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File:Real-women-dont-wear-dresses silent-hill 5621.png

Guess which of these women is the tough, competent one.

A woman is shown as weak, incompetent, and ineffectual in this trope unless she dresses and behaves like a man. A common variation on this is to present a woman as superior because she's "not like other women." Another variation is a Tomboy and Girly Girl scenario, where the tomboy is presented as superior.

We're just recording the trope, here. It happens. Between a woman in trousers and one in a dress, the odds are the trouser lady is going to be the Action Girl of the pair and the one in the dress is going to end up being a Damsel in Distress. Subversions exist, of course, especially in more recent works since third wave "Girl Power" feminism. Many of the straight examples are from older works when having proactive female characters at all was fairly edgy.

See also Pink Means Feminine, Acceptable Feminine Goals.

Contrast Kicking Ass in All Her Finery.

Examples of Real Women Don't Wear Dresses include:

Anime and Manga


 Jadeite: Can’t you do anything without the help of a man? Women are such foolish creatures in the end!

Mars: Hah! Only old men think that they’re better than women in these days!

Mercury: That’s right! Scorning women is positively feudalistic!

Moon: Down with sexual discrimination!

The three: We must fight against Jadeite, that arrogant man!

    • Famously, the series itself averts this. While most of the girls have feminine aspects, it doesn't make them weaker or less strong, instead making femininity and powerful females (both physically and mentally) as one of the main aspects of the series. it's rather telling that Usagi's transformation trinkets, the ones that give her her powers, are all based on jewelry, and the girls shout out "make-up!" as they transform.
    • Not to mention, even the most tomboyish character (Makoto/Lita/Jupiter) is still relatively feminine, and unlike in the Tomboy and Girly Girl trope, she isn't portrayed as "superior" to the other girls just because she's tough and a little butch. Same goes for Haruka/Amara/Uranus.
  • Kanae aka Moko on Skip Beat deliberately calls out Kyouko when they meet, only because she perceives Kyouko as a "housewife"-type of woman who shouldn't stay near show business. Even later in the manga, when both have a kind-of-friendship and Kyouko has shown how scarily competent she can be when acting, Kanae still feels uncomfortable with Kyouko due to her own perceived contradiction between being able to do any domestic chores and being an reputed actress and entertainer. There is a twist though: Kanae also acts as a housewife for her own very large family, as her parents are always traveling and her older brothers are no help, and seeing Kyoko reminded her of herself. Kanae's type of housewifing is more like an extreme sport and it's kind of easy to understand why she is so annoyed by it.
  • In Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z, Buttercup is shown to be reluctant to join the group because it would require her to wear a skirt. Later she breaks her own code by wearing one in order to get the attention of a boy she has a crush on, but realizes that she prefers her boyfriend to like her as she is and not for what she pretends to be. Despite the fact that she isn't complaining about the skirt anymore, don't mention it to Buttercup. Just don't.
    • Simultaneously averted by the other girls who, despite being more feminine, are not shown to be any weaker or less determined, just having different personalities.
  • Fate Stay Night deconstructs this trope with Lady of War Saber. She pretended to be a man and fought on the front lines of battle for all of her human life. At some level she never really wanted to do these things, but she accepted them because they were her duty as King Arthur. As a result, though, she has no sense of self-worth, and can only feel fulfilled by serving other people. The main character Shirou realizes that even though she is a supremely skilled warrior, she would be happier if she didn't force herself to fight.
    • Let's not forget Rin Tohsaka, who wears her hair in Girlish Pigtails and uses skirt-based Zettai Ryouiki. And she manages to both be pretty and badass.
