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Go-Getter Girl

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You know someone who went to the trouble of individually icing all these cupcakes deserves to be Class President!
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She gets straight A's in her classes, while also taking charge of multiple school clubs and volunteering at a homeless shelter in her spare time. She's unfailingly polite to her peers, older adults, and younger children alike. She might not be a fashion plate but she never steps outside her home without looking perfectly presentable. Nobody doubts that big things are to be expected of her.

They are, right? Otherwise, it would be so frustrating for all that effort to go to waste!

The Go-Getter Girl is a young woman who devotes herself to achievements other than homemaking above everything else. The reasons for this might vary: she may have some personal goal she feels she needs to accomplish, she may be desperately seeking the approval of others, or she may simply enjoy competing against her peers and taking the number one rank. In any case, she's well aware of the effort that her path requires, but she's more than up to the challenge. She finds it easy, or at least manageable, to discipline herself to avoid distractions, and while others might complain about the expectations of superiors, she will do whatever she can to meet and exceed them.

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Despite all appearances, things aren't always as easy for the Go-Getter Girl as they may seem. All the discipline that goes into creating her persona of perfection may crowd out the possibility for spontaneity, fun, and other pleasures of youth. It's not that she doesn't want these things deep down; it's just that she feels that she doesn't have the luxury of acting on them. For this reason, while she might always seem completely put-together in public, in the few moments she has to herself in private, she's liable to let herself go and act like a slob and a slacker...or at least fantasize about doing so. At extremes, the pressure of maintaining her image can get to her, causing her to snap and turn evil or insane.

Tropes Are Not Bad. Although the Go-Getter Girl must deal with a certain amount of pressure, her personality also allows her to accomplish things others of her peers cannot. If she is able to find balance in her life, she has the potential to become a true leader.

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Romance is often a secondary concern in such a character's life; she's more focused on her future for the time being. If her mind does turn to love, she's liable to look for someone of a status befitting her own perceived value. In the case where she is secretly attracted to someone she sees as beneath her, expect a lot of furious denials and put-downs as she (generally unsuccessfully) tries to distance herself from her feelings.

If the Go-Getter Girl is in high school, she is very often a Class Representative or Student Council President, as well as focused on entering the Ivy League, Oxbridge, or Tokyo University. College Go-Getter Girls will be racking up internships and academic distinctions as they position themselves for an appealing job when they graduate. The oldest a Go-Getter Girl is likely to be in her late 20s or early 30s; by this time, if they have continued to stay on the path to success, they will have begun to take on real responsibilities and grown into a different trope.

Go-Getter Boys can exist, but they are much rarer. This may be due to the historical legacies of sexism, as discrimination has forced women to prove themselves in order to get the same rewards as men. For this reason, a boy with academic talents or personal charisma is more likely to focus on developing those traits alone, without the need to appear perfect in other areas.

Compare and contrast with Plucky Girl, a similarly strong and determined character type, but one that shows more comfort with breaking rules and flouting social conventions, as well as The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask, who has these pressures thrust upon her as a member of royalty rather than freely choosing them.

Compare also with Academic Alpha Bitch and The Perfectionist. Also not to be confused with female characters who work with Getter Rays.

Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Lafiel from Crest of the Stars does not coast on her status as a Princess, but instead desires to prove herself as a commander in her own right.
  • Hiroko Matsukada from Hataraki Man is practically an expy of Sumire. Same driven attitude to work (in practically the same job, no less!), same struggles with balancing work and personal life (and the fact that her professional ambitions have partially contributed to her being single in her late 20s), same issues with sexism where her co-workers value her contributions but see her as not feminine enough.
  • Yukino Miyazawa from His and Her Circumstances maintains a facade of outward perfection in order to obtain praise from others. Arima's accidental discovery of the girl behind the mask kicks off both the plot and her own path to self-discovery.
  • Naru Narusegawa from Love Hina, as demonstrated by her obsession with entering into Tokyo University.
  • Maid-Sama!: Misaki is a model student, a highly active and effective Student Council President, and works to help financially support her family.
  • Makoto Tsukauchi from My Hero Academia: Vigilantes is a college student working on her thesis, but at the same time she is investigating the activities of the Naruhata vigilantes, helping a wannabe idol singer with her stage debut, and managing a major superhero's PR.
  • Nana from Nana to Kaoru is so wrapped up in her quest for achievement, the only thing that can help her relax is a good session of BDSM.
  • Asuka Langley Soryu from Neon Genesis Evangelion wants to be this but, due to her traumatic background, does not have the mental health to do so. Her unprovoked rudeness to perceived inferior Shinji is an early sign of the desperation behind her driven personality.
  • Utena Tenjou from Revolutionary Girl Utena painfully learns the difference between holding an ideal of achievement and managing actual leadership.
  • Kyouko from Skip Beat! starts out as... not this, as she's dropped out of high school and sacrificed her entire life to take care of her actor sorta-boyfriend. Then she happens to overhear what he really thinks of her (disposable labor), and she vows to get her revenge by outshining him in show business. Cue her personality switching 180 degrees, as from then on, nothing will stand in the way of her pursuit of success.
  • Ayaka Machida in Stellvia of the Universe is extremely ambitious, to the point where she is ready to commit amoral and outright criminal acts to come out on top.
  • The Story Between a Dumb Prefect and a High School Girl with an Inappropriate Skirt Length: Student Council President Yamato Nadeshiko (yes, that's her actual name) is at the top of her class. Even as a kid, she was energetic and overachieving, pressuring Kaoru into joining judo lessons with her.
  • Sumire in You're My Pet is an interesting case. As a woman in her late 20s, she represents the older age limit of this type. While she is well on the way to achieving professional success, she finds herself facing multiple personal anxieties due to the compromises and life decisions she had made along the way. The epilogue shows a happy ending, where she has managed to combine a fulfilling career with a loving relationship, albeit with the very last type of man she would have expected.

