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->''"I think the major problem here is that women were clamoring for 'strong female characters', and male writers misunderstood. They thought the feminists meant Strong Female Characters. The feminists meant Strong Characters, Female."''
-->-- '''[[http://www.overthinkingit.com/2008/08/18/why-strong-female-characters-are-bad-for-women/ Overthinkingit.com]]'''

Media has had a bit of a struggle with trying to come up with rounded female role models, particularly in children's programming; while female characters are allowed to be strong, they're not allowed to have ''flaws'' outside of a very limited list of cute ones - they still have to be perfect in almost every way. You can show a female character being slightly ditzy, but you can't have her burp or fart, let alone show any serious flaws. It is really hard to have a character without flaws who is also rounded.

Therefore, we get a lot of female characters who are drawn as overly perfect, with "Girls Need Role Models" as the justification. The writers can point to Female Character X and say "Isn't she a good role model for young girls?" Well, yeah, in a really superficial, plastic sort of way. A 'good' example in the same way that an unrealistically 'perfect' Barbie doll is a 'good' example of how to be a woman. Obviously, the best way to remedy the problem is to make female characters of all kinds more common -- that way, flaws really aren't that big a deal.

Compare YouAreACreditToYourRace, WomenAreWiser.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Franchise/{{Naruto}}'' is an interesting case. Throughout the series, several characters who are mass murderers, serial killer wannabes, abusive to family members, and so on manage to become model citizens overnight through EpiphanyTherapy, and are accepted as close friends and forgiven by their victims. Furthermore, the ChildSoldiers environment and nature of chakra and ninjutsu (being [[spoiler: a weaponized form of ninshu, a way of connected one's spirit with everyone rather than physical and spiritual energies,]]) makes it difficult to anaylze how accurately one can relate to these characters. Although a real-life HeelFaceTurn takes ''years'' of therapy at ''best'', the fandom generally holds WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief here, including acceptance of the title character Naruto's refusal to give up on bringing his friend and rival Sasuke back to his senses despite taking the brunt of Sasuke's violence. [[spoiler: When lead female Sakura got together with Sasuke in the end after Sasuke's HeelFaceTurn, though, WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief went out the window for many social media bloggers, with some saying it was encouraging women to enter or stay in abusive relationships.]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Franchise/WonderWoman was created by a psychiatrist that thought this. Of course, the kinds of girls he had in mind were into bondage and swinging, but it's the thought that counts.
* Debra Tate wanted Amy Rose portrayed as an example to young girls in ''ComicBook/SonicTheComic'' which led her to becoming a AdaptationalBadass with ImprobableAimingSkills, also with her crossbow and wiser than her fellow Freedom Fighters.
* Comics and music critic Douglas Wolk once wrote a series of reviews under the secret identity of clueless Comics Journal intern Jess Lemon. "Jess" tears into a ''Vampirella/Witchblade'' crossover when her apologist brother claims that it has strong female characters: ''"When people say they want strong female characters, they don't necessarily mean strong in the sense that they can lift things."''
* The original LarryHama-penned [[ComicBook/GIJoeARealAmericanHeroMarvel GI Joe comic]] from Marvel is well regarded by feminists, citing that the female character's gender was not a focus, and the fact that their gender did not define them or their positions on the team.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Runaways}}'', most of the team consists of girls, with two boys at the most in the line-up (this receives several lampshades). All of them have powers or skills of some sort and all are able to think on their feet and take down villains. And while they have various issues they deal with, they're about on the same level as the guys, in terms of angst.
* Besides the lead character, polymath adventurer Gina Diggers, Comicbook/GoldDigger features a wide amount of distinctive and compelling characters who happen to be female, and has made it an ongoing mission to feature equal opportunity treatment for both genders.
* In an issue of ''ComicBook/XMen: First Class'' (nothing to do with the movie), Professor X seems to think that Jean Grey could use a female role model, so he arranges her to job shadow Sue Storm of the ComicBook/FantasticFour.
* The creative team of ''ComicBook/AForce'' are not shy about the fact that this is their goal when writing an all-female offshoot of ''Franchise/TheAvengers''.
* Dynamite's ''Swords of Sorrow'' series is advertised as the first comicbook series to be handled by an all-female staff and characters. Sounds inspiring enough, but the #1 issue looks like [[http://www.comicvine.com/images/1300-4519884 this]], making the whole "all-female team" seem less like progress and more like a gimmick.
* Zig-zagged with ''ComicBook/SheHulk''. At times, her comics have been criticized for their rather gratuitous {{fanservice}}, which some feminists understandably take issue with. At other points in the character's history, though, she's been primarily defined by her [[GeniusBruiser intelligence]] and [[FunPersonified fun-loving personality]], and she's known for being one of the most well-adjusted superheroes on Marvel's roster. Though she's definitely got her personal hangups, she views her powers as a blessing, and (unlike [[ComicBook/TheIncredibleHulk her cousin Bruce]]) she's almost always been able to control her powers and work through her issues in a healthy way. Notably, she also balances superheroics with a career as an attorney, and she's universally respected for her legal prowess and unabashed idealism.
* ComicBook/HarleyQuinn is a rather famous subversion of this trope. On one hand, she's primarily known as (at worst) a villain, and (at best) a manic, clownish prankster with a destructive sense of humor, who doesn't take anyone or anything seriously. On the other hand, she's also famous for being a battered victim of {{domestic abuse}} who successfully manages to break free of her {{bastard boyfriend}} ComicBook/{{the Joker}}, and many modern writers have used her stories to [[SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped drop some very important anvils about abusive relationships]]. And on the other ''other'' hand, a key element of her backstory is that she was a talented clinical psychologist before she met the Joker, and still retains enough of her training to remind her foes that [[HiddenDepths she's far more intelligent than her childish exterior would suggest]]. In short: she's proof that [[TropesAreTools interesting female antiheroes can still be good role models for girls]] in spite of their flaws.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* The Mary Sue phenomenon is suspected to be directly caused by the lack of female role models in fiction. When teenagers try to remedy the fact that there are no interesting female characters in their favourite works, it is to be expected that the result will not be as well-rounded and realistic as a female character included by the original author might have been.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* The ''Franchise/{{Barbie}}'' movies have done a good job at creating strong female leads, as well as subverting all of the most common complaints about the Franchise/{{Disney Princess}}es. The heroines always have interests and hobbies, and female friends with whom they pass the UsefulNotes/TheBechdelTest, and one even features a girl saying she cannot marry the prince because she has to travel the world and pursue her dreams first. Of course, some still complain about the {{p|rincessesPreferPink}}ink, [[EverythingsBetterWithSparkles sparkly]], [[EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses princess]] [[PimpedOutDress clothes]], [[RealWomenDontWearDresses as if that undermines any social progress]]. There is also tendency towards ClicheStorm and TastesLikeDiabetes, for which the criticism is more warranted.
* Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon:
** [[http://talesoffaerie.blogspot.com/2010/06/mouse-under-glass.html With all the flack]] Disney gets for ''Disney/{{Cinderella}}'', you'd be surprised to learn Walt actually hired a man to make the film more feminist. Or maybe not be surprised at all to learn that he didn't hire a ''woman''.
** ''Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast'': Belle, who was well-read when no one else cared for it and had the courage to stand up to a terrifying creature when he was roaring and yelling at her. Despite some damsel moments, she was also proactive in rescuing her father from the Beast.