    • A recurring element in the Nasuverse is extremely powerful females (often most powerful in the series), both physically and mentally, with big responsibilities. Nonetheless, every single one of them wears either a dress, a skirt, a kimono, or some kind of dressy attire. The only exceptions are the Aozaki sisters and Rider in her casual clothing (though Aoko does wear a skirt as part of her school uniform in her younger days). The dresses do nothing to diminish their strength as a character though, and most have better things to worry about then what it is they are wearing and petty gender wars on dress codes, with the exception of Saber since her battle dress does provide her with protection.
  • Subverted and averted as all hell with Roberta from Black Lagoon. This woman is practically the embodiment of Badass, wears her hair in braids, and has a maid dress on 95% of the time. And her motherly/sisterly love for Garcia, the child she takes care of, is one of her defining traits... and one of the reasons why she is so badass.
  • Beautifully averted in Saiunkoku Monogatari. Female lead Shuurei is able to be successful in a male-dominated society through brains and hard work, and she's allowed to be as feminine as she wants while she's doing it. When Shuurei prepares to take the Imperial Examinations in the hopes of becoming the first woman to qualify to hold government office, her erstwhile employer and sometimes mentor gives her the gift of a fully-stocked cosmetics case, to remind her to see her femininity as a strength.
  • In Freezing, it's interesting to try to apply this trope to the main character, Sattelizer L. Bridgette. As a child, she was sexually abused by her half-brother, resulting in her having a paralyzing fear of being touched. At her mother's deathbed, she was told to never give up and not take shit from anyone any longer, and a little later on she became a Super Soldier Action Girl. However, rather that this solving all her problems as per this trope, this in fact did not help at all, as this did nothing for her fear and resulting in her savagely beating the crap out of anyone who came close to her, causing her to be feared and hated by all. It's only when she falls in love with a male, Aoi Kazuya, the first guy to be nice to her, that she slowly starts to get over her problems and work on them.
  • Averted with Izumi Curtis from Fullmetal Alchemist, who is one of the most terrifyingly badass characters in the manga despite dressing in an unelaborate feminine way and proudly describing herself as a "Housewife".
  • Rico in Gunslinger Girl isn't used to wearing dresses. When she's forced to wear a dress in order to move unnoticed in an opera house in order to assassinate her target she says that a dress is "too loose." It may be more understandable in her case: she loathes the idea of being restrained in any way since she's an ex Ill Girl who was in an hospital bed for years.
  • Inverted with Pao-Lin aka Dragon Kid of Tiger and Bunny, who is being pressured to act less masculine because her corporate sponsor thinks it would make her more popular. In the Grand Finale she wears a sundress and hairclips, but it's less about sponsors and much more about just looking nice while going out with Mom and Dad.
  • Averted with Hungary from Axis Powers Hetalia. Though usually seen in skirts and dresses (unless in uniform), she's very much competent in kicking ass, if not even manlier than some of the male characters.
  • Arguably subverted with Tashigi in One Piece. She is tomboyish in looks and personality and cares about being respected as a fighter but as far as being on-screen, she isn't as effective as certain other females who embrace their beauty and femininity, such as Robin and especially Boa Hancock. Though post-timeskip, this may have changed since the first thing she is seen doing is deflecting a cannonball.
    • Averted with Miss Monday, who is a very muscular woman but likes wearing dresses.

Comic Books

  • The creation of Wonder Woman was William Moulton Marston's attempt to address this in society:

  "Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don't want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women's strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman."

