Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality
This scale examines how the relationships between men and women are portrayed in fiction. The common positions on the scale vary by culture in time, distance, and medium. True equality, which is near the center of the scale, is rare. The edges are taken by positions where the opposite sex doesn't exist, or exists in only a contemptible form. Note that Level 1 is not the exact reverse of Level 9, as there are far fewer works in which the writer simply fails to include male characters, or in which a setting is intentionally created as a female-free paradise. See also: The Bechdel Test and Chromosome Casting.
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There Are No WomenThere are no female characters in the story, or there are very few, but they serve as nothing more than background for the male character, and don't do anything of note. None of them are more than a minor character. There may be nothing sexist about it - there can be a legitimate reason for the lack of women, such as stories being set in places where women are not allowed (a men's prison, a WWII era military submarine, etc.) This is an example of Chromosome Casting.
Anime & Manga
- Used in Ai no Kusabi to justify its Cast Full of Gay.
- Both Crows and Worst by Hiroshi Takahashi feature no females whomsoever aside from occasional mentions (one of the main characters has no less than 6 girlfriends). This is a seinen manga about inter-school fighting and manly friendship and, despite the premise, even the most rabid Yaoi Fangirl would be hard-pressed to get any Ho Yay out of it.
- Likewise, the satirical manga and anime series Cromartie High School. The mother of one character is seen in at least one episode... And "she" looks exactly like her son but with a skirt and longer hair.
- Kaiji. There is one woman on the show, but she only appears in a single scene in one episode and says no more than two lines.
- Akagi has zero women onscreen in the entire show.
- Most Tintin books feature no significant female characters and in the series as a whole only Bianca Castafiore can be considered an important female; and she's relevant to the plot in only a few of the stories.
- Similarly, the Blake and Mortimer stories written by their original author E.P Jacobs feature a grand total of one female character who got more than a few lines - and she was a litteral medieval Damsel in Distress in a Time Travel episode, who appeared during one third of the story. Authors who took over the series after Jacobs' death have been adding more female characters to the series.
- There are no female main characters in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series, and the supporting cast only has a few.
- Dreamcatcher: A stranger in the street early on and numerous extras in the military camp are the only women in the film.
- Dr. Strangelove has precisely one female in the movie, a secretary, who is also a Playboy centrefold.
- Gettysburg; there is talk of wives left behind, but the only women that actually appear in the film are either waving to the troops or tending the wounded in the background.
- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: A prostitute appearing in a single scene is the most important female character and the only one given a name. Every last woman in the film besides her is someone's wife, and all their appearances are within the first hour of the nearly 3-hour film. Rape, incidentally, is on Tuco's Long List of prior offenses, which is entirely Played for Laughs.
- For a Few Dollars More has one credited women who only appears in two brief scenes, and one girl who only appears in a flashback and has no lines
- Duck, You Sucker! has one women who appears in flashback with no lines, and the only other woman is an annoying racist who is out of the picture in the first 15 minutes.
- The British monster movie Gorgo is mocked for this by the MST3K crew. The only woman who appears is in the background of a crowd scene.
- Lawrence of Arabia. Famously used as an example why failing The Bechdel Test doesn't automaticly makes a movie misogynistic since it takes place during a military campain during World War I.
- Likewise, in Master and Commander, the only women that appear in the film are part of a party of native traders that resupply HMS Surprise.
- Reservoir Dogs. There are three women in the movie: the waitress who doesn't meet Pink's tipping standards (who is never seen), the girl that Mr. Pink pulls out of the car while running from the cops, and the driver of the hijacked car that shoots (and is immediately killed by) Orange.
- The Shawshank Redemption, being set in a men's prison, has only Andy's barely-glimpsed murdered wife, from whom he was estranged anyway, and a few extras when Brooks and Red are paroled. A good case could be made that the poster and film clips of Rita Hayworth are the film's strongest female presence; an even better case could be made that this is why it flopped, despite nigh-universal critical acclaim.
- John Carpenter's The Thing (1982). No women among the main cast, and the only female presences are a chess computer that's out of commission 30 seconds after the introductory scene of R.J. MacReady, and a 10-second glimpse of a female contestant in some game show the two mechanics are watching. This may be Truth in Television, however; there aren't many women stationed in Antarctica.
- 12 Angry Men. The only characters are the members of an all-male jury. Some modern versions try to correct this by making the judge a woman. Others simply opt to retitle the play "Twelve Angry Jurors" just so that some of the jury can be women.
- My Dinner With Andre is a very minimalist film with only two main characters: both men. A wife is mentioned and women are seen in the restaurant but it focuses on the two male leads.
- 2001: A Space Odyssey is a very male-dominated movie. We do see women working in space, though largely as stewardesses, secretaries, and other stereotypically female professions. Dr. Floyd does speak to two female scientists, but the group conducting the lunar expedition as well as the Discovery crew are both made up entirely of men. Arthur C. Clarke's sequel novels, especially 2010: Odyssey Two, incorporate more strong female characters.
- Saving Private Ryan has only a brief scene where the group encounters a French family and final scene with Ryan and his wife.
- The Great Escape has an all male main cast. Justified, as it is set in a WWII POW camp, where there generally were not many women.
- The Hobbit: Literally no female characters appear in the entire book. The only female character that is even mentioned is Bilbo's mother Belladonna, and even she only gets a very brief mention — other than that, you'd think women plain didn't exist in this universe.
- Terry Brooks' The Sword of Shannara, probably because it was just a ripoff of The Lord of the Rings; the next book has the world saved by a girl and in the third one of the trilogy, one of the protagonists is a girl.
- The stories of H.P. Lovecraft: there are virtually no female characters across such a vast body of work. Only one of his seventy-plus stories has a female protagonist, and even then there's a whole complex issue wherein it turns out to be a man in a woman's body. At best, a character's wife briefly appears and maybe gets a line or two.
- Lord of the Flies, chronicling the adventures of the students from an all-boys school.
- The Discworld novel Small Gods (since it's about a church that doesn't allow female priests)
- Foundation by Isaac Asimov. Later books in the series have female characters, including a female protagonist in both Foundation and Empire (the critical second half) and Second Foundation.
- Asimov's Lucky Starr books are direly short of women. A female alien appears briefly in the first book, a wife appears in the second (and promptly goes away to make coffee for the men), and they're absent from the final three books.
- The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The original story had practically no women aside from the unnamed witness who saw Mr. Hyde commit a murder. A huge difference from most, if not all adaptations, which usually tack in a Love Interest for Dr. Jekyll.
- The first half of Watership Down. The second half revolves around trying to find some females so the warren doesn't die out.
- G. K. Chesterton's first novel The Napoleon Of Nottingham Hill. Of course, judging by his later works, probably what the women were doing was refusing to get involved in such silly nonsense.
- Deadliest Warrior: Being a show about historical warriors battling to the death that's Rated M for Manly, it's to be expected. Briefly became a type 4 in one episode of Season 2 (CIA vs. KGB), where both sides had one female operative, and one of them (The KGB) kicked quite a bit of ass. Later it got its first female warrior in her own right in the form of Joan of Arc who fought against William the Conqueror, she even (won)
- Red Dwarf's plot hinged entirely on three guys (four once Kryten joined the cast) getting stuck on a spaceship in the middle of deep space 3 million years from Earth (though for a little while they did have a female computer). There were even a few episodes where the guys tried to get women on board, only for something strange to be revealed. The series finally gained a female lead half-way through Season 7, but even then Season 8 largely took place in the ship's prison, and her role was greatly overshadowed by the other male characters. Then she was completely written out of the miniseries that followed.
- Thomas the Tank Engine used to be like this until characters like Daisy, Mavis, and Emily came along. As the show goes on, it goes up a few levels in the scale.
- The parody game Hol has no pre-generated female characters to play as because "no woman has been stupid or unlucky" to be sent to the Hell Hole Prison.
- Transformers. Even though they're robots. Compared to how many male characters there are, females only exist due to The Smurfette Principle.
- In Punch Out, the only women ever seen are Super Macho Man's fangirls in still pictures, and Aran Ryan's sister who is mentioned and nothing else. Justified though - it is a male boxing circle, after all. The only exception is Heike Kagero.
- Many of the past decade's video games have featured a watered-down version of this trope out of pragmatism: The differences between male and female skeletons means that a female character model will look noticeably wrong if it's moving the same way as the male characters (and animation rigs are fairly costly in terms of development resources). This hurdle doesn't stop you from including women in motion-captured cutscenes and the like, so many developers partially avert this by having female characters in prominent supporting roles (e.g. Cortana, Anya, and the female helicopter pilot in Call of Duty 4). Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare features the first female squadmate who runs around with you on the ground since Call Of Duty: Finest Hour, although she's the only woman who does that in the entire game, and the two games in the franchise allow you to play as a female soldier in multiplayer. And since the male characters whose screen time exceeds theirs tend to be "blank slate" tough guys, said women often wind up with more depth and personality than anyone else.
- Maverick Hunter X - the only female character in the game is a navigator who helps X in coordinating the robot masters but plays no significant part in the story.
- The rest of the X series fairs a little better, having female navigators starting with 4 (and most famously one of said navigators as a boss in 4 as well,) and finally letting them take to the field as unlockable characters in 8.
- The original Sonic the Hedgehog games bar Sonic CD and Sonic Spinball.
- Silver Chaos. But, you see...
- Team Fortress 2 has no playable female characters, just eight classes that are clearly male and the Pyro. The only person who is clearly female appears in-game merely as The Voice. Fan mods exist, though, to swap the genders and voices of (so far) six of the classesnote .
- The warcamp in Goblins is males-only by mandate of the goblins' deity, with female spellcasters the only exception. Justified in that the "warcamp" is an expendable decoy settlement, which diverts adventurers' attention away from the hidden village where the noncombatant women and children can live in safety.
- Metalocalypse. Only a small handful of episodes give female characters any lines; mostly they're just nude or semi-nude groupies.
Whores, Whores, Whores...In this kind of fiction, all female characters are either complete sluts who will screw around with anything that moves or helpless and disposable sex slaves whose sole purpose of existence is being raped or taken advantage of by male characters. Of course, they ought to enjoy the rape and thank men for it. Needless to say, in such fictions, women are also commanded to grovel at men's feet, Stay in the Kitchen, Et Cetera... or else.
- Level name comes from an infamous Memetic Mutation that sprung up around Frank Miller. Most of his works, especially Sin City, are set here.
- The mad scientists trying to take over the world in Our Man Flint hypnotize the majority of women into "pleasure units" who serve, flirt, canoodle, and presumably sleep with any man without question. For his part, White Knight Flint manages to undo this by uttering "You are not a pleasure unit" in a woman's ear.
- John Norman's Gor has this all over the place. The women of Gor fall into one of three categories — free women, who are supposed to be afforded respect; outlaws, who have no legal protection and are subject to capture and worse; and slaves, often of the sexual variety. It is all too easy for a woman of the first two categories to become the third category, and unlike men who fall into slavery, who generally break free of their bondage and move on with their lives, women who become slaves generally tend to stay slaves.
- The Eye of Argon has this, though the men are sluts too.
- The Fifth Sorceress and other books in that series. More or less, anyway.
- A Clockwork Orange portrays women this way, with the exception of Alex's mother and a couple of female doctors. Of course, the book and film are told from the perspective of a psychopath.
- Overwhelmingly the case in the works of the Marquis de Sade. Women are capable of cruelty, as characters like Eugenie and Juliette prove beyond doubt, but Character Filibusters about male superiority and the pleasures of torturing women abound in the Sadean canon.
- The Paladin of Shadows series by John Ringo, which even he considers a "wanker piece". The protagonist is said by the fandom to "collect hookers like cats", and it's the origin of the "OH JOHN RINGO NO!" Memetic Mutation.
