Light Feminine and Dark Feminine

aka: Light Feminine 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  

  • Bleach: Rangiku and Momo's zanpakutos fit this 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 she ultimately manages to reach for her too.
  • 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.
  • Futari wa Pretty Cure: Nagisa, a sporty girl on the lacrosse team, is oddly the Light Feminine considering her generally upbeat nature (to say nothing of her love for sweets), and Honoka, the more down-to-Earth scientist, is the Dark Feminine considering she literally pulls no punches against the enemy. Their hair colors (Nagisa having the lighter, red hair and Honoka having the darker, jet black hair) also reflect this.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Haruhi Suzumiya series has a one-woman example with Mikuru Asahina: her sweet and shy younger self is the Light Feminine, and her sexy and manipulative future self is the Dark Feminine.
  • Highschool of the Dead portrays Rei and Saeko as polar opposites in more ways than one:
    Rei: (incredulous) "What the heck is THAT!? Aren't you embarrassed showing off like that!? I can't believe you're walking around like that!!"
  • In Idol Densetsu Eriko we have the two main ladies, the aspirant idol singer Eriko Tamura and the already famous performer Rei Asagiri. Eriko is the Light thanks to her child-like appeal which fits well in Japanese society's obsession with cuteness and innocence and her position as a Naïve Newcomer to the business which will make her suffer more than once, while Rei is the Dark since she's an Ice Queen with Hotter and Sexier looks, quite a bit more of singing/performing experience under her belt and a Dark and Troubled Past.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, naïve, cheerful Hikaru is the Light, while harsh yet kindhearted and very sexy Madoka is the Dark.
  • Ranka Lee (Light - Moe, A-Cup Angst, naïve, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica has Madoka and Homura. Madoka is an All-Loving Hero who spends much of the series struggling to maintain her optimism in the Crapsack World she lives in. Homura, meanwhile, is a Byronic Hero who long since gave up on idealism. They fit aesthetically, as well; Madoka has bright pink hair done up in Girlish Pigtails while Homura has a very long, straight style for her jet black hair.
  • Another one-woman example occurs with the dual personalities of Moka Akashiya in Rosario + Vampire, with the more personable Outer Moka being the Light Feminine and the Terror Heroine Inner Moka being the Dark Feminine.
  • Sonic X has the happy-go-lucky Cute Bruiser Amy as light feminine and seductive Ms. Vice Girl Rouge as dark feminine.

     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