  • Parodied in Rick Veitch's Brat Pack, with Straw Feminist superhero Moon Maiden. As she teaches her sidekick Lunar Lass, emotion and weakness are one and the same to warrior women. Attachments and relationships are for little girls and weaklings. When Lunar Lass gets pregnant, Moon Maiden freaks and speechifies about how a warrior woman needs no one, especially not a child. So she forces her to give herself an abortion with a wire hanger because she can't be a strong or respectable woman if she has a baby.
  • Parodied as early as the 1950s, with "perfect little lady" Janie Jackson being teased and compared unfavorably to the superheroine Tomboy ("That's what I call a real girl!") by her older brother, who never realised that Janie and Tomboy were the same person.
  • In the case of the Argentinian comic strip Mafalda, while Mafalda's ideas on women's rights were advanced by the standards of The Sixties and The Seventies, they come as more rude and stuck-up than well-intentioned to modern readers. Specially when she constantly and very rudely tells her Housewife mother Raquel that she's "useless" and "mediocre" because she chose to raise Mafalda at home than juggle with work/college and motherhood.
  • Subverted in the furry comic, Albedo: Erma Felna EDF , where the title character, a scrupulously professional female military officer who has had to deal with sexist opposition at work, is convinced by her vivacious friend, Toki, to go shopping. In doing so, Erma finds that occasionally engaging such feminine activities like getting and wearing a sexy dress to attract the attentions of males is fun to do sometimes on her off time. However, she and Toki are no less Badasses for their fun considering the second they spot a potential terrorist, they instantly have him covered with their own guns.
  • Averted with Mary Jane Watson, the wife of Spider-Man. A model/actress who is never seen out of tight formfitting clothing, and often repairs Peter's suit and tends to his injuries. She also once beat the Chameleon half to death with a baseball bat. And a rapist with a cue stick. And shot Green Goblin. And learnt how to fight from many different trainers, one of which was Captain America himself. In short, MJ is a very feminine and loving wife, but is also very Badass for a model with a reputation for getting kidnapped.


  • Casey's mother from the Disney film Ice Princess says, "I know ice skating requires a great deal of athleticism and skill, but I just can't get past the twinky little outfits." Never mind that male ice skaters wear outfits that are almost as "twinky" and in some cases even "twinkier". Note that the mother is saying this about a sport that is dangerous on the level of gymnastics (with metal blades!). This being a Disney film, by the end of the movie the mother realizes she was wrong.
  • Twister has the love triangle between Bill Harding's estranged wife, a down-to-earth country woman, and his stylish (for the 90s anyway) new fiance. Guess who handles the tornadoes better.


