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Playing With: Faux Action Girl
Basic Trope: We are told that a female character is equal or superior to the male ones in combat skills or other action plot-relevant matters, but her actual performance does not bear this out.
  • Straight: Amazing Girl has a black belt in karate and is an expert shot, but never gains a clear victory except against Mooks or a Designated Girl Fight. The rest of the time, she needs to be bailed out by her male teammates, or scores an assist at best.
  • Exaggerated: Amazing Girl has phenomenal cosmic powers and is a Grandmaster of the ancient art of Awesome Fu, but spends 95% of her time captured and tied up by the villains.
  • Downplayed:
  • Justified:
    • Amazing Girl's previous victories were against chumps or in a rules-oriented tournament setting; she's not prepared for the much more powerful/ruthless opponents the plot is throwing at her now.
    • Or Amazing Girl was raised with the mindset that she shouldn't outshine her male friends, and is subconsciously holding back.
    • Due to either a fault of her powers or self-esteem issues, Amazing Girl loses all of her powers, abilities, and skill when up against anyone even close to her level if anyone (other than her opponent, of course) is watching.
    • Or maybe her "reputation" was just lies.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted:
  • Double Subverted: But the mole was holding back deliberately too, and the male members of the team have to bail her out again.
  • Parodied:
    • The bad guys all want to fight Amazing Girl, because they know she's an easy victory.
    • The writers have characters mention Noodle Incident after Noodle Incident where Amazing Girl did awesome things, supposedly between last episode and this one.
  • Zig Zagged: Amazing Girl is competent and powerful in her solo series, when written by Writer X; in the team book, and guest appearances written by anyone else, she's not nearly as effective or independent.
  • Averted:
    • The female characters are exactly as competent and powerful as you'd expect from their described background.
    • Or there are no Action Girl-like characters.
  • Enforced: "Our primary audience is twelve-year-old boys who want to see the awesome male characters, and Amazing Girl is just there as a sop for the Periphery Demographic, so don't waste time making her look competent when she can be making the male characters look more awesome instead."
  • Lampshaded:
    • "Wait, did you just send Amazing Girl to spy on the enemy camp? All right then, any volunteers for the rescue mission?"
    • "Yeah, that Amazing Girl. Heck of an Action Girl, all right."
  • Invoked:
    • Astounding Man looks for a female sidekick who has an impressive reputation, but won't outshine him.
    • Amazing Girl's enemies bribe her to take it easy on them, and she takes it a little too far.
  • Exploited: The Big Bad does everything he can to make sure all his/her battles are with Amazing Girl. So (s)he'll win every time & the other heroes won't screw up his/her plans.
  • Defied: Amazing Girl spends extra time going through Training from Hell and upgrading her powers so that she won't be a burden to the rest of the team.
  • Discussed: "Y'know, if it weren't for her Most Common Superpower, I'd vote to kick Amazing Girl off the team. She's not nearly as good at combat as an ex-Special Forces operative would normally be."
  • Conversed: "I hope they give Amazing Girl some better plotlines this season. I get tired of seeing a supposedly competent woman getting captured and tied up by the villains all the time."
  • Deconstructed: Amazing Girl's constant failure to live up to her potential causes her self-confidence to erode, further worsening her ineptness. Even the other members of her team finally notice that she's not really contributing to battles and needs constant rescuing, resulting in her being kicked out of the group.
  • Reconstructed: It turns out that Amazing Girl's function as The Heart of the team actually has a purpose, as the group turns into a fractious mess of backbiting and petty feuds without her to smooth things over. The team begs Amazing Girl to come back; in her downtime, she's been training/got a power boost, and is allowed one Crowning Moment Of Awesome at her return...before status quo kicks in and she returns to faux territory.

Amazing Girl swore that she could get back to Faux Action Girl on her own, but you'd better go with her just in case.

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