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Out of the Ghetto

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"[The critics] will not have a pigeon-hole neatly labeled for it."
Father Robert Murray, one of J. R. R. Tolkien's mentors, on The Lord of the Rings

Ah, the ghettos of fiction. We're all familiar with them: cartoons are for kids (and comic books are for slightly older kids), SpecFic is for nerds, romance novels (and soaps) are for single women and housewives, black shows are for black people, rap is for gangstas, classical music is for snobs, new media, especially video games, are for unproductive deviants, printed works are for people with one foot in the grave, etc.

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In short, the medium, and to a lesser extent the genre, define the target audience. Entire classes of works are "pigeonholed" into "target" demographics, and woe unto any fan who happens to fall one day, dollar, chromosome, or lateral inch outside of these appointed bounds. Some works surrender and even embrace these holes, falling into unoriginality and Flanderization, so long as the money keeps rolling in. Then, you get something which blows away the conventional notions. A work that dares to challenge a genre's or medium's natural order, or even, dare we say it, threatens to expand its demographic! (Even if it's to retain viewers it already had.) If it changes perceptions of the genre as a whole, then it could even be a Genre Turning Point.

Often a work that breaks out of the ghetto (and its fans) will attract its own hatedom due to outsiders rigidly holding the ghetto lines while upholding their personal "definitions" of "True Art"; along with the genre's/medium's "normal" target audience saying that the work makes their (ghetto-compliant/sustaining) favorites "look bad" and/or employing No True Scotsman. In the case of a deviation to a long-running franchise, They Changed It, Now It Sucks! often comes into play.

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Remember ghettos are created by society, convention, advertisers and critics and have no bearing on how artists actually work. Artists actually draw influences from a wide variety of references and don't see their work in the way categories are created. Thanks to changes in society, evolving trends and growing sophistication (and vice versa) of audiences, this is very much a Cyclical Trope and subject to Popularity Polynomial. Contrast It's Popular, Now It Sucks!, wherein a work/creator who previously challenged established conventions accepts them to grow its fanbase or pocketbook.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Chi's Sweet Home and Chi's New Address manga and anime feature a female kitten as its the main protagonist, but the series appeals to both male and female viewers as opposed to coming off across as a "girls' show". In fact, it was originally a Seinen manga/anime targeted at men ages 18-40.
  • Sailor Moon, even though the show is sometimes thought of as the female answer to Dragon Ball Z, does maintain a fairly large male fan following, including male fans who don't watch it for the short skirts. As a Swedish fan-site puts it: "Saying people only watch Sailor Moon for the short skirts is like saying people watch Pippi Longstocking for the violence."
  • Pretty Cure is set on averting this despite occasionally throwing in girly stuff like characters who like fashion, being balanced out by the action and the solid Character Development. The fact that older guys like it and appreciate the shows' merits certainly helps.
  • Ghost in the Shell is one of the most influential anime on the Western market, and features a female main character kicking ass in a noir future.
  • Gunslinger Girl is a shonen series where most of the main characters are young girls. Young girls with guns but still. It's fairly popular for its depiction of child soldiers and its characters.
  • Ask any '90s kid growing up in Japan, and you'll probably hear they grew up watching Chibi Maruko-chan among other shows. One of the widest-known shoujo manga adaptations, and both male and female viewers alike know and love it for its relatable story and cast while being thoroughly girly from tip to tail.
  • Sazae-san is a series about the daily life of a Japanese housewife. It's also consistently the highest rated animated TV program in Japan and the longest running animated TV show in the world.
  • Just like their games, the Pretty Rhythm anime enjoyed a lot of success from both male and female fans. The primarily-female cast and adorable aesthetic of its shows didn't stop its songs from being performed at anisong concerts, nor did it prevent people from enjoying the competitive spirit in the girls' interactions.
  • Magic Knight Rayearth is regarded as a classic mecha and fantasy by fans of all genders. When Super Robot Wars T included the heroines and their Rune Gods in the lineup, people had been saying it was about time.
  • Michiko & Hatchin is one of the most mainstream josei anime. It received an even bigger boost after it was aired in English on Toonami. It's a story about a woman and her bond with a little girl, but it's also very action-packed, which has caused it to be mistaken for seinen.
  • Aggressive Retsuko is a series aimed at working women from a company that has a long history of catering to little girls and older teens (and has the cute art style to prove it), yet resonated with the Netflix crowd the same way animated series like BoJack Horseman did in its depiction of adult life and is hailed as one of the relatable show greats.

    Asian Animation 
  • For a long time, it was assumed that the only east Asian country that could make cartoons of high quality was Japan, with all others being in need of a foreign script to make something good. Then the South Korean adult horror/drama animated film The King of Pigs came along in 2011 and a lot of animation enthusiasts declared that this was one of the best animated films that ever came out.

    Comic Books 
  • Carl Barks is an example of an artist working on licensed Disney characters, jobs-for-hire and yet creating amazing stories that were popular and influential on the likes of Osamu Tezuka, Robert Crumb, Art Spiegelman, Steven Spielberg works which are written for children and yet entertain adults of all generations. The Disney Ducks Comic Universe revolved around Scrooge McDuck (created by Barks, not by Walt Disney) has had the kind of crossover success and influence that is really rare for comics artists, or people working in what would later be called Expanded Universe.
  • Superhero comics were popular among kids and teenagers of The '40s and The '50s but it was Marvel Comics that really raised the genre to have a crossover appeal with the counterculture, college-educated teenagers mostly as a result of Genre-Busting stories by merging superhero adventure with aspects of romance, coming-of-age, science-fiction and horror.
  • Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (with partial assist from The Killing Joke) was this for Batman. Before Miller, Batman was remembered for the campy '60s TV show and his comics were in a period of weak sales. Miller's revision of Batman was actually the crest of an ongoing wavenote  but his story, as Miller is fond of saying, "Gave Batman his balls back" and paved the way for the Tim Burton films, the DC Animated Universe, the Christopher Nolan films and the Batman: Arkham Series.
  • Alan Moore's Watchmen is the only graphic novel to be featured in Time Magazine's 100 Best Books of the 20th Century. It was seen as the work that raised the medium to the sophisticated storytelling used in novels and movies but at the same time using methods only possible with comics, and likewise using pulp superheroes and science-fiction tropes that used to be seen as the Narm Charm of superhero comics to tell a meaningful story about the human condition.
  • Neil Gaiman's The Sandman is a case of one ghetto crossing into another. Namely it was a comic book that merged elements from superhero stories, horror comics (EC Comics) and with a dollop of Will Eisner's The Spirit to tell a modern fantasy story that was as popular and influential as the works of Terry Pratchett, Lewis Carroll, and J. R. R. Tolkien. It caused quite a fuss when one of its issues won a World Fantasy Award, and the rules were changed to bar graphic novels. Gaiman's book also attracted attention from literary readers such as Norman Mailer, Samuel R. Delany, and others.
  • Art Spiegelman's Maus also demonstrated that comics could tackle subjects like The Holocaust and earn the same kind of respect and attention as Anne Frank's diary and Schindler's List.
  • The 2015 Jem and the Holograms reboot became a hit with men and women despite being incredibly female geared. It has a female writer, female artists, lots of pink and "feminine" colors, only a handful of major male characters, and an emphasis on romance, friendship, and family. Just like the '80s cartoon its based on it broke out of the ghetto.
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is quite popular with comic book fans and has a female lead. It's a horror take on Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
  • Marvel Comics' biggest breakout characters in the The New '10s are Kamala Khan a.k.a. Ms. Marvel and Alternate Universe Gwen Stacy a.k.a. Spider-Woman a.k.a. Spider-Gwen.
  • Supergirl was stuck in the Girl-Show Ghetto for decades. Even though she is one of the most recognizable superheroines in the world, she has never been on the same level of sales as her cousin, and her character is often disregarded and put down by people who never read her stories due to their perception of her being a "Superman with skirt/boobs", to the point that DC decided to kill her in the Crisis on Infinite Earths (in spite of her books having decent, albeit no great, sales). This situation started changing gradually since her reintroduction in 2004. She has starred in several comic-book series, cartoons and TV shows — including her own series — and she has become a kind of household name since then.
  • Being female didn't stop Jessica Jones from being the breakout star of Marvel's R-rated MAX imprint. Specifically, the comic she debuted in, Alias, was a success that sold the idea of R-rated Marvel comics. To this day, Alias still remains the most iconic work made by MAX and helped establish Brian Michael Bendis as one of the top comic writers in the business. Jessica Jones herself would be a fan-favorite as part of the mainstream Marvel Universe, and broke out of the ghetto again in the field of streaming (see below).
  • Runaways have always been popular with both sexes, and broke Brian K. Vaughan into the mainstream, even though the women have always outnumbered the men on the team. Traditionally, there are four women, two men, and a female dinosaur. This fact gets lampshaded a number of times, with the team sometimes called "Team Estrogen" or "Team Double-X". The fact that it maintains a broad appeal by focusing struggles relatable to women and men, and the humor and charm being applicable to all, is likely a major factor in this.
  • Y: The Last Man, although he has a man as his main protagonist (the only survivor of a plague that exterminates the entire male sex) the rest of the cast is exclusively feminine and it is they who after Gendercide make civilization continue. It is a fairly popular comic both among men and women and there are plans to turn it into a television series.

