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Feminist Fantasy

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In a time of ancient Gods, Warlords, and Kings, a land in turmoil cried out for a hero. She was Xena, a mighty princess forged in the heat of battle.

"If I made Buffy the Lesbian Separatist [as] a series of lectures on PBS on why there should be feminism, no one would be coming to the party, and it would be boring. The idea of changing culture is important to me, and it can only be done in a popular medium."

About half the population is female, yet the chances are that any summer blockbuster you can name will have male heroes saving the world and women as their hapless Love Interests—if they even feature at all. And if they do they'll probably only be minor characters talking about the men in their lives. This invites a question: Why?

Well, because commercial fiction is produced to make money, and, for a variety of reasons, women have either lacked disposable income or have been more likely to pay for a story about a man than the other way round. Publishing costs money, and writers have to make a living, so they need to show profitability to get their works made. Thus, the English-speaking world's growing focus on women as equal partners has been slow to translate into fiction in which women figure as main characters. Adventure-oriented genre works, including fantasy and science fiction, have been even slower in that respect than romantic, comic, domestic, or "literary" stories.


But there are always exceptions, and from those exceptions, we get Feminist Fantasy.

At its most basic, this just means science fiction or fantasy whose main character is a woman who is the active center of her own story, making things happen. Maybe we just like seeing a woman save the world from aliens sometimes…

These stories can, but don't have to, contain other feminist elements:

  • Some stories point out the ever-present but oft-ignored gender inequalities in a Standard Fantasy Setting. Conversely, escapist stories in which equality is simply taken for granted are good for a dose of optimism and expanding the idea of the possible.
  • Science fiction and fantasy are suited to examining sexual issues and gender-relations by depicting alternative societies (maybe a Lady Land or the result of a Gendercide) or species with unfamiliar sexual biology, or by subjecting characters to Gender Bending.
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  • Another type of Feminist Fantasy is a gender-flipped or non-sexist retelling of an old story, often 19th-century fairy tales or folk tales. These are popular and seem to be the way this generation of Disney princesses is turning out — see Enchanted and The Princess and the Frog. The former is self-aware and sends up the traditional Disney Princess archetype, and the latter is about a hardworking girl who wants to be a businesswoman and ends up with a guy and a tiara along the way. Both arguably advocate different ways to "be female". Enchanted celebrates Giselle's idealism and the qualities that make her a "traditional" Disney princess while The Princess and the Frog contrasts Tiana's mature independence with her more girlish friend Charlotte.

See also Most Writers Are Male, Most Fanfic Writers Are Girls, and Most Writers Are Writers.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Gokusen is about a female Yakuza heiress who teaches in an all-boy's school for delinquents, trying to balance keeping her students in check like a drill Sargent, kicking all kinds of ass, saving the handsome Dude In Distress Shin, and yakuza politics. The live-action series… not so much.
  • Kunihiko Ikuhara:
    • Revolutionary Girl Utena is probably the most feminist anime in existence. It explores the classical fairytale motifs of the Heroic Prince that rescues a princess, the contrast of the innocent Princess and the mature Witch, and turns them completely on its head, while also dealing with childhood and growing up, often in very dark and mature fashion. The heroine, Utena, dreams of becoming a Prince just like the one that once saved her as a child and battles to protect the mysterious Rose Bride, Anthy, from the male-dominated Ohtori Academy and the many men who seek to win her as a prize, abuse her, and do other unpleasant things to her. As it turns out, Anthy is the Witch of the story, despite being a kind and gentle soul who grows closer to Utena, shattering the Wicked Witch archetype- meanwhile, Akio Ohtori/Dios, supposedly the Rated M for Manly Wise Prince, is the Big Bad End of the World who's adherence to “male virtues” turns him into an abusive monster in a dark example of Testosterone Poisoning. It is surreal, and rarely is anything (or anyone) exactly what they seem.
    • Yurikuma Arashi may actually unseat Utena in terms of unbridled fury at the patriarchal structure of Japanese society, particularly in how it affects the way that women, especially lesbians, are portrayed in fictional media. Initially presented as a surreal fairy-tale take on the Yuri Genre set in an all-female high school in a world where humans and bears have been separated by a massive Severance Wall, it rapidly becomes clear that not only does Ikuhara intend to subvert and even deconstruct the sexist and homophobic assumptions underlying many such works and tropes, but to explore how the implicit and explicit condemnation of nonconformity (especially with love, sexuality and gender roles) adversely affects how individuals look at themselves and others. Of course, opinions are divided on how well it managed to do this, with some claiming that the series is a massive Broken Aesop that is guilty of the same pandering it condemns, and the surreal and confusing presentation does not help.
  • Hayao Miyazaki identifies himself as a feminist, and the numerous films of Studio Ghibli typically feature female protagonists that are brave, clever, and strong-willed. He is not fond of the cliche where the lead male and female characters must end up together and wants to show love in other forms (the only film of his with a typical boy-meets-girl love story is Castle in the Sky). He is openly critical of Otaku culture and sexist portrayals of women in media, such as Moe characters.
  • Sailor Moon has a strong focus on the feminine as a source of power, with the Princesses of various celestial bodies acting as the protectors of the universe. These powers are passed from mother to daughter, with Word of God explicitly stating that there is no current Sailor Earth because men cannot become Sailor Warriors. Tuxedo Mask, the Prince of Earth, is The One Guy of the group, and primarily there to provide support to the women rather than to rescue or protect them. Female sensuality and sexuality are subtly and respectfully explored in the series, avoiding equating purity with Virgin Power as the heroine is both the purest of heart and intimate with her boyfriend. The relationship between Haruka and Michiru is portrayed without the typical fanservice related to lesbian couples, instead focusing on the strength of their devotion to each other.
    • The 20th-anniversary series, Sailor Moon Crystal, is even more blatant right in its Opening Theme, Moon Pride.
      "We all have unshakeable wills, we will fight on our own without leaving our destiny to a prince!"
      "We are not helpless girls who need a man's protection."
    • The notable thing about the series, however, is that it doesn't go and present the path of an idealized 'super tomboy' as an alternative, but contains large amounts of pink and frills and unicorns... and turns them into symbols of cosmic power, generally avoiding the message that you have to fit into a certain "box". Sure, there's one tomboyish character, but she's not defined by that and gets intricate motivations and characterization. There's a princessy hopeless romantic, but also someone who wants to become a doctor. What really set the show apart (especially compared to the American cartoons of the time who just had a token smurfette, Betty and Veronica or at best a Tomboy and Girly Girl contrast where the character is completely defined by their possesion or lack of whatever "girlyness" is supposed to be) is that the various female characters have distinct, varied personalities not built around stereotypes related to their gender, but something that is sensibly related to the plot, such as the elemental powers associated with their planets.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura features a school girl battling magical creatures, taming said creatures, and then using them to expand her personal army. She becomes the Mistress of the Clow Cards not by beating Yue over the head with her staff but by attempting to befriend him. One reason (of many) that the dub is despised is that it did its best to downplay Sakura's role in the US broadcast and increase Xiaolang'snote  because it didn't think there was an audience for this sort of thing.note  Sakura is still clearly the main character in other regions which received the Nelvana dub and did not have episodes cut, and the dub is in fact a Feminist Fantasy in its own way since it gives her a more tomboyish personality in a genre that primarily enforces Japanese perceptions of feminine gender roles.
  • Pretty Cure is a franchise that distinguishes itself from other Magical Girl series through a strong focus on physical fighting and each girl truly Kicking Ass in All Her Finery. Expect to see girls in brightly-colored, frilly outfits smashing the male villains with their fists and getting into fight scenes worthy of any Shounen series.
  • Princess Tutu is a surreal tale set at a ballet school and centered around an old fairy tale being acted out. Ahiru takes on the role of Princess Tutu, and becomes a Magical Girl that uses dance to free the missing shards of the Prince's heart. As the story unfolds and the true nature of events becomes clear, Ahiru must find a way to save Prince Mytho and defy the original tragic ending of the story that the Raven and Drosselmeyer are intent on bringing about.
  • The Puella Magi Madoka Magica multimedia franchise is the Trope Codifier for Magical Girl Genre Deconstruction, starring various casts of complex, three-dimensional female characters and their struggles both physical and psychological. The stories pull no punches in showing how harsh the world can be and how immensely difficult the job of being a magical girl is, especially since the girls are trapped in a system by a cruel alien entity that engineers their doom. Nevertheless, many of the girls fight against the system that enslaves them, and there is always hope. This is most evident in two scenes of the original anime; first is a scene where Sayaka encounters and stands up to two misogynistic men on a train who beat their girlfriends and call all women whores; the second is the scene where the titular Madoka becomes a goddess, freeing the other girls from the system and serving as a benevolent protector for all magical girls.
  • Lyrical Nanoha, the biggest name in the Magical Girl Warrior subgenre, takes a very subtle approach to its portrayal of women: it never, ever directly addresses the gender roles (or sexuality, for that matter), but looking at it from that perspective readily reveals that the main (all-female) cast masters both traditional feminine (home-keeping, family-building, children-raising) and masculine (money-earning, loved ones-protecting, and world-saving) tasks with equal proficiency.
  • Phantom Thief Jeanne, which builds upon the story of Joan of Arc as its core. Maron is the reincarnation of Joan and Eve, and on a Mission from God to use her holy powers to track down and seal various demons. Because the items these demons hide in vanish after being sealed, she's mistaken as a Phantom Thief and constantly on the run from the police. A skilled gymnast and acrobat, the majority of her attacks use feminine tools such as ribbons and flowers to fight the demons.
  • Shin Shirayuki-hime Densetsu Prétear (Pretear: The New Legend of Snow White) takes very loose inspiration from the fairy tale, only with seven handsome guys instead of dwarves. Himeno is approached by a group of warriors, who ask her to become the latest in a line of magical girls charged with protecting the world. As Pretear, Himeno posesses the power to destroy the monsters attempting to drain the Leafe from the world, transforming with the aid of her Leafe Knights into various forms. Brave, energetic, and very much a Tomboy, Himeno struggles upon learning that should she lose hope, she will become the very thing she fights against. Her foe, Fenrir, is in fact the previous Pretear who fell into despair.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew is another Magical Girl series that features a team of girls using magic and their fists to save Planet Earth from evil aliens. Each girl is chosen to defend the planet from the invading aliens, using powers derived from the DNA of endangered animals; and the girls, far from being weak and fragile, show themselves to be perfectly capable of beating their male opponents.
  • The Rose of Versailles: Often regarded as the the most well-known and oldest modern anime Feminist Fantasy, and has been cited as an influence on Utena; it follows Oscar, a noblewoman raised as a man in order to inherit her father's place as commander of the Palace Guard. Set prior to The French Revolution, Oscar is torn between class loyalty and her strong sense of justice, as well as the conflict between her gender and the militant life she leads.
  • Saiunkoku Monogatari is a story about the aspiration of the female protagonist to be a government official in a male-dominated Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Imperial China and how she is working hard through skill and determination to achieve those dreams.
  • Studio Bee Train and its founder Koichi Mashimo in particular are well-known in Japan for their very feminist stance. It is particularly evident in their Girls with Guns trilogy (Noir, Madlax, and El Cazador de la Bruja), which is all about strong women who make tough choices and kick ass in a dangerous world (though Noir is very light on the speculative aspect, mainly found in the implausible fighting abilities of the main characters).
  • Claymore stars an almost entirely female cast, all Half-Human Hybrid warriors that hunt the shape-shifting Youma. The woman are varied in both their personalities and appearances, with some being stunningly beautiful and some being downright unattractive. Beauty is tarnished frequently, and the women are treated as powerful and determined warriors that form strong bonds or rivalries with each other. Fanservice is almost entirely absent, and what little nudity there is usually involves Body Horror.
  • Bubblegum Crisis, the groundbreaking Cyberpunk anime of the late 1980s. It focuses on the adventures of a team of female mercenaries in Powered Armor called the Knight Sabers. Led by genius heiress Sylia Stringray, the team is composed of hard-rocking Biker Babe Priss, unlucky-in-love athlete Linna, and Ditzy Genius hacker Nene. Using a soundtrack composed primarily of songs performed by Priss' band, it follows Sylia's quest to bring down the corrupt and male-dominated corporation GENOM.
  • Angelic Layer is an interesting example, being created to target a male audience with its shounen Tournament Arc theme. However, it stars a female protagonist in a role usually reserved for male leads and features a primarily female cast. The game Angelic Layer utilizes customized dolls to engage in duels, blending activities stereotypically reserved for one sex or the other (dress-up with dolls vs. action figures fighting) together into an exciting concept.
  • Slayers is another shounen series starring a female protagonist, in this case Fiery Redhead Lina Inverse. While she has the reputation of being the most powerful sorcerer around, that title actually belongs to her Aloof Big Sister, Luna. She's also not a slouch with a sword, making her a powerful warrior-mage that repeatedly saves the world. (And has a tendency to blow things up, when provoked.) The cast, when traveling as a group, remains gender-balanced and hold their own in battle. The Lord of Nightmares, creator of the universe, is notably portrayed as a young woman, and despite being rather scary and odd is still ultimately good, or at least non-evil, and a competent ruler (in contrast to the male Mazuko Lords and their followers, who seek to destroy the world).
  • Magic Knight Rayearth takes the quest to rescue a Princess Classic, and throws multiple twists into the formula. When the magical kingdom of Cephiro is in danger, Princess Emeraude summons three ordinary girls to undertake a grand quest. Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu are the Magic Knights of legend, tasked with honing their magical powers through a series of trials in order to defeat Zagato and rescue the princess from him. Then the genre gets twisted, as nothing is what it seems. Zagato is merely trying to protect the woman he loves, as Emeraude has summoned the knights to kill her so a new Pillar can be chosen. They only learn the horrible truth after slaying Zagato, sending Emeraude into a murderous rage that threatens to completely destroy the world.
  • Legendary Cyberpunk creator Shirow Masamune seems to be fond of strong female protagonists, as several of his influential works feature them.
    • Ghost in the Shell stars Major Mototo Kusanagi, a cyborg police woman. Throughout the continuities, Motoko goes up against various male criminal masterminds, and always wins in the end. Her comrades are male as well, but she is the one in the spotlight.
    • Appleseed stars a Battle Couple in the form of Deunan and her cyborg partner, Briareos. Extremely skilled fighters, they are recruited into a counter-terrorism squad.
    • Dominion Tank Police stars Shorttank Leona Ozaki, a police officer that drives a customized tank to battle crime in a futuristic city. She joins a police unit that is crippled by Testosterone Poisoning, and helps make it actually effective, while being just as Hot-Blooded as her boss.
  • Patlabor: Despite the series penchant for comedy, all of its female officers are portrayed as being capable and competent. Noa Izumi starts off as a somewhat ditzy rookie cop, who gradually shapes up to become SVU2's best labor pilot. Shinobu is the captain of SVU1 and a Reasonable Authority Figure, while Kanuka is a hotshot NYPD officer, who's on loan to division 2. And finally, there's Takeo Kumagami, who serves as Kanuka's replacement after she ends her tenure and returns to The States.
  • Dirty Pair has gone through numerous incarnations, but is invariably about the trope-naming Lovely Angels leaving a path of destruction in their wake. Kei and Yuri work for Worlds Welfare Work Association ("3WA"), a galactic troubleshooting agency that sends highly-skilled teams to deal with problems. Violently. While one of the most successful teams around, the Lovely Angels have been nicknamed the "Dirty Pair" due to the tendency of their missions to leave buildings, cities, and even an inhabited planet blown to smithereens. In some fans eyes, the Feminist nature is somewhat diminished by the standard uniform being a Midriff-baring cleavage-exposing halter top and hot pants which are regularly the camera's focus. The uniforms have the fan nickname of "Battle Bikinis." It's generally agreed that in spite of the uniform, Kei and Yuri don't take any guff from anyone. An extremely positive portayal of a Transwoman in the 1985 TV show adds to its cred.
  • Wizard Barristers features a Teen Genius that joins an Occult Law Firm. The cast is primarily composed of women who are professionals (lawyers, paralegals, investigators), who are almost universally powerful magic users as well.
  • Ironically, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt of all series counts. The Anarchy sisters are powerful figures who are in full control of their sexuality and embody a very crude form of Wish Fulfillment for girls. Plus for all the fanservice that takes place there's just as much sex humor that doesn't pander to the Male Gaze (or might even be Fan Disservice to them). Slapstick Knows No Gender is in full force, and a good chunk of the show's jokes involve lampshading, subverting, or averting the gender Double Standard.
  • Blood: The Last Vampire and its various re-tellings focus on Saya, a seemingly teenaged Vampire Hunter that wields a katana. No matter which incarnation, she is a deadly One Woman Army on a quest to slay a powerful foe.
  • Romeo X Juliet is very loosely based on the play, and re-imagines Juliet as The Chosen One that enjoys a stint as a Zorro-esque Vigilante Man. As the last surviving member of the rightful rulers of Neo-Verona, she is raised for the purpose of overthrowing Lord Montague, the tyrant that murdered her family and turns out to also be a Barrier Maiden that must be sacrificed to feed the mystical tree that holds up the floating island. Instead, she uses The Power of Love to bring the island safely onto the ocean, breaking the cycle of sacrifice and saving the country with her sacrifice.
  • selector infected WIXOSS blends darker elements of the Magical Girl with the card-based tournament series, resulting in a series about young girls drawn into a mysterious game. The Collectible Card Game Wixoss has a strong female following, and certain girls find that their in-game avatar (a "LRIG") is in fact alive — promising if they battle as a "Selector" and meet certain conditions, their wish will be granted. The motivations and Character Development of each girl is explored, with a strong focus on their friendships and rivalries as they battle to become an Eternal Girl and get their wish. Since the primary focus is a card game, the girls are portrayed using tactics and strategic thinking to outwit their opponent while their LRIG use Full-Contact Magic and increasingly more decorative clothing to beat their opponent into the ground.
  • Shangri-La is a series with a largely female cast that focuses on the journey of Kuniko Hojo, a girl who, though initially reluctant, goes on to lead the resistance organization of Metal Age against the tyrannical Atlas Corporation. Most of the main characters are women; both Kuniko and her grandmother, the original leader of Metal Age, are positive role models. The story also has two transgender women, Momoko and Miiko, who, rather than being one-off jokes, are instead major characters with their own feelings, dreams, friendships, and roles to play. The Big Bad, Ryoko Naruse, is a woman as well, and a cruel despot whose motivation is not tied to a man or men. She serves two male characters, but instead of being an obedient henchwoman, is instead treated as a credible and terrifying threat in her own right, and she makes it clear that she is the true power controlling Japan. There are several other female characters as well, both major and minor, and each with a diverse role to play.
  • Yona of the Dawn takes many of the standards of the Shoujo genre — a beautiful heroine with numerous potential male suitors — and makes the heroine a Princess with a Battle Harem. According to legend, the Kingdom of Kouka was founded by a Dragon God that took human form and his four Dragon Warriors, beings blessed with the blood of the other Dragons that wished to protect their king. Princess Yona is the only child of the kingdom's pacifist king, and lives a sheltered life in the palace. But one night, she witnesses her beloved cousin, Soo-Won, murder her father and is narrowly saved from death by General Hak, her childhood friend. Together, they become fugitives and begin a journey to locate the descendents of the original Dragon Warriors so that Yona can reclaim her kingdom. While initially weak, Yona quickly shows herself to have an unbreakable will and refuses to simply be protected — learning to fight with a bow and a sword, becoming a Warrior Princess through intense and tireless training. As the reincarnation of the legendary Dragon-King Hiryuu, she is The Chosen One and undergoes considerable Character Development while taking many levels in badass along her journey to save her kingdom, not only fighting against Soo-Won, but defeats many other villains such as Yang Kum-Ji, an aristocrat slaver who victimizes many women and children.
  • Senki Zesshou Symphogear blends the Magical Girl Warrior with the Idol Singer, featuring young women that save the world with magical armor that runs off The Power of Rock.
  • Uma Musume is surprisingly Feminist, particularly since it's primarily a Moe Anthropomorphism series. But the cutesy premise and fancy costumes take back seat to an exciting, inspiring Sports Anime. The series heavily focuses on the athletic prowess of the girls, as well as the powerful bonds of friendship and rivalry between them. Each girl is a Spirited Competitor that loves a challenge, pushing the other girls to become stronger runners and give them the best race possible. Whether teammates or fierce rivals, they support each other in pursuing their dreams and never resort to catty behavior, jealousy, or foul play.
  • In Radiant's Cyfandir arc (volume 5-10), female aspiring knight Ocoho is the deuteragonist and arguably the true hero, who contributes to unveiling the conspiracies surrounding the kingdom, takes down a ship of Baron Merchants after her childhood friend Mordred's treason and indirectly opens Queen Boadicea's eyes on her mistakes. More generally, while the series' protagonist is male the story features a number of female characters who are not only as strong, active an developped as the male ones, but also take an equal amount of physical damage, if not more, with little-to-no Male Gaze. The author confirmed in volume 11's Q&A that he took great care in fleshing out male and female characters equally.
  • Snow White with the Red Hair is a series about Shirayuki, a red-haired herbalist making her own way in the world where she escapes an attempt to make her a concubine by fleeing to the kingdom of Clarines. The series becomes all about Shirayuki and her attempt to create a new life for herself, her own struggles, passions, and eventual mutually respectful romance with Clarines' Prince Zen, who values her as the person she is, along with with Shirayuki's relationships to those about her.
  • Tweeny Witches is a hauntingly beautiful dark fantasy primarily driven by a diverse cast of women. The entire cast is varied in both their personalities and appearances, with some being stunningly beautiful and some being plain. The main trio of young apprentice witches, as well as Atelia, prove themselves to be brave, resourceful, and independent without waiting for a man to rescue them. Their femininity, or lack thereof, is not shown as a bad thing, as Arusu and Sheila are not shamed for their gender-nonconforming aspects while Eva and Atelia have moments where they demonstrate Silk Hiding Steel. Instead, their characterizations are built around something that is sensibly related to the plot, such as having low self-esteem because of the inability to cast magic. Meanwhile, the cold, emotionless, Always Male warlocks are the villains of the series, who cause untold destruction, and are eventually soundly defeated by the ingenuity and kindness of the heroines.
  • Violet Evergarden is a tale dealing with emotional growth, personal discovery, and the trauma that lingers in the aftermath of war. The titular Violet is a child soldier that has only known war, facing an uncertain future after losing both of her arms and being separated from her beloved superior. Desperate to understand the meaning of the word "Love", Violet joins a Letter writing company as a ghost writer, traveling to meet a variety of clients. Throughout her journeys, Violet comes to understand her own humanity and trauma, while helping others to deal with their own in turn. While no longer a soldier, Violet remains a fierce combatant when push comes to shove and fights to protect the world's hard-won peace.
  • Sword Art Online: Alternative Gun Gale Online is a side-story focused on the adventures of Gamer Girl LLENN, and is notable for its drastic shift from the main franchise's poor treatment of women. The cast is predominately female, with a strong focus on their gaming skills and the friendships they forge as teammates or rivals in the virtual world. LLENN's avatar is notable for being small and extremely pink, traits that she quickly realizes can be exploited in unexpected ways in the virtual world. Unlike the main franchise, the female avatars used are also quite diverse — cute, Killer Rabbit LLENN, Lean and Mean Pitohui, and even Brawn Hilda Eva are all very unique in their looks.
  • Super Gals kicks this trope into overdrive. On the surface, it's a Slice of Life series about the Gyaru Girl subculture, and indeed the main characters spend a lot of time talking about clothes and boys. It also features the main character Ran Kotobuki beating up sexual assaulters, criminals, and other bullies nearly Once an Episode, all while giving lectures about how girls should respect themselves and not live their life for other people's sake. The very first episode has her talk a girl out of selling her body for Compensated Dating by giving her a Bright Slap.
  • Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! features three young girls trying to make it in the anime business. Two of them are shown to be talented artists while the other is business savvy. Also, none of them are sexualized and they have distinct facial and body types from each other. Racial diversity is also a prominent factor of the series with many of the girls featured having ethnic backgrounds based on Mixed Ancestry.
  • Little Witch Academia has a cast of female characters with distinct personalities, talents, and body shapes. While Ship Tease is present, it doesn't take over the character's arc.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist is a typical Shonen manga with a main male character but the female characters all have important roles that aren't subjugated to being a love interest. While many of them are attractive, none of them are overtly sexualized to an absurd level.
  • Aggretsuko focuses on Retsuko, a 25-year-old red panda Office Lady, struggling to find happiness and ensuring her own growth. She also finds support and inspiration from other women.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering has an odd example: White represents healing, protection, chivalry, and law and order. Many of the powerful white creatures (all the powerful angels, Lin Sivvi) are depicted as female. Indeed, the first pure white-mana plane, Serra's Realm, is a matriarchy.
    • As explained by Mark Rosewater himself, one reason for the Female Angel, Male Demon standard is to specifically avoid the evil succubus trope.
    • Magic: The Gathering in general is very equal opportunity-minded. The style guide given to the artists explicitly states: "Make an effort to illustrate a variety of races, genders, ages, and body types. Feel free to paint beautiful women, as long as they're shown kicking ass. No damsels in distress. No ridiculously exaggerated breasts. No nudity."
    • Furthermore, later editions make a point to avoid printing non-Legendary cards with exclusively male or female names, so cards like Hasran Ogress and Brothers of Fire are unlikely to see reprints any time soon.