- FATAL is here, among its many other flaws (including the very fact that it exists).
- The Witcher. Every time you sleep with a woman, you are rewarded with a card that picture her doing something "sexy" (like strangling a chicken (?!?!)). There are several important women, but they are all obsessed with Geralt and defined largely by their sexual allure.
- The Ciem Webcomic Series and its Ultimate Universe counterpart both have shades of this. Yes, the women outnumber the men, and get to have more adventures. But a lot of their adventures can best be described as "almost got raped/killed/whatever today, but got away in the nick of time." Men hold nearly all the positions of authority, and the few women that have any authority are either useless or psychotic. With exception of a small handful of good guys, all the men are either mindless sex addicts or depraved sadists or sleazy manipulators, all bent on enslaving women and usually abusing them sexually. The women are completely obsessed with their romantic/sexual reputations, and the damage done from all the times they're raped and/or nearly killed.
Know Your Place, Woman!Women are useless and most of the time don't contribute anything. If they are in trouble, they can only wait to be rescued. Also, they are never in control of anything - males are always patriarchal leaders and their actions can be questioned only by other males. Most of the purest and straightest (which means those that will never change) examples of The Load and/or Damsel in Distress are here.
Anime & Manga Literature
- At first, War and Peace. It is not stretching to say men are the characters of War and women the characters of Peace.
- The original Tripods trilogy fits squarely here. There is only one relevant female character, and her only real influence on the story is to provide a Heroic BSOD for the protagonist when she is handed over to the Tripods, stuffed, and put on display.
- Machete is guilty to the extreme of this trope, border lining on the Level 2 above.
- Doctor Who at its worst tends to fall here, especially in the classic series.
- Before The Spy Who Loved Me, James Bond movies were like this, at best. Bond was a jerk at best, a chauvinist at worst. (Of course, that said more about the time period than it did for him.
- Exceptions from the Connery era include Pussy Galore from Film/Goldfinger, and especially Tatiana Romanova from From Russia with Love, and Domino Derval from Film/Thunderball. Pussy is almost a physical match for Bond and essential to undoing Goldfinger's plot, while both Tatiana and Domino actually kill the main villains of their respective films.
- Most Super Mario Bros. games, with Peach as a perfect Damsel in Distress. However, Super Princess Peach is an inversion. Also, never forget though that the same 1980s and even the same company (Nintendo) brought us Samus Is a Girl.
- Final Fantasy I, though considering the party members aren't defined as male other than (limited) visual clues, you could cast them as females. The game still only features two named female characters, one is a Damsel in Distress, the other a blind witch.
- Final Fantasy II has one female protagonist, and also including Princess Hilda as a major NPC and temporary party member Leila. It's still up the mostly male party and their almost all-male support to take on the Emperor though.
- Final Fantasy III sits squarely here, with once again only three female NPCs, two of them give their lives to make sure the (presumed all male) heroes can continue on towards beating the bad guy.
- Dragon Quest I had only one named female character, who was a Damsel in Distress.
- The Wizarding School of Avencast: Rise of the Mage has no female instructors and few female students; they mostly give fetch quests that imply they're incapable of simple tasks. Outside the school there is only one relevant female character who is indirectly responsible for the fall of an empire and deaths of thousands because she wasn't willing to risk personal loss.
Men Are More EqualAt this level it looks like both sexes are equal. Then why do only males have all the cool and most offensive powers and equipment, while their female teammates do things like providing first aid, being Mission Control, working in the laboratory and you would be damned if you will ever see any of them in an actual fight? And even if they go into a fight, they end up either defeated easily, insignificant in the overall victory, or end up fighting another girl. Every unlucky Action Girl that lives in a world set at this level will suffer from Chickification and eventually turn into or be revealed as a Faux Action Girl. At this level, men and women are equal, but some things are still a man's job.
Anime & Manga
- Yu-Gi-Oh! - Most of the time when a girl wins in Duel Monsters, it's an unimportant duel that we see only in a cut-scene, and those on which the plot is focused and have been won by girls can be counted on one hand.
- Similarly in GX, where Asuka is considered among the seven best duelists in Duel Academy, but we see her having a victory in a plot-important duel only twice.
- In Macross, humans are here. A major plot point is how changes of this status quo begin to appear.
- Gundam : Many Universal Century works tend to zig-zag between this and the next category. Female characters are very much present, such asSayla Mass or Audrey Burne aka Mineva Lao Zabi, but they vary from being capable and prominent to merely in the background. Later works however place women on an even more equal footing.
- Mobile Fighter G Gundam. Most of the female characters have strong personalities and shown to be competent and capable, but still revolve around the more numerous male characters (often because it's their their job, which then evolves into affection). Although there are two female Gundam pilots, Allenby and Rain, they don't get the same specialty techniques as the male protagonists and the second spends the majority of the finale episodes as a Damsel in Distress. Allenby avoids Designated Girl Fights (being the only female Gundam Fighter in the Finals her opponents are male, and she goes after big, burly male thugs on several occasions) and her fighting skills are shown to be on par with the rest of the Shuffle Alliance.
- Rurouni Kenshin, where the female characters are supposed to be very competent and can look big and impressive, but all supposed Action Girls are actually Faux Action Girls who nearly always fail in the line of battle.
- Naruto ends up being this way. All of the Rookie Nine are composed of teams of two boys and one girl. Granted, the girls are allowed to be plenty Bad Ass — often with the caveat that she fails in a suitably plucky manner and is either defeated or rescued by a man — but it's still a man's world.
- Dragon Ball. The female characters are however competent and most of them are great fighters, but become less significant as the series goes on and make room for the male main characters. Unfortunately, all of the characters aside from the saiyans got less significant by Dragon Ball Z.
- Parts 3 through 5 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure feature few female characters, and the ones there are typically fall into the "victim to be rescued/avenged" or "one-shot villainess who has the hots for the Big Bad" roles (Trish Una from Vento Aureo being the exception).
- While Bleach is more focused on Ichigo and we have two damsels in distress, there's justification why both Rukia and Orihime aren't doing anything while being imprisoned and we have Yoruichi and Soi-Fon, two powerful female shinigami who proved themselves in a fight with very strong enemies.
- Another woman, adult form Nel, almost killed Nnoitora, an Arrancar who gave Kenpachi a hard fight in a fight, but her powerup didn't last, and her opponent had not activated his Super Mode at the time.
- Vizards' power rank is based on how long he/she can stay with his/her masks on. The first time Ichigo lasted three seconds, while Mashiro took 15 hours to reach her limits. Although this ends up being more of an Informed Ability, since Mashiro still managed to wear out all that power in a single fight ending up being rescued by Kensei.
- Death Note. A few of the female characters, such as Misa and Rem, are okay, but the vast majority pale in comparison to the men, or come across as almost Too Dumb to Live. We're looking at you, Naomi Misora.
- Texhnolyze may belong here. There are only two female characters in major plot roles, Doc and Ran. And while they are perfectly good at the jobs they perform (and Doc is a Mad Scientist, which is an unusual role for a woman), both of them answer to men. There are also no women with any combat ability worth speaking of, like there are with men.
- Muhyo And Roji. There are skilled females of various trades in the Magical Law Society (Biko, whose skill at making tools is crucial on several occasions, her teacher Rio and Imai, a skilled Judge) and Ark (Ivy, Rio, again and Panza), but the majority of the most influential and powerful heroes and villains are male.
- Even though there was a female dog named Cross in the Ohu army in Ginga Nagareboshi Gin, the dogs in the army are almost all male. This is due to male dogs being bigger and stronger than females.
- Toriko winds up here. Women like Melk the Second and Rin are shown to be quite capable at their own work (neither of which is typical feminine work), and a few other competent women are sprinkled here and there, but they all get very little screentime compared to the main male cast.
- Bakugan is an odd case. It originally started off as Level 5, with a balanced main cast of males and females and both genders participating in the plot. However, starting with the second season (New Vestroia), all the major female characters were Put on a Bus and Demoted to Extra, and the new cast became more male-dominated with The Smurfette Principle mostly in effect, causing the show to slide back into Level 4.
- Sword Art Online has both male and female players being able to kick ass in the game, right? Yet, thank to the plentiful of Male Gaze Fanservice, the anime series winds up here.
- One Piece: Amongst the protagonists, men outnumber women 7 to 2; of those two women, one is, generally speaking, useless in combat (Nami), and while the other does have some very respectable abilities of her own, she is still inferior to the two main combat types, being Luffy and Zoro. Furthermore, both female protagonists have entire arcs (or, in Robin's case, two arcs) dedicated to them being captured and needing to be saved, always by their male counterparts. Nami even breaks down and begs her captain for assistance whilst sobbing. Furthermore, among non-main character protagonists and antagonists, women are even less represented. The leaders of the World Government are all known to be men, the Shichibukai include only one woman out of seven, the Supernovas have eleven members, only one of whom is female, and so on; as a general rule of thumb, any organization with named members (or members whose identities are distinct from one another), will include only one woman, with the exception of the Straw Hat Pirates as discussed above.
- Women in the One Piece universe are also portrayed in a very stereotypical light. The most obvious example of this is the fact that the vast majority of female characters are designed with fanservice in mind, but extends to personalities and even entire character concepts, as well. The character of Kalifa, for instance, has the catchphrase, "That's sexual harassment," which she utters in response to such instances as being referred to by name by her boss. Of particular note is the character of Boa Hancock, presented as possessing extraordinary power; however, most of her power literally comes from her sexuality. The Devil Fruit which gave her her power is referred to as the "Mero Mero no Mi" or "Love Love Fruit."
- In Nami's case, over the course of the series she became more and more competent as a fighter among the Straw Hats. However, most of her battles tend to be either other women, or men who were on their last legs anyway (though she was the only party member to avoid injury during the battle against Enel, including Luffy himself, though that was partly due to her male companions rescuing her). In comparison, Robin has a far more impressive track record, and very rarely fights female antagonists at all. It's worth noting that even 750 chapters in, Robin still has the third-highest bounty in the crew, and her abilities are versatile enough to have her keep up with the "Monster Trio" (Luffy, Zoro and Sanji).
- Legend of Galactic Heroes tends to zig-zag between this and Almost Perfect Equality. While there are relatively fewer female characters of any prominence, women are shown to be all over the place, ranging from submissive ladies in waiting to skillful bureaucrats. It also depends on the faction, with the FPA tending towards Gender Is No Object, though even the more patriarchial Empire has a number of formidable women.
- In Digimon Frontier, Zoe/Izumi is the only female member out of the 6 spirit warriors, and she loses in every fight against her male opponents (Even when she got her spirit evolution, she still has to be saved by Takuya) and winning only against the lone female enemy Ranamon. A massive step back compared to the other three Digimon animes before it where there are more female ratio and can kick ass as much as the males.
- Many manly action movies such as Con Air, which had two women with supporting roles, they were the protagonist's wife and the female prison guard.
- The James Bond movies where the Bond Girl is his professional equal, such as You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me, or Tomorrow Never Dies. They might still need rescuing in the climax, but they're not constant damsels in distress.
- In Star Wars (the original trilogy, anyway) Princess Leia had a less active role than the major male characters and only played a major combat role in Return of the Jedi. Even there, Han rather than her led the Endor strike force even though she'd been with the Rebellion a lot longer and was among its top leadership. All the fighter pilots in all three movies were male, and the only other female character, Mon Mothma, was in a leadership but non-combat role (though the Expanded Universe reveals she is the leader of the Rebellion, former Senator representing her homeworld, etc.)