** ''{{Disney/Pocahontas}}'' is not open to the idea of an ArrangedMarriage, teaches a GreenAesop to her love interest, and manages to stop an entire war just by appealing to her father as a daughter. She also [[spoiler: chooses to stay with her people rather than going to England to be with John Smith]].
** The main character of ''Disney/{{Mulan}}''. She took on the burden of going to war, was one of the best fighters, saved the day and the romance was underplayed. Not to mention, [[RealWomenDontWearDresses the only time she wore a fancy dress was a disaster and she never wore makeup]], either in the movie or the merchandise. Although this can be counted as a subversion as she started out as a demure farm girl and a ButtMonkey to everyone else in the army until she TookALevelInBadass. And the reason she joined the army in the first place is for a genuinely humane ([[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation and/or selfish]]) reason to protect her father or escape from her strict hometown life. In the marketing (some at least), she's been {{Chickifi|cation}}ed to the point that some of it describes her as "getting ready for the ball and waiting for her prince!" Even in terms of her eventual relationship with Shang, [[AmazonChaser it's her capability as a soldier, not her girlish traits, which attract him to her.]]
** Tiana of ''Disney/ThePrincessAndTheFrog'' had to deal with being the first African-American Disney Princess on top of this trope. She has a specific goal, (as opposed to "finding love" or [[RebelliousPrincess "more"]]) which she works her ass off to achieve despite the disadvantages that come with being a black woman in 1920's UsefulNotes/NewOrleans. But of course she gets criticism for being [[UnpleasableFanbase too much/not enough]] like the other princesses, for [[RealWomenDontWearDresses wearing a sparkly dress in the promotional materials]], and getting married.
** In ''Disney/WreckItRalph'', we have Sergeant Tamora Jean Calhoun, who commands her troops, shoots down Cy-Bugs, and is {{Badass}} as hell. Then there's Vanellope Von Schweetz, who is a PluckyGirl and BadassDriver. [[spoiler: At the end, it seems like she's going to be yet ''another'' Franchise/DisneyPrincess, but she rejects the dress and becomes a ''PRESIDENT'' instead.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Brave}}'':
** On the first day of June, 2009, a female writer at Creator/{{NPR}} wrote [[http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2009/06/dear_pixar_from_all_the_girls.html this blog post]]. In it, she innocuously mused aloud that, since Creator/{{Pixar}} created so many memorable female characters in their films, it would be nice if, for a change, one of them was the ''lead'' rather than a supporting character. And while 2012's ''WesternAnimation/{{Brave}}'' '''does''' have a female lead, she's a [[EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses princess]], and the writer wanted something more original upon hearing about it. Hilarity ensued. [[https://web.archive.org/web/20120515215911/http://blog.moviefone.com/2009/06/10/ask-pixar-to-make-a-movie-about-a-girl-why-thats-just-p-c-b/ This thankfully level-headed writer]] summarizes the "Pixar Needs Women" debacle very nicely.
** Once the movie was actually released, Merida was notable for independence, resourcefulness, [[ActionGirl skill in combat (particularly with a bow)]], and being the first Disney princess whose movie doesn't even have a romantic subplot -- rather, it involves her efforts to ''avoid'' an ArrangedMarriage. Unfortunately, the fact that she antagonizes her mother and winds up threatening the entire kingdom in her attempt to avoid it made her the movie's BaseBreakingCharacter, with some viewers seeing her as a lovely role model and others seeing her as [[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation unsympathetic, whiny, and selfish]]. In other words, exactly like the flawed teenage girl the original ''female'' director and writer had intended her to be. Moral: do not be a female character with flaws you need to overcome - you need to be all righteous ass-kicking, all the time or a you're a bad role model. It was in fact this very mindset that led to Brenda Chapman having her film taken from her out of concern that it wasn't "action-oriented", and thus it would fail to attract boys (who are still the favored demographic).
* [[http://newpittsburghcourieronline.com/2015/03/24/rihanna-reveals-inspiration-behind-home-character-we-wanted-little-girls-to-feel-empowered-exclusive/ In an interview]], Music/{{Rihanna}} -- voice actress of heroine Tip from ''WesternAnimation/{{Home}}'', reveals why she was inspired to be a part of the movie:
-->"I think it was important to both me and Dreamworks for this character to be as realistic as possible," she said. "We wanted little girls to feel empowered. Little girls of any size, shape, race or color. It didn't matter, we wanted girls to feel strong and brave, empowered and beautiful... like they can do anything."
* The adult animation equivalent with ''Film/TeamAmericaWorldPolice''. Lisa and Sarah are portrayed to be at least two-dimensional, and just as Badass as the men in Team America, and their genders are never once brought up in the film.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Liz Hoggard openly invokes the trope [[http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/liz-hoggard-revenge-of-the-lifesavvy-over40s-1909603.html in her review]] of Creator/TimBurton's ''Film/AliceInWonderland'', noting that what makes Alice a "good role model" is that "she is not girlie". "Girlie" in the review refers specifically to the archetype of the DamselInDistress. A role that Alice does not fall into despite being quite conventionally feminine. At no point is it claimed that RealWomenDontWearDresses.
* ''Film/DownWithLove'' might be done comically but Barbra Novak is the heroine of all women around the world by having taught them to be equal, self-reliant citizens of the world.
* Andie Anderson from ''Film/HowToLoseAGuyIn10Days'' wants to be a serious journalist.
* Sara Melas's boss in ''Film/{{Hitch}}'' says that she is so good at her job.
* ThePowersThatBe that worked on the film of ''Film/TheHobbit'' were fully aware of this trope. Many fan eyebrows were raised on the revelation that Evangeline Lily would be playing a film-only character called "Tauriel," and she is an "[[ActionGirl elf warrior-maiden]]." Granted, the alternative is to abide by the book, which hasn't got a single female character to its name, but fans were still prickly -- not least because "elf warrior-maiden" are three prime MarySue buzzwords.
* Creator/QuentinTarantino claimed, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7L2ukSJFgCM in a rather amusing exchange with a local film critic]], that girls aged 12+ should watch ''Film/KillBill''.
* Paige Morgan from ''Film/ThePrinceAndMe'' is an intimidating pre-med student who dreams of working with Doctors Without Borders.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'':
** Princess Leia is often hailed by fans and critics as a breakthrough female role model. Let's count the ways: In the first movie, she has a rather traditional "role" -- the object of a rescue -- but acts absolutely nothing like any female has in a similar role in a movie -- she takes over her own rescue mission, for one thing. In the second movie she busts herself and her friends out of a heavily-guarded stronghold with a {{BFG}} before doubling back to rescue her brother. And then by the third movie, ''she'' winds up rescuing her lover from a Hutt. Repeat: the ''princess'' rescues the ''pirate'' from a ''dragon''. Which she then kills barehanded, while said lover is incapacitated. And ''she'' drags her brother on a shoot-'em-up speeder chase after the bad guys. Basically, Leia broke just about every single rule regarding female characters in the whole book.
** Padme Amidala has her big career, can fight with the Jedi and clone troopers and refuses to even be with Anakin throughout ''Film/AttackOfTheClones'' even if she does wear pretty dresses.
** Rey, the central character of the new trilogy starting with ''Film/TheForceAwakens'', has been instantly praised as this.
* In the ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'' books, otherwise the utter antithesis of this trope, nerdy Eric is class valedictorian. In the movies it's changed to Jessica.
* [[http://www.screenit.com/movies/1998/the_x-files.html One review]] of ''Film/TheXFilesFightTheFuture'' cites Scully as a great role model for young girls, as she's "[i]ntelligent, strong, and determined."