  • If you want to recognize this trope in romantic novels and/or novels set in other historical periods, look at the female protagonist carefully. Many, MANY authors fall in the trap of trying to make a heroine you can relate to... by having her look down on other women for "being so submissive and stupid" or "losing their time sewing and doing stupid feminine things".
  • In-Universe example in House of Leaves, at one point it summarizes interviews between Karen (who's claiming the events are fictional), and a number of celebrities. One such celebrity is a feminist who chastises Karen's 'character's' nyctophobia, dismissing it with "No self-respecting woman is afraid of the dark".
  • The Dresden Files has a few subversions of this. Local Badass Normal and Action Girl Karrin Murphy is revealed to have a home decorated with lace and doilies (albeit inherited from her grandmother). Harry's apprentice Molly Carpenter is described by Harry himself to potentially be the most frightening wizard of her generation and she's a girly Perky Goth who carries her wizarding gear around in a pink backpack. But the ultimate subversion is probably White Court Vampire Lara Raith. She's described as the ultimate example of beauty and femininity but she will fuck up your shit and the shit of everyone you bring with you and she will do it while wearing a dress and come out looking hotter than when she started.
    • Note, however, that the one time Murphy is shown wearing a dress, she is embarrassed to be seen in it (being a cop, she's worked very hard to be "one of the boys"). She even defends herself by saying she had to wear it, as she was at a family function and her mom had bought it for her.
    • Charity Carpenter. A good catholic housewife who's popped out several kids by the start of the series, and is generally around to tend to the wounded when her husband brings his work home with him...until her daughter is kidnapped by faeries, and she puts on armor, grabs a sword and warhammer, and goes Mama Bear like you wouldn't believe. Also, she makes and keeps her husband's armor. And is his sparring partner.
  • Rachel and Cassie are inversions of this trope in the Animorphs series. Easily the toughest, most blood-thirsty, aggressive warrior of the entire group, but between her and Cassie, Rachel is by far the more womanly. At the beginning of the series (until it stops mattering), Rachel is described as a leggy, well-dressed, beautiful blonde who loves to go shopping and cares a great deal about outward appearances and often insists on improving Cassie's wardrobe and goes shopping for the entire group when clothes are needed on the fly. Cassie on the other hand is the more feminine in nature, broken-hearted for everything that breathes, is the most hesitant to do battle and yet is the one who can't dress.
  • Similar to the Animorphs example is the Spy High series, where beautiful, blonde, fashionable Lori is arguably the most ruthless of the team, especially when provoked; whereas the less looks-conscious Cally is The Heart of the Five-Man Band and eventually wins the love of leading man Ben. Bex, the biggest Action Girl of the team, rejects feminine dress and looks completely; with punk clothes, many piercings, and short spiky green hair.
  • In Song of the Lioness, Alanna starts out hating the fact that she's a girl and wishing she were a boy, and part of her Character Development is coming to accept her femininity.
    • In the fourth book, while she and Liam are snowed in at an inn, she basically decides "screw it" and puts on a nice dress. Liam is scornful of this "softness," which serves as an indication that their relationship isn't going to work out.
    • Averted with a vengence in the Protector of the Small quartet: Kel wears dresses to dinner in order to remind the other pages that she is a girl and isn't ashamed of it.
    • In one of the short stories, when Fedal complains about women of Tekalimy's Islam Expy religion being forced to wear veils, she gives a speech about how she likes wearing them, since it means she isn't judged on her looks. Another short story follows this girl as she speaks for the female side of her god as a prophet, but continues to wear the veil.
    • Also averted in Tamora's other "Circle" universe. Of the four main characters there are three girls- the Tomboy Daja, the Badass Bookworm Tris and The Chick Sandry. This last one can control thread, which can elicit a What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway? response, especially compared to the other two's abilities to control metal and weather respectively...but not only has Sandry's compassion and peace-making skills saved their hides repeatedly, we discover that thread is an awesome power!
  • A Song of Ice and Fire is a mixed bag, but the two Stark girls draw an unflattering contrast between masculine and feminine behavior. Arya is a tomboy whose interest in swordplay helps her overcome many trials, while Sansa, who is better at traditional feminine pursuits, spends half the first book crying helplessly and the other half misreading people completely. Once she's gotten past her initial idealism, though, Sansa becomes much more competent, and her femininity and awareness of social customs is helping her as she keeps house for and trains under the series' resident Magnificent Bastard. The girls' mother Catelyn is also a much better blend of confidence and femininity.
    • Additional aversions include Cersei and Dany (particularly Dany, who wears pants and dresses as she pleases, stereotypes be damned), while there are other completely straight examples such as Ygritte and especially Asha Greyjoy. There's even a possible subversion, depending on your perspective, with Brienne. While she fully fills the quota of "never wears dresses", she doesn't try to invoke this trope.
  • Played with in Mistborn- heroine Vin, though she probably qualifies as a tomboy at heart, does have a definite girly side to her, in spite of her abusive half-brother's best attempts to beat it out. A good chunk of her character arc involves her coming to terms with the fact that yes, she can enjoy dancing and waring ballgowns and still be a Badass.
    • Brandon Sanderson likes to play with this trope, he has a number of female characters that can kick ass, and are also generally perfectly comfortable with femininity.
  • Jane Eyre: The title character's more conventionally feminine and pretty classmate Helen dies early on. Whether Helen should be thought of as Too Good for This Sinful Earth or not strong-willed enough to survive depends on the critic.
  • A common complaint stemming from The Chronicles of Narnia is how Susan Pevensie becomes "no longer a friend of Narnia" and the only mention of why is a line saying she's only interested in "lipstick, nylons and invitations". Many readers take this as criticism of female sexuality though CS Lewis said of Susan "The books don't tell us what happened to Susan. She is left alive in this world at the end, having by then turned into a rather silly, conceited young woman. But there's plenty of time for her to mend and perhaps she will get to Aslan's country in the end... in her own way" which, coupled with things other characters say suggest her fault is trying too hard to grow up and forgetting her childhood. The other female characters Lucy, Jill and Polly aren't said to be any less feminine than Susan either.
    • Played straight however in The Horse and His Boy with the contrast between Aravis and Lasaraleen. Aravis is a bit of a tomboy princess, being interested in weapons and hunting while Lasaraleen is vain and obsessed with parties and her dresses. Aravis is the one who undergoes Character Development while Lasaraleen is likely going to remain spoilt and silly.

