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Girl-Show Ghetto

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"Let's be very honest about something. The quickest way for any work of art, fiction, or other pop culture ephemera to cease being taken seriously is for the broader culture to intuit that it was made for or enjoyable by women, especially teenage girls. This is not up for debate, we're not adding a feminist argument here, all you need to do is live in the culture and look around a little, and you already know this is a fact."
Bob Chipman discussing the backlash to Titanic (1997)

There is a prevalent Double Standard most people have regarding media: that women's entertainment should only be enjoyed by women with no crossover alloweddespite it being okay for women to watch shows primarily marketed towards men — keeping in mind almost all media is male-focused. Not to mention the stigma that media specifically tailored for women is 100% guaranteed to be of inferior quality, no exceptions. This line of thinking is very clear in most creators and executives' minds. Men and women could watch shows meant for men/starring a man, but only women could like a female-centered, never mind "girly", show. Watching and enjoying a "girl" show would be unmanly and be subject to ridicule, which brings in homophobia to the mix. Most shows with merchandise usually focus on the male characters being represented way more than female characters due to the double standard.

Women-targeted entertainment also has a reputation of being worse than other shows. Common criticisms are that women's media is overly touchy-feely, simplistic, poorly-written, and shallow. The men can be the badass heroes and problem solvers who go on quests, but women don't do much except entangling themselves in their relationships and wallowing in a soup of hormonal emotions.

This attitude isn't as prevalent as it once was, but it's still rather pervasive. It's still taught at some film schools and since Most Writers Are Male, they're going to go for what they think is the greatest audience. The stigma is still entrenched not only in entertainment, but in Real Life as well.

This may also be in play when women writers are encouraged to adopt a Moustache de Plume, which may be seen as increasing their marketability in a male-oriented genre.

Compare Real Women Don't Wear Dresses, What Do You Mean, It's Not for Little Girls?, The Bechdel Test, Double Standard, The Smurfette Principle, White Male Lead, Race Lift, Animation Age Ghetto, Minority Show Ghetto, Lifetime Movie of the Week, Daytime Drama Queen, Chick Lit, Chick Flick, Extruded Book Product, Feminist Fantasy, Watched It for the Representation. For when the series itself avoids the ghetto but the merchandise falls into it, see Unisex Series, Gendered Merchandise.

Contrast Testosterone Brigade, when a work ostensibly aimed at girls has a surprisingly large number of male fans. See also Real Men Wear Pink and Out of the Ghetto for aversions.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Cardcaptor Sakura is a quintessential girls show, but when it was released for Kids' WB! the dub saw heavy edits to turn Syaoran Li (Li Showron in the dub) into a main protagonist along with Sakura, which included having half the episodes (mainly the ones without him) cut and promoting the show as "Card Captors," removing her name altogether to make it seem more unisex. Broadcasts outside the US aired the remaining episodes (save for two in Canada and the U.K.), thus clearly establishing Sakura as the protagonist. Funny enough, the Toonami promo made it abundantly clear that Sakura was the protagonist.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • According to DiC's pitch reel for Sailor Moon, attempts to sell the show in America included informing networks that the dub was distributed by the studio that made Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?, a show that earned fans of both genders despite its female leads, and also assuring the networks that "boys will love the non-stop action!" Whether or not Sailor Moon has stayed in the ghetto after being Vindicated by History is unanswered. The series has its problems (and the first English dub didn't help), but its longevity and its substantial influence on the anime fandom have taken it out of acceptable target territory.
    • It is suspected that the Toon Makers’ Sailor Moon pilot was meant to be the girl show equivalent to Power Rangers. The pilot's quality was fairly poor, with wooden acting and a great deal of recycled animation from the original anime. Furthermore, compared to the original Sailor Moon, the girls seemed heavily flanderized, with every girl being depicted as a fashion-conscious party animal despite the main cast being undercover alien warriors.
  • This was also an issue in Fox TV's ill-fated showing of The Vision of Escaflowne. The first episode focused on Hitomi and her crushing on a schoolmate with all of the action-y stuff (featuring the male main character) at the end. So Fox (wanting the show to appeal to a young male demographic) just cut out the girly stuff and began the series with the action stuff, forcing them to chop up and rearrange huge sections of the show to fit their viewing format.
  • Though it's since proven to be a massive success with even some male fans and showed the anime industry just how much buying power female anime fans have, Free! received substantial Tainted by the Preview from male otaku when it was first announced, primarily because the studio that made it was mostly known for moe School Girl Series. Some, however, hated the fact that it catered to the Female Gaze at all, regardless of who made it.
  • Hiromi Arakawa uses the male pen name Hiromu Arakawa because she thought that male readers wouldn't want to read a Shōnen manga written by a woman.
  • Naoko Yazawa, the creator of Wedding Peach, went by the pen name Nao Yazawa in order to disguise that she was a woman in order to be taken more seriously as a mangaka.
  • Although the Fox Kids promotions were gender neutral, with one season 3 ad focusing on Rika even directly targeting girls with a "girl power" theme, the toyline for Digimon was affected by this trope. Kari was the only Digimon Adventure 02 character to not get a digivice toy, simply because hers was pink. And while some of the female Digimon like Birdramon and Kyubimon got digivolving toys, they were never the ones shown in the commercials. According to Word of God, Rika Nonaka and Renamon were specifically designed to try and break out of the ghetto the toyline had, by making them badass action girls that would appeal to boys as well as girls. Defied with Digimon Adventure tri., which has had many promotions and merch aimed directly at women, and Kari finally got her pink D-3 toy!
  • Ojamajo Doremi was picked up by 4Kids in the United States (under the English title "Magical Doremi") primarily because they wanted to expand their channel demographics, as the shows on their roster at the time only attracted boys. When the show still failed to draw in female viewers, they promptly dropped it, even though it was followed by two other female targeted shows: Bratz and Winx Club. Their other attempt, Tokyo Mew Mew, known as Mew Mew Power, actually got good ratings, but the dub had to be cancelled midway through due to 4Kids being unable to find a toy deal.
  • The very much for girls Princess Tutu and Petite Princess Yucie underperformed so badly for ADV Films that when they licensed the male-targeted Ufo Princess Valkyrie, they changed the title to Ufo Ultramaiden Valkyrie out of fear that just having the word "Princess" in the title would scare away male buyers.
  • Not only are children's shoujo anime the least likely to be licensed in an era where almost everything else is automatically licensed soon after it's announced, they're often unlikely to be license rescued should they be dropped. For instance, most of the shounen series in 4Kids' lineup was rescued by Funimation as soon as it could be (with Pokémon already having been transferred to TCPI), but Ojamajo Doremi and Tokyo Mew Mew are still unlicensed to this day; after the fall of ADV Films, Wedding Peach and Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch are also unlicensed, and the latter didn't even get a Western release at all since they couldn't find a TV distributor. In the modern era, Aikatsu! has sat listlessly since Daisuki went under yet the Gundam series that had also been Daisuki exclusives got physical releases, while the shoujo titles licensed by Anime Sols weren't rescued like Black Jack was.
  • Pretty Cure actually defies the ghetto in its native Japan. Despite being a traditional magical girl series aimed at young girls first and foremost, it doesn't talk down to its audience, in particular with its action-packed fight scenes reminiscent of Dragon Ball Z. The series has strong Multiple Demographic Appeal, so it isn't hard to find adult Precure fans; the creators have listed "men aged 16-35" as a primary audience alongside "girls aged 4-12". However, the ghetto is in full force when it comes to exporting the show outside of Japan — a casual Western viewer is more likely to gag at the bright colors and sparkles than give it a proper shot, and every attempt at localization (such as the rebranded Glitter Force) has flopped due to being perceived as a "Sailor Moon clone" meant exclusively for young girls. This is in spite of Precure having a small but passionate international fanbase consisting mostly of teenagers and adults.
  • The lack of faith in shows with a female protagonist, let alone a show explicitly aimed at girls, may have been why Sally the Witch, despite being practically tailor made for American tastes of the time, was one of the few anime of the 1960s (that weren't too violent, controversial, or overtly Japanese) to not receive an English dub. Outside of theatrical animation like Betty Boop and the various Disney heroines, American television cartoons with female leads were not really a thing until the turn of the 1970s with titles like The Perils of Penelope Pitstop and Josie And The Pussy Cats, and by then Sally might have been a tough sell due to being partly in black and white.

