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Magic Is Feminine

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"Ruby got off easy because she's a girl. And girls are special 'cause they've got magic."
Rock, Trollz, Field Trip

In many Fantasy settings, the female characters are more in touch with the magical or mystical than their male counterparts. Usually, this is presented as the Token Wizard(s) being female. It can also apply when the only one with a connection to the magical, mystical, or even divine is a woman (i.e. demigoddess, female vampire, ghost in a cast of normal or non-magical characters).

If this trope applies to male characters, it often does so when the male character is more feminine than other male characters or is accused of such simply for their association with magic.

This trope has its origins in the stereotype that women are more intuitive, emotional, closer to nature, and mysterious than men, and have their own set of secret rituals and practices that lend themselves to magic. Since Men Act, Women Are, this trope is much more likely in settings where magic is intuitive or inherent to the wielder rather than something that can be rationally learned and studied. Emotional Powers, Wild Magic, and Puberty Superpower are all "feminine" forms of magic for these reasons.

Because Women Are Delicate, having your female characters be mages is also a way to allow them to participate in combat without getting too physical, and as such, this trope often overlaps with Guys Smash, Girls Shoot. If the female magic user is paired with a male melee fighter, this can also result in Sword and Sorcerer.

This trope is often connected to Women's Mysteries and Puberty Superpower.

Sub-Trope of Men Are Generic, Women Are Special. The Magical Girl genre is essentially built on this trope. Super-Trope of Clarke's Law for Girls' Toys, the idea that girls are more likely to play with magic-related toys than boys. See also Unstable Powered Woman when the female character is unable to control her power. A female character falling into this trope can also be More Deadly Than the Male. This trope can also result in Gender-Restricted Ability.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach:
  • Claymore: Although you probably can't call them witches, the female warriors do qualify. They become half-human-half-yoma hybrids through an unknown process, which results in them developing superhuman powers and being able to hunt and kill man-eating monsters called yoma. There's a good reason they're all women — men who are made into such hybrids almost always quickly become Awakened Beings.
  • Izetta: The Last Witch: The eponymous main character is a fifteen-year-old girl and the last witch on Earth.
  • Little Witch Academia: While there are male magical creatures and muggles in the setting, the only human magic users seen throughout the franchise are female witches. Wizards only play prominent roles in stories of dubious canonicity.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Justified according to the series' lore. Kyubey's species only forms contracts with teenage girls (turning them into Magical Girls) because teenage girls are the most emotional of humans, and when they inevitably break down and turn into powerful witches, this emotion is channeled into causing entropy and destruction.
  • Rosario + Vampire: The only male witch seen in the series is Yukari's father Tamanori.
  • The Seven Deadly Sins: Merlin is the team's magic expert and is the most powerful magician in all of Britannia.
  • Soul Eater: Witches are shown though not acknowledged as exclusively female. The only male who uses magic anything like a witch got his power by stealing a witch's eye, though Giriko and the rest of his village have enough magitek to make golems and Body Surf.
  • Tweeny Witches: Although male magic users are introduced halfway through the series, one of them is the only male witch and the rest of them are on the brink of extinction as a race called the wizards. In addition, the male witch not only rarely uses magic but also hates magic, at least at first.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Yu-Gi-Oh!: One episode has Yami Bakura challenge Yami Yugi to a Shadow Game with Yugi and his friends transformed into their favorite cards. Joey and Tristan are the most traditionally masculine characters, being tough street fighters and former bullies; they are transformed into Flame Swordsman, a warrior-type monster with a sword, and Cyber Commander, a machine-type monster who resembles a muscular human male with a gun, respectively. On the other hand, Téa is the sole female member of the gang for most of the series while Yugi and Bakura are much less macho than Joey and Tristan. Yugi and Téa are transformed into the Dark Magician and Magician of Faith respectively, while the good Bakura is transformed into the spell card, Change of Heart.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds: Akiza and Luna are the only two female Signers and the only ones who can communicate with Duel Monsters and materialize them into the physical world. Akiza is even likened to a witch and has the nickname "Black Rose Witch" in the Japanese version of the anime.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Once Upon A Time: Moksha and Irendri are female and the only ones with mystical powers.