    Comic Books 
  • Wonder Woman is perhaps the original Feminist heroine; a super strong crime fighter amazon. Creator William Moulton Marston even believed that within a century America would become a matriarchy (and that that was a good thing).
  • Batgirl is always highly intelligent, a skilled fighter, and very much an equal to the other members of the Batfamily no matter which heroine currently wears the mantle.
  • Supergirl has had multiple incarnations, but is always one of the most powerful heroes around since she is the Distaff Counterpart to Superman.
  • Power Girl has always been portrayed as a powerful heroine, and often stands out from other female characters in having muscular build. Her Cleavage Window (easily her most marketed feature) is a point of contention, with people both in-and-out of universe asking exactly how seriously she, Kara, can be taken in such an outfit. How it's resolved is usually Depending on the Writer.
  • Captain Marvel, formerly Ms Marvel, Warbird and Binary, is explicitly Feminist, starring a highly decorated Officer turned superheroine. Carol has seen many ugly incidents, but even when stripped of her powers she still kicks much ass alongside her male peers. Eventually, after the madness that was M-Day and living an alt life as the most powerful non-mutant superhero, she got her act together. Furthermore, she transitioned from Ms Marvel to Captain Marvel, taking on the title in honor of the original Mar-Vell (while she isn't the first female to do so, being the third actually, she is the one with the most staying power).
  • Ms. Marvel (2014) sees a new generation taking up the mantle, focusing on Pakistani-American teenager Kamala Khan. A long-time fan of Carol Danvers, she is inspired to take up the mantle of Ms. Marvel after gaining superpowers as part of the Terrigan Mists awakening her dormant Inhuman genes. The series has been an unexpected hit, with critics even calling her "the new Spider-Man".
  • She-Hulk is a brilliant lawyer, as well as a physical powerhouse, and her series often deals with positive portrayals of female sensuality and sexuality.
  • Black Widow is one of the greatest spies in the world, a deadly assassin, and a core member of the Avengers.
  • Spider-Woman has had several incarnations, but is always a strong woman with abilities that set her apart from that other hero with spider-themed powers. Interestingly enough, she was not created as his Spear Counterpart (she was actually made when Marvel noticed some people were making a project called Spider-Woman and they rushed to make the character to claim the name), so she can carve her own path.
  • X-Men, beginning with the famous run of Chris Claremont from 1975 to 1991. His run saw Jean Grey grow from The Chick to one of the most powerful beings in the entire Marvel Universe, Phoenix Force notwithstanding, and established Storm firmly as the team leader. Fans invented the term "Claremazon" to describe his focus on powerful, intelligent, skilled, independent, and glamorous women. Even with his departure from the X-books, the franchise continues this tradition of portraying varied women — often the most popular characters in the book(s) at any given time.
  • ElfQuest is a series with explicit Feminist themes, and the decades-long work of married creators Wendy and Richard Pini. The series explores gender roles through culture clash, features multiple examples of female leaders and warriors, takes pot shots at the Comic Industry's bias against female creators, and features an incredible variety of female characters. In particular, long-time lovers Nightfall and Redlance defy typical gender roles with her as a fierce Huntress and Warrior, while he is a gentle Plantshaper. The Big Bad, Winnowill, is also a woman. During the 80s, the possibility of a Saturday Morning cartoon was explored, but ultimately abandoned when Executive Meddling came into play. The studio demanded that Polar Opposite Twins Ember and Suntop be given a personality switch, as they didn't want a tough future Chieftess and a gentle boy. The Pinis walked away rather than comply.
  • Depending heavily upon the creators involved, Red Sonja is an early example with a powerful, independent female warrior who focused strongly upon defending the weak and turning the tables on her male foes. Some aspects of the character come under question, or have been poorly handled by creators and undermined the more positive elements. This has resulted in Sonja being a highly controversial character, alternately praised as an iconic Feminist heroine or decried as a juvenile representation of a heroine. The incarnation being written by creator Gail Simone has been highly-praised.
  • Vampirella was created as this, though changes in Feminist ideals and poor handling by creators has strayed from that. Designed and co-created by feminist Trina Robbins, she was a strong, powerful, independent heroine with a seductive appearance and innate goodness. Like the equally-controversial Red Sonja, she was created during the Second Wave of Feminism — an era that dealt with women's sexuality, rejection of sexual repression, and reproductive rights.
  • Fables deals with beings from Fairy Tales and mythology living in exile in modern day New York. It explores some of the darker aspects of the original tales, and deconstructs many of the problematic elements found there. In particular, Prince Charming is the prince from most stories, and a serial divorcee unable to find happiness as a result. Snow White is often the focus of the series, having grown into a strong-willed politician that runs much of Fabletown's daily business. Just don't mention the seven Dwarves. Consisting of a massive ensemble cast, almost every single female character has developed over the centuries into a force to be reckoned with. The war in the Homelands, as well as changes in human society, have transformed them into modern women, often looking unfavorably on certain aspects of their pasts. The Spin Offs, Fairest, From Fabletown With Love, and Fables Are Forever all focus on the women of the series. The later two are solo adventures starring Cinderella, Fabletown's master spy and assassin in James Bond-style adventures. Issues of female sensuality and sexuality, motherhood, reproductive rights, healthy and unhealthy relationships, misogyny, and sexism are all touched on or explored within the series.
  • Hack/Slash features a Final Girl who becomes a Serial-Killer Killer, traveling the country fighting undead beings known as "Slashers". Cassie Hack is tough as nails, highly intelligent, and a bit concerned that her mother's murderous impulses may be In the Blood because she's really good at fighting monsters. She travels with the deformed Vlad, who looks like a bit like Jason, but is actually the more gentle and kindhearted of the pair. The series deals head-on with many of the misogynistic tropes of Horror films, and Cassie often works to help other women go from victims to Action Survivors capable of fighting for themselves. Often compared to Buffy, another series involving the designated female victim killing monsters.
  • The only thing preventing W.I.T.C.H. from being a Magical Girl manga is that it was drawn and first published in Italy.
  • The Mighty Thor has become one, with a woman currently holding the title and wielding Mjolnir. With the new Goddess of Thunder, the series has taken on a distinctly feminist tone with creators responding to sexist complaints in a very meta fashion.
  • DC Comics Bombshells is an alternate DC universe where all the superheroes are female with a Roaring Twenties feel and set in a World War II environment. Women also have more opportunities in more aspects of life than they did in reality, like military and police service and greater participation in sports (even traditionally masculine ones like boxing).
  • The Spider-Gwen one-shot takes perhaps the most famous dead girlfriend in all of comic books, and offers an alternate take on things. Gwen Stacy becomes the super-hero with spider powers, though the circumstances of her and Peter are radically different; while Uncle Ben doesn't die Peter ends up dying a bit after he becomes the Lizard, due to being envious of her superhuman abilities and him always needing her help. The series started as a one-shot in Edge of Spider-Verse, and proved popular enough to get an ongoing that ran for five issues before Secret Wars (2015) hit, then relaunched with a new issue #1 after it was over.
  • Femforce from AC Comics is a superhero group composed entirely of women. Despite the "cheesecake" art style, the ladies of Femforce are treated with a reasonable level of respect - they are brave, smart, capable, and everything else a hero should be.
  • Tank Girl is a cult classic among female fandom for its outrageously sex-positive characters and punk aesthetic. Notably, Rachel Talalay proposed doing a film adaptation because of this, and despite the movie being heavily neutered from its source material because it scared the executives, the movie also developed a cult fanbase over the years.
  • Magical Beatdown is a hyper violent street harassment revenge fantasy about an average video-game loving schoolgirl who transforms into a foul-mouthed and rage-fuelled Magical Girl when provoked.
  • A-Force: A Marvel superhero team consisting entirely of women from the Avengers, including several names found elsewhere on this list like Captain Marvel and She-Hulk.
  • Unstoppable Wasp: Nadia van Dyne is an enthusiastic Science Heroine eager for adventures. Her recurring mentor is her stepmother Janet van Dyne, the original Wasp and the first female Avenger. Nearly all of her supporting characters, not to mention her most prominent team-ups, are women and girls, many of whom are her friends through Genius In action Research Labs.
  • ARIA is a Franco-Belgian variation of the trope about an Action Girl that roams an inhospitable land and who fights injustices along the way, a bit like a Knight Errant.
  • Zatanna is gifted magician who is solves occult problems either on her own or with a team. She is noted to be brave, mature, and likable. She grew in popularity due to her solo comic series.
  • Batwoman features the adventures of Kate Kane, a tough, sharp, flawed, but ulimately good-hearted former West Point cadet who uses her skills to fight crimes.