Live Action TV

  • Veronica Mars likes to avert this trope. Veronica's a Badass investigator who will destroy the lives of anyone who dares to cross her - but also bakes "spirit cookies" for her friend Wallace (snickerdoodles!), and hopes to receive a pony as a gift someday.
  • Totally averted by Delenn on Babylon 5 who wears gorgeous clothes, looks and acts unmistakably feminine, and is the most unambiguously good, kind, and even maternal character on the show, but is so Badass that the Shadows probably have dark, ancient legends about her.
  • Averted by Dana Scully of The X-Files. She is the Action Girl of her and Mulder's partnership and is capable of doing more than her fair share of the rescuing. She has a degree in the more male-dominated field of physics, is a pathologist, and insists that her male coworkers not treat her differently because she is a woman and tiny. However, she is undeniably feminine. She has a liking for nice clothes and bubblebaths, a well-kept apartment, is a health-nut and is very concerned about her weight.
  • Buffy's whole schtick is to subvert this. Unmistakably feminine, a former cheerleader, not above going nuts in a clothing store, and if a creature from the depths of hell tries to attack her in a dark alley, a quick death is about the most it could hope for.
  • Averted hard by Kara Thrace in Battlestar Galactica. Kara is an Ace Pilot whose wardrobe consists of mainly military uniform or fatigues, but she's not above pulling out all the stops to render her Love Interest speechless at the sight of her, going so far as to tell him that her in a dress is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
    • That doesn't sound like a "hard" aversion...
  • Sometimes used in Super Sentai, which is fond of the Tomboy and Girly Girl trope: if there are Two Girls to a Team, typically the Pink (or White) Ranger will be girly and wear skirts/dresses, while the Yellow (or Blue) Ranger will be more tomboyish and wear shorts or pants. Early series would lean towards making the tomboy the stronger warrior, while the girly girl would be more of a pacifist and often have a less powerful weapon. Subverted in more recent years, where the two will more often be shown to be equally skilled, but with different fighting styles.
  • Completely inverted with 19 Kids and Counting, to the point of Unfortunate Implications; if a woman isn't an Extreme Doormat, she WILL go to Hell.
  • Played straight (albeit accidentally) on Robin Hood which saw Djaq, an intelligent, resourceful, competent Action Girl who always wore pants written out at the end of the second season and replaced with Kate, a girl who wore an impractically long dress out in the forest, and whose contributions to the outlaw gang included a string of kidnappings, endless bitching and moaning, and a Romantic Plot Tumour.


  • Deliberately invoked with a twist in the very NSFW song Only Straight Girls Wear Dresses by CWA, in which a Lipstick Lesbian reads the title in graffiti in a bathroom, finds the perp, and convinces her otherwise. With sex.
  • The video for Pink's song "Stupid Girls" equates "stupidity" with feminine things such as playing with dolls, putting on make-up and wearing anything pink while equating being smart with being a tomboy and physically strong. The end of the video has a little girl choosing to play football instead of playing with her dolls, making it into a bit of a Broken Aesop. Perhaps having the little girl go and read a book would be a better Aesop to send to young girls.