  • Avalon: Web of Magic: All the known chosen mages have been female: Emily, Adriane, Kara, and their predecessors Lucinda, Miranda and Sylvan. Although there are some male magic users, they are not as powerful.
  • Feliks, Net & Nika: Nika is the only one with telekinesis around.
  • His Dark Materials: In Lyra's world, witches are the only magic-using humanoids. They are an exclusively female Mage Species who bear children from human men; said children are also witches if female or regular humans if male. Male witches are mentioned to exist elsewhere in the multiverse, but only female ones are seen in the story.
  • Maddrax: This German series shows the folk of the 13 islands. The women there almost always have telepathic powers, which is one of the reasons why this folk is a matriarchy. In men, however, such forces rarely occur.
  • Miss Ellicott's School for the Magically Minded: In the book's setting, only girls are born with magic powers. In the town of Lightning Pass, girls are to attend the titular school to learn how to use their magic for the benefit of the town. However, when Chantel meets the Circle Of Mages, she sees that there are men among their ranks, and learns that men used to be born with magic as well.
  • The Mortal Instruments: Magnus Bane is a bisexual male warlock who wears glittering eye shadow, lipstick, and nail polish. He is the only warlock among the main cast.
  • Rick Riordan:
    • The Heroes of Olympus: Hecate is the Greek goddess of magic and the maintainer of the Mist that keeps mortals from discovering The Masquerade. She trains Hazel (one of three girls on the team) in how to use magic and manipulate the Mist to her own ends.
    • The Kane Chronicles: The books have the Polar Opposite Twins Carter and Sadie. Carter, the boy, becomes the host for the god Horus, using his newfound abilities to be a physical swordfighter. Sadie, meanwhile, is the host for the magic goddess Isis, which means that her role is to stand back and cast spells.
  • Split Heirs: Gorgarian women do magic, while the men fight. Thus they consider men doing magic bad, saying it makes them a "sissy". Hydrangean magic on the other hand is done by only men, and they are contemptuous toward women's magic.
  • The Wheel of Time: As a result of a curse on the male half of the Background Magic Field, men who can use magic inevitably become violently insane or die of a wasting sickness (in either order), whereas magical women have established some of the world's most powerful (and consequently, most distrusted) political organizations. As such, magic-using men are universally shunned as a highly dangerous aberration, while magic-using women are more widely tolerated if mistrusted.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Only one warlock is seen in American Horror Story: Coven, and viewers were left wondering what the status of male witches was and why there were none at Miss Robichaux's Academy. American Horror Story: Apocalypse establishes that they have a separate school from the female witches, and that while some of them such as the head faculty are strong, warlocks are generally less powerful than female witches on average, with there never having been a male Supreme Witch (i.e. able to use all seven of the abilities known collectively as the Seven Wonders) so far. Myrtle Snow attributes it to testosterone impeding communion with the spirit realms.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Starting from season 3, the female portion of the main cast tended to be more superpowered or connected to the supernatural than their male peers.
    • Buffy, Faith, and Kendra were Slayers, girls mystically empowered with the strength to fight vampires. All Slayers are female and the First Slayer was created by binding a shadow demon to a young girl's soul.
    • While Jenny Calendar wasn't a practicing witch, she did "dabble" in the mystic arts more often than Giles and was the one who got Willow interested in magic. In season 4, the gang is joined by another female witch named Tara.
    • Buffy's sister Dawn is a container of mystic energy created for the purpose of preventing the goddess Glory from returning to her home dimension.
    • Cordelia started out as a normal human on the show but became a Seer on Angel.
    • By contrast, no season featured more than two superpowered male Scoobie at a time. The only season to have two super male Scoobies was season 3 with Angel (a vampire) and Oz (a werewolf). Riley did have superpowers in season 4 but lost them. Spike was a vampire but didn't officially join the team until season 7. And Giles and Xander were Badass Normals.
    • That is not all. Magic seems to be more of a woman's business in this universe. Although there are several bad witches in both the series and the comics, you will see good witches more often, as well as powerful witches. Male witches tend to be either evil (Rack, Roden, Cyvus Vail) or morally gray (Wesley, Darrow Steele). Good warlocks are usually not very powerful (Michael, Jonathan). The only (known) exception is Clive, a kind hearted and powerful warlock.
  • GARO: All the Makai Knights shown in the series are men while most of the Makai Priests seen are women. Rekka resented the fact that she couldn't be a Makai Knight because she was a woman.
  • Motherland: Fort Salem: Male witches exist but are mostly relegated to building weapons while female witches do front-line work, and men are clearly the second sex in witch society. Some do get into War College but are outnumbered by the women. It's mentioned by Alder in the beginning of Season 2 that being a witch is transmitted along female lines of descent only: a male witch and female civilian will produce Muggle offspring and a female witch and male civilian will have children who are witches, although it's preferred for female witches to choose male witches as husbands as otherwise it's feared their children's abilities will be diluted.
  • Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation: Venus is the only female turtle and the only one who can use magic.
  • The Wheel of Time: As in the books it's based on, the male half of the One Power was tainted by the Dark One long ago, which means only women can channel the Power without eventually going mad. Usage of the One Power is overseen by an all-female organization called the Aes Sedai who, depending on which Ajah they belong to, serve as diplomats, advisors, healers, warriors against Shadowspawn, researchers, etc., and male channelers are hunted down to be "gentled".