    Comic Books 
  • Wonder Woman has had this problem. She's supposed to be one of DC's Big Three superheroes next to Batman and Superman, but they have had regular TV and movie adaptations while Diana's had a total of two, one TV series and a live action film and its sequel (with a grand total of five solo works if you count direct-to-video animated features in 2009 and 2019). Batman beats her full count using either his live action or animated adaptations. She's never been on the same level of sales as Batman and Superman and suffers from less Pop-Cultural Osmosis compared to them (most people would instantly recognize the name "Wonder Woman" easily enough, but not her supporting cast or Rogues Gallery.) The irony here is that Wonder Woman was created for girls, but for the specific purpose of having a female action hero who was equal to her male counterparts. But, apparently, being a literal Amazon still doesn't make you as marketable as the most Badass Normal male hero. This wiki alone has pages for three WW shows which were cancelled or called off at the last minute apparently due to concern over marketability and/or quality. note 
  • A prime example of this would be the critically acclaimed and fairly successful pre-New 52 version of Batgirl, written by Bryan Q Miller, who at the time was new to the scene and as such didn't have a following that would help most books start off. The series is still recommended by comic book stores due to being fun and awesome, but its been reported that more than not, the book gets turned down because it's 'a girl book'.
  • Jem and the Holograms (IDW) was cancelled after 26 issues due to low sales and was specifically left out of the massive Hasbro property crossover Revolution (2016) for being a girl-targeted series.
  • Despite being praised for its art and reimagining of the series, Rainbow Brite was Cut Short after five issues.
  • Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, a Magical Girl Warrior character that has been around since 1983 (and one of the first examples of such a trope in the West), has traditionally done very poorly with readers despite several attempts at ongoing series' and miniseries. Interestingly, the runs themselves have done everything in their power to avoid tropes associated with the Magical Girl and Magical Girl Warrior to escape the Ghetto with focus on things like horror, adult content, and politics, but not only has this failed to bring in male readers, it served to alienate people who would want to read a Magical Girl story that didn't seem to be embarrassed about its premise.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Princess and the Frog did okay at the box office for Disney, but not nearly as well as its reviews and hype suggested that it would. Disney determined that this trope was the reason and was rumored to completely shut down adapting fairy tales into movies. For the marketing of their Rapunzel adaptation the following year, they completely downplayed the fairy tale-ness of the movie, changed the title to the somewhat more comedic-sounding Tangled, put the male hero character front and center, and marketed it like a DreamWorks comedy film. The advertising brought a whole lot of backlash but paid off — Tangled went on to become Walt Disney Animation Studios' first movie since The Lion King (1994) to break the $200 million mark domestically.
  • At least one Beauty and the Beast ad completely downplayed Belle's role and the romance (this one). However, that's only one of the six trailers included on the DVD and Blu-Ray, and the actual theatrical trailer made no bones about the movie being about a woman and a romance.
  • Lilo & Stitch managed to avoid the ghetto for the most part, despite its female main characters, and was the most profitable Disney film of this period. However, this may be due to the marketing focusing exclusively on Stitch, a presumably-male alien.
  • The Disney Fairies movies are often criticized as Disney's answer to Barbie, though advertising, the toys, and the movie covers can understandably lead people to this conclusion. In fact they were originally set to be a lot more girly than they are before John Lasseter stepped in.
  • The original story treatment of Chicken Little had a female protagonist, but Michael Eisner suggested a movie about a male Chicken Little would appeal to more people. The final film became a black sheep of the Disney Animated Canon, though it seems hard to tell whether or not the original plan would have fared better.
  • Some DVD sets of The Secret of NIMH that include its direct-to-video sequel, Timmy to the Rescue, have a cover that does not feature Mrs. Brisby, the main character of the older and more beloved of the two movies. Instead, it has her son, Timothy, the central character of the sequel. The original film, itself, is a very loose adaptation of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH; the leading lady had her name dropped from the title for the same reason.
  • Brave was an attempt to break out of the ghetto that didn't quite take, although its notoriously Troubled Production may have had something to do with that. The advertising for the film focused nearly as much on Merida's three brothers — comic relief characters with very little screen time — as her. While early fears that the first Pixar film with a female lead would flop despite the company's stunning financial track record proved unfounded, it's perceived So Okay, It's Average quality confirmed it suffered with this at least slightly, with a common complaint being they didn't let its feisty heroine set off on an epic adventure. Instead, she's involved in a plot that boils down to she and her mother learning to understand each other better in the process of breaking an enchantment that turned the latter into a bear — bringing up the stereotype that "women's stories" just deal with emotions rather than actions (which isn't always the case, but even so, stories that center on emotional dynamics and internal character growth are not bad or lesser). Its Best Animated Feature Oscar win over the more popular, better-reviewed (and perhaps not coincidentally, male-oriented) Wreck-It Ralph was controversial and accused of being virtue signalling on the Academy voters' part. To make matters even worse, Merida becoming a Disney Princess meant that not only is virtually all of the film's merchandising aimed only at girls, but misrepresents her by making her appear girly and sparkly.
  • While Frozen broke out of the ghetto, it's found itself repeatedly compared to its successor Big Hero 6 over which is 'better'. While some of this is Hype Backlash, a good portion involves the fact that Frozen has female leads and a large fanbase of young girls.
  • Turning Red was denied a wide theatrical release ostensibly because of COVID-19. However, many fans suspect that it was due to this given that the protagonist and the majority of the supporting characters are female.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • When The Princess Bride received a new 2-Disc DVD, fans could choose between two gender-specific covers: the pink "Buttercup Edition" with a cutesy synopsis on the back, or the aquamarine "Dread Pirate Edition" with an action-packed synopsis. Later, the first Blu-Ray came with a compromised cover: The bottom half featured Buttercup with Wesley, while the top had Buttercup with the Dread Pirate Roberts.
  • Warner Bros. producer Jeff Robinov declared in 2007 that "we are no longer doing movies with women in the lead." This was after the poor box office reception of The Brave One (starring Jodie Foster) and The Invasion (starring Nicole Kidman). He even reportedly expressed that a male has to be the lead of every script in order to get broader audiences.
  • The combined under-performances of Catwoman (2004) and Elektra also made studios extremely reluctant to make female superhero movies, even as superhero movies became a huge, reliable box office draw a few years later. It took a massive push-back from fans (who frequently pointed out that those movies flopped not because the leads were female but because they just weren't good movies) to get the studios to finally throw audiences a bone and announce Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel (2019) movies for their respective franchises, both of which were massive financial successes.
  • The first Twilight movie nearly experienced this. The idea that female moviegoers alone could turn a film into a blockbuster hit was considered so unthinkable that, when Paramount was adapting the movie, they tried to make it far more action-heavy (a high school version of Underworld (2003) or Blade) in order to attract the male audience that they thought was necessary. This page goes into detail on the changes that would've been made. These plans were vetoed by Stephenie Meyer, leading to Summit's far more faithful adaptation.
  • The ghetto, along with the huge popularity of actor Johnny Depp, is probably why Alice in Wonderland (2010) 1) turned out to be an Actionized Sequel of sorts to the nonsense stories of its source material, and 2) focused its marketing campaign on Depp's Mad Hatter, although Alice is clearly the protagonist throughout the film.
  • Oz the Great and Powerful is a prequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz that focuses on a male character in a universe primarily defined by female protagonists and power-wielders. And the guy, unlike the gals, can't even wield magic!
  • John Carter was originally titled A Princess of Mars, the title of the first John Carter story. But that was seen as too girly. Despite the remarketing, it became a massive Box Office Bomb because of other factors.
  • Whiteout lost its second female lead because executives feared men would not go see a movie with two female leads. Carrie herself was turned into a much less dynamic character in order to give her male co-stars adequate supporting actions. This is ironic given the Les Yay subtext in the graphic novel and the Girl on Girl Is Hot trope, but perhaps they were worried about losing potential female audience members with too much Les Yay and no handsome male lead.
  • This was proposed with the sequel to Aliens, with Hicks being the hero because it was assumed he'd attract both male and female viewers (also because executives weren't sure Sigourney Weaver would be available for another movie). Fortunately Ripley is so identified with the Alien series that any movie with them in is expected to have an Action Girl as a main character, even if it's not Ripley.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Black Widow made herself known to moviegoers by becoming the first female member of The Avengers, but it took ten years for her to get her own picture. Her only film appearances aside from the various Avengers movies consist of playing supporting roles in Iron Man 2 and two of the three Captain America movies, all of which have male leads. Marvel finally broke this streak and gave Black Widow her own movie in 2021note  but many fans and critics were still rather frustrated that it took over a decade for the franchise to release a Widow movie, much less any movie with a female solo lead. It didn't help that over two years before the premiere of Black Widow, Avengers: Endgame already seemed to end her story, when she exchanged herself for the Soul Stone.
    • Due to Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter doubting that toys of female characters would sell, the MCU was hit with this, merchandise-wise, and Black Widow was barely featured in Avengers merchandisenote . It took four years since Iron Man 2 for Black Widow to get a solo action figure. She remained missing in a lot of the team's group shots and barely present aside from a few toys — a Quinjet toy based on her Age of Ultron action scene in Seoul even swapped out her action figure for Captain America's. Age of Ultron's other heroine Scarlet Witch also suffered from a lack of merchandise (but then again so did her brother Quicksilver). The same applied to Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014); she was absent in the merch to the point where fans had to start a Twitter hashtag (#WheresGamora) to get Marvel to pay attention, and the "#Wheres____" format has caught on to call out a lack of girl merch in other films and shows. After Marvel Studios cut ties with Perlmutter, the #WheresNatasha movement succeeded in giving her a wider presence in merchandise and advertising, starting with Captain America: Civil War.
  • This is a problem that existed well before the MCU, unfortunately. For instance, ToyBiz's action figure line for X2: X-Men United didn't have any of the women in it. To put that into perspective, characters involved in major action sequences like Mystique and Lady Deathstrike were left out of the line, while Iceman, who didn't get involved in any action scenes, was included.
  • The Intern was panned by a lot of critics. One journalist noted that the majority of negative reviews came from male critics who disliked that the lead was female and worked in fashion. The director Nancy Meyers has frequently suffered this problem, with many of her films being dismissed with the "Chick Flick" label.
  • Unlike the cartoon and comic, the Jem and the Holograms (2015) film fell into the ghetto. Compare the other times Hasbro properties have received live action film adaptations: Transformers (2007) received a budget of $150 million. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra received $175 million. Even Battleship received a $220 million budget. The one adaptation based on a girl-oriented franchise? $5 million. While the cartoon broke out of the ghetto, the movie fell straight into it - barely making $2 million worldwide, though part of this may be due to the Uncertain Audience. Fans of the series loathe it for being all-but In Name Only while the target demographic likely doesn't know what Jem is.
  • Star Wars:
    • The series has traditionally lacked a strong female presence in the merchandise, which got especially ridiculous with the sequel trilogy considering its main character is a woman. An absolutely egregious case with a Target exclusive Hasbro set for The Force Awakens, where they have main characters like Finn and Kylo Ren along with a generic Stormtrooper and TIE Fighter Pilot, all the while excluding Rey and Captain Phasma. While Phasma is a pretty minor character, Rey ultimately ends up The Hero of the film, making her exclusion mind boggling. Even J. J. Abrams, the film's director, isn't pleased with the lack of Rey merchandise.
    • When a Star Wars-themed Monopoly set was released to coincide with the release of The Force Awakens, fans weren't pleased that the only tokens in the game were Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, and Finn, and were confused by the lack of Rey. Hasbro released a statement that they wanted to avoid spoiling the film, which detractors found ridiculous, wondering how in the world her inclusion could spoil anything. Eventually Hasbro announced that a version of the game with a Rey token would be produced sometime in 2016.
    • In a subversion, some geek blogs pointed out that unlike, say, the Marvel movies; there was a decent amount of Rey merchandise out there — it was hard to find not because of low supply but because of high demand.
    • By the time The Last Jedi was released, Star Wars: Forces of Destiny had been launched; a toyline specifically aimed at girls and featuring heroines across the franchise, in the same vein as DC Super Hero Girls. While this did help get more merchandise out there, the fact that it was specifically and blatantly girl-focused made it fall into the non-merchandising version of this trope; as some people viewed it through the lens of "media aimed at girls sucks". (Plus, the toys just weren't very good.)
  • Ghostbusters (2016) was Overshadowed by Controversy that mainly (though not exclusively) revolved around the fact that the main cast was a mostly-female Gender Flip of the mostly-male 1984 movie and how the cast and crew handled criticism against it. Credit should be given to Sony for producing and marketing the film as simply a Ghostbusters reboot without making a big deal of gender, but it was still considered So Okay, It's Average and wound up flopping at the box office.
  • Pollyanna made less money than Walt Disney hoped, a misfortune he attributed to the story's feminine-sounding title scaring away men. The next movie Walt made starring Hayley Mills, an adaptation of the book Lottie and Lisa, received a name that sounded more gender-neutral than that or PollyannaThe Parent Trap — and earned a much larger gross.
  • One of the more interesting trends that came out during the reviews and critical reception of A Wrinkle in Time (2018) was that female critics and moviegoers were a lot kinder to the film than their male counterparts. Granted, the film skews heavily towards a "girl power" message as well as sending positive messages to girls of color, but it was still noticeable. Brie Larson pointed this out when she complained about the lack of female and racially diverse movie critics, mentioning the film by name and saying that it didn't get a fair shake from the mostly white, male movie critics due to the fact that the movie wasn't intended for them, which itself was met with a mix of praise and backlash.
  • Titanic (1997) had to be marketed as a mix of a Disaster Movie and a thriller about a stolen diamond necklace, with the romance between Jack and Rose treated as a subplot by the trailers. This episode of Really That Good (which provides the page quote) argues that this was the reason why it received such a vociferous backlash from the emerging online movie geek culture of the time, with James Cameron seen as having squandered his Auteur License on a Chick Flick, Leonardo DiCaprio being typecast in Pretty Boy roles for the next decade, and the women and girls who made it the highest-grossing film of all time seen as a pack of screeching fangirls who had no taste in cinema. While Genre Throwbacks to old-fashioned sci-fi, fantasy, and monster movies were en vogue among the new generation of film geeks, the romantic epics and melodramas of the past were still seen as off-limits.
  • Now and Then was dismissed by critics as being "Stand by Me for girls" because it was a Coming of Age Story with preteen girl protagonists. It has since been Vindicated by History.
  • Poison Ivy was met with disdain by a lot of critics both because its leads were teenage girls, and for being directed by a woman. It received some only vaguely connected sequels that went Direct to Video and featured gratuitous nudity from noted actresses - which has led to the first film being dismissed as an erotic exploitation film (even though it has no nudity).
  • American International Pictures, makers of countless B-grade teen comedies and horror movies in The '50s and The '60s, relied on a mix of this and Older Than the Demographic as their marketing strategy. They codified it into a formula that they called "Peter Pan Syndrome": they figured that young children will watch anything that teenagers will but that teenagers won't watch "kiddie" movies, and that girls will watch anything that boys will but that boys won't watch "girly" movies, so therefore, to reach the widest possible audience, they should zero in on the 19-year-old male moviegoer as their ostensible target demographic. That way, in practice their real target demographic will also include his younger siblings and his girlfriend.
  • Gillian Armstrong's 1994 adaptation of Little Women was given a very low budget because studio execs told her it was a "little girls' movie" (although there were two successful adaptations in 1933 and 1949). She recalls a screening of a rough cut for the men in suits, in which they were moved to tears and immediately offered more money for re-shoots. It grossed a respectable $50 million worldwide, as well as three Academy Award nominations.
  • Most of the misleading marketing for Jennifer's Body was fueled by a belief in this trope and an attempt to pull it out of it. The film was a Horror Comedy about a Pseudo-Romantic Friendship between two teenage girls, one of them the protagonist and the other the villain, with a lot of feminist themes and sapphic subtext, and it was very much geared towards teenage girls and young women. The studio, however, was afraid that men wouldn't want to see such a film, and so they crafted an ad campaign designed to sell it as a sexy teen horror flick geared towards teenage boys, the trailers and posters emphasizing the villain's man-eating succubus ways and her actress Megan Fox's sex appeal. (One idea that director Karyn Kusama vetoed was to use an amateur porn site to promote the film.) The result was that both audiences were left alienated. Women skipped the film sight unseen expecting just another horny sex romp, and men were disappointed that it didn't deliver the sex that the trailers promised. It was only on home video that it was Vindicated by History, and a lot of the discourse surrounding it concerns the failures of the marketing team and how this trope kept it from finding an audience.