    Comic Strips 
  • Newspaper strips and funnies were always widely respected but it's generally agreed that George Herriman's Krazy Kat which was both a popular success and a favorite of the likes of Pablo Picasso and defended by art critics and William Randolph Hearst himself, raised the profile of comics to fine art.

    Films — Animation 
  • Fritz the Cat broke quite a few ghettos surrounding animation. One was the belief that only Disney could make feature-length animated films, and second was that animation was for kids.
  • The 1988 film adaptation of AKIRA is arguably THE production that freed anime from the ghetto, if only for its Gorn and Nightmare Fuel. Its story is also held in high regard, with many ranking it as one of the greatest science fiction/animated films of all time, showing that anime isn't just cheesy kiddie fare.
  • Chicken Run appeals to male and female viewers equally despite its female protagonist, the hen, Ginger. That said, Rocky took up a lot of the advertising — guess who's most prominent on the DVD cover — in part because he was voiced by Mel Gibson, the one "name" actor in the film for North American audiences.
  • Coraline received an exorbitant amount of critical praise. It also managed to make more money than some people probably expected — not only did it cast actresses both as The Hero and the Big Bad, but it also seemed rather surreal, and came out during the Dump Months. The advertisers didn't even need to make any of the male characters overshadow Coraline to attract people.
  • Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure has become a cult hit for Generation X-ers and Generation Y-ers of both sexes, despite roughly half the protagonist characters being female (with the male lead mostly reduced to a condescending "sidekick" role) and almost all of the antagonist characters being male. And of course, the basic story is more than a little indebted to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz — two other tales that have always been popular with both female and male audiences despite having a female lead.
  • Hayao Miyazaki's frequent use of female protagonists hasn't stopped his movies from earning critical acclaim. To this day Spirited Away is the highest grossing film of all time in Japan, and the only Japanese animated film to win an Academy Award.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls received much backlash from fans of the show it spun off from — itself an example of successfully breaking out of the ghetto — primarily because a High School A.U. with rampant Chickification for its diverse cast of female characters seemed like a step in the exact opposite direction. Many of those fears were alleviated when the film was released, helped by its setup reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz, catchy songs, and characters remaining mostly intact. Its Surprisingly Improved Sequels really helped shatter expectations with improved Character Development and animation, resulting in a sizable niche fandom that considers it a worthy addition to, if not an improvement of the series.
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • It seems that the Disney marketing team was nervous about Frozen, judging by the fact that the advertisements seemed to focus almost entirely on the two male Plucky Comic Relief sidekicks, and not the sisters the film was actually about. However the film was spectacularly successful at the box office, well-received by critics, and earned many awards including Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song at the Oscars.
    • Zootopia, like Lilo and Stitch above, features both a male and female protagonist, but the advertising made it clear that the girl bunny Judy Hopps was the central protagonist. It has also become the Disney Animated Canon's third highest grossing film, domestically (just below Frozen and The Lion King), and second highest grossing, worldwide (below Frozen).
    • Moana went back to giving Disney Princess-centric movies the heroine's name in the title, and teaser trailers that featured one of the original songs. Fortunately, it still managed to break $240M domestically. Since it marks the first Disney Princess movie since The Princess and the Frog with a cast consisting mostly of performers of color, this also counts as an instance of breaking out of the Minority Show Ghetto. However, Disney didn't officially refer to Moana as a princess until years after the picture's release; she insists that Maui instead call her, "a chief's daughter."
  • After the middling reception of Brave, many were worried Pixar would no longer make films with female protagonists. These people were proven wrong when Inside Out was released, which became one of Pixar's most successful (both critically and financially) films of all time despite having no less than three female leads (four if you count Riley, whose mind the film takes place inside).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Birth of a Nation brought cinema out of the ghetto of carnivals and sideshow attractions and cement it as a mass-medium greater than theatre, music hall and the circus, leading to a rush of investment in new productions by people seeking to make money in the movie business, and indirectly inventing Hollywood. Of course, its glorification of the Ku Klux Klan is indefensible, but as critic Dave Kehr noted, it was where movies as an art and a business truly began.
  • The Wizard of Oz is a fantasy film and a musical yet is one of the most beloved classics from The Golden Age of Hollywood. "Over The Rainbow" is an iconic song and Margaret Hamilton's Wicked Witch of the West is an instantly recognisable villain.
  • The Western as a result of Popularity Polynomial, Society Marches On keeps being updated and ebbing and flowing in popularity:
    • Stagecoach was the first western to attract the seriousness, critical attention, and commercial appeal. It was nominated for Best Picture but for a long time, it was the yardstick by which all westerns were measured against, including John Ford's later Westerns.
    • George Stevens' Shane, as well as High Noon, became the second yardstick for westerns as a serious genre. Both movies tried to create a more psychological approach to the genre which attracted it to a broader audience than the usual B-Movie westerns.
    • The '90s produced Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven and Kevin Costner's Dances with Wolves, both of which were 2 of 3 Westerns to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. They are also seen as Genre Killers, especially Unforgiven. Westerns were produced afterwards but practically no movie has had the critical and commercial success those films enjoyed.
  • Orson Welles' Citizen Kane is seen as the movie that brought cinema to the level accorded to theatre, literature, and painting. It was a movie with a form, subject, and theme that inspired more film-makers and artistic movements than any other, and it was heavily debated by intellectuals across all fields.
  • Stanley Kubrick made 2001: A Space Odyssey specifically to break out of the science-fiction ghetto and introduce concepts and ideas from modernist literature and philosophy. He was disappointed in science-fiction movies made before his film and approached it in the aim to raise its profile with a more realistic and enigmatic approach to familiar tropes: space travel, artificial intelligence, and alien life forms. Kubrick's eschewal of science-fiction World Building (space jargon, technology, alien species) was part of the reason why it had the cross-demographic success it did.
  • Horror movies used to be seen as lowbrow and pulp entertainment, opposed to family values and of dubious merit. Yet some movies escaped the ghetto:
    • Alfred Hitchcock was a Pigeon Holed Director who was usually associated with an elegant type of thriller featuring high production values and A-list stars. He was fascinated by William Castle's cheap horror productions, which were held in even lower esteem, and was curious to see if he could make a movie of that kind and raise it out of its ghetto. Hitchcock made Psycho cheaply with little-known actors and created perhaps the most commercially successful horror movie ever made, one of cinema's most iconic villains and launched the slasher genre, and also scored one of the few Best Director nominations he ever received.
    • Supernatural horror was seen as being dated but during the New Hollywood era, movies like Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist managed to attract mainstream success, and would feature respectable critically acclaimed A-list actors rather than B-movie stars. It achieved this by blending regular horror with religious themes and sexual imagery.
    • Carrie is a horror movie that has a lot of blood and gratuitous nudity. It's also held up as a classic and got two Oscar nominations in the acting categories.
    • The Silence of the Lambs had copious amounts of blood, gore, and disturbing sexual themes and profanity, and likewise having British thespian Anthony Hopkins in the role of an urbane villain (the usual Money, Dear Boy for such actors, cf, Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi). Yet, despite a February release and lack of fanfare, it not only won Best Picture but also netted Best Director, Best Actor (for Hopkins playing a Serial Killer, a role far away from the usual Oscar Bait), and Best Actress.
    • Scream (1996) is credited for pulling the slasher subgenre out of its rut, films at that point known for being very formulaic and attracting few viewers outside of horror aficionados. Scream played on many of the genre's cliches, made the killer's identity a mystery rather than defaulting to a stock escaped mental patient, incorporated humor, cast bankable actors, and was generally enjoyable for a mass audience and pulled in many more demographics, becoming the first slasher film to break $100 million.
    • 2017 gave us two big examples:
      • Get Out, a horror thriller by Jordan Peele about a black man visits his white girlfriend's family for the weekend and discovers a sinister conspiracy, was able to earn over $250 million worldwide at the box office on a budget of barely $5 million. It also earned top critical notices for its social commentary on Positive Discrimination, cultural appropriation, its endless foreshadowing and - unsurprisingly given who it's written by - its humor. It also became one of the few horror films to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture and even netted Peele an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
