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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 na´ve, whereas the dark is usually aloof and brooding. Either type can be the girly girl portrayed in the 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 a villain or a whore but half of a good girl, bad girl or naughty and nice pair. Remember not to put a square peg in a round trope. Remember Dark Is Not Evil.

Compare the innocent child and the seductress of The Three Faces of Eve as well as the sweet-na´ve 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:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga  

  • In Code Geass, Shirley is the Light Feminine to contrast with either Kallen as the Dark Feminine, both being part of the Ashford Student Council and love interests for Lelouch. Kaguya could also be the Light Feminine to C.C's Dark Feminine, with those two being a part of the Black Knights.
  • The manipulative and deceptive Haruhi (Dark), and the meek and mild Mikuru (Light) from Haruhi Suzumiya.
  • Oniisama e...:
    • Nanako Misonoo and Mariko Shinobu contrasting with the Bifauxnen and Lad-ette duo of Rei and Kaoru. While cute, mild-mannered and softspoken Nanako sits firmly on the Nice Girl spectrum, Mariko is a fair-skinned, raven-haired mixture of Yandere and Tsundere from day one. It's lampshaded in a scene at the start, when Nanako tells Mariko that she's fascinated by the latter's ruby-red lips and she explains that she keeps them like that via biting on them... then tries to get Nanako to do it, but she gets scared and runs off.
    • Nanako and the very elegant and aloof Fukiko "Miya-sama" Ichinomiya, who displays her own share of femininity in a very sophisticated and high-class way.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Ms. Fanservice Mai Valentine/Kujaku plays Dark Feminine to first Plucky Girl Next Door Tea/Anzu's and then ingenue and ex-Ill Girl Serenity/Shizuka's Light Feminine.
  • Bleach:
    • There's more than one of these duos of these: I.e., Rangiku Matsumoto is a good Dark Feminine due to her Hard-Drinking Party Girl and Ms. Fanservice sides, and she has two prospect Light Feminines in Barrier Warrior Orihime Inoue and Nice Girl Momo Hinamori, with whom she occasionally doubles as Lovely Angels.
    • Rangiku and Momo's zanpakutos also fit in the trope. Haineko is a Cat Girl Tease and interested in fashion, boys and her looks; by contrast, Tobiume is very cute and ladylike looking and refers to herself as a Yamato Nadeshiko (though technically, she's more of a Tsundere), as well as less open about her own share of fangirlism.
  • Mawaru-Penguindrum gives us Himari Takakura (Silk Hiding Steel Girl Next Door) and either Masako Natsume (Action Girl Large Ham) or Yuri Tokikago (Badass Normal who swears by the Rule of Glamorous).
  • Detective Conan has the happy, friendly Ran as the light and the Broken Bird Haibara as the dark (the former being the subject of Shinichi's Single-Target Sexuality and the second being implied to have strong feelings for him.)
    • Yukiko Kudo and Sharon Vineyard aka Vermouth. Yukiko is Shinichi's kind and beautiful mother who is also kind of a woman child sometimes, and Sharon is her long-time friend and quite the dangerous Dark Action Girl.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion, Madoka and Homura play this trope to extremes. At the end of the original anime Madoka becomes a white-clad goddess that has selfless love for everyone. At the end of Rebellion Homura becomes a black-clad devil in order to obtain her one selfish desire. (Admittedly, that desire is to make Madoka happy, but she's willing to do anything to accomplish it.)
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • There's one female in each group of eight - Action Girl Riza Hawkeye as Light Feminine, The Vamp Lust as Dark Feminine.
    • During the latter parts of the series, on the heroes side we have both the aforementioned Hawkeye as Light Feminine and Major General Iron Lady Olivier Armstrong as the Dark, who also play on the pairing.
  • Princess Tutu has Ahiru/Duck as Light Feminine and Rue as Dark Feminine. The former is a cheerful and clumsy Genki Girl whose mission in life is simply to get Mytho, the boy she admires, to smile. The latter is an elegant and aloof Ojou who also cares for Mytho, but in a far more possesive way due to her Broken Bird nature. Both girls have white and black costumes of their respective Magical Girl personas, Princess Tutu and Princess Kraehe. Also, they're both based on Odette and Odile from the ballet Swan Lake.