  • Witch Hunter: All the witches in the setting are female. It is possible but very rare for a male to acquire the ability to use Mana. The only two male magic users or wizards as they are called in the series are Merlin and Tasha.


    Mythology & Religion 
  • Classical Mythology: Averted. Despite much of their literature focusing on female sorcerers like Circe and Medea, there's evidence that, historically, a higher percentage of men practiced magic compared to women. Additionally, mythology had several male magic users like King Aeetees (Circe's brother), Tiresias (who in addition to having the gift of prophecy was also mentioned doing at least some necromancy on the side), and Orpheus (who used Magic Music) to name a select few. And even though Hecate, a goddess, was the main magic deity, Hermes was also a god of magic and alchemy, in addition to Helios (whose children and grandchildren were often magic users, like the aforementioned Circe and Aeetees) and Hades (who was often invoked when attempting to summon spirits).
  • Norse Mythology: Aside from the fact that Freyja was the leader of the Valkyries and goddess of feminity, love and fertility, she was also regarded as the goddess of seiðr, a certain kind of Norse magic. In ancient Norse culture, men practicing seiðr were considered ergi, or unmanly, for doing so and greatly scorned, because this required receiving semen, which meant that one had to bottom while having sex with a man (being a top was okay, but they held bottoming is shameful). This is even brought up by the magical trickster god Loki in Lokasenna where Loki openly mocked Odin, the king of the Norse gods, for practicing seiðr after Odin had mocked him for shapeshifting into different female forms and thus bearing children.
  • Philippine Mythology: The shamans of the pre-colonial Philippines (today best known as the babaylan, but this is a Visayan term and not universal; various regions and ethnic groups and subgroups had variations like Bikolano "balyan" or altogether different terms like Tagalog "katalonan" and Kinaray-a "maaram" ) were almost exclusively female. Male shamans thus adopted feminine aspects in some way like wearing women's clothing. The sources don't go into much detail and it would be tricky to say the least to read 21st-century ideas of gender into them, but today "Babaylan" has been adopted as the name of a Filipino LGBT advocacy organization.
  • Scythian Mythology: Priests of the Scythians were known as enarei/enaree, and were described as men crossdressing, which most historians take to mean as a third gender category similar to the Hindu hijras or assuming a feminine identity for magical purposes (neither option is mutually exclusive if surviving Ossetian male pregnancy folktales are of any indication). Either way their patron was Artimpasa, so they were the ones calling the magical shots.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer:
    • Kislevites believe that only women can wield magic without being corrupted and that magic-using men will inevitably fall to Chaos. Thus, only women are permitted to learn and practice magic within the country, and men with magical aptitude are forced to leave Kislev or be De-Powered. This sometimes strains Kislev's relations with the Empire, which does not share this belief and trains both male and female wizards.
    • Bretonnian wizards are also overwhelmingly women, though in this case, it's because—save for a few scions of wealthy families sent to the Empire's colleges of magic—magically adept children are usually taken from their homes by servants of the Lady of the Lake; the girls sometimes return years later as powerful spellcasters... but no boy has ever returned.
    • The Dark Elves ban male elves from learning magic due to a prophecy that their king will be killed by a sorcerer, so they study only in secret. The only permitted male magic-user is Witch-King Malekith himself.