      • It (2017), an adaptation of one of Stephen King's famous stories about an Eldritch Abomination taking the form of a Monster Clown eating children and a small band of children who fight against the beast, was able to smash box office records in September thanks to a lot of hype, not much in the way of competition and excellent reviews calling the film one of the best adaptations of King's works ever. On top of that, it beat the records previously held by the aforementioned Exorcist by going on to become the highest grossing horror film ever.
  • Until The Godfather, gangster pictures and crime movies were seen as disposable genre movies, and famous stars who started their careers in popular gangster films such as Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney won critical acclaim, in their day and age, for their non-genre performancesnote . Yet after Coppola's film, an instant-classic and commercial powerhouse, gangster movies and crime dramas were raised in profile and esteem, and Marlon Brando and Robert de Niro won Oscars for playing the same character Vito Corleone. The film's multiple Oscars also led many producers to give gangster movies higher budgets and production values than previously associated. Along with The Departed by Martin Scorsese, Coppola's Godfather movies are the only crime movies to ever win Best Picture, and the only franchise to boast two Best Picture Oscars.
  • Star Wars is rather cyclical. In the late 1970s and 1980s, it was cool, then nobody remembered it. In the mid-1990s, Shadows of the Empire and the Dark Forces Saga introduced the world to the Expanded Universe. Then came cries of They Changed It, Now It Sucks! for the Special Edition and the prequels. On the other hand, the romantic subplot attracted a significant female fandom. And the Mandalorians have attracted a significant following in the military. Of course, Star Wars fans make fun of their own Fan Dumb.
  • Star Trek has Narm, Green Skinned Space Babes, an Anvilicious group of morally superior heroes, and a Mary Suetopia. The fanfic coined the term Mary Sue. The spinoffs use physics terms but have no idea what they mean, if they mean anything. Of course, it's going to attract a lot of hate. Then came Star Trek (2009).
  • Once, if you like gay romance, then you were either gay or a hormonal Yaoi Fangirl. And then came Brokeback Mountain.
  • Although the Turn of the Millennium saw superhero movies becoming more consistently popular and well-received by critics, they were still generally seen as escapist fantasies that primarily appealed to comic book fans and younger demographics.
    • Then came The Dark Knight, which offered a psychologically complex world and cast, and Heath Ledger portraying The Joker with such depth and menace that he managed to become the first person to win an acting Oscar for a role in a superhero movie.
    • And then in 2019, Black Panther became the first superhero film to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.
    • Joker was the first comic book-inspired movie to leave the Venice Film Festival with the Golden Lion and an eight-minute standing ovation, which led to an Oscar for Best Actor and nominations for Best Picture and Director. And despite being a grim R-rated character study drama with none of the "four quadrants" usually associated with comic book movies, it found a large audience that skyrocketed it past $1 billion at the box office.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road attracted critical acclaim unlike any action blockbuster in the last few decades by going completely against the mold. Its strict adherence to Show, Don't Tell storytelling, simplicity and use of Practical Effects set it apart from the others and gained it legions of admirers among both mainstream moviegoers and arthouse critics alike, and its feminist themes saw a huge Periphery Demographic grow around it, with many women finding it a highly refreshing turn from the usual cliches found in other action movies. This eventually led to unprecedented attention during awards season, including the Oscars, which gave it six awardsnote  and nominations for Best Picture and Director.
  • The Lord of the Rings is based on a High Fantasy novel that, while respected, would still fall into the ghetto. By the time the movies came out, they were worldwide successes — achieving unanimous praise among audiences and critics alike. Put it this way; before they came along, big-budget fantasy epics just weren't done. After their success (though Harry Potter deserves some of the credit too) — The Chronicles of Narnia, The Golden Compass, Game of Thrones — and a whole crop of others. Likewise other remakes of Disney properties such as Alice in Wonderland (2010) and Maleficent directly follow the style.
  • Teen dystopia literature is looked down upon (just read the attitudes towards Divergent and The Maze Runner). However The Hunger Games is out of the ghetto, the movies doing incredibly well with critics and audiences. They turned Jennifer Lawrence into a superstar in Hollywood and definitely helped usher in more films with Action Girl protagonists.
  • Titanic is a big-budget romantic epic that was one of the highest grossing movies of all time — and is the first film in history to win Best Film at both the Oscars and the MTV Movie Awards. The It's Popular, Now It Sucks! backlash came on pretty quickly, but the Popularity Polynomial has ensured that it's out of the ghetto.
  • The Martian is a sci-fi story that grossed well over $600 million worldwide and appeared in many critics "Best of 2015" lists. It was nominated outside the technical awards that sci-fi usually falls into at the Oscars — getting nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay.
  • Mean Girls is a teen movie about a Girl Posse in high school, with plenty of pink on the advertising. It's considered a 'girls movie' but that didn't stop it from becoming one of the most popular movies of the 2000s —- although not until about 10 years after its release —- and the Memetic Mutation turning it into one of the most quotable movies ever.
  • Pan's Labyrinth is a Dark Fantasy movie with Fairy Tale Motifs. When it was shown at the Cannes Film Festival it received a twenty-two minute standing ovation and now has a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Some of the movie's fans have tried to rationalise the fantasy elements as being all in Ofelia's imagination but Word of God says the magic is real.
  • Bridesmaids' aversion of this trope was a major factor in its success. A lot of the reviews praised it for being a female-centric comedy that wasn't a Strictly Formula rom-com, and apparently, a lot of moviegoers of both genders agreed. Female writers at Slate.com and other sites practically begged readers to buy tickets to convince studio execs to greenlight more female-driven scripts.
  • The Hunger Games received good reviews and hefty box office returns, in what the film industry calls a "four-quadrant" success, meaning it's popular with teen girls, teen boys, adult men and adult women, with male viewers accounting for 40% of its opening weekend business. Its sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, was the top-grossing film of 2013 domestically, marking the first time in over forty years that a female-led film, and one without a male co-lead at that, topped the domestic box office.
  • Similarly, while Snow White and the Huntsman didn't get the good reviews, it did rake in the box office for a female-led action film and it demonstrated a larger crossover potential in its audience. Notably, however, much of the advertising campaign downplayed Snow White in favor of the Huntsman to try and attract an audience outside the Twilight crowd. Even so, the one-two punch of these two films have been reported to have Hollywood genuinely considering female-starring action films again.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • The MCU narrowly averts the ghetto. The ensemble films still play to The Smurfette Principle, but the women are strong enough characters to stand out on their own. The Thor franchise in particular actually really depends on female audiences.
    • Ant-Man and the Wasp marked the MCU's first movie with a female title character, thanks to Ant-Man's Hope Van Dyne getting promoted from supporting character to co-star, and pitted a Gender Flipped Ghost as the duo's enemy. The movie went on to mark one of the few times an MCU movie series' second installment received better reviews than the first, and also earned higher domestic and international box-office grosses.
    • Captain Marvel finally featured the MCU's first solo female lead (as well as first female director, though Anna Boden split those duties with Ryan Fleck) the following year and proved to be another box-office hit, even outgrossing Wonder Woman (making over a billion dollars at the global box office whereas Wonder Woman failed) despite its titular heroine being not quite as well known. Speaking of which...
  • The DC Extended Universe introduced Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to much hype due to it being the character's first live-action film debut, and Diana being a highlight in the movie was one of the very few things critics and fans could agree on regarding the film. Her solo film, Wonder Woman, blew right past the Girl-Show Ghetto by becoming the first uncontested critical success of the DCEU, and is currently one of the highest rated superhero films of all time on Rotten Tomatoes. Financially, the film managed to top even Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice domestically despite a smaller opening weekend and the fact that Diana didn't get a boost from her more popular male heroes thanks to very strong legs.note  By the end of its run, the film had a domestic box office gross above the $400 million mark, meaning that it outgrossed many DC and Marvel movies along the way, including box office titans like Iron Man 3 and Captain America: Civil War. This, in turn, paved the way for the success of the aforementioned Captain Marvel movie two years later.
  • Star Wars:
    • The Force Awakens finally broke away from the franchise's Smurfette Principle by including several major and supporting female characters and having the very-much female Rey be the Force-sensitive hero, but it hasn't stopped the film from being a box office or critical success.
    • Rogue One experienced similar success, despite having a female lead in Jyn Erso. The Smurfette Principle may still be in effect here (besides Jyn, the only female characters of any importance are Jyn's mother and Mon Mothma), but that Jyn was still able to lead the ensemble cast is impressive nonetheless.
  • The Craft was a real dark horse when it came out. At the time, Urban Fantasy wasn't much of a mainstream thing, and most teen movies featuring female leads evoked Clueless in some way. Yet at the preview for the trailer, thousands of teenage goths and punks turned up — and the film grossed a surprising $50 million.