  • Bitter Virgin has manipulative, vain Kazuki as Dark Feminine and either meek, childlike Hinako or nagging Girl Next Door Yuzu as Light Feminine.
  • Gundam SEED Destiny has the softspoken and lady-like Lacus Clyne and her much Hotter and Sexier Body Double, Meer Campbell. Heartbreakingly, Meer pulls an Heroic Sacrifice for Lacus and perishes in her arms.
  • Gundam SEED has Lacus as Light opposite Fllay Alster as Dark. Lacus, as said above, is softspoken and ladylike as well as a Token Wholesome in looks, while Fllay is a Broken Bird with serious issues and who uses her looks to her advantage. They are also interested in the same guy, Kira Yamato, though not at the same time; Fllay is his First Love and ultimately The Lost Lenore to him, while Lacus becomes his Second Love and end-game Love Interest.
  • Initial D gives us the only team made of girls: the driver Mako Satou, who is a Nice Girl, and her best friend/co-pilot Sayuki who goes the Femme Fatale way.
  • In One Piece, Nami and Robin are both interesting mix of both types of femininity. Nami is not afraid to show her feelings and tell if she is fond of someone (as a friend, that is), and she has a soft spot for cute animals and children, but she is more known for being greedy, wearing skimpy clothes and using her feminine attributes to blackmail just about everyone. Robin is polite, motherly and has many Proper Lady traits, but on the flipside she is something of a Broken Bird, she always thinks up macabre things, and she is absolutely ruthless in battle.
  • Hikaru Hiyama and Madoka Ayukawa from Kimagure Orange Road were a Tomboy and Girly Girl duo as little girls, but switched to this as teenagers. Bright, na´ve, cheerful Hikaru is the Light, while harsh yet kindhearted and very sexy Madoka is the Dark.
  • Ranka Lee (Light - Moe, A-Cup Angst, na´ve, youthful) and Sheryl Nome (Dark - Broken Bird, Buxom Is Better, Stripperiffic when on-stage) in Macross Frontier.
  • In the American arc of Marmalade Boy, Jinny Golding was the flirty Femme Fatale Dark to Doris O'Connor's mature Cool Big Sis Light.
  • Sonic X has the happy-go-lucky Cute Bruiser Amy as light feminine and seductive Ms. Vice Girl Rouge as dark feminine.
  • Fruits Basket:
    • In the manga version, the kind and sweet Yamato Nadeshiko Tohru Honda is the Light to the sexy Broken Bird Rin Sohma's Dark.
    • There's Tohru's friends, Uotani (a tall, blonde, outgoing, tough former gangster) and Hanajima (a Perky Goth who's frail and tends to creepily threaten people with her psychic powers, if they upset Tohru).
    • Later in the manga, we also get sweet, happy Tohru and the depressed, broken Akito, a much abused young woman and who keeps the Sohma clan's reins through fear and anger (and sometimes sex, in the case of Kureno and Shigure). Tohru then helps the Sohmas through her issues, thus she becomes Akito's target... and manages to reach for her too.
  • Earl Cain's sweet, energetic, rebellious but utterly good-hearted blonde baby sister Meriweather and jealous, Trickster-ish, spider-controlling auburn-haired... something Mikaela vie for his attention through much of the Godchild arc. They even dress in clothes that resemble Sweet and Gothic Lolita, respectively.
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt has the light feminine Panty and the dark feminine Stocking. In addition to representing different aspects of femininity, they represent different vices. The former represents lust, while the latter represents gluttony.
  • InuYasha has the good-natured, cheerful Kagome, and the brooding, revengeful Kikyou. Despite Kagome being Kikyou's reincarnation, inheriting her looks and Miko powers, the two are exact opposites of each other: Kagome is plucky and optimistic while Kikyou is broken and embittered.
  • In Private Actress, we have the actresses Sayuri Nagasawa (the main character's mother) and Ruriko Daichi. Both women are pretty and talented performers, but whereas Sayuri is a classical beauty who plays "Nice Girl" roles, Ruriko has sexier looks (huge breasts included) and tends to play Ice Queens or Rich Bitches, often as the "love rival" or "bully" to a chara by Sayuri.
    Shiho: "Ruriko Daichi, the person known as Japan's Marilyn Monroe in terms of sensuality... She is the opposite of the pure and innocent Sayuri Nagasawa."