Professional Wrestling

  • This was turned into a storyline in WWE in 2011 with Beth Phoenix and Natalya's heel turns, the two of them proclaiming they were sick of the models in WWE. Interestingly on WWE's part, they kept both sides with a sympathetic point of view, Beth and Natalya wanting to make the division more serious and about wrestling while the likes of Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres trying to prove themselves as wrestlers.
  • This trope is often invoked by many wrestling fans who hold a woman wrestler's previous backgrounds against her. Being a model before going into wrestling is considered some kind of sin among some hardcore purists. Often a pretty woman in wrestling will get labelled as a "model" even if she's never done modelling before. Women who were cheerleaders, dancers and gymnasts will often get labelled as weak as well with many people ignoring how athletic someone has to be to be in one of those sports. Dancing and gymnastics are just as challenging as wrestling but get labelled as weak because they are feminine.
    • Completely averted by Trish Stratus who started out as just another busty, blonde, bit of eye candy, but who took the sport seriously and went on to become one of the most popular and respected female wrestlers in history.
  • This article discusses this trope in relation to the WWE Divas and offers a neutral stance on the debate.
  • During her time in Right to Censor, Ivory had no choice but to wear pants in the wrestling ring despite her character being a conservative watchdog. This was to impracticality of a dress in such situation, where pants didn't have this issue.


  • In-story, Lady Macbeth has this opinion of herself. She even calls on evil spirits to make her less feminine and able to kill Duncan.
  • At first, Wicked seems to be following this trope; it seems to suggest that the pink-clad Glinda is an Alpha Bitch who betrayed the more hard-working and Tomboy-ish main character. The two actually become best friends, and learn from one-another to overcome their respective faults.

Video Games

  • Averted utterly in-canon of Phantasy Star IV, regarding Alys and Rika in particular. Alys is a beautiful, talented cook, who is openly and famously admired for being attractive and assymetrical-hemline-dress-and-jewelry-wearing feminine as well as the most Badass Hunter on the planet (although finding out that she can cook is a surprise to some of her fellow adventurers). Rika is a pink-haired Cute Monster Girl who only has healing techniques-- but is only second in damage output to the main character, thanks to her short but extremely effective list of melee combat Skills and ability to wear the heaviest armors in the game, which means she also gets to be a frontline fighter.
  • In-universe example in Trauma Team: in one of the extras, Maria wears a dress. Gabe's response is to go try and rip his eyes out.
  • An In-universe example in Odin Sphere. Just about the only thing the Valkryies of Ragnanival fear is getting married. Since this usually entails getting hit with a love spell to make you fall in love with the first man she sees (usually a man she is given to), this is perhaps justified. Gwendolyn thankfully lucks out in that Oswald likes her just as she is, and is badass enough to beat down everyone else after her; she's perhaps not so lucky in that Oswald is a little too afraid of her not loving him if she finds out she was never under that spell to begin with, and never tells her.
  • Curiously inverted in Fallout: New Vegas with Veronica Santiago. She's a Brotherhood Scribe who isn't afraid to question the patriarchal Brotherhood's outdated beliefs, admits to having fallen in love with another woman once, and can floor a deathclaw with her fists. Her greatest wish is... to wear a dress. Simply because she wants to look good and sexy for once. She's genuinely grateful if you get her one, and if you find a good dress, she squeals like a schoolgirl. And then goes back to pummeling the opposition.
  • In Solatorobo, this attitude (and a literal instance) is the whole reason for the photo collection sidequest: Alicia got a photo taken while wearing a princess dress, and she's so embarrassed by it that she has her gang swipe all the photographer's photos. Waffle eventually sees it and compliments her, but she's offended by the comparison to Princess Theria.