    Literature 
  • Don Quixote raised chivalric poetry and other heroic stories (regarded as the junk stories of Renaissance Europe) into high art, of course it did this by parodying and making fun of those legends but Cervantes did it with total familiarity with the genre and its tropes and in the process introduced readers unfamiliar with the genre to the chivalric stories, via "Weird Al" Effect.
  • Twilight is a more downplayed example. While still often made fun of and far more popular with its target audience than with any other demographic, the fact that the series was able to become a multi-million dollar franchise simply off the buying power of its fanbase has been cited by some pop culture analysts as being a contributing factor that's led to more female-centered fantasy/sci-fi stories being produced since The New '10s.
  • Who would want to be seen reading a fantasy novel in public? Grow up, you hopeless nerd. Harry Potter and Discworld don't seem to count, even before they were republished with somber covers to hide your shame. Before that there was Gormenghast and The Elric Saga.
  • In Victorian Britain, the reading public and their predecessors didn't really make the same genre-groupings that we do today, so by virtue of never having been ghettoized to begin with, the following works remain "respectable" despite inspiring later genre fiction:
  • Fifty Shades of Grey is one of the first openly erotic novels to break into the mainstream and to be marketed as upmarket populist literature, occupying the top shelves of high street bookshops.
  • For a while, it was popular in science fiction fandom to bemoan the "Science Fiction ghetto", until a prominent science fiction author pointed out while that he (and several other authors) had written books that had been mass-market best sellers, attempts by "mainstream" authors to write science fiction tended to bomb horribly. Science fiction was more like a place where members could freely leave and come back at any time, but where outsiders faced significant barriers to acceptance. In his words, "That's not a ghetto. That's a country club."
  • Carrie, Stephen King's Breakthrough Hit, almost didn't get finished because the author was worried that its focus on teenage girls wouldn't sell. Specifically the first chapter has the titular Carrie getting her first period, which leads to her telekinetic powers surfacing. It took encouragement from his wife and various female colleagues (who could relate to the material) for him to finish the story. The first film adaptation also broke Out of the Ghetto for horror, and got two Oscar nominations.
  • Little House on the Prairie is an American classic starring a girl as she grows up. It doesn't hurt that Laura is the most tomboyish of the three Ingalls daughters.
  • Land of Oz not only has a female lead, but also has many female strong characters and remains as one of the most popular and beloved fantasy books ever written, having a very successful film adaptation which is still well liked by modern viewers, disregard of their gender.
  • The Hunger Games is a young adult series with a female lead that sold well and got very positive reviews.
  • Honor Harrington is a sci-fi military series centering on a female starship commander. Of course, Honor is very tomboyish, particularly in the early books, and learning to embrace her femininity is a major part of her character arc in the first three books. The major story arc of the books would arguably play out the same except for a few key points (particularly the plotlines involving the male-dominated Protectorate of Grayson) if Honor were a male character.
  • The works of Tamora Pierce (particularly the Tortall Universe and Circleverse) are popular young adult fantasy novels with predominantly female main characters (only one of the ten main characters is a boy), and a heavy emphasis on gender issues.
  • While her female characters have never been much of an issue, J.K. Rowling was infamously told by her publisher that she had to use her initials because no one would buy books by a female author. Oh, how wrong they were.
  • Shana Festa, author of the Time of Death and At Hell's Gates series, runs The Bookie Monster website. The Bookie Monster has reviewed hundreds of independent horror novels, many by women, which lack typical romantic content. Due to the website's expansive following, she's been credited with helping break women horror authors out of the "paranormal romance ghetto" so to speak.
  • Nancy Drew is a quintessential children's mystery series and it has a female protagonist. It is possibly even more well-known than its Spear Counterpart The Hardy Boys. The video games also do fairly well but aren't discussed often in the gaming community at large, though that's due to their Adventure Game genre rather than Nancy herself.
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle was in the ghetto forever and ever, because despite being Sci-Fi it has a female lead, and a Puppy Love romance undercurrent. But The Movie has helped it break out of the ghetto thanks to its focus on the science of space-travel and the father-daughter relationship. Perhaps partially helped that laypeople have actually heard the word "tesseract" thanks to Marvel, whereas when L'Engle first wrote her book, it was a pretty esoteric idea even by the standards of hardcore sci-fi fans (since the theory was very new).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: Voyager tried to do this. It ended up with Magical Native Americans, a serious case of Ship Tease that ended with Chakotay choosing another girl out of the blue, and using physics terms whose meaning the writers either didn't know or made up as they went along.
    • Its predecessor Star Trek: The Next Generation was a much more successful example, earning a considerable amount of acclaim from fans and critics alike during its run, and is still fondly remembered.
  • True Blood has successfully become the most popular thing on HBO, and has almost unanimous critical praise.
  • Game of Thrones is a fantasy series, and when it first came out, doomsayers were running wild accusing its parent channel HBO of heading right into Network Decay and writing it off as something that would only appeal to the "nerds" (mainly males). It became one of the biggest pop culture hits of The New '10s, overtaking The Sopranos as the network's most iconic show and turning its previously obscure literary source material and author into household names overnight, and like its source material, gave credibility to the idea that fantasy wasn't just "kiddie fairy tale fare". It also gained a substantial female fanbase due to its focus on political intrigue and the three-dimensional female characters who occupied every space of the series' Grey-and-Grey Morality scale. Also helping was that the costumer Michele Clapton did a good job of taking the most attractive (to women) styles from the real-life Middle Ages and combining them. Of course, due to being fantasy, having attractive female stars, and having really cool battle scenes, it has a lot of male fans as well, some of whom are bemused to learn that girls genuinely like the show.
  • Clarissa Explains It All was groundbreaking not only in its content, but because it finally disproved the common (at the time) thinking for children's television - that boys would not watch a show starring a girl. Nickelodeon proved everyone wrong by making Clarissa - a smart, funny, free-thinking girl - the lead character and one of the most recognizable characters in that time period. Much of Nickelodeon's future programming, from The Secret World of Alex Mack to iCarly, also pushed tons of girls' merchandise in the pink aisles of toy stores - all without sacrificing boy viewers.