    Fan Works 
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Storm is an attempt to take Gundam's "Artificial Newtype Girl" archetype (most directly Soma Pieris of Mobile Suit Gundam 00) and, in the words of Joss Whedon, "create someone who was a hero where she had always been a victim".
  • Star Trek: The Original Series
    • One of the objectives of Leslie Fish's The Weight series, from the 1970s, was to provide the main cast with female counterparts who were every bit as competent as they were. Henry Jenkins chose this story as a case study in the fanfiction chapter of Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture.
    • In Henry Jenkins' Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture, he mentions Jane Land's "Demeter", which puts Uhura and Christine Chapel in command of an all-female landing party on a voyage to a lesbian seperatist space colony; their adventures not only provide these characters with a chance to demonstrate their professional competency but also to question the patriarchal focus and attitudes of The Original Series and its male protagonists. Land characterises her project as rescuing Chapel from "an artificially imposed case of foolishness":
      "Try to think objectively for a moment about what we know of Christine Chapel's background, education, accomplishments... and you will come up with a far more interesting character than she was ever allowed to be. The Christine Chapel I found when I thought about her was neither wimp nor superwoman, but, I hope, an intelligent, complex, believable person."
  • Many Maleficent fanfics give more nuanced roles to the three pixies that were portrayed as useless idiots in the movie, and change Queen Leah's death to a divorce, increasing the number of female roles as well as the quality of the portrayal of women. Maleficent herself makes for a decent feminist hero, and Aurora, more often than not, grows up to be a Warrior Princess. Some fanfics also do away with the implied romance with Prince Philip, by shipping Aurora with Maleficent.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail has the focus on Chloe Cerise, who doesn't want to be the "female companion of Ash Ketchum who goes on a journey and finds her Goal in Life via Pokémon" but feels all the pressure when everyone else wants her to follow this role and sees that Pokémon just takes everyone's attention away from her. When she finds herself on the Infinity Train, the first thing she does is get a change in wardrobe, swapping the school uniform with anchors with a dress for fish to symbolize her freedom, and decides that she's going to discover herself while on the train and not give a Fletchling about her family and friends worry for her because she knows that going back home will mean everyone just forcing her to go along with their wishes.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney animated films have been more proactive with their female characters starting with The Little Mermaid, but the most extensive example of this trope is undoubtedly The Princess and the Frog. The princess movies seem to be getting less and less sexist, as well as more self-aware, with every passing year. Whether they count as feminist depends on where you draw the line; for the most part, they're definitely not groundbreaking in any way.
  • Sleeping Beauty is the Trope Codifier as far as Disney examples go. The villain Maleficent is a Lady of Black Magic and referred to as the Mistress of All Evil. She's notably stronger, more powerful and much smarter than the typical Disney villain. So effective is she that she's effectively won by the end of the second act. On the heroes' side, the three Good Fairies drive the plot. They hide the princess from Maleficent for years and create the counter spell to save her. When Prince Philip is captured, the fairies are the ones that rescue him and provide him with the tools necessary to stop Maleficent. Unshaved Mouse noted how unusual even today it is for a film to feature three female protagonists who don't provide Fanservice, pass The Bechdel Test, and don't end up as someone's love interest.
  • The Little Mermaid: Ariel is a Rebellious Princess fascinated by the human world, challenging her father's firm belief that everything on the surface is evil. Falling for Prince Eric is merely the push needed to drive her to pursue her dream. Unlike her counterpart in the original story, she gets a happy ending.
  • Beauty and the Beast features an intelligent, free-spirited heroine that loves to read and dreams of living a life of adventure. Belle stands her ground against Jerk Jock Gaston and the titular Beast, calling them on their behavior and refusing to change herself to suit others.
  • Aladdin: Princess Jasmine is another Rebellious Princess, unsatisfied with her Gilded Cage and unwilling to be forced into marriage just because the law demands it. Her Establishing Character Moment involves sending her latest suitor packing by sending her pet tiger after him.
  • Pocahontas stars another Rebellious Princess, very loosely based on the real figure from American history. She's bothered by the idea of settling down in a "good match" marriage. Instead, she challenges John Smith's ideas about the world and ends up preventing a war.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame transforms Esmeralda from the weak, fickle woman of the novel into being kind-hearted and street-smart. Even when she's in danger, she makes them regret it. Her role illustrates how unrealistic the Madonna–Whore Complex truly is, as all three men want her....but while Quasimodo sees her as a perfect angel and Frollo sees her as a wicked temptress, Amazon Chaser Phoebus sees and appreciates the person. When Frollo ties her to a stake and threatens to have her burned as a witch if she doesn't become his mistress, she responds by spitting in his face.
  • Mulan: Based on the Chinese legend. Mulan is resourceful and brave, choosing to disguise herself as a man in order to take her father's place in the Imperial army. Through her quick wits and determination, she becomes an accomplished soldier and goes on to defeat the Big Bad Shan-Yu and save China from his conquering ambitions. Her love interest follows her home, to return her helmet. When awkwardly complimenting her, he focuses on her fighting skills.
  • The Princess and the Frog: Tiana is a hard-working, determined young woman with a dream of opening her own restaurant. She faces down the Big Bad to save Naveen, winning through her refusal to accept the temptation of an easy fix. She then confronts the businessmen that refused to sell the restaurant to her, and goes on to achieve her dream of opening a thriving business that she runs with Naveen at her side.
  • Tangled: Rapunzel, while having multiple Princess Classic traits, uses her 70-foot long hair and a frying pan as weapons. When her mother refuses to let her leave her tower to see the yearly lights in the sky that she's always dreamed of watching up close, she knocks out the thief who breaks into her tower, ties him up with her hair, and talks him into showing her where the lights take place.
  • Brave stars Merida, a Rebellious Princess that is something of a tomboy. She's an exceptional archer, as well as skilled at horseback riding and rock climbing, and constantly battles with her strict, traditional mother. The story focuses on the relationship between mother and daughter, as an Arranged Marriage and a curse forces them to work together and begin understanding one another better. Merida comes to see her mother's quiet strength, and the heavy responsibility she shoulders as both a mother and a Queen. Meanwhile, Queen Elinor comes to respect her daughter's independence and decides against forcing her into a political marriage. As a literal Mama Bear, she faces down and defeats a monster bear in order to protect her husband and children. The curse is lifted once Merida is able to accept her mistakes, and reconcile with her mother. The political marriage is called off, with both Merida and her suitors declaring that they want to Marry for Love and the relationship between Elinor and Merida strengthened considerably.
  • Wreck-It Ralph has Badass Adorable Vanellope Von Schweetz and Space Marine Sgt. Calhoun, as one half of the gender-balanced main cast. Vanellope is a glitched character in a racing game, and blackmails Ralph into helping her win the next big race. In doing so, the game will be reset and she'll reclaim her rightful place as the Main Character. Though she's really a Princess, she gives up the throne in favor of becoming President. Sgt. Calhoun is the commander in a First Person Shooter, acting as the player's guide and generally kicking ass as a Fem!Shep Expy. Having been Widowed at the Wedding when a Cy-bug ate the groom, she's determined to track down and destroy the Cy-bug threat. She ends up marrying Fix-It Felix Jr., who falls in Love at First Punch and avoids his predecessor's fate due to the wedding involving massive amounts of firepower. The ending credits feature them as a Battle Couple. It's also noteworthy for the decision to use a young girl as the Audience Surrogate for the events outside the video games.
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet has an extended sequence in which Vanellope meets the characters who comprise the Disney Princess lineup. They jokingly acknowledge some of the more sexist tropes that have informed the franchise (focus on external over internal beauty, Damsel in Distress status, etc.), act as Big Sister Mentors to Vanellope, and in the climax, the fourteen of them basically become a superhero team, using their unique skills and Iconic Items to save Ralph's life. In a more subtle example from the same film, the final antagonist is a horrifically destructive Kaiju embodying Ralph's insecurity about the fact that his close female friend wants to seek her own fulfillment instead of staying with him.
  • Frozen focuses on the relationship between two sisters, and explores the meaning of True Love as well as conquering your fears. Anna is in love with the idea of love, dreaming of Love at First Sight while Elsa attempts to always keep her emotions in check and refuses to let anyone close out of fear of her powers. Anna falls head over heels in love with Prince Hans, agreeing to marry him after knowing him for a few hours. First Elsa, and later Kristoff, both call her on rushing into such a serious matter with someone she barely knows. The nature of True Love is also explored when Anna's heart is frozen, with only an "act of True Love" capable of saving her. Everyone believes it will require True Love's Kiss, and rush her back to Hans... only for him to turn out to be a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing out to seduce his way onto the kingdom's throne. The act of True Love is instead Anna's Heroic Sacrifice to protect her sister, and this allows Elsa to realize that fearing her powers and shutting everyone out was the cause of her Power Incontinence. Once she accepts herself, she's able to restore her kingdom and become a Queen adored by her people. Meanwhile, Anna and Kristoff realize their feelings for each other and take the first steps towards a relationship. Hans is first punched into the harbor by Anna, and then sent back home to face punishment for his crimes.
  • Disney Fairies, a straight-to-DVD film series about six fairies with different "talents" (gardening, fast-flying, animal husbandry, water and light-bending) with no love interests who always go on adventures. The main protagonist is a "tinkerer" which is the equivalent of an inventor and mechanic.
  • Zootopia uses Funny Animals as a media to discuss serious issues of prejudice in society, and how stereotypes harm and hold people back from their dreams. Judy Hopp is a cheerful and determined young Bunny, and refuses to give up on her dream of becoming a Police Officer even when told there's never been a Rabbit Cop. She manages to achieve her dream of becoming the first Rabbit Police Officer, but is ignored and belittled by others as "dumb", "cute", or "not a real cop" and sent to work as a Meter Maid. She fights through all of this and teams up with Fox con-artist Nick to save Zootopia from a dangerous plot. The film consulted female police officers about the issues they encounter on the job, and the struggles of being seen as The Chick in a male-dominated profession.
  • Moana is a notable departure from many Disney traditions, a fact the company made a point to advertise. Though the chieftain's daughter, Moana is shown to be the sole heir and next in line to lead her people, without any mention of marriage being necessary. In fact, the company noted that she would not have a Love Interest or romantic sub-plot. The film instead focuses on her as The Chosen One that undergoes a quest to find the demi-god Maui, and save the world.
  • Being the Decon-Recon Switch that they are, The Incredibles and Incredibles 2 discuss the topic of women and their roles in society through Helen Parr. In the first film, whereas Bob (trying to fit the role as the Standard '50s Father) is under masculine pressure to be independent and learning to accept help from others, Helen is the Housewife that overextends herself to help others and relearns to take-charge for herself in her efforts to save her husband from Syndrome like the feminist icon she propertied to be. In the second film, Helen takes on the role of breadwinner because her abilities are more P.R. friendly. While uncomfortable with the idea at first, she rediscovers a more independent part of herself that she had forgotten about and sees that she has a positive impact on other women like Voyd.
  • Shrek plays with the Princess Classic, with Fiona initially trying her best to fit into the traditional role of the princess in a story. However, she's happiest when beating up bandits and being crude with her ogre Love Interest. The third film builds heavily on this foundation, as Fiona and her mother rally various fairytale princesses to drop the Distress Ball and save the day.
  • Megamind is an Affectionate Parody of the Silver Age of Comics. Roxanne Ritchie is a Lois Lane-style reporter and frequent Damsel in Distress for various evil schemes, but she's easily the most level-headed character and her skills as a journalist save the day repeatedly throughout the movie. The villain Tighten turns evil when Roxanne tells him that she is not interested in him, as he had figured that heroics would automatically entitle him to his crush.
  • The Secret Life of Pets is not amazingly ground breaking, and is more focused on it's male characters like most films, but notably The Hero (and his friend) are saved by the hero's Love Interest, who beats up a large group of big dogs, cats, and even an alligator for him. This is what finally causes him to notice her.
  • A number of the direct-to-video Barbie animated films with fantasy or fairy tale settings are this:
    • In the Barbie Fairytopia series, the main protagonist Elina is a fairy who saves Fairytopia multiple times from the clutches of the Evil Sorceress Laverna, even when she doesn't have wings in the first film (this in fact gives her an advantage, as she is unaffected by Laverna's spell that sickens fairies and prevents them from flying). Fairytopia is ruled by the benevolent Enchantress and seven Fairy Guardians, the majority of which are women; Azura in particular serves as a wise and supportive mentor to Elina. In the second film, Elina teams up with a tough and snarky mermaid named Nori to save Prince Nalu, ruler of Mermaidia.
    • Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus follows Annika, a rebellious and determined princess who loves ice skating. She sets out to save her parents and kingdom after they're frozen by Wenlock, who didn't take Annika rejecting his marriage proposal well. The secondary protagonist is a talking Pegasus named Brietta who is actually Annika's Long Lost Sister, who also rejected Wenlock; breaking the spell on Brietta subsequently becomes part of her motivation, too. Annika and Brietta are aided in their quest by Rayla the Cloud Queen and her three daughters. Near the end it's revealed that Wenlock's three troll slaves are actually his wives, whom he cursed when he got bored of them. When Annika realizes this, she promises to free them if they help her defeat Wenlock. After the women are restored and Wenlock has been Brought Down to Normal, they quickly take custody of their ex-husband and begin ordering him around.
    • Barbie & The Diamond Castle revolves around Heterosexual Life-Partners Liana and Alexa, who befriend Melody, a young trainee Muse who is trapped in a mirror. They set out to free her by finding the magical Diamond Castle while being pursued by an evil former Muse named Lydia. The Muses are depicted as an order of women who can use music to perform magic. Notably, although Liana and Alexa have a bit of Ship Tease with two guys, the film focuses more on the friendship between them and Melody; it is in fact their bond as friends that magically protects them from Lydia's spells and enables them to defeat her in the end.
  • The Swan Princess manages to be this to an extent. The main protagonist is Princess Odette and while she's not an Action Girl, she is portrayed as strong-willed, intelligent and courageous. She refuses to go through with an Arranged Marriage to Prince Derek even though she loves him because she thinks he only likes her for her looks, saying she needs to know he loves her for herself. After being kidnapped and cursed by Rothbart, who wants to marry her to 'legally' take over her kingdom, she utterly refuses to cooperate. note  Although she needs Derek to break the spell by making a vow of true love to her, she doesn't sit around waiting for him to arrive; she comes up with a plan to steal one of Rothbart's maps to locate Derek's kingdom and then takes advantage of the fact she turns into a swan to fly off and find him. She's a Distressed Damsel in the climax, though not through lack of trying, doing everything she could to warn Derek of Rothbart's plan. Derek also saves her by telling her he truly loves her "for her kindness and courage" as opposed to her physical beauty.
  • The title character of Anastasia is a spunky, proactive young woman who is determined to track down the family she barely remembers. She is quite snarky, quick-witted and takes crap from no one, as Dimitri finds out the hard way. Although she needs Dimitri and Vlad's help to reach France and find her family, she proves to be of great help during their journey. Anastasia is ultimately the one who defeats Rasputin and in the end she decides to give up being a princess (or Grand Duchess to be more specific) because finding her family was always more important to her than being royal, and this way she gets to live life on her own terms and be with Dimitri.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alice in Wonderland is a Coming of Age story with a nineteen-year-old girl as The Chosen One. While it has some Anvilicious bits (the end of the garden party, anyone?), it's still properly epic.
  • Enchanted uses the Decon-Recon Switch to hang many a lampshade on classic fairy tales, with Princess Classic Giselle being banished to modern day New York by her Wicked Stepmother, Narissa. There, she meets jaded divorce lawyer Robert and his daughter, who is thrilled to meet a fairytale princess. Prince Edward follows his betrothed to New York to rescue her, while Giselle and Robert begin to see the positive aspects of the other's world view as she tries to help him instill some romance into his relationship with his fiancée Nancy. In the end, Giselle is saved from a poisoned apple by Robert's kiss, and rescues him in turn when Narissa transforms herself into a dragon. They become a couple, and Giselle opens a business making fairytale princess dresses for little girls. Edward elopes with Nancy, having finally found the romance she's wanted. The queen's henchman stays in New York and becomes a successful Self-Help author.
  • Maleficent is a Perspective Flip retelling of Sleeping Beauty, starring Angelina Jolie. Drawing comparisons to WICKED, it reimagines Maleficent as a complex woman who changes from heroic guardian of the Moors, to vengeful girl victimized by the misogynistic King Stephan, and finally into an antihero over the many years the film covers. She serves as an unwitting mother figure to Aurora, and helps to mold the princess into a wise and strong-willed young woman. Aurora is notably more proactive in this telling of the story, with far more character development and agency than is normally seen in most versions of Sleeping Beauty. She is also not woken from her sleep by Prince Philip, who even points out that he doesn't know her well enough to be in love yet. Instead, it is Maleficent who awakens Aurora with a remorseful kiss to the forehead — having included in her curse that all who met Aurora would come to love her. Of course, the many changes were not exactly received positively by everyone, with some claiming that the film tries too hard to be feminist and ultimately comes across as an Anvilicious fantasy-flavored Lifetime Movie of the Week.
  • The Alien series is legendary for both its Freudian monsters and female protagonist, Lt. Ellen Ripley. The original film was written as a Gender Equality Fantasy, with characters only referred to in the script by their last name or rank so that each role could be cast without preconceptions and thus avoid the standard Horror Movie gender dynamics. This resulted in a male Decoy Protagonist killed early in the film, and allowed the creation of one of the most iconic female characters in Science Fiction history. Ripley would go from an Action Survivor taking charge in order to escape the titular alien, to a full-blown Mama Bear that blasted her way through an alien hive and battles the enormous Alien Queen in Power Armor.
  • The spinoff, AVP: Alien vs. Predator honors this tradition of a strong female protagonist, with mountaineer/guide Alexa caught between two of science fiction's most iconic alien threats. She is highly resourceful and fierce enough of a fighter to earn the respect of the Predator warrior she forges an uneasy alliance with. The novels and comics the film is loosely based on give us an even greater badass in Machiko, a Security officer that ends up being adopted into a clan of Predators for a time.
  • Guillermo del Toro's stated intention with Pacific Rim was to make a science fiction/action film with a heroine that was an equal partner rather than a Love Interest, "Sex Kitten", or a Damsel in Distress. While Raleigh is the designated hero of the story, the narrative primary focuses on Mako's Hero's Journey and represents her as every bit his equal. Mako has been praised as a non-stereotypical representation of an Asian woman while still acknowledging Japanese morals. It tilts the standard roles assigned to a male and female protagonist, with Raleigh acting as the emotional support for mentally-scarred Mako as she comes to grips with her painful past and desire for revenge.
  • Another film by Guillermo del Toro is Pan's Labyrinth, a haunting Alice In Wonderland-ish fairy tale set against the harsh reality of the Spanish Civil War. Ofelia, a girl with a vivid imagination and great curiosity, has moved into the countryside with her widowed mother and new step-father, the brutal Captain Vidal. There, she discovers a mysterious old labyrinth and encounters a Faun, who reveals to her that she is a lost princess from the Underworld. She is faced with three tests, meant to show whether her time in the human world has diminished her true self or not. Meanwhile, the family's maid, Mercedes, attempts to help the rebels against her employer and protect Ofelia. Melding a dark and nightmarish fantasy world with very real human cruelty, it deals directly with themes of misogyny, marriages of convenience, and societies that value male children over everything else. Ofelia is a brave, intelligent, and strong-willed heroine unwilling to be bound by her cruel step-father, while Mercedes is a woman of incredible courage and conviction who famously gives Captain Vidal a half Glasgow Grin when he threatens to torture her and makes it clear, before the rebels gun him down, that his son will never know a thing about him. While ambiguous in the film itself, Word of God confirms that the supernatural elements of Ofelia's journey are real.
  • Yet another Guillermo del Toro example is Gothic Horror Crimson Peak. The main character is a Spirited Young Lady and proto-feminist named Edith Cushing, who is determined to become a published writer regardless of what everyone else thinks, would rather be writing ghost stories than romances, chooses to Marry for Love and sets about investigating the mysteries of Allerdale Hall by herself. Edith's Love Interest Thomas Sharpe admires her intelligence and creativity, and in their love scene he bares a lot more skin than her (which was actually his actor, Tom Hiddleston's suggestion). Most of the ghosts turn out to be Thomas' murdered wives, who are actually just trying to warn Edith. It's also revealed that the true villain is Lucille Sharpe, who is quite an intelligent and formidable, though very unhinged, Dark Action Girl who is the real mastermind of the murders; Thomas is largely subservient to her and a victim of Domestic Abuse on her part. In the climax, Edith's other Love Interest Alan comes to save her, but is badly injured, prompting Edith to save both him and herself.
  • Snow White and the Huntsman features a more proactive titular princess, who breaks out of her tower prison herself and flees into the forest where no one but the Huntsman will dare to venture. With his teaching, she develops into a Lady of War and leads an army to reclaim her throne by force, ultimately taking down the Queen on her own.
  • Labyrinth is a Coming of Age tale, combining the talents of Jim Henson and George Lucas. Sarah is a Spoiled Brat with a love of fantasy, and resents having to deal with her baby half-brother, Toby. One night, when forced to babysit, she wishes the goblins would take him away.....and gets her wish. The Goblin King challenges her to solve his Labyrinth in 13 hours, or Toby will be transformed into a goblin. She must outwit the mysterious Labyrinth, escape various death traps, and storm the Goblin City to rescue her brother. Along her journey, Sarah must accept that Life Isn't Fair, reject the Goblin King's many temptations, and learn to balance childhood dreams with adult responsibility. When offered the chance to rule at his side, Sarah rejects him by declaring that, "You have no power over me".
  • MirrorMask, a hauntingly beautiful dark fantasy written by Neil Gaiman. Helena dreams of leaving the circus, but after a fight her mother falls mysteriously ill. Traveling to a strange and magical world, she encounters many individuals who resemble those she knows in the real world. The White Queen (resembling her mother) has fallen ill, after the Dark Princess (resembling Helena) stole her Charm and without it, the world is dying. Helena undertakes a quest to save the world and her mother, venturing to the Darklands to confront the Dark Queen (again, her mother). A surreal Coming of Age tale, it remains ambiguous whether it was All Just a Dream or not.
  • Milla Jovovich and Angelina Jolie have established themselves as big time Action Heroines through these kinds of films. If they star in a fantasy or science fiction film, expect them to be One Woman Armies. Michelle Rodriguez and Summer Glau have also built careers as Action Heroines in the genre(s), to a lesser degree.
    • Jovovich has headlined the Resident Evil franchise as Alice, a former Umbrella agent out to save the world.
    • In Ultraviolet, Jovovich stars as a vampire-like warrior who must protect a mysterious boy from the forces hunting him.
    • Jolie took up the role of Adventurer Archaeologist Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider films. She's also noted to be the highest grossing Action Heroine in the business. Likewise she plays the live-action Maleficent mentioned above.
  • Kill Bill is a two-part epic and love-letter to numerous genres in the process. When an assassin tries to settle down into a normal life, her former comrades interrupt her wedding rehearsal and slaughter those present. She awakens from her coma years later, and begins a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against them that spans continents and cinema genres. The Bride and the female assassins she faces are all exceptional warriors, engaging in brutal duels to the death and leaving carnage in their wake. The subtle elements of fantasy are borrowed from classic Hong Kong films, with people displaying martial arts that border on the supernatural. Most notably, the Hermit Guru was said to be able to use a Finger Poke of Doom to kill enemies after they took five steps.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road. The critically acclaimed film takes place in the kind of testosterone-fueled, hyper-masculine After the End setting the Mad Max setting is known for, yes, and ostensibly stars Tom Hardy as the titular 'Mad Max', but the crux of the movie is propelled by Charlize Theron's character, the elite Imperator Furiosa, and her mission to return to the matriarchal home of her childhood, spiriting away five women who have been forced into sexual slavery and baby-production by a brutal warlord in the process. Many critics have pointed out that the real star of the film is arguably Furiosa, who literally drives the action in a quest for redemption for her past wrong-doings and liberation from the warlord, with Max himself taking the more subdued arc of recovery from trauma and reconnecting to his humanity. A good portion of the movie is devoted to women kicking ass and taking names for their fellow women.
  • The Thing (2011), a Prequel of the original film. The film stars Kate Lloyd, a level-headed and capable scientist brought in to examine the titular creature when it is discovered frozen in the ice. According to the creators, Kate was intended as a homage to Lt. Ripley, the heroine of Alien.
  • Star Wars:
    • The Force Awakens was a massive leap forward for female characters not just in Star Wars, but the science fiction and action film genres in general, arguably to the degree that Aliens played in cinema history. The film stars a woman named Rey who is drawn into the galactic war between the Resistance and the First Order alongside Deuteragonist Finn, and in short order proves herself to be smart, badass, and independent. But when she runs across Luke Skywalker's lightsaber she discovers that she is in fact extremely gifted in the Force and a nascent Jedi-to-be. Princess Leia is now General Leia and leads the Resistance military. There's a female stormtrooper captain named Phasma who is set up to basically be the next Boba Fett (although she ends up being a bit of a Faux Action Girl until the sequel), in addition to random female stormtroopers (pay attention to some of their voices next time you watch the movie) as well as female First Order officers. Tons of women are seen as being part of the Resistance military, including a female X-Wing pilot who is featured quite prominently in the final battle. There's also Maz Kanata, a mysterious non-human woman who is sensitive to the Force and urges Rey towards her destiny as a Jedi. As director J. J. Abrams has pointed out, the Force belongs to everyone, not just dudes.
    • Prior to the Sequel Trilogy, Star Wars was always reasonably feminist for it's time (especially considering the first film was released in 1977), though more downplayed. Princess Leia is the only major female character in the original trilogy, but she is a confident, quick-witted and proactive badass; she's not just a princess but an ambassador, senator, Rebel agent and soldier, and is often considered a feminist icon. There is some controversy over the 'Slave Leia' outfit in Return of the Jedi, but as many fans and Carrie Fisher herself pointed out, Leia eventually strangles to death the creep who forced her into the outfit with her own chains, without help from the men. Although she doesn’t have a very large role in the films, it's also revealed that one of the main leaders of the rebellion is a woman named Mon Mothma.
    • In the Prequel Trilogy, Padmé Amidala is an intelligent and charismatic Action Politician who has been involved in politics since her preteens and fights for liberty and champions diplomacy. Particularly in The Phantom Menace, she has a team of loyal handmaidens who also serve as bodyguards/decoys and fight at her side. She is unfortunately Demoted to Satellite Love Interest in Revenge of the Sith, although given some of George Lucas' unused story ideas for the film and the deleted (but canonical) scenes of her helping found the future Rebel Alliance, this wasn't his intention (not to mention it would've been difficult to have her be involved in big action scenes as she's supposed to be eight-to-nine months pregnant). There are also lots of female Jedi and politicians as minor or background characters and one of Padmé's would-be assassins is a shapeshifting woman named Zam Wesell. Padmé's homeplanet of Naboo frequently elects teenage girls and women as queens and expanded material confirms that Leia's adoptive mother Breha Organa rules Alderaan in her own right (Senator Bail Organa is her husband, but doesn't have a royal title).
    • And this is without mentioning the Expanded Universe and animated series (both Legends and Canon) which is full of strong, powerful and proactive female characters, such as Mara Jade, Ahsoka Tano, Asajj Ventress, Hera Syndulla, Sabine Wren etc. The Force Awakens is, however, significant in being the first theatrical Star Wars film to have a badass woman as the central protagonist, rather than a supporting protagonist.
    • That being said, The Rise of Skywalker has received controversy for the way it handles the female characters; Rey is revealed to have inherited her power from a male relative which some have argued overshadows Rey herself (The Last Jedi strongly suggested she was Randomly Gifted) and she ends up kissing a man who tortured and stalked her. Rose Tico - the first female Asian lead in the movies - is Demoted to Extra (after the actress was harassed online with racist and sexist comments) and newcomers Zorii Bliss and Jannah are largely defined by their relationships to Poe and Finn. In spite of this, Rey is still firmly the main hero of the story.
  • Ghostbusters (2016) is a Continuity Reboot of the franchise, starring a Gender Flipped cast. The team consists of a group of female scientists (and an amateur historian) who wear practical uniforms and kick plenty of ass while fighting to get the respect they've earned. The filmography of director Paul Feig itself tends towards the trope in the comedy genre.
  • Scream turns the genre's more sexist conventions on its head. Notably two of the movie's survivors are female, both of whom outwit the killer at several turns (especially in the sequels too).
  • Japanese Sukeban and Female Yakuza B-movies of the late 60s and early 70s, despite being classified as Exploitation Films and many of them including sexual violence, showed women outwitting and defeating the Yakuza who, despite being criminals, were still part of institutionalised patriarchy.
  • Sucker Punch has a group of women who are in a mental hospital treated like sex slaves by the corrupt orderlies. They band together to find a way to escape their situation, using their own sexuality as a weapon. Overall the story attempts to deconstruct the Male Gaze by showing the nasty effect it can have on the girls. There's also a few literal examples - as there are many fantasy sequences imagined by the protagonist where she and her friends become an Amazon Brigade to achieve their goals. Reaction to the film was very divisive, but it does have a small fanbase of feminists who believe in its message.
  • Wonder Woman stars the aforementioned comic book superhero of the same name and is about her journey from the Lady Land of Themyscira into Man's World at the height of World War I where she fights to end one of the deadliest conflicts in human history. True to the comics, Wonder Woman embodies a number of positive, strong feminine ideals such as empathy, love and truth while also being a super strong demigoddess capable of kickings tons of ass. In a meta sense, the film is also the first tent pole superhero film to be directed by a woman and the first theatrical comic book adaptation centered around a female lead ever to receive critical acclaim and commercial success.
  • Bumblebee, written by a woman and featuring women as the human protagonist and the main villain. The Prequel focuses heavily on the bond that develops between Charlie Watson and the titular Autobot. Frequenting a junkyard to find parts for an old sports car, Charlie becomes fascinated with a broken-down VW Bug and takes it home to begin fixing it up. The car turns out to be a badly-damaged Autobot with a faulty memory core and missing voice components. She befriends and nicknames him Bumblebee, and begins working on repairing the alien as best she can. As the government and a pair of Decepticons close in on them, Charlie and Bumblebee must save Earth from destruction.
  • Captain Marvel is a fiercely and unapologetically Feminist film, bringing the heroine to the screen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first film to be centered around a female protagonist. An Amnesiac Hero, Vers is a Kree warrior fighting in the galactic war against the shapeshifting Skrulls when she crash-lands on Earth in the 1990s. Forming a partnership with a young Nick Fury, Vers beings to discover clues to her own past as a human fighter pilot named Carol Danvers. The film features several Take That! moments to common criticisms that women face such as seeming unfriendly for not "smiling enough" or being required to prove themselves to gate-keeping men. In a twist on the classic mythos, the mysterious woman from Carol's past turns out to have been the original Mar-Vell and the final confrontation concludes with Carol ignoring her former commander's taunts to fight him on his terms, blasting him into a mountain before stating she doesn't have to prove herself to him. The film is a Power Fantasy for women, portraying numerous badass women that are unapologetic in their confidence and ability. It also takes the time to include messages of inspiration for the next generation of girls, encouraging them to pursue their ambitions without compromise.
  • The Craft is a supernatural horror / Urban Fantasy film (and precursor to the likes of Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer) that revolves around four misfit teenage girls who practice witchcraft as a way of empowering themselves, with their sisterly bond as a coven helping them overcome adversity in the form of bullying, slut-shaming and other issues. The girls' use of magic and pursuit of knowledge and power is not depicted as being negative in and of itself; it's only when they start abusing their powers and using them to harm people (or each other) that things go south. In the climax, the main protagonist Sarah seeks help and guidance from a wise mother figure, who encourages her to embrace her full potential as a witch in order to stand up for herself and gain better self-esteem and confidence.
  • The Underworld film series stars Kate Beckinsale as Selene, a powerful vampire warrior who spends most of her time kicking vampire and werewolf butt with guns, swords, improvised weapons or occasionally just her bare hands. She rarely needs to be rescued and as of Underworld: Blood Wars has become one of the three Elders, the rulers of the vampires.
  • Birds of Prey (2020) is following in the footsteps of Wonder Woman, notable not just for its all-female team but also for being a major Hollywood Superhero film written, directed, and produced by women. The story revolves around newly-single Harley Quinn teaming up with Black Canary, Huntress, and Renee Montoya to protect a teenage girl, Cassandra Cain, from a crime lord. Marketing for the film has focused heavily on the strength and independence of its heroines, as well as the avoidance of exploitative Male Gaze or uncomfortable, fanservice-y costumes.
  • Fast Color: The film centers on three female generations of one family-Bo, her daughter Ruth, and Ruth's daughter Lila. Because of their superpowers (which are also shown to be exclusively held by females), they're on the run from men who want them for their uses. Further, they're black or mixed race, which is also unusual.
  • Black Panther (2018) has a main male character but thea majority of important roles go to women, verging from queen, scientist, general, and spy. And the male protagonist relies and respects them for their help and support.
  • General consensus about Revenge (2017) is that it gives its exploitation genre a decidedly feminist spin, with some critics calling it "the bloodiest, most violent contribution to the #MeToo movement". Case in point: this is one of the very few movies where the male main character is shown completely naked from the front while the female lead is only ever seen very briefly topless.

  • Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves is perhaps one of the earliest examples of such a tale. While the story is named for the titular Ali Baba, he is a Decoy Protagonist that innocently goes through the story being threatened by the Thieves. The true hero of the story is Morgiana, the clever slave-girl that systematically outwits and kills the thieves to protect her master. At the finale of the story, she is granted her freedom and marries Ali Baba's son — a Gender Inversion of the Standard Hero Reward.
  • Before either feminism or fantasy, The Faerie Queene (Books 1, 3, and 4 note ) featured some pretty tough female knights. What else would you expect from an epic dedicated to Elizabeth I?
  • In L. Frank Baum's Land of Oz books (1900 onward), the Land of Oz was founded by a woman (Lurline) and ruled by four women (the Witches) up until the end of The Marvelous Land of Oz. (It's pretty clear the Wizard and the Scarecrow only ran the Emerald City, and nominally at that.) In that book, one of the women (Glinda) works with another woman (Mombi) to restore the rightful ruler of the land of Oz. Guess who that is? Yep, a woman (Ozma). Probably not coincidentally, Baum's mother-in-law was Matilda Gage, one of the greats of the First Wave of Feminism (he supported it, writing in favor of women's suffrage).
  • Robert E. Howard's own Dark Agnes de Chastillon may have been written earlier,note  although her stories was only published long after Howard's death. Compered to Jirel it has lighter on the fantasy (fantastical elements only appeared in the unfinished third and last story), but MUCH heavier on the feminism. To quote Jessica Amanda Salmonson: "Had a woman written of Agnes in a similar manner, the author would have been charged with man-hating, frigidity, being a castrating bitch, a crazy radical."
    "Ever the man in men! Let a woman know her place: let her milk and spin and sew and bake and bear children, not look beyond her threshold or the command of her lord and master! Bah! I spit on you all! There is no man alive who can face me with weapons and live, and before I die, I'll prove it to the world. Women! Cows! Slaves! Whimpering, cringing serfs, crouching to blows, avengin themselves by — taking their own lives, as my sister urged me to do. Ha! You deny me a place among men? By God, I'll live as I please and die as God wills, but if I'm not fit to be a man's comrade, at least I'll be no man's mistress. So go ye to hell, and may the devil tear out your heart!"
  • 1972's Who Needs Men? provides an early deconstruction, with the Action Girl heroine part of a glamorous elite military combat unit fighting dangerous barbarians... and finding that her life still is not very enviable in the end. Her country may be a Lady Land, yet it has all the same problems of corruption, fanaticism, etc. as any other totalitarian state. Just having women as the rulers instead of men changes nothing much, either for better or worse. And romance and propaganda aside, War Is Hell whether the military is male or female.
  • The Dragonriders of Pern books were written to challenge the portrayals of women in Sci Fi in the 60s and 70s. However, they are now subject to Values Dissonance.
  • Ursula K. Le Guin wrote The Left Hand of Darkness to challenge gender assumptions in science fiction but later decided she hadn't gone far enough, especially since she used the default pronoun "he" for her genderless characters.note  In the 1990s, she began a feminist deconstruction of her own earlier Earthsea fantasy series. Many of her other works are relevant to this trope too.
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley (whose most famous feminist book, The Mists of Avalon, doesn't qualify for this trope because its main character is pretty much a victim of fate rather than a hero) wrote a number of women heroes in her Darkover books and others. For example, in Hawkmistress! Romilly has the gift of merging minds with animals, runs away from her home to escape marriage, aids an heir to the throne and participates in military campaigns.
  • The Sword and Sorceress anthology series, started by Marion Zimmer Bradley and continued by other editors after her death, is specifically dedicated to women heroes in sword-and-sorcery stories.
  • A more light-hearted counterpart to Sword and Sorceress was the Chicks in Chainmail anthology series (edited by Esther Friesner, who also includes Action Girls in her own writings).
  • Mercedes Lackey's books feature these themes, some more than others. For example, she created the magical blade "Need", which helps women in need (hence the name).
  • Stephen R. Donaldson meets the definition of writing this (and also to some extent seem to see himself as writing this), but his credentials are still hotly debated. On the plus side: plenty of strong female characters in prominent positions in his stories, which generally take place in settings where no one thinks to question their right to take point and make the important decisions (and in settings where that is not the case, such as Daughter of Regals and Mordant's Need, the emphasis is usually on a heroine overcoming her sexist surroundings). On the other hand: massive use of Rape as Drama, as well as the controversial (especially in feminist circles) belief that rape, while certainly worse than just about everything else, is not necessarily a Moral Event Horizon - while it is very difficult for a rapist to redeem himself in Donaldson's stories, it is possible and Donaldson's two longest and most well-known series have main protagonists who commit rape in the first book but change their ways and become (at least partly) forgiven by the last one.
  • Children Of Mother Earth features a Green Aesop, it is a futuristic fantasy that is located in Greenland, which, due to global warming, is actually green (the rest of the world has become a barren wasteland). The changes made to society to make the lifestyle more sustainable include the removal of patriarchy. Men are not allowed to carry weapons, so that they can't attempt to oppress women once again, but in all other respects, society is equal (and men can get a special permission to carry weapons if they really need to).
  • Dreamsnake (a post-apocalyptic story in which the protagonist's talent is healing, not fighting, but she's definitely active center of the story), and other books by Vonda N. McIntyre.
  • The True Game series by Sheri S. Tepper; in this setting, where magic combines with technology, there are many strong women characters, and the second and third parts are told from women’s point of view. Tepper writes more science fiction than fantasy, but always focusing on women.
  • Terry Pratchett, the creator of Discworld, has stated that he prefers to write strong female characters. A few of the books in the series have particularly feminist themes.
    • Equal Rites is about a young woman, Eskarina Smith, who was inadvertently imbued with wizard ability, despite the commonly held belief that wizards are exclusively men, and witches are exclusively female, and the ensuing attempts to teach her witchcraft instead, or get her accepted into wizarding school.
    • Monstrous Regiment is about the role of women in war and a different take on Sweet Polly Oliver.
    • The Tiffany Aching books, about a young girl growing up to be a formidable witch, also have such themes.
  • The Dragonsword Trilogy (a 1980s American woman is taken to another world and becomes a warrior) and other books by Gael Baudino.
  • The works of Robin McKinley, including such fairy tale retellings as Deerskin and Beauty, and secondary world fantasy The Blue Sword and its sequels.
  • Lost Girls (a revisionist take on Peter Pan), The Books of Great Alta (a society with women warriors), and many other works by Jane Yolen.
  • Anything by Tamora Pierce, who, with one exception so far, has written exclusively about female main characters. In the Circle of Magic, the genders seem to be mostly equal in the main setting, Emelan - when protagonists visit places where they aren't, they comment in the narration - whereas in the Tortall Universe, several of the stories exist to point out gender (and class) inequalities.
  • The Black Company series varies from book to book. Dreams of Steel and Water Sleeps both have a female protagonist, from whose perspective we see most of the events, and who shows strength of character, a lot of competence, military skill and the capability to hold her own in a deeply sexist society; and they aren't the only competent female characters in those books. Croaker's books seem to flip-flop on this - the first four books have his relationship with the female Evil Overlord as an important element, but her portrayal in The Black Company and The White Rose is much more rounded than in Shadows Linger and Shadow Games (in which she is either not present most of time or still hasn't pulled herself back together after being depowered). The Murgen books (Bleak Seasons and She Is the Darkness), The Silver Spike and Soldiers Live seems to be the least feminist-friendly: though a fair of number of competent women appear in various capacities, they're just given much less focus than in other books of the series.
  • Various series by Elizabeth Moon, such as The Deed of Paksenarrion (heroic fantasy, starring the female paladin Paksenarrion), and Familias Regnant and Vatta's War (space opera with Action Heroines).
  • Melanie Rawn tackles this head on in her Exiles series, set in a matriarchal society where women are the dominant gender — the rulers, leaders, the soldiers. Men are to be cosseted and cared for, submissive to their wives and so forth.
  • The first of Melisa Michaels' Skyrider novels, Skirmish, starred a two-fisted space pilot. (Republished by a house that specializes in FemLit)
  • In the first four books of Katharine Kerr's Deverry series, the main female lead is quite capable of handling herself in combat and the breaking of social expectations is regularly noted. In the later books, the long-term viewpoint character and most powerful wizard also is female.
  • Emma Bull's books usually have strong female protagonists (e.g. rock musician Eddi McCandry in War for the Oaks).
  • The Obernewtyn Chronicles, a Science Fantasy series whose protagonist, Elspeth, is an Action Hero, and there are plenty of others in the series. The same author also wrote The Legendsong Saga, a Trapped in Another World tale.
  • The Girls To The Rescue series contains a number of fantasy stories (some original, some adaptations of folktales) centered around a female heroine who may do things such as outfox monsters or unpleasant people, win jousts, and other things of similar sorts.
  • C. J. Cherryh created many strong female characters: Morgaine, a female swordswoman (Morgaine Cycle), Signy Mallory (Downbelow Station), Ariane Emory I/II (Cyteen), Raen (Serpent's Reach), Elai and Elizabeth (Forty Thousand in Gehenna) etc.
  • Black Trillium, co-written by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Andre Norton, and Julian May, has three young girls delve into the secrets of ancient magic and liberate their kingdom from an invading army pretty much all by themselves.
  • The Enchanted Forest Chronicles. The heroine, Cimorene, is able to solve just about any problem that comes her way through plain common sense, bravery, and ingenuity. Kazul is shown to be pretty open-minded by dragon standards (most dragons don't consider confiding political and social issues to their princesses, and certainly don't take the princesses seriously), which means that she and Cimorene are often able to pool their resources and get quite a lot done. Morwen the witch is shown to be very powerful and quite willing to forgo "traditional" witch practices (wearing pointed black hats, only keeping black cats, etc.) just because they're impractical. While many of the princesses are shown to be feather-headed, it's agreed that they're pretty much that way because of impractical upbringings and not because the women themselves are naturally stupid. Even in the final book, when the protagonist is Cimorene's son, Daystar, he's only able to get as far as he does thanks to the extensive education his mother gave him.
  • David Weber's Honor Harrington series, essentially Horatio Hornblower IN SPACE!! Not only does the series follow Gender Is No Object (except on the planet Grayson, which undergoes its own social development throughout the books), but roughly half the main characters are female, and not all of them are military; most of them are, as you'd expect from a Military Science Fiction series, but diplomats, doctors, politicians, queens, and presidents all get their time in the spotlight.
  • Just like the original books, The Wicked Years has a large number of female figures in power. For example, the role to Eminent Thropp (essentially the ruler of Munchkinland) is passed down matrilineally, Glinda is one of the most powerful people in Oz, Dorothy saved Oz from the Wicked Witches, and Ozma is eventually reinstated as queen.
  • Nadya: The Wolf Chronicles by Pat Murphy: a fiercely independent female werewolf roams the Old West. Almost anything Pat Murphy wrote would qualify for this trope.
  • Gwyneth Jones has written fantasy and science fiction in which women play prominent roles; for example, in her Bold as Love cycle, Fiorinda (a modern analogue of Queen Guinevere) has just as decisive a role in the action as the other two protagonists.
  • The Wolf Walker series by Tara K. Harper. A mixture of Fantasy and Sci-Fi, it involves women that share a telepathic bond with wolves — primarily focused on Dion, a healer and scout. Other novels focus on her daughter, Nori or Naïve Newcomer Rezsia.
  • In L.E. Modesitt Jr.'s Spellsong Cycle, a modern music professor becomes regent of a magic kingdom and one of the most powerful sorcerers in that world.
  • The Wood Wife by Terri Windling, who, as an editor, is one of the strongest proponents of retold fairy tales; the book centers on a woman who becomes involved with spirits in the southwestern desert.
  • Even the Stones by Marie Jakober; the protagonist is a queen who must hold on to her throne in spite of assaults from all sides.
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine is a retelling of Cinderella where Ella takes charge of her own destiny and in the context of the "blessing" of absolute obedience, no less.
  • Levine's other book, The Two Princesses of Bamarre, is also very much this. The protagonists are the sisters Princess Addie and Princess Meryl. Meryl dreams of going out adventuring and ends up turning into a fairy, which means she will get to spend her new immortal life fighting and protecting her land from monsters. Addie starts off being easily frightened by her own shadow, but when she's required to do so, she fights her fears and travels the land to save her sister from an illness, along the way facing numerous monsters and outwitting a dragon. The king, the girls' father, is shown to be an indecisive and ineffectual ruler, and the book ends with the implication that Addie will become a far better ruler (or at least will be able to rid the land of the monsters in it). The main male character and Addie's Love Interest, Rhys, helps out when he can, but it's clear that Addie is the heroine of the tale.
  • The novels and stories of Nalo Hopkinson. In Midnight Robber, a girl grows up on a distant planet and, among other adventures, becomes a "Robber Queen" righting wrongs; in Brown Girl in the Ring, the main character Ti-Jeanne fights against gangsters and crooked politicians in a future Toronto.
  • The Elemental Logic series (starring earth witch Karis G'deon, fire witch Zanja na'Tarwein, and many other important female characters) and Children of Triad series by Laurie J. Marks.
  • The Sight by David-Clement Davies. Might be pushing it a bit since the novel is about wolves, but the main character, the main antagonist, and the secondary antagonist are all females. There are also many female supporting characters.
  • The Books of Pellinor: main character Maerad is a Bard who can change Nature as well as a swordswoman warrior
  • The One Rose Trilogy by Gail Dayton: a warrior woman in a matriarchal society.
  • Rangers At Roadsend, and the other volumes of the Celaeno series, by Jane Fletcher features lots of asskicking women who are members of the military elite unit, the Rangers, and a society completely free of sexism.
  • Sappho's Leap by Erica Jong. It's basically The Odyssey told with a female protagonist (the poet Sappho).
  • The Godspeaker Trilogy, centering on two women who fight their way from slavery to queendom (or empressdom).
  • The Orphan's Tales by Catherynne M. Valente; many, many characters, probably more of them female than male, definitely individual and active.
  • Nihal, the main heroine of the Chronicles of the Emerged World, is a badass Half-elf Dragon Rider.
  • In general, most of Nnedi Okorafor's works, from her first novel (Zahrah the Windseeker) onward, have women with magical powers who have to overcome sexism (and sometimes racism as well).
  • Rhiannon Frater has made a living trying to alter the horror landscape to have room for these. As The World Dies (two women surviving a Zombie Apocalypse and running a fort) and Pretty When She Dies (a woman, having become a vampire, battles an ancient evil) are some of the works she's created in its pursuit.
  • The Hunger Games and the resulting films based on it. Taking place After the End, Katniss Everdeen finds herself thrust into political plots and revolution after volunteering as a Tribute to save her younger sister. Katniss is an intelligent, strong-willed, and courageous woman who secretly hunts to provide for her poor family, a skill-set that allows her to become a serious contender in the Hunger Games. Her victory in the first Games leads her to become a symbol of rebellion, igniting a revolution that she is quickly swept up into. One of her potential love interests is notably more gentle and artistic compared to Katniss, who has to deal with the dark side of fame — being forced into the box of the beautiful woman in love, as opposed to her true self.
  • Jim C. Hines' The Princess Series stars Snow White, the Sleeping Beauty (but don't call her that), and Cinderella as far-from-passive heroes.
  • The main character of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, the first volume of the Inheritance Trilogy, is Yeine, who comes to the imperial center as a potential candidate for the throne, participates in intrigues in order to save her home country, deals with gods, and never backs down. The second volume of the trilogy is again centered on a woman, but she's a bit less in control of events.
  • The Lunar Chronicles places well-known fairy tales such as Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood in a dystopian sci-fi setting, with the heroines of each tale teaming up to defeat a wicked Queen.
  • Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone, whose main character, Tara, is a necromancer tasked with bringing a god back to life. This is the first volume of the Craft Sequence, some of whose other volumes have female protagonists also.
  • Most of the protagonists in the main series of Wings of Fire are female (presumably half when the main arc finishes). Pyrrhia is ruled by queens and in other jobs females are just as common as males, and there are plenty of powerful female characters on all factions.
  • Ann Leckie has written several of these:
    • The Radchaai in the Imperial Radch trilogy (Ancillary Justice, Mercy and Sword) do not see gender and thus, every character in the series is referred to with the pronoun "she" thanks to Translation Convention. The protagonist is a several thousand year old warship AI in a female Wetware Body.
    • Provenance is set in the same universe as the Imperial Radch in a society that recognizes three genders (man, woman and neman), which children choose from during their coming-of-age ceremony. Some in their society never choose at all. The protagonist is also a young woman who has recently come of age.
    • The Raven Tower: The protagonist is a transman in a society that seems to treat such things as unusual but not taboo or unheard of.
  • In the Alpennia series by Heather Rose Jones, set in a Ruritanian country, the main cast is all women: in the first book, we are introduced to a swordswoman who is surrounded by political intrigue, who needs to sort out her role, and another woman who is interested in recovering and improving old magical rituals; in the second volume, they are joined by an experimental alchemist and a society hostess and all four of them foil a plot against Alpennia; by the third volume, it's clear that the political intrigue has implications beyond the kingdom.
  • All novels by Frances Hardinge feature very strong and non-stereotypical female protagonists (except Verdigris Deep, and even that one has a lot of important female characters), but The Lie Tree is a pure work of feminist fantasy, as it explores the image of woman in the Victorian society, concepts like learned helplessness and masochism and how the enormous contribution that the woman made to both that society and the natural science has gone most unnoticed until recently - all through the eyes of a 14-year-old girl against a backdrop of a murder mystery with a shade of supernatural.
  • MARZENA is a story about a woman who runs a military company made solely of womyn, who "erase" people for a living and give psychotherapy to civilian women to convince them to spy and kill for said womyn. Not to mention that the entire universe of the story is based on a neurotechnological boom caused by the discovery of how the brain produces consciousness, the greatest discovery of all time, also done by a woman.
  • The Radiant Dawn plays this trope straight. Dawn, the main protagonist, is a One-Woman Army and is not shown to have physical weaknesses, at least once she ascends. Her male partner takes a supporting role as a forklift operator who also functions as a warrior. Nadia and Laina also take major roles as the helicopter pilot and mythology expert respectively. On the side of the antagonists, Stacie is shown to be the more mature of the pair and is more intelligent than Aaron, who is boyish and impulsive.
  • Divergent features a female protagonist called Tris who, upon discovering that she is a Divergent (and therefore under risk of being disposed of by her dystopian government), puts herself through Training from Hell. She and her eventual boyfriend Four become a Battle Couple in the process. Two of the faction leaders are also women, and Abnegation features Tris' mother in a very prominent position (and she goes Mama Bear to rescue her from Dauntless soldiers at the end of the first film). There are numerous Action Girls such as Christina and Tori in the supporting cast.
  • Charles Stross writes science fiction that usually centers around a female protagonist (human or humanoid android), or if there's a male and female hero team, it will be a Non-Action Guy and an Action Heroine - even if the latter sometimes got her fighting skills through rather contrived circumstances (e.g. a historical reenactment / fencing hobby). Of particular interest with regards to feminist themes are the Freyaverse novels Saturn's Children and Neptune's Brood, the aborted "trilogy" Halting State and Rule 34 (lesbian police officer protagonist), and The Merchant Princes Series.
  • The protagonist of Birthright (2017), Sabrina Bunahr, is a princess whose claim to the throne is never questioned, and who very quickly decides to solve her own problems rather than wait around for rescue. The dragons of the setting may also be a matriarchal society, as all of the leaders seen so far have been female.
  • Maresi and its sequels, with the emphasis on the feminist over the fantasy. It centers around the Red Abbey, a haven from patriarchal oppression where women and girls go to be safe and learn, and part of the curriculum is magic both individually and as a whole. The first book details the Abbey women saving a girl from an honor killing, while the second has seven abused wives/servants of an Evil Vizier working together to escape and strip him of his magical power.