* In an interesting comparison, the movies of Creator/MichaelBay tend towards macho RatedMForManly and StuffBlowingUp popcorn movies. Most of the women tend to be exceptionally attractive and the movie [[MsFanservice makes sure we know that]], even [[FanserviceExtra the extras]]. BUT, when you isolate those female characters from the revealing clothing and explosions, they all tend to be rather strong willed, intelligent, with a personality and relevant to the story beyond being a DamselInDistress (even if barely). Yet this is often lost because, well, [[DistractedByTheSexy the women are also exceptionally attractive]]. This creates an irony that these women don't come across as the typical "Role Model" for girls because they are surrounded by testosterone. For example:
** Creator/LivTyler's character Grace in ''Film/{{Armageddon}}'' is basically the girlfriend and eventual wife of the hero, A.J. When her father Harry disapproves she has this rather long monologue yelling at him about what he expected when he took her on these long oil drilling sessions, and, [[DramaticIrony surprise]], she fell in love with [[DatingWhatDaddyHates an oil worker]]. Beyond that she is also shown being very savvy with investors.
** Creator/KateBeckinsale in ''Film/PearlHarbor'' is a nurse fueling the LoveTriangle, but when the attack happens she is front and center doing triage on the wounded, using her lipstick to mark the ones they can save versus the ones who will just get morphine to ease the pain when the die.
** Creator/MeganFox in her two ''Film/{{Transformers}}'' movies sometimes proved to be more resourceful than her love interest, the actual main character Sam. She has a checkered past working with her dad stealing cars, and is also aware of her own tendency [[AllGirlsWantBadBoys to go after bad boys]], admitting she can be rather shallow. Her car stealing and BadassDriver skills come in handy in both films.
** Rosie Huntington-Whitely in the third movie may have the role of DamselInDistress during most of the second act, but she remains aware of her surroundings and pays attention to the budding feud between the BigBadDuumvirate, which gives her some VERY valuable information that is useful when she is rescued. Even when that happens, Sam fails to get right TO her, but she instead takes off like a rocket and [[SuperWindowJump jumps out a window]] when the opportunity comes.
* Nancy Thompson from ''Franchise/ANightmareOnElmStreet'' is widely praised as a FinalGirl who actively takes it into her own hands to defeat the killer. Her actress Heather Langenkamp sees her as a role model, and her documentary ''I am Nancy'' focuses on her fandom. Since the first movie, ordinary teenage girl heroines became a staple of the franchise. One of the reasons the remake is so widely reviled is because its FinalGirl lacks those heroic traits..
* The film adaptations of ''Franchise/HarryPotter'' tend to do this with Hermione, although some of it is a little [[NeverLiveItDown overblown by the fandom]]. One such moment is a scene from the first book, where the boys are trapped by Devil's Snare. In the book, Hermione freaks out and Ron has to yell some sense into her. In the film instead it's Ron who freaks out, and Hermione stays calm.[[note]]This is mostly due to compressing the amount of challenges the children face guarding the Philosopher's Stone. In the book, there are five. But the movie cuts it down to three. The remaining two challenges are reworked to give the other two a moment to shine as well - Harry using his flying skills to get the key, and Ron winning the chess game. With the logic puzzle in the book left out, this would have left Hermione without much. It's also worth noting that the movie does leave in Hermione nearly freaking out after Ron is hurt, and Harry has to stop her from ruining their chances.[[/note]]. The third film is notable in that Hermione is given a few more action scenes she didn't have in the book. But this is lessened from the fifth film onwards; when the children are held captive by the Death Eaters, Ron struggles against his while Hermione does nothing. In the final films, Hermione is still prone to making mistakes along with the other two.
* Creator/BrieLarson said this was one of her major reasons for wanting to do ''Film/CaptainMarvel''.

* Subverted in ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}''. Initially, Rachel is the obvious choice as the feminist role model in the series (strong-willed, good-looking, personable, bold, courageous, capable in combat, etc etc), with Cassie acting as her meek best friend. However, by the end of the series, Rachel is miles away from a MarySue, her "bold and courageous" personality ultimately evolving into that of a sadistic action junkie. Cassie, on the other hand, while proven to be smart and capable, remains a relatively passive character uninterested in leadership qualities, stemming from her belief in nonviolence. This makes her an atypical feminist character in that while she can take a more active role she simply chooses not to.
* In an [[http://us.penguingroup.com/static/rguides/us/bridget_joness_diary.html interview]] regarding her novel ''[[Literature/BridgetJones Bridget Jones' Diary]]'', Helen Fielding remarked upon the idea of a comic female protagonist being controversial for this reason, whereas no man ever took Literature/BertieWooster as an insulting stereotype of the entire male gender. A derogatory stereotype of English fecklessness, sure, [[MenAreGenericWomenAreSpecial but not a stereotype of men]].
* Creator/TamoraPierce says that this is one of her primary reasons for writing. All of her protagonists are strong ActionGirl types in her ''Literature/TortallUniverse'', and she mercilessly defies the NotLikeOtherGirls trope by having, in her ''Literature/CircleOfMagic'' series, a seamstress as one of the main characters (among other deconstructions of the attitude). In- and out-of-universe, Kel in ''Literature/ProtectorOfTheSmall'' is a role model for being thoroughly BadassNormal, inspiring girls to think they can also do great things without gods or magic to help.
* Clearly one of the aims of the ''Literature/KikiStrike'' books. Indeed, in the first book, ''Inside the Shadow City'', not one of the major characters is male.
* ''The Franchise/AmericanGirl'' series is made for this and in fact has a magazine specifically dedicated to this.
* The ''Literature/DearAmerica'' books created a generation of female history nerds.
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'':
** Hermione Granger, the series' female lead, is naturally brilliant, and supplements her intelligence with tons of hard work and research, making her an extraordinarily talented witch. Rowling balances Hermione's talent by giving her an inability to deal with failure, a great deal of stubborness, and a surprising ruthless streak.
** Ginny Weasley, on the other hand, has most of the same strengths--intelligent (if not to the same extreme), naturally gifted with magic, an ActionGirl, brave (it's the Hat of the Gryffindor House, after all), etc.--along with a few Hermione doesn't share like athleticism, but has none of the flaws. Rowling has gone on record as saying that Hermione represents who she feels she, Rowling, ''was'' in school, whereas Ginny represents who she ''[[MarySue wishes]]'' [[MarySue she had been]].
* One of the most famous role models for girls, Franchise/NancyDrew, started as something of a subversion. Her creator, Edward Stratemeyer, was actually something of a chauvinist (although this was 1929; his belief that women belonged in the home wasn't exactly uncommon). The only reason he allowed the series to go to print? He saw that girls were reading the SpearCounterpart ''Literature/TheHardyBoys'' books and realized there was a market. The one saving grace was the series' first ghostwriter, Mildred Wirt (later Benson), who decided to put more into the character than what Stratemeyer outlined on the page.
* ''Literature/PrideAndPrejudice'''s Elizabeth Bennet is an intelligent, lively, attractive, and witty young woman. Considering she's from RegencyEngland and her family is troubled financially, matrimony is her only option to secure her future. Nevertheless she refuses to marry for money without love or reason twice.
* Creator/BJKWhite places his books "squarely in the sub-sub-genre of 'Girls Kicking Arse'."
