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This is a character contrast trope. Both female characters are decidedly feminine, but in different ways. The Light feminine is generally angelic and feels love. The Dark feminine is generally devilish and plays with desire. In the Tomboy and Girly Girl contrast, either type applies. When a love interest is involved, it's likely to lead to a Betty and Veronica love triangle: Betty being the Light feminine, and Veronica being the Dark feminine.

As with any two character trope, the two characters have to have some sort of relationship with each other, be it friends, family, love interests, or rivals for a love interest, so the two characters can be playing the traits directly off of each other.

The dark feminine character is not necessarily a villain or a whore but can also be half of a good girl, bad girl or naughty and nice pair. The Light Feminine, on the other hand, can show a less than wholesome side or even get some dark feminine traits. Remember not to put a square peg in a round trope, and that Dark Is Not Evil AND Light Can Be No Good at times.

Compare The Three Faces of Eve. The Spear Counterpart is Noble Male, Roguish Male.

Examples of Light Feminine and Dark Feminine include:


Anime and Manga


Comic Book

  • In Bone, Rose is the Light Feminine, while her twin sister Briar is the Dark Feminine.


Film

  • Batman Forever has Two-Face's molls, Sugar (Drew Barrymore) and Spice (Debi Mazar). Subverted in that both of them are "bad", and "Sugar" is probably worse because she gives The Riddler the cube with the information about Bruce Wayne's Secret Identity.
  • Black Swan: Discussed.
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: Russell is the Dark Feminine, while Monroe is the Light Feminine.
  • Iron Man 2: Pepper Potts and Natasha Romanoff/"Natalie Rushman".
  • Sunrise: The Woman from The City is the Dark Feminine (hedonist, cheater), while The Wife is the Light Feminine (goody-goody all the way through).
  • To All The Boys I've Loved Before: Lara Jean (light) and Chris (dark), also Lara Jean (light) and Genevieve (dark).


Literature

  • Gone with the Wind: Melanie is the Light Feminine, while Scarlett is the Dark Feminine.
  • The Jack Weyland book Michelle and Debra has the obedient Michelle as the light and her rebellious best friend Debra as the dark.
  • The two leading ladies in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Blithedale Romance. Priscilla is the demure, fragile, domestic (read: conservative) Light Feminine; Zenobia is the mysterious, sensual, outspoken, transcendental feminist (read: liberal) Dark Feminine.
  • In Animorphs, Cassie and Rachel have shades of this: Cassie is a down-to-earth Friend to All Living Things who only fights the Yeerks because she has to, while Rachel is a borderline-Dark Action Girl who honestly enjoys the war on some level, despite having the appearance and fashion-obsession of a supermodel. Despite all this, they're also best friends.
  • Ellony Leckery and Pharinet Palindrake in Chronicles of Magravandias, Ellony being a straight example of The Ingenue while Pharinet is something of a Yandere when pushed. Other female characters in the story, particularly those who fill similar roles or are related to them or are named for them are more balanced between the two extremes.
  • Antonia and Matilda in The Monk, as highlighted by Ambrosio's interest in both of them, their similar appearance, and the roles each of them play in the story.


Live-Action TV

  • America's Next Top Model — Most of the final two contestants count: Cycle 1's Adrienne (dark) and Shannon (light), Cycle 2's Yohanna (dark) and Mercedes (light), Cycle 3's Eva (dark) and Yaya (light), Cycle 4's Naima (dark) and Kahlen (light), Cycle 5's Nicole (light) and Nik (dark), Cycle 7's CariDee (light) and Melrose (dark), Cycle 10's Whitney (dark) and Anya (light), Cycle 14's Krista (dark) and Raina (light), Cycle 15's Ann (light) and Chelsea (dark), Cycle 16's Brittani (light) and Molly (dark), and Cycle 17's Lisa (dark) and Allison (light).
  • Arrow: Sisters Sara (dark) and Laurel (light)
  • Beverly Hills, 90210: Brenda (light) and Kelly (dark)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer — The two slayers, the responsible Buffy and the destructive Faith.
  • Dawson's Creek: Jen (dark) and Joey (light)
  • Don't Trust the B---- In Apartment 23 — June (light) and Chloe (dark).
  • Degrassi has the noble Emma as light and her best friend the provocative Manny as dark.
  • Frasier: Roz (dark) and Daphne (light)
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Hilary (dark) and Ashley (light).
  • How I Met Your Mother has the motherly, married, Girl Next Door Lily and the vain, independent, sexy Robin.
  • Jane the Virgin: Jane (light) and Petra (dark)
  • Merlin has Guinevere, the good hearted heroine, and Morgana, the villainess.
    • Though interestingly, Gwen is linked more with desire than Morgana, who (despite a couple of early Femme Fatale scenes) almost comes across as asexual in her complete lack of interest in men.
  • New Girl: Jess is the Light Feminine while Cece is the Dark Feminine.
  • Once Upon a Time: Snow White and Red Riding Hood. It's practically in their names!
  • Popular: Sam (light) and Brooke (dark); Carmen (light) and Nicole (dark)
  • Riverdale: Betty (light) and Veronica (dark); arguably also fits Betty (light) and Cheryl (dark)
  • Robin Hood had Marian as the light feminine, who was replaced by Isabella, the dark feminine.
  • Two Broke Girls: Max is the Dark Feminine, Caroline is the Light Feminine.
    • Lampshaded by Sophie, the title character in "And the Upstairs Neighbor", when she compares them to a chocolate and vanilla cupcake respectively.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess (dark) and Gabrielle (light). Granted, Xena was a Tomboy Princess, but in her first appearance she was also quite decidedly The Vamp.


Mythology

  • In an apocryphal Abrahamic mythology, Lilith (the first wife of Adam) represents the Dark Feminine — while Eve (Adam's second wife) is the Light Feminine.


Newspaper Comics

  • Non Sequitur: Kate is the Light Feminine, while Danae is the Dark Feminine.


Video Games


Western Animation

  • G.I. Joe Scarlett is light feminine while Jinks is dark feminine.
  • With regard to Northern Water Tribe social norms, in the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender, the dutiful, self-sacrificing Yue is Light Feminine and rebellious Action Girl Katara is Dark Feminine. However, Katara is arguably the Light Feminine when compared to the series' other Action Girls due to her unofficial status as everyone's mom.
  • Total Drama: Heather is Dark Feminine while Lindsay is Light Feminine.
    • Zoey is Light Feminine while Dakota is Dark Feminine. Zoey's rival for Mike's affection Anne Maria is also a pretty good Dark Feminine.
  • In the episode "Green Isn't Your Color" of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic we start off by learning that Fluttershy and Rarity spend time together at the spa every week. Rarity talks Fluttershy into modeling for her as a way to further Rarity's fashion career because nopony is going to have Fluttershy's elegance and poise. Fluttershy reluctantly agrees at Rarity's insistence even after Fluttershy isn't going to be modeling Rarity's designs. Over time Fluttershy becomes more uncomfortable with the attention but stays with it because she doesn't want to let Rarity down while Rarity becomes more jealous so much that she wants Fluttershy to fail and by the end they tell each other how they were feeling and strengthen their friendship.
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