  • Diane Duane's Rihannsu sequence pairs James T. Kirk with a Romulan (Rihan) deuteragonist, a khre'riovnote  named Ael t'Rllailleiu. The books' vision of Romulan culture is slightly matriarchal (there are more women than men in the Grand Fleet and many political leaders are female), and while there is some slight Ship Tease between Ael and Kirk, she is written as his equal and a fellow commander rather than another Girl of the Week. She's also a mother and a widow, and tends to be A Mother to Her Men as well. The novels also give supporting roles to Enterprise communications officer Nyota Uhura and one of her female subordinates (their expertise in the Rihan conlang is vital) and to Terise Haleakala-LoBrutto, a Federation anthropologist in deep cover on Romulus.
  • Aeon 14 is a Space Opera Shared Universe packed full of badass women (and female-presenting AIs), most good, some bad, while most of the really nasty villains are men. This is not to the exclusion of the softer aspects of femininity: main protagonist Tanis Richards becomes a mom early in the Orion War series, while also acting as the governor of her colony (while remaining a Four-Star Badass).
  • The Immortal Journey takes place after a Zombie Apocalypse in the future, where the few remaining humans can't afford to be weak-willed, no matter their gender. The protagonist is female, but even outside of her none of the women in this story are to be trifled with. Daisy the instructor is stated to be the main reason Emily's team hasn't gone soft, Carol regularly rebuffs the man she bodyguards, her maker Nicole is an extremely gifted Wrench Wench (while Carol's impossibly advanced AI was created by another woman), and the leader of the Manhattan vampires (Manhattan being one of the last bastions of life on Earth) is also female.
  • Despite appearing to be just another Paranormal Romance series on the surface, Night World still manages to be this. All nine books (and the unreleased tenth book too) have female protagonists and all of them generally manage to be intelligent, strong-minded, proactive and heroic in their own way, with some of them being straight-up Action Girls. And this isn't even counting all the secondary or supporting female characters. Many of the girls successfully protect themselves or rescue their male love interests, even when he's a supernatural being and she’s 'just' a human. Although romance is always central to the plots, the female protagonists are also not defined solely by their romantic relationships, usually having goals and interests outside this too. Witches are explicitly matriarchal and matrilineal while not looking down on men, and are generally portrayed as being more reasonable and sympathetic than other factions of Night People – the explicitly patriarchal and outright misogynistic Redferns come across as a lot more villainous. Women are also responsible for or directly involved in many of the major events of the series, including the war with the dragons, the creation of the vampire species, the alliance that formed the basis of the Night World and the reformation of Circle Daybreak among many others. Some of the books also touch on themes of female empowerment and inequality (mostly Daughters of Darkness, Spellbinder and Dark Angel); The Chosen also stands out due to revolving around a female vampire hunter who almost single-handedly takes on a vampire slave ring targeting vulnerable young girls, with the assistance of an escaped victim who turns her victimisation on its head to fool the slavers and help the other girls (the vampire hunter's love interest is also attracted to her partly because of her strength and combat prowess).
  • Anita Blake Vampire Hunter arguably started out as this (or was at least aiming for it), being an Urban Fantasy series about a tough necromancer cop solving supernatural mysteries, who unapologetically engages in numerous sexual relationships (both serious and casual). Unfortunately, this falls on its face a bit in the later books, due to the plots increasingly focusing less on Anita being a badass detective and more on her various sexual exploits and romantic drama, not to mention a few...problematic implications present throughout the series. Namely, the fact that there are hardly any women characters besides Anita and the few that do appear tend to be portrayed either as villains or helpless damsels, Anita's tendency to get jealous of and/or look down upon other women and the general running themes of Real Women Don't Wear Dresses and Not Like Other Girls. The fact that Anita's promiscuity is less because she just likes sex and more because she has a magical condition that requires to her to have sex or die (even if it's with someone she doesn't especially fancy) and that it compels men to want to sleep with her even if they wouldn't usually, also doesn't seem all that empowering to many readers.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Xena: Warrior Princess provides the page image above. It revolves around the adventures of Xena, a powerful Action Girl who seeks to atone for her dark past as a warlord by fighting for good. She's joined by her loyal best friend Gabrielle, with whom she's either Heterosexual Life-Partners or lovers.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and a fair number of Joss Whedon works. (The original 1992 film aspired to this too, but didn't quite get there.) The title character of Buffy is a teenage girl who discovers she's the latest in a long line of Slayers, girls chosen by fate to battle the forces of evil with preternatural abilities. Buffy is notably both very badass and quite traditionally 'girly', enjoying shopping and dancing, none of which she is derided for. The show also has many strong and powerful supporting or recurring female characters, in particular Buffy's best friend Willow, a nerdy techno whiz who later becomes a powerful witch. Joss Whedon stated he was partly inspired to create the series as an inversion of the helpless blonde girl who gets killed by the monster in horror movies, with the girl instead having the ability to fight back (indeed the first scene of the series flips that trope on its head, with the "helpless" blond as the monster who lured in her prey by playing that part).
  • Charmed (1998) is a feminist fantasy that featured three women banding together and saving the world. This is especially true of earlier seasons when the story seemed very focused on vulnerable women preyed on by aggressive male characters. The fantasy was that they were witches and could thus defend themselves from all of these threats. Also, Charmed was very focused on celebrating women in general with the Halliwells descended from a long line of strong women. Like the original show, the new series also revolves around three sisters as its main protagonists, and often involves women's issues as well. In fact, their mother was even a professor of women's studies at the local university.
  • Wonder Woman was intended to be explicitly feminist like its comic book counterpart, but the network ordered the show's producers to tone down the messages.
  • Once Upon a Time follows Emma Swan, a tough and cynical Bounty Hunter that finds her life turned on its head when the son she gave up for adoption shows up on her doorstep. He reveals to her that she is The Savior, the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming destined to break the Evil Queen's curse and save the enchanted residents of Storybrooke. Though initially unwilling to believe, over time Emma comes to accept her destiny as a hero. Featuring numerous characters from classical fairy tales and legends, many are re-imagined as heroines in their own right as opposed to typical Damsels. Snow White and Prince Charming are a Battle Couple, the Evil Queen is a complex and deeply flawed woman, Belle is a Guile Heroine, and even those women that don't physically fight are shown to possess other kinds of strength — great intelligence, supernatural might, or incredible emotional fortitude.
  • Once Upon a Time in Wonderland is a Spin-Off of the above, and continues the tradition of strong women. Alice is brilliant and able to outwit the various Chessmasters gunning for her. Discovering that The Lost Lenore is still alive, Alice undertakes a quest to rescue him.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, the Spin-Off of the Terminator films. Picking up after the second film, it stars Lena Headey as Sarah and introduces Summer Glau as Cameron, a Terminator in the form of a young woman who has been sent back to protect John Connor. Much of the series revolves around the two women fighting to protect John from killer cyborgs, ensuring that he'll grow up to follow in his mother's footsteps as leader of the human resistance.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003) features a balanced cast, explores explicitly feminist themes, and features a fairly equal society. Secretary of Education Laura Roslin finds herself thrust into leadership as President of the refugee fleet, struggling to deal with maintaining power while hiding her terminal illness. Kara Thrace is an ace pilot with a troubled past, and mysterious visions that could lead humanity to salvation. Caprica Six is a seductive but strangely kind Cylon, with the Six models slowly finding themselves at the forefront of a philosophical divide among the Cylons. Three, played by Lucy Lawless, is a prophet that believes she can discover the identities of the divine Final Five models. The Eights, primarily Boomer and Athena, struggle with identity and finding their place in the world as they find themselves on opposite sides of the war. The series deals with issues of reproductive rights, female sexuality, abuse, sexual violence and its aftermath, troubled relationships, varying sexual orientations, and the problems women face as leaders. For every male lead, there is an equal female lead with her own unique journey.
  • Tin Man is a Science Fantasy retelling of The Wizard of Oz, where the three main power players are women. DG leads the resistance, her mother the queen is The Mentor pulling the strings so that evil is defeated, and the evil Azkadellia commands an entire army as well as wielding plenty of dark magic herself. As Azkadellia is really DG's possessed sister, the climax of the story stresses the power of sisterly love, where the combined powers of the sisters defeats the true Wicked Witch. Most of the men in the story are subservient to the women in some way.
  • American Horror Story: Coven is a distinctly dark and twisted tale, driven by a diverse cast of women. The shadowy society of magic is almost predominantly female, with the powerful figures of Fiona Goode and Marie Laveau leading the rival groups. Unlike previous installments of the series, the women are the driving force of the story and rarely require assistance or protection from the few male characters. They fight their own battles, with each other as well as the various outside forces that threaten them. It deals with issues of older women as sexual beings, feminism as a force that changed society, sexual assault, and even women as dangerous figures in the form of abusers or killers. It neatly avoids the Double Standards concerning female-on-male violence, portraying either sex as equally capable of being the abuser or the victim. On multiple occasions, students of the school declare that they do not need men to protect them, facing down hordes of zombies or axe-wielding serial killers without needing for rescue.
  • Nikita features two women as the main heroes in season 1, and in seasons 3 and 4 the primary antagonist is a woman. The titular character is considered among the most dangerous characters in the series. When most male division agents run into her, it doesn't end well for them.
  • Orphan Black is a gritty sci-fi series about a human cloning conspiracy. Along with having a main cast consisting almost entirely of complex female characters, the series explores themes of identity, motherhood, female autonomy, and reproductive rights.
  • Agent Carter is a spin-off of Captain America: The First Avenger, starring the titular female agent, becoming the first female lead in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the aftermath of the war, Peggy finds herself reduced to fetching coffee and answering phones at the organization she works for — belittled by her peers and unable to find respect as a field agent. When Stark inventions are stolen and he finds himself accused of treason, he contacts Peggy to clear his name and find the missing inventions. Working as a double agent, Peggy takes advantage of her peers' tendency to ignore her and fights to save New York from a criminal organization. The series deals with not only the misogyny of the era, but the plight of thousands of women forced to surrender their wartime careers to the returning soldiers.
  • Jessica Jones (2015), the second work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be lead by a woman, takes a really Darker and Edgier approach while still focusing on a female hero and having a supporting cast that is comprised mostly of women. Jessica Jones, as in the comics, is a retired superhero who has taken to private investigation work. Her enemy is Kilgrave, who has the ability to control minds with his voice, and uses his powers to rape women and abuse other people, and of whom Jessica herself was once a victim. Her biggest allies are a powerful female attorney and an equally powerful female media personality. Luke Cage is another one of her allies, but in a Gender Flip, he's mainly there to look hot and have sex with Jessica at first. Notably, the series plays many Film Noir tropes straight, except with a woman being the lead instead of man, including her being a hard drinker and having casual sex.
  • Strange Empire was a sadly short-lived Canadian western about a Metis gunslinger looking for her missing husband, a black woman who used to be a sex slave and now is married to the villain of the show, and an autistic woman who wants to be a doctor, and their struggles in the No Woman's Land of a small frontier township consisting primarily of miners and prostitutes. The show particularly stands out in the way it plays And Then There Were None... with its white male characters.
  • Dark Matter started out as a normal ensemble show, but in season 2 developed more and more into this trope, by sidelining, face-heel-turning, or unceremoniously killing off most of the regular male characters including the original White Male Lead protagonist, as well as adding another female regular and expanding the android's personality and plot involvement. By the end of the season, the remaining two guys on the Anti-Hero team basically just act as henchmen for "Boss Lady" - and they are perfectly content with that.
  • The Supergirl TV series focuses on the titular heroine, as she decides to follow in her cousin's footsteps and become a hero. Kara worries about being trapped in her more famous cousin's shadow, and works to become her own hero defined by her own successes and failures. Alongside her foster sister, Alex, she aids a covert government agency in hunting down escaped alien criminals — with the relationship between the sisters a major focus of the story. Her boss, media mogul Cat Grant, also brings another perspective into the story in exploring the double standards attached to successful women. Women, she tells Kara, have to work twice as hard to be acknowledged and aren't allowed to make mistakes if they want to be taken seriously.
  • Fantaghirò, an Italian Romantic Fantasy series by Lamberto Bava, is about the eponymous character fighting rival kingdoms, evil sorcerers and fantasy monsters; and her boyfriend is usually the one who needs to be rescued.
  • iZombie is a crime/fantasy drama focused on Olivia "Liv" Moore, a woman that finds her plans derailed after being turned into a zombie. With a need to consume human brains to remain sentient, Liv breaks off her engagement and quits her job as a Surgical Intern before taking a job as an Assistant Medical Examiner. This grants her access to the brains she needs, but with it comes visions from the deceased — visions that allow Liv to help solve their murders.
  • When Doctor Who returned to TV in 2005, its producers (first Russell T Davies, later Steven Moffat) took the view that the companion was to be a central character in the series, equal to the Doctor. Considering most of the Doctor's companions are female, it resulted in Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, Donna Noble, Amy Pond, Clara Oswald, and Bill Potts all becoming a major focus of the action in turn, with many occasions in which they save the day (and the universe). In particular...
    • ... the uber-example of the companions is Clara Oswald (to the point of the character becoming a base breaker). By the time of her departure after "only" 2 1/2 seasons, she was responsible for not only the Doctor's survival over the millennia, but every future Doctor will also exist because of her (thanks to her resolving a longstanding plot point about how many times the Doctor can regenerate). She is also the only companion to be explicitly established as the Doctor's Distaff Counterpart.
    • With the 2017 announcement that the Thirteenth Doctor is a woman (Jodie Whittaker) the show is firmly this from Series 11 onward.
  • Upon close-inspection, Morticia Addams from The Addams Family (the show and the film series) can be read as a feminist icon to a certain degree. She is sexy, confident and fully comfortable in her own skin, completely unashamed of many of her strange hobbies and her still very active sex life. In her marriage, she is equal to Gomez in everything, especially when it comes to parenting their children. Whenever they have a scheme, they do it together, and they have no secrets to hide from each other (not that they would want to).
  • After showing how women are underestimated at best and treated as sex slaves, brood mares and bargaining chips at worst, Game of Thrones gets this tinge in its 6th season, in the form of Women Are Wiser. Almost all factions (King's Landing, the Reach, Dorne, the Iron Islands, Meereen) have come to be headed by strong, competent (at least sometimes) female rulers (Cersei, Olenna, Ellaria, Daenerys) while the men who had previously held these positions have failed one way or another. The one faction that has a man at its throne (the North) owes its existence to Sansa Stark more than it does to its king Jon who almost got himself and his men killed and would have lost without Sansa's diplomatic skill. Even previously competent male leaders like Tyrion and Jon have turned into General Failure and make a mess for the women to clean up. Women such as Brienne, Arya and Lyanna Mormont, if not queens in their own right, acquit themselves better than most men do at this point. It eventually ends up being subverted by the end. Ellaria is last seen rotting in the dungeon after being defeated by Balon Greyjoy and losing her daughters, while Olenna is given the chance to commit suicide after being defeated by Jaime's forces. Most controversially, Daenerys ends up Jumping Off the Slippery Slope, going on a rampage through King's Landing and killing thousands of innocent people, not just Cersei. Jon is ultimately forced to kill Daenerys, resulting in only two female rulers remaining-Yara Greyjoy ruling over the Ironborn and Sansa as Queen in the North, and both largely got the positions by virtue of no one else being eligible for them.
  • Witchblade: The Witchblade is explicitly a female force, choosing women to wield it and regarding them as superior. Many of the villains Sara encounters are, conversely, in one way or another embodiments of the darker sides of masculinity or the products of male efforts to "usurp" the female domain (e.g., clones represent artificial control over pregnancy and birth, brainwashing super soldiers can be seen as a twisted version of child rearing, and The Lance of Longinus is literally the Spear Counterpart to the Witchblade and wielded by a villain). Protagonist Sara Pezzini is tough and capable but also not afraid to show emotion or otherwise appear feminine, and protective of others in a definite Mama Bear sort of way.
  • The Outpost: There are roughly equal numbers of women and men in the main and supporting cast, with many common character archetypes of Heroic Fantasy (and Westerns) Gender Flipped: The Drifter, protagonist Talon, is a wandering revenge-seeker trying to find a place in the world, The Bartender is a money-grubbing, morally gray female innkeeper, and Gwynn is set up as a classically feminine Blue Blood but shows a taste for wild living and then turns into The High Queen and an Action Girl to rival Talon after it's revealed she's really Rosmund, the Hidden Backup Princess who is plotting a revolution to regain her throne.
  • The Handmaid's Tale: Not only is the main character a woman along with most supporting characters too, the series revolves around women's issues. Most particularly is bodily autonomy, since the Handmaids are breeding slaves, though also other rights which women have gained (at least in part of the world). They struggle both to resist and survive under a misogynist regime that's horrifically oppressive, in which the smallest freedom is denied for them. Given that many issues in the series have come back into prominence with a number of US laws curtailing many reproductive rights, actual American feminists have even taken up the Handmaid motif to protest while wearing their garb.
  • The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. Two of the three main characters are women - Deet and Princess Brea - who are both brave, intelligent, proactive and heroic in their own way. The rulers of the Gelfings (the Maudras) are all women and in Gelfing society, Gender Is No Object; both women and men can be warriors, scholars and so forth. The Big Good of the series is Mother Aughra, who helps guide the Gelfings in their quest to realize the true nature of the Skeksis and restore the Crystal of Truth to save Thra; Brea and Deet also play vital roles in uncovering the truth and uniting the Gelfing tribes.
  • Batwoman (2019) (which is set in the same universe as Supergirl (2015)) clearly aspires to be this right from the get-go. After Batman mysteriously disappears, his cousin Kate Kane steps up to become Gotham's new protector as Batwoman. Kate is very much an Action Girl and was once in the military until she was kicked out for refusing to hide the fact she's a lesbian. She openly has romantic/sexual relationships with women throughout the series and also goes out of her way to ensure Gotham knows she's not Batman (hence the long wig she dons). One of the main antagonists is a woman named Alice, the leader of the Wonderland gang who is terrorising the city. The show also includes plotlines or themes around social justice and feminism.
  • Cursed is a much more feminist take on the Arthurian Legend, told from the perspective of Nimue, The Lady of the Lake of the legend. She's presented as a young woman gifted in magic, who wields the Sword of Power to protect the Fey from the Red Paladins.
  • That's So Raven has a main female protagonist and her dealing with the troubles of having psychic visions. She also deals with heavy subjects for a show aimed at children — Racism, body-shaming, drugs, stealing, feeling like a freak because you have something that hardly anyone has, and so forth.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Blue Rose is designed to emulate Feminist Fantasy of the sort published by Tamora Pierce and Mercedes Lackey.
  • Heroine is a highly unusual role-playing game that doesn't explicitly concern itself with any obviously feminist issues, but stars an Always Female main player character overcoming fantastic challenges through her cleverness, daring, and kindness. Also, it is more of a storybook fantasy than any other kind of fantasy.