  • Melissa Joan Hart's follow-up series was even more successful in that regard. Sabrina the Teenage Witch was a 90s sitcom where the three principal cast members were female (Sabrina and her two aunts). Plenty of the episodes focused on girl issues (Sabrina's first kiss for example) and the most prominent male cast member was Salem the snarky house pet. According to Melissa, the network had very little faith in the concept and were astonished when it became a ratings hit; the show ran for 7 years and had almost equal popularity in both male and female demographics. These days, it's considered a landmark of 90s pop culture, and the love for it has just kept on growing as the years have gone by.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a successful, well-regarded TV show that had a female lead and, for a time, a majority female cast. Its fanbase includes a good mix of males and females.
  • Austin & Ally averted the Girl-Show Ghetto by using an equal cast of two guys and two girls, giving both the male and female lead important roles and singing time, making Ally an Adorkable nerdy girly girl and Austin a cute Power blonde to attract both male and female viewers with eye candy. You can take the viewpoint that the show is slightly shifted towards girls because Ally is just slightly more of the lead character due to Ally's music store being where the majority of the plot takes place and that it was Ally the audience was introduced to first. Not to mention, the show is more a vehicle for Ross Lynch than Laura Marano, thus why the Double Billing is not used in the opening credits. It's also notable for being Disney Channel's only live-action show with a male lead to launch since Disney XD broke off in 2009.
  • PBS Kids Sprout hasn't suffered for having female hosts for its "Super Sproutlet Show" and "Good Night Show" programming blocks, and the channel's mascot is Chica the (puppet) chicken, who interacts with both male and female emcees in the channel's signature "Sunny Side Up Show" live block. Her own series, The Chica Show, launched in 2012; her dress-up adventures therein have her in roles varying from princess to ringmaster to pirate to Wild West sheriff. (The secondary lead, Kelly, is also female.) The "Good Night Show" hostess Nina and her male sidekick Star received their own animated series, Nina's World, a few years later.
  • That's So Raven always managed to attract a decent male audience, although a lot of its supporting cast was male.
  • Orange Is the New Black is set in a women's prison and has an almost entirely female cast, but (rivaled only by Stranger Things) it is the most popular original show in Netflix's history; alongside House of Cards (US), it essentially built the streaming service's reputation for exemplary original programming.
  • Punky Brewster was another show whose female lead attracted a healthy audience of children from both genders.
  • Agent Carter was the result of a massive Smurfette Breakout, taking Captain America's WWII Love Interest and giving her her own mini-series, which lasted two seasons.
  • Marvel's next female-led TV series Jessica Jones was well-received and listed as the second most-searched TV series in the year 2015, not to mention earning numerous accolades. Overall the show was highly praised for its examination of misogyny and rape culture - all without alienating a male audience (excluding a vocal minority of gender reactionaries). And the advertising did not hide the fact that the lead was female at all. And even more, the vast majority of the main cast is female (eight females and five males, depending on how you count "major" characters).
  • Wonder Woman has a female lead and is a comic book adaptation made at a time when they had a mediocre reputation, but is a fondly remembered American 70s show and one of the few pre-1980s adaptations still widely discussed by DC fans.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess has two female leads but managed to eclipse its male counterpart series (Hercules) and is one of the most popular shows with a female protagonist.
  • Ugly Betty is a sitcom with an emphasis on fashion and a woman as the lead but was quite successful.
  • Charlie's Angels is an iconic 1970s show and even received reboot movies decades later.
  • Charmed may have had problems with this (as noted above) but it still managed to last eight seasons and was the longest running television show with female leads - until Desperate Housewives surpassed it. Although some seasons had a Gender-Equal Ensemble, female cast members frequently outnumbered the malesnote  and the show attracted plenty of male fans too.
  • Once Upon a Time's main cast features five women with about three or four males (depending on the season) and is very female-centered — where the two leads are female and seasons will usually feature prominent female villains. The show has an incredibly high amount of fans and has lasted for five seasons.
  • The Worst Witch was a TV show based off the popular series of children's books by Jill Murphy. The cast was almost entirely female — with males only appearing in recurring roles - and the show managed to last three seasons. Notably its spin-off, which featured more males in the main cast, did not do so well.
  • Gilmore Girls was about a single mother and her teenage daughter dealing with their struggles on relationships and career. The show is very known for its Seinfeldian Conversation, heavy use of clever, fast-paced wordplay, their Shout-Out on pop culture and its colorful cast. It had 7 seasons but the last one experienced Executive Meddling when the creators left the show after season 6 which led to a premature ending. However in 2016, a four-episode limited series was released on Netflix which gave closure to the series for good.
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has mostly broken out of the Girl-Show Ghetto. Much of its audience consists of men, which is unexpected for a female-led Romantic Comedy musical, and the series has critical acclaim and a good amount of awards. That said, it has terrible ratings even by CW standards, but it hasn't stopped the show from getting four seasons with which to tell its full story, and it supposedly does better on Netflix.
  • Westworld. Though the 1973 film it was based on focused on the guest played by Richard Benjamin, the show flips the perspective on the hosts as the lead characters and two of them are female hosts played by Evan Rachel Wood and Thandie Newton. While it is a science fiction show that deals with artificial intelligence, human nature, and philosophy which encourages the viewers to pay attention, it's popular among the female audience due to how they relate to the hosts who struggled against abuse from the guests and their quest for freedom.
  • As a show about a Boy Band, Big Time Rush was crafted with girls in mind, and it delivers on giving them four handsome young men to swoon over. However, it does so without alienating a male audience, as creator Scott Fellows brings in the same style of humor as on his previous show, Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide that kids of both genders can relate to, and the boys are given wacky storylines and dynamic characters to enjoy. Plus, like with Ned's, underneath the layer of zaniness, the show is mature and deep enough for adults to appreciate as well.

