Light Feminine and Dark Feminine

This is a character contrast trope. Both female characters are decidedly feminine, but in different ways. The light is generally angelic and feels love, whereas the dark is generally devilish and plays with desire. The light is usually sweet and naïve, whereas the dark is usually aloof and brooding. Either type applies to a Tomboy and Girly Girl contrast. When a love interest is involved, it's likely to lead to a Betty and Veronica love triangle: Betty being the Light feminine, and Veronica being the Dark feminine.

As with any two character trope, the two characters have to have some sort of relationship with each other, be it friends, family, love interests, or rivals for a love interest, so the two characters can be playing the traits directly off each other.

The dark feminine character is not always a villain or a whore but half of a good girl, bad girl or naughty and nice pair. Remember Dark Is Not Evil.

Compare the innocent child and the seductress of The Three Faces of Eve as well as the sweet-naïve one and sexy one of the Four Girl Ensemble. The Spear Counterpart is Noble Male, Roguish Male. With a duo consisting of a Magical Girl and a Dark Magical Girl, in general, the Magical Girl is Light Feminine and the Dark Magical Girl is Dark Feminine.

Not to be confused with Pale Females, Dark Males.


Examples:

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     Anime and Manga  

     Comic Book  

  • In Astérix and the Actress, a (brunette) Roman actress named Latraviata pretends to be (blond) village sweetheart Panacea with the goal of retriving some treasure unwittingly fenced by the Gauls, and vamps the character up significantly. Although she is a Honey Trap, it's apparent from early on that she's not a bad person, and she ends up being something of a sexy, clever love interest for Guile Hero Asterix, where Panacea is an innocent, delicate love interest for Kindhearted Simpleton Obelix. Both Latraviata and Panacea start out as rivals but end up as best friends by the end.

     Fan Fic  

     Film  

  • Batman Forever has Two-Face's molls, Sugar (played by Drew Barrymore) and Spice (played by Debi Mazar). Subverted in that both of them are "bad", and "Sugar" is probably worse because she gives The Riddler the cube with the information about Bruce Wayne's Secret Identity.
  • Batman & Robin had a dark villainous character (Poison Ivy) and a light heroic character (Batgirl).
  • Inglorious Bastards two female characters fit this trope well - Light, glamorous movie star, Bridget Von Hammersmark; and dark Unkempt Beauty on a vendetta, Shoshana Dreyfus.
  • Lili is both of these over the course of Legend, first as an innocent and naïve virgin in a white dress, then as a sexy and cunning Manipulative Bitch in an extremely low-cut black gown. It's all an act, however. She's actually a Fake Defector trying to fix her own, terrible, mistake.
  • In Lemonade Joe, Or Horse Opera, Winifred Goodman and Tornado Lou both love the Ideal Hero Joe. Wini is a sweet and naïve Ingenue with blond hair who dresses in white and is usually seen helping her Preacher Man father or visiting her mother's grave, while Tornado Lou is a dark-haired Soiled Dove and a Chanteuse who wears dark and skimpy outfits and works in a saloon but dreams of becoming a different, better person.
  • Love Actually has the two interests of Alan Rickman's charcter - his wife and his aspiring mistress. Guess which one is which...
  • Mean Girls had dark Alpha Bitch Regina and light Hollywood Nerd Cady. Janis is also a dark feminine to Cady's light.
  • Maria and her mechanical doppelganger in Fritz Lang's Metropolis are an example of this trope. Maria is loving, kind, and saintly, whereas the machine-woman is a demonic temptress deliberately created by Rotwang and Joh Fredersen to discredit her.
  • Played straight in Out of the Past, with dark-haired, passionate, evil Kathie and virginal blonde Ann.
  • Pretty Persuasion had two BFF's plotting the demise of their teacher in their search for fame - light Brittany (blonde and naive) and dark Kimberly (brunette Fille Fatale).
  • Sunrise: The Woman from The City is the Dark Feminine (hedonist, cheater), while The Wife is the Light Feminine (goody-goody all the way through).
  • The Virgin Spring features Karin, the innocent blonde who is specifically stated to be a virgin, and is also a Christian, and Ingeri, her servant girl, who is dark-haired with a dark complexion, is about eight months pregnant, isn't married, and is a secret pagan.

