points for being like this before they were teamed together).
The Women's National Basketball Association, which even started with a copycat logo (now updated to change) and has several teams with names inspired by the city's NBA one - helped by them usually sharing the same owner:
Current team pairs: Washington Wizards/Mystics, Minnesota Timberwolves/Lynx, Phoenix Suns/Mercury, and San Antonio Spurs/Stars (Silver Stars before 2014). (Plus a coincidental: the Oklahoma City Thunder/Tulsa Shock. The Thunder were first to arrive in Oklahoma, moving from Seattle to OKC in 2008. The Shock moved from Detroit after the 2009 season.)
Current NBA team, defunct WNBA team: Houston Rockets/Comets, Miami Heat/Solnote Spanish for "sun", Portland Trail Blazers/Fire, Sacramento Kings/Monarchs.
Continuity Snarl: Charlotte Hornets/Sting. The snarl involves the Hornets—that was the original version of the Hornets, which moved to New Orleans and eventually became the Pelicans. The expansion team that Charlotte later got, originally known as the Bobcats, will take up the Hornets name after the 2013–14 season. The Sting folded in 2007.
Also relevant to basketball, netball was originally derived as a variant of early basketballnote which, it might be noted, didn't originally have things like backboards or dribbling, as netball still doesn't deemed suitable or women to play (according to the accepted standards of the time)- though actual women's basketball in the modern sense evolved in parallel, itself having little variation in the men's game other than the size of the regulation ball.
In The Beautiful Game, countless top-level men's clubs have counterpart women's clubs, usually wearing very similar kit. Sometimes, both clubs are merely sections within a much larger multi-sport club. In other cases, the women's club is underneath the umbrella of the men's club. In still others, the women's club is technically independent, but has agreements to use the facilities and trademarks of the men's club.
Dragon Flyz — Sky Dancers
My Buddy — Kid Sister. Their commercials were often combined into one... and they shared a Theme Tune.
In Metal Slug 2, two female soldiers joined up with Marco and Tarma from the first game - Fio and Eri. Aside from when Eri (and Tarma) were booted from the playable cast for Metal Slug 4, they've remained in the series ever since. Their status as the female counterparts to the original duo is made explicit in Metal Slug 3 - halfway through the final mission, the Mars People abduct your character, and their opposite-gender counterpart takes over for the rest of the level: Fio for Marco, Eri for Tarma, and vice versa in both cases.
And to confirm, without a doubt, that each female is the counterpart of her respective male version, comes the fact that if there's a second player that is playing with the respective female counterpart during the Mars People abduction. The other guy/chick will be the chosen replacement for your missing character.
Hideo Kojima has a fondness for recycling alternate universe versions of characters he had created previously, almost like actors. During the development of Policenauts, he had a minor role for Solid Snake of Metal Gear - until, to shake things up, Kojima decided to make him a woman. Enter Meryl Silverburgh. When she was reintroduced in Metal Gear Solid, she was made into the niece (actually daughter) of Colonel Campbell and underwent a little Divergent Character Evolution.
A more direct example would be Olga Gurlukovch, a nomadic commando encountered in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. She does not smoke (Nastasha already filled the chain-smoking Eastern European quota in MGS1), but the rest of her character makeup in on-target: she packs nearly the same kind of pistol, utilizes cover and corner-learning during fights, isn't afraid to fight dirty to win (lobbing grenades, blocking Snake's line of sight with various objects, etc), and is quite scraggly for a solider. The difference is that Olga's a terrorist-for-hire, whereas Snake is a counterterrorist. Olga later defects to Snake' camp at the cost of her own life, so she's not all bad.
Snake's Archnemesis Dad, Big Boss, got his own distaff counterpart in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater when he was assigned to kill his mentor, The Boss. As this game takes place in the 60's, The Boss originates the use of Snake's trademark sneaking suit and bandanna, and indirectly invented the "Sneaking Mission" during her hostage rescues in WWII.
Being that, while they are both given as having psychic powers, Yuri mind controls, while Yuriko tosses things around with her mind, this might not exactly qualify. Their personalities are also different.
Yuri's Revenge, in adding Yuri's faction as playable in skirmish mode, introduced the "Virus" unit, basically a female version of the British-exclusive Sniper. Red Alert 3 continued that with the Soviet hero character Natasha. Additionally, Yuri's Revenge had Boris, the Soviet equivalent of Tanya with different strengths and weaknesses (can destroy buildings without having to reach them, but can't [or refuses to] swim).