- The Lord of the Rings may fit here: although most of the characters are men, the few female characters that exist are very strong personalities and in Galadriel's case, quite powerful. This probably explains why Arwen is written to be significantly more Badass in the first film, although she suffers from Chickification later on.
- Courtship Rite has a society much like ours in this respect (though very different in others). Some clans are blatantly sexist, while others profess a more egalitarian view. Still, even in the more open-minded clans, it seems like it's mainly men in positions of power, and mainly men who do the fighting.
- In Enders Game, the battle school seems to have no problems recruiting kids of either gender, but it's stated that boys tend to get accepted more often than girls. That said, the one girl we do see is treated more or less as equal, at least by Ender.
- The West Wing is here. The vast majority of the important characters are male, and one of the select prominent female ones is sometimes known as a "sex kitten". Others include the first lady's Chief of Staff who's then director of legislative affairs, the president's executive secretary, the deputy chief of staff who's Josh's love interest, and a prominent one as press secretary. But at the end of the day it's the men who are the leaders who most of the action is around.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation. While it shows more women in leadership positions than Star Trek: The Original Series (including female captains, admirals, and a female Chief Medical Officer), the majority of them are guest stars or minor recurring characters. Of the three women in the main cast at the start of the series, the only one in a combat role was quickly written out when her actress decided to leave the show, unhappy with the way her character was being written. The other two, while influential and highly respected crew members, are both medical professionals who rarely see action, and Counselor Troi is widely considered to be one of the more useless officers.
- Note that the combat woman was not written sexist, as much as, like Worf, a one-note character.
- Doctor Who tends to fall here more often than not with regards to the Doctor/companion dynamic; the Doctor, a male, is usually the clever, resourceful and heroic one while his female companions tend to play the role of the less-experienced and resourceful sidekick who needs everything explained to them or needs to be rescued from the Monster of the Week. While the classic series was pretty notorious for this (although the stereotype of the completely useless, whiny Damsel in Distress who was only ever good for twisting her ankle and screaming at something is actually less common than you'd think), the new series has tried to move away from this with varying degrees of success.
- Kamen Rider is at this level. Almost all Kamen Riders are male, while the female characters tend to be either battle support or emotional support to the male heroes. Even if a female has fighting capabilities, they don't manage to have much impact on a battle. There are a hand full of female Kamen Riders, who mostly only appear for one movie or episode, during which they either lose their powers, or die.
- Kamen Rider Kiva features Badass Action Girls, but none of them are able to effectively fight without the aid of a male character, making them Faux Action Girls. They do manage to score a Moment of Awesome by defeating a villain with a borrowed Kamen Rider system.
- Kamen Rider Gaim, which features a Badass Dark Action Girl Kamen Rider who, for a while, was one of the stronger characters in the show. During her first battle against The Hero in his Mid-Season Upgrade form, she fights him to a standstill, but was later implied to have held back. It was only after higher tiers of power were introduced and her Heel-Face Turn that she became a little bit dependent on the more powerful male characters.
- And special mention to Kamen Rider Drive, which goes out of it's way to avoid giving the lead's partner a driver. This, combined with Kiriko's Chickification in the second half of the series, cements the show firmly in this category.
- In Dino Attack RPG, the Dino Attack Team itself, along with their rival faction XERRD has no problem hiring men or women, many of them in combat roles. Of course, that said, the majority of redshirts are male, there have only been two female primary characters, and most characters with authority are men. There are no women among the founding members and only six women (Wing, Zenna, Cabin, Fabello, Gromtin, and Mercedes) were known to achieve the ranks of elite agent.
- Warhammer 40,000 zigzags, but is mostly positioned here. Space Marines, the Primarchs, the Emperor and at least 3 of the Chaos Gods are male. Most factions employ men for combat. On the other hand, the Adeptus Sororitas are all-female and the Imperial Guard features equal amounts of men and women (not that one would notice from the official minis though). Xenos races are usually more equal, and have more visibly female models. When it comes to background however, women are much more favourably positioned in general, bordering on true equality (sexism is still an issue, but usually presented as something bad that has to be fixed).
- Space 1889 Historical Victorian Society’s attitude is “Know your place, woman!” the game is a little bit more allowing so stories are more “men are more equal”.
- Werewolf: The Apocalypse itself goes for equality (meaning characters of both genders are equally flawed). However, either this or "Know your place, woman!" is the attitude that Big Bad Pentex strives for - there's a relatively solid glass ceiling in place in the corporation itself while its various subsidiaries push agendas in line with the scale position: The saturday morning cartoon of Omni TV has the female cast members fixing the breakfast and worrying about the male heroes, King Breweries marketing is mostly targeted at a male demographic with a proudly sexist "Kings' Wenches" hostess campaign and so on.
- BIONICLE goes here, primarily as a result of being a boys' toyline that is heavily affected by The Smurfette Principle. Women can be powerful warriors, but the focus is always on the male characters. Female Toa also seem to be given the least interesting mask powers, ranging from the Boring but Practical Underwater Breathing, to the Blessed with Suck Mask of Detection (which gives its wearer headaches as she gets closer to the MacGuffin). The Bechdel Test is rarely passed. In the early years in particular, the females were portrayed as the calm, gentle ones, while the males displayed much more diversity. This changed as the series progressed.
- In Final Fantasy Tactics, this seems to be more story based rather than gameplay, which is more even.
- Final Fantasy IV had mostly male characters, there were a handful of prominent female characters, including 3 female playable characters and a handful of female villains. The kingdom of Troia had an all-female army and was ruled by a group of women. The sequel added several more playable female characters.
- Final Fantasy VII falls squarely here, with the few female characters being strong but mostly used for plot devices. Most important NPCs are male even then.
- Dragon Quest II had three playable characters, two males and a female, which was a step up from the previous game.
- Dynasty Warriors almost reaches Level 5, with the playable female characters all getting to be plenty badass the same as the males do. But the lack of women in leadership roles or female Mook soldiers holds it back. That said, the franchise does take place in Ancient China and is a hell of a lot more gender-equal than its source material, so it does very well, all things considered.
- Kingdom Hearts. Most of the original casts are comprised of male characters with only six original femalesnote out of the Loads and Loads of Characters. And all of their relationships and roles always have something to do with men. Even Aqua, despite being an Action Girl in her own right, owes all of her success in the teachings of a male teacher Eraqus and her motivation to travel the world is to simply look after the other males (Ven and Terra in comparison, travel the world for their own reasons).
- Most installments of The Legend of Zelda go here. Zelda is more capable than the average Damsel in Distress, but at the end of the day, it's always Link saving her from the male Big Bad. Side quests and subplots involve every combination of genders imaginable, but again, it's always Link, a man, who ultimately saves the day - and even there, women are noticeably more likely to be damsels in distress than quest givers or troublemakers.
- Many Fighting Game franchises, especially those established in the early-to-mid 90's, have a male-to-female character ratio of about 8:2, and the storylines generally reflect this.
- In both Inazuma Eleven videogames and manga/anime, there are girls who play soccer (especially in the second game, where almost every team has one or two females on it, and there are the Osaka Gals too). However, the boys have far more focus than their female counterparts and the only two girls who have joined the Raimon so far are not very strong in comparison (heck, Touko's The Tower ends up destroyed most of the time) Of course, this is only plot-wise, as you can make an all-female team in the games if you want to and Curb-Stomp Battle rivals with a good training.
- Most of the installments in Pokémon' are equal for player characters, with the option to play as a male or female, and Gym Leaders, who tend to have an even split between genders. However, the female Pokemon professor in Pokémon Black and White is so far the only woman to hold the position and your starter Pokemon is more likely to be male than female.
- Mass Effect comes close to being a gender-equal paradise. From a Watsonian perspective, this vibe is definitely given. Almost every major species in the universe have long done away with traditional gender roles, and women serve in every position of the Human Systems Alliance and Quarian militaries in-game. The two exceptions are the salarians and krogan, who both restrict the roles of their females for reproductive reasons. However, from a Doylist perspective, there's still some work needed. Most Bridge Bunnies are female. Your Mission Control in the second game onwards is female...and also a sexy Robot Girl. When rape is brought up as a topic, it's usually framed as male-on-female. It took several games for female versions of many of the "egalitarian" races to show up. There's minor stuff too, like many instances of the Dogged Nice Guy trope, but the real sexism Base Breaker are the asari—who are so problematic an issue that they needed to be moved to a different folder on this page.
- Dead Space features several women in the supporting cast. Unfortunately, they almost universally serve as Damsels In Distress (Nicole in the first game, Lexine in Extraction, Ellie in the third), or as Mission Control. Dead Space: Extraction, Dead Space 2, and the iOS version make noble efforts to include genuine Action Girls like Karen Howell, Ellie Langford, and Vandal, AKA Karrie Norton, who is actually the playable protagonist of the iOS edition. However, she's a rather blatant case of Samus Is a Girl, and Ellie Langford - despite establishing herself as a total Badass in the second game - undergoes a massive case of Badass Decay in between games, turning her into a Faux Action Girl. Dead Space 3 features a (long dead) female admiral as well as a female EDF pilot aboard the Eudora who gets minimal screen time before being killed off. Dead Space: Aftermath is probably the best the series gets when it comes to female characters, since it stars an absolutely Badass Action Girl and features multiple other minor female characters who prove themselves to be just as capable as the men.
- Arthur started at this level but changed in later seasons.
Almost Perfect EqualityStories that portray both sexes as an equal or are at least trying to balance Damsel in Distress with Action Girl. Both men and women may be protagonists. It's almost impossible to achieve a perfect balance of both sexes, especially in stories aimed for one specific audience (like Shonen or Shoujo)-sometimes girls don't get full respect only because the story is just too focused on boys and vice versa. That's why many of the examples here are works that, while it is still impossible to tell whether they portray both sexes as completely equal, are just more balanced than Level 4 or 6.
Anime & Manga
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, you have a Faux Action Boy and two Action Girls who actually show they can win duels.
- In Yu Gi Oh Zexal, male duelists still outnumber the female ones, but the ones they have are far more Badass than any in the franchise to date. Kathy is an Action Girl who is willing to use violence to get what she wants, Anna is not only that, she likes fighting others physically, and may Heaven help anyone who stands in Rio's way, be it one of the Barian's pawns or her own brother. Of course, being one of the Barian Emperors may help give her confidence there.
- In Shugo Chara!, later on they let the boys transform but occasionally focus issues come up. Nagihiko gets focus but he's Nagihiko!
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 6: The protagonist and two of her closest allies are female (and tough, even by JoJo standards).
- Code Geass. Although the two most important characters in the show are male, there are female protagonists that manage to be just as cool and competent as them, or even moreso. There are also females in every major group and organization in the story (Ashford Academy; the Brittanian royal family, the Brittanian army, the Black Knights, three of the story's four engineers, etc.) whom everyone accepts and who seem to be equal to their male counterparts in plot importance and what they do, or sometimes even better.
- Slayers has a 2:2 ratio between male and female main characters for most of its run, though it varies from arc to arc. In every version of Slayers—the novels, manga, TV series, movies, and OVAs—the protagonist is an extraordinarily powerful young woman. No one seems to think it odd for a woman to have adventures within the setting, either.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion has both males and females working with NERV and the other organizations. There are also both male and female Eva pilots, and Shinji's mother was a great scientist.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann fits here, tentatively. There are many more male characters than females, but the female characters you do see in the various ensembles (especially Yoko and Nia, and Adiane on the villains' side) are perfectly independent and capable — with a few Faux Action Girl exceptions.
- Soul Eater has a pretty well rounded cast of both male and female. The female characters (both meisters and weapons) are just as capable as their male counterparts on the battlefield. All the main characters have had their own Moment of Awesome.