     Literature  
  • The Jack Weyland book Michelle and Debra has the obedient Michelle as the light and her rebellious best friend Debra as the dark.
  • The two leading ladies in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Blithedale Romance. Priscilla is the demure, fragile, domestic (read: conservative) Light Feminine; Zenobia is the mysterious, sensual, outspoken, transcendental feminist (read: liberal) Dark Feminine.
  • Taken almost to parody with Alice (Light Feminine, all the way to golden hair and utter helplessness) and Cora (Dark Feminine, at least as far as her looks and refusal to be anyone's doormat) Munro in The Last of the Mohicans.
  • Ellony Leckery and Pharinet Palindrake in The Chronicles of Magravandias, Ellony being a straight example of The Ingenue while Pharinet is something of a Yandere when pushed. Other female characters in the story, particularly those who fill similar roles or are related to them or are named for them are more balanced between the two extremes.
  • Twilight's Alice and Rosalie are the adoptive sisters in high school. Alice is happy in nature. She adores Bella from the start and cares about Bella's safety above anything. Rosalie is proud of her great beauty. She is initially annoyed by Bella's presence but she is the most respectful of Bella's choices.
  • Practical Magic has motherly Sally (light) and seductive Gillian (dark). That goes double for the movie adaptation. In fact, a quote in the book used to describe them sums up this trope quite nicely (albeit poetically):
    Night and Day, the aunts called them, and although neither girl laughed at this little joke they recognized the truth in it, and were able to understand that the moon is always jealous of the heat of the day, just as the sun always longs for something dark and deep.
  • Anna Karenina: Kitty and Anna are at first friends, with Kitty being younger and a great admirer of Anna's beauty and personality. They also both love Count Vronsky who courted Kitty but fell for Anna. Anna is a dark-haired beauty who ends up being an adulteress while Kitty is a golden-haired pretty girl who ends up in a happy marriage.
  • In "De skandalösa" by Simona Ahrnstedt, Magdalena Swärd is the intelligent and brooding proto-feminist (dark feminine), while Venus Dag och Natt is so beautiful, lovely and docile (light feminine).
  • In Main.Dragonlance there is a pretty classic Betty and Veronica example Kitiara (Veronica) is the dark one - a cross between a Blood Knight and a Femme Fatale, and Laurana is a Spoiled Sweet royal turned Badass Princess. Appropriate hair colors and attire follow.
  • Lissa Dragomir and Rose Hathaway from Vampire Academy. Rose is the seductive, temperamental, and violent of the duo while Lissa is more light-hearted, even-tempered, and angelic-looking of the two.