* Creator/KirBulychev fills his stories with strong women. ''Literature/AliceGirlFromTheFuture'' has Alisa Selezneva and Irina Gai, ''Literature/IntergalacticPolice'' has Kora Orvat, and ''Literature/TheMysteryOfUrulgan'' has Veronica Smith, Peggy, and Nina.
* Literature/PhryneFisher; as her creator Creator/KerryGreenwood has said, "But Phryne is a hero, just like Franchise/JamesBond or Franchise/TheSaint, but with fewer product endorsements and a better class of lovers. I decided to try a female hero and made her as free as a male hero, to see what she would do."
* ''Literature/TheHungerGames'' which, aside from the main character, Katniss, also included fleshed-out and strong characters such as Rue, Johanna, Clove and to some degree Foxface, Mags and even Prim (who, despite being treated as the Damsel for most of the series, still got moments to shine). Rue's main role in the Hunger Games was to fuel Katniss' desire to win the Games and she [[spoiler: gets killed off about halfway through the first book.]] Clove is a psychotic KnifeNut who ''likes'' causing people pain and she gets [[spoiler: violently killed for gloating about it.]]
* Strongly invoked in the first entry in the ''Literature/ArtemisFowl'' series - Holly Short is bluntly told that her commanding officer is harder on her because she's the first woman in [=LEPrecon forces=], and many elf girls and women are looking to her to succeed.
* The ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' universe has a lot of DeliberateValuesDissonance on the subject of female empowerment, but women's rights seem to be advancing rather more quickly than they did in the real world of the equivalent era. Most of the protagonists are either not chauvinistic or at least eventually realize the error of their ways. Those that don't are mainly the ones that are the butt of most of the jokes (Fred and Nobby, for example). The wizards tend to fall into the "[[RacistGrandma Humorously Politically Incorrect Seniors]]" category.
** The female Sgt. Angua, while for a long time being {{The Smurfette|Principle}}, is probably the third-most capable officer in the Watch after Commander Vimes (the focus character of the Watch books) and Captain Carrot (MemeticBadass and KingIncognito). Being a werewolf, she's also the most physically powerful officer after troll Sgt. Detritus.
** Male and female dwarfs traditionally look alike, dress alike, and ''act'' alike; it's mentioned parenthetically that a major portion of dwarf courtship consists of discreetly finding out exactly what sex your intended ''is''. After exposure to Ankh Morpork culture many female dwarfs are beginning to adopt some human standards of femininity (but draw the line at shaving off their beards).
** Women traditionally can't be wizards, but men traditionally can't be witches; witches are almost invariably shown to be the more effectual and CloserToEarth of the two. An early book portrays a girl who determines to become a wizard; when she pops up again much later as an adult she reveals that she achieved that, but ultimately decided witching was simply a superior kind of magic.
** The Tiffany Aching books have a few witches who also know some wizard magic, but it turns out fireball throwing isn't that useful for what is basically a local nurse and vet.
** Male aristocrats are usually depicted as [[UpperClassTwit arrogant, racist, sexist, classist, snobs]]; female aristocrats are almost always shown to be [[ProperLady practical, no-nonsense go-getters]] who aren't afraid of doing the hard work of actually managing the household/estate on a day-to-day basis.
** Pterry himself claims he's never had much luck writing female characters who ''weren't'' tough, resourceful and competent, either overtly or beneath superficial self-doubts.
* L. Frank Baum's ''Literature/LandOfOz'' series is full to the brim with active female heroes, royalty, soldiers, witches, and villains. Hell, one of the few male protagonists of his books turns out to have been a female all along, and spends the rest of the series as the quite feminine [[spoiler:Princess Ozma]]. Baum himself was active in the early stages of the feminist movement (at the time called suffragists), and was connected to many movers and shakers of the cause, including Susan B. Anthony.
* In ''Literature/{{Masques}}'' the heroine Aralorn is a clever, strong-willed woman who would be a good role model for girls ... if there weren't the fact that she's surrounded by males, and is, implicitly, ''better'' than the default woman in that world. (She sometimes says that she's not a "typical" woman.) Rather typical in the works of inexperienced authors who aim to be feminist, but haven't really figured out how to do it, yet.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Miss Brooks of ''Series/OurMissBrooks'' was television's first example. Miss Brooks is clearly intelligent, competent and caring, although more than that, very human. [[http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/shows/our-miss-brooks A teacher's organization even gave her an award for humanizing the American schoolteacher.]]
* Originated with the lead characters in the sitcoms ''Series/ThatGirl'' and ''Series/TheMaryTylerMooreShow'', though it was arguably justified at the time (late 1960s/early 1970s).
* The whole premise of ''Series/UglyBetty''. Compare with [[YoSoyBettyLaFea the original]] SoapOpera version, where some of the heroine's actions are somewhat questionable, and its point was to {{invert|edTrope}} the BeautyEqualsGoodness pattern in soap heroines.
* In the premiere of the ''Series/BionicWoman'' reboot, a little girl sees Jaime outrace a car and thinks out loud that "it's neat a girl can do that." LampshadeHanging, or an {{anvil|icious}} so large it has the gravity of a planet?
* Creator/JossWhedon rather famously complained about how everyone kept asking him about his "strong women characters." He noted that no one ever asked a TV producer about "strong male characters," and concluded with the idea that when people stop making a big deal about positive female role models (that is, when it's no longer done for artificial reasons but just because "why not"), that will be a good thing. (Which is a little ironic, when you consider that he once said, "I can't seem to write a series without a teenage girl with superpowers." Hey, everyone has their niche.) In its [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYaczoJMRhs abbreviated form]]:
-->'''Interviewer:''' Why do you write these strong female characters?\\
'''Joss:''' Because you keep asking that question.
* ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' usually manages to bypass this problem as most teams have two females on them, so one can be the role model while the other can be a little quirky. For example, in ''Series/PowerRangersRPM'', Summer is the stereotypical role model, while Gemma is a lot goofier and whackier (not to mention freakin' insane). Unfotunately, seasons with only one female teammate can suffer. Tori from ''Series/PowerRangersNinjaStorm'' strayed into this trope from time to time.
* Mariska Hargitay of Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit claims (or The Other Wiki claims for her):
--> "I get letters saying, 'I want to do the right thing like Olivia. I want to be strong like Olivia. My friend did this, but I didn't do it because of Olivia.' For me, when a television show has that kind of positive effect on young people, it is great. I think it is a good thing that we are shedding light on darkness. I think it is a good thing to make young girls aware."
* Dr. Temperance "Series/{{Bones}}" Brennan. An ass-kicking anthropologist who wears jewelery, skirts and high heels while beating the shit out of bad guys, and whose best girlfriends are a similarly ass-kicking African-American coroner isn't defined by her race, who once had a comfortably relaxed affair (and is still best friends with) the man Brennan is now in love with, and a free-spirited Eurasian artist who believes in love while still being a LovableSexManiac. And for that rare creature, the female teen on the Autism Spectrum, the fact that a woman with ''huge'' social problems can not only be accepted as a friend, lover and boss, but does so ''on national television'', is enormously comforting.
* Female crew members on ''Franchise/StarTrek'' have always been more than tokens, whether it's Lt. Uhura in [[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries The Original Series]], Dr. Beverly Crusher in ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'', Kira Nerys and Jadzia Dax in ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', or Captain Janeway and B'Elanna Torres in ''Series/StarTrekVoyager''. How much of this was lip service and how much was actually being more than a token varies from series to series ... Uhura's main function on the show was to say "Hailing frequencies open, Captain." [[FairForItsDay Still, since this was the 1960s and she was not just female but also]] ''[[FairForItsDay black]]'', [[FairForItsDay it was progress of a sort.]]