- Baccano!, despite being a gangster anime set primarily in the 1930's, actually seems to treat its female characters very well- female characters are allowed in roles about as diverse as the male characters, and some are very capable fighters, who can and do stand up to the men.
- Fullmetal Alchemist ensures a fairly stable gender equality ratio, as men and women are frequently shown to be equally competent in terms of tactical and physical fighting skill. For every badass State Alchemist like Roy Mustang, there's an equally skilled Badass Normal like Riza Hawkeye.
- Making it more complex: out of the whole cast in which 20+ alchemists are seen there are a grand total of two female alchemists and neither of them are State Alchemists. That said, they're not state alchemists because they don't want to be; they would be eagerly welcomed if they chose to join the military and one of them is, in fact, scouted by Bradly himself and turned down.
- Still more so: Izumi Curtis will, loud and proud, declare herself a House Wife while beating the fuck out of a Humonculous to save her student, the male protagonist.
- The vast majority of Hayao Miyazaki's works treat female characters as equal to their male counterparts, if not superior in one way or another. This is quite intentional on the part of Miyazaki, an avowed feminist. To Miyazaki's credit, when there is any clear superiority of female over male (for example, it's heavily implied that only females can perform magic in Kikis Delivery Service), it's never treated as a failing on anyone's part; that's just the way it is.
- Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam fits this category, having quite a lot of female pilots, most of which can fight just as well as any male. If any woman is defeated in combat, it's more than likely due to having a less than powerful mobile suit. For bonus points, one of the greatest themes of Zeta is the dissonant and controlling relationships between men and women. Paptimus Scirocco, for example, manages to manipulate so many women that one actually defects from his opposition. Examples of misogyny in the series cause in-universe reactions that range from outrage to the women actually turning it around on the men. Summarized aptly by Reccoa Londe:
"Men are perhaps born to fight each other. And women are perhaps fated to be their tools."
- To make things more complex: the aforementioned woman that defected to the Titans was Reccoa, who did it either because Scirocco manipulated her or because she didn't want to be a tool for men, even though that is essentially what she became when she turned over to the Titans. Emma calls her out on this, as she herself defected from her original faction for better reasons.
- Turn A Gundam, also directed by Tomino, fits into this category as well. Women are shown to be equals with men in politics, military competence and society in general. This is more true to the advanced Moonrace, where they seemed to have taken Gender Is No Object to heart. Though even Earth, whose inhabitants consider the notion of a woman leading a country as a novelty at best, isn't that far behind despite the19th Century/World War I atmosphere.
- Though there are relatively fewer female characters in Axis Powers Hetalia, the ones that do show prominently generally fall into this. Hungary is shown to be just as competent as, if not even manlier than the males while others such as Liechtenstein and Belarus are by no means submissive pushovers. There's also an overall even-handedness to how gender is treated, even on the side of the males (case in point: Finland, Poland, and Austria). The same is true for the Nyotalia version of the characters.
- Bakuman。: While the editorial department is entirely male, the female manga writers are not presented as inferior to their male counterparts, and are able to establish series in Shonen Jump and keep them running. While Mashiro and Takagi are once admonished for trying to take ideas from (mostly female) fan mail, it's pointed out that this is because the female readers are a Periphery Demographic that, however, wouldn't want a genre change. While Iwase is sometimes thought of as petty in-universe and among the fanbase for pursuing manga as an extension of her rivalry with Takagi, Takagi is ultimately forced to acknowledge her skill, particularly when his and Mashiro's manga Tanto gets outperformed by her and Nizuma's Natural+.
- Mobile Suit Gundam Wing actually has a one-to-one gender parity among the principle cast; even the women who aren't pilots are still important to the plot, and in fact it could easily be argued that female lead Relena is more critical to the story than male lead Heero. One character does come off as a He-Man Woman Hater, but it's due to a combination of Values Dissonance and Freudian Excuse, and he eventually gets over this attitude. And though the Gundams are only ever operated by mennote , Team Mom Lucrezia Noin manages to keep up with all five Gundam Pilots while using a mass production machine — for that matter, at one point The Rival Zechs implies that she's a better pilot than him, saying that she always held back to make him look better.
- Pokemon Special. Even with the main characters for each generation having a Two Guys and a Girl ratio, the girls are shown to be just as well-developed and strong as the guys and the secondary cast also has a healthy amount of females in various roles. Yellow and Platinum, both girls, even get to star in their own arcs.
- Berserk fits into this category, more or less. If a girl isn't a bonefied Action Girl (and there is only one true action girl in the series) then she is at least competent enough to not to have to depend on a guy to save her each and every time; that, and every major female character, no matter her physical strength, has contributed something to the plot or arc. Not only that, but anything bad that can happen to a woman can also happen to a man, and vice versa.
- Shiki is a rather complex case. On the one hand, the characters clearly live in a patriarchal society, given that it's a traditionalist rural village in Japan. On the other, individual examples of powerful women abound, both among the humans and vampires (and on the flip side, there's a fair amount of ineffectual men), although it is true that the most powerful female character is also probably the closest thing the show has to a central antagonist. Furthermore, both males and females participate in the climactic battle at the end, seemingly with no real discrepancies in gender roles.
- Attack on Titan. There are plenty of male and female characters of very diverse roles and levels of relevance. Mikasa, the adoptive sister of the protagonist (a role that would be all too easy to accidentally turn into a Faux Action Girl), is considered The Ace of their class, and it definitely shows in combat, whereas the protagonist, Eren, is specifically noted to have little outstanding skill outside of his massive Determinator streak. The various Red and Mauve Shirts are also of very assorted gender, but this doesn't stop them from having equally Cruel And Unusual Deaths at the hands of the titans.
- Hollow Fields, being written for all demographics, takes special care in regarding both genders with equal capability and importance. There are more women than men in the setting, with the protagonist being a female, but this doesn't stop the male characters from playing crucial roles in the story. Almost everyone is capable of mad science, and the sole exception is an artificial creation designed solely for watchkeeping (and has an ambiguous gender). The female Engineers, despite being portrayed as Hot Teachers, are not played for fanservice, and are capable of being just as sadistic and evil as their male counterparts. There are characters of both genders in distress, and either have a valid reason for being distressed, are still capable of helping their rescuer, or are an Acceptable Target. Considering what kind of a story this is, both genders are also susceptible to a Fate Worse Than Death if they don't do what it takes to survive.
- Wonder Woman is an interesting case. Originally created precisely as an empowerment example, she is considered today to be one of DC Comics' "Trinity" of main heroes, the equal of Superman and Batman. Her supporting cast also features many strong (and some funny) female characters. However, her main background element, The Amazons, have, over the years, lost their scientific and philosophical achievements, and been in fact reinvented as man-haters. See Amazons Attack for a particularly gross example.
- Ultimate Spider-Woman: Change With The Light stars a full-fledged Action Girl who gets into fights with supervillains on a regular basis and always gives as good as she gets. Most of her Rogues Gallery is male, although every single one of them Would Hit a Girl and have no problems going after Spider-Woman with everything they have. In her civilian identity, Mary Jane Watson also has to deal with the same kind of bad luck, money problems, and bad grades that frequently plague male Triple Shifters.
- Ultimate Sleepwalker: The New Dreams doesn't apply quite as much, given that the protagonist is male, but several of his enemies are Dark Action Girls and Sleepwalker has no compunctions about hitting them just as hard as he would any of his male enemies. The female characters in Rick Sheridan's and Sleepwalker's supporting casts also get a considerable amount of development in their own right.
- Starship Troopers shows men and women as being perfectly equal, to the point of showering together and sharing sleeping quarters.
- In Harry Potter, the wizarding world seems to be more gender-equal than ours; there have been female Ministers for Magic, headmistresses of Hogwarts, and female Quidditch players for centuries. In fact two of the four Hogwarts founders were women.
- Like Star Wars, most of the important characters are still men, although there are several strong female characters (and two villains we love to hate-Dolores Umbridge and Bellatrix Lestrange).
- The fifth book in particular added several prominent female characters that are fan favorites, including Luna Lovegood, Tonks (who was also the first female Auror identified on page), and the aforementioned female villains.
- Warrior Cats: The Clan society is set up for almost perfect gender equality with both toms and she-cats receiving equal training and equal opportunity to become medicine cat, deputy, or Clan leader. Not to mention that there has never been a point in the series where there were no female leaders, all the Action Girls throughout the series, and how later deputies have been female. The only difference between toms and she-cats is that she-cats have to nurse their kits for six months, which is more a biological necessity than discrimination. On top of that, there has been an almost equal number of male and female protagonists. The only real question that has come up on occasion is whether or not female cats in positions of authority should be allowed to have kits. There's no explicit rule against it, but it is not often done because it is believed that having kits will distract and incapacitate the she-cat, especially while nursing. Leafstar challenges this idea in SkyClan's Destiny, citing the warrior code rule "The word of the Clan leader is the warrior code" as the reason: she's the leader, so she gets to say what's okay and not, and she says that it's okay for female leaders to have kits.
- The Honor Harrington series mostly falls in this category. The Star Kingdom of Manticore, the (People's) Republic of Haven and most other Honorverse societies are more or less perfectly gender-equal; even the Space Marines have many female members
- Grayson is a completely different matter, though getting to be less so as their alliance with Manticore grows. Of course, this only serves to underscore the gender equality of other star nations.
- The Wheel of Time is all over the shop on this. Both sexes are equally stupid. The women are Closer to Earth, but also tend to be nagging shrews, misandrists, end up in chains with some man lording it over them, or all three. Men, on the other hand, are all idiots and deserve to be abused. Witness Mat being raped at knifepoint, which is considered hilarious. In The Wheel Of Time, all male members of the Witch Species are doomed by their powers to go violently insane, and so have to be "gentled" before they can do (much) harm. As a result, the balance of power is shifted way over towards the female side, and many women are convinced of their inherent superiority (in fact, most men are inherently stronger in magic as well as physicality.) So, as noted, it arrives here not because of gender parity, but because both sexes are equally sexist. Two Wrongs Make A Balance.
- The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo depicts a lot of evil men, but Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist share time as co-protagonists and are both skilled.
- Megan Whalen Turner’s The Queen's Thief books are pretty even on gender equality. While the majority of the major cast is male in terms of numbers, Eddis and Attolia are both female and hands-down two of the wicked smartest characters in the series. Gen is arguably smarter than them, but he needed both of their smarts to accomplish most of his crazy gambits. Even stupidity (when it shows up, which isn’t often) is distributed pretty well proportionally between male and female characters (for example: Nahuseresh and Costis, for males, and Hanaktos’ daughter for females). Even the important deities are evenly split between male and female, as with Moira and Eugenides. Irrespective of gender, most of the main characters in this series are pretty freakin’ badass. This is especially impressive considering the setting is based on ancient-to-medieval Greece, and even the culture within the books isn’t incredibly egalitarian. The characters are defying their own universe to be gender-equal.
- The Sword of Truth series is here in regards to the characters and philosophy, though most of the societies are heavily unequal in one way or another. The House and Rahl and the Imperial Order are clear Type 2s, ruled by straw misogynists, where women are considered breeding stock or worse. The Midlands is an odd example: It's a Type 3 society where women wear their hair cut short as a sign of submission to men, but the ruling Confessors wear their hair long as a sign of defiance and kill all of their male children at birth because they don't think men have the "unique compassion of a woman" to resist abusing their powers, thereby placing them at either Type 8 or 9.
- Animorphs falls squarely here for the entire run of the series. Of the main characters, only two are girls, but both are Action Girls, and they're never treated as any less important than the boys.
- For the most part, Gone falls into this category. It got some accusations of a Level 4 early on, but the later books fixed it, putting it here.