The Elite Beat Agents' female division, the Elite Beat Divas. Curiously, the Elite Beat Divas seems to be just three girls, while there are five of the agents (and their commander).
It's not a straight example, but the Rogue Squadron comics had Soontir Fel, best pilot in the Empire since Vader's death, part of an elite squadron, eventually getting shot with a Y-Wing's ion cannon, being captured, and switching sides to fly in Rogue Squadron. The first Rogue Squadron game, the only one which didn't cling to the movies for characters and missions, had Kasan Moor, excellent pilot and rare female Imperial, part of an elite squadron, eventually getting shot with a Y-Wing's ion cannon, defecting, and switching sides to fly in Rogue Squadron. Her creator has said he was trying to make someone like Fel, and was a little sad to see that while Fel's role is always increasing, Kasan Moor lingers in the limbo of all Star Wars EU characters introduced in video games that don't involve Revan or Kyle Katarn, and has been used exactly once since. In another video game. Though at least it's one from a different studio, unlike every other character stuck in that limbo.
Mega Man X8 had two new Navigators to accompany Alia, a mainstay since the fifth game. Sure enough, all three of them can be unlocked as playable characters, Distaff Counterparts of the three heroes, having similar playstyles: Alia —> X, Layer —> Zero, and Pallette —> Axl. All they need to think about now is a distaff counterpart to Sigma. Better yet, they shouldn't.
A cross-series example exists in Ring.EXE from the Battle NetworkGaiden GameBattle Chip Challenge, who is, to date, the only NetNavi whose gender is the opposite of the Robot Master they were based on. In case you didn't pick up on the hint, Ring Man was male.
The Harvest Moon video game series practically lives off of these. There's Jack —> Jill/Claire and Mark —> Chelsea—but don't worry, there's more.
Mega Mewtwo X ↔ Mega Mewtwo Y: Subverted in that both are alternate transformations of the same Pokémon, and are genderless. However, this sort of relationship seems to be supported by Mega Mewtwo Y being feminine in the anime to contrast a previous masculine Mewtwo character, although X has not had a full appearance yet.
In the Super Robot Wars franchise, we have Ingram and Viletta Pliskin who, in their original game Super Hero Operations, started out as male and female versions of the same original player character. When their characters were later adapted into the Super Robot Wars Alpha series (and the subsequent OG series) Banpresto worked around this by changing Viletta's last name to "Vadim" and explaining that she was actually a gender-bend clone of Ingram.
In Super Robot Wars GC, Banpresto once again allowed the player to select a male or female version of the same character. This time around, both of them actually share the same exact name — Akemi Akatsuki — only with their given names spelled using different kanji. Lord knows how Terada plans to work around that one if he ever decides to put them into the OG series.
They start out, and remain for the respective campaigns that introduces them, a bit too different to be called distaff counterparts. Then they get a bit more things in common, and keep on picking similarities up over the course of the following campaigns and the expansions until this trope fits fairly well.
Parodied in Ace Attorney, where the producer of the popular series "The Steel Samurai: Warrior of Neo-Olde Tokyo" creates "The Pink Princess: Warrior of Little Olde Tokyo", featuring basically the same plot and setting but with a girlier gimmick (even the star of Steel Samurai, Will Powers, plays the Pink Princess in the sequel).
The Protagonist of Persona 3 has the Female Protagonist. She also has the male's Wild Card power.
Bayonetta is a female combination of Dante and Gene. Not surprising, considering all three were made by the same studio.
The Wii Fit series has two generic fitness trainers, a man and a woman, that help players with exercises. Both of them also appear together in the fourth Super Smash Bros. game.
In Robopon, Cherry and Diane are this to Sunny and Sun-02.
The eponymous character from Homestar Runner was going to have one of these, but the creators decided against it. She can be seen in the background of at least one cartoon, though.
Girlchan in Paradise!! does this with maytag, a complete duplicate of Kenstar in appearance except obviously female (while still humorously poorly voiced by a man). Despite this, nobody except the viewer can make the appearance connection.
Kenstar: Wow she's so pretty Yusuke: You're just saying that because she looks like (brief pause) a pretty girl! Kenstar: That would be why i said that.