    Video Games 
  • Lara Croft from Tomb Raider was always divisive when it came to whether she was a positive female character or not. She's a kick-ass, intelligent Adventurer Archaeologist, is independent and wealthy, but she was also very sexualized in the marketing for her earlier games. Far less contentious however is the rebooted Tomb Raider franchise produced by Crystal Dynamics, which thus far includes Tomb Raider (2013) and Rise of the Tomb Raider, which toned Lara's sexualization way down to the point of being basically non-existent and focused on her growth and Character Development from a timid college student to a tough but traumatized survivor and badass. The first game in particular focused on her relationship with another woman, Sam, and how their friendship helped Lara grow as a person. The scripts for the rebooted series were also written by a woman, Rhianna Pratchett.
  • Bayonetta:
    • The title character is an insanely powerful Witch that uses Full-Contact Magic, a variety of weapons, her intelligence, and snark to tear her way through everything in her path. She is one of the last of the Umbra Witches, an order of women warriors charged with helping to uphold the balance of the world.
    • She is the sort of stylish, sexy, sarcastic fantasy action game hero that was an Always Male archetype at the time her game came out. Unlike many less effective 'sexy' Action Heroines, her Camp approach allows her to serve as a silly Escapist Character who gamers relate to and want to be, rather than a well-rendered pair of buttocks for the assumed-straight-male gamer to stare at from a distance. We also get to see her as a child, a mother and a nun, implying a femininity that is more complex than just sex.
    • The male cast members are almost entirely support or comic relief, with Bayonetta and Jeanne both serving as the driving force behind the game. Jubileus the Creator has a feminine form, suggesting that the God worshipped by the male Lumen Sages and the normal humans may in fact be female.
    • The game also has Romanticism Versus Enlightenment along traditional myth tropes of the light masculine principle and dark feminine principle, suggesting that feminine subversion, liminality, feeling, sexuality and fun is the only way to dismantle boring, orderly, oppressive, repressed patriarchy. At the end of the game, Bayonetta summons a prostitute demon to punch the Abrahamic God into the Sun. In an attack called a 'Climax'.
    • There's a strong subversion of the tendency to view feminine gender expression as shallow and frivolous. Bayonetta's girly accoutrements are all sources of her power - her impractical heels are guns, her jewellery is a MacGuffin, her fancy glasses are her mother's, her lollipop is her connection to her childhood, her perfume allows her to signal her presence despite being hidden in a pocket dimension, she uses her lipstick to write, and her long hair is a medium by which she can summon an extremely powerful demon. But she's also fine with the idea of 'a girl without lipstick', so she avoids the inversion.
  • Lollipop Chainsaw features a cheerful, perky cheerleader that slays zombies with a chainsaw. A chainsaw that spews rainbows and sparkles, because that's awesome. In order to save her boyfriend after he's bitten, she uses a spell to transform him into a living severed head and brings him along on her adventure to save the world from a zombie apocalypse. Suda51 and James Gunn use Audience Surrogate Nick to illustrate points about unequal relationships and objectification, in this case quite literal.
  • Bloodrayne follows Dhampyr Rayne, a One Woman Army working for the Brimstone Society. The first installment sees her battling Nazis during World War II, while the sequel deals with her personal quest to wipe out her vampire kin. Powerful and highly skilled in martial arts and weaponry, Rayne tears her way through armies and supernatural horrors bent on world domination while dishing out snark. She shows great intelligent and ingenuity, often out-smarting her foes and coming out on top even when at a physical disadvantage. In the finale of the second game, after slaying her father and finding herself abandoned by the Brimstone Society in a nightmare world, it's hinted she intends to take over her father's territory — "Empress might not be a bad job title", indeed.
  • Science Girls! is about the science club of an all-female school which has to team up and use super-powers to fight off an alien invasion.
  • Mass Effect:
    • It does a great job with its female characters, which is one of the reasons why the game has such a large Estrogen Brigade. Since the first game, every squad in the series has had a roughly 1:1 gender distribution, with women warriors potentially outnumbering the men if you play as female or save Ashley on Virmire. Even the more sexualized characters, like Miranda and Samara, are far more than eye candy and receive plenty of Character Development throughout the series that turns them into, well, people rather than objects. Much like sister series Dragon Age, Mass Effect also shows plenty of women as soldiers, scientists, and other strong individuals among the N.P.C.s and background characters. The real icon of the feminist influence in Mass Effect though is the female version of Commander Shepard, affectionately known as "Fem!Shep" to the fans, who manages to surpass being a typical Purely Aesthetic Gender RPG protagonist due to Jennifer Hale's extremely well done voice performance for the character and BioWare's acknowledgement and endorsement of female Shepard as a strong female protagonist.
    • The asari, a One-Gender Race of blue alien space babes who conveniently are willing to mate with any gender of any species, initially come off as pure Fanservice material, and there's no denying they're the most sexualized characters in Mass Effect. Nonetheless, the asari are also regarded as the most intelligent and powerful beings in the galaxy due to their long life span, history in galactic politics (they found the Citadel first, and essentially run the galactic government), and natural talent for biotics, and their individual soldiers are considered the most formidable warriors in the galaxy. As with the other more sexualized female characters in Mass Effect, the asari characters in Shepard's squad as well as notable NPC characters all are well developed characters with their own motives, ambitions, and personalities. Whether or not all of this cancels out the Fanservice they provide is one of the most contested parts of Mass Effect.
  • Dragon Age
    • BioWare's other big franchise seemingly outdoes Mass Effect in its portrayal of badass women. Female fighters are simply everywhere in Thedas, with most nations having adopted a Gender Is No Object policy long ago (with Tevinter and the Qun being the notable exceptions). Throughout the series you are partnered with several fully-fleshed out women in your squad. Additionally the Chantry, the Fantasy Counterpart Culture for the Catholic Church and arguably the most powerful political entity in Thedas, is comprised exclusively of women, including the head of Chantry and its most powerful scholars and warriors. This is in large part due to the fact that its founder was female prophet/warrior named Andraste (whose story is honestly worthy of a game itself).
    • Ironically, even though the Qun is the only nation in Thedas that prohibits women from fighting (at least in the military. The Ben-Hassrath have quite a few female agents), it is actually a matriarchy. Women are seen as naturally better at management, so they're in charge of government, the priesthood, the merchants, the crafts(wo)men, and the farmers. Men are soldiers and laborers, and can be a part of the priesthood. That's it. The Tamassrans, a female-exclusive branch of the priesthood, are the de facto rulers of Qunari society.
  • Beyond Good & Evil has Jade, an Intrepid Reporter who goes up against the Government Conspiracy and handles herself extremely well in the situation. She is also commonly cited among the best examples of realistically proportioned and sensibly dressed female protagonists in video games.
  • The Longest Journey and Dreamfall: The Longest Journey heroines April Ryan and Zoe Castillo are often considered by the fans to exemplify Feminist Fantasy, but their creator, while admitting a penchant for diligent and persevering women, denies that it was his main intention for creating them. Nevertheless, the fact is that both go out on an adventure, brave danger, proactively solve their own and others' problems and issues and ultimately save their world.
  • Resident Evil features a very balanced approach to its protagonists, with multiple strong and capable women. The first two installments gave the player the choice of a male or female character, and subsequent titles have always had at least one strong female as either the primary or secondary lead. The majority are professionals working in law enforcement or the military, and any rescuing is divided equally between the genders. Those that aren't Action Girls are accomplished professionals, such as scientists or businesswomen. Ashley Graham is the lone exception, which is somewhat justified since she's the President's daughter.
  • Metroid was one of the first video game series to feature a strong female protagonist, even though the identity of Samus Aran was kept a secret until the finale.
  • One of the things that makes Portal stand out from the pack that its only two characters are both female. GLaDOS is a deliciously snarky and manipulative character, and while Chell's Heroic Mime status makes her a bit of a blank slate, she's clearly intelligent and determined and isn't sexualized.
  • Perfect Dark, starring Joanna Dark as a badass spy and action girl, with the irony of being created as a Spiritual Successor to a James Bond game.
  • No One Lives Forever, on the other hand, is an outright parody of James Bond but its heroine Cate Archer nevertheless stands out on her own.
  • While Final Fantasy VI has an ensemble cast and doesn't really have a single main character, the two characters who come closest to fulfilling the role for most of the story, Terra and Celes, are both female. Terra is frequently considered the most important character in the game not just by players but by the cast themselves, due in no small part due to being half-Esper. She also fits a number of Messianic Archetypes (hell, her mother's name is Madonna), though not as much as Yuna, seen below.
  • Final Fantasy IX's main character may be Zidane, but the majority of the plot is driven by Princess Garnet. Rather than just being a Princess Classic, she's a highly intelligent and determined young woman who (despite her initial naivety) manages to prove her own independence across the game. Supporting females include Freya - who is a powerful dragon knight out to rescue the man she loves, Beatrix - a fearsome One-Woman Army who commands the all-female military of Alexandria, and Eiko - a Wise Beyond Her Years six-year-old who is highly skilled and resourceful in the field.
  • Final Fantasy X seemingly tricks the audience into believing that Tidus is the main character of the story, and as the story progresses it appears that this is actually Yuna's story and he serves as the Audience Surrogate for her quest to save the world. Yuna begins the story as a naive young woman determined to sacrifice herself for the greater good, but as it goes on she must choose a new path in order to defeat Sin once and for all. Towards the story's climax, it becomes clearer that Tidus is the Deuteragonist to Yuna's Supporting Protagonist as he is the one trully destined to kill Sin, not Yuna. The game's sequel, Final Fantasy X-2, is a straight example which features an all-female party, taking elements of the Magical Girl genre with transformations allowing them to harness different powers and abilities. The Gull Wings are primarily focused on enjoying the world they saved, but Yuna also seeks to find out what happened to Tidus after he vanished during the first game's ending.
  • Final Fantasy XII features a naive male Audience Surrogate, but Rebellious Princess Ashe is the focal point of the plot, using political intrigue and supernatural or military might to reclaim her throne and save her kingdom. When an invasion killed first her husband, and then her father, rather than surrender to her fate... she faked her own death, and became part of an underground resistance. The others become involved in her quest, and follow her as she journeys across the lands in search of mystical artifacts, great weapons, and political allies to aid in her mission to save her kingdom. She becomes the focus of a mysterious race of god-like beings, who offer to make her a God-Queen ruling over all mankind. They encourage her desire for revenge, but ultimately she rejects them and chooses a path towards freedom and peace for mankind.
  • Final Fantasy XIII was advertised as the first in the series to have a female protagonist (as opposed to previous titles that used a male as the Audience Surrogate), and centers primarily around the women of the story. Lightning is a capable and skilled soldier, and quickly establishes herself as a leader while struggling to open up to her new companions. Vanille and Fang also help drive the plot through their choices, and ultimately find a loophole to complete their Focus while still saving the people of Cocoon. The sequels expand upon this, with the focus upon the Goddess Etro and how her Seeress has shaped history. Serah takes the reigns of The Protagonist, while Lightning becomes a Champion of the Goddess. The final game of the trilogy sees Lightning become the maiden of legend: the Savior foretold to appear at the end of the world and lead mankind to salvation. It deviates from a party system, seeing Lightning become a literal One Woman Army on a divine mission to save mankind. The final confrontation with the Big Bad manages to further the feminist themes of the story: Upon learning that God intends to make humanity soulless puppets, with her as Etro's replacement, she uses her new-found power as a Goddess to defeat him. The many incarnations of the Seeress Yeul offer to take Lightning's place as the new Goddess of death to ensure the cycle of rebirth can be restored, while Lightning leads the souls of humanity to a new world.
  • Persona 4 addresses issues concerning gender, with the majority of the party struggling in some capacity with the problems stereotypes and traditional expectations cause people. Tomboy Chie struggles with being viewed as "one of the guys", and feels jealousy towards her more traditionally feminine friend, Yukiko. Meanwhile, Yukiko feels trapped in her role as the heiress of an Inn, with her Shadow taking the form of a twisted Princess Classic waiting for a Prince to rescue her. (Of course, she has to do it herself.) Tough Guy Kanji resents being treated as less of a man for liking cute things and enjoying knitting, while Kid Detective Naoto pretends to be a man in order to be taken seriously in a male-dominated field. Finally, Idol Singer Rise struggles to define herself beyond the many roles she has played in her career, and worries about who the "real" Rise is. Her Dungeon takes on the form of a strip club, reflecting the darker side of fame for women.
  • Parasite Eve stars Fair Cop Aya Brea, an NYPD detective that discovers her mutated genes have made her the only person capable of saving humanity. Her police training and growing powers make her a One Woman Army, battling her way through various mutated horrors in her quest to stop the titular Eve from destroying humanity. The sequels see her become an FBI agent, and once again the only woman capable of saving the human race.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep stands out from the rest of the franchise for not only providing the first playable Heroine, but turning classic Disney films on their head a little with how she fits into their narratives. The story begins with Aqua earning the rank of Master, and being charged with locating and bringing home her True Companions when they go astray. She spends much of the game struggling to save Terra and Ventus from the darkness threatening them, and is the sole protagonist of the Final Chapter. An equal balance of Lady of War and Lady of Black Magic, she is an exceptionally skilled warrior and the most level-headed among the Power Trio. When encountering classic Princesses, she is the one who actively facilitates their happy endings — escorting Cinderella during her escape from Lady Tremaine, defeating the Magic Mirror and the Evil Queen to help save Snow White, and rescuing Prince Phillip from Maleficient's castle before they face down the sorceress-turned-dragon together. In the Final Chapter, it is revealed that she was the one that laid many significant pieces of groundwork for the main story — providing Kairi with the power of the Keyblade, creating Castle Oblivion to protect Ventus, and foiling Xehanort's original plan by destroying the x-Blade and leaving his new host (Terra) without memories. She was also the one to first encourage and warn Sora to watch over Riku, and never give up on him should he go astray in the future.
  • Fatal Frame is an unusual example, as having female protagonists was intended to make the player feel more vulnerable. The unintended result was a series that focuses primarily on female characters, with heroines that rely on their intelligence and courage to overcome tormented spirits and dark curses while saving loved ones. Each game focuses on the downfall of cults that exploited Shrine Maidens for their power, causing a deadly curse. These curses were caused by traumatizing the Barrier Maiden while attempting to control her. And each curse is lifted through the female protagonist learning the Big Bad's tragic story and helping her find peace by making things right. The first game focuses on Miku's quest to save her older brother, while the second game focuses on the bond between twin sisters as one tries to rescue the other. The third deals with the nature of grief, tying together the two previous installments while focusing on Rei's journey into a dreamworld to find the soul of her dead lover. It features the first playable male character, noteworthy for being weaker than the women and forced to hide from spirits as a result.
  • Much like BG&E, Mirror's Edge stars a tough free runner Faith who takes up the fight against the corrupt government (and a Government Conspiracy to boot) to save her framed sister and sole surviving family.
  • The Syberia series revolves around Kate Walker's journey, both physical and spiritual, from a professionally single-minded lawyer arriving in Valadilene to a Bold Explorer braving the wilderness of the eponymous lost island of Syberia.
  • A Dance with Rogues is a very mixed bag. On the one hand, it holds absolutely no punches when it comes to dangers faced by a young woman with no status or family in a Medieval European Fantasy land — yes, that includes repeated enslavement, torture, rape, and murder attempts — and is rigged against the character being able to fight her way out of many situations. On the other hand, it provides numerous opportunities to avoid danger by timely application of guts, wits, and skills or, failing that, to take revenge, persevere, and ultimately emerge a stronger and better person despite all of that. It's also an unabashed woman's sexual fantasy (by Word of God in an interview) about being desired by everyone and getting to have lots of no-strings-attached sex if you want to, with attention paid to making the sexual content actually meant to be sexy to be only by choice (though there is a slight bias towards the author's own desires to go for it, so that a player who's not into that part of the story won't necessary feel comfortable with everything).
  • Dino Crisis and its first sequel are both Survival Horror games made by Capcom, starring a strong female protagonist. Regina is a highly-skilled professional soldier, serving as part of a team sent in to extract a rogue scientist. She's intelligent, calm under pressure, and highly capable of taking on the various dinosaurs infesting the facility without any need for rescue. While her male peers primarily act as Mission Control or take on information gathering, Regina is responsible for much of the grunt work and dinosaur-slaughtering necessary to survive.
  • Folklore involves a supernatural murder mystery, told from the point of view of protagonists Ellen and Keats. While Keats follows behind, Ellen dives forward into a quest to discover her forgotten past and unravel the mysteries of the Netherword that threaten the residents of Doolin. Ellen is the latest in a long line of women chosen to be the Messenger, using a supernatural cloak to travel between the world of the Living and the Netherworld. As Ellen battles her way through various worlds, she comes closer to discovering the dark secrets that connect her to a tragedy from 15 years ago.
  • In the spirit of the film series, Alien: Isolation features a strong-willed female protagonist faced with surviving against impossible odds. Amanda Ripley is the daughter of Lt. Ellen Ripley, and has spent her life wondering what happened to her Missing Mom — when she's given the chance to help retrieve the flight recorder from her mother's ship, she ends up trapped on a space station being hunted by both paranoid humans and the titular Alien. An engineer by trade, she's an Action Survivor, using intelligence and her skills to outwit and elude her enemies.
  • Silent Hill 3 is the first (and thus far, only) installment in the franchise to feature a female protagonist. The story focuses on Heather, a young woman plagued by horrific nightmares and repeatedly approached by a strange woman that states she will "lead them to paradise with blood-stained hands". She is in fact the third incarnation of Alessa, and the infant entrusted to Harry Mason at the conclusion of the first game. Heather's emotional journey, as she searches for the answers to her dark past and connection to Claudia and the Order, is the primary focus of the game. She deals bravely with horrific monsters and environments, but also with her own personal demons from Alessa's suffering as well as her own desire for revenge. Cycles of abuse and revenge are explored, as well as needing to overcome darker impulses and accepting the past to move forward. As a bonus, an alternate costume for Heather transforms her into a Magical Girl with all the associated ideas of femininity as a source of power.
  • Sands of Destruction may place the player in the shoes of Kyrie Illunis, but he's often out-shined by his Love Interest and Supporting Leader, Morte Asherah. She's the one in charge of directing the team in where they'll go and what they'll kill, and is generally a very tough Dark Action Girl (who happens to like flashy pink dresses). You Can't Drop the Hero in this game, and it's notable that, while that's usually Kyrie, there's a chunk where it's Morte due to him being dead and her seeking to revive him because she just realized that she loves him for more than his useful powers. Even when Kyrie manages to grow as a character and Morte decides to turn against some of her Omnicidal Maniac ways, it's only so they can become a Battle Couple, not so their roles can be reversed to "traditional" male lead and female support (unlike the later manga adaptation, which is much less feminist-friendly). The game is keen to point out that the reason Kyrie is successful in trying to Screw Destiny is due to The Power of Love. The Japanese title, translated as World Destruction: Guided Wills, makes the interplay of the two leads clear: Kyrie may be The Hero, but he's not the guy in charge; Morte may be the actual leader and a bit Ax-Crazy, but she's heavily influenced by Kyrie's All-Loving Hero tendencies. Morte's Childhood Friend Agan is due to inherit the title of Chief from his mom, and no one comments on it or suggests he needs to hurry up and claim his "proper" role or that she's doing an inferior job; the Bacchitav Caravan is a pretty egalitarian place overall, one of the few locations where humans and beastmen of either gender are treated equally (possibly because life on the Sand Sea is tough and they all Had to Be Sharp; as long as they're capable of pulling their own weight and contributing to the Sand Tribe, race and gender are pretty immaterial). Rhi'a is treated with great respect as a Dragonkin, in addition to being quite capable as The Gunslinger; the fact that she resembles a fifteen-year-old girl is a moot point. That One Boss, Serpens Rex, is a powerful sorceress, notable for being able to brainwash Morte, who later utterly avoids the tricky mental spell used by Noctua Rex (a male owl). The final boss, the Creator of the world, is also female. While the overall cast gender ratio is heavily skewed in favor of males, the females who do appear all take an active, important role.
  • Never Alone, a Puzzle Platformer based on the Iñupiaq legend, Kunuuksaayuka. While the original story featured a young boy, the creators decided to make the lead a young girl named Nuna. Word of God explains that they wanted to address the distinct lack of positive female characters in video games, and provide an inspirational role model for young girls.
  • Child of Light, a Role-Playing Game with platforming elements. It stars Aurora, the strong-willed daughter of an Austrian Duke that awakens in the mystical land of Lemuria. The kingdom has fallen into darkness, after the Queen of Night stole the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars. To return home, Aurora and her companions must rescue the lights and restore peace to the kingdom.
  • Assassin's Creed: Syndicate went a long way towards correcting some of the franchise's past mistakes with female characters, but the Jack the Ripper DLC is much more explicitly feminist than the base game, since it focuses solely on the game's female protagonist Evie Frye (who was somewhat sidelined in the main game) and her quest to rescue her brother and put an end to Jack. Perhaps the most strikingly empowering part of the DLC is the underlying story arc wherein Evie seeks to help rescue and liberate the prostitutes of London, who have been marginalized and ignored by the chauvinistic Victorian-era. One type of side activity literally involves Evie beating the shit out of a man assaulting a prostitute, capturing him, and parading him through the streets of London to be mocked before receiving a good verbal thrashing from Nellie.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn is about a young woman named Aloy, a badass huntress and warrior in her own right, on a quest of self-discovery that ultimate reveals her to be The Chosen One destined to save the new world created by Project Zero Dawn. Quite literally all life in Earth ends up resting on her shoulders. The portrayal of strong women in the game however goes far beyond Aloy herself, and extends to female characters like Sona, Petra, Talanah, Vanasha and Aloy's genetic predecessor and pseudo-"mother", Dr. Elisabet Sobeck, who already saved the world once. Horizon Zero Dawn is ultimately a story about not just Aloy but strong women of every type challenging tradition, standing up for themselves and saving and protecting their communities and ultimately life itself.
  • Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, a standalone entry in the franchise and spin-off of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, stars a duo of strong, complex female protagonists: Chloe Frazer (the Player Character), an adventurous thief and explorer introduced to the series in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves as something of a Distaff Counterpart to protagonist Nathan Drake, and Nadine Ross, a no-nonsense One-Woman Army mercenary introduced as a supporting antagonist in Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. The game focuses on their partnership and eventual friendship for the entire plot. It's been noted that the focus on a positive female relationship in the game is fairly groundbreaking due to women often being relegated to singular or antagonistic roles in video games and entertainment in general, so having two female leads who are partners is a powerful subversion in and of itself.
  • Life Is Strange is about an 18-year-old high school student named Max Caulfield who has the power to rewind time and she uses this superpower to help others and catch sexual predators. Also, half of the game's main cast are females who have as much prominence as the males.
  • Beyond: Two Souls is the first video game made by Quantic Dream that features a female character as the main protagonist. It stars Jodie Holmes, a young woman who is linked to a poltergeist named Aiden, who is the main source for her Psychic Powers. Throughout the story, she journeys from a troubled woman with an entity stuck in her to a strong CIA operative, and later on, a defected CIA operative.
  • Xenosaga is a video game trilogy that acts as a Continuity Reboot of the video game, Xenogears, and it stars three main female characters in the party. The main protagonist of the series, Shion Uzuki, is a computer scientist and programmer working for Vector Industries who wields the M.W.S. as her Weapon of Choice and is a skilled martial artist. KOS-MOS is a Super Prototype Robot Girl created by her to fight the Gnosis, and she has a lot of weapons in her disposal. MOMO is a 100-Series Realian prototype who is capable of feeling human emotions, and she gains a desire to be human. It also stars female antagonists such as Pelligri, Commander Margulis' second-in-command, and T-elos, an android girl designed to replace KOS-MOS and more emotional than the previous two.
  • Pillars of Eternity and its sequel both feature female soldiers, priests, warriors, pirates, politicians, merchants, and scientists. Some of which can join your squad, in addition to playing as female yourself.
    • Pallegina, a female godlike, faces a double-whammy of being regarded as a mutant freak and being the only female in a brotherhood of knights — the recruiter accepted her because her godlike status makes her sterile, and only women who can bear children are considered "women" in her country. Nevertheless, she's overcome these challenges in her backstory, and her personal quest in the first game revolves around her duties as a soldier instead.
    • Grieving Mother, a cipher midwife recruitable in the first game, embodies how much the Hollowborn crisis (a malady where children are born without souls) affects parents, especially mothers, on a personal level.
    • The second game focuses on four factions, two of which are led by women. And the other two can end up with female replacement leaders who are just as competent and ruthless as their male counterparts.
  • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night: By deliberate design, Miriam was chosen as the protagonist to capitalize on a demand and need for strong female videogame leads. In addition, this story is wholly about Miriam, rather than her simply being a passive character in someone else's story or merely being used as a Third-Person Seductress. Despite her main goal being tied to a major male character, this is because he is the Distressed Dude and Miriam is setting out to save him in fulfillment of a promise they made long ago (and even then, it's later revealed that he was just bait and Miriam was the true target all along). The other male characters either act in a supporting role or wind up putting all their hopes in Miriam after their own plans go awry. In addition, the two true villains behind the plot are both women; the True Final Boss they both seek to revive is gendered male, but is more of a demonic force than an actual person, and can only be defeated if you focus fire at the villainess who has fused with him in the fight.
  • Arguably, Splatoon and Splatoon 2 fit under this mold well. While characters of either gender can be played, the main ones used in all the promotions are female; and lending to the Totally Radical 90's aesthetic, they've got a lot of sass to go with their firepower. The story has a strong focus on their "idol" characters and their relationships with each other, and they're all different from one another: Callie is bright and peppy, Marie is cool and sardonic, Pearl is both a brash foulmouth and sweet, and Marina is shy and tech-savvy. They also help your player character in story mode, with a lot of your progress not being possible without their skills. Fashion plays heavily into game mechanics, with styles from all over the gender spectrum available to mix and match to your liking. The few male characters in the story are typically support (Cap'n Cuttlefish, Sheldon), unimportant (Judd and Lil' Judd), or actively antagonistic (DJ Octavio, Commander Tartar), but in spirit of the trope, the girls are on equal footing with them, give or take the Judds.
  • Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is an interesting example. Player character Senua is a very vulnerable and traumatised young woman, who suffers from schizophrenia or a similar delusional disorder. However, she's also a brave, resisilent and highly skilled Celtic warrior, who is on a quest to Hel (the Norse one with one 'L') to try and bring her dead lover back. She dresses sensibly for a warrior on a roadtrip to the afterlife and her condition is definitely not glamourized. She notably defied her abusive father to pursue love and happiness for herself, and Dillion is a very supportive boyfriend who encourages her to become a warrior and never shuns her for her mental illness. Overall, the game is about Senua trying to cope with her many losses, learning to accept herself and finding hope.
  • The player character of Heavenly Sword is a warrior woman named Nariko. She's regarded as cursed by her clan because she was born instead of a prophesised male warrior who could wield the Heavenly Sword - which kills any other who uses it - and save the clan from King Bohan. Despite this, Nariko steps up anyway as the sword's wielder to save her people, aided by Kai, a teenage girl who is a crack shot with a crossbow. Nariko's powerful enough by the game's climax to take on entire armies singlehandedly.
  • World of Warcraft reworks a lot of tropes from Dungeons & Dragons. One of these is the Drow, reworked as the Kaldorei more commonly known as Night Elves. Like the drow of D&D, the night elves are Matriarchal. What makes it this trope, is that the sole Matriarchal race isn't evil (though other elves place a great deal of importance on respecting women, they don't so seem to grant women the same degree of privilege). Not to mention that this rework also avoids other problems with the Drow, such as them being black-skinned.
  • Shantae has the rare distinction of both the main hero (Shantae herself) and the main villain (Pirate Girl Risky Boots) being different forms of a woman's Power Fantasy. Shantae is friendly, helpful, lovable, quirky and a powerhouse in her own right, while Risky follows nobody's rules but her own, proves herself to be The Chessmaster and a skilled fighter, and commands respect from her crew of Tinkerbats. Other women in the series such as Sky and Rottytops are rather badass as well.

