"The belief that boys shouldn’t be interested in girl things is the main reason there’s hardly anything decent for girls in animation — or almost any media for that matter. It’s a backwards, sexist, outdated attitude."Mainly, the Double Standard most people have regarding media: that women's entertainment should only be enjoyed by women with no crossover allowed — despite it being okay for women to watch shows primarily marketed towards men — keeping in mind most media is male-focused. Not to mention the stigma that media specifically tailored for women is 100% guaranteed to be of inferior quality, no exceptions. This line of thinking is very clear in most creators and executives' minds. Men and women could watch shows meant for men/starring a man, only women could like a female-centered, never mind "girly", show. Watching a girl show would be unmanly and be subject to ridicule. Just watch any show and the guy who's the more sensitive and caring member of the cast is usually the Butt-Monkey. Women-targeted entertainment has a reputation of being worse than other shows. Common criticisms are that women's media is overly touchy-feely, simplistic, poorly-written, and shallow. This is mostly due to the aesthetics of the media (and not to mention a lot of it is fashion-based). The men can be the badass heroes and problem solvers who go on quests, but women don't do much except entangling themselves in their relationships and wallowing in a soup of hormonal emotions. Some Merchandise-Driven shows sport a variation, where the show itself doesn't have this problem as much but it's the merchandising that takes a hit. Showing off a Red Ranger figure in the playground is cool, showing off a Pink Ranger figure is an invitation to get beaten up. Or at least that's what toy companies think; even when the girls aren't dressed up in bright pink they'll just assume no boy will be interested in buying their stuff (and they don't even try getting girls to buy said stuff on the assumption that girls don't and won't buy things like Power Ranger figures). Starting in 2014-15, if you see a Twitter hashtag asking "Where's [the girl]?" (like #WheresGamora, #WheresBlackWidow, #WheresHera, #WheresRey, #WheresSkye), that's people responding to this trope in play. This attitude isn't as prevalent as it once was, but it's still rather pervasive. It's still taught at some film schools and since Most Writers Are Male, they're going to go for what they think is the greatest audience. Despite Rated M for Manly being deeply entrenched in gaming culture, research has show it's actually the opposite: while boys largely don't care about whether the main character of the game is male or female, girls do and would prefer to play as a fellow female; the logical choice in terms of reaching the greatest number of players, then, would be a game about an Action Girl, but such things are the exception rather than the rule. The stigma is still entrenched not only in entertainment, but in Real Life as well. This may also be in play when women writers are encouraged to adopt a Moustache de Plume, which may be seen as increasing their marketability in a male-oriented genre. Compare Real Women Don't Wear Dresses, What Do You Mean, It's Not for Little Girls?, The Bechdel Test, Double Standard, The Smurfette Principle, White Male Lead, Race Lift, Animation Age Ghetto, Minority Show Ghetto, Lifetime Movie of the Week, Daytime Drama Queen, Chick Lit, Chick Flick, Extruded Book Product, Feminist Fantasy. See also Real Men Wear Pink.
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Anime and Manga
- Card Captor Sakura is a quintessential girls show, but when it was released for Kids' WB! the dub saw heavy edits to turn one of the male characters into a main protagonist along with Sakura, which included having half the episodes (mainly the ones without him) cut and promoting the show as "Card Captors," removing her name altogether to make it seem more unisex. Broadcasts outside the US aired the remaining episodes (save for two in Canada and the U.K.), thus clearly establishing Sakura as the protagonist. Funny enough, the Toonami promo made it abundantly clear that Sakura was the protagonist.
- According to DiC's pitch reel for Sailor Moon, attempts to sell the show in America included informing networks that the dub was distributed by the studio that made Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?, a show that earned fans of both genders despite its female leads, and also assuring the networks that, "boys will love the non-stop action!" Whether or not Sailor Moon has stayed in the ghetto after being Vindicated by History is unanswered. The series has its problems (and the North American dub didn't help), but its longevity and influence have taken it out of Acceptable Target territory.
- This was also an issue in Fox TV's ill-fated showing of The Vision of Escaflowne. The first episode focused on Hitomi and her crushing on a schoolmate with all of the action-y stuff (featuring the male main character) at the end. So Fox (wanting the show to appeal to a young male demographic,) just cut out the girly stuff and began the series with the action stuff, forcing them to chop up and rearrange huge sections of the show to fit their viewing format.
- Although the Fox Kids promotions were gender neutral, with one season 3 ad focusing on Rika even directly targeting girls with a "girl power" theme, the toyline for Digimon was affected by this trope. Kari was the only Digimon Adventure 02 character to not get a digivice toy, simply because hers was pink. And while some of the female Digimon like Birdramon and Kyubimon got digivolving toys, they were never the ones shown in the commercials. According to Word of God, Rika Nonaka and Renamon were specifically designed to try and break out of the ghetto the toyline had, by making them badass action girls that would appeal to boys as well as girls.
- Wonder Woman has had this problem. She's supposed to be one of DC's Big Three superheroes next to Batman and Superman, but they have had regular TV and movie adaptations while Diana's had a total of two, one TV series and one film (three if you count a direct-to-video animated feature). She's never been on the same level of sales as Batman and Superman and suffers from less Pop-Cultural Osmosis compared to them (most people would instantly recognize the name "Wonder Woman" easily enough, but not her supporting cast or Rogues Gallery.) The irony here is that Wonder Woman was created for girls, but for the specific purpose of having a female action hero who was equal to her male counterparts. But, apparently, being a literal Amazon still doesn't make you as "manly" as the most Badass Normal male hero.
- A prime example of this would be the critically acclaimed and fairly successful pre-New 52 version of Batgirl, written by Bryan Q Miller, who at the time was new to the scene and as such didn't have a following that would help most books start off. The series is still recommended by comic book stores due to being fun and awesome, but its been reported that more than not, the book gets turned down because its 'a girl book'.
- Some Fan Fiction writers hypothesize that Most Fanfic Writers Are Girls is the reason why 'fanfiction' is considered to be so viscerally disgusting by so many people. It's worth observing that on this wiki, most of the fanfiction included in tropes lists is either adventure-based stuff often written by boys (Shinji and Warhammer 40k), or relationship-based stuff that's legendarily bad (My Immortal).
- This opinion has even been documented in academic analysis of Fan Fic by ethnographer Camille Bacon-Smith and MIT's Henry Jenkins. Jenkins goes as far to postulate in Textual Poachers that Fan Fic in general is a reaction on the part of a female audience trying to find their own pleasures in predominantly-male media.
Films — Animated
- The Princess and the Frog did okay at the box office for Disney, but not nearly as well as its reviews and hype suggested that it would. Disney determined that this trope was the reason and was rumored to completely shut down adapting fairy tales into movies. For the marketing of their "Rapunzel" adaptation the following year, they completely downplayed the fairy tale-ness of the movie, changed the title to the somewhat more comedic-sounding Tangled, put the male hero character front and center, and marketed it like a Dreamworks comedy film. The advertising brought a whole lot of backlash but paid off — Tangled went on to become Walt Disney Animation Studios' first movie since The Lion King to break the $200 million mark domestically.
- At least one Beauty and the Beast ad completely downplayed Belle's role and the romance (this one). However, that's only one of the six trailers included on the DVD and Blu-Ray, and the actual theatrical trailer made no bones about the movie being about a woman and a romance.
- Lilo & Stitch managed to avoid the ghetto for the most part, despite its female main characters, and was the most profitable Disney film of this period. However, this may be due to the marketing focusing exclusively on Stitch, a presumably-male alien.
- The Disney Fairies movies are often criticized as Disney's answer to Barbie, though advertising, the toys, and the movie covers can understandably lead people to this conclusion. In fact they were originally set to be a lot more girly than they are before John Lasseter stepped in.
- The original story treatment of Chicken Little had a female protagonist, but Michael Eisner suggested a movie about a male Chicken Little would appeal to more people. The final film became a black sheep of the Disney Animated Canon, though it seems hard to tell whether or not the original plan would have fared better.
- Some DVD sets of The Secret Of NIMH that include its direct-to-video sequel, Timmy to the Rescue, have a cover that does not feature Mrs. Brisby, the main character of the older and more beloved of the two movies. Instead, it has her son, Timothy, the central character of the sequel. Not to mention that it's The Film of the Book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, Mrs. Frisby was dropped from the title of the film for the same reasons.
- Brave was an attempt to break out of the ghetto that didn't quite take, although its notoriously Troubled Production may have had something to do with that. The advertising for the film focused nearly as much on Merida's three brothers — comic relief characters with very little screen time — as her. While early fears that the first Pixar film with a female lead would be a Box Office Bomb despite the company's stunning financial track record proved unfounded, it's So Okay, It's Average quality confirmed the company was in a Dork Age after Cars 2, with a common complaint being They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot by not letting its feisty heroine set off on an epic adventure. Instead, she's tied down to a plot that boils down to she and her mother getting to know each other better in the process of breaking an enchantment that turned the latter into a bear — bringing up the stereotype that "women's stories" just deal with emotions rather than actions. Its Best Animated Feature Oscar win over the more popular, better-reviewed Wreck-It Ralph was controversial and even accused of being political correctness on the Academy voters' part. To make matters even worse, Merida becoming a Disney Princess meant that not only is virtually all of the film's merchandising aimed only at girls, but misrepresents her by making her appear girly and sparkly.