** In fact, Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) was so bored in her (non) role that she thought about quitting after Season One. Martin Luther King Jr convinced her to stay and keep being a role model for African-American girls.
** Of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'''s original three female leads, two (Counselor Troi and Doctor Crusher) were in traditional "nurturing" female roles, and one (Tasha Yar) was an ActionGirl. Unfortunately, [[RealLifeWritesThePlot actress Denise Crosby's departure]] from the show left them with only the former two until the introduction of Ro Laren, never more than a tertiary character. Later Trek shows were always cast with an eye toward giving the female crew members more varied roles.
* In ''Series/{{Smallville}}'', Lois Lane in general. She's a dedicated career woman and heroine who stands up for what's right and helps protect her loved ones as well as innocents. Chloe Sullivan started out an IntrepidReporter and progressed to VoiceWithAnInternetConnection master hacker Oracle. In either role, an indispensable ally to Clark Kent. See also, Allison Mack's [[http://www.newsarama.com/tv/080908-allison-mack-smallville.html interview on the subject of Chloe]].
* The women of the BBC's ''Series/RobinHood'' were intended to be this. Didn't work out so well. At the beginning of the show the writers, directors and actress all gushed about how their take on Maid Marian made her a strong, intelligent, kick-ass female role model...and so she was...until the end of season two in which she's hit in the face with the DistressBall, [[DamselInDistress taken prisoner]] by the Sheriff, dragged to the Holy Land in chains, offers herself up as a reward to Guy of Gisborne if he kills the Sheriff for her, and is finally stabbed to death by Guy in a death scene that was specifically shot to suggest rape. The second season finale also had Djaq, an equally cool and kickass female character, be PutOnABus and the third season tried to replace the loss of these two female characters with Kate...except that they apparently thought that "shrill, whiny female who acts like a bitch to everyone around her and keeps on needing to be rescued" equaled "strong female role model" in her case.
* ''Series/ThirtyRock'''s Liz Lemon is universally praised for being a well-devolved, proactive protagonist that can withstand being mocked for her own social awkwardness and [[BigEater chronic overeating]]. Her boss Jack Donaghy even considers her his only worthy protégé. Some find it difficult to believe TinaFey would ever be HollywoodDateless, however.
** Jenna Maroney is probably the clearest example of [[AttentionWhore what happens]] when women ''don't'' have role models.
* ''Series/AbsolutelyFabulous'' is a SadistShow based around a cast of female {{Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist}}s. According [[WordOfGod Jennifer Saunders herself]], the characters were made to have few, if any, redemptive qualities whatsoever, making WomenAreWiser a complete impossibility. Most of these RichBitch characters were prone to pratfalls, CringeComedy, {{Zany Scheme}}s, comic {{Hubris}}, and outright violence, all played for [[PlayedForLaughs unabashed buffoonery]] rather than SoapOpera style drama (FirstLawOfTragicomedies rarely applied on this show, except for the occasional HopeSpot). The show seemed to take place in a BlackComedy {{Ladyland}} where TheSmurfettePrinciple was inverted, and the only male characters about were usually LoveInterests or {{Pet Homosexual}}s, allowing [[SlapstickKnowsNoGender female characters to fall into embarrassing situations]] without a man swooping in to protect them.
* ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'':
** The writers may well have had this trope in mind when they introduced Watson's girlfriend Sarah into the show, an intelligent doctor who helps crack the Chinese code and takes out a hitman with a plank of wood, to off-set the female characters of the first episode (a bitchy police officer, a ditzy morgue worker with a rather pathetic crush on Sherlock, and an aide to [[spoiler:Mycroft]] who barely looks up from her Blackberry). And of course, Adler is on her way... and she's sparking the same debate due to her portrayal in "Scandal in Belgravia."
** Mrs. Hudson is a strong female character, and obviously not defined by any little girl role models.
* The TransAtlanticEquivalent of ''Sherlock'', ''Series/{{Elementary}}'' has this with Joan Watson (GenderFlipped John Watson played by Creator/LucyLiu), the foil to the erratic Sherlock.
* Amongst the younger female characters of ''Series/DowntonAbbey'' there is Sybil and Gwen. Whilst Mary and Edith partake in the TheGloriousWarOfSisterlyRivalry, Anna pines hopelessly after Mr Bates, and Daisy is relentlessly manipulated by Thomas, it comes as a relief to watch Sybil and Gwen form an inter-class friendship based on Gwen's desire to become a typist and Sybil's interest in women's emancipation.
** In the second season, Anna is easily one of the most competent characters ([[spoiler:if Bates had listened to her and told the police from the start that his wife bought poison, he likely would never have been arrested]]). Edith also undergoes some CharacterDevelopment after seeing how devastated convalescing soldiers are because of the war.
* ''Series/StargateSG1'''s Major Samantha Carter has been cited as one of the greatest female roles in science fiction for a very good reason - she always held her own with "the boys", and aside from one rather embarrassing speech in the pilot episode (after which actress Creator/AmandaTapping put her foot down and said, "Okay, women don't talk like that,"), rarely made a big deal about being a woman unless someone else made an issue of it first. She was smart, she was a {{badass}} ActionGirl, and she was a real character with real flaws and real emotions. And on top of that, she had one of the firmest friendships in the show with Dr. Janet Fraiser, which was based not on mutual romantic woes but on common interests and real regard for each other.
* An odd inversion - according to producer Rick Sigglekow, ''Series/ShiningTimeStation'' introduced series regular Billy Twofeathers because they felt that ''boys'' needed role models.
-->He played the straight man to balance the antics between Schemer and Stacy. We also thought that he was a good role model for boys, who really donít see that many grounded men on television. So many men on kids TV are buffoons or bad guys, although I think thatís changing.
* ''Series/{{Agents of Shield}}'' has Skye, Simmons and May. Skye started out as TheChick but eventually developed into a very capable agent, May repeatedly demonstrates that she is the best fighter on this team or any other and Simmons is a proper genius. All three have saved the day on multiple occasions, each using their respective talents. [[spoiler: Bobbi, Maria Hill and Agent 33 later show up and pretty much prove that two X chromosomes are a superpower in this universe.]]
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** In the mid-1970s, feminism was hitting the mainstream in a big way and the producers of ''Series/DoctorWho'' decided to give the Doctor a feminist as a companion (Sarah Jane Smith) in order to appeal to this. Of course, the political opinions of the individual writers were all over the scale and so whether or not her feminism was portrayed positively or properly researched was heavily DependingOnTheWriter, though the character came across as likeable, strong and independent due to solid acting, generally good writing and the actress's impressive chemistry with both of her Doctors.
*** A particularly clueless stab at feminism is "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS9E2TheCurseOfPeladon The Monster of Peladon]]", where Alpha Centauri is inexplicably [[CharacterDerailment derailed]] into a StrawMisogynist just so Sarah can argue with it, despite it never having had any problems with Jo. Sarah later gets to introduce the Queen of Peladon to 'women's lib', explaining it's "when women don't let men tell them what to do", and apparently ''the Queen who is in charge of the planet and has lots of obedient subjects'' had never thought about that concept before.
*** In "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS12E1Robot Robot]]", Sarah gets to handle a huge chunk of the plot on her own, as she was still a familiar character after the Doctor's regeneration. Tied into her feminism when she is allowed to put a nerd in his place for wanting her to dress the way he likes, instead of the [[FashionDissonance admittedly hideous outfit]] she was wearing.