- The Stormlight Archive features an unusual cross between this category and Full Gender Separation. In human society, there are very strict rules on which things men can and cannot do, and equally strict rules for women. For example, women are not allowed to be soldiers or know how to fight, but men are forbidden from learning to read or write. Both genders occupy roles absolutely essential for the function of any society.
- The Malazan Book of the Fallen has both men and women serving in the military in all kinds of positions, including leading armies, and for most of the story, the Malazan Empire is ruled by an Empress who made her way to the throne through skills and cunning. And even in more gender segregated societies like that of the Tiste Edur, who have no warrior women while men are almost exclusively warriors and have more political clout, the women on the other hand have a lot more say-so in other areas starting from familial matters and going to matters of sorcery, with only the Warlock King having more sorcerous clout than the matriarchs of the noble families (even though both genders seem to be equally likely to have magical affinities). In fact, those families have both matriarchs and patriarchs. Gender equality through most — and possibly even all — cultures in the setting is, per Word of God, intentional.
- The crew of Serenity in Firefly appears this way. Zoe, the first mate, is just as respected as Captain Mal, and perfectly capable of leading if he is indisposed.
- Colonial society in the rebooted Battlestar Galactica appears to be this, more or less. Men and women participate essentially equally in both government and the military (the President is a woman for most of the series, and the head of the Fleet is a man, but the Quorum of Twelve is mixed and there are high-ranking officers of both sexes).
- In some cases, they're even more open-minded than modern society. For instance, public restrooms, at least on Galactica, are unisex. Also, in one episode Sam mentions to Apollo that Kara proposed marriage to him, and there is no indication that a woman proposing to a man is unusual in their society.
- The original Battlestar Galactica hovers between this and Type 4. While most women are relegated to support roles; several get to upgrade to full kickass Viper pilots. One of the best pilots in the fleet, Sheba, is female, and she easily holds her own against her male counterparts, even commanding an elite squadron. Females are the minority on the Council, but they are easily as formidable as the men, in some cases even more so. One, Siress Belloby, even manages to cow Adama of all people.
- JAG: While the men are more numerous, the women are no less capable.
- For the most part, Scandal is this. The President is male, but the protagonist, Olivia Pope, is female (and black), and is generally regarded as one of the most powerful people in Washington in large part because of her Chessmastery. The ensemble cast has a good mix of males and females and does not generally favor one over the other.
- Castle tends to come close to this. Kate Beckett does tend to have the edge over Richard Castle as both a detective and an action hero, although this can be explained both by her being more driven and focused personality-wise than his more flippant and irreverent nature and by her being a trained professional detective as opposed to him being an untrained mystery writer. He's also no slouch at either solving crimes or getting dangerous when necessary.
- Legend of the Seeker has a good mix of genders, and no clear gender distinctions or roles. The only exception is Rothenburg, a strict patriarchy that tightly controls women with the "Law of Right and Good". Naturally, they're on the evil side.
- Dungeons & Dragons, in statistical terms anyway. It can differ according to the setting, with allowances for the fact that it's mostly medieval-level societies. Planescape, Eberron, and Forgotten Realms are probably the most egalitarian, with plenty of powerful, competent women who hold the same roles men do.
- D&D has an interesting relationship with this trope. As explained in the v3.5 Dungeon Master's Guide II, the makers of the game have gone out of their way to ensure gender equality, both mechanically and within the (generally assumed) game universe—even when this clashes with players' initial expectations of a medieval-ish society. There is a simple and compelling reason for this: they don't want barriers for female player characters. However, since D&D is possibly the biggest Trope Codifier of the fantasy genre, a lot of other fantasy works that didn't have the same practical need for egalitarianism picked it up anyway. The result is that today, completely gender-blind fantasy worlds are the norm, unless this trope is actually discussed in the work. This applies even if the world is otherwise based on a medieval or otherwise non-gender-equal real-world culture.
- In 1st Edition AD&D, females' Strength scores had a lower ceiling than males', which effectively barred them from being fighters by making them undesirable, and literally barred Small female demihumans from classes with a high minimum Strength score.
- Played painfully straight in Paranoia, where hormone-suppressing drugs and Computer-directed education means that most clones see no distinction between the genders other than a different set of superficial attributes. Characters in Secret Societies that study the mangled relics of the past might get some glimpses of gender inequality, but it's always filtered by misguided understanding of those relics and played for laughs.
- Applies to the Deadlands campaign setting, since the dangers of the west means most communities need everyone they can get and can't be picky. There's also an unusually long American Civil War that drained a lot of male resources. If a woman wants to guard your caravan and at least knows which end of her gun is which, you hire her. The same thing has done a good job of erasing racism.
- In Legends Of The Wulin, While mainstream society is just as sexist as it was in historical China, the Wulin is presented as an idealized society, where members are judged by their deeds, rather than their sex, ethnicity or wealth. The game recommends that for female PCs, gender prejudice should only be as much of a problem as the player wants it to be.
- Applies greatly in BattleTech, in the military there many female mechwarriors and soldiers. Even more so in Clan society, no gives second thought of anyones gender, as Clanners achieve their rank and position as they earned it, and are badass enough to get there.
- In Disgaea men and women of various classes have the same base stats and aptitudes in the key stats, but vary in weapon proficiency, other stats, and evil acts. The cast is usually relatively equal in terms of gender ratio and there are just as many badass women as there are badass men.
- Fire Emblem fits right in here. The main protagonist is male more often than not, but there are quite a few women who share that role with a male lead. (Although there has yet to be a female lord who is unquestionably the protagonist without sharing that role with someone else, but it's not a huge loss.) Story-wise, there are as many females in positions of power as males, and functionally, the genders are equal in combat. For every uber-powered male character you run into, there's an uber-powered female somewhere (e.g., Ike and Hector are regarded as powerhouses, but so are Titania and Tanith).
- The Dragon Age franchise is for all intents are purposes this. By the time the games role around (the titular Dragon Age) most human nations have done away with restrictions on women in the military and in politics, with Tevinter being an exception. A few Fereldan characters in the first game will remark that it is a bit strange to see women fighting if you are playing as a female PC, but they haven't stepped outside and seen the the sheer number of women in the Fereldan armed forces. The only real instance of gender inequality actually seen in game is the Chantry, the dominant religious force in Thedas which is exclusively female, veering the setting into level 6, occasionally. In general, the surprising level of gender equality in Dragon Age's High Fantasy setting can be chalked up to the influence of the matriarchal Chantry and its founder, Andraste.
- The Qunari do have rather strict gender roles, although they are just as harsh in enforcing them on men as on women, and they don't enforce their roles out of the belief that women are weaker. They also believe in "Aqun-Athlok", or "born as one gender and living as another", which allows women to assume male roles, and vice versa.
- In the Fallout world it's pretty common to see women as soldiers, carrying weapons (and knowing well how to use them), in charge of units and fighting like their male counterparts, you can even see female raiders and bandits, and female ghouls. Looks like that, when you live in a Crapsack World full of mutant animals, merciless criminal gangs, radiation, enormous and scary super mutants and extremely deadly creatures like the deathclaws, sexism is a stupid and pointless thing and every human able to use a weapon must do the work.
- Though there are few if any female Enclave soldiers. Most of them are given seemingly safer jobs as scientists and leaving the dangerous wasteland duties to the men. Most likely because of their wish to preserve the human species.
- Fallout: New Vegas does have as one of its main factions Ceasar's Legion, who are quite enthusiastic about wanting to push back the setting to roman levels of sexual discrimination... But then, they're kinda bad guys, so it's not really surprising.
- Final Fantasy V falls here with not only the main playable cast being 3 out of 5 females, all 3 are figures of authority and just as capable as the male cast.
- Final Fantasy VI has a debate going over which female party member is the main character, said two female characters are the only ones who learn magic naturally, one of them used to be a general, and the plot focuses just as much on the female characters as the male ones in total... due to there being that many more male characters.
- Final Fantasy VIII uses the same trick as The Wheel of Time, not in both genders being stupid, but with giving the females the cool magic powers. Other than that, the various roles are split very well among the cast, with both genders shown to be equally emotionally weak. This is also the first game in the series where the main playable party is split 50/50 between the genders (disregarding temporary party members), a tradition that's been (mostly) carried on since.
- Final Fantasy IX hands super powers of mass destruction and Heroic BSODs to both genders equally (if you take Kuja into the consideration, if not then the girls win on the superpowerful magic side of things). With several competent females in positions of power, and an amazon army for Alexandria.
- While the universe of Final Fantasy X may be less equalized, the story itself is definitively gender-balanced. With the focus of the story being on Yuna's journey instead of Tidus's achievements, and the only insignificant party member being a male one (Kimahri). And the stretch through the ruins of Zanarkand shows that the setting's past has been strewn with strong female figures just as much as males.
- Final Fantasy XII gender-balances well with princess Ashe being more recognized as the main character than viewpoint character Vaan (though Basch was originally designed as the main character, until it was decided that the game's demographic wouldn't go for a middle-aged male lead). The focal point of the story is not centered so much on the characters as it is on the political climate of Ivalice as a result of the Archadian Empire's control over Ashe's rightful territory of Dalmasca (and, in the background, their struggle with the neighbouring Rozzarian Empire). The only real gender issue that is ever brought up within the game is the segregation between male and female Viera (of which only the females are even seen ingame); outside of this, gender roles appear to be more of less balanced. With that said, Judge Drace, the sole woman within the ranks of the Archadian Judge Magisters, was the only one to directly call out Vayne for killing his father, Emperor Gramis, and was executed for it. The fact that she was the only major female character outside of the protagonists' team in the game doesn't really help.
- Final Fantasy XIII continues on the by now-tradition of having just as many well-fleshed out female characters as male characters. It's the second in the series with a female main character and gives the females both of the more iconic recurring summons (Bahamut and Odin). The males, as a balance, get the cooler Synthesist roles.
- Final Fantasy XIV has an interesting case. Aside from the obvious situation of lacking statistical differences between the genders, all three nations are led by women, and the main contact for the second half of the story in A Realm Reborn is female as well (making roughly half of the active members of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn female, if you count Tataru; if the Player Character is female that balance is tilted). In addition, A Realm Reborn adds playable male Miq'ote and female Rogaedyn, maintaining the balance of playable genders. However, while Kan-E-Senna of Gridania and Admiral Bloefyswyn of Limsa Lominsan are strong Action Girl leaders of their nations, Sultana Nanamo of Ul'dah is a tiny Lalafell and unsuited to fighting, so the Ul'dah contact is her hulking general, Raubahn (he is often seen carrying her). Additionally, after defeating Titan, Minfilia and half of the Scions (including plenty of the men, mind) are kidnapped. Fortunately the two "active" women, Yda and Y'shtola, escape and help you coordinate the rescue, but it still is a little rocky. On the plus side? NPC dialogue will actually change to reflect your character's gender when speaking about you. It all sorta evens out, really.
- Videogame/MOTHER (also known as EarthBound) is a series that focuses on a male protagonist throughout all three games, but does tend to feature females as being fairly integral to the story throughout the series. Gameplay-wise, the female playables all suffer from being cast as relatively frail physically, though Mother 1 has a Pippi-Longstocking shoutout who joins early and is the strongest character in the game growthwise (same stat growth as Teddy, the game's physical powerhouse), and though Ana is technically optional, she gets a myriad of insanely strong offensive, defensive, and support PSI, and is arguably the most potent PSI user in the entire series; she can do nearly anything with her PSI. Mother 2/EarthBound is perhaps the worst offender of the series, with Paula being kidnapped repeatedly, despite her being the first playable character with some extremely potent offensive PSI at her disposal, and the one who is integral in bringing together all the other characters as well as the one character needed during the final battle thanks to her special ability. Mother 3 is by far the best in terms of gender equality portrayal, including dealing with androgyny and transgenderism in a positive light.