    Video Games 
  • BlazBlue: Konoe Mercury aka Nine the Phantom is considered the greatest mage in the world. She is also the one responsible for teaching humans how to use magic and is the creator of the Magic Formula (a force created by fusing science and sorcery) and the Arch-Enemy Event Weapons (weapons created to fight the Black Beast).
  • Borderlands: The Sirens are a science fiction example. They have magical powers (or rather the science fiction equivalent of them), only six can exist in the universe at any given time, and they are traditionally always female. Borderlands 3 does feature a male Siren, Troy Calypso, but it's implied he is the only one to ever exist, and his condition is a result of having been born conjoined with his twin sister Tyreen, who was intended to be the next Siren and Troy just took some of her power.
  • Castlevania: The games have four major clans whose purpose is to fight Dracula: the magic-using Belnades clan, the whip-wielding Belmonts, the Lacardes who prefer spears, and the Morrises who use a variety of weapons. The Belnades clan has only been represented by women in the games. In fact, the only playable female characters (barring Sonia Belmont who has been excised from canon) have been magic-using Belnades women and Shanoa who is a Magic Knight.
  • Chantelise: With the exception of the villainous demon, all magic users seen in the game are female.
  • Demon's Souls: Women in the setting have an intuitive understanding of the demons' (or rather the Demon's) soul-based magic, as explained by Yuria the Witch, and evident in the majority of powerful human magic users being female, from the Maiden in Black, through Maiden Astrea, to the Monumental. Men, by contrast, obtain their magical power from a long-term study of the souls (like Sage Freke) or from intense ritualistic practices of the Church (like Saint Urbain).
  • Dragon Age: Origins: The mage companions in this game are both women (Morrigan and Wynne). The series quickly moved away from this in subsequent games.
  • Final Fantasy usually designates the mage to the female characters.
    • Final Fantasy VI only had two natural mages, both females leads the Half-Human Hybrid Terra and Magic Knight Celes. Additionally the character with the highest natural magic stat is Relm, the token girl of the group. Two other male characters, Gau and Strago, learn magic-based attacks from monsters but their power is limited next to real magic.
    • Final Fantasy VII: Aerith is the party mage and on top of that the last of the Cetra, a race of people with the power to communicate and control the lifestream. The only other known Cetra is her mother Ifalna.
    • Final Fantasy VIII as the name implies only women, Adel and Edea, have the power of the Sorceress during the game, one of which is inherited by Rinoa. The other female characters in the party have magical Limit Break moves and are heavily implied to be Sorceress candidates.
  • Fire Emblem: Some of the magic-using classes, most notably Valkyrie are restricted to female classes. Specific examples include:
    • Fire Emblem Gaiden and its remake Shadows of Valentia: Celica starting in the Priestess class, which can also be accessed by other female units after promoting from Mage, and essentially is a Distaff Counterpart towards the Sage class aside from wielding swords as well. Celica can later access the Princess class after a certain event, which is a Lord version of the Priestess class. Additionally, because Monks were not in either game, Clerics have access to White Magic much earlier than male Mages. The remake also adds Overclasses for these, with Rigain being exclusive to Celica and giving her access to Aura, and Harriers allows promoted Falcon Knights to use magic, and Exemplar and Enchantress being exclusive to females as well.
    • Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War: Aside from featuring the debut of the Troubadour class line, the game's Queen class, which is basically a boss variant of the Sage, is exclusive to Hilda and Indra. The Light Priestess class is exclusive to Deirdre and Julia, and Julia in the final chapter can have access to the Naga tome, which is essential for surviving against the final boss.
    • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn: Micaiah starts out in the Light Mage class and has access to Thani, which is a Light Magic version of Lords' rapiers. Later, she can promote into the Light Priestess class. Sanaki also has access to the Empress class and has exclusive access to the Cymbeline fire tome.
    • Fire Emblem Heroes: Many female characters have alternate versions where they use magic even if they were purely physical units in their original games. However, there are very few male magic-using alts.
    • Fire Emblem: Three Houses: The Gremory, the most powerful of the purely magical classes, is female-exclusive.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep: The main heroes are a Fighter, Mage, Thief triad. The boys are the physically powerful Terra (the Fighter) and the agile Ventus (the Thief). This leaves Aqua, the only girl among the heroes to fill in the Mage role. While all three can use magic, Aqua has the most magically-oriented combat style, has exclusive access to the most powerful spells in the game and even her Guard is a magical shield compared to her male counterparts' actual Keyblade block.
  • The Legend of Zelda: While mages of both sexes appear throughout the games, Link and Zelda's dynamic has always been that of a Master Swordsman/Multi-Melee Master (who sometimes fights with a little magic) who saves a princess who possesses light magic of divine in nature. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword reveals that Zelda and Link are the reincarnations of the goddess Hylia and her chosen hero respectively, explaining why this dynamic recurs throughout the centuries.
  • Mass Effect: The asari are another science fiction variant. They are a feminine One-Gender Race and the only species in the setting in which all members are biotics while members of other species only have biotic powers due to being exposed to elements zero in utero.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Only the women of the Fey Clan can channel the dead. Phoenix's perky female sidekicks Maya and Pearl tag along because they can channel his dead mentor Mia. Phoenix's lie detector ability is even gained from Maya giving him a Magatama from the family home.
  • Sonic Adventure: Tikal, the princess of the Echidna tribe and the only definite female member that we see, is the only one who lives in harmony with the mystical Chao. Tikal also mentions that her grandmother was the one who taught her about the Chao. The other tribe members, who seem to be all male, try to destroy the Chao and their shrine, only to accidentally anger and summon Chaos, the mythical protector of the Chao, who destroys them all.
  • Too Human: Alluding back to Norse mythology, Thor loudly proclaims that the magic of the setting is essentially Clarke's Third Law, where control over technology and cyberspace are equated to being the "magic" of the setting. The belief that such skills are reserved for women alone is still mentioned by Thor, who prefers to just smash things with his hammer.
    Thor: Ha! All this talk of cyberspace and spirits! Superstition, I say! 'Tis women's work, Baldur! Leave it to them!