*** "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS13E3PyramidsOfMars Pyramids of Mars]]": Due to a feminist [[WriterOnBoard Director On Board]] who was adamant that Sarah was not allowed to be silly, Sarah ends up doing some rather out-of-character things like [[ActionGirl being a crack shot]], a skill there is ''no way'' she could ever have learned. Creator/ElisabethSladen wanted to play the scene as being a lucky shot, but the director refused.
** The following female companion, Leela, was similarly intended to be a role model for young girls. Producer at the time Philip Hinchcliffe had a little girl living next door who was a fan of the show, and was upset when he asked her which character she identified with the most and said "the Doctor" rather than "Sarah Jane". This led to Hinchcliffe conceiving of Leela as a strong and intelligent ActionGirl who came from a gender-equal society, could stand up for herself and was sometimes shown even to be as clever as the Doctor. Contemporary criticism focused on her {{Stripperific}} outfit and accused her of being shallow ParentService akin to ''Series/TopOfThePops'' dancers, as well as on how violent her character was - which goes to show the sexism of the day, as Leela had a lot more to her than that. (Later criticism tended to suggest that the PygmalionPlot, the Doctor constantly putting down her intelligence and a StrangledByTheRedString departure were probably not the best ways to write a feminist icon.) Leela also addressed the long-time ''Who'' problem of the female companions being the Doctor's subordinates for show structure reasons - though this was done by making her the Doctor's ''willing'' subordinate and student, rather than anything so wild as having them be equal.
** Leela's successor Romana was also intended to be a role model for young girls - after the mixed success of the ActionGirl, the decision was made to instead give the Doctor an equal to contend with in the form of [[DistaffCounterpart another clever, funny superintelligent Time Lord]]. When she regenerated she became even closer a female counterpart for the Doctor, with her own sonic screwdriver and scarf, and she would even occasionally take over main character spotlight from him. From a feminism standpoint she may have been one of the most successful companions in the series' history.
* ''Series/{{Arrow}}'' has been fairly successful in introducing, smart, capable women who also aren't immune from making terrible decisions, having their own problems, and not being defined by their relationships to the male characters. Counting Felicity as MissionControl, by Season 4 Team Arrow consists of two men and three women, and a bunch of other women in key supporting and guest roles.

[[folder:Pro Wrestling]]
* Evidently the mindset of [[Wrestling/{{Ivory}} Tina Ferrari]] and Ashley Cartier in Wrestling/{{GLOW}}, as they had segments dedicated to giving advice to any women/girls who might have been watching.
* Wrestling/JimCornette is an odd example, as he admitted to Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin to being used to seeing more value in having valets and female managers {{cat fight}} than try to make them into actual pro wrestlers, yet with the exception of Wrestling/SmokeyMountainWrestling (which still had SergeantRock in his [[PowerStable personal stable]]), he was an advocate for women who were primarily wrestlers in every company he had any degree of creative influence on, even Wrestling/{{TNA}}, where he was the one to deliver Creator/SpikeTV's directive on no male on female violence.
* On paper, the Characters/WWEDivas are obviously there to be role models to girls being touted as "[[BeautyBrainsAndBrawn Smart, Sexy and Powerful]]". In practice, it's just a marketing slogan someone came up with in 2009.
** Women such as Wrestling/{{Chyna}}, Wrestling/TrishStratus and Wrestling/{{Lita}} were heavily promoted as role models for girls. Chyna competed in the men's division (OlderThanTheyThink: As it took them a lot longer to get Wrestling/{{Jacqueline}} ''back'' to doing so even though her name was made in Memphis fighting both women and men), Lita wasn't afraid to stand out amongst all the busty blondes and glamorous Divas (she was a bit of a tomboy punk), and Trish started out as eye candy before dedicating herself to improving as a wrestler and became one of the standouts of the women's division during her stay there.
** The careers of these women heavily influenced many of the next generation of women wrestlers. Wrestling/NatalyaNeidhart who comes from a prestigious wrestling family has said she never considered wrestling until she saw Trish performing simply because she had never seen big female stars in wrestling. Ditto for Wrestling/MadisonRayne, who belongs to [[Wrestling/{{TNA}} a company]] that frequently likes to take shots at WWE due to a complete lack of good ideas. Lita was also this for current Diva Wrestling/AJLee and there's even a video clip of a teenage April meeting her at an autograph signing. So essentially WWE creating these role models for young girls helped create their next generation of female employees.
** Wrestling/MollyHolly spoke of this trope in her shoot interview. She has said that a lot of wrestlers hated being baby {{face}}s and didn't like the pressure of being role models for children. However she said she loved being a positive role model for young girls which is why she hated being a heel.
** Speaking of Wrestling/{{Lita}}, she has cited this trope as the reason she never posed for ''Magazine/{{Playboy}}''. She felt it would be wrong as she had a huge fanbase of young girls (plenty of wrestlers have said she would often get so many presents from fans at tapings she would have to leave some of them behind). Subverted with her heel turn and the "Live Sex Celebration" with Wrestling/{{Edge}}.
** Despite having no problems showing her assets and being a heel for most of her career, Wrestling/TerriRunnels also turned down ''Playboy'' for a similar reason, though it was due to the effects it might have on her daughter.
** Wrestling/BethPhoenix claimed in a promo that she wanted to be cheered by all the little girls in attendance, though at the time she was more like an AntiRoleModel, being a [[{{Narcissist}} narcissistic bully]].

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''Franchise/TombRaider'''s Lara Croft was originally designed to be "[[http://www.1up.com/do/feature?cId=3137700 an ongoing culture clash over gender, sexuality, empowerment, and objectification.]]" but was redesigned to reduce the emphasis on sexuality[[http://www.smh.com.au/news/World/Real-appeal/2005/05/21/1116533572111.html .]]
* ''SaintsRow2'' + 3 approaches this trope from the other direction by being completely indiscriminate. The fact you might be female pales to the fact you might, for example, have blue skin, luminous green tattoos and be roughly the shape of a pear. No-one will care, except for the odd comment in the 2nd game calling you the toughest chick they've ever met. By the third game there are plenty of female characters inhabiting the main cast, the main thing that subverts the 'you too, can be a chaotic, violence-loving psychopath!' message, is how {{Stripperific}} most NPC females are.
* Recently, many {{Game Mod}}s of popular video games have appeared that alter their protagonists to be of the female persuasion, e.g. ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong'', ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'', ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'' (it helps that Link is rather androgynous). Many of these were explicitly made for the creators' daughters, who were disappointed at not being able to play as a female character.
* Major plot point of ''VideoGame/{{Bayonetta}}'': [[spoiler: Seeing Bayonetta fight and kill angels makes Cereza even more confident of herself, thus changing history when she comes back to her time]].
* ''VideoGame/TelepathTactics''. [[http://sinisterdesign.net/why-im-using-female-lead-characters/ The developer cites this as one of the reasons for the campaign's female-centric cast,]] though he generally went the route of lots of {{Rounded Character}}s rather than a single perfect role model.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Shanti from ''Webcomic/TheGreenEyedSniper'' is a nurse who runs a hospital in enemy territory, as she hates her own country's politics of aggression. She is secretly an assassin, targeting only criminals that her government won't touch (such as corrupted politicians, war criminals, powerful pedophiles, and slavers).
* {{Parodied|Trope}} by ''Webcomic/HarkAVagrant'' [[http://harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=311 here]] and [[http://harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=336 here]], as part of a joint project with Carly Monado and Meredith Gran.