  • Historical Fiction author Nancy Rue said at a workshop that the reason all of her protagonists are male is that girls will read "boy books" but boys won't read "girl books".
  • The same thing was mentioned by John Christopher regarding The Tripods.
  • And so did Diana Wynne Jones, but she also said that things changed during her career, and started writing books with female protagonists.
  • The In Death series of sci-fi detective novels was published under the pseudonym J. D. Robb due to the fact that their author knew nobody would take them seriously if she put her real name, Nora Roberts, on the cover. She has kept it up even after it was revealed that she was the author, likely for this reason.
  • When the book Strana horoshih devochek ("Land of obedient Girls") by A. Starobinec was going to be adapted as film, the producers doubted that a film about girls was going to attract large audience. As a result half of the girl charachters were changed into boys and the film was renamed Strana horoshih detochek , "Land of obedient Children". This then led to an Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole, as the children, now including boys, are still forced to do only typically feminine tasks such as washing and cleaning.
  • In 2010, Jennifer Weiner set off a controversy in literary circles when she criticized The New York Times Book Review for showering praise on Jonathan Franzen's novel Freedom, seeing literary criticism in general as dominated by upper-class white men to the point of dismissing female voices and marginalizing "chick lit". As noted in this article by Constance Grady for Vox, this controversy marked the beginning of a sea change in literary criticism in The New '10s that saw the breakdown of the ghetto, especially in Young Adult Literature.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Our Miss Brooks: The show managed to be popular, in spite of starring love-lorn English teacher Connie Brooks. At the start of its run on radio, Colgate-Palmolive used the half-hour slot to sell articles to women, i.e. Luster-Cream Shampoo, "men folks love it too". Later, they made a 180, switching to promoting Colgate Toothpaste and (men's) Shaving Cream. Anason was a later radio sponsor, while the Armed Forces Radio Network played the program in reruns. On television, the program eventually was used to showcase products aimed for kids, like breakfast cereal and a new type of chocolate milk mix!
  • In-universe, the premise of 30 Rock is that Jack retools the previously female-oriented The Girly Show into TGS With Tracy Jordan, forcing female lead writer Liz Lemon to include a male comedian in a central role.
  • A lot of women watch Spike TV. In fact, one of the creators of Spike TV was FIRED because too many women were watching it. However, their view has softened as they're now actually courting women to watch Spike TV as the channel is shifting from the frat boy demographic. So much so, that Spike was rebranded as the Paramount Network in 2018 and will focus on shows targeted to both men and women.
  • A lot of Disney Channel's programming is aimed at girls, so Disney created a sister network (or should we say, brother network), Disney XD, because they couldn't get boys to watch the main Disney Channel's programming. Ironically, in 2009 it was discovered that more girls were watching Disney XD than boys.
    • Strangely enough, when Fox and Saban owned Fox Family, they tried the Disney XD strategy first, way back in 2000 with two different digital cable channels, the "Boyz Channel" and "Girlz Channel''. They were gone within a year due to pressure from outside groups that segregating networks based on sex was a bad idea, and cable providers didn't want to alienate anybody (plus, most of the content was recycled from both Fox Kids and Fox Family, and many people didn't have digital cable at the time anyway, further limiting the networks' reach).
  • Towards the fifth season of Charmed, the producers, in the hopes of drawing in more male viewers, started dressing the female leads in more revealing clothes and coming up with various episodes where the sisters would be transformed into magical creatures that would require a skimpy outfit. And when the actresses protested before the final season, they still introduced a younger character who could act as the Ms. Fanservice. Thanks to the marketing focusing on the titillation, it's led to lots of people (The Mary Sue infamously) dismissing it as a mindless Jiggle Show - and the 2018 reboot marketed itself as a "smart, funny, feminist" version of the original. This prompted actress Holly Marie Combs to snark on Twitter "guess we forgot to do it the first time."
  • Some of the Brazilian children’s soap operas produced by SBT:
    • The 2015 remake of Cómplices al rescate is a very female oriented soap opera, with the main focus being the twins Isabela and Manuela as well as their talent for music, making it more popular with girls than boys, it was also the soap opera with the least amount of merchandising and most of it was strictly aimed at girls.
    • The 2016 remake of Carita De Angel is a much bigger example, with more prominent male child characters being added to appeal more to boys because the original version was deemed too "girly".
    • This was also the main reason why in the 2018 series adaptation of Pollyanna named "As Aventuras de Poliana", the character of Jimmy Bean gets a main role and shares near equal screen time as the titular character and the original title was actually "As Aventuras de Poliana and João Feijão".
  • A combination inversion and example happened with Power Rangers. Originally, the creators tried to get girls to be interested in the show, by adapting some male characters from the Japanese original as females and selling fashion dolls of the female Rangers. Eventually though, it became clear that the show had far more appeal for boys, and the straight example came into play for the toys - since boys were thought to not be interested in playing with toys of the female heroes, said females only get a few basic figures in the toy line while the males get all kinds of special vehicles and power-ups.
    • Power Rangers Jungle Fury was one of the worse offenders, as it introduced a trio of male Canon Foreigner Spirit Rangers that never existed in its parent show Juken Sentai Gekiranger and who only appeared in about a third of the episodes. When it came time to make the heavily-armored action figures with all sorts of gimmicks, the Spirit Rangers received these variants alongside the original male Rangers; while the Yellow Ranger, a main character and the only girl on the team, didn't get a single one and had to make do with her basic, un-gimmicked forms.
    • During the 2010 Re-Cut of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, a vehicle clearly designed for the (female) Yellow Ranger was packed in with a figure of the (male) Green Ranger when the usual practice is to have a vehicle and its rider match.
    • Female villains have it even worse toy-wise. Not only were Rita Repusla and Scorpina absent from the Mighty Morphin' toylines, but starting from Power Rangers in Space, villain representation in general had been on the downturn for several years. Villain toys started to pick up again starting with Power Rangers Samurai, but villainesses are still in a tough spot; Poisandra from Power Rangers Dino Charge and Big Bad Madame Odius from Power Rangers Ninja Steel ended up sold only in two-packs with a Ranger, while a handful of Monster of the Week characters got single-carded figures.
  • Stargate Atlantis is a weird example in that it was mostly marketed to young men, but it still attracted a significant Periphery Demographic of women. Syfy has a difficult time accepting that its scripted shows have a tendency to attract viewers in addition to/other than the ones they planned on, and Atlantis ended up getting cancelled to make way for Stargate Universe ... which then got a lot of flak for having significant elements of soap opera IN SPACE!
  • In-universe example: in an episode of Friends Ross makes a comment about a time when he was reading Spider Man comic and Monica immediately coughs "Wonder Woman" in an attempt to embarrass him.
  • Taina was a sitcom about a girl who wished to become a professional singer. Despite getting Nickelodeon its highest ratings in three years, it was cancelled because network execs believed it only appealed to girls.
  • Parodied in a "Scenes We’d Like to See" segment of Mock the Week, where the topic was "Unlikely Things to Hear on a Consumer Program":
    Andy Parsons: Dear Watchdog, I’m extremely pissed off with this product. I bought "Just for Men", my wife used it, and now I am gay.
  • An early review of Game of Thrones was an inversion; the writer accused the series of being alienating to a female audience, on the reasoning because she didn't know any women who enjoyed Fantasy, no woman would possibly want to watch the show.
  • Inverted by Sabrina the Teenage Witch. To cash in on Sabrina's popularity, ABC produced two further Urban Fantasy series, Teen Angel and You Wish, though with male protagonists. Both shows ended after a season, while Sabrina lasted for years and had a few spin-offs. There in fact seem to be more male fans than female of the sitcom. Unsurprising, since Melissa Joan Hart's previous sitcom Clarissa Explains It All had broken out of the ghetto and gotten her a big male fanbase.
  • The reason New Girl changed its iconic theme song going into season 4 was because executives feared the hand-crafted aesthetic and cutesy lyrics would turn off male viewers.