Several non-canon MegaTokyo omake feature Piroko and m0h, gender-swapped versions of Piro and Miho based on their in-canon Cross Player game avatars.
Problem Sleuth features Distaff Counterparts/Opposite Sex Clones of the three protagonists, Problem Sleuth, Pickle Inspector, and Ace Dick, who live in the imaginary universe and which each briefly becomes during a "spiritual journey". Problem Sleuth gets Hysterical Dame, Pickle Inspector matches up to Nervous Broad, and Ace Dick gets... Ace Dick in a wig, because Ace's imagination isn't good enough to have an actual female alter-ego.
In Scandinavia and the World, most of the characters have sisters who (except the Swedens and the Americas) are basically the same as their brothers. The only notable exception is France, where the default representative is female, and Brother France is officially her spear.
In El Goonish Shive, due to the existence of alternate universes, Elliot's counterpart in the Beta Universe is a female version of himself named Ellen (who is not Main Universe Ellen's counterpart), and Grace has a counterpart in the Alpha Universe named General Shade Tail. In the non-canon universes of the side strips, Tedd has a counterpart in Tess.
Online web novel Pact has Rose , an alternate version of the protagonist Blake that exists only in mirrors and has power over them, and his closest ally. He and she speculate that she was created by their grandmother as a loophole in the mystical inheritance agreements that state that only a female grandchild will inherit the grandmother's manor, fortune, and impressive numbers of enemies.
They Made Me Watch Thisdiscussed this when he mentioned that the Nostalgia Critic hired the Nostalgia Chick so he wouldn't have to to review all the girlie stuff. Then when he mentioned getting his own counterpart, he realized she would instead get to review all the action flicks, and then realized that was already Obscurus Lupa.
Somewhat subverted by the fact that unlike the original male examples (which can involve Jerkass / Nice Guy activities in any type of situation), the female versions tend to focus primarily on sex and relationship topics, perhaps because most Internet meme creators are male. In particular, the Good Girl Gina meme has been accused of Unfortunate Implications, as most of her "good deeds" are agreeing to performing various sexual favors as imagined by the male image creators. One Good Guy Greg image even lampshaded this issue.
In Transformers Animated, the essentially-immortal Starscream creates a squad of five clones which, as the female clone points out, are each based on an aspect of his personality: A suck-up, a coward, a pathological liar, an egomaniac, and the female clone. When Starscream asks her what part of him she's from, she simply states, "Don't ask."
In "Dr. Quym, Medicine Woman", the Venture Brothers meet female counterparts of the main cast in the jungle, including a violent hulking female bodyguard and a pair of twin sleuths.
We must not forget Alvin and the Chipmunks, whose distaff counterparts are Brittany and the Chipettes. The male chipmunks already made the jump to live-actionmovie, so the Chipettes naturally will appear in The Squeakuel, as a product of a development that stemmed from the first movie's stinger.
Superjail!! — Ultra-Prison, with female counterparts for all the main cast. Strangely, there were no female counterparts for the Twins... though this was probably for the better.
The newest incarnation of Winnie the Pooh from Disney features a six-year-old, redhaired tomboy named Darby, instead of Christopher Robin, though he's still in it.
The Smurfs have Clockwork Smurfette for Clockwork Smurf.
Orel's mutual crush Christina in Moral Orel is this, while their respective family members are the same gender. Both puppets even have the same head, but with different haircuts.
The Batman introduced Smoke, a female sidekick for Mirror Master, and Blaze, a female sidekick for Firefly. So far they're both Canon Foreigners and have yet to appear in the actual DC Universe.
Yes, there once was a YWCA (as well as an Alternate Religion Equivalent, the YMHAnote Hebrew, and itsDistaff Counterpart the YWHA). Eventually, as the meaning behind the acronym was forgotten, the other versions were folded into the YMCA, which then dropped the obsolete parts of their name and became the Y.
Not entirely true for the YMHA and YWHA—they merged with one another, but not with the YMCA/YWCA. Most locations of those groups now call themselves Jewish Community Centers. However, some locations under the JCC umbrella still call themselves the Y (or formally, "YM-YWHA"), with perhaps the most notable example being the famous 92nd Street Y in Manhattan.
According to The Other Wiki, the YWCA organization is now called "World YWCA", it is independent from the YMCA and focuses more of its time now on social-services and mission-type work.
The merging occurred at the local level: many local YWCAs are now affiliated with both YWCA USA (the American wing of World YWCA) and YMCA at the same time.
The Statue of Liberty was based on what the Colossus of Rhodes might have looked like as a woman, albeit much more modestly dressed. She is approximately the same height and wears a very similar crown to popular depictions of the Colossus.
The Girl Guides/Girl Scouts was set up as this for the Boy Scouts, after many girls expressed interest in joining the movement. Though (at least in the UK) the Scouts now accept girl members as well as boys, the Guides still remain as a distinct entity aimed at girls.
Gamma Corps includes Griffin, a Spear Counterpart to Betty Ross' brief time as the Harpy.
Power Boy is superficially a Spear Counterpart of Power Girl. He's actually a parody of all the unfortunate cliches of superheroine characterisation, by showing what they look like applied to a male character.
According to the writers of Aladdin, Jafar, the film's Big Bad, is essentially a male version of Maleficent. What makes those two villains similar is the fact that they both wield magic powers, they both wear long, flowing black robes, they both carry staffs in their arms, they both have birds for henchmen, and they both turn intoreptilian monsters at the end of their respective films. Ironically, according to the show House of Mouse, Maleficent actually ended up falling in love with Hades of all people!
Brienne of Tarth — Ser Loras Tyrell. Both are knights in shining armor who are introduced as winners of a tourney event, earning their victory with the aid of Combat Pragmatism. They are heirs to their respective Houses, but they love Renly so much that they would rather dedicate their whole lives to serving him as a member of his Kingsguard. They are completely devastated after Renly is slain, becoming knights in sour armor, and both swear vengeance against Stannis. Although they end up with different masters, Loras and Brienne remain devoted to Renly in their own way, and have performed at least one act of Undying Loyalty.
Queen Margaery Tyrell — King Renly Baratheon. They both believe that the Machiavelli Was Wrong approach to ruling is best, and as a consequence, they have earned a 100% Adoration Rating among the smallfolk (the Stormlands for Renly and King's Landing for Margaery). Renly's desire to be The Good King and the effort he puts into being A Father to His Men mirrors Margaery's ambition to be The High Queen and her Friend to All Children charity work. They are both well-suited for court life, intelligent, responsible, good-looking and charming. Margaery isn't at all bothered by the fact that Renly is sleeping with her brother, and unlike most Westerosi noblemen, Renly doesn't mind that his bride may not be a virgin. They both love Loras very much (in different ways, of course!).
Sansa Stark — Ser Loras Tyrell. Although neither of them are fully aware of the other's suffering in "The Climb," Sansa (an aspiring Princess Classic) and Loras (an aspiring Knight In Shining Armour) have learned the hard way that life isn't a fairy tale. Both of them carried romantic ideals, believing that they would "live Happily Ever After" with their beloved Baratheon ("Prince Charming" Joffrey for Sansa, "The Good King" Renly for Loras). Both have been crushed emotionally when their dreams transformed into nightmares (Joffrey turned out to be a sadistic psychopath and executed Sansa's father, while Renly was murdered not long after Loras pushed him to become king). Both have called Joffrey a monster.
An unusual variant of this trope is present in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger: Due to the series' gimmick, the costumes and powers of various past Rangers who were female are now in use by male Rangers, complete with an appropriately gender-flipped costume.
Dykes To Watch Out For: The Indelible Alison Bechdel included a strip called "Guys to Watch Out For" which showed each character's Spear Counterpart. In particular, Mo is being inaugurated as president of the United States.
The Mighty Max toyline was created in 1992 as a Spear Counterpart of the Polly Pocket toyline, which exists since 1989.
The G.I. Joe toyline (which started in 1964) is often considered as an Spear Counterpart for the Barbie toyline which was available since 1959)
The perception of our own body images. It's fairly common knowledge that girls are more easily suspectible to eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa in an attempt to lose weight because they think they are too fat. Less commonly known is that the opposite generally holds true for guys, who try to get bigger instead. In the belief that they are too skinny or scrawny some will almost obsessively work out and eat a lot of food in order to put on more weight (in the form of muscle mass). This tends to happen more often to those who are already perceived as being very physically fit or muscular, and is known as muscle dysmorphia or, appropriately, reverse anorexia. Both are essentially nasty side-effects of the way our modern media portrays the ideal body figure for both women and men.