    Music 
  • Richard Wagner's idea of Gesamtkunstwerk was an attempt to close the ghettos of Opera and Classical Music, high and low art, popular song and high culture. His productions were the blockbusters of his days.
  • No one's quite sure when rock and roll became mainstream and respectable, but everyone agrees that The Beatles have something to do with it.
  • White rappers attract only suburban wannabe gangsters... except Eminem.
  • George Gershwin was obsessed with making American music respectable and had an inferiority complex towards classical music. Even if Ravel and Stravinsky for example, absolutely loved Gershwin's music and kept telling him to be "a first-rate Gershwin" rather than a "second-rate Ravel/Stravinsky". Gershwin was obsessed with creating an authentic American opera, and this led to Porgy and Bess. Thanks to Society Marches On, where Jazz has become High Art as has the American Musical to some extent, a lot of Gershwin's attempts at respectability have dated poorly compared to his authentic work as a popular composer.
  • Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone" was a raucous blaze through the ghetto of Folk and Country Music into Rock music.
  • Many Girl Groups have managed to break out of the ghetto and attract male fans, whether it be because of the attractiveness of the members or genuine liking of the music, particularly in the early 2000s when the concept had its heyday:
    • Sugababes got six number ones in the UK, and a total of eighteen songs to reach the UK top ten. Only the Spice Girls have had more number ones than them.
    • Girls Aloud found themselves attracting quite the Testosterone Brigade, with all five of the girls being featured in lads' mags. They had plenty of fans for their music as well, remaining active for about seven years.
    • Atomic Kitten nearly fell into the ghetto when they first formed (with a very Spice Girls-esque sound and image). Upon a Retool to a more wholesome Sweet Dreams Fuel image, they enjoyed some top ten hits and were a recognisable part of Britain's pop scene in the early 2000s. Their split was more to do with Natasha Hamilton's Creator Breakdown than anything else.
    • The Saturdays are a notable example of a girl group that formed when the craze was dying down and still managed to enjoy lots of mainstream success.
  • S Club 7 had four females to three males in the group but were never considered a Girl Group or fell into the ghetto. The TV show attracted millions of viewers worldwide without being considered a 'chick show'. Its formula was so successful that High School Musical and Glee were heavily influenced by it.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • The ban against and general decline of women in lucha libre didn't stop Chabela Romero and Irma Gonzalez, the latter sometimes under the guise of Novia Del Santo, from becoming quite popular in Mexico, to the point Romero is officially listed as the first national women's champion by most sources despite there technically being luchadora champions before her, the latter being a regular competitor for the UWA World Women's title well into her fifties, which helped keep some spotlight on luchadoras in the process. This allowed Vickie Williams, Lola Gonzales and Irma Aguilar to take up the torch in the late 1970s and mid 1980s, keeping women's lucha libre alive long enough for the ban to be lifted.
  • After roughly thirty years of struggling (as opposed to JWA for the men being established after ten), women's pro wrestling, or "Joshi," as it would come to be known, would hit the Japanese mainstream in the 1970s with The Beauty Pair of Zenjo. Zenjo would survive where previous women's enterprises had failed thanks to a boost from foreign companies such as the USA based WWWA and AGWA but Jackie Sato and Maki Ueda would prove able to draw crowds without any foreign aid to the point Zenjo ended up keeping the WWWA and AGWA names alive after the companies themselves had died back in the USA. Joshi would remain outside of the "girl show ghetto" for over thirty years following, especially with the even more popular Crush Gals coming in the 1980s, which would in turn lead to Chigusa Nagayo founding GAEA after she and Lioness Asuka were kicked out of Zenjo after their twenty fifth birthdays in the 1990s. GAEA successfully competed with Zenjo for ten of those years, resulting in a great market for joshi before financial mismanagement and apathetic networks unexpectedly did them in during 2005.
  • GLOW was a campy, ridiculous So Bad, It's Good TV show in the 80s that ended up being quite a hit. It was an all-women's wrestling comedy show. The majority of on-screen characters were women and it lasted four seasons. The only reason it didn't last was because the main investor pulled out, they couldn't find anyone to finance it and going on the road ate up their budget(lessons TNA didn't learn). While it's remembered as a Guilty Pleasure these days, this was still a time when women's wrestling was far from a mainstream thing outside of Japan.
  • Wendi Richter's partnership with Cyndi Lauper helped kickstart the "Rock N Wrestling Connection" and brought WWF to mainstream success. This helped draw in both male and female viewers, judging from the crowd reaction to the match at the first WrestleMania.
  • Despite Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling's open war against "The Japanese Mainstream", Hayabusa, Masato Tanaka and Megumi Kudo were popular enough to pretty much be considered mainstream themselves, the shocking nature of their matches aside. Kudo was special not only because her popularity was second only to company founder Atsushi Onita himself, but because she had been rejected by Zenjo, the only mainstream source of joshi at the time, yet managed to help FMW briefly surpass it in ticket sales and make the FMW women's division built around her and Combat Toyoda so frightening most of the Zenjo roster decided to cut their losses than try and get a cut of the FMW revenue through cross promotion. The women's division was popular enough to even have matches competing against and tagging with men in a country where simply having more than one gender compete on the same card was a rarity.
  • Xóchitl Hamada was largely responsible for getting luchadoras into the largest promotions during the 1990s and 2000s, first being one of the front runners of CMLL's world women's division when it declared its own world titles independent of the NWA, and when Reina Jubuki's ties to WCW caused the division to go vacant she jumped ship to AAA and entered a feud with the Moreno family popular enough to lead to the establishment of the Reina De Reinas, which couldn't have come at a better time since AAA's entry into the market was a key factor in putting LLI out of business (and scattering UWA to the winds). Lady Apache tends to be most credited in keeping luchadoras in CMLL after Hamada left and also kept the AAA women's divisions Hamada inspired going as she jumped between the two promotions.
  • In 2003 while critics were slating the WWE product as a whole, the women's division was arguably at its peak and nearly all the women's matches on PPV that year were praised as being the high points of disappointing shows. Both male and female fans have spoken up about how much they enjoyed the feud between Trish Stratus and Victoria which involved various hardcore matches. Also, Lita and Trish Stratus's match in the main event of Raw earned a 3.4 in the ratings department, falling in line with the show's average. Trish Stratus's retirement match at Unforgiven 2006 was also highly received by fans and critics being called match of the night.
  • While Lady Apache proved very valuable, when available, CMLL finally found the distinctly not Triple A star its women's division needed during 2005 in a rarely but consistently used luchadora named Marcela. Till then she was better known for her work in Garbage Wrestler fed Big Japan and was usually brought into Mexico when CMLL happened to book joshis, but this ended up working in her favor, as she turned out to excel in CMLL's largely gimmick match lacking atmosphere, her strong super junior like style being something most fans were not used to seeing, let alone from a woman. During her decade on the top Marcela was closely rivaled by Dark Angel (who got a comic book), La Amapola and Dalys la Caribeña.
  • TNA Impact Wrestling's women's division typically drew stronger ratings than most other quarter hours on the show, despite most of the women being amongst the lowest paid talent, though TNA eventually allowed the contracts of many members of its female roster to expire. Even after this, TNA was still the only national promotion in the USA since GLOW to run all women shows. While the Knockouts division has fallen from grace in the eyes of fans, it's cited to be because of bad booking and backstage politics rather than the quality of wrestling.
  • In 2011 CMLL partnered with the comparatively tiny fed REINA, which isn't even first on a joshi scene that lacks any national promotions, but Ayumi Kurihara left such a good impression with CMLL's fan base that it lead the company to create two new women's belts, bringing the total up to four when not counting those of the two strictly REINA divisions that also get showcased from time to time. Unfortunately Kurihara would soon start winding down to retirement but Chinese wrestler Ray and Japanese partner Leon would see their stocks rise while Karate Girl Syuri would finally get the break she'd been missing since Fighting Opera HUSTLE shutdown. Silueta, who had not done much of note in Mexico besides lose her mask, got a positive rub from being Syuri's Tag Team partner and their Puerto Rican antagonist Zeuxis surprisingly proved she could draw without a partner on a large stage.
  • The reality show Total Divas. Despite centering around the female WWE employees, the show has been a hit with high ratings for its debut episode and re-runs. It appears to have plenty of male viewers too, maybe due to also featuring top WWE stars John Cena and Daniel Bryan. In fact, the success of Total Divas has had an incredible effect on the main show. In an act of corporate synergy (and something of an Author's Saving Throw to avoid alienating people who come to Raw through Total Divas), they decided to fold the story-lines of the show over onto Raw, thereby giving a large numbers of their Divas a level of depth and dimension they didn't have before. Normally, there's usually only one Divas match and storyline per show, if that (usually some type of multi-Diva tag match with little buildup to simply use as many of them as possible.) However, the Divas are now threaded through the show all up and down the card. Alongside the standard Divas Championship between AJ and Paige, there's also the storyline of the Funkadactyls imploding (seemingly pulling Natalya and Alicia Fox into its orbit), Summer Rae and Layla being hilarious villains to Fandango (especially after the Unfortunate Implications of both of them fighting over him as Women Scorned was ditched and they instead team up to be a permanent Spanner in the Works), and the feud between Stephanie McMahon and Brie Bella even closed out an episode of RAW. The women's wrestling blog Diva Dirt believes women in WWE have finally hit the promised land.
  • The NXT Women's division has really broken out of it. Taking cues from the ultra-popularity of A.J. Lee on the main roster, NXT's writers invested hard in developing their female talent and started to give actual time for matches. Most of the NXT Divas (aside from a few base breakers and the near-universally despised Eva Marie) have been very well received. The likes of Paige, Emma and Bayley have become very popular with fans - male and female. The women's division is consistently praised as one of the highlights of NXT. The live specials eventually went ahead and began treating the women's matches as high profile must-see encounters. And a match between Sasha Banks and Bayley was announced as the main event of one - the first time a women's match had ever main evented a WWE PPV. This escalated in 2016 where Sasha and Charlotte not only got the first women's Hell In A Cell match; they were the main event of a main roster PPV.
  • When WWE re-introduced the brand split in 2016, the Smackdown women's division immediately became a shining light of the company. Multiple women's feuds and matches happened across the show, culminating in the 2017 Elimination Chamber PPV - where three women's matches took place on the show. What's more is that the Four Horsewomennote  were mostly all on Raw - except for Becky - proving that the fans could indeed get invested in women outside that foursome.
  • Evolution (2018), WWE's first all woman pay-per-view, while having some minor hiccups, was generally well received. Matches that particularly shined were Becky Lynch against Charlotte Flair in the first ever Last Woman Standing match, and the finals of the WWE Mae Young Classic Tournament featuring Io Shirai and Toni Storm. At the very least, it was considered leagues better than the male-exclusive pay-per-views that same year, Greatest Royal Rumble and Crown Jewel. For reference, Dave Meltzer's ratings in The Wrestling Observer Newsletter for Evolution was an average of 3.43, while the averages for Greatest Royal Rumble and Crown Jewel were 2.4 and 2.3 respectively.
  • Around the time WWE Evolution was in the works, Irish wrestling produced their Alternate Company Equivalent called Defiant - which was enough of a success to get a second show in 2019.
  • WWE's recent women's revolution peaked for the time being at WrestleMania 35 in 2019, when the main event was a three-way match in which Becky Lynch defeated Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey, taking the Raw women's title from Rousey AND the SmackDown women's title from Flair.