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • The Barbie movies avert many clichés thrown at the Disney Princesses line. The heroines always have interests and hobbies of their own, as well as sisters and female friends with whom they pass the Bechdel Test. Heck, even the female love rivals are well-portrayed (like the sweet female Paolo from Barbie: Jungle Princess) and one even features a girl saying that, much as she loves the prince, she cannot marry him because she has to travel the world and pursue her dreams first.
  • Played with in an episode of American Dad: In the beginning, Francine is practicing for a pie-baking contest, leading Hayley to belittle her and ask her questions like when she plans on giving back the vote. Later at night, Francine catches Hayley, wearing a frilly, outdated dress, baking pies of her own.
    • Played with in another episode. Hayley makes a video of Francine, mocking her status as a typical housewife who sews, cooks, and cleans. Francine is distraught and recieves a fake doctor's license, then works for the handicapped mafia. Things get out of hand, but once Francine takes care of things Hayley apologizes for claiming Francine couldn't do anything important.
  • Deconstructed in Wonder Woman. The Amazons are trained early in life to be warriors, but are secluded from mankind for centuries. Something Persephone calls Hippolyta out on near the film's climax. Diana herself manages to find a balance towards the movies end. She moves to New York and is in a relationship with Steve, but she still maintains her status as an Amazon and fights crime whenever she's needed.
  • Averted in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: we've got two tomboys of different flavors (one athlete and one workaholic), we've got three girly girls - a Shrinking Violet, a Genki Girl and The Fashionista - and we got Twilight Sparkle who can serve as counterpart for both groups. Neither are Applejack and Rainbow Dash permanently superior nor are Rarity, Fluttershy, Pinkie or Twilight weaker or stupid. They all have different approaches to something and it depends on the problem what will work (In Rarity's case the approach is passive-aggressive whining, proving that you don't have to be on the physical side to take action). Not to mention their Physical Godess Princess Celestia is very, very feminine. And, well, several thousand years old, lifts the sun every day and is noone to mess with in general.
    • Series creator Lauren Faust herself is 100% opposed to this mentality in fact, stating that the reason why feminine characters come off badly is usually due to poor writing/direction.
    • And let's not forget the occasional all-out brawls. The Fashionista? Mean left hoof. Genki Girl? Ends up parking the show on the Gatling Good page.
  • Nicely averted in Phineas and Ferb. Isabella is a cute little girl who dresses in pink and bows, and loves fluffy unicorns- she's also a leader of her Fire Side girl troupe, a master fighter and sports player, and is capable of building time machines. There's a variety of other female characters- both the girl Candace and Stacy, and the more tom-boy-ish Vanessa, and they can all kick-ass when the situation calls for it.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender averts it, too. Yes, there are very masculine and kick-ass female characters like Toph and Azula, but then there're those like the Team Mom Katara and the incredibly perky Ty Lee. There's also Suki, leader of the Kyoshi warriors, who makes a point of showing how her fighting out-fit is very feminine, and she's just as good for it. And all of these girls could probably kill you.
    • Also averted in the sequel series. The first episode alone introduces the title character Korra and Chief Lin Bei Fong, both of whome are quite masculine, but also the Jinora, Ikki and Pema, who are girlier (and all related, incidently). We later get Asami, a girl who despite her beautiful looks and polite manners is an expert racer and fighter.
  • Usually averted in Avengers Earths Mightiest Heroes; The Wasp fights crime in a black and yellow dress, but still proves tough in battle. However, she spends a good portion of Ms. Marvel's first episode griping about how Ant-Man always puts work and science ahead of returning her love for him. This builds up to Wasp interrupting a battle with a destructive robot to complain about Ant-Man's priorities. Ms. Marvel is still an ordinary Army major when this episode takes place, so she wears her uniform while investigating the night's potentially dangerous disturbance, and keeps a constant focus on eliminating the threat. She also advises Wasp to keep her jealousy at bay.
    • Ms. Marvel wears a women's leotard when performing super-heroic duties, creating another aversion.
  • Averted nicely in Voltron: Legendary Defender with its female leads. Princess Allura is ladylike and is shown wearing girly dresses several times, plus pink armor when she becomes a Paladin, but she can fight just as well as the male Paladins. Pidge has a boyish haircut and prefers boyish clothing for comfort, but in the past kept her hair long and once wore a pretty lavender dress without a single complaint. In the finale, she's sporting a slightly girlier haircut.
    • Gender is pretty much a non-issue in Voltron, period. No gender is seen as inferior or superior to another, female pilots or fighters are taken just as seriously as males, and some of the most formidable leaders we see are women. Even Pidge's Sweet Polly Oliver and gender reveal have nothing to do with gender itself and more to do with hiding her identity, period.