Films — Live-Action
- When The Princess Bride received a new 2-Disc DVD, fans could choose between two gender-specific covers: the pink "Buttercup Edition" with a cutesy synopsis on the back, or the aquamarine "Dread Pirate Edition" (seen above) with an action-packed synopsis. Later, the Blu-Ray came with a compromised cover: The bottom half featured Buttercup with Wesley, while the top had Buttercup with the Dread Pirate Roberts.
- Warner Bros. producer Jeff Robinov declared in 2007 that "we are no longer doing movies with women in the lead." This was after the poor box office reception of The Brave One (starring Jodie Foster) and The Invasion (starring Nicole Kidman). He even reportedly expressed that a male has to be the lead of every script in order to get broader audiences.
- The combined under-performances off Catwoman and Elektra pretty much killed off female superhero movies, even as superhero movies became a huge, reliable box office draw a few years later. It took a massive push-back from fans (who frequently pointed out that those movies flopped not because the leads were female but because... well, they weren't all that good,) to get the studios to finally throw audiences a bone and announce Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel movies for their respective franchises.
- The first Twilight movie nearly experienced this. The idea that female moviegoers alone could turn a film into a blockbuster hit was considered so unthinkable that, when Paramount was adapting the movie, they tried to make it far more action-heavy (basically, a high school version of Underworld or Blade) in order to attract the male audience that they thought was necessary. This page goes into detail on the changes that would've been made. These plans were vetoed by Stephenie Meyer, leading to Summit's far more faithful adaptation.
- The ghetto, along with the huge popularity of actor Johnny Depp, is probably why Alice in Wonderland (2010) 1) turned out to be an Actionized Sequel of sorts to the nonsense stories of its source material, and 2) focused its marketing campaign on Depp's Mad Hatter, although Alice is clearly the protagonist throughout the film.
- Oz: The Great and Powerful is a prequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz that focuses on a male character in a universe primarily defined by female protagonists and power-wielders. And the guy, unlike the gals, can't even wield magic!
- John Carter was originally titled A Princess of Mars, the title of the first John Carter story. But that was seen as too girly.
- Whiteout lost its second female lead because executives feared men would not go see a movie with two female leads. Carrie herself was turned into a much less dynamic character in order to give her male co-stars adequate supporting actions. This is ironic given the Les Yay subtext in the graphic novel and the Girl-on-Girl Is Hot trope, but perhaps they were worried about losing potential female audience members with too much Les Yay and no handsome male lead.
- This was proposed with the sequel to Aliens, with Hicks being the hero because it was assumed he'd attract both male and female viewers (also because executives weren't sure Sigourney Weaver would be available for another movie). Fortunately Ripley is so identified with the Alien series that any movie with them in is expected to have an Action Girl as a main character, even if it's not Ripley.
- In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Widow made herself known to moviegoers by becoming the first female member of The Avengers, but has yet to star in her own picture. As of 2016, her only film appearances aside from The Avengers and its sequel, Age of Ultron, consist of playing supporting roles in Iron Man 2 and two of the three Captain America movies, all of which have male leads. Female-led movies have been announced, though: one will feature the current Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers, and The Wasp will be promoted to co-lead in the Ant-Man sequel.
The MCU has also been getting hit with this, merchandise-wise, as Black Widow is barely featured in Avengers merchandise. It took four years since Iron Man 2 for Black Widow to get a solo action figure. She's missing in a lot of the team's group shots and barely present aside from a few toys - a Quinjet toy based on her Age of Ultron action scene in Seoul even swapped out her action figure for Captain America's. Age of Ultron's other heroine Scarlet Witch also suffered from a lack of merchandise (but then again so did her brother Quicksilver). The same applies to Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy; she was absent in the merch to the point where fans had to start a Twitter hashtag (#wheresgamora) to get Marvel to pay attention, and the "#Wheres____" format has caught on to call out a lack of girl merch in other films and shows.
- The Intern was panned by a lot of critics. One journalist noted that the majority of negative reviews came from male critics who disliked that the lead was female and worked in fashion. The director Nancy Meyers has frequently suffered this problem, with many of her films being dismissed with the "Chick Flick" label.
- Unlike the cartoon and comic, the Jem and the Holograms film fell into the ghetto. Compare the other times Hasbro properties have received live action film adaptations: Transformers received a budget of $150 million. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra received $175 million. Even Battleship of all things received a $220 million budget. The one adaptation based on a girl-oriented franchise? $5 million. While the cartoon broke out of the ghetto, the movie fell straight into it - barely making $2 million worldwide, though part of this may be due to the Uncertain Audience. Fans of the series loathe it for being all-but In-Name-Only while the target demographic likely doesn't know what Jem is.
- Similarly to the Marvel entry above, fans have not been pleased with the lack of female Star Wars merch. An absolutely egregious case with a Target exclusive Hasbro set for The Force Awakens, where they have main characters like Finn and Kylo Ren along with a generic Stormtrooper and TIE Fighter Pilot, all the while excluding Rey and Captain Phasma. While Phasma is a pretty minor character, Rey ultimately ends up The Hero of the film, making her exclusion mind boggling. Even J. J. Abrams, the film's director, isn't pleased with the lack of Rey merchandise.
- When a Star Wars-themed Monopoly set was released to coincide with the release of The Force Awakens, fans weren't pleased that the only tokens in the game were Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, and Finn, and were confused by the lack of Rey. Hasbro released a statement that they wanted to avoid spoiling the film, which detractors found ridiculous, wondering how in the world her inclusion could spoil anything. Eventually Hasbro announced that a version of the game with a Rey token would be produced sometime in 2016.
- In a subversion, some geek blogs pointed out that unlike, say, the Marvel movies; there was a decent amount of Rey merchandise out there — it was hard to find not because of low supply but because of high demand.
- Ghostbusters (2016) was Overshadowed by Controversy that mainly (though not exclusively) revolved around the fact that the main cast was a mostly-female Gender Flip of the mostly-male 1984 movie, with both misogynist and feminist factions viciously fighting it out. Credit should be given to Sony for producing and marketing film as simply a Ghostbusters reboot without making a big deal of gender, but it was still considered So Okay, It's Average and wound up flopping at the box office.
- Historical Fiction author Nancy Rue said at a workshop that the reason all of her protagonists are male is that girls will read "boy books" but boys won't read "girl books".
- The same thing was mentioned by John Christopher regarding The Tripods.
- And so did Diana Wynne Jones but she also said things changed during her career, and started writing books with female protagonists.
- J. K. Rowling was told to use initials by her publisher, who worried about this trope. In reality, Joane Rowling doesn't have a middle initial or name (the K is for "Kathleen", after her grandmother), and now her gender is common knowledge.
- The same goes for S.E. Hinton. In one interview, she said that she went by her initials because she thought no one would even want to publish The Outsiders if they knew it had been written by a woman.
- And Animorphs author K. A. Applegate.
- In-universe, the entire premise of 30 Rock is that Jack retools the previously female-oriented The Girly Show into TGS With Tracy Jordan, forcing female lead writer Liz Lemon to include a male comedian in a central role.
- A lot of women watch Spike TV. In fact, one of the creators of Spike TV was FIRED because too many women were watching it. However, their view has softened as they're now actually courting women to watch Spike TV as the channel is shifting from the frat boy demographic.
- A lot of Disney Channel's programming is aimed at girls, so Disney created a sister network (or should we say, brother network), Disney XD, because they couldn't get boys to watch the main Disney Channel's programming. Ironically, in 2009 it was discovered that more girls were watching Disney XD than boys.
- Strangely enough when Fox owned Fox Family, they tried the Disney XD strategy first with two different digital cable channels, the "Boyz Channel" and "Girlz Channel' in 2000. They were gone within a year due to pressure from outside groups that segregating networks based on sex was a bad idea, and cable providers didn't want to alienate anybody.
- Towards the fifth season of Charmed, the producers, in the hopes of drawing in more male viewers, started dressing the female leads in more revealing clothes and coming up with various episodes where the sisters would be transformed into magical creatures that would require a skimpy outfit. Alyssa Milano got the worst of it, becoming a mermaid, a genie, an Egyptian belly dancer, and dressing up as Lady Godiva. Rose McGowan was also turned into a wood nymph, and collectively the sisters became Greek goddesses and Valkyries. Hell, one episode had a witch stealing Phoebe's body and changing into a different skimpy outfit twice just because she wanted to show off. Before the eighth and final season, the actresses went to the producers and protested against the outfits. The sisters' clothing in that season is noticeably more modest, and it's new character Billie who becomes Ms. Fanservice.
- A combination inversion and example happened with Power Rangers. Originally, the creators tried to get girls to be interested in the show, by adapting some male characters from the Japanese original as females and selling fashion dolls of the female Rangers. Eventually though, it became clear that the show had far more appeal for boys, and the straight example came into play for the toys - since boys were thought to not be interested in playing with toys of the female heroes, said females only get a few basic figures in the toy line while the males get all kinds of special vehicles and power ups. This got to the point where, during the 2010 Re Cut of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, a vehicle clearly designed for the (female) Yellow Ranger was packed in with a figure of the (male) Green Ranger when the usual practice is to have a vehicle and its rider match.