    Film — Animated 
  • Zootopia: Judy Hopps was the top student at the police academy and even when she's assigned to parking duty on her first day she still gives her best to show what she's made of. She willingly works harder to compensate for her small stature and discrimination she faces as a bunny.

    Film 
  • Amber Atkins in Drop Dead Gorgeous. She's a good student, holds two jobs, volunteers at the anorexia wing of the hospital, and still has time to practice her tap dancing!
  • Tracy Flick from Election epitomizes the negative aspects of this trope, as her need for achievement is shown to get in the way of her forming meaningful personal relationships.

    Literature 
  • Eilonwy from The Chronicles of Prydain is very devoted to achieving excellence as an enchantress, and, like Hermione, can be somewhat snotty to those she sees as slacking off.
  • Beatrice Ragnell from Hands Held in the Snow is a quick rising junior priest set on being the best student in her entire school. Unfortunately for her, there isn't exactly much competition with her apathetic classmates.
  • Harry Potter: Hermione Granger is extremely driven to succeed, and sometimes off-putting to her peers because of it. She isn't content with acing her normal classes, she takes extra classes.
  • Quite a few of the girls in Enid Blyton's Malory Towers books take their turns at this. Darrell Rivers, Sally Hope, and Alicia Johns are the cream of the all-rounders; most of the other girls who stand out for their achievements are known for one particular talent.
  • Suzi Fitzerman in National Lampoon's High School Yearbook Parody is this. She is heavily involved in every extracurricular activity at C. Estes Kefauver High School, especially all the school spirit related ones.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Harriet Conklin from Our Miss Brooks: is a straight A student, Student Council President, and member of a number of clubs. Next to her boyfriend, Walter Denton, she's probably Miss Brooks' biggest Teacher's Pet. She's also seen as the only student who likes the principal, likely because she's Mr. Conklin's daughter.
  • Topanga Lawrence from Boy Meets World starts off as a weird Granola Girl, but develops into this trope as the series goes on.
  • Annie Edison from Community: her character was inspired by Tracy Flick. Although it hasn't worked out so well for her in the past (a disastrous Adderall addiction during high school) she grows into a mature and kind but still very driven young woman over the course of the series.
  • Andie and Joey from Dawson's Creek, with both of them, being part of troubled families and suffering from a terrible home life, consequently becoming ambitious overachievers.
  • Jenny Joyce from Derry Girls is an antagonistic example. She's a top student, the Head Girl of the class, does lots of extracurriculars like heading the school newspaper, and whenever she participates in a program like hosting an exchange student or giving gifts in a program to build bridges with Protestants, her participation is ostentatiously over-the-top. Of course, her intense perfectionism makes her something of the Sitcom Arch-Nemesis to the more slackerish protagonists.
  • Glee:
    • Rachel Berry is set on becoming a broadway diva, no matter what. She is active in every possible extracurricular and has straight A's.
    • Quinn also fits the trope - she studies hard, is captain of the cheerleading squad, and will stop at nothing to be prom queen.
    • Season 6 gives us Jane, a girl so ambitious she manages to turn an all-male prep school co-ed by insisting on her right to a good education.
  • Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation is a slightly older, but not necessarily more mature version. Yet another character on this list who was inspired by Tracy Flick.
  • Spencer Hastings from Pretty Little Liars. She has straight A's, is an Academic Decathlon champion, and plays lacrosse and field hockey. Eventually, she pursues a career in politics.
  • Sabrina from Sabrina the Teenage Witch becomes this. She is something of a nerd in high school and devotes herself to her ambitions of becoming a journalist.
  • Laura Palmer from Twin Peaks is a subversion. She does well at school, has a part-time job, a boyfriend, and regularly volunteers with a local Meals on Wheels... But the deeper the investigation into her death probes, the darker her life seems.
  • On season 2 of Veronica Mars, Angie Dahl is one of Veronica's rivals to a desirable scholarship. Angie dips into all of the bad aspects of this trope to get it, but Veronica uncovers her lies.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Phoebe in Zits is an extreme overachiever, who will do anything to get into the best college possible (it's implied she made a Deal with the Devil for a higher GPA). Viral is similarly an overachiever, but less self-centered and high-strung.