  • Taylor Swift has been fighting a massive uphill battle to break out of this mold. In many respects, she's succeeded: her music is taken seriously by critics, she sells to a pretty wide audience, and her business savvy has been praised by many. Nonetheless, she still has a pretty sizable Hatedom, largely spurred on by the fact that she writes songs specifically aimed at young women.
  • Evanescence's lead singer is Amy Lee, but Executive Meddling demanded that their single "Bring Me to Life" incorporate male vocals by Paul McCoy from the Christian Rock band 12 Stones so the song wouldn't end up in the ghetto. Hence the famous Call and Response/Soprano and Gravel chorus with McCoy calling as the gravel and Lee responding as the mezzo-soprano. The band later released a version with only Lee's vocals, which is apparently closer to her own intent.
  • Vocaloid:
    • Producer Oster Project did not reveal her gender until years after she debuted because she wanted listeners to view her work under a gender neutral lens.
    • The ghetto, mainly the idea that only women would require a male Vocalist or would want to buy software with a hot guy on the box, is one reason why male Vocaloids generally don't sell many copies or achieve the same levels of popularity as the female ones in Japan, and are rarely ever made compared to the legions of female Vocaloids. The only one to achieve success on par with Miku or IA, Kagamine Len, was bundled with a female voice bank, and while Kaito is modestly popular now he tanked hard when first released. Though this is not the case in the west, as male English Vocaloids usually outsell their female counterparts and Oliver is the most popular English-only Vocaloid in terms of sales, use, and view count.
  • Before the rise of the poptimist school of music criticism in the 2000s, not only female pop singers, but female musicians in general, had trouble being taken seriously by male rock critics.
  • Boy bands are seen as an example of this, because they are seen as manufactured pretty-boys aimed at young heterosexual females to scream at. Things have gotten better with the rise of K-pop, but the stereotypes persist.
  • Poe ran up against this while trying to promote her 2001 single "Hey Pretty" - modern rock stations were reluctant to add songs with female vocals, as there was something of a perceived backlash against women in the genre and a trend towards more "masculine" subgenres like Post-Grunge and Nu Metal - after one such station suggested a radical remix , she got her brother Mark Z Danielewski to read passages from his novel House of Leaves over the verses, with her own vocal presence being reduced to singing the chorus. In part because of the concurrent popularity of the book, this version did become a moderate radio hit.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The NWA's world women's champions were among of the biggest stars of the territorial circuit, on paper, often getting spots in the main event, but in practice few territories actually had a regular female presence outside of valets and managers, with the wrestlers most commonly being a rare attraction, and after Mildred Burke's banishment from the NWA none of the subsequent champions were ever promoted quite as prominently as their male counterparts. At least as early as the 1970s pro wrestling became one of the trope codifiers for Cat Fight as promoters concluded a lot of people liked the idea of women fighting/wrestling, but couldn't actually stomach seeing them get hurt, as tends to happen in matches, with the end result being the discontinuation of the women's world tag team belts and the women's world junior heavyweight division not even being around long enough for most people to remember, with only a singular belt remaining.
  • This was unofficially enforced in all of Mexico when the largest athletic commission in the capital banned luchadoras in 1959. While promoters outside of Mexico City were still allowed to book them, they increasingly didn't over the decades till the point "only one women's match a card" was practically law even after the ban was lifted in 1986. The exception to the rule was El Toreo de Naucalpan based Lucha Libre Internacional, which had the UWA sanctioned world women's and world women's tag belts, but they may have been the exception that proved the rule since these belts were increasingly defended outside of Mexico as time went on, the tag belts almost exclusively in Japan. At any rate non UWA luchadoras were outside of mainstream lucha libre until the year 1992 when EMLL took interest in Japanese women such as Bull Nakano to compete with local talent and give more legitimacy to it's then new international image.
  • Despite a semi main event women's title match being an important part of getting the annual event started, WrestleMania isn't such a good place to look for women's wrestling. After Wendi Richter's banishment a single match ending in under two minutes was all the second event had to offer with the next eight events having no women wrestling at all, followed by another eight events that alternated between nothing and short underwhelming matches. Finally 18 and 19 had fairly good, well built up and promoted women's title matches back to back but there was only a third at WrestleMania XX, the one right before WWE started gutting its women's division in favor of diva searches, because Molly Holly volunteered to have her head shaved. Tellingly her shaving got more focus than the match itself as WWE was more interested in "The Playboy Evening Gown" match between former playmates. Following XX a single, often short, match featuring as many women contracted as plausibly possible and/or promotional titillation became increasingly more common than serious title matches when there was a women's match at all. Made more noticeable in that a second belt, The Divas Championship, stated on camera to have been introduced so one half of the women's roster would no longer be sitting on the sidelines, took six years to find its way on a WrestleMania card. This was dramatically averted at WrestleMania 35, where the main event was a three-way match in which Becky Lynch took both the Raw and SmackDown titles, respectively from Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair.
  • The Ladies Professional Wrestling Association's one PPV, LPWA Super Ladies Showdown on February 23, 1992, was held at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, MN. The sports facility, the Taylor Arena, has a capacity of 7200. The PPV only drew 400. This event, which featured Terri Power (Terri "Tori" Poch) winning the LPWA Title in the main event, was the LPWA's final show, as the company shut down soon after.
  • Part of what led to All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling's downfall was that in spite of being among the most successful promotions in the history of the industry the promoters believed they were still too much of a girl show. People of multiple demographics enjoyed watching on television but most of the fans attending live were schoolgirls. Perhaps because the more coed crowds of FMW were starting to draw similar numbers in the 1990s, AJW began pandering to male ticket buyers, which may or may not have led to bigger gates but for the most part didn't lead to bigger crowds. Money was still being made but the lack of little girls in the crowd translated into a lack of women becoming wrestlers for AJW. It took time, but after fourteen years the lack of new talent their absence led to hit AJW pretty hard. Out of context, reascending "the retire at 25" rule could be interpreted as progressive but it was really a drought relief measure that proved too little too late. Not only did AJW's bookers and promoters now have the new problem of tenured wrestlers, one every other fed of comparable size had decades more experience dealing with, other feds like GAEA largely built from outgoing AJW wrestlers also found their talent pools becoming shallower. While there were far more things than talent issues that led to the Japanese women's wrestling scene nearly imploding during 2005, it's common, jokingly or otherwise, to say trying to get men into the arenas is where it all went wrong. Many women's cards continued to run after the shock of AJW and GAEA's closure, occasionally one gets mainstream attention, but none of the promotions contemporary to AJW or GAEA, nor any starting up later, manage to rise above indie level until World Wonder Ring ST★RDOM in the mid-2010s. Since the 1950s, Japan has consistently managed to have a men's feds operating on a national level, often two or four.
  • WCW's first shot of their so called "Monday Night War" was fired after Madusa jumped at the opportunity to wrestle for them since the WWF women's division was drying up and WCW boasted an amazing talent pool that included most of GAEA. Madusa was so ready to get women's wrestling back on TV she agreed to drop the WWF's hunk of plastic and metal into a garbage can, even though she really didn't want to disgrace their title belt. It turned out to be just a publicity stunt, as WCW rarely gave her matches, much less wins, the highlight of her stay perhaps being a feud with an offensive Jim Ross knockoff for the cruiserweight title belt. Akira Hokuto, despite actually winning the WCW Women's title, did not fare any better as getting it meant losing her spot in CMLL and she'd never do much of anything in Mexico again. WCW did a lot of nothing with Hokuto or her belt before vacating it and then scrapping it after a year that saw GAEA try to get a run with Devil Masami going. And their women's cruiserweight belt lasted even less time. WCW had two women's belts but somehow managed to not use the large majority of the women it boasted to have, a link in a chain of events that nearly ended with the deaths of every major women's division left on North America.
  • In general, Smart Marks would often label any women's match as a 'piss break'. This is partly due to WWE's terrible use of women solely for Fanservice in the Attitude Era, and the Women's Championship being defended in various T&A style matches. And when the Divas broke out of the ghetto in the Ruthless Aggression Era, the division was suddenly buried with Diva Searches - that reduced the division to T&A once again and resulted in a lot of genuine wrestlers getting released in favour of models. But since about 2008, many Divas who began as models faced an uphill battle despite training to wrestle, and they would often be dismissed or labelled as using WWE as a stepping stone for other avenues. Only a handful managed to completely break out of the ghetto (Mickie James, Beth Phoenix, Natalya Neidhart, Melina - the wrestlers established outside of WWE lucky enough to win a title belt) and reviews of Diva matches would tend to be rated very low, outside of websites like Diva Dirt. This attitude seems to be dying off as of the popularity of NXT and many former Divas revealing just how hard things were for them behind the scenes - but you still find plenty of smarks who claim that women shouldn't be allowed to wrestle, citing the Diva matches as proof.
  • This is at least partially an Enforced Trope, at least under the watchful gaze of WWE. Vince McMahon has made it clear on multiple occasions that he believes women's matches are and should always be of piss break quality, good for cheap T&A (ha, not that one) and nothing more. The 2004 Diva Search that stunted WWE's women's division was the brainchild of Kevin Dunn, a talented producer who unfortunately isn't too big on wrestling despite working for a pro wrestling company. Since the 2004 contest got good ratings it was used as justification for taking divas in a "new direction"(less athleticism, more softcore posed photos) until the diminishing returns of further Diva Search contests and vocal disapproval from live crowds led to a slow return to form in 2010. Gail Kim revealed in a 2011 interview that the girls were apparently told off for getting "too good" and were forbidden from punching one week and kicking the next. Johnny Ace apparently demanded more girliness in Diva matches. Similarly to Gail, Michelle McCool revealed that a spot where Melina was given a DDT onto the security wall got them yelled at backstage for being too "high risk" and "better than the guys", and the two of them had to retape one of their matches because Vince thought their punches were "too good."
  • The Puerto Rican versions of the World Wrestling Council and (later) International Wrestling Association are bizarre examples, as they collectively had one of the most badass women's divisions in the world. One of WWC's top baby faces hitting La Tigresa with the trademark weapon of WWC's other top baby face only slowed her down for a few seconds before she choke slammed him, initiating a group beating that another woman had to save him from. IWA's first women's champion Amazona meanwhile had already knocked off the violently insane Moxley Mox for their hardcore title. Neither enterprise had any problem portraying its women as threats to nothing less than their top stars and yet, even that unbiased other wiki said they had one division, as the two rivals seemed to arbitrarily shuffle most of the female wrestlers between themselves (behind the scenes wrestlers jumped ship based on changing paychecks and it was rare for both companies to be paying women well at the same time). By the 2010s, IWA was on its deathbed and WWC lost interest in its women's belt, so women's wrestling was only regularly seen in indie companies like EWO and CWS.
  • On WWE Tough Enough Season 5, Ariane was eliminated after she said her favourite match was Melina vs Alicia Fox. Her fellow contestants up for elimination were Eric, a guy who hadn't shown up in shape and Michelle, a girl who had claimed to have eleven years of experience but demonstrated no flair at all. Apparently liking a Divas match is a much worse crime. Even other contestants later noted the Unfortunate Implications behind this, especially with consideration that Michelle had admitted to auditioning for four other reality shows around this time too (and ended up quitting the contest two weeks later).
  • After two seasons of WWE's NXT - a show where a series of rookies would compete for a potential contract - the third season was all females. Ratings declined immediately and the show went to with many critics panning it. Likewise WWE gave the whole brand a Girliness Upgrade for the season, featuring challenges such as dance-offs, simulated bull riding, Halloween costume contests and other girly things. Critics panned the male seasons too, mind you, but those seasons also had larger talent pools which included critically approved Bryan Danielson and Low Ki. Season 3 didn't just offer less wrestlers but wrestlers with less training and experience, suspiciously failing to provide another WCW era super veteran to ensure the audience could at least expect some diamond in the rough quality matches, as if they wanted the show to fail.
  • The World Wrestling League booked Puerto Rican women against opponents from Mexico, Bolivia, The Dominican Republic and Continental USA to create buzz before it introduced a Goddess title belt, won by La Morena. She gave an interview with Contralona PR expressing desire to use the belt to bring women's wrestling back into focus, but it and she were not featured when WWL made the transition to Mega TV. WWL did eventually dig the belt back up for Ivelisse Vélez in the build up to their first Wrestlefest but put it back away not long afterwards. After the transition of power to Savio Vega, a woman would finally get a lasting title reign with one third of the trios belts when Justin Dynamite, the partner of Brown Sugar Daddy Excellent Mantel and White Shadow Mark Davidson, had to vacate his spot and La Perla Negra Allison, Davidson's girlfriend, took Dynamite's place in their "Los Favoritos" trio. Her reign is a bit of a mixed bag, as WWL was bashed on media platforms it used for fan outreach for pushing a woman (in Justin's spot, against men, at all) or, ironically, accused of copying the Gran-Fabi-Mari Apache trio of AAA and especially the Angelico-Son of Havoc-Iveliess Velez trio on Lucha Underground (Konnan coming in around the time Vega took charge might have contributed to that), but the ticket buyers in the arenas still loved Los Favoritos and counted Allison among WWL's best competitors.
  • All Elite Wrestling has a network mandate from Turner that they can only run one women's match per TV show, and that it generally goes in the "piss break" spot (wrestling-speak for the segment before the main event, allowing fans in the arena time to make one last bathroom run before the final match) at 20 minutes into the second hour of Dynamite. Executives reportedly believe more women's segments than allotted would drag down the show's numbers, even when a match between Ruby Soho & The Bunny outdrew a segment with Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar when SmackDown ran an extra half-hour on cable in an attempt to stunt AEW Rampage's numbers with a rare head-to-head matchup. This has infuriated fans and talent alike, notably Kenny Omega (who has had a heavy hand in recruiting respected workers for the division), who has told fans to let the network know if they wanted more women's segments on the show.