     Comic Book  

  • In AstÚrix 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  

  • 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.
  • Out of the Past: One of the hero's love interests is dark-haired—she lies, steals, schemes, and kills three people. The other love interest is a blonde, and she is sweet and innocent.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Lili is both of these over the course of Legend, first as an innocent and na´ve 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.
  • 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.
  • Daphne and Luster in The Gamers: Dorkness Rising. Daphne is Lawful Good, dresses sensibly, and usually conducts herself with (relative) dignity. Luster is a Stripperiffic Heroic Comedic Sociopath.
  • In Vertigo, the cool, mysterious blond Madeleine is the Light Feminine that Scottie obsesses over and the earthier brunet Judy is the Dark Feminine that Scottie tries to mold into Madeleine's image.
  • In Lemonade Joe, Or Horse Opera, Winifred Goodman and Tornado Lou both love the Ideal Hero Joe. Wini is a sweet and na´ve 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.
  • Played straight in Out of the Past, with dark-haired, passionate, evil Kathie and virginal blonde Ann.

     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.
  • Animorphs:
    • Cassie and Rachel have shades of this: Cassie is a down-to-earth Friend to All Living Things who only fights the Yeerks because she has to, while Rachel is a borderline-Dark Action Girl who honestly enjoys the war on some level, despite having the appearance and fashion-obsession of a supermodel. Despite all this, they're also best friends. Funnily, not to be confused with their inverted skin tones.
    • Also, possibly Rachel in The Separation, when she literally splits into two different people after her starfish morph goes wrong. One is timid, caring, gentle, and pacifistic; the other is dark, ruthless, and obsessive.
  • 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.
  • 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 skandal÷sa" by Simona Ahrnstedt, Magdalena Swńrd 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.

     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 and sweet June (Dreama Walker) and the tall, black-haired and slutty Chloe (Krysten Ritter).
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Willow (light) and Cordelia (dark), particularly in their interactions with both Xander and Buffy, with Willow being supportive and Cordelia being cutting sarcastic.
    • In Season 6, Tara is the Light Feminine to Willow's Dark, as Willow becomes addicted to her magic.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

     Music  

  • Alvaro VÚliz's songs "Ni t˙ 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  

  • Lord Of The Dance 1997, features Morrighan, the temptress and Saoirse, the good spirit.
  • In Much Ado About Nothing, the cousins Hero and Beatrice are best friends, almost like sisters. Hero is sweet and loving, courteous and sunny. Beatrice is, by contrast, a great deal sharper, and more outspoken and cynical.
  • Inverted in The Merchant of Venice. Jessica, daughter of Shylock, is Jewish and would presumably have dark hair. The Elizabethan audience would have suspected her at once, but she turns out to be a sweet girl, motivated by a wish for love and freedom, and entrusted with Portia's estate when Portia leaves. Portia, by contrast, is described with golden hair, and she is intelligent, aloof, and perceptive, and sometimes cruel to her would-be suitors. Both are capable of deception, but for good ends.

     Video Games  

  • The two female love interests in Mass Effect 1 are Liara (young, na´ve, 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  


Lead DrummerEnsemblesLimited Social Circle
Lesbian VampireAlways FemaleLipstick and Load Montage
Left-Handed MirrorDuo TropesLike Brother and Sister
The LancerFoilLiteral Split Personality
Lady of WarGirly GirlLipstick Lesbian
Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23ImageSource/Live-Action TVDoogie Howser, M.D.
Leg ClingFemininity TropesLipstick and Load Montage
Kangaroo CourtAdministrivia/Pages Needing Example ContextLipstick Lesbian

alternative title(s): Light Feminine Dark Feminine
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