- This has an interesting effect with shows in syndication. A lot of shows that were very gender-neutral during their original run can be put into reruns on networks that are considered exclusive to women (Network Decay aside, networks like Lifetime, Oxygen, and We have a long reputation of being solely for women.) A lot of shows that were gender neutral and incredibly popular with men and women, like Will & Grace, Frasier, and Roseanne, now have to overcome a stigma that they're shows for women.
- Stargate Atlantis is a weird example in that it was mostly marketed to young men, but it still attracted a significant Periphery Demographic of women. Syfy has a difficult time accepting that its scripted shows have a tendency to attract viewers in addition to/other than the ones they planned on, and Atlantis ended up getting cancelled to make way for Stargate Universe ... which then got a lot of flak for having significant elements of soap opera IN SPACE!
- In-universe example: in an episode of Friends Ross makes a comment about going to read a Superman comic and Monica immediately coughs "Wonder Woman" in an attempt to embarrass him.
- Doctor Who amassed a huge fanbase of both genders over 50+ years but its title character — a Humanoid Alien capable of surviving mortal injury via regeneration, whereupon their personality and appearance completely changes — remained a White Male Lead up through his twelfth numbered incarnation. As the revival series put more focus on the lives of the usually-female human companions who travel with him and serve as his Morality Chain, there was often grumbling that these characters were "usurping" the lead role (this was particularly bad with Amy Pond in Series 5-6 and Clara Oswald in Series 7-9). At last in 2017 it was announced that the Thirteenth Doctor would be a woman. Despite the fact that by this point gender-swapped regeneration had been firmly established as canon (with the most popular standalone antagonist, the Master, undergoing one during Twelve's era), a gigantic Internet Backdraft resulted with many, mostly male, fans decrying the prospect of a female Doctor, suggesting that they saw the show as doomed to fall into this trope, all thanks to Political Correctness Gone Mad and "appeasing" progressive fans who had campaigned for a non-White Male Lead for years. Only time will tell (it always does) whether it will or not; her first season launches in 2018.
- Taylor Swift has been fighting a massive uphill battle to break out of this mold. In many respects, she's succeeded: her music is taken seriously by critics, she sells to a pretty wide audience, and her business savvy has been praised by many. Nonetheless, she still has a pretty sizable Hatedom, largely spurred on by the fact that she writes songs specifically aimed at young women.
- The NWA's world women's champions were among of the biggest stars of the territorial circuit, on paper, often getting spots in the main event, but in practice few territories actually had a regular female presence outside of valets and managers, with the wrestlers most commonly being a rare attraction, and after Mildred Burke's banishment from the NWA none of the subsequent champions were ever promoted quite as prominently as their male counterparts. At least as early as the 1970s pro wrestling became one of the trope codifiers for Cat Fight as promoters concluded a lot of people liked the idea of women fighting\wrestling, but couldn't actually stomach seeing them get hurt, as tends to happen in matches, with the end result being the discontinuation of the women's world tag team belts and the women's world junior heavyweight division not even being around long enough for most people to remember, with only a singular belt remaining.
- This was unofficially enforced in all of Mexico when the largest athletic commission in the capital banned luchadoras in 1959. While promoters outside of Mexico City were still allowed to book them, they increasingly didn't over the decades till the point "only one women's match a card" was practically law even after the ban was lifted in 1986. The exception to the rule was El Toreo de Naucalpan based Lucha Libre Internacional, which had the UWA sanctioned world women's and world women's tag belts, but they may have been the exception that proved the rule since these belts were increasingly defended outside of Mexico as time went on, the tag belts almost exclusively in Japan. At any rate non UWA luchadoras were outside of mainstream lucha libre until the year 1992 when EMLL took interest in Japanese women such as Bull Nakano to compete with local talent and give more legitimacy it's then new international image.
- Despite a semi main event women's title match being an important part of getting the annual event started, WrestleMania isn't such a good place to look for women's wrestling. After Wendi Richter's banishment a single match ending in under two minutes was all the second event had to offer with the next eight events having no women wrestling at all, followed by another eight events that alternated between nothing and short underwhelming matches. Finally 18 and 19 had fairly good, well built up and promoted women's title matches back to back but there was only a third at WrestleMania XX, the one right before WWE started gutting its women's division in favor of diva searches, because Molly Holly volunteered to have her head shaved. Tellingly her shaving got more focus than the match itself as WWE was more interested in "The Playboy Evening Gown" match between four former playmates. Following XX a single, often short match featuring as many women contracted as plausibly possible and or promotional titillation became increasingly more common than serious title matches when there was a women's match at all. Made more noticeable in that a second belt, The Divas Championship, stated on camera to have been introduced so one half of the women's roster would no longer be sitting on the sidelines, took six years to find its way on a WrestleMania card.
- The Ladies Professional Wrestling Association's one PPV, LPWA Super Ladies Showdown on February 23, 1992, was held at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, MN. The sports facility, the Taylor Arena, has a capacity of 7200. The PPV only drew 400. This event, which featured Terri Power (Terri "Tori" Poch) winning the LPWA Title in the main event, was the LPWA's final show, as the company shut down soon after.
- WCW's first shot of their so called "Monday Night War" was fired after Madusa jumped at the opportunity to wrestle for them since the WWF women's division was drying up and WCW boasted an amazing talent pool that included pretty much all of GAEA. Madusa was so ready to get women's wrestling back on TV she agreed to drop the WWF's hunk of plastic and metal into a garbage can, even though she really didn't want to disgrace their title belt. It turned out to be just a publicity stunt, as WCW rarely gave her matches, much less wins, the highlight of her stay perhaps being a feud with an offensive Jim Ross knockoff for the cruiserweight title belt. Akira Hokuto, despite actually winning the WCW Women's title, did not fare any better as getting it meant losing her spot in CMLL and she'd never do much of anything in Mexico again. WCW did a lot of nothing with Hokuto or her belt before vacating it and then scrapping it after a year that saw GAEA try to get a run with Devil Masami going. And their women's cruiserweight belt lasted even less time. WCW had two women's belts but somehow managed to not use the large majority of the women it boasted to have, a link in a chain of events that nearly ended with the deaths of every major women's division left on North America.
- In general, Smart Marks would often label any women's match as a 'piss break'. This is partly due to WWE's terrible use of women solely for Fanservice in the Attitude Era, and the Women's Championship being defended in various T&A style matches. And when the Divas broke out of the ghetto in the Ruthless Aggression Era, the division was suddenly buried with Diva Searches - that reduced the division to T&A once again and resulted in a lot of genuine wrestlers getting released in favour of models. But since about 2008, many Divas who began as models faced an uphill battle despite training to wrestle, and they would often be dismissed or labelled as using WWE as a stepping stone for other avenues. Only a handful managed to completely break out of the ghetto (Mickie James, Beth Phoenix, Natalya Neidhart, Melina-basically the wrestlers established outside of WWE lucky enough to win a title belt) and reviews of Diva matches would tend to be rated very low, outside of websites like Diva Dirt. This attitude seems to be dying off as of the popularity of NXT and many former Divas revealing just how hard things were for them behind the scenes - but you still find plenty of smarks who claim that women shouldn't be allowed to wrestle, citing the Diva matches as proof.
- The Puerto Rican versions of the World Wrestling Council and (later) International Wrestling Association are bizarre examples, as they had collectively had one of the most badass women's divisions in the world. One of WWC's top baby faces hitting La Tigresa with the trademark weapon of WWC's other top baby face only slowed her down for a few seconds before she choke slammed him, initiating a group beating that another woman had to save him from. IWA's first women's champion Amazona meanwhile had already knocked off the violently insane Moxley Mox for their hardcore title. Neither enterprise had any problem portraying it's women as threats to nothing less than their top stars and yet, even that unbiased other wiki basically said they had one division, as the two rivals seemed to arbitrarily shuffle most of the female wrestlers between themselves(behind the scenes wrestlers jumped ship based on changing paychecks and it was rare for both companies to be paying women well at the same time). By the 2010s, IWA was on its death bead and WWC lost interest its women's belt, so women's wrestling was only regularly seen in indie companies like EWO.
- On WWE Tough Enough Season 5, Ariane was eliminated after she said her favourite match was Melina vs Alicia Fox. Her fellow contestants up for elimination were Eric, a guy who hadn't shown up in shape and Michelle, a girl who had claimed to have eleven years of experience but not demonstrated any flair at all. Apparently liking a Divas match is a much worse crime. Even other contestants later noted the Unfortunate Implications behind this, especially with consideration that Michelle had admitted to auditioning for four other reality shows around this time too (and ended up quitting the contest two weeks later).
- After two seasons of WWE's NXT - a show where a series of rookies would compete for a potential contract - the third season was all females. Ratings declined immediately and the show went to WWE.com with many critics panning it. Likewise WWE gave the whole brand a Girliness Upgrade for the season, featuring challenges such as dance-offs, bull riding, Halloween costume contests and other girly things. Critics panned the male seasons too, mind you, but those seasons also had larger talent pools which included critically approved Bryan Danielson and Low Ki. Season 3 didn't just offer less wrestlers but wrestlers with less training and experience, suspiciously failing to provide a WCW era super veteran to ensure the audience could at least expect some diamond in the rough quality matches, as if they wanted the show to fail.