  • Women's sport (especially outside of designated "girls' sports" like tennis, gymnastics and figure skating) rarely receives the same level of coverage and sponsorship as men's sport. The situation has improved somewhat in recent years, as companies have come to regard sponsoring women's sport as good for PR, but women's leagues still tend to be far less prominent than men's leagues.
  • In the late 1960s, volleyball was much more popular in the US among males than females. Then came Title IX, a federal law enacted in 1972 that outlawed sex discrimination in education, and significantly applied to sports programs. This led to high schools and colleges adding countless girls' and women's teams in multiple sports. With American football—the sport with by far the largest squad sizes, and also the cash cow for most college sports programs—being essentially all-male, schools were forced to drop numerous boys' and men's teams in lower-profile sports, and volleyball was one of the bigger casualties. By the time the NCAA began sponsoring women's sports championships in the 1981–82 school year, fewer than 70 schools in all three NCAA divisions combined sponsored men's volleyball, while more than 600 NCAA members sponsored women's volleyball. This trend was duplicated at the high school level, with more than four times as many girls playing high school volleyball as boys by the early 1980s. This led to volleyball being seen more and more as a girls' sport, arguably leading many boys to flee from it. Even after explosive growth in men's volleyball at the non-scholarship Division III level since about 2010, there are still nearly seven times as many women playing NCAA volleyball as men, with over 1,000 NCAA women's teams and fewer than 200 men's teams. The 2024–25 school year will be the first in modern times in which a majority of US states will officially sanction boys' high school volleyball.