    Radio 
  • Unsuccessful attempt: Political talk radio is a right-wing medium, right? Certainly Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck would have you think so. Meet... pretty much all of Air America. Which failed to compete with Rush and co. and shut down.
    • Incidentally, Limbaugh himself is an (successful) example, taking political-commentary-based radio out of the droning doldrums and into the controversial and popular format it is today.note  Granted, the revocation of The Fairness Doctrine made it possible, but there still had to be a leader for everyone to follow.
  • Our Miss Brooks was a hit show, in spite of its star character being a spinster English teacher whose Series Goal was marriage to biology teacher Mr. Boynton Miss Brooks finally marries Mr. Boynton in The Movie Grand Finale. The show's humor was based on Constance Brooks' sardonic wit, as the only sane woman dealing with a cast of characters including Oblivious to Love Mr. Boynton, her Cloud Cuckoolander landlady Mrs. Davis, blustery principal Mr. Conklin, and comically dumb students Walter Denton and Stretch Snodgrass. In 1954, Eve Arden won the "Best Female Star of a Regular Series" Emmy Award for her portrayal of Miss Brooks.

    Video Games 
  • RPGs were for D&D fans and anime nerds, until Final Fantasy VII came out, as Animesque as it was.
  • Video games were for men and boys, until virtual pets and, a year later, Pokémon. Naturally, Pokémon attracted its own hatedom.
    • Pokémon also fit for popularizing the RPG with children.
  • Likewise with The Sims, which has also been cited as a major influence in getting women into gaming.
  • Building on the above two, the development of "casual games" and the Rhythm Game genre, along with the ability to purchase games on cell phones and iPods, made gaming a co-ed activity.
  • Batman: Arkham Series did this for superhero games and licensed games as a whole. After its release, its respectful approach to the source material but innovative gameplay and level design became the gold standard for all licenses, inspiring Middle Of Earth Shadow Of Mordor and other games in different genres. The tradition movie tie-in also declined in popularity and the idea of a licensed character separate from movie and literary source material has become the norm.
  • GoldenEye (1997) and Halo: Combat Evolved broke the FPS out of the domain of the PC enthusiast to the point that it became the biggest genre in console gaming.
  • Grand Theft Auto III via notoriety of its subject matter, innovative sandbox design, and subversive content brought more mainstream awareness for gaming as a whole than any other release and created a market for games for an adult audience. Later releases such as Grand Theft Auto IV and Grand Theft Auto V got mainstream success and critical notices in the leading newspapers that only movies and music albums ever got.
  • World of Warcraft brought the MMORPG into the cultural mainstream.
  • The Wii series of games as well as Nintendo's other Touch Generations games saw the demographic for gaming broaden outside the 18-34 demographic (though it had long existed in younger demographics as well).
  • During the mid-late 2000s, the Platform Game had gone from the biggest genre of the gaming industry to a much smaller role. You could try your luck with a 3D Platformer, but there was no way that you could sell a normal 2D Platformer as a full retail title... then New Super Mario Bros. happened. Arguably the Trope Codifier for Revisiting the Roots, as it was the first 2D Mario game in over a decade, it quickly became one of the best-selling video games of all time on top of receiving critical praise across the board. New Super Mario Bros. also sparked a line of sequels; the first of which repeated the same success on consoles (the original NSMB was released on the Nintendo DS handheld) and helped really kick off the idea of other platforming franchises going back-to-(side-scroller)-basics.
  • Mobile Phone Games in the West were usually stereotyped as being cheap, easy, cashgrabs (if they're licenced), and heavily Pay To Win thanks to many of them using a gacha format. Fire Emblem Heroes, being an RPG more in line with mainstream Fire Emblem games, doesn't seem to have that stigma attached to it, and remains one of the West's most played games.
  • After the Trope Naming reveal at the end of the first game, the Metroid series left the ghetto behind and its protagonist Samus Aran has become famous for being a badass bounty hunter for whom her gender is largely a nonissue.
  • For the Sega gamers in the early 90s who have played Phantasy Star I, the fact that the manual and intro are blunt about you're playing as the female Alisa Landale isn't even brought up as an issue. While it was released two years after the first Metroid game, the heroine's gender was out in the open, and unlike many games at the time who did have female protagonists, it wasn't just an Excuse Plot in a revealing costume. Alisa is a capable fighter, and any time a character objects to her coming along, they're soundly rejected. It helps that she's on a quest to explicitly kill the man in charge of murdering her brother, a plot usually reserved for macho protagonists. Heck, the most memorable characters in Phantasyy Star II and Phantasy Star IV are females. While they both end up dead, they're nothing but capable party members throughout the adventure and it's treated surprisingly realistically, especially for the RPG which tends to idealize this kind of thing. It helps there's other female party members who are unharmed.
  • The Nancy Drew PC Games run into the same problems of most "girl games," namely a lack of recognition from gaming journalism. However, that hasn't stopped them from being incredibly successful with male and female audiences (being one of the only surviving point-and-click adventures games still around probably helps), winning lots of praise for being just plain good and for getting girls interested in gaming and technology.
  • The Tomb Raider franchise has always been popular with both men and women. The first game is considered one of the seminal third-person action games of the 32-bit era.
  • Ms. Pac-Man is the most successful arcade game ever made, and is universally recognized as an Even Better Sequel to the original Pac-Man (which is a classic in its own right). The fact that it has a female protagonist doesn't seem to bother male gamers; like the original, it's made to appeal to gamers of all ages and genders.
  • Averted with King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella. The game was well-received at the time of its release by both male and female fans and got mostly positive reviews from critics, with praise given to the advanced (for the time) graphics and being one of the first games with a sound card support and one of the first games with a female protagonist. King's Quest VII: The Princeless Bride, which stars Princess Rosella and Queen Valanice, got a mixed reception, but the game had no trouble earning male fans as well as female fans. (On the other hand, the most poorly-received installment, King's Quest: Mask of Eternity, features a male protagonist.) Rosella and Valanice are both well-liked by the majority of the King's Quest fandom and have proven to be no less popular than Graham and Alexander.
  • The entire character of Sarah Kerrigan aka "The Queen of Blades" from StarCraft is kept focused on the character herself and less on her gender being relevant, leading to most of the scenes involving her during her own campaign focusing on her power and inner struggle with becoming a Zerg along with her drive for revenge to kill Arcturus Mengsk. Even her body design was given less attention to female form and more to an athletic build to attribute the fact that she is indeed skilled.
  • Splatoon advertising puts an emphasis on the female Inkling as the Series Mascot, the female Inkling was created first, a majority of fans use the female Inkling (even male ones), and the four main NPCs, the Squid Sisters (Callie and Marie) and Off the Hook (Pearl and Marina), that "host" the games and their story campaigns are women. There were even thoughts to only use female inklings due to the lack of strong female protagonists in gaming. Despite this the game became a huge Sleeper Hit for Nintendo. That being said, the ghetto is zig-zagged in the CoroCoro adaptations, as while Gender Is No Object in Turf Wars and the female characters play just as prominent roles, the protagonists are male Inklings. (And even that was a near inversion in the main one's oneshot days, as it was thought to be "just another silly gag spinoff for boys" before the serialization fleshed out the cast.)
  • While Shepard of Mass Effect can be either male or female, the female Shepard has a much larger and more vocal fanbase, thanks in part to exemplary voice acting by Jennifer Hale that was seen, especially early on, as far superior to Mark Meer's voice work for the male Shepard (though Meer is generally thought to have improved significantly over the trilogy). In a promo for Mass Effect: Andromeda, the voiceover by Hale is revealed at the end to be a farewell message to the expedition by Commander Shepard. Even BioWare seems to acknowledge FemShep as the preferred version of the character.
  • The Carmen Sandiego franchise is marketed using its main villain, a woman named Carmen Sandiego. It's one of the most popular edutainment series out there and Carmen is a Memetic Badass.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn, a 2017 Action RPG developed by Guerrilla Games, created worries among Sony execs that the game wouldn't sell well due to the game's female protagonist Aloy. Said game went on to become the second bestselling PS4 exclusive game of all time and the most successful new title launch in the console's history, in addition to garnering critical acclaim.
  • Overwatch has become one of the most popular first person shooters on the market, despite its mascot Tracer being female, and having a large female cast capable of kicking ass alongside their male counterparts.
  • Supergiant Games' Transistor wasn't advertised as a "girl's game" just because it has a female lead who happens to be voiceless. In fact, the reason of the game's success is due to the soundtrack, the art design and the story which earned Game of the Year 2014 nominations is various gaming sites.
  • Despite being all-male and featuring a lot of action, it was initially thought Touken Ranbu would be skipped over as a "girly" knock-off of Kantai Collection and be quietly left in the dust, especially since the boys were all very attractive to girls and had plenty of emotional moments with the player. Boys quickly learned the series had appeal for everyone, from the strong bonds between the swords, to varied character designs and personalities, to even the Fanservice elements of the swords and the series' various adaptations. The fact that one of them ] focused more on the action was just a little treat.
  • Portal is a game with a female protagonist and antagonist and a plot driven mostly by women, and its lead designer Kim Swift is a woman. Yet it's one of Valve's most successful and well received properties, and a beloved Fountain of Memes.
  • The Pretty Series games, for all their glitter, sparkles, fashion, and pastel palette, are just as well respected by male players as any gender-neutral or male aimed rhythm game. PriPara in particular was the go-to game among its target and massive Periphery Demographic.
  • Its competitor Aikatsu! is no slouch either, beloved by both demographics for much of the same reasons.
  • DONTNOD Entertainment, the creators of Life Is Strange, were asked by several publishers in the pre-production stage to make the game's protagonist Max Caulfield a boy instead of a girl, out of a belief that a female protagonist would kill the game's chances of success. They ultimately went with Square Enix because they were the only developer willing to let them make the game with Max as a girl. It paid off handsomely, as Life is Strange sold over three million copies and won acclaim for its story and adventure gameplay.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • commodoreHUSTLE:
    • The phenomenon of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: breaking out of the Girl-Show Ghetto is referenced in the "Pony Time" episode. Matt is already a fan, and is trying to convince the rest of the crew (four late-20s men and one late-20s Tom Boy) to give it a shot.
      Matt: Lauren Faust is a straight-up genius of our modern age.
      Graham: OK, I grant you the show looks very cute, but... it is a kids' show. You know that, right?
      James: Yeah, a girly kids' show, for girls and kids and kid girls.
    • Then, when they find out many of their fans are Bronies, they decide to do some research into the show to see what makes it popular. When Kathleen joins, she is not initially impressed, and comes up with "My Little Bear: Mauling is Magic".
      Kathleen: It's way better than My Little Pony. That's for girls.
      Paul: You're a girl.
      Kathleen: Other girls.
    • After watching the whole thing, it turns out that they all like it. However, they refuse to let Matt have the satisfaction of being right, even when he comes in and almost catches them watching it.
      James: We will keep this our dark little secret.
      Matt: What dark little secret?
      Everyone else: [stammering] Nothing, nothing, nothing at all.
      Matt: [incredulous] Whatcha guys watching?
      Everyone else: [stammers frantically, trying to hide the screen] Oh, uh...
      Kathleen: PORN!
      Everyone else: Yeah, porn!
      Kathleen: Dirty, dirty, filthy porn.
      Matt: Again? Jesus Christ, guys! [leaves]
      Everyone else: [breathes sigh of relief]