- The World Wrestling League booked Puerto Rican women against opponents from Mexico, Bolivia, The Dominican Republic and Continental USA to create buzz before it introduced a Goddess title belt, won by La Morena. She gave an interview with Contralona PR expressing desire to use the belt to bring women's wrestling back into focus, but it and she were not featured when WWL made the transition to Mega TV. WWL did eventually dig the belt back up for Ivelisse Vélez in the build up to their first Wrestlefest but put it back away not long afterwards.
- My Little Pony was meant to be aimed at both boys and girls but quickly lost its neutrality. For well over 20 years it was strictly seen as only for girls between 5 and 12, and the decent sized mostly female collectors fanbase. G4 broke out of the ghetto, but it's unknown how future gens will fare.
- LEGO was originally envisioned as a gender neutral toy, based solely around the love of building and creativity - with a lot of its early marketing featuring girls and boys. Around the 1980s, it became increasingly targeted towards boys - emphasising adventure and combat possibilities, as well as releasing packs themed around boy-oriented franchises. One marketing campaign focused on LEGO as a father/son bonding experience, while excluding girls completely. They eventually released a female-oriented spin-off titled 'LEGO Friends' - which was routinely criticised for being a Barbie knock-off. This set featured female LEGO characters with curvier bodies engaging in traditionally feminine activities such as cooking, hairdressing and nursing - complete with pastel colours.
- Superhero fans did not react well to the reveal of the girl-aimed toyline DC Superhero Girls. Some criticism was understandable - such as complaints about the fact villains are given different roles or the designs resemble Disney Princess characters too much - however a sum was because it was "too feminine".
- This trope is the reason Panel de Pon was brought over to the West as Dolled-Up Installment Tetris Attack - Nintendo assumed male gamers wouldn't want to play a cutesy game with a primarily female cast of mainly fairies. They seem to have changed their minds on this recently, however, as characters from PDP have appeared in Super Smash Bros. Brawl in sticker form even in the American and European releases. They have not, however, broken out of this trope enough to give the fairy characters any more widespread exposure.
- Puyo Puyo, in contrast to Panel de Pon, has this as more of a Zig-Zagging Trope. The arcade game received a limited international release that was largely a faithful localization, barring the (rather odd) change of Harpy to a Dark Elf and a smattering of American Kirby Is Hardcore. When the time came to release the game for the Genesis and Super NES, though, both Sega and Nintendo (just like with Panel de Pon) felt that a female-led game brimming with Kawaisa wouldn't sell with that era's primarily male gaming audience, so the game was given two Dolled Up Installments: Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine and Kirby's Avalanche, respectively. A few later games from the mid-2000's were given proper localizations, but the vast majority of the series remains No Export for You to this day.
- When Faria was localized for American gamers, the box art was reworked so that nobody would recognize the hero as female. Even the manual went out of its way to hide this fact, despite still telling in-depth the actual plot of the game. However, not only does this make a nice plot twist out of the reveal of the hero's gender, but a later twist proves she's really a man after all.
- Activision infamously told a studio pitching a game set in Hong Kong with an Asian female lead to "lose the chick, they don't sell." A.J. Glasser once noted in an editorial for Kotaku that the only role presented for women in Modern Warfare 2 were NPCs who are all immediately gunned down. There were no speaking parts for women in the entire game, despite earlier Call of Duty games actually remembering once in a while that there are in fact women who serve in the military. She also pointed out a culture gap between Japanese games, which tend to frequently have female leads or supporting casts but also greatly objectify them as a trade-off, and Western games, which frequently just leave women out entirely.
- This story made the rounds in late 2011, in which a young boy was threatened with actual violence by his father for wanting to buy Mirror's Edge. Entirely because, well, it must be a girl's game, it has a woman on the cover!
- 2K took a lot of flak for not featuring Elizabeth on the cover of Bioshock Infinite, when Ken Levine implied that this trope was the reason why.
- Naughty Dog was pressured to move Ellie to the background or completely off the cover of The Last of Us due to this trope, but the dev team held firm.
- This is a proposed reason for why Um Jammer Lammy sold poorly when its prequel Parappa The Rapper sold well, despite UmJammer Lammy generally being considered the superior game: it has a female main character, and the cover showed only female characters (despite Parappa also being a playable character after clearing the story as Lammy).
- The Casio Loopy can be seen as a testament to this trope, as it was completely marketed towards female gamers and never went on to target actual male audiences. It also shows the trope in full-effect as people believe that the console flopped because it was targeted towards girls instead of being marketed towards boys (you know, like any other console).
- Humongous Entertainment almost made a series of games starring a character named Miss Hap, but Executive Meddling from Infogrames caused the project to get shelved due to their lack of faith in a female protagonist. Especially ridiculous when you remember the fact that the very same company had another series with a female protagonist that was doing just fine.
- This trope is why the creators of Kameo: Elements Of Power went to great pains to hide the fact that you are essentially a fairy princess defending her kingdom from her sorceress sister, hiding her wings as much as humanly possible (and her actual body when you start delving into gameplay) and muting the colors of her clothes, among other things.
- Now, of course, everyone knows that Samus Is a Girl, but back in the late '80s the manual for the original Metroid deliberately tricks the reader into thinking she is male, even going so far as to refer to her with "he" and "him"; the reveal of her actual sex was supposed to be a Twist Ending. Apparently, it was assumed no one would buy the game about the badass running around a distant planet in super-powered armor, gunning down aliens right and left, if they knew the protagonist was a woman. However, it's been averted since then, as even with the knowledge of her gender the games generally don't treat her any differently and she's still popular as a power-armored, alien-gunning badass and spawned Japanese sci-fi games with a playable female character (even if in the end the trend only lasted like a month or three).
- Final Fantasy is not specifically aimed at women, but is one of the few mainstream game franchises from the 90s and 00s that was interested in acknowledging its female fans, and often caters to Female Gaze. This is enough for He-Man Woman Hater parts of gamer culture to consider it 'not real games'.
- Final Fantasy V has female playable characters (princesses, to boot!) outnumbering male ones, and a gentler story that is more interested in the relationship between sisters Lenna and Faris and the inner feelings of teenage girl Krile than it is in the main male character, Bartz. Western fandom often criticises V's plot for being "weak" compared to other entries (despite being the first in the series to move away from Dungeons & Dragons mythology and originating multiple FF Characteristic Tropes), and the first thing these people will bring up is that it's "all princesses".
- Final Fantasy VII was not aimed at girls, but attracted a large Periphery Demographic of them focused on its attractive male characters, well-written female characters and themes about self-image insecurity, and thus gained this kind of hatedom anyway. The "VI vs VII" Fandom Rivalry often centres around how Kefka is way cooler than the Estrogen Brigade Draco in Leather Pants version of Sephiroth. (The heavy Female Gaze elements of its spinoffs, especially Advent Children, didn't help.)
- Final Fantasy VIII has a loud hatedom due in part to being a Final Fantasy-ised version of a high school romance movie, a genre associated with teenage girls, and having plenty of purposeful Feminist Fantasy elements.
- This trope is one of the reasons why Final Fantasy X-2 has such a vocal hatedom. The game not only focuses mainly on two of FFX's three female leads (plus a new girl named "Paine") but also has a decidedly lighter and more bubblegummy tone than the rather dark and somber X, which many perceive as a blatant attempt to draw more women to the Final Fantasy seriesnote .
- In Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning is already a Base-Breaking Character, but a certain portion of her Hate Dom appears to dislike the concept of having a female Escapist Character in an FF at all, or joking that she's the logical conclusion of Final Fantasy's attempts to attract women with protagonists who look like women.
- Final Fantasy XV got hit with criticism from male gamers who considered the Boy Band aesthetic of the game to be pandering too much to women, and from female gamers who thought the all-male cast was a way of pandering to male gamers who viewed Final Fantasy as girly.
- Gun Nac got hit with this hard in its US localization. The opening and ending cutscenes of the Japanese version revealed that the Player Character was a woman (a miko, to be precise). The opening cutscene was abridged and rewritten to imply a generic male protagonist and all images of the female pilot were Dummied Out.
- The Virtual Paper Doll series Style Savvy is a popular Nintendo IP (and in fact was one of the best selling Nintendo DS titles) but almost never gets brought up when discussing Nintendo games. When the first game was released on Virtual Console, many gamers complained about it and called it "shovelware" or "bad" just because it was a game about fashion models that has you as the owner of a clothing shop.
- Overwatch has become one of the most popular first person shooters on the market, despite its mascot Tracer being female, and having a large female cast capable of kicking ass alongside their male counterparts.
- The raison d'etre of The Nostalgia Chick:
- Her original function was to review the movies that were too girly for The Nostalgia Critic, but she eventually revolted. Although in a way, she still keeps with this trope—in a blog post she notes that she was hired to bring more female viewers to the site, but women were still watching the boys (for the reasons you might expect) and only started coming after she started doing other subjects. It's worth noting she still does girly topics as well.
- She examines the Ghetto in her video "Sleepless in Seattle vs. When Harry Met Sally...." She notes that the words Chick Flick are often preceded by the words "I don't like". She also asks why When Harry Met Sally averts the Ghetto.
- Compared to the show, which was basically He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) with female main characters, the original She-Ra: Princess of Power toyline was far more Barbie-esque. Catra was portrayed as the Big Bad in the toyline while in the show, she was a subordinate to Hordak, who had previously been sold as a Masters of the Universe toy, and was portrayed as the show's Big Bad. This was all supposedly because Mattel didn't think girls would play with a Hordak toy, nor would boys play with a toy of a female She-Ra character.