    Visual Novels 
  • The central protagonist of Ascension is Aida, a snarky, asskicking thief-turned-hero who is unapologetic about any of this. Other major characters include Sky and Tillie; although Sky spends a lot of the first chapter as rather timid and Prone to Tears, she's still quite brave and loyal, and later takes some serious levels in badass to become a powerful magic user. Tillie is a very intelligent alchemist who defied dwarf stereotypes to follow her passion and aspires to open a magic school. There are also numerous supporting or minor badass and strong-minded female characters.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • The Adventures Of Gynostar is explicitly feminist. One of the antagonists is a housewife who wants to turn all women on Earth into housewives. Another one is a teenage boy whose superpower is making the Male Gaze come true, changing himself into a muscled abnormity and all women into thin and nevertheless big-breasted bimbos.
  • Awful Hospital's protagonist is a mother Trapped in Another World, searching for her ailing son. For a time, she is the Unfazed Everyman in a party with a grandmotherly bacterium medic, a swashbuckling fungus princess, and a maggot sorceress.
  • Erika and the Princes in Distress : The story as a whole deals with many feminist topics, and uses the inversion of gender stereotypes to put light on them and invite the reader to question them. The most obvious example is the fact that Women Are Tough and Men Are Delicate, and that those who do not fill that mold are often looked down upon. Characters also often find themselves on the receiving end of comments that mirror ones thrown at the opposite gender in real life: women are told that they shouldn't cry and should learn to fight their own battles, while men are told that they should smile more, that they're not fit to do "women jobs", and that body hair on them is ugly. There's even an organization trying to fight for men's rights by overthrowing the current system, that they see as oppressive and unequal.
    • One notable scene is the duel between Benoit and Kaylane, during which she ends up undressing him before assaulting him. This was inspired by a very similar scene from The Mask of Zorro in which Alejandro does this to Elena, which the author for the comic notes rarely made anyone bat an eye. The gender inversion of the scene was meant to point at the Double Standard at play; without going into detail, it certainly succeeded in causing reactions and discussion from readers. Kaylane later gets chewed on by Irvine regarding her attitude, the latter telling her quite angrily that she has no right to treat men the way she does. His argument pretty much straight-up matches real life feminist arguments on the matter, only with the genders reversed.
      Irvine: Listen to me! The fact that he's dressed like this does not grant you the right to touch him! He's not some piece of meat or toy that you can take advantage of as you please! Got it? Might he be naked, you'd still have no right over his body!
    • The character arc of Prince Aurel is particularly heavy on feminist themes. He desires to become a nurse, despite people around him (including his mother and his best friend), telling him that it is a woman's job, and suggesting that he should focus on more manly interests such as embroidery or singing. He is told that all great nurses in history were women, which he finds absurd since men are never actually given a chance to be nurses. Even after proving himself a competent nurse, one man refuses to let him attend to his daughter, for the sole reason that he is a man. Needless to say, this mirrors many of the obstacles faced in real life by women trying to get into male-dominated fields.
      • In the French version, Aurel also insists on being called a "soignant", the masculine form of "nurse", despite other characters insisting that it is "soignante", the feminine form. This actually mirrors a real debate among French-speakers, as several professions such as doctor ("docteur"), professor ("professeur"), chief ("chef"), or author ("auteur") lack a feminine form. The official rule is that the name should remain masculine even when applied to a woman, while feminists have been fighting to introduce feminine forms for years ("docteure/doctoresse", "professeure/professeuse", "cheffe", "auteure/autrice"). Aurel being told that "it sounds wrong" is also a common real-life argument made agaisnt those new words.
  • Grrl Power is pretty much Exactly What It Says on the Tin - a comic about those with super powers, and the majority of the prominent characters are women.
  • Magick Chicks is an ongoing Urban Fantasy which is set at an One-Gender School for monster hunters in training.
  • Namesake has Emma, a female protagonist that is thrown into a pre-written story where she's expected to fulfill a role, yet still constantly makes her own decisions and can actually be quite bossy in order to make things work out and return to her sister about whom she cares deeply. The comic has more female than male characters altogether, and most of them show to have qualities such as being the Action Girl, mature and well-informed, strong-willed and / or magically gifted, and they handle situations pretty well without male guidance. The Big Bad is a man and both cunning and powerful, but he's often in the background, while his minions are for the larger part an Amazon Brigade (including a trans woman) with only a few male co-workers and are far more active.
  • Priya's Shakti is an independent comic produced in an effort to address sexual assault and Rape Culture in India. The story follows Priya, a young woman that is cast out of her home and community after being assaulted. The Goddess Parvati incarnates into the young woman in answer to her prayers, but finds that humanity continues to shun and abuse Priya. This enrages Shiva, who curses mankind until his wife intervenes to save them. Blessed with the Goddess' power, Priya journeys to fight for dignity and compassion, bringing hope to the world once more. The series includes special codes that unlock "Augmented Reality" content, featuring the stories of real survivors.
  • Draconia Chronicles, if you can get past the fact that half the characters are nudists and the other half are Nubile Savages, and all of them except the kids and two male characters are Ms. Fanservice in their own way. 99% of the cast are strong independent women, as the story is about two matriarchal civilizations locked in a Forever War.
  • Girl Genius is a Webcomic featuring a female protagonist and a fairly even distribution of male to female supporting and minor characters, which are almost always shown to be on par with their male counterparts. Both male and female characters are the subject of heroism, captivity, villainy, general badassery, and fanservice in approximately equal ratios.