- Video Game/Saga features relatively equal amounts of male and female characters throughout the games. The early ones had marginally different starting stats and equipment depending on if you chose male or female characters (with females actually being advantageous in several cases such as getting a Saber in the first game if you started female), but gender had no effect whatsoever on your stat growth or what skills/equipment you could use.
- Star Wars: The Old Republic has both men and women serving in combat roles in both the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire. The Jedi Grandmaster Satale Shan is female and so was her predecessor. By end game, the Republic's Supreme Chancellor is a female Twi'lek. The Sith Empire drafts any non-Force user of age into the Imperial Military for both combat and non-combat roles. Also the Sith more concerned with Fantastic Racism to non-humans and non-sith purebloods than gender inequality.
- Rift's resident badasses are about evenly divided between genders.
- Starting from Dragon Quest III, female characters are much more prominent. All of the playable characters can be male or female.
- Although Dragon Quest is usually very good at gender equality in playable characters, the only games with female main characters are the games where you could choose between male or female. Even then, promotional art usually featured the male character more often. There is also not many female villains in the series, either.
- The Tales Series keeps close to a 50/50 ratio of male and female party members, and it's the norm to have at least one Action Girl amongst them. There's also a good number of female villains. Perhaps the only imbalance is the lack of female leads.
- Tales of Symphonia does this intentionally. In the beginning, Lloyd's personality is balanced with Collette's. We have Raine and Kratos, both portrayed as sensible and intelligent, and when Sheena joins up, she and Genis are considerably more idealistic than Raine and Kratos, but also considerably more pragmatic than Lloyd and Collette. When Kratos leaves, his place is eventually taken by the equally respectable Regal. Overall, people of both genders are represented with a wide range of personalities, viewpoints and intelligence/skill levels.
- Tales of Xillia: Either the male or female lead can fill the role of "protaginist," while both are extremely capable, as are their companions.
- Tales of the Abyss sits particularly firmly here with extremely Badass heroes and villains both male (Luke, Jade, Guy, Van, Asch) and female (Tear, Natalia, Legretta) alike, and said males and females sharing equal prominence in the story. In fact, the leading lady Tear's introduction consists of her infiltrating a mansion and performing an assassination attempt on someone who later is revealed to be the main villain. Mind you, she's the White Magician Girl and also a soldier.
- The first few Backyard Sports games are an extreme example of this trope. The playable characters are equally divided between boys and girls, and the commentators are a boy and a girl as well. What makes this extreme is that all the NPCs are equally divided between boys and girls.
- Most every Resident Evil game is split very cleanly down the middle. There's almost always a male and female protagonist each game partnering up and aside from a few slight gameplay differences (like Jill having a larger inventory in the original game) neither is really presented as better or worse than the others.
- BlazBlue has an unusually even male-to-female ratio for a Fighting Game series, and both genders are roughly equally represented in terms of both screen time and power scale.
- XCOM: Enemy Unknown has the exact same skill trees for both male and female soldiers, with both genders fighting on the front lines on equal footing, both having the same chances of developing psychic potential, and both eligible to become the Volunteer. Meanwhile at the base, (female) Dr. Vahlen and (male) Dr. Shen are your chief researcher and chief engineer, establishing gender equality in non-combat aspects of XCOM, as well.
- As of World of Warcraft, Azeroth sports almost full equality. You will find an equal of male and female characters in almost every army. Three and 1/3 of the player faction leaders are female, and amongst the military commanders and minor faction leaders, while females are not as common as men, they are just as competent, noble, bloodthirsty and evil, and there is extremely little dialogue that indicates the NPCs don't view them as equals.
- The Legend of Dragoon fits here tentatively. While the official "female lead" Shana is definitely the resident Damsel in Distress, we also have Rose and Meru, two highly competent Action Girls with every bit as much plot importance as the male characters (Rose is almost as much the leading lady as Shana). Later on, we meet Miranda, who's the general of an army. However, most of the equipment is notably gender-specific, Rose's Action Girl status is sometimes treated as somewhat out of the ordinary, and a good deal of the important NPCs are male. However, there are still a decent share of important female NPCs and three of the seven legendary heroes are female and one of them is none other than Rose, one of the leading ladies. Overall, while there are a couple of factors holding the back a little, it is certainly not enough to place this game in Level 4, placing it quite comfortably here.
- In League of Legends, the only requirement to be a playable character is to Badass, so any female champion is automatically an Action Girl. While the number of male characters is greater than that for female characters, female champions are fairly represented in all positions and roles, and appear throughout the tier lists, just as male characters do. In the lore, there are just as many women in positions of power as there are men, especially in Ionia, the Freljord, and Piltover.
- Homestuck - the cast is evenly divided between male and female characters, everyone can kick roughly equal amounts of ass (fashion-designing girly girl Kanaya fights zombies with a chainsaw; Roxy loves kittens and stuffed animals but is both a competent hacker and scientist and doesn't even need a weapon to fuck shit up), and Alternian society, while terrible in most ways, made basically no distinctions based on gender and both members of their imperial line were female, and Word of God confirms that gender means nothing to them.
- Haley and Miko of The Order of the Stick are just as badass as their male teammates and receive just as much character development.
- The Word Weary has a lot more male characters than female, but all of the female characters are treated with the same respect and agency as the males.
- Darwin's Soldiers has several female combatants and men in distress. In general, a combatant has an even chance of being male or female.
- In The Guild there are three women players and three men players in the main cast, as they wanted to point out the high number of girl gamers in online games. The girls are shown to be just as powerful and skilled as any of the guys they face in the game. Even if they're all equally idiotic.
- That Guy with the Glasses. While still a bit of a sausagefest, everyone loves fighting, everyone has varying levels of intelligence, and everyone's a lunatic.
- The SCP Foundation usually stays in this zone. Some of the sanest researchers are female, the named cast of researchers is increasingly gender-equal, and the plethora of evil Eldritch Abominations they have contained are about even in gender as well. The Red Shirt Army is the exception, as it is composed of convicted felons considered expendable and, in Real Life, male convicted criminals do outnumber women in many countries. Field Agents, while often unnamed, are usually both mixed in gender and in race. Their Well-Intentioned Extremist counterpart, the Global Occult Coalition, have only gotten fleshed out in-story but so far have stayed at this level. In a universe with Black and Gray Morality and this much Nightmare Fuel under every rock, gender is a sidenote.
- In Adventure Time, there are a lot of well-characterized female characters that are independent from a relationship with a male (Princess Bubblegum, Marceline and Fionna) as much as there are male in the land of Ooo. Both genders are also very capable of kicking ass and defend themselves as well. A special mention also goes to Flame Princess whom initially is characterized as a Tsundere Love Interest for Finn but after their breakup, she began diverging into her own personality and eventually became the new Flame Queen of the Fire Kingdom by overthrowing the Flame King. Perhaps this is best shown in "The Cooler" where in an episode that features her, her role has nothing to do with Finn whatsoever.
- In Archer, male and female characters are generally portrayed at about the same level of (in)competence. Everyone is screwed up emotionally or mentally, with no overt correlation between level of competence or emotional state and gender.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the genders are represented fairly equally.
- To break down the main group, in the first season and part of the second, there was Aang (male/bender), Katara (female/bender), and Sokka (male/normal). In the second season they pick up Toph (female bender) and the group stays as that until the third season. Then, halfway through that season, finally finishing his Heel-Face Turn, Zuko (male/bender) joins and several episodes later helps bring in Suki (female/normal). That brings it to an even representation in overall numbers and combat abilities for both sexes.
- Azula and her all girl team of antagonists are far more successful in general than the previous male antagonists (succeeding in their conquest of the Earth Kingdom where Zhao failed at the North Pole, and striking down the Avatar himself after Zuko failed so many times).
- It's also a bit odd to note that the villainous Fire Nation seemed to have a more gender equal military (or at least police) than the good guy Earth Kingdom (we only ever saw male Earth Kingdom soldiers or police/city-guards, while the Fire Nation even had mixed gender prisons and prison guards). The Water Tribes turned out to be even more sexist; Sokka was something of a He-Man Woman Hater, at first, and the waterbenders at the North Pole turned out to be a bunch of jerks — much to Katara's chagrin. This resulted in a Jackie Robinson Story, which ultimately worked out for Katara.
- Of the six Avatars we know of (Korra, Aang, Roku, Kyoshi, Kuruk and Yangchen) there's a perfectly even three to three gender balance.
- The Legend of Korra brings us a close-up on one of those female Avatars, series lead Korra. Her main crew are two male benders, and her Airbender master is male as well. However, joining the female members are Pema, Ikki, Jinora and especially, Chief Bei Fong—a kickass earth bender who doesn't take crap from anybody, and Asami Sato, a rich girl who is perfectly capable of kicking asses without a bending ability. The bad guys, on the other hand, skew pretty heavily male, with the only female Equalists being background extras with no lines.
- The second season ups the ante a bit for both sides. The hero's side remains fairly egalitarian with the addition of Kya and Bumi, Tenzin's brother and sister, both of whom are very competent in their respective fields and get the opportunity to show it. Lin Beifong takes a back seat to keep the focus on Korra and her gang, but Jinora steps up into her place to take a significant role in the plot of the finale. The antagonists' side is still fairly male-centric, with Unalaq and Varrick being the equally villainous bosses on both sides of a civil war. However, their female sidekicks both take much more active roles in the story. Zhu Li, Varrick's Girl Friday, seems to be even more competent than Varrick at times; Eska, Unalaq's daughter and dragon, is the dominant personality of her and her brother Desna's relationship and not at all afraid of going against her father's orders when she deems it necessary.
- The third and fourth seasons make things about as equal as possibly imaginable between the genders. The third season features another male main villain (Zaheer), however two out of his three subordinates (all of whom are extremely Bad Ass) are female. It also introduces Suyin Bei Fong, the (very powerful) matriarch of a city of metalbenders. The fourth season finally introduces a a female main villain (Kuvira) as well as the the current Firelord (Izumi), not to mention reintroducing Toph. However, Kuriva's main (and very competent) subordinates tend to be male. All in all the series is a textbook of a show with many strong and competent characters of both genders.
- To break down the main group, in the first season and part of the second, there was Aang (male/bender), Katara (female/bender), and Sokka (male/normal). In the second season they pick up Toph (female bender) and the group stays as that until the third season. Then, halfway through that season, finally finishing his Heel-Face Turn, Zuko (male/bender) joins and several episodes later helps bring in Suki (female/normal). That brings it to an even representation in overall numbers and combat abilities for both sexes.
- Gargoyles has multiple competent and diverse female characters. Police detective Elisa Maza saves Goliath's life just as often as he saves hers, women being in positions of power (police chief, clan leader) is treated as a non-issue, and the female villains are just as interesting, well-motivated, and (on occasion) psychotic as their male counterparts. Occasionally suffers from having only one token female character per clan, but that's the only real issue.
Women Are Better Than MenAt this level, women are always the protagonists and usually don't need men to fight for them. Men, while still competent (usually), are only supporters at best, accessories at worst, and can only hope to be part of the Token Romance. While cases of Never a Self-Made Woman can still happen, most times blood lines, royal heritage and the like are matrilineal and male power figures, if they exist, will always stay in the background or make just one demonstration of authority for good measure. While it's usually never stated that women are superior to men (that's more level 8), women are often shown as the only ones who can possibly make an impression in the story line.
Anime & Manga
- In the anime of Claymore, only women can become the eponymous badasses, and the few men in the series are either evil, ineffectual, or both.