- Even though The Powerpuff Girls earned fans both male and female, creator Craig McCracken noticed that by the time the show reached its third season, it had spawned a disconcerting amount of girls-only merchandise. When Cartoon Network asked him to helm a Film Of The Series, he decided to bring Powerpuff Girls back to its action-packed, "whoopass" roots. The Darker and Edgier product received mixed reviews and made less money than any other movie of its year. There are also some worries the 2016 reboot is falling into the ghetto.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender got hit with the merchandising version, with no female action figures even though girls made up a good half of the cast. What made this even more jarring was that male characters who only appeared in a few episodes, like Jet, got action figures, but Katara, an Action Girl and a member of the MAIN CAST (appearing in all episodes except "Zuko Alone") never got one, nor did Toph, (also a main character from the second season onward) despite being more of a tomboy, nor the villainess Azula, even though her brother Zuko and his less badass rival Zhao did get figures. The creators of the show were not pleased by this. This is probably the reason why the Sequel Series The Legend of Korra, with its female lead, completely lacks any sort of toyline.
- In The Simpsons episode "Bart's Friend Falls In Love", Milhouse takes his girlfriend to the treehouse. When she asks if Bart has any girl comics for her to read, Bart says he doesn't but his sister has a wide collection of crappy comics.
- Disney Channel commissioned Phineas and Ferb, despite various worries about it, because they needed a show to attract young boys. Considering Disney's female-targeted fare currently doesn't seem to be doing nearly as well, it's just another example of this trope in action.
- In-universe, one episode of Family Guy features Lois dragging Peter to a Chick Flick, which he thinks might turn him gay.
- It took decades for Transformers to get an action figure for Arcee, one of the most prevalent characters in the long-running franchise. Likewise, she was hardly in the Michael Bay movies at all. Ironically, her limited screen time didn't stop a whole bunch of toys being released during the course of both sequels, despite her being in only the second. She even got one for the first movie, which she wasn't in! This seems to have put an end to the stigma of female character figures, at least for Transformers.
- The fact Arcee was part of the 2007 movie toy line is partly due to the fact she was supposed to be in the first movie. She was supposed to complete the original quintet of Autobots alongside Optimus Prime, Jazz, Ratchet and Bumblebee. Michael Bay did not like the character though, and she wound up cut from the film and replaced with Ironhide.
- DC Super Friends: made to advertise a new toyline, and featured the rather bizarre omission of Wonder Woman... and any trace of any female DC comics member. Since it was made to advertise a toy line, it was assumed that no boy would play with (or purchase) a female action figure.
- In the wake of the cancellations of Young Justice and other shows, Paul Dini was on Kevin Smith's podcast and revealed that Cartoon Network cancelled them since too many girls watched and girls don't buy action figures. During the interview Smith brings up the Fridge Logic of "why don't they figure out something else to sell girls?" Summary here and full podcast here.
- Holly Hobbie and Friends is a pretty normal Slice of Life show aimed at girls but it's never really escaped the stigma of being exclusively for them.
- Rainbow Brite is cute and feminine. It comes to a surprise to many men who were adverse to it as kids how dark it can be.
- Within a few episodes of The Lion Guard beginning fans have become worried of this trope. Despite The Lion King being unisex and being popular with female audiences, the series is presented as a Spear Counterpart to Sofia the First. Fuli (the only female member of the Lion Guard) has less screen time than the males, her first limelight episode was swapped for a Bunga episode, and even the previews rarely include Fuli. It's unknown how merchandise will represent the female characters.
- Similarly to Young Justice, the short lived Kids' WB show Phantom Investigators was cancelled after it's first season due to too many girls watching the show, according to a podcast with co-creator Stephen Holman. The show was aimed at a gender-neutral audience and had an equal amount of boys and girls as the main characters, with the leader (Daemona) being a girl. Kids' WB was actually happy that there was a female leader as they wanted to gain more female viewers, as they were the highest rated block with young boys and wanted to get girls to watch as well. This worked as the show managed to become number-one in it's timeslot each time it was on. And then while the show gained more female viewers, it began to slip with boys. This was enough for Kids' WB to get rid of it immediately after only six episodes aired, as they didn't want to lose their status of having the highest ratings with young boys.
Breaking Out of the Ghetto:
Anime and Manga
- Hayao Miyazaki's frequent use of female protagonists hasn't stopped his movies from earning critical acclaim.
- The Chi's Sweet Home and Chi's New Address manga and anime feature a female kitten as its the main protagonist, but the series appeals to both male and female viewers as opposed to coming off across as a "girls' show". In fact, it was originally a Seinen manga/anime targeted at men ages 18-40.
- Sailor Moon, even though the show is sometimes thought of as the female answer to Dragon Ball Z, does maintain a fairly large male fan following, including male fans who don't watch it for the short skirts. As a Swedish fan-site puts it: "Saying people only watch Sailor Moon for the short skirts is like saying people watch Pippi Longstocking for the violence."
- Pretty Cure is set on averting this despite occasionally throwing in girly stuff like characters who like fashion, being balanced out by the action and the solid Character Development. The fact that older guys like it and appreciate the shows' merits certainly helps.
- Ghost in the Shell is one of the most influential anime on the Western market, and features a female main character kicking ass in a noir future.
- Gunslinger Girl is a shonen series where most of the main characters are young girls. Young girls with guns but still. It's fairly popular for its depiction of child soldiers and its characters.
- The 2015 Jem and the Holograms reboot became a hit with men and women despite being incredibly female geared. It has a female writer, female artists, lots of pink and 'feminine' colors, only a handful of major male characters, and an emphasis on romance, friendship, and family. Just like the 80s cartoon it's based on it broke out of the ghetto.
- Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is quite popular with comic book fans and has a female lead. It's a horror take on Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
- Marvel Comics' biggest breakout characters in the The New '10s are Kamala Khan aka Ms. Marvel and Alternate Universe Gwen Stacy aka Spider-Woman aka Spider-Gwen.
- Supergirl had this problem for decades. Even though she is one of the most recognizable superheroines in the world, she has never been on the same level of sales as her cousin, and her character is often disregarded and put down by people who never read her stories due to their perception of her being a "Superman with skirt/boobs", to the point that DC decided to kill her in the Crisis on Infinite Earths (in spite of her books having decent, albeit no great, sales). This situation started changing gradually since her reintroduction in 2004. She has starred in several comic-book series, cartoons and tv shows -including her own series- and she has become a kind of household name since then.
Films — Animated
- Chicken Run appeals to male and female viewers equally despite its female protagonist, the hen, Ginger. That said, Rocky took up a lot of the advertising — guess who's most prominent on the DVD cover◊ — in part because he was voiced by Mel Gibson, the one "name" actor in the film for North American audiences.
- Coraline received an exorbitant amount of critical praise. It also managed to make more money than some people probably expected-not only did it star a girl, but it also seemed rather surreal, and came out during the Dump Months. The advertisers didn't even need to make any of the male characters overshadow Coraline to attract people.
- Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure has become a cult hit for Generation X-ers and Generation Y-ers of both sexes, despite roughly half the protagonist characters being female (with the male lead mostly reduced to a condescending "sidekick" role) and almost all of the antagonist characters being male. And of course, the basic story is more than a little indebted to Alice in Wonderland and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - two other tales that have always been popular with both female and male audiences despite having a female lead.
- My Little Pony: Equestria Girls received much backlash from fans of the show it spun off from—itself an example of successfully breaking out of the ghetto—primarily because a High School A.U. with rampant Chickification for its diverse cast of female characters seemed like a step in the exact opposite direction. Many of those fears were alleviated when the film was released, helped by its setup reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz, catchy songs, and characters remaining mostly intact. Its Surprisingly Improved Sequels really helped shatter expectations with improved Character Development and animation, resulting in a sizeable niche fandom that considers it a worthy addition to, if not an improvement of the series.
- It seems that the Disney marketing team was nervous about Frozen, judging by the fact that the advertisements seemed to focus almost entirely on the two male Plucky Comic Relief sidekicks, and not the sisters the film was actually about. However the film was spectacularly successful at the box office, well-received by critics, and earned many awards including Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song at the Oscars.
- After the middling reception of Brave, many were worried Pixar would no longer make films with female protagonists. These people were proven wrong when Inside Out was released, which became one of Pixar's most successful (both critically and financially) films of all time despite having no less than three female leads (four if you count Riley, whose mind the film takes place inside).
- Zootopia, like Lilo and Stitch above, features both a male and female protagonist, but the advertising made it clear that the girl bunny Judy Hopps was the central protagonist. It has also become the Disney Animated Canon's third highest grossing film, domestically (just below Frozen and The Lion King), and second highest grossing, worldwide (below Frozen).
- Moana went back to giving Disney Princessnote -centric movies the heroine's name in the title, and teaser trailers that featured one of the original songs. Fortunately, it still managed to break $240M domestically. Since it marks the first Disney "Princess" movie since The Princess and the Frog with a cast consisting mostly of performers of color, this also counts as an instance of breaking out of the Minority Show Ghetto.
Films — Live-Action
- Bridesmaids' aversion of this trope was a major factor in its success. A lot of the reviews praised it for being a female-centric comedy that wasn't a Strictly Formula rom-com, and apparently, a lot of moviegoers of both genders agreed. Female writers at Slate.com and other sites practically begged readers to buy tickets to convince studio execs to greenlight more female-driven scripts.