* ''Cheer!'' takes four male-football players-turned-female-cheerleaders who were used as a series of gags in ''TheWotch'' and develops them into likable characters. All of them have interests and goals they pursue and all of them are devoted friends to one another.
* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' also features a female polymath adventurer as the lead character, and has quite a few distinctive strong female characters. Some of them are extremely nasty though, and as such not exactly role models.
* Ann Walker in ''Webcomic/ButImACatPerson'' starts out looking like this: a blind young woman making her way in the sexist, man-dominated business culture of the 1960s. Later... not so much.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The ladies from WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick take from ''Series/AbsolutelyFabulous'' in this regard. You've got SlapstickKnowsNoGender, plenty of BlackComedy including rape jokes, neuroses, pretentiousness, egos, stalking and just plain hilarious evil all round. And with that in mind, you can understand why Lindsay Ellis would get pissed off when the WomenAreWiser MisaimedFandom keeps on popping up despite all of this.
** They also discuss how the concept of "strong, independent women" is used to sexualize and objectify women in movies, specifically in the Female Superheroes and ''Film/CharliesAngels'' videos.
** Also of note, Lindsay has lamented on her personal blog how hard it is to write female characters that both defy typical stereotypes but also won't be judged more harshly than male characters will. This is noted in her review of ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid'' as well: later Franchise/{{Disney Princess}}es are better role models, but at the same time it feels as if Creator/{{Disney}} is trying too hard to achieve it.
* Rebecca Stone from ''WebVideo/DemoReel'' has some serious issues and is allowed to be funny, but unlike the other AxCrazy {{Broken Bird}}s of WebSite/ThatGuyWithTheGlasses, she's a PluckyGirl with several angry feminist rants, has partaken in over forty jobs so doesn't just go for the intentionally pathetic and bash movies, and only beats on two people because they hurt her boyfriends.
* In [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TvImE-P0xE an interview]] on the ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'' fan {{podcast}} ''The Foundry Roundtable'', Terilynn Shull of ''Massively'' remarked that, particularly in a military or quasi-military setting like Starfleet, the best way to write a "strong female character" is to take the word "female" out of the mental equation entirely and just write a strong ''character''. In other words, make the fact that she has two X chromosomes an afterthought when she's on the job.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* WesternAnimation/KimPossible was pitched with this trope in mind -- a girl who "can do anything!". Which is [[BrokenAesop apparently not a good thing]].
-->'''Joss Possible:''' Ron here is afraid of practically everything, but does he let his fears keep him from {{sidekick}}in'? Let's face it, Kim. [[InvincibleHero You can do anything.]] So facing all those dangers and villains, well, it's just like you say. No big. [[ThisLoserIsYou A fella filled with that much fear]] always chargin' into action with you? Seems to me that's a true hero.
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'':
** The show may not typically have strong female characters in focus, but at least it took a moment to point out the problems with our "real life" role-models, using the example of Paris Hilton. Mr. Slave gives a heart-felt entreaty to parents to point out to their daughters which role-models they should follow and which they should revile.
** A few DayInTheLimelight episodes focus on female role model-style characters e.g.: Wendy's SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome when she beat the crap out of Cartman due to his mocking of breast cancer sufferers.
* The [=DVD=] commentary on ''WesternAnimation/TheBoondocks'' points how many critics complain about the lack of [[MagicalNegro "perfect" Black females.]] The crew points out that a change in gender does NOT make you perfect.
* According to Creator/PaulDini, this was the major reason Comicbook/{{Batgirl}} became a main character when ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' was revamped as ''The New Batman Adventures'' despite only appearing in a handful of episodes in the previous series. The execs felt the renewed focus on Batgirl and Robin would maximize the number of both male and female viewers.
* Darla "The Geek" in the animated series of ''SamAndMaxFreelancePolice'' was originally meant to be male. The sex change occurred because the TV network asked for a positively-identified female character.
* The female heroes in ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' and ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'' won positive response for actually having relevant roles in the ongoing storyline and even getting their own plots and episodes devoted to them. However, the pilot episode of the latter was sharply criticized for focusing on the four male members of the team and not including any women until the final few minutes.
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' churned out strong female characters by the boatload. Starting with [[TheChick Katara]], the headstrong waterbender from the [[EskimoLand Southern Water Tribe]] who freed [[TheHero Aang]] from the iceberg, every female character that followed was more {{badass}} than the one before. Even the female villains introduced for Book Two were well rounded, interesting and not to be trifled with. The most {{badass}} female character in the show was a twelve-year-old blind earthbender who could, quite literally, rock your world.
** [[TheChick Katara]] starts as a rather typical example of TheChick, but later events force her dark side to come out later on. She also, despite much pressure from the fan base, remained indifferent to AllGirlsWantBadBoys and ended up with someone who was a WideEyedIdealist like her. [[BadassAdorable Ty Lee]] also has her {{Moe}} qualities, but this comes more from [[FreudianExcuse feeling unwanted as a child]] than her gender role.
** You've also got Mai, a rich pampered girl but [[DarkActionGirl powerful fighter]] who grapples with her loyalty to her country, fear of her "friend" and [[spoiler: doing what's right and saving her exiled boyfriend]]. You've also got [[BadassNormal Suki]] whose the leader of her all female fighting group, and Yue, a princess who will sacrifice her happiness and [[spoiler: mortal life]] to protect her tribe.
** The sequel series, ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', continues this trend, with the creators taking the risk of pitching a female protagonist. It's paid off.
*** And beyond Korra, the hot-headed main character, let's look at the others girls who join her. There's beautiful and apparently prissy Asami....who is nonetheless a powerful fighter, intelligent strategist and able to [[spoiler: run her father's company]]. Lin, daughter of the aforementioned Toph, who is the Chief of police and will do anything to protect the city, Jinora, the clever little air-bender, and Ikki, her quick-witted MotorMouth sister.
* Averted with pretty much every female in ''WesternAnimation/KaBlam'', Loopy gets into dangerous situations and quickly jumps to conclusions, Thundergirl is an idiot (as with the other members of the Action League), and June is plain bossy.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAngryBeavers'' ultimately lampshades this with Treeflower, whose answering machine informs callers that she's on another adventure inexplicably changing her career and personality. For a girl who went from HippieChick to bouffant-wearing executive to snowboarding superhero etc, [[CatchPhrase dotdotdot]], it's not that hard to believe.
* Lampshaded in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/ClerksTheAnimatedSeries'', where Dante and Randal read a couple of letters criticizing the show for its complete lack of female characters. After reading one that asks if they're afraid of women, Randal simply answers "yes" and moves on to the next letter with no further comment.
* And ''{{Transformers}}'' has [[FauxActionGirl Arcee]]. She was penned as a 'forceful female autobot' and her bios state that she's 'not just a girl robot', and yet she's [[RealWomenDontWearDresses pink]], a [[{{Stripperific}} "Naked Princess Leia"]], and only picks up her gun twice. This has caused many female viewers of the [[TransformersGeneration1 original series]] to complain about how Arcee needs to 'put on some pants and pick up a gun'.
** The IDW Comics, however, have taken steps to correct this by making Arcee an AxCrazy berserker. This does not help. Additionally, this {{trope}} was invoked in one of Arcee's origin stories, where the Autobots built her in response to feminists calling them sexist (despite Optimus's claims that Cybertronians are {{asexual|ity}}). However, when Arcee was built, the Autobots still received flak for giving her pink armor.