  • Mamma Mia! despite being one big celebration of ABBA (whose music was primarily written by two men and meant to be enjoyed by both sexes) gets a colossal amount of scorn and cringe from the male demographic for its unabashed corniness and feminine favoured sentimentality, which is further compounded by the popular 2008 film adaptation (wherein multiple of the actors weren’t trained singers or musicians). There’s also the fact the musical has pretty much no stakes and is just meant to be a breezy enjoyable time — making all the more just a theatrical Chick Flick according to a good amount of people. For the film’s sequel (which for the record is an improvement over the first) The Onion actually defended the property telling naysayers to just shut up and let women enjoy it.
  • Romeo and Juliet has experienced this more than any other play by William Shakespeare. As the plot concerns two teenage Star-Crossed Lovers who die tragically, it's developed a reputation as something only teenage girls would enjoy. This phenomenon seems to be Newer Than They Think - as it's an easy play to reference in kidcoms and cartoons, resulting in numerous fictional female characters Squeeing over the story while males roll their eyes.
  • The Phantom of the Opera (and its 2004 movie adaptation) often garners a hatedom for the melodramatic gothic Love Triangle as its central element. The titular antagonist gets no small amount of Draco in Leather Pants Squeeing from primarily female fans along with the glorification Stalking Is Love and Christine being simple enough for women to project themselves onto making the whole musical like a proto-Twilight according to some. In some fairness to the detractors the main irritation is that Lighter and Softer and Hotter and Sexier musical and film adaptations are generally catered towards a female-favoured sensuality that ultimately files in the face of the story’s genuinely creepy Gothic Horror origins e.g the scary Lon Chaney Phantom obviously doesn’t cause the fangirl stir that the Michael Crawford, Ramin Karimloo or Gerald Butler versions do — even though he’s Truer to the Text to the book. Ironically Gaston Leroux’s original novel was intended to be enjoyed by both male and female readers alike, having the love triangle interwoven into a horror thriller adventure and literary Christine has great independence something that is far more appreciated with female characters today than it was back then. Sadly though this has all been Lost in Translation.

  • My Little Pony was meant to be aimed at both boys and girls but quickly lost its neutrality. For well over 20 years it was strictly seen as only for girls between 5 and 12, and the decent sized mostly female collectors fanbase. G4 broke out of the ghetto, but it's unknown how future gens will fare.
  • LEGO was originally envisioned as a gender neutral toy, based solely around the love of building and creativity - with a lot of its early marketing featuring girls and boys. Around the 1980s, it became increasingly targeted towards boys - emphasising adventure and combat possibilities, as well as releasing packs themed around boy-oriented franchises. One marketing campaign focused on LEGO as a father/son bonding experience, while excluding girls completely. They eventually released a female-oriented spin-off titled LEGO Friends - which was routinely criticised for being a Barbie knock-off. This set featured female LEGO characters with curvier bodies engaging in traditionally feminine activities such as cooking, hairdressing and nursing - complete with pastel colours. However, interviews and opinions on the set revealed this to be an enforced trope, as it played on parents' willingness to buy the sets for girls because of the more feminine dressing, even when it got less traditionally feminine builds (such as fantasy).
  • Superhero fans did not react well to the reveal of the girl-aimed toyline DC Super Hero Girls. Some criticism was understandable - such as complaints about the fact villains are given different roles or the designs resemble Disney Princess characters too much - however a sum was because it was "too feminine".
  • This in general happens to the merchandising of quite a few children's franchises. Most marketers of merchandise believe that boys won't buy merchandise with girl characters on it and girls won't buy merchandise with boy characters on it, so the characters of the opposite gender will be omitted from those products, even if the show is seen as unisex. The most notable offenders of this practice are are Star Wars, Power Rangers, Peppa Pig and PAW Patrol.
  • The belief that only men collect anime figures is why figures of male characters that aren't manly were extremely rare for quite a long time. In recent years this is starting to change with female-targeted lines like Good Smile's Orange Rouge, but if it's not from a series that also appeals to men, often scale figures are made in very limited quantities and go up in price rather quickly.