    Western Animation 
  • As the Animation Age Ghetto page explains, Western Animation was once an all-ages affair as complementary works to major movies, and this held true in the first decades of TV; this is why The Flintstones, The Jetsons and Jonny Quest aired in Prime Time in their heyday. Then demographics emerged, animation studios largely became separate from movie studios, and the dark days of the Ghetto began. This lasted for three long decades until The Simpsons aired on FOX. Subsequent shows upped the ante until you were sure you didn't want your kids to watch western animation... at least after sunset.
    • While television animation has seen some improvement (though a new stigma arose as a result), American animated film still tend to be categorized as children's works, with a side of All Animation Is Disney. Very few "adult" American animated films have been produced, and most of those are spin-offs of TV series. At least, that was the case before Sausage Party became an unexpected success in 2016.
  • While Disney had oft-been credited as the masters of the animation business since its heyday, resulting in the aforementioned All Animation Is Disney trope, the Disney Renaissance certainly broke many ghettos: animated feature films are now seen as huge moneymakers, critical darlings worthy of Best Picture nods, and they're no problem with getting considerable star power for their voice acting.
  • Cartoons aimed at female audiences have nothing to offer male viewers... until Lauren Faust's My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic gained a large Periphery Demographic of men 18-34.
  • Disney XD's was explicitly made to be the male counterpart to the heavily female-centric Disney Channel, but that didn't stop Star vs. the Forces of Evil from cultivating a large female audience.
  • VeggieTales broke out of the Christian programming ghetto, being one of the few Religious Edutainment shows sold in mainstream movie stores. It has proven funny and entertaining enough to develop a fanbase outside of its Christian target audience.
  • The Powerpuff Girls was able to avoid the Girl Show Ghetto and attract an audience of both genders. The show stars three girls with a bright pastel color palette, but the main reason why it averts the ghetto is, well, they whoop ass.
  • She-Ra: Princess of Power is an interesting case. She-Ra was meant to basically be the Distaff Counterpart of He-Man, but despite having a female lead and a brighter color palette the tone wasn't all that different from its predecessor, especially since the series has Hordak (technically a MOTU character) as the lead villain, whereas the toyline has Catra as the Big Bad. So it basically attracted most of the same audience that He-Man did, despite trying to be a girls' show. A girl who wasn't into He-Man probably wouldn't be into She-Ra either, but a boy who liked He-Man would usually like She-Ra too (unless scared off by the fact that it was supposed to be for girls). The rebooted series from 2018 similarly was successful with both genders.
  • Jem was also popular with male viewers but aimed at females. This is probably due to a mix of action-packed plotlines, mild fanservice... and initially debuting on the same show as Inhumanoids, ROBOTIX, and Bigfoot and the Muscle Machines.
  • Even though one of the two main protagonists is female, Cow and Chicken avoids the Girl Show Ghetto nicely and attract an audience of both genders. Though Cow's gender is a bit of a different example, since she's voiced by a male.
  • The two breakout characters of Bob's Burgers, Louise and Tina, are both female, yet if anything the show is much more popular with men than women.
  • Daria has a tendency to focus on its female characters more often than the male ones, but quite a few boys and men like it, too. It helps that it's a Spin-Off of Beavis and Butt-Head.
  • Kim Possible stars a well-renowned Action Girl with an incompetent male sidekick, yet managed to gain a rather large fanbase. This included male viewers.
  • Nicktoons were (somewhat fairly) stereotyped as superficial, immature, and slimy. Then came Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, which garnered critical praise and a devoted adult following, becoming the only two Nicktoons that people will make a serious case for being True Art. Both shows also broke out of the Minority Show Ghetto, and the latter out of the Girl-Show Ghetto. Part of their critical success relative to other Nicktoons might be due to averting the Comedy Ghetto, being two of the only primarily dramatic shows in the lineup. While the first series had a problem with the merchandising, the cast's gender ratio became weighted in favor of females during the second season without losing its male audience - in fact, most of the girls became fan favorites. This encouraged the creators to go ahead and put a girl as the main character of the Sequel Series, which absolutely nobody in the fanbase has a problem with. The creators admit that when first selling Korra Nick execs didn't want to greenlight it for fear of alienating male audiences. An interview said that when brought before a test audience of boys they "didn't care that Korra was a girl. They just thought she was awesome."
  • Pepper Ann had more focus given to the female characters than the male ones (though they had plenty of focus, too), but there are several male fans of the series.
  • Although merchandising for Dora the Explorer is almost completely aimed toward girls, the show is liked by young girls and boys alike, the spin off Go, Diego, Go! was created to sell toys for boys, but both shows are edutainment adventure cartoons where the protagonists' genders are downplayed or even hardly acknowledged. In recent years the series has had a sum of Girliness Upgrade but is still popular with boys.
  • Steven Universe not only has three female main characters with the title character being the only male, but Steven subverts many tropes associates with male heroes, such as having purely healing/defensive powers (also having a shield for a weapon, while his female teammates have purely offensive powers), disliking fights and preferring talking things out, being very emotional, sensitive and prone to crying, as well as showing interest in things that some would consider un-manly like cooking or romances. Still, the show has as many male fans as female ones.
  • W.I.T.C.H. has its fair share of male fans and is seen as a good, western example of a Magical Girl series. It helps in America that the theme was rock based, instead of the original pop.
  • The Animated Adaptation of Carmen Sandiego, Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?, features a Brother–Sister Team (with more emphasis on Action Girl Ivy instead of her younger brother Zach) on top of the titular female character being the series mascot but is a very well-liked cartoon with all genders.
  • Life with Loopy marked the first time an original animated series on Nickelodeon had a female character front-and-center. Series creator Stephen Holman stated that he wanted to make a show with a "tough little girl" character as there weren't enough of them leading in cartoons at the time the show was in it's early stages of production. And like the rest of KaBlam!, Loopy was aimed at a gender-neutral audience. The fact that the show had a female protagonist was also not played up in the series or in the advertising; it just played out like every other Nicktoon at the time (which were either male-led or had a near-equal balance of male and female characters). The show ended up gaining just as many male fans as there were female fans as a result.
  • The two Disney Junior shows that Craig Gerber created, Sofia the First and Elena of Avalor, both follow this, with the fan bases going well outside the target demographic of young girls. The latter's well-developed Spanish influence also counts as breaking out of the minority show ghetto.

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