- Revolutionary Girl Utena is commonly considered to belong here, since all of the male characters seem to be either evil or fairly ineffectual compared to Utena (or both). Then again, nobody in the show is without serious stains, and the gender dynamic is one of the points discussed.
- Girls und Panzer fits here. The only reason that it isn't higher up is because men are clearly empowered to at least the same degree as they are in Real Life in-universe, but there are absolutely no men who are relevant to the plot, and the only ones portrayed at all are Akiyama's father, the Hana family's manservant, spectators, and the man from the Education Ministry.
- Male characters in Noir are usually either characters who only show up in one episode, or one of the many easily-killable Mooks
- In Rozen Maiden the female dolls get in on all the action, and Jun, the sole main male character, just takes care of them the entire time.
- This trope is common in Magical Girl series, most notably seen in Sailor Moon, with Mamoru helping by just encouraging Usagi to never give up (and actually being more of a liability to the Sailor Senshi by being repeatedly brainwashed or kidnapped), and three boys who help Sailor Senshi via turning into magical girls themselves. Later in the series, Mamoru becomes more of a Badass Normal, but still lacks the sheer power of the Sailor Senshi.
- In the manga (which is the source material) the Star Lights never turn into women, they are women. They are simply cross-dressing in an effort to find their princess faster. Mamoru also gets his own attack and crystal making him basically equal to the other Senshi (excluding Moon, who is on her own level) in the manga.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica borders on Type 9, with only three named male characters- Madoka's father, Madoka's younger brother, and Sayaka and Hitomi's love interest Kyosuke Kamijou- and only Kyosuke has any impact on the plot.
- Played lightly in Runaways. More than half of the original team were female (including the dinosaur), and, unlike the males, actually had superpowers. Of the original two males, one was self-admittedly dumb and the other was revealed to be The Mole. While both guys on the team are now generally competent and likable, it's the girls who do the heavy lifting and make the decisions. Even the Gender-Neutral character is physically female most of the time.
- "Brave", each of the major protagonists are female, including the main character. Men are usually portrayed as pigheaded, stupid, or generally inept. However, the women are also under the thumb of society - it is not considered socially acceptable for a women to be "unladylike", but this does not mean "submissive", "frail" or "dependent on a man". It means Silk Hiding Steel.
- In the world of Phyllis Ann Karr's Frostflower and Thorn, the ruling priestly class is basically patriarchal, but a counterbalance is provided by the fact that all warriors are women (though most women aren't warriors). The leads are female, and so are most of the sympathetic characters.
- Sheri S. Tepper's The Arbai Trilogy, starting with Grass. Men are consistently shown to be either too incompetent and ineffectual, or self-important and arrogant, to figure out what is really going on in the eponymous world. Most of the females are little better; but the few that the novels actually focus on, particularly the protagonist, are far and away more competent and effective than the men.
- The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo depicts even the non-evil men (who are probably in the minority) as fairly ineffectual compared with the brilliant heroine.
- L. Frank Baum's Land of Oz tends to sit here. Females like Ozma, Glinda, and the Witch of the North hold the reins of effective government. The Witches of the East and West also held power, but not in a good way. Dorothy has the most common sense of her party, all males who don't so much as blink about taking marching orders from a 12-year-old girl. She is also seen as Oz's heroine and champion, as well as Ozma's companion and heir! Kings are seen, but they're usually figureheads (like Oscar "The Wizard" Diggs), buffoons, or secondary to their wives.
- Manifestation: Falls into the "Women Are Better Than Men" ranking based on the ratio of female to male characters. All three point-of-view characters are women: Gabby Palladino, Tock Zipporah, and Dr. Patricia Caldwell. There are plenty of male supporting characters, but they tend to stay strictly in supporting roles.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer is perhaps the best known Western example. Evil and crazy witches appeared several times, but women in the Buffyverse seemed to be better at magic - both in skill and ethical use. Dedicated male magicians seemed to be morally ambiguous at best. Compare Jonathan (or Andrew for that matter) to Willow and Tara. When facing Dark Willow in Season 6 Giles is explicitly empowered by a coven of witches. Female villains are guaranteed a pardon if they show the slightest amount of regret and are treated much more understandingly than men: the shortcut to showing that a villain is a monster is having him say "bitch", Buffy and Willow use the word "man" as an insult by the end of Season 7, the fact that Buffy reviles the shamans who created the slayer line despite the fact that they saved mankind many times over, that women in-universe are better than men at absolutely everything and of course- femininity equals good. In fact, the only male character who has shown any competency and remained good throughout the series was Giles. Angel may also count, since becoming "Angelus" wasn't entirely his fault, but aside from him? We've had a Disappeared Dad, a generally-useless Xander, a misogynist villain and his two incompetent cohorts, Spike's alteration between Badass/Villain Decay, Robin Wood's attempt to kill a good Spike, a demon whose sole purpose was to wreak vengeance on men and many more!
- Charmed has the most powerful witches in the world and the eponymous characters as women.
- Many sitcoms, particularly the family-based ones, run on the "dumb husband screws up, competent wife fixes it" trope, e.g. Home Improvement.
- Any Meerkat Manor fan will know that even though meerkats don't really have one sex that overdominates the other, the main individual in charge is almost always a female.
- Among the Vistani of the Ravenloft game-setting, only women can be the spiritual/mystical leader of a tribe, as males with the Sight are killed at birth to avert their becoming that culture's version of The Antichrist. Men do direct the mundane day-to-day activities of a caravan, but only with the female raunie's approval. The overall setting probably averages at 4 or 5, though (quite a number of domains are socially backwards by D&D standards, or have darklords with varying degrees of sexism, among them The Bluebeard - yes, that one).
- Arcana Heart has an all-female cast, and it appears that only women are capable of forming contracts with the various Arcana (a summoner is called a "maiden"). Furthermore, every office in every named institution is occupied by a woman (or, more commonly, a teenage girl). Barring a few of the Arcana, the only named and clearly sentient male characters are two demon lords (one who is never seen and one who has been reduced to a skull-headed staff), one demon-wolf-thing and a drawing that has come to life.
- All the important characters in Touhou Project who actually do anything are female. There are a few male characters but their roles are very limited.
- While the cast is equal gender-wise, all of the best fighters in Maji De Watashi Ni Koi Shinasai are women. The men are either Non-Action Guy strategists or simply fighters overshadowed by the women.
- Drowtales in story (about 25% of the lead characters are male). Drow society is quite matriarchal.
- In Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki the main protagonist can become a Valkyrie, but it permanently turns him into a girl.
- Tex from Red vs. Blue: Oh my lord Tex, one of the only female characters is also one the Most. Badass. Characters. EVER; just take a look at this (she's the one in black armour).
- Further exemplified by Agent Carolina, who was recognised as the best Freelancer before Tex came along. And boy does she kick ass.
- The men usually run on Rule of Funny, but take several levels in badass over the course of the series. And the male Freelancers kick tons of ass, they just don't have as much focus as the female Freelancers (excluding Washington and Maine).
- Executive Meddling-enforced version in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Although it's not that females are explicitly better than males, it's that since the show's target audience is little girls there are barely any male characters at all, so it's up to the females to do everything whether they like it or not. In-Universe, it's a type 5; on occasions when male characters do show up, it would appear that they're more or less on equal footing (hoofing?) with the females.
- Played with in many cases.
- Big McIntosh has Super Strength enough to pull a house off its foundations without trying, and he only appears to be surpassed in this regard by the Alicorns, Celestia at least, but probably Luna, Cadence and Twilight as well.
- Shining Armor's shield spell (which surrounded all of Canterlot) is larger and stronger than anything Twilight ever pulled off, even after becoming an alicorn. Cadence (an Alicorn) made a similar barrier around the Crystal Empire, which is larger than Canterlot.
- Discord at least equals, if not surpasses, Celestia and Luna at the same time.
- Played with in many cases.
- The Powerpuff Girls epitomizes this level. Though one episode featured a villain who was a Straw Feminist trying to convince the girls that all men are dogs and that women are superior, as a lesson that this isn't the case. And there was the Rowdyruff Boys, whose debut episode had them handily outclass the girls in physical strength.
Can't Stand Men, Can't Live Without ThemMen are jerks and there's nothing good in living with them, because they only think about sex and how to get a partner under their thumbs. However, living without them is hard too - there are things that should not be the concern of women, or simply require brute strength to get accomplished. Also, there's one thing that makes males necessary - procreation. Simply, you need a man if you want to have kids, and if there's one thing they're good at, it's making kids.
Anime and MangaGovernments are ruled by women, wars are fought by women and all important functions in the society are in their hands. Men are useless and there's not a single thing that women couldn't accomplish without them. Except for one — procreation. That's the only reason men weren't slaughtered already. But they are still reduced to second-class citizens at best, and to sex slaves at worse. In other words, this is just a complete inversion of Level 2.
- Black Bird portrays men as such, being perpetually perverted and finding pleasure in hurting women, especially when they depend on them. And it doesn't seem women can actucally do anything about the dependency.
- Unsurprisingly, this is where most of Lifetime's lineup lands and aims for, constantly oscillating between misandry and misogyny, but prefering the former way more. Specific examples:
- Mother May I Sleep With Danger?
- The infamously offensive Not Without My Daughter
- The Unsaid: Girls want to give love to men and how do they thank them? They beat them up for the flimsiest reasons.
- Jennifer Lopez's Enough is mostly about what jerks men can be but the heroine can only come out on top after an Adrenaline Makeover...courtesy of a man.
- The First Wives Club, while being a more comedic take on the level, has most of its comedy relying on making men pay for their horribleness, but still being in need of male company in the end.
- Waiting to Exhale, a movie where nothing positive can possibly come from a relationship with a man. It doesn't matter how faithful, enduring, patient or loving you are, men will eventually screw you over. Why? They can't help it, it's their nature.
- Strangely, this is where Fifty Shades of Grey lands, with its rather unsympathetic portrayal of rich and powerful men and yet, strangely, it also combines it with the second level (Whores, whores, whores...) since it also implies that women are venal at heart and willing to do anything to latch onto a rich, powerful guy, especially if he's attractive.
Anime and Manga
- In Ooku, a plague has decimated the male population, leading to a complete inversion of gender roles in medieval Japan. The feudal lords are all females, and men are regularly sold as prostitutes by their own families or bartered into marriages with high ranking officials.
- Queen's Blade lands here. Men are occasionally in positions of formal power, like the priests and noblemen of Hinomoto, the ruling council of Elves, Count Vance, or the goblin who owns Branwen (who has shown that she can escape whenever she pleases and is just a masochist), but in all cases they rely on women, who are the sole source of martial power in that world, aside from some armed men like bandits and such.
- In The Incredible Hercules, Artume almost turned Earth into that kind of place, with women in charge since the beginning of time, most males as second-class citizens and the few men that survived, including Hercules, labeled as terrorists.
- In A Brother's Price by Wen Spencer, women outnumber men by about 20 to 1 (or more) so polygamy is the norm. This is not the fantasy that men might envision. Society is completely matriarchal. Men are basically property and can be sold or traded for money or a husband for their mothers or sisters. Men also take care of the home and children while women work and fight. Even the male protagonist primarily functions as a Damsel in Distress.
- If I Pay Thee Not in Gold by Mercedes Lackey and Piers Anthony. Women are the ones with magic (of conjuration) and in charge of things, while men are slaves. Those men that do get set free are treated like second-class citizens and have to live in a walled-off section of the city.