    Video Games 
  • This trope is the reason Panel de Pon was initially brought over to the West as Dolled-Up Installment Tetris Attack - Nintendo assumed male gamers wouldn't want to play a cutesy game with a primarily female cast of mainly fairies. They slowly changed their minds on this, however, as characters from PDP have appeared in Super Smash Bros. Brawl in sticker form even in the American and European releases. However, the original cast of characters continued to otherwise have no presence internationally until the first game was brought over for real in 2020, via the Nintendo Switch online service (albeit in an untranslated form).
  • Puyo Puyo, in contrast to Panel de Pon, has this as more of a Zig-Zagging Trope. The arcade game received a limited international release that, unlike other localizations of the game, did not outright replace the characters; however, said release was rather odd, had a smattering of American Kirby Is Hardcore and changed the angelic-looking female character Harpy into a "Dark Elf" with no wings and a different color palette. When the time came to release the game for the Genesis and Super NES, though, both Sega and Nintendo (just like with Panel de Pon) felt that a female-led game brimming with Kawaisa wouldn't sell with that era's primarily male gaming audience, so the original game was given three Dolled Up Installments: Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, Kirby's Avalanche, and Qwirks (for PC) respectively. The Game Gear version of the game had a fairly normal localization, with all of the original characters intact, programmed into it - however, said localization was never officially used and was ultimately replaced with a version of Mean Bean Machine internationally. Things came to a head with the infamous Cranky Food Friends, a Divorced Installment of the iOS Puyo Puyo!! Quest which replaced the characters, even the Puyos themselves, with generic cartoon food, and received massive amounts of backlash from fans. Some of the other later games were given proper localizations (though the practice remained incredibly rare until the mid 2010s), but the vast majority of the series remains No Export for You to this day.
  • Inverted example in Metal Gear as Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty as the character of Raiden was devised when Hideo Kojima overhead two teenager girls complaining that military games “were full of old men” and thus created Raiden as a Bishounen to appeal to them. Despite his good intentions, Raiden was mainly seen by gamers as a Replacement Scrappy to the better liked and more masculine Snake and it took Raiden Taking a Level in Badass for him to be celebrated by both male and female fans alike. Ironically Metal Gear had already amassed a female following thanks to the Female Gaze being just prominent as the Male Gaze and the Ho Yay shipping of Snake and Octacon and Big Boss and Ocelot, which in turn garners a hatedom from the male fans who mainly enjoy the series for its Spy Fiction and Rated M for Manly elements.
  • When Faria was localized for American gamers, the box art was reworked so that nobody would recognize the hero as female. Even the manual went out of its way to hide this fact, despite still telling in-depth the actual plot of the game. However, not only does this make a nice plot twist out of the reveal of the hero's gender, but a later twist proves she's really a man after all.
  • Activision infamously told a studio pitching a game set in Hong Kong with an Asian female lead to "lose the chick, they don't sell." A.J. Glasser once noted in an editorial for Kotaku that the only role presented for women in Modern Warfare 2 are NPCs in the "No Russian" mission, who are all immediately gunned down. The game's lone speaking part for woman is an automated voice on a phone line, despite earlier Call of Duty games actually remembering once in a while that there are in fact women who serve in the military. She also pointed out a culture gap between Japanese games, which tend to frequently have female leads or supporting casts but also greatly objectify them as a trade-off, and Western games, which frequently just leave women out entirely.
  • This story made the rounds in late 2011, in which a young boy was threatened with actual violence by his father for wanting to buy Mirror's Edge. Because, well, it must be a girl's game, it has a woman on the cover!
  • Naughty Dog was pressured to move Ellie to the background or completely off the cover of The Last of Us due to this trope, but the dev team held firm.
  • This is a proposed reason for why Um Jammer Lammy sold poorly when its predecessor Parappa The Rapper sold well, despite UmJammer Lammy generally being considered the superior game: it has a female main character, and the cover showed only female characters (despite Parappa also being a playable character after clearing the story as Lammy).
  • The Casio Loopy can be seen as a testament to this trope, as it was completely marketed towards female gamers and never went on to target actual male audiences. It also shows the trope in full-effect as people believe that the console flopped because it was targeted towards girls instead of being marketed towards boys (you know, like any other console).
  • Humongous Entertainment almost made a series of games starring a character named Miss Hap, but Executive Meddling from Infogrames caused the project to get shelved due to their lack of faith in a female protagonist. Especially ridiculous when you remember the fact that the very same company had another series with a female protagonist that was doing just fine.
  • This trope is why the creators of Kameo: Elements Of Power went to great pains to hide the fact that you are a fairy princess defending her kingdom from her sorceress sister, hiding her wings as much as humanly possible (and her actual body when you start delving into gameplay) and muting the colors of her clothes, among other things.
  • Everyone knows that Samus Is a Girl these days, but back in the late '80s the manual for the original Metroid deliberately tricks the reader into thinking she is male, even going so far as to refer to her with "he" and "him"; the reveal of her actual sex was supposed to be a Twist Ending. Apparently, it was assumed no one would buy the game about the badass running around a distant planet in super-powered armor, gunning down aliens right and left, if they knew the protagonist was a woman. However, it's been averted since then, as even with the knowledge of her gender the games generally don't treat her any differently and she's still popular as a power-armored, alien-gunning badass and spawned Japanese sci-fi games with a playable female character (even if in the end the trend only lasted like a month or three).
  • Final Fantasy X-2 is a sequel to Final Fantasy X and controversial for its Lighter and Softer tone, usage of J-pop music, and focusing on Yuna, Rikku, and new character Paine, and Yuna is characterized as a more upbeat and cheerful character than in the original game. Not helping is that the FMV opening of the game features Yuna (actually someone impersonating her, but this doesn't help first impressions) putting on a peppy music concert; contrast X opening up on a blitzball game and Sin attacking Zanarkand set to a Heavy Metal tune.
  • Gun Nac got hit with this hard in its US localization. The opening and ending cutscenes of the Japanese version revealed that the Player Character was a woman (a miko, to be precise). The opening cutscene was abridged and rewritten to imply a generic male protagonist and all images of the female pilot were Dummied Out.
  • The Virtual Paper Doll series Style Savvy is a popular Nintendo franchise (and in fact was one of the best selling Nintendo DS titles) but almost never gets brought up when discussing Nintendo games. When the first game was released on Virtual Console, many gamers complained about it and called it "shovelware" or "bad" just because it was a game about fashion models that has you as the owner of a clothing shop.
  • BioShock Infinite got a whole lot of flack for its cover art, depicting Booker in a generic "angry white Action Genre Hero Guy with a gun" pose, with Elizabeth being relegated to the back cover despite being just as important to the narrative. The Complete Edition fixes this and features both of them on the front cover.
  • Ubisoft faced renewed criticism in 2020 for their lack of female protagonists, amongst the company facing several public accusations of the toxic corporate work culture. Writer Jill Murray claims she was told by editoral that the protagonist had to be a "straight white alpha male" which was emphasized in writing, and designer Marie Jasmin was told "women don't sell." This affected many titles, speficially the Assassin's Creed series. Assassin's Creed: Unity left out female protagonists with a flimsy excuse that they would "be harder to animate." Assassin's Creed Syndicate originally gave the male and female protagonists, Jacob and Evie, respectively, equal time before Jacob was clearly made the lead. Assassin's Creed Origins was originally going to kill or injure the male protagonist Bayek early in the game and his wife Aya would take over for the rest, but Bayek ended up dominating the narrative in the end. Kassandra was originally going to be the single protagonist for Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, but they added a playable male character and gave players the choice to play as either. Somewhat rectified in that Kassandra is the canonical protagonist of Odyssey, and Assassin's Creed: Valhalla both the male and female protagonists are canon.
  • For Resident Evil, this is generally the reason seen as why Jill Valentine has been de-emphasised by Capcom as a series lead compared to poster boys such as Chris or Leon. The lesser sales of the games she starred in/was prominent in such as Resident Evil 3: Nemesis and Resident Evil: Revelations have led to Capcom deeming an Action Girl like Jill as unbankable compared to the male heroes (especially Chris). As of late there’s no news if Jill will reappear in any future games or if there will be any female-led RE games again. Even the cover of the remake of RE3 noticeably places Carlos next to Jill, despite having lesser presence in the game and only playable for one level.
  • While all branches of The iDOLM@STER remained popular with both girls and boys, it's the female-oriented THE iDOLM@STER: SideM that got less attention than its peers. Its rhythm game, Live on St@ge!, had noticeably inferior production values compared to Cinderella Girls: Starlight Stage and Million Live! Theater Days, which were aimed at a mostly male audience. It even lacked representation outside of cameos in THE iDOLM@STER: Starlit Season obstenibly about celebrating all main branches of the franchise, which caused speculation that the SideM cast was skipped because of fears their "girl game" background would have deterred fans of the PlayStation games. Granted, there's the practical reason that it would be difficult to implement the shared costumes if some of the characters were male, but they could have at least put Saki in there. Thankfully, Bandai Namco at least prominently featured SideM in the 15th anniversary celebrations, and made up for their snubbing by showing them alongside everyone else in THE iDOLM@STER: Poplinks. Live on Stage was eventually shut down and replaced with a new game Growing Stars, and while the gameplay, live2d portraits, and full voice acting was much better received, the mostly 2d visuals during the concerts caused some backlash. ...And then the game was unceremoniously brought offline with zero warning and explanation after only a little over a year of service in spite of being successful and profitable, with no replacement announced, leaving SideM with zero games.
    • THE iDOLM@STER: Dearly Stars was the first iDOLM@STER game to be partly marketed towards girls (it was heavily promoted in Nakayoshi) and is the only game in the series that allows you to play as an unambiguous female protagonist. Yet it gets treated even worse than SideM, as its tenth anniversary was completely ignored, and it was also shafted from Starlit Season. While Ryo was eventually added to SideM as a producible idol, Ai and Eri have been relegated solely to cameos ever since. iM@S has also never attempted a female player character since, aside from the Ambiguous Gender SideM producer who was made male in the anime anyway.
  • Nancy Drew was targeted primarily at girls, something that the game's developers and publishers at Her Interactive freely admit. Despite being an example of something that made it Out of the Ghetto and developing into a Cult Classic, gaming media largely ignored Nancy Drew through The '90s and into The New '10s.
  • When Dontnod Entertainment first pitched Life Is Strange, they were told by several publishers to change the game's female lead character Maxine "Max" Caulfield into a teenage boy instead, as they feared that the game wouldn't sell if it had a teenage girl as the protagonist. Square Enix was the only one who let them keep Max as a girl, so Dontnod went with them. It paid off, as Life is Strange became a Sleeper Hit that broke Out of the Ghetto.
  • In the latter half of The '90s, there was a field of "girls' games" pioneered by Barbie Fashion Designer and the developer Purple Moon, responding to what they felt was a growing male dominance of video games as a medium. The legacy of the girls' games movement is controversial, credited on one hand with revealing to publishers that there existed a large untapped female market for video games and making games that didn't revolve around killing enemies, but on the other accused of perpetuating this trope by creating an image of girls' games as being about fashion, relationships, and gossip.

    Visual Novels 
  • While Aksys Games is the one western company to consistently license the most otome games and many of their titles such as Hakuouki and Code:Realize have broken out of the ghetto, the company has still attracted some criticism and accusations of believing in this trope from western otome fans due to their tonedeaf and condescending attitude towards much of the genre and their own audience. Much of the advertisement for their otome titles are misleading and downplay the romance elements, and the company mostly localizes Darker and Edgier or more action-oriented otome games in order to not alienate a potential male audience while completely ignoring more lighthearted and flowery titles regardless of how popular they are or how much they're requested, a representative even outright dismissing these types of otome games in one interview. Reading some of these interviews, its apparent they seem to believe that any game that's "Too girly" is inherently inferior, which is utterly ridiculous as otome games by definition are a genre by and for women, and the customers for Aksys's otome localizations consist mostly of women. What's even more baffling is that Aksys does not treat their localizations of shovelware games aimed at little girls with this sort of contempt.
  • Choices: Stories You Play: Overall, the large number of romance novels with female-only player characters is a major source of criticism from fans, who believe these stories alienate anyone who isn't a straight female romance fan, while stories in which the player character's gender can be customized tend to be more well received. Fans also believe that in stories where women's issues are not the focus, there could still be dialogue variations that match the player character's gender.