     Live Action TV  

  • Degrassi has the noble Emma as light and her best friend the provocative Manny as dark.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Enemy of the World", the two heroic "Bond girl" characters are Astrid - blond, wholesome, a pilot working for the good guys, optimistic and with a Stiff Upper Lip; and Fariah, a black woman heavily implied to have dark secrets in her past. Astrid is innocently charming, very honest and fights with straightforward Action Girl methods, while Fariah is beguiling, mysterious and fights with social manipulation. Both Astrid and Fariah flirt with men at one point to get them to do what they want, but when Astrid does it she just ends up gushing to the Doctor about how wonderful he is, while Fariah will smoulder on cue if it means Salamander is less likely to suspect her of leaking information.
  • Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 - see the page image. Most of the shows storylines are generated by the contrast between the short, blonde, trusting, and sweet June (Dreama Walker) and the tall, black-haired, manipulative, and promiscuous Chloe (Krysten Ritter).
    • Of course, the plot is driven by the fact that June can keep up with Chloe and regularly gives her a taste of her own medicine.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy and Faith are Vampire Slayers, the Chosen Two. Bad girl Faith says that killing vampires always makes her hungry and horny contrasted with Buffy who sometimes craves a nonfat yogurt afterwards and cares about always doing the right thing. This trope gets a thorough workout when their bodies are switched.
  • How I Met Your Mother has the motherly, married, Girl Next Door Lily (a ginger) and the aloof, vain, independent, sexy Robin (dark-haired). They consider themselves best friends.
  • Merlin:
    • The series has has Guinevere, the good hearted heroine, and Morgana, the villainess. Interestingly, Gwen is linked more with desire than Morgana, who (despite a couple of early Femme Fatale scenes) almost comes across as asexual in her complete lack of interest in men. And as an added ironic bonus, Guinevere (light) is played by mixed-race Angel Coulby, and Morgana (dark) is played by extremely pale Katie McGrath.
    • In the episode The Hunter's Heart, Guinevere gets a turn at playing the dark feminine in contrast to visiting Princess Mithian's light.
  • Robin Hood:
    • The first 2 series has Marian as the light feminine, who was replaced by Isabella, the dark feminine.
    • In the third series, in which Isabella and Kate are rivals for Robin's affection, Kate would also count as the light feminine in contrast to Isabella's dark. However, after Isabella's Face-Heel Turn it became a blatant Madonna–Whore Complex.
  • Snow White is also the light side of a nemesis duo with Regina.
  • This trope was used to characterize Belle's Storybrook self, Lacey (the dark parallel to Belle's usual wholesome beauty act).
  • The Vampire Diaries:
    • Elena is the Light Feminine and Katherine is the Dark Feminine. Elena and Katherine, whom are both doppelgangers, share an uncanny physical resemblance, but in terms of morals, Elena is known as good and moral, while Katherine is known as bad and immoral. Both share a common love and interest in Stefan and are often in competition for his affections.
  • In Arabela, we have sisters Xenia (dark, seductive) and Arabela (light, pure).

     Music  

  • Alvaro Véliz's songs "Ni tú ni ella" ("Neither you, nor her") are abut a guy who can't choose between two loves. The girl he's "singing" to is the Light Feminine — sweet, gentle, kind, whom he cares for dearly. The other girl he's referring to in the lyrics is the Dark Feminine — sensual, a Blithe Spirit, passionate and able to bring his wilder side.

     Mythology  
  • In an apocryphal Abrahamic mythology, Lilith (the first wife of Adam, who refused to submit) represents the Dark Feminine — while Eve (Adam's second wife) is the Light Feminine.

    Theatre 

    Video Games 

  • Darkstalkers: Felicia, the childish cat monster raised by nuns would be the Light, and Morrigan, the rebellious hedonistic succubus would be the Dark. Both are Miss Fanservice but Felicia simply doesn't need clothing, Morrigan is a fashionista that's purposely seductive.
  • The two female love interests in Mass Effect 1 are Liara (young, naïve, virginal academic) and Ashley (gun-toting, suspicious of aliens, snarky soldier) largely follow the trope. The expanding cast and changing personalities prevent this from applying to the later two games, however.

     Visual Novels  

     Webcomics  

     Web Original  

  • Monster High plays with this trope. While Draculaura dresses mostly in Black clothing, she is actually Light feminine. Whereas Cleo Is Dark feminine, despite wearing a lot of glittery gold... and being deathly afraid of the dark.

     Western Animation  

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender, Mai and Ty Lee stylistically they fit the trope - Ty Lee is bubbly and approachable, has big eyes, and wears pink; while Mai is aloof and snarky, has Raven Hair, Ivory Skin, and wears red - they're both Anti-Villain Dark Action Girls, however.
    • Azula is more your classical Dark Feminine, playing the temptress angle unlike Mai who's actually pretty tame.
  • Total Drama:
    • Heather is Dark Feminine while Lindsay is Light Feminine.
    • Zoey is Light Feminine while Dakota is Dark Feminine. Zoey's rival for Mike's affection Anne Maria is also a pretty good Dark Feminine.
  • Most episodes of Ewoks, feature both princess Kneesaa and her best friend Latara. They're literally light and dark; and personality-wise, one is ridiculously innocent most of the time, all about sharing and caring, while the other starts out as a melancholic starving artist type and turns out to be a manipulative prima donna in the second season, after Character Exaggeration.


Alternative Title(s):

Light Feminine Dark Feminine