    Roleplay 
  • Irene from Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues. She's a highly intelligent girl who strives for academic success and already has plans to move on to university education. She enjoys being smarter than others, and can come off as strict, but also works hard at being gracious to her peers.

    Theater 
  • Ocean O'Connell Rosenberg of Ride the Cyclone is a classic overachiever (and the antithesis of her Hippie Parents). She's been president of the St. Cassian High School chamber choir for nearly four years, class president for two years, founded an "improvisational" comedy troupe with her best friend (whose routines were all tightly scripted, moral-heavy skits), and she planned to become the Prime Minister of Canada when she grew up. (Or she did, before dying in a tragic roller coaster accident her senior year of high school.) Through her humble-brags about having gotten straight A's since grade one and thinly-veiled scorn for her less accomplished classmates, it becomes clear that Ocean spent her life using her academic performance and extracurricular activities as a metric by which she could measure her self-worth.

    Visual Novels 
  • Rin Tohsaka from Fate/stay night. Drive to excel? Check. Need to present a perfect front to her peers? Check. Secret impolite, slacker side? Check. Willingness to put personal relationships aside in order to attain her goals? Check (sorry, Sakura). Luckily for her, she has a good heart and a resilient personality that sees her through even after running into setbacks.

     Web Animation 
  • So and So from Teen Girl Squad is obsessed with grades, extracurriculars, and perfection in general, to the point of insanity. In issue 8, Cheerleader's death makes her free to "overachieve like a bandit", which in her case means dressing up like a bandit and doing other people's homework without their knowledge. In issue 15, she had heavy involvement in setting up the Priggidy Prizom, stating that she was on every committee with a deranged look on her face.

    Webcomics 
  • Dorothy in Dumbing of Age has a plan that involves moving from Indiana University to Yale, then politics, and eventually becoming President. She appears to be torn about even the first step of that now that she's made friends in Indiana, though. She's extremely frustrated that this determination, and her genuine desire to help people, doesn't even get her the RA position, because more people like Roz than her. Her counterpart in Joyce's Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue" comic strip, Doris, is, in Dorothy's words "just a Presidency-obsessed maniac" (and is indeed President in the sci-fi stories the comic is a Prequel to).

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Azula is a good example of why this is a bad thing to be if you grow up in an environment that fosters inhumanity, cut-throat competition, and sheer unbridled ruthlessness. Not only does meeting people's expectations, in this case, mean being an abominable human being, but the need to throw friendship, love, and morality itself aside in the name of obedience and ambition is enough to cause mental instability at the first hint of a true setback.
    • Katara is a more positive example. At the beginning of the series, she only had a small set of self-taught waterbending abilities. Once she sees her opportunity to become a more skilled, she practically jumps at it. By the end of the series, Katara had mastered all sub-styles of waterbending at the time and served as The Avatar's waterbending teacher.
  • Edd (Double D) from Ed, Edd n Eddy is a rare male example. He gets good grades at school, is talented in mechanics, gets along with the kids (sometimes when Eddy isn't around), and has an active social life at his school (he is a journalist of the Peach Creek Junior High Tattler and the president of the Happy Clucker's club and the safety clubs).
  • Olga from Hey Arnold! is a deconstruction. While Olga has good leadership skills and regularly gets straight As in college, she is held to extremely high expectations by her parents. Also, she is driven to a mental breakdown over a B grade (which Helga forges, mind you).
  • Kim Possible. She started her own odd-job website with the phrase "Kim Possible: she can do anything." Now she's famous.
  • Twilight Sparkle of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Before the start of the series, her only care was perfecting her mage studies, actively shunning anything that could get in the way of that, which meant no social life for her.
  • Blossom of The Powerpuff Girls. "Power-Noia" revealed that she has a serious complex for being perfect.
  • Ready Jet Go!: Male example — Mitchell always participates in the events around town, such as the kid kart derby, the baking contest, the pumpkin growing contest, and the Earth Day celebration, and always makes sure to put in his best effort to earn popularity and prizes. He made a very accurate cake replica of Saturn V in "Solar System Bake-Off", down to the most minor details. He worked very hard to grow his pumpkin in "That's One Gigantic Pumpkin, Jet Propulsion!", and won a ribbon for the most perfectly classic pumpkin. In "Every Day is Earth Day", he performs a very heartfelt poem about the Earth.

    Real Life 
  • When extreme, this trope may be a diagnosable mental illness. Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (not to be confused with OCD) is "A pervasive pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and mental and interpersonal control, at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency."
  • There is evidence to suggest that even today girls at school are expected to be all-round perfect (for instance get good grades, be good at sports, music, and acting, have a part-time job/volunteer) far more so than boys, who are more expected to be good at just one chosen field, which leads to girls being effectively forced into becoming go-getter girls. This is detailed in articles like this one.

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