    Web Original 
  • Bob Chipman discusses this phenomenon in "Really That Good: Titanic." While Titanic (1997) was overwhelmingly popular, it was also among the first works to set off a backlash in the newly-emerged realm of internet film criticism and geekdom. Chipman argues that the film is good enough to deserve its popularity, and the disproportionate amount of vitriol from those who hated it had little to do with the movie's quality and everything to do with who (they imagined) loved it: women.
    • In decades since Titanic, he admits this remains a bad habit of film critics — including himself. Like fellow essayist Lindsay Ellis, he now recognizes the sexism woven into the backlash against Twilight and regrets any participation in the Hate Dumb surrounding it.
  • Lindsay Ellis:
  • Discussed in the Todd in the Shadows review of Justin Bieber's "Yummy". While talking about the enormous amount of hate Bieber used to get, he said, "smarter critics than me have pointed out that only things teenage girls like get that kind of hate". However, Todd also believes some critics overcorrected and cut Bieber too much slack in response to the hate — he likes enough "girly" media that he's comfortable saying that Bieber's music really was terrible.
  • Sarah Z has discussed this in a few videos, particularly relating to Supernatural and Sherlock - wherein she's found it notable that some shows acquire a Periphery Demographic of girls and young women, and eventually start inserting Take That, Audience! moments (particularly when it comes to Shipping). Presumably this trope is the reason why. Sarah in particular finds it baffling that the shows mock the female fans to whom they owe part of their very existence.
  • Discussed in the Board James video about the board game Dream Phone (at least, before the Wham Episode). While the game is targeted towards young girls, the guys found it to be surprisingly fun and enjoyed themselves. Even going as far as to compare the game's mechanics to Clue.

    Western Animation 
  • Compared to the show, which was He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) with female main characters, the original She-Ra: Princess of Power toyline was far more Barbie-esque. Catra was portrayed as the Big Bad in the toyline while in the show, she was a subordinate to Hordak, who had previously been sold as a Masters of the Universe toy, and was portrayed as the show's Big Bad. This was all supposedly because Mattel didn't think girls would play with a Hordak toy, nor would boys play with a toy of a female She-Ra character.
  • Even though The Powerpuff Girls (1998) earned fans both male and female, creator Craig McCracken noticed that by the time the show reached its third season, it had spawned a disconcerting amount of girls-only merchandise. When Cartoon Network asked him to helm The Movie, he decided to bring Powerpuff Girls back to its action-packed, "whoopass" roots. The Darker and Edgier product received mixed reviews and made less money than any other movie of its year. The 2016 revival went on to fall quite deeply into the ghetto with its emphasis on girl power, saturated colors, and the overall Lighter and Softer tone.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The Last Airbender got hit with the merchandising version, with no female action figures even though girls made up a good half of the cast. What made this even more jarring was that male characters who only appeared in a few episodes, like Jet or General Zhao, got figures, but main characters such as Katara, Toph, and the villainess Azula went without. The creators of the show were not pleased by this.
    • The Legend of Korra, with its female lead, completely lacks any sort of toyline. It also saw some issues getting greenlit to begin with because of its female lead, the network only acquiescing when young boys in focus groups responded positively to her, calling her cool and powerful.
  • Parodied by Robot Chicken in this sketch, where the third Sex and the City movie has been turned into a ridiculously violent sci-fi action flick in order to attract more male viewers. The men whose girlfriends dragged them to see the latest Katherine Heigl movie certainly aren't complaining when this trailer plays before it.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Bart's Friend Falls In Love", Milhouse takes his girlfriend to the treehouse. When she asks if Bart has any girl comics for her to read, Bart says he doesn't but his sister has a wide collection of crappy comics.
  • In-universe, one episode of Family Guy features Lois dragging Peter to a Chick Flick, which he thinks might turn him gay.
  • Transformers
    • It took decades for the franchise to get an action figure for Arcee, one of the most prevalent characters in the long-running franchise. Likewise, she was hardly in the Michael Bay movies at all. Ironically, her limited screen time didn't stop a whole bunch of toys being released during the course of both sequels, despite her being in only the second. She even got one for the first movie, which she wasn't in! This seems to have put an end to the stigma of female character figures, at least for Transformers.note 
    • This trope in general explains the dearth of female Transformers characters in general until The New '10s. When the toyline first took off, Bob Budiansky, an author of the The Transformers cartoon and its comicbook counterpart, suggested the inclusion of female Transformers as charactersnote , but was shot down by Hasbro executives, who felt that girls wouldn't watch the show and boys wouldn't want to play with toys of female characters. This sentiment was also echoed by another major Transformers writer, Simon Furman, who felt that fembots made no sense since the Transformers were robots and thus had no biological sex. Eventually, however, it was proven that there were girls who were interested in the Transformers, and thus female Transformers became a thing, first in the form of a small band of female Autobot guerilla fighters on Cybertron in the cartoon, and then in Arcee.note 
  • DC Super Friends was made to advertise a new toyline, and featured the rather bizarre omission of Wonder Woman... and any trace of any female DC comics member. Since it was made to advertise a toy line, it was assumed that no boy would play with (or purchase) a female action figure.
  • In the wake of the cancellations of Young Justice (2010) and other DC Nation shows, Paul Dini revealed that the shows were cancelled because too many girls watched and girls don't buy action figures. During the interview Smith brings up the Fridge Logic of "why don't they figure out something else to sell girls?" Summary here and full podcast here.
  • Holly Hobbie and Friends is a pretty normal Slice of Life show aimed at girls but it's never really escaped the stigma of being exclusively for them.
  • One of the reasons Ōban Star-Racers had such a prolonged development cycle for an animated series was because investors kept demanding that the protagonist Molly instead be a boy, with the creator refusing to budge on the matter.
  • Rainbow Brite is cute and feminine. It comes to a surprise to many men who were adverse to it as kids how dark it can be.
  • Within a few episodes of The Lion Guard beginning fans have become worried of this trope. Despite The Lion King being unisex and being popular with female audiences, the series is presented as a Spear Counterpart to Sofia the First. Although female characters exist, few are major characters and they are severely downplayed; for instance, Fuli's first limelight episode was swapped for a Bunga episode, and the previews rarely include Fuli.
  • The short-lived Kids' WB show Phantom Investigators was cancelled after its first season because too many girls were watching, according to a podcast with co-creator Stephen Holman. The show was aimed at a gender-neutral audience and had an equal amount of boys and girls as the main characters, with the leader (Daemona) being a girl. Kids' WB was actually happy that there was a female lead; they wanted to gain more female viewers, as they were the highest rated block with young boys and wanted to get girls to watch as well. This worked, as the show managed to become number one in its timeslot each time it was on... but while the show gained more female viewers, it began to slip with boys. This was enough for Kids' WB to get rid of it immediately after only six episodes aired, as they didn't want to lose their status of having the highest ratings with young boys.
  • In 2006, Kids' WB became half-owned by CBS through the then-new The CW network. At the same time, AOL — then owned by Time Warner — became a co-sponsor of the DIC Entertainment-produced KOL Secret Slumber Party block on CBS. In other words, CBS and WB were joint owners of two different Saturday morning blocks. And yet, because KOLSSP was aimed squarely at girls with shows such as Horseland, Cake and Trollz, Kids' WB did absolutely nothing to help promote its sister block, even though CBS had been dead last on Saturday mornings since at least 1997 (and until KOLSSP had not aired a first-run show since 1999) and could have really used a promotional boost from the top-rated block.
  • Braceface: While the show is mostly aimed at pre-teen girls and the first season focuses on a lot of girl-related things, later episodes started to shy away from it, becoming more slice-of-life, character-driven and some episodes tackling heavier issues such as relationships (familial and budding), racism, ethical issues, homosexuality (Braceface aired in the early 2000's, making it one of the earliest animated shows to feature a gay character), and changes one's body goes through in adolescence.
  • One of the reasons that the Super Best Friends Forever shorts weren't turned into a full series was because Cartoon Network already had a cartoon starring girls. However, years later they greenlit a Spiritual Successor in DC Super Hero Girls (both led by Lauren Faust at that).
  • Winx Club was picked up by 4Kids Entertainment specifically to draw more girls to watch its Saturday morning cartoon block (something it and Tokyo Mew Mew succeeded at where Ojamajo Doremi failed). Interestingly, after the show was revived by Nickelodeon, it became Lighter and Softer with a focus towards younger demographics and the show became accused of Seasonal Rot.
  • This is one of the prevailing theories as to why Nickelodeon never picked up The Modifyers, whose protagonist, Agent Xero, is female.
  • While Miraculous Ladybug is likely meant to be a unisex show, a good majority of the merchandise is aimed at young girls (e.g. fashion dolls). Additionally, the female heroes have a tendency to get more focus in the merch than the male heroes — toys of Adrien/Chat Noir are hard to find, and Nino/Carapace is the merchandising equivalent of Bigfoot.
  • Much of the reason for the cult success of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, was due to people being shocked that such a girly show could be so good.
  • Infinity Train: Creator Owen Dennis stated on a podcast that the pilot was initially rejected from becoming a series specifically because it starred a female protagonist, even when he pointed out the success of shows like The Powerpuff Girls (1998), and was only picked back up when the Me Too Movement made the execs afraid of the channel being called sexist.
  • An Animated Adaptation of Phoebe and Her Unicorn was cancelled after a group of Nickelodeon executives feared that shows with female protagonists wouldn't sell well to boys.note 

Alternative Title(s): Girls Show Ghetto