From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"One very interesting generalization is that in most societies the physical beauty of the female receives more explicit consideration than does the handsomeness of the male. The attractiveness of the man usually depends predominantly upon his skills and prowess rather than upon his physical appearance." (Ford, 1951, p. 86)
"In spite therefore of certain ideals of chastity presented by the Christian hagiographies, in spite of the incense burnt at the altar of Woman in romances, at tourneys and in the Courts of Love, there was never a time in the world's history in which women were more grossly insulted, more shamefully reviled, or more basely defamed than they were in the middle ages, by men of every class, beginning with the most serious writers of theology and going down to the mountebanks of the street-plays. The number of anecdotes, trivial or obscene, that drag women in the dirt is simply infinite…"--Vergil in the Middle Ages (1872) by Domenico Comparetti
Femininity refers to qualities and behaviors judged by a particular culture to be ideally associated with or especially appropriate to women and girls. Distinct from femaleness, which is a biological and physiological classification concerned with the reproductive system, femininity principally refers to socially acquired traits and secondary sex characteristics. In Western culture femininity has traditionally included features such as gentleness, patience and kindness.
The term Madonna–whore complex refers to a psychological complex in Freudian psychoanalysis that is said to develop in the human male. The term is also used popularly, often with subtly different meanings.
According to Freudian psychology, this complex often develops when the sufferer is raised by a cold and distant mother. Such a man will often court women with qualities of his mother, hoping to fulfill a need for intimacy unmet in childhood. Often, the wife begins to be seen as mother to the husband — a Madonna figure — and thus not a possible object of sexual attraction. For this reason, in the mind of the sufferer love and sex cannot be mixed, and the man is reluctant to have sexual relations with his wife, for that, he thinks unconsciously, would be as incest. He will reserve sexuality for "bad" or "dirty" women, and will not develop "normal" feelings of love in these sexual relationships.
Strong and independent women
Strong and independent women is a trope connected to third-wave feminism. If you think about strong and independent women in history you arrive at Lilith, Joan of Arc, Catherine the Great, courtesans and George Sand. To encompass it all are women's rights throughout history and in the 20th century: feminism. In the late 20th century there are Riot Grrrls and Girl Power.
Strong and independent women are in the first place financially independent, they can provide in their own means of subsistence.
Female stock characters
A short list of female stock characters includes bad girl, black widow, courtesan, diva, dominatrix, Eve, femme fatale, Lilith, maiden, Medusa, mistress, supermodel, mother, prostitute, female reader, goddess, nude, damsel in distress, tomboy, hooker with a heart of gold, warrior, nymphomaniac, beautiful woman and ugly woman.
Angel, Assassin, Aunt, Avenger, Barmaid, Bimbo, Bitch, Blue stocking, Bond girl, Bride, Bunny boiler, Catgirl, Childhood sweetheart, Cinderella, Clown, Lucy Ricardo, Companion, Cook, Courtesan, Crazy Cat Lady, Damsel in Distress, Dancer, Dark Lady, Daughter, Diva, Dominatrix, Dumb blonde, Essex Girl, Fairy, Fairy godmother, Feminist, Femme Fatale, Fishwife, Gamine, Geisha, Girl next door, Girlfriend, Girls with guns, Goddess, Gold digger, Good-time girl, Gossip, Goth girl, Governess, Grandmother, Groupie, Guardian angel, Heroine, Hooker with a heart of gold, Housekeeper, Housewife, Ingénue, It Girl, Jewish-American Princess, Jewish mother, Lady, Latin Lover, Land girl, Lesbian, Love interest, Madam, Madonna, Magical girl, Jeannie, Maid, Matron, Mermaid, Mistress, Model, Mother, Mother-in-law, Mouse, Movie star, Musician, Nag, Nanny, Nerd girl, Newly-wed, Nun, Nurse, Nymphette, Orphan, Party girl, Pantomime dame, Peasant, Personal assistant, Pilot, Princess, Prostitute, Protective mother, Queen, Saint, School diva, Schoolgirl, Schoolmarm, Scientist, Scold, Secretary, Servant, Shrew, Singer, Single mother, Sister, Slut, Soothsayer, Spinster, Spoiled brat, Stewardess, Stripper, Suffragette, Switchboard operator, Teenager, Three Fates, Tomboy, Trophy wife, Tsundere, Typist, Ugly duckling, Urchin, Valley Girl, Virgin, Waitress, Weird Sisters, Wicked stepmother, Widow, Witch
- Gender essentialism
- gender role
- Portrayal of women in comics
- Strong female character
- Ugly woman
- Women's work