Template:Issues A stock character is a dramatic character representing a type in a conventional manner and recurring in many works.[1] The following are such fictional female archetypes and stereotypes. A distinctive example of each is provided.

Academic analysisEdit

According to E. Graham McKinley, "there is general agreement on the importance to drama of 'stock' characters. This notion has been considerably explored in film theory, where feminists have