- The Star Wars Expanded Universe novel The Courtship of Princess Leia featured two examples in succession. The Hapan Consortium has been a matriarchy for centuries, to the point of having a female monarchy in the Queen Mother, whose son's wife will reign after, but not him. Their attitude is summed up in the saying: "Never let a man believe he is the intellectual equal of a woman. It only leads him to evil." The Witches of Dathomir, meanwhile, are a matriarchy of female Force users (women alone use the Force on this planet; they show surprise, upon meeting Luke Skywalker, that a man can use the Force, but this is because they weren't taught, as later books show Dathomiri men learning to use it). Men have the roles we associate with women, such as caring for their children, cooking, cleaning, etc., while being explicitly referred to and treated as slaves. Even Luke is enslaved, albeit briefly.
- In the Lensman novels, Lyrane II is like this. One of the carrots offered by the Boskonians in the Lyrane subplot of Children of the Lens is the promise not only of power but of technology to enable the women to do without males at all. If they accept and succeed they'll be replacing the Kalonians, who are almost the exact societal opposite - but who biologically cannot completely discard their women (for reasons which were obvious at the time the books were written).
- Ursula K. Le Guin's short story The Matter of Seggri is set on a planet where women naturally outnumber men by something like fifteen to one. At adolescence, men get sent away from their families to live in castles, where they participate in competitive sport and, if they do well enough, join the staff of their local "fuckery" where women pay to have sex with them. Meanwhile, women marry one another, raise children, and run every other aspect of society. By the end of the story, due to alien intervention, the sex ratio is becoming more equal and men's role is starting to be re-evaluated. One male character expresses his ambition to live as women do: "I want to be a wife."
- In the Gene Roddenberry TV-pilot film Planet Earth, the PAX team led by Dylan Hunt encounters a society where the women rule the man, and in many ways, reverse 20th Century gender roles, attitudes and behaviors.
- There was an episode of Sliders in which men were kept in camps for breeding purposes because in that world Saddam Hussein unleashed a bioweapon during the Gulf War that attacked the Y chromosome. Women were unaffected, but most of the men and boys were wiped out. The remaining men were put into breeding camps to repopulate their respective countries and because artificial insemination was never discovered in this Earth, procreation could only be achieved the old-fashioned way - sex.
- In spotted hyena society, males are always at the bottom of the social ladder. The highest ranking males rank below the lowest females. Males are also smaller, weaker, and generally more submissive than females. Even their penises are miniscule compared to the female pseudopenises, which are essentially enlarged, mostly-external clitorises. By comparison, females can be so vicious, that they'll often try to overpower and kill their male littermates just seconds after birth.
- The government in Drowtales runs under this principle seeing as women have a higher status than men (not to mention being physically larger than the men) and only a few men have fairly important positions. There is a growing male rights movement in the story, but it's mostly been implied and not focused on much.
- This probably comes from the fact that the original D&D Drow have a strict matriarchal society, created and kept in power by their demonic goddess.
- The Sarghress clan is a major exception - males can aspire to leadership and some levels of equality, although this still ruffles some feathers among the females. Sarnel was picked to be squad leader ahead of several females and Rosof Tions is the head of a major house within the clan - something unheard of in Drow history. It's fitting for the clan theme as Quaintana's main motive is to break the status quo, the denial of Blue Blood superiority and the principle that there is gold to be found in the gutters.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars The Dathomiri Nightbrothers are completely subservient to the Nightsisters, to the point where the Nightsisters chose "mates" by competing with them in a battle, and slaughter the competitors just to find one worthy of being their servants. The Expanded Universe novel Darth Plagueis takes it even further by claiming that the Nightbrothers are killed, after child is conceived.
Men? What Men?Women rule the world, men are all either castrated slaves or extinct. Women live in a Straw Feminist Utopia with superior technology or some kind of nature paradise to emphasize how women are Closer to Earth, and are either happy lesbians or simply celibate. Genetics takes care of procreation. On occasion, there is nothing sexist about it when the fiction takes place in a realistically women-only setting (like a realistic women's prison), but this happens far less often than in Level 1. This is also an example of Chromosome Casting.
Anime & Manga
- ICE – The Last Generation takes place in a setting where all men died and remaining women fight over ideological differences (if they should or shouldn't bring men back) and an ICE (which is an only thing that can help them reproduce).
- There are male students usually used for background decoration, or at best getting a quick line or two in a scene, but Azumanga Daioh has only three supporting male characters, and one of them is a dog and another is imaginary (possibly).
- In Miyuki-chan in Wonderland, there are no male characters, just a bunch of attractive, costumed women who all want to get in Miyuki's pants. Justified, as it's taking place all inside the eponymous Miyuki's head, and it's all but stated outright that she's a closeted lesbian or bisexual.
- Amazons from Wonder Woman comics live on a separate island, without any men.
- Y: The Last Man: in a setting that's practically asking for it, it avoids claiming that women need a man to fix things - the world is messed up to start with because half the human race has suddenly died, including most political, business, and religious leaders, transport infrastructure (pilots, sea captains, and truck drivers) and law enforcement, but things steadily improve over the next five years - or that women are better off without men messing things up - there's still no shortage of greed, lunatics, or violence among the women left behind.
- In, Franco Saudelli's comics about the catburglar The Blonde, all the characters are women, and sexy ones at that. There might be a man or two showing up in the background on rare occasions, but with one possible exception (a one-shot character; a boy general, over shout with youth serum), every single character with any kind of substantial or important role is a woman, as are most of the walk-on cameos and background characters.
- This was parodied in Polish movie Sexmisja (English title: Sexmission), where two male protagonists wake up from hibernation in a world where all males were killed by a pandemic and nuclear war. Women live underground and their community denies the existence of males. However, their leader is in fact a transvestite who somehow managed to survive the end of the male race, and the movie ends with our heroes manipulating a cloning machine to create a new male breed. Keep in mind, that this move was directed in the times of communism and was one big Getting Crap Past the Radar about living in a land under the control of a communist party.
- The 1999 made for TV film "Last Man on Planet Earth". This is something in between "Out of the way, sperm bank", "Men? What men?" and "Full Gender Separation". All but about 2% of men have been killed by "Y chromosome necrosis", a deadly disease that kills only males. Once they outnumbered them enough, women didn't miss a beat in revoking all human rights from the few male survivors and banishing them to the wilderness without any assets. A female scientist genetically engineers a male (since contrary to the title of the movie, there actually are still quite a few men in existence on Earth, the point of this experiment is not clear). His meager attempts at friendliness are met with extreme hatred and violence and he is eventually murdered by being infected with the disease by the government and doomed to a painful death, because the women who comprise civilization believe that men are hateful and violent murderers and they don't want to contaminate their civilization with the presence of someone like that.
- "Love Gods" in Sliders, an Earth where a biological weapon killed almost all of the planet's men.
- In "Consider Her Ways", an episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour based on a novella by John Wyndham, a woman travels forward in time to a future where a scientific accident has wiped out men and women live in a parthenogenesis-enabled caste system.
- The world of Whileaway in Joanne Russ' novel The Female Man, is all female, with the men having been wiped out ages ago by a plaguenote , and is unabashedly utopian.
- In Joan Slonczewski's A Door Into Ocean, male protagonist Spinel gets sent to a world like this as an exchange student/cultural ambassador.
- Sheri S. Tepper, again. The Gate to Women's Country. Males and females are strictly separated, with the exception of a few quasi-eunuch servants. Women live in technologically advanced, walled city-states tending toward Crystal Spires and Togas; while men are relegated to primitive camps outside the city walls, restricted to a much lower technological level, in a caricature of warrior culture. Men are used for reproduction; but only according to a strict breeding program intended to breed out any aggressive or otherwise stereotypically "masculine" traits.
- Microprose's Rex Nebular and the Cosmic Gender Bender features a planet filled with militaristic women. It's only later in the game that you learn that there was a war involving the two sexes, the end result being the women wiped out all the men via biological warfare. Not only did women have to reproduce by using the aforementioned Gender Bender to temporarily change into men, the virus used had an unintended side-effect of making the women incapable of having male babies ever again.
- PlayStation 2 RPG Nuga-Cel informs you outright at the start that absolutely no men will be appearing in the game, not even as NPCs. The (male) narrator who informs you of this is fired on the spot, never to be seen again. Although the player character is male, he is never seen or heard, unless you get a particular ending where he becomes the final boss.
- The Asari from Mass Effect do technically fall into this, being a race of Blue-Skinned Space Babe, being all biologically female, not requiring a male (or even one of their own species) to procreate, and having the most advanced tech and most graceful architecture in the galaxy. In addition, they all have biotic powers and have a natural life span of around one thousand years (barring injury, illness or death, of course) and in general are viewed as wise, peaceful beings. Although, since there is no (and never was a) male counterpart to the asari, it's argued that they are "genderless" (but just happen to fit all the traits of a human female). However, they are also stereotyped as the sex objects of the universe. Every species known is attracted to them, they are considered naturally beautiful and adept to sexual promiscuity, there are asari strippers everywhere, and many of the important asari characters show off skin or boobs. So, in short, they fit both the tropes of the Straw Feminist utopia and women as sexual objects.
Out Of Scale Level: Full Gender Separation.Men and women live separately. There are two divided communities, each with members of only one gender. There are only homosexual relationships (if any at all) and neither gender needs the other to survive. Even the procreation problem was somehow solved.
Full Gender Separation Examples
Anime & Manga
- The Zentraedi in Super Dimension Fortress Macross do this in the first series as men (Zentraedi) and women (Meltrandi) are kept in completely separate social systems.
- A world in Banner of the Stars is gender segregated, being a prison planet after all. There is a part where men and women are allowed to live together...but they must be sterilized beforehand.
- Two islands in Franken Fran have been divided by gender since about WW II (they reproduce by cloning but by the present day they both know that they can't sustain themselves for much longer). After an initial honeymoon period they're so prejudiced, socially/emotionally stunted to the opposite sex, and hyper-aggressive they annihilate each other within a week. One baby was produced/survived and it's a hermaphrodite.
- Marvel Comics character Thundra comes from a future where men and women are in a state of war and use artificial methods of procreation. Her daughter, Lyra, (born in vitro with use of Hulk's cells) gets a little Retcon of this: Her world is set After the End, where women created an advanced society while men degenerated into a bunch of wild tribes who worship old superheroes as gods.
- One of the worlds featured in The Female Man by Joanna Russ is one where men and women are at war with one another. Near the end of the novel, the principle characters (four versions of the same woman from perpendicular dimensions) visit the men's side and one of the women tears a man limb from limb. Here, though, each gender does need the other to survive, so they develop a squicky prisoner-exchange program of sorts.
- Ethan of Athos. Shortly after the invention of the uterine replicator, a religious group that believed women were the source of all sin established an all-male colony world.
- One of the Time Warp Trio books has the boys travel back to when cavemen and cavewomen were refusing to have anything to do with one another. Fortunately they help the two tribes patch things up, ensuring the survival of the human race.
- The Stormlight Archive features an unusual cross between this category and true equality. In human society, there are very strict rules on which things men can and cannot do, and equally strict rules for women. For example, women are not allowed to be soldiers or know how to fight, but men are forbidden from learning to read or write. Both genders occupy roles absolutely essential for the function of any society.
- A supplementary work for Final Fantasy XII states that this is the case for the Viera due to their isolationist tendencies, which is why you only see the females.
- Played for Laughs in the episode 'Love Struck!' of The Fairly OddParents, where Timmy wishes for said separation because he is fed up with girls due to a failed Valentines day. This causes the world to separate into the dirty and urban Himsdale and the clean and idyllic Hersdale, divided by a great wall. The episode ends with Timmy and Cupid working together by destroying the wall and making both genders fall in love with each other again.
Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate Sorting Algorithm of Tropes Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism
Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate Fr/Algorithme de Tri des Schémas Echelle Graduée Entre Idéalisme Et Cynisme