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Subverted trope. True magic is extremely rare and associated with the Maidens, four women who wield Elemental Powers that pass upon their death to any young woman who is in their final thoughts, or a random young woman if their final thoughts are about a man or a woman older than 30. However, the Maiden magic actually originated from a man, a legendary "old wizard" who was once helped by four kind sisters; in gratitude, he transferred most of his magic to them so that they could use it to help humanity. Humanity used to be an entirely magical race until condemned by the gods. Now, only two immortal humans from the magical era remain: the Big Bad and the Big Good. Salem has Complete Immortality and her full magical ability. Ozma has Resurrective Immortality; after he transferred his magic to the Maidens, the magic started passing on according to the rules of his reincarnation cycle, where his soul transfers to a young man upon his previous body's death. Unlike Salem, Ozma only has personal access to a fraction of his original magic because he split it with the Maidens.

  • Apricot Cookie(s)!: All girls (except Apricot) are Magical Girls, while the boys instead compete in a trading card game competition.
  • Homestuck: While supernatural abilities are ubiquitous and the extent to which "magic" is real is heavily debated in-universe, the Classes thematically associated with magic, the Witch and Sylph, have very feminine God Tier costumes and only female characters have been seen to hold them.

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10:
    • Ben 10: Gwen starts learning magic after acquiring Charmcaster's spellbook and serves the role of the heroes' magic expert from then on.
    • Ben 10: Alien Force: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" reveals that Ben and Gwen's grandmother Verdona is a member of an alien Mage Species known as the Anodites who can naturally manipulate Mana and that Gwen inherited her magical powers from her. Ben 10: Ultimate Alien introduces a female cousin of Gwen named Sunny who has also inherited magical powers from their grandmother. Verdona, Gwen, and Sunny are the only Anodites seen in the shows.
  • Castlevania (2017):
  • Di-Gata Defenders: Most characters on the show can cast spells using small, dice-like stones. Mel and Kara, the sole female Defenders, are the only ones with mystical powers unconnected to stonecasting; Mel can cast spells without stones while Kara's body is a natural conduit for Di-Gata energy, a fact which makes her a target for the Big Bad who wants to possess her body.
  • The Dragon Prince: Inverted Trope. The series features more male than female witches, and one of the female witches, Lujanne, can't even use offensive magic. One of the main protagonists, Callum, is the first human who can practice natural magic without aids and relies on his girlfriend Rayla to protect him while he casts his spells.
  • Justice League:
    • Wonder Woman is the girly girl to Hawkgirl's tomboy and is the only one of the seven founders with a mystical origin, being a clay statue brought to life by gods.
    • Later seasons add Zatanna and Vixen who are also more feminine than Hawkgirl and have powers related to mysticism.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Nightsisters and the Nightbrothers are two single-gender clans from the planet Dathomir. The Nightsisters are a Mage Species who practice a form of magic using The Dark Side of the Force while the Nightbrothers focus primarily on melee combat. Darth Maul and his brother Savage Oppress are the only Nightbrothers shown using Force powers. It is implied that the Nightbrothers are all Force-sensitive too, as Asajj was confident that any Nightbrother she selected would have the Force affinity needed to develop as a Sith, but culturally they are forbidden from learning how to use their "magic".
  • Teen Titans: Raven and Jinx are both female and the Token Wizards of their respective teams. Jinx is particularly notable for being the only female member of her team.
  • Thundarr the Barbarian: Ariel, the show's prominent Action Girl, is a sorceress. Her male comrades Thundarr and Ookla rely on an energy sword and brute force, respectively.
  • Trollz: Played with. In the present day, only female Trolls can use magic. The one male magic user is Simon, who is a gremlin. This wasn't always the case, however; in older times, before Simon messed with magic and made Black Amber, both genders could use magic. Two ancient male trolls who lived during that time are thus able to use magic in the show's present: Mr. Trollheimer and Spinell.
  • Winx Club: Most of the magic users seen in the series are female. The most prominent male magic users are Nabu (the Token Wizard of the Specialists), Lord Darkar (the main villain of season 2) and Valtor (the main villain of season 3).
  • W.I.T.C.H.: Most of the magic users in the show are female. Besides the Guardians, there is also the Mage, Elyon and the former Guardians.