    Web Original 
  • Mirrorworld by Scraggle is a story about Vita Lynere, a young teen who becomes trapped in the bizarre world of Inoptica, in a twisted sort of Alice in Wonderland take off. What sets it apart is the story becomes about Vita, her struggles and character, as she grapples with both the terrible situations she's been thrust into, as well as her anxiety over her life back on earth, culminating in how Vita develops and bonds with the residents of Inoptica, particularly her sisterly relationship with the young 'Day Vamp Wigavat, and it doesn't hurt that the story includes a number of other complex and capable female characters as well.
  • Limyaael's Fantasy Rants Feminist fantasy rant. Although she considers herself a feminist, Limyaael critiques tropes she sees in a lot of these, such as portraying woman as inherently smarter, more virtuous and even them ruling as ideal. Limyaael particularly dislikes those which (ironically enough, given feminist criticism of this) use Rape Tropes poorly, overusing she thinks Rape as Drama, Child by Rape, simply using Rape and Switch at all, Madonna–Whore Complex and Battle of the Sexes. In general, she thinks these give feminism a bad name, and fall into unfortunate stereotypes of feminists that such works perpetuate.

    Western Animation 
  • DC Super Hero Girls is spearheaded by Lauren Faust, a name you'll see much of as this section continues. As the title suggests, it follows six heroines from DC Comics reimagined as high school students. They have wildly different personalities, but have a common drive to serve their city and consistently support each other, a reflection of Faust's "there's no 'wrong' way to be a girl" philosophy. Apart from Monster of the Week situations, the majority of the villains are also female, and nearly every episode passes The Bechdel Test. Consider the show's Title Drop moment: after the heroines have saved the city, a group of preteen girls cheer, amazed to see a group of super hero girls.
  • Disenchantment: The story focus on a Rebellious Princess Action Girl Bean, who defies the roles of medieval society to upper class women while finding herself. Bean is also a main female character who is notably less sexualized than usual, being fairly average looking, lacking any curvy silhouette and preferring an efficient, simple and practical tunic/pants/boots outfit.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic shows that feminist works can find a wide audience. While the franchise has always been aimed at girls, and creator Lauren Faust created the cast as a way to remove generic "niceness" from the characterization of girls and avoid the problems inherent in The Chicknote  , the show is written to be enjoyed equally by parents and kids alike, and succeeds beautifully. It may be the only Western girls' cartoon that has inspired raiding threads on 4chan.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has numerous diverse women with their own personalities, character arcs, and strengths without being subjected to just a love interest or plot device.
    • The Legend of Korra, the sequel to the above series, exploits its predecessor's Cash Cow Franchise credentials, to be more "girl power"-oriented by dint of taking the risk of basing a children's action show around a female protagonist. It worked out. The boy viewers didn't care that the main character was a girl because they knew she was awesome. The original series had six recurring female characters with distinctive stories, and a few episodes with explicit feminist themes. Cemented in the final season. Multiple women of all ages - particularly Korra, Su, Lin, and the series' first female Big Bad, Kuvira - are the ones to drive the plot, with the male characters taking a supporting role. Asami becomes The Lancer to Korra and the two even have a Relationship Upgrade.
  • The Powerpuff Girls. The entire series is based around cute, five-year-old little girls being badass and their femininity, or lack of, is not shown as a bad thing. The series encountered controversy over an episode featuring a Straw Feminist villain, Femme Fatale. She stole only Susan B. Anthony coins, and convinced the girls that men were their enemies — leading the girls to let her go and begin acting hostile towards the guys in their life. Ms. Bellum, Mrs. Keane, and a female police officer pulled the girls aside, teaching them about equality and helping expose Femme Fatale as a hypocrite who injured female officers during her crimes and didn't know anything about Susan B. Anthony's role in history. Some felt the episode mocked Feminism, while others praised the focus on equality and learning about historical figures. Lauren Faust herself mentions she feels the topic wasn't handled well in the episode.
  • Similar to the original comic book being a Magical Girl series created by westerners, the animated adaptation of W.I.T.C.H. is essentially a western Magical Girl series.
  • She-Ra: Princess of Power paved the way for many of the above shows, being a spin-off of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) created to appeal to a female audience. The titular heroine is the long-lost sister of He-Man, and gains a magical sword that grants her the same superhuman powers he possesses. She is every bit her brother's physical equal that uses brains and brawn to save the day. The cast is primarily female, with many involved in the Great Rebellion battling to free Etheria from the tyrant, Hordak. Unlike its sibling series, the Rebellion is at a constant disadvantage and must overcome through a combination of martial strength, intelligence, and inspiring the oppressed citizens to stand up for themselves. Like many Magical Girl series, typical elements of femininity are celebrated as sources of strength and physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual strength are all treated as equally important traits. The generation that grew up with She-Ra went on to be the audience of other major series, such as Buffy and Xena.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power reboots the iconic 1980s series, carrying its feminist message to a new generation. The series is noteworthy for re-imaging the cast with practical costumes and a variety of body types and racial characteristics. Instead of simply being a title, the titular Princesses are defined by their powerful magical abilities and their roles in protecting Etheria. The show also analyzes the different relationships (both positive and negative) between its female characters while also incorporating positive LGBTQ themes.
  • Rainbow Brite, with its Badass Adorable heroine and numerous Magical Girl elements that celebrate traditionally feminine aspects as sources of strength. Even before gaining her color-based magical powers and Cool Horse, Wisp was brave and determined, as well as quick-thinking. As Rainbow Brite, she's loved by all of Rainbowland and saves the universe alongside Jerk with a Heart of Gold Krys in the Darker and Edgier movie.
  • Totally Spies! features Sam, Alex, and Clover — three Ordinary High School Students who happen to be super-spies that regularly save the world. Their high-tech gadgets are often things like makeup or accessories, turning the feminine into powerful tools that help take down villains or escape various dangers. Typical teenaged drama about romance, cute boys, fashion, and dealing with the resident Alpha Bitch are combined with James Bond-styled action and heroics. Word of God admits to being inspired by the anime Dirty Pair, another series about female spies.
  • Steven Universe is a ground-breaking series for its LGBT representation, predominantly feminine cast, and complete dismantling of traditional gender roles. The series presents a young male hero that is following his late mother's legacy, and defined by his emotional depth and desire to resolve conflicts through open communication and empathy instead of violence. The Crystal Gems are a group of feminine-presenting aliens with diverse body types and unique personalities, all working together to defend Steven as his caretakers and protect the earth from invasion. There is a prominent lesbian couple, who share an on-screen kiss and further broke ground by getting their own wedding episode. As the bond between Steven and Connie develops, she becomes a skilled Action Girl that wields his mother's sword while Steven uses her shield as a Barrier Warrior. The series encourages children to be themselves, breaking down stereotypical roles and toxic ideas about masculinity and femininity. It teaches girls to be confident and love themselves, while presenting them with an incredibly diverse range of women to look up to. It also actively teaches young boys that kindness, empathy, emotional vulnerability, and "feminine" behaviors or looks are not shameful or weak. The series presents a boy that has worn makeup and dresses, who cries openly, who tries to befriend his enemies, and looks to women as protectors as an inspirational figure.
  • The Love, Death & Robots has two of those
    • Short "Sonnie's Edge" features a confident and tough-as-nails rape survivor who participates in Kaiju Beastly Blood Sports and relishes bringing toxic, powerful men down a peg both inside and outside the arena.
    • Unlike the short story it's based on (which main theme is Occupiers Out of Our Country), "Good Hunting" is primarily about Yan becoming an android vigilante after all the mistreatment she received throughout her life from various men.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil is a Magical Girl high/urban fantasy centering on Star Butterfly, the princess of Mewni, a kingdom whose line of succession and study of magic is matriarchal, meaning that only the women in the family are eligible to wield the royal magic wand and be the ruling monarch. Her entire family is composed of Royals Who Actually Do Something, with her various "grandmas" being warriors, scholars, or diplomats, all with different morals and distinct personalities. While standard teenage romance drama does pop up, it's portrayed far more realisticallynote  than is usual. The show does deal with gendered issues such as arranged marriage, infidelity, misogyny, and motherhood, but primarily focuses on Star realizing the Evil Colonialist history of her family and subjects, the real dynamics of the Monster/Mewman conflict, and the choices her family have made over generations that continue to affect the kingdom in the present. The show, in a similar vein to other Magical Girl shows, utilizes feminine objects as tools of power, namely the royal magic wand that changes form depending on who holds it. Although for many queens it looks like a conventional Magical Girl wandnote , it has uniquely turned into a clock, a cane, a laser sword, a parasol, a goblet, a magic 8 ball, a puzzle cube, a pen, and a rolling pin. Star herself is an extremely powerful witch with a balance of strengths and weaknesses who matures throughout the series as she's forced to confront more and more complex political and interpersonal issues.
  • Carmen Sandiego has the main character as an intelligent, athletic famous thief who rarely loses and uses her skills to stop the main evil organization. There are also women with different body types, ethnicity, and personality types.
  • The Loud House: While the main character is a boy, his sisters are also important characters. All of them have distinct personalities, physical appearances, and personal goals in life. By the third season, all of them, including their mother, are given their own spotlight episodes.
    • The spinoff The Casagrandes follows Ronnie Anne Santiago as the new protagonist as she the makes the most of her new life in the city alongside her extended family. The female characters alongside Ronnie Anne have their own distinct personalities and physical appearances while also showcasing various aspects of Mexican-American culture.
  • Bob's Burgers: The show subverts the expected gender stereotypes commonly associated with mainstream family sitcoms. Linda is known for her free spirited personality and willingness to try new things for fun while Bob often plays the Straight Man to his wife (and children's) antics but will go along for the sake of their happiness. Along with subverting the Parenting the Husband and Wet Blanket Wife dynamic, the two adults genuinely love each other and are considered to be equally competent in raising their family. There is also no ongoing gendered Sibling Rivalry between the Belcher kids as they enjoy each other's company and try to help one another when it comes to their personal hobbies or problems.
  • Glitch Techs: One of the main protagonists is a female, whose video game skills are noted to be above excellent, even besting the male protagonist, though he doesn't act embittered about. There are numerous female supporting characters who are Action Girls and their place is not questioned. Also, all of them are given distinct looks and are not carbon copies of each other.
  • The Weekenders: Two of the four main characters are females. They are given just as much depth, spotlight, flaws, and strengths like the two male characters. Also, said male characters are not portrayed in an overly manly fashion, which is never shown as weak.
  • Kim Possible broke the norm with the girl who can "do anything"; kickass females on the front lines, and in a Disney Channel action series, no less.
  • Amphibia: The series follows the adventures of a brave, smart, and ultimately good-natured teenage girl named Anne Boonchuy. Her culture as a Thai-American is explored in various episodes and her arc in season 1 is of her unlearning her initially toxic beliefs about friendship.
  • The Owl House: The main character is a teenage girl of Dominican descent taking a journey to be a great witch and her teacher is a famous and powerful witch. Most of the main character's notable relationships are those with other women.
  • Elena of Avalor in which the main protagonist's story isn't about finding romance but about training to become a proper Queen in the future. She gives and receives support from various female characters, with none of them getting into an awkward Love Triangle.


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