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The Tough Girl Archetype by Christopher-Stoll The Tough Girl Archetype by Christopher-Stoll
One of the more common modern literary characters, almost always trapped, alone and friendless in a hostile environment, most fictional women would crumple like they were made of wrapping paper, but not this gal.

The TG featured above is a common breed, specifically a woman who grew up alone in a postapocalyptic wasteland populated by nothing but human scavengers and some non specific monsters (in this case vampires) (yes, vampires.) She's sexy, and the fact that she can kill you with a well placed finger just makes her more appealing.

She's a loner, spunky and capable, always willing to fight with kickass over-the-top weapons and methods that put even the most potent Y chromosomes to shame.
She doesn't need a man to rescue her from the bad guys, she fights her own demons, and she takes no prisoners.
(Did I mention that she doesn't need a man? This is always very important to the tough girl characters, and they told me that if I fail to mention it I'll be castrated with a rusty spoon and then waterboarded in cow urine)

She responds to masculine sexual advances with threats of violence, kill monsters with extreme predgudice, and spend entire story arcs making her distaste for others clear.
And yet... inevitably we are shown a softer side, a past trauma that made her dark and tough skinned, or a desire to be loved (and dressed up in pink lace, obviously, she is a girl anyway)

With a character like this, the point always seems to be that underneath all the bloodshed, violence, leather armor, and psychosis she is still just a girl.
And everyone knows that girls can't be bad... not REALLY.
So the tough girl characters are reduced 98% of the time to actually just being some frightened young woman in desperate need of a cuddling, playing dress up with pointy weapons.

True tough girls are a different story, an actual amazon action girl, but they are a thousand times rarer, and the mark of either an excellent, or sometimes horrible, storyteller.

-Not having testicles to kick her in
-Hatred of men, and MANkind, and women who like men, and women who let men put their things inside them, and boys who eventually grow up to be men, and male seahorses (who do they think they are kidding by carrying the babies?!!?)
-Showing up out of nowhere to save the men she will eventually come to depend upon.
-Often wearing a mask or disguise so that you don't immediately realize she is a SHE.
- being very stern... and sometimes scolding O.e

-anything that can hurt her enough to make her need a man (you'd be surprised how many things make her need rescue, especially in the story's climax)
-sexist artists :P
-accusations of homosexuality

Check out the other storytelling archetypes (cliches) here-

The Action Hero- [link]
gettraught Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Would the Action Girl [link] be considered the same as the Tough Girl?
Christopher-Stoll Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
:) more or less, I actually did this piece before I knew about TVtropes... but that's the internet for you :P every good idea you think you have is already out there somewhere...
I guess if there is a difference, it's that the tough girl is more resilient and resentful than an action girl.
gettraught Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Haha, yeah TV Tropes will ruin yah sometimes :D
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Submitted on
June 18, 2010
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