** ''TransformersAnimated'', conversely, has Arcee as both a [[MisplacedKindergartenTeacher teacher]] and a spy [[spoiler:who was supposed to teach an [[PersonOfMassDestruction Autobot of Mass Destruction]] what it meant to be an Autobot]]. Sadly, her relationship with male medic [[TheMedic Ratchet]] tends to make other people complain all over again. At least she wears pants.
** ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'' seems to have struck a nice balance between {{Badass}} and CoolBigSis (helped by making her color scheme [[BlueBoyPinkGirl blue with pink highlights]]). She is valuable for her speed and skill but too lightly armed to make a dent against bigger opponents, and is emotionally sensitive to the point of [[IneffectualLoner isolating herself]] when someone hits a sore spot. There is a scene in the pilot movie where she convinces Jack to come back to the team because she had recently [[TheLostLenore lost Cliffjumper]] and had grown attached to him. Coming from a "male" Autobot it would seem rather "touchy-feely" but it hit just the right tone with Arcee.
* [[https://web.archive.org/web/20081014103713/http://www.joemurraystudio.com/tv/rocko_factoid3.shtml This led to Joe Murray's creation of Dr. Hutchinson]] on ''WesternAnimation/RockosModernLife''.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** When Creator/LaurenFaust created ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' she did indeed intend for the series main cast to be appropriate role models to the shows young audience. However, her idea of creating good female role models wasn't to make each and every main female character ''flawless'', but rather to make each and every one of them ''different from the others'', thus pushing the message that there are many different ways to be a girl. Among the main cast is [[Characters/FriendshipIsMagicRainbowDash a brash athlete]], [[Characters/FriendshipIsMagicApplejack a strong-willed farmer]], [[Characters/FriendshipIsMagicTwilightSparkle a smart magician/librarian]], [[Characters/FriendshipIsMagicPinkiePie a fun-loving baker]], [[Characters/FriendshipIsMagicFluttershy a shy and sweet animal raiser]], and [[Characters/FriendshipIsMagicRarity a sassy but elegant tailor]].
** The show also goes as far as to include male role models that, while less pivotal, often play a large part in the female cast's lives. Twilight Sparkle often has her assistant [[Characters/FriendshipIsMagicSpike Spike]] aid her (if occasionally buffoonishly) and looked up to her older brother for much of her childhood. Big Macintosh similarly, while having eccentricities, is portrayed as an intelligent and hard worker ([[WhatCouldHaveBeen a planned episode]] would have revolved around his altruism towards his younger sisters, Applejack and Applebloom).
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Recess}}'', has Gretchen and Spinelli, the 'smartest' and 'toughest' girl in school respectively. While they excel in traditionally male fields (science and wrestling) this isn't made a big deal of. They are valuable, complex characters in their own right, and notably neither of them take on the 'Chick' role in the Five Man Band. In one episode their bus breaks down, and out of six main characters (4 of them male), it's the girls who fix it. As the top-rated comment stated:
--> "When I was kid I didn't notice that Spinelli and Gretchen, the girls, were the ones who knew about cars. Someone had to point it out to me. To this day that's not how I think, thanks Recess".
* Creator/LaurenFaust has said this was a major reason behind the creation of the ''WesternAnimation/SuperBestFriendsForever'' shorts on the WesternAnimation/DCNation block. The Black Lightning shorts focusing on his superpowered daughters, Thunder and Lightning, sprang from a similar mindset.
* 1980s British animation ''Pigeon Street'' portrayed the lives of ordinary people living on an urban street, with a good mix of age, race and sex. The character most people remember is Long-Distance Clara, the lorry driver with a ''kickass'' theme song.
* Kitty Katswell in ''WesternAnimation/TUFFPuppy'' being kickass ActionGirl and the most competent and [[OnlySaneMan sane]] agent in T.U.F.F.. With a sensible and stylish SpyCatsuit go with.
* Princess Sally Acorn was initially developed as something of a RoyalBrat and a tactical opposite to Sonic (in both strengths and flaws) in earlier points of ''WesternAnimation/SonicSatAM'' and its [[ComicBook/SonicTheHedgehog comic adapatation]]. As both medias developed however, Sally gained more spotlight and abilities, and her original comedic flaws became more and more nuanced to the point she was clearly the most competent and sane of the team. This was taken to an almost hypocritical extreme, since to accustom Sally's boosted role, other female leads such as Bunnie were downgraded into ineffective extras.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThomasTheTankEngine'''s early attempts at new characters seemed to befit this. Most engines in ''TheRailwaySeries'' novels were male, [[UnfortunateImplications the only females existant were two diesels (both were fairly arrogant and incompetent) and immobile coaches that needed to be carried around]]. The show created a larger number of female engines such as Emily and Rosie that are often as prominent and "really useful" as the male characters. It should be noted however, that this is treaded on surprisingly carefully. Gender is rarely refered to in the show and almost all of the engines, male or female, have defining strengths and flaws.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Inverted in [[http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2010/01/female-teachers-math-anxiety-influences-female-students.ars this article]]. With regards to math ability, it argues, what girls don't need is role models -- specifically bad role models: female teachers who are math-anxious themselves.
* [[http://www.overthinkingit.com/2008/08/18/why-strong-female-characters-are-bad-for-women/ Why Strong Female Characters Are Bad For Women]] takes issue not with this trope, but [[RealWomenDontWearDresses the definition of "strong female character"]].
** [[http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2013/08/i-hate-strong-female-characters Here's]] another one arguing that "Strong Female Characters" are, in a way, just as limiting as traditional female character types and that having more varied or, more the the point, ''more'' female characters should be the real goal.
* According to [[http://blog.ted.com/2011/01/14/gaming-to-re-engage-boys-in-learning-ali-carr-chellman-on-ted-com/ this]] video presentation, it's ''boys'' who are now desperately in need of role models at a young age.
* MoralGuardians often go after young females of a certain age if they make certain mistakes (Music/BritneySpears, Music/MileyCyrus) in the media or present what is considered an overly-sexualized image. This is not an issue for young male artists, the implication being that young males don't need good wholesome pure innocent role models.
** What's ironic is that their usual criteria for deciding who is a "good" vs. a "bad" role model for young girls is actually [[MadonnaWhoreComplex pretty]] ''[[MadonnaWhoreComplex anti]]''[[MadonnaWhoreComplex -feminist]].
** Compare the response to Music/BritneySpears' controversies to Music/ChrisBrown's.
* A number of BritishNewspapers have run articles in recent years taking issue with sexualised performances on TV shows (in particular ''Series/TheXFactor'' and ''Series/BritainsGotTalent'')... almost all performers criticised are female, and a lot of those are declared as "setting a bad example" to young girls.
** Of note is the ''Daily Mail'''s response to an ''X Factor'' performance by Music/{{Rihanna}} and Music/ChristinaAguilera.
** In June 2013 the ''Daily Mail'' ran a hatchet job article on Rihanna entitled "Pop's Poison Princess", with most of the criticism largely invoking this trope, going to the point of accusing her fashion choices of ''encouraging rape''. Rihanna responded later that day, declaring the article's author a [[TakeThat "sad, sloppy, menopausal mess"]].
* This is one of the more prominent (out of many) reasons why Music/MileyCyrus' HotterAndSexier image is getting such a backlash from MoralGuardians. Especially after the 2013 [=VMAs=].
** Miley has since [[http://www.elle.com/news/culture/miley-cyrus-tavi-gevinson-interview-may-issue called out]] the double standards behind this [[WordOfGod in a 2014 interview]].