- The Hunger Games received good reviews and hefty box office returns, in what the film industry calls a "four-quadrant" success, meaning it's popular with teen girls, teen boys, adult men and adult women, with male viewers accounting for 40% of its opening weekend business. Its sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, was the top-grossing film of 2013 domestically, marking the first time in over forty years that a female-led film, and one without a male lead at that, topped the domestic box office.
- Similarly, while Snow White and the Huntsman didn't get the good reviews, it did rake in the box office for a female-led action film and it demonstrated a larger crossover potential in its audience. Notably, however, much of the advertising campaign downplayed Snow White in favor of the Huntsman to try and attract an audience outside the Twilight crowd. Even so, the one-two punch of these two films have been reported to have Hollywood genuinely considering female-starring action films again.
- Mean Girls got good reviews and a sizable male fandom. The Fanservice didn't hurt, including the acreage of leg shown in marketing. Nor did casting teenage Lindsay Lohan as the protagonist hurt.
- The Marvel Cinematic Universe narrowly averts the ghetto. The ensemble films still play to The Smurfette Principle, but the women are strong enough characters to stand out on their own. The Thor franchise in particular actually really depends on female audiences. And Marvel has announced a Captain Marvel film with Carol Danvers as the lead character. On the television side, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has three breakout female characters as part of the cast and Agent Carter was the Smurfette Breakout of Captain America: The First Avenger and headlined her own series.
- The DC Extended Universe introduced Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to much hype due to it being the character's first live-action film debut, and Diana being an awesome part of the movie was one of the very few things critics and fans could agree on regarding the film. Her solo film, Wonder Woman (2017), really averted this trope by becoming the first uncontested critical success of the the DCEU, and is currently one of the highest rated superhero films of all time on Rotten Tomatoes. Financially, the film managed to top even Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice domestically despite a smaller opening weekend.
- The Force Awakens finally broke away from the Star Wars franchise's Smurfette Principle by including several major and supporting female characters and having the very-much female Rey be the Force-sensitive hero, but it hasn't stopped the film from being a box office or critical success.
- Rogue One experienced similar success, despite having a female lead in Jyn Erso. The Smurfette Principle may still be in effect here (besides Jyn, the only female characters of any importance are Jyn's mother and Mon Mothma), but that Jyn was still able to lead the ensemble cast is impressive nonetheless.
- Little House on the Prairie. It doesn't hurt that Laura is the most tomboyish of the three Ingalls daughters.
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz not only has a female lead, but also has many female strong characters and remains as one of the most popular and beloved fantasy books ever written, having a very successful film adaptation which is still well liked by modern viewers, disregard of their gender.
- The Hunger Games is a young adult series with a female lead that sold well and got very positive reviews.
- Honor Harrington is a sci-fi military series centering on a female starship commander. Of course, Honor is very tomboyish, particularly in the early books, and learning to embrace her femininity is a major part of her character arc in the first three books. The major story arc of the books would arguably play out the same except for a few key points (particularly the plotlines involving the male-dominated Protectorate of Grayson) if Honor were a male character.
- The works of Tamora Pierce (The Tortall Universe and Circle of Magic) are both popular young adult fantasy novels with predominantly female main characters (only one of the ten main characters is a boy), and a heavy emphasis on gender issues.
- While her female characters have never been much of an issue, J.K. Rowling was infamously told by her publisher that she had to use her initials because no one would buy books by a female author. Oh, how wrong they were.
- Shana Festa, author of the Time Of Death and At Hell's Gates series, runs The Bookie Monster website. The Bookie Monster has reviewed hundreds of independent horror novels, many by women, which lack typical romantic content. Due to the website's expansive following, she's been credited with helping break women horror authors out of the "paranormal romance ghetto" so to speak.
- Nancy Drew is a quintessential children's mystery series and it has a female protagonist. It is possibly even more well-known than its Spear Counterpart The Hardy Boys. The video games also do fairly well but aren't discussed often in the gaming community at large, though that's due to their Adventure Game genre rather than Nancy herself.
- Our Miss Brooks was a hit show, in spite of its star character being a spinster English teacher whose Series Goal was marriage to biology teacher Mr. Boynton Miss Brooks finally marries Mr. Boynton in The Movie Grand Finale. The show's humor was based on Constance Brooks' sardonic wit, as the only sane woman dealing with a cast of characters including Oblivious to Love Mr. Boynton, her Cloud Cuckoolander landlady Mrs. Davis, blustery principal Mr. Conklin, and comically dumb students Walter Denton and Stretch Snodgrass. In 1954, Eve Arden won the "Best Female Star of a Regular Series" Emmy Award for her portrayal of Miss Brooks.
- Clarissa Explains It All was groundbreaking not only in its content, but because it finally disproved the common (at the time) thinking for children's television - that boys would NOT watch a show starring a girl. Nickelodeon proved everyone wrong by making Clarissa - a smart, funny, free-thinking girl - the lead character and one of the most recognizable characters in that time period. Much of Nickelodeon's future programming, from The Secret World of Alex Mack to iCarly, also pushed tons of girls' merchandise in the pink aisles of toy stores - all without sacrificing boy viewers.
- Melissa Joan Hart's follow-up series, Sabrina the Teenage Witch was even more successful in that regard, having smart and funny female leads, running for 7 years and having almost equal popularity in both male and female demographics.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a successful, well-regarded TV show that had a female lead and, for a time, a majority female cast. Its fanbase includes a good mix of males and females.
- Austin & Ally averted the ghetto by using an equal cast of two guys and two girls, giving both the male and female lead important roles and singing time, making Ally an Adorkable nerdy girly girl and Austin a cute Power blonde to attract both male and female viewers with eye candy. You can take the viewpoint that the show is slightly shifted towards girls because Ally is just slightly more of the lead character due to Ally's music store being where the majority of the plot takes place and that it was Ally the audience was introduced to first. Not to mention, the show is more a vehicle for Ross Lynch than Laura Marano, thus why the Double Billing is not used in the opening credits.
- PBS Kids Sprout hasn't suffered for having female hosts for its "Super Sproutlet Show" and "Good Night Show" programming blocks, and the channel's mascot is Chica the (puppet) chicken, who interacts with both male and female emcees in the channel's signature "Sunny Side Up Show" live block. Her own series, The Chica Show, launched in 2012; her dress-up adventures therein have her in roles varying from princess to ringmaster to pirate to Wild West sheriff. (The secondary lead, Kelly, is also female.) The "Good Night Show" hostess Nina and her male sidekick Star received their own animated series, Nina's World, a few years later.
- That's So Raven always managed to attract a decent male audience, although a lot of its supporting cast was male.
- Orange Is the New Black is a shining aversion. It's set in a women's prison, and has an almost entirely female cast, but it's currently the most popular original show in Netflix's history; alongside House of Cards (US), it essentially built the streaming service's reputation for exemplary original programming.
- Punky Brewster was another show whose female lead attracted a healthy audience of children from both genders.
- Agent Carter was the result of a massive Smurfette Breakout, taking Captain America's WWII Love Interest and giving her her own mini-series, which lasted two seasons.
- Marvel's next female-led TV series Jessica Jones was well-received and listed as the second most-searched TV series in the year 2015, not to mention earning numerous accolades. Overall the show was highly praised for its examination of misogyny and rape culture - all without alienating a male audience. And the advertising did not hide the fact that the lead was female at all. And even more, the vast majority of the main cast is female (eight females - five males, depending on how you count "major" characters).
- Wonder Woman has a female lead and is a comic book adaptation made at a time when they had a mediocre reputation but is a fondly remembered American 70s show and one of the few pre-1980s adaptations still widely discussed by DC fans.
- Xena: Warrior Princess has two female leads but managed to eclipse its male counterpart series (Hercules) and is one of the most popular shows with a female protagonist.
- Ugly Betty is a sitcom with an emphasis on fashion and a woman as the lead but was quite successful.
- Charlie's Angels is an iconic 1970s show and even received reboot movies decades later.
- Charmed may have had problems with this (as noted above) but it still managed to last eight seasons and was the longest running television show with female leads - until Desperate Housewives surpassed it. Although some seasons had a Gender-Equal Ensemble, female cast members frequently outnumbered the malesnote and the show attracted plenty of male fans too.
- Once Upon a Time's main cast features five women with about three or four males (depending on the season) and is very female-centered - where the two leads are female and seasons will usually feature prominent female villains. The show has an incredibly high amount of fans and has lasted for five seasons.
- The Worst Witch was a TV show based off the popular series of children's books by Jill Murphy. The cast was almost entirely female - with males only appearing in recurring roles - and the show managed to last three seasons. Notably its spin-off, which featured more males in the main cast, did not do so well.
- Gilmore Girls was about a single mother and her teenage daughter dealing with their struggles on relationships and career. The show is very known for its Seinfeldian Conversation, heavy use of clever, fast-paced wordplay, their Shout-Out on pop culture and its colorful cast. It had 7 seasons but the last one experienced Executive Meddling when the creators left the show after season 6 which led to a premature ending. However in 2016, a four-episode limited series was released on Netflix which gave closure to the series for good.
- Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has mostly broken out of the ghetto. Much of its audience consists of men, which is unexpected for a female-led Romantic Comedy musical, and the series has critical acclaim and a good amount of awards. That said, it has terrible ratings even by CW standards, but it hasn't stopped the show from being renewed for a third season, and it supposedly does better on Netflix.
- The ban against and general decline of women in lucha libre didn't stop Chabela Romero and Irma Gonzalez, the latter sometimes under the guise of Novia Del Santo, from becoming quite popular in Mexico, to the point Romero is officially listed as the first national women's champion by most sources despite there technically being luchadora champions before her, the latter being a regular competitor for the UWA World Women's title well into her fifties, which helped keep some spotlight on luchadoras in the process. This allowed Vickie Williams, Lola Gonzales and Irma Aguilar to take up the torch in the late 1970s and mid 1980s, keeping women's lucha libre alive long enough for the ban to be lifted.
- After roughly thirty years of struggling (as opposed to JWA for the men being established after ten), women's pro wrestling, or "Joshi," as it would come to be known, would hit the Japanese mainstream in the 1970s with The Beauty Pair of Zenjo. Zenjo would survive where previous women's enterprises had failed thanks to boost from foreign companies such as the USA based WWWA and AGWA but Jackie Sato and Maki Ueda would prove able to draw crowds without any foreign aid to the point Zenjo ended up keeping the WWWA and AGWA names alive after the companies themselves had died back in the USA. Joshi would remain outside of the "girl show ghetto" for over thirty years following, especially with the even more popular Crush Gals coming in the 1980s, which would in turn lead to Chigusa Nagayo founding GAEA after she and Lioness Asuka were kicked out of Zenjo after their twenty fifth birthdays in the 1990s. GAEA successfully competed with Zenjo for ten of those years, resulting in a great market for joshi before financial mismanagement and apathetic networks unexpectedly did them in during 2005.
- GLOW was a campy, ridiculous So Bad, It's Good TV show in the 80s that ended up being quite a hit. It was an all-women's wrestling comedy show. The majority of on-screen characters were women and it lasted four seasons. The only reason it didn't last was because the main investor pulled out and they couldn't find anyone to finance it. While it's remembered as a Guilty Pleasure these days, this was still a time when women's wrestling was far from a mainstream thing outside of Japan.
- Wendi Richter's partnership with Cyndi Lauper helped kickstart the "Rock N Wrestling Connection" and brought WWF to mainstream success. This helped draw in both male and female viewers, judging from the crowd reaction to the match at the first WrestleMania.
- Despite Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling's open war against "The Japanese Mainstream", Hayabusa, Masato Tanaka and Megumi Kudo were popular enough to pretty much be considered mainstream themselves, the shocking nature of their matches aside. Kudo was special not only because her popularity was second only to company founder Atsushi Onita himself, but because she had been rejected by Zenjo, the only mainstream source of joshi at the time, yet managed to help FMW briefly surpass it in ticket sales and make the FMW women's division built around her and Combat Toyoda so frightening most of the Zenjo roster decided to cut their losses than try and get a cut of the FMW revenue through cross promotion. The women's division was popular enough to even have matches competing against and tagging with men in a country where simply having more than one gender compete on the same card was a rarity.
- Xóchitl Hamada was largely responsible for getting luchadoras into the largest promotions during the 1990s and 2000s, first being one of the front runners of CMLL's world women's division when it declared its own world titles independent of the NWA, and when Reina Jubuki's ties to WCW caused the division to go vacant she jumped ship to AAA and entered a feud with the Moreno family popular enough to lead to the establishment of the Reina De Reinas, which couldn't have come at a better time since AAA's entry into the market was a key factor in putting LLI out of business(and scattering UWA to the winds). Lady Apache tends to be most credited in keeping luchadoras in CMLL after Hamada left and also kept the AAA women's divisions Hamada inspired going as she jumped between the two promotions.
- In 2003 while critics were slating the WWE product as a whole, the women's division was arguably at its peak and nearly all the women's matches on PPV that year were praised as being the high points of disappointing shows. Both male and female fans have spoken up about how much they enjoyed the feud between Trish Stratus and Victoria which involved various hardcore matches. Also, Lita and Trish Stratus's match in the main event of Raw earned a 3.4 in the ratings department, falling in line with the show's average. Trish Stratus's retirement match at Unforgiven 2006 was also highly received by fans and critics being called match of the night.
- While Lady Apache proved very valuable, when available, CMLL finally found the distinctly not Triple A star its women's division needed during 2005 in a rarely but consistently used luchadora named Marcela. Till then she was better known for her work in Garbage Wrestler fed Big Japan and was usually brought into Mexico when CMLL happened to book joshis, but this ended up working in her favor, as she turned out to excel in CMLL's largely gimmick match lacking atmosphere, her strong super junior like style being something most fans were not used to seeing, let a lone from a woman. During her decade on the top Marcela was closely rivaled by Dark Angel(who got a comic book), La Amapola and Dalys la Caribeña.
- TNA Impact Wrestling's women's division typically drew stronger ratings than most other quarter hours on the show, despite most of the women being amongst the lowest paid talent, though TNA eventually allowed the contracts of many members of its female roster to expire. Even after this, TNA was still the only national promotion in the USA since GLOW to run all women shows. While the Knockouts division has fallen from grace in the eyes of fans, it's cited to be because of bad booking and backstage politics rather than the quality of wrestling.
- In 2011 CMLL partnered with the comparatively tiny fed REINA, which isn't even first on a joshi scene that lacks any national promotions, but Ayumi Kurihara left such a good impression with CMLL's fan base that it lead the company to create two new women's belts, bringing the total up to four when not counting those of the two strictly REINA divisions that also get showcased from time to time. Unfortunately Kurihara would soon start winding down to retirement but Chinese wrestler Ray and Japanese partner Leon would see their stocks rise while Karate Girl Syuri would finally get the break she'd been missing since Fighting Opera HUSTLE shutdown. Silueta, who had not done much of note in Mexico besides lose her mask, got a positive rub from being Syuri's Tag Team partner and their Puerto Rican antagonist Zeuxis surprisingly proved she could draw without a partner on a large stage.
- The reality show Total Divas. Despite centering around the female WWE employees, the show has been a hit with high ratings for its debut episode and re-runs. It appears to have plenty of male viewers too, maybe due to also featuring top WWE stars John Cena and Daniel Bryan. In fact, the success of Total Divas has had an incredible effect on the main show. In an act of corporate synergy (and something of an Author's Saving Throw to avoid alienating people who come to Raw through Total Divas,) they decided to fold the story-lines of the show over onto Raw, thereby giving a large numbers of their Divas a level of depth and dimension they didn't have before. Normally, there's usually only one Divas match and storyline per show, if that (usually some type of multi-Diva tag match with little buildup to simply use as many of them as possible.) However, the Divas are now threaded through the show all up and down the card. Alongside the standard Divas Championship between AJ and Paige, there's also the storyline of the Funkadactyls imploding (seemingly pulling Natalya and Alicia Fox into its orbit,) Summer Rae and Layla being hilarious villains to Fandango (especially after the Unfortunate Implications of both of them fighting over him as Women Scorned was ditched and they instead team up to be a permanent Spanner in the Works, ) and the feud between Stephanie McMahon and Brie Bella even closed out an episode of RAW. The women's wrestling blog Diva Dirt believes women in WWE have finally hit the promised land.
- The NXT Women's division has really broken out of it. Due to proper investment by the writers and getting actual time for matches, most of the NXT Divas have been very well received. The likes of Paige, Emma and Bayley have become very popular with fans - male and female. The women's division is consistently praised as one of the highlights of NXT. The live specials eventually went ahead and began treating the women's matches as high profile must-see encounters. And a match between Sasha Banks and Bayley was announced as the main event of one - the first time a women's match had ever main evented a WWE PPV. This escalated in 2016 where Sasha and Charlotte not only got the first women's Hell In A Cell match; they were the main event of a main roster PPV.
- When WWE re-introduced the brand split in 2016, the Smackdown women's division immediately became a shining light of the company. Multiple women's feuds and matches happened across the show, culminating in the 2017 Elimination Chamber PPV - where three women's matches took place on the show. What's more is that the Four Horsewomennote were mostly all on Raw - except for Becky - proving that the fans could indeed get invested in women outside that foursome.
- After the Trope Naming reveal at the end of the first game, the Metroid series left the ghetto behind and its protagonist Samus Aran has become famous for being a badass bounty hunter for whom her gender is largely a nonissue.
- For the Sega gamers in the early 90s who have played Phantasy Star I, the fact that the manual and intro are blunt about you're playing as the female Alisa Landale isn't even brought up as an issue. While it was released two years after the first Metroid game, the heroine's gender was out in the open, and unlike many games at the time who did have female protagonists, it wasn't just an Excuse Plot in a revealing costume. Alisa is a capable fighter, and any time a character objects to her coming along, they're soundly rejected. It helps that she's on a quest to explicitly kill the man in charge of murdering her brother, a plot usually reserved for macho protagonists. Heck the most memorable characters in Phantasy Star II and Phantasy Star IV are females. While they both end up dead, they're nothing but capable party members throughout the adventure and it's treated surprisingly realistically, especially for the RPG which tends to idalize this kind of thing. It helps there's other female party members who are unharmed.
- The Nancy Drew PC Games run into the same problems of most "girl games," namely a lack of recognition from gaming journalism. However, that hasn't stopped them from being incredibly successful with male and female audiences (being one of the only surviving point-and-click adventures games still around probably helps), winning lots of praise for being just plain good and for getting girls interested in gaming and technology.
- The Tomb Raider franchise has always been popular with both men and women. The first game is considered one of the seminal third-person action games of the 32-bit era.
- Ms. Pac-Man is the most successful arcade game ever made, and is universally recognized as an Even Better Sequel to the original Pac-Man (which is a classic in its own right). The fact that it has a female protagonist doesn't seem to bother male gamers; like the original, it's made to appeal to gamers of all ages and genders.
- Averted with King's Quest IV: The Perils Of Rosella. The game was well-received at the time of its release by both male and female fans and got mostly positive reviews from critics, with praise given to the advanced (for the time) graphics and being one of the first games with a sound card support and one of the first games with a female protagonist. King's Quest VII: The Princeless Bride, which stars Princess Rosella and Queen Valanice, got a mixed reception, but the game had no trouble earning male fans as well as female fans. (On the other hand, the most poorly-received installment, King's Quest: Mask of Eternity, features a male protagonist.) Rosella and Valanice are both well-liked by the majority of the King's Quest fandom and have proven to be no less popular than Graham and Alexander.
- The entire character of Sarah Kerrigan aka "The Queen of Blades" from StarCraft is kept focused on the character herself and less on her gender being relevant, leading to most of the scenes involving her during her own campaign focusing on her power and inner struggle with becoming a Zerg along with her drive for revenge to kill Arcturus Mengsk. Even her body design was given less attention to female form and more to an athletic build to attribute the fact that she is indeed skilled.
- Splatoon advertising puts an emphasis on the female inkling, the female inkling was created first, a majority of fans use the female inkling (even males), and two of the main NPCs (Callie and Marie) are women. There were even thoughts to only use female inklings due to the lack of strong female protagonists in gaming. Despite this the game became a huge Sleeper Hit for Nintendo.
- While Shepard of Mass Effect can be either male or female, the female Shepard has a much larger and more vocal fanbase, thanks in part to being voiced by Jennifer Hale (although Mark Meer is generally thought to improve significantly over the trilogy). In a promo for Mass Effect: Andromeda, the voiceover by Hale is revealed at the end to be a farewell message to the expedition by Commander Shepard. Even BioWare seems to acknowledge FemShep as the preferred version of the character.
- The Carmen Sandiego franchise is marketed using its main villain, a woman named Carmen Sandiego. It's one of the most popular edutainment series out there and Carmen is a Memetic Badass.
- Horizon Zero Dawn, a 2017 Action RPG developed by Guerrilla Games, created worries among Sony execs that the game wouldn't sell well due to the game's female protagonist Aloy. Said game went on to become the second bestselling PS4 exclusive game of all time and the most successful new IP launch in the console's history, in addition to garnering critical acclaim.
- Hakuouki has a decent-sized male fanbase, despite being a dating sim aimed at young women about The Ingenue finding love with a handsome, protective samurai. Presumably it helps that this is taking place amidst The Shinsengumi against the backdrop of the Boshin War, and both the VN and its anime adaptation pay at least as much attention to the samurai politics and warfare involved as they do to the romance.
- The phenomenon of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic breaking out of the ghetto is referenced in the "Pony Time" episode of commodoreHUSTLE. Matt is already a fan, and is trying to convince the rest of the crew (four late-20s men and one late-20s Tom Boy) to give it a shot.
Matt: Lauren Faust is a straight-up genius of our modern age.Graham: OK, I grant you the show looks very cute, but... it is a kids' show. You know that, right?James: Yeah, a girly kids' show, for girls and kids and kid girls.
Kathleen: It's way better than My Little Pony. That's for girls.Paul: You're a girl.
- Then, when they find out many of their fans are Bronies, they decide to do some research into the show to see what makes it popular. When Kathleen joins, she is not initially impressed, and comes up with "My Little Bear: Mauling is Magic"
James: We will keep this our dark little secret.Matt: What dark little secret?Everyone else: *stammering* Nothing, nothing, nothing at all.Matt: *incredulous* Whatcha guys watching?Everyone else: *stammers frantically, trying to hide the screen* Oh, uh...Kathleen: PORN!Everyone else: Yeah, porn!Kathleen: Dirty, dirty, filthy porn.Matt: Again? Jesus Christ, guys! *leaves*Everyone else: *breathes sigh of relief*
- After watching the whole thing, it turns out that they all like it. However, they refuse to let Matt have the satisfaction of being right, even when he comes in and almost catches them watching it.
- Almost all Barbie media is stuck firmly in the ghetto however Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse is an exception. Despite it's very pink, very feminine look with the only human males being Camp Straight and a majority female cast it gained quite a bit of popularity due to being a witty Affectionate Self-Parody.
- RWBY focuses on female characters than male ones but one of the most success animated web series and it's created by a late male animator.
- The Powerpuff Girls was able to avoid the Girl Show Ghetto and attract an audience of both genders. The show stars three girls with a bright pastel color palette, but the main reason why it averts the ghetto is, well, they whoop ass.
- Lisa Simpson. She managed to be both quirky and vaguely nerdy (jazz music, Beat poetry, etc.) and unabashedly "girly" (her love of ponies and "Malibu Stacy" dolls). A very good example of an animated female character whom boys could not only like, but identify with. Notably, the show never found an audience in Japan until Japanese stations hit on the idea of rerunning Lisa-centric episodes far more often and focusing on her in the advertising.
- She-Ra: Princess of Power is an interesting case. She-Ra was meant to basically be the Distaff Counterpart of He-Man, but despite having a female lead and a brighter color palette the tone wasn't all that different from its predecessor, especially since the series has Hordak (technically a MOTU character) as the lead villain, whereas the toyline has Catra as the Big Bad. So it basically attracted most of the same audience that He-Man did, despite trying to be a girl's show. A girl who wasn't into He-Man probably wouldn't be into She-Ra either, but a boy who liked He-Man would usually like She-Ra too (unless scared off by the fact that it was supposed to be for girls).
- Jem was also popular with male viewers but aimed at females. This is probably due to a mix of action-packed plotlines, mild fanservice...and initially debuting on the same show as Inhumanoids, ROBOTIX, and Bigfoot and the Muscle Machines.
- Even though one of the two main protagonists is female, Cow and Chicken avoids the Girl Show Ghetto nicely and attract an audience of both genders. Though Cow's gender is a bit of a different example, since she's voiced by a male.
- The two breakout characters of Bob's Burgers, Louise and Tina, are both female, yet if anything the show is much more popular with men than women.
- Daria has a tendency to focus on its female characters more often than the male ones, but quite a few boys and men like it, too. It helps that it's a Spin-Off of Beavis and Butt-Head.
- Kim Possible stars a well-renowned Action Girl with an incompetent male sidekick, yet managed to gain a rather large fanbase. This included male viewers.
- Although Avatar: The Last Airbender had a problem with the merchandising (noted above), the show itself was an aversion, as the cast's gender ratio became weighted in favor of females during the second season without losing its male audience - in fact, most of the girls became fan favorites. This encouraged the creators to go ahead and put a girl as the main character of the Sequel Series, The Legend of Korra, which absolutely nobody in the fanbase has a problem with. The creators admit that when first selling Korra Nick execs didn't want to greenlight it for this very reason. An interview said that when brought before a test audience of boys they "didn't care that Korra was a girl. They just thought she was awesome."
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has a huge male following (who call themselves "Bronies"), most of whom had to be cajoled to watch it first because of this very reason, but eventually became hooked. Not only is it a show about magical ponies, but there are no less than six female main characters, and the one male character of note is frequently out of focus, to the point of not appearing at all on a good number of episodes. In fact, the Girl Show Ghetto trope was defied by Lauren Faust, as shown in the page quote, who purposefully had the goal of making it appealing to not just little girls, but older viewers as well, including older males. That was achieved by a bigger focus on Denser and Wackier humor and well-rounded characterization, and judging by the massive masculine fanbase, it's easy to say she succeeded. The utter ridiculousness of the ghetto is brilliantly lampshaded here.
- Pepper Ann had more focus given to the female characters than the male ones (though they had plenty of focus, too), but there are several male fans of the series.
- Although merchandising for Dora the Explorer is almost completely aimed toward girls, the show is liked by young girls and boys alike, the spin off Go, Diego, Go! was created to sell toys for boys, but both shows are edutainment adventure cartoons where the protagonists' genders are downplayed or even hardly acknowledged. In recent years the series has had a sum of Girliness Upgrade but is still popular with boys.
- Steven Universe not only has three female main characters with the title character being the only male, but Steven subverts many tropes associates with male heroes, such as having purely healing/defensive powers (also having a shield for a weapon, while his female teammates have purely offensive powers), disliking fights and preferring talking things out, being very emotional, sensitive and prone to cry, as well as showing interest in things that some would consider un-manly like cooking or romances. Still, the show has as many male fans as female ones.
- Witch has its fair share of male fans and is seen as a good, western example of a Magical Girl series. It helps in America that the theme was rock based, instead of the original pop.
- The Animated Adaptation of Carmen Sandiego, Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?, features a Brother–Sister Team (with more emphasis on Action Girl Ivy instead of her younger brother Zach) on top of the titular female character being the series mascot but is a very well-liked cartoon with all genders. Some consider Kim Possible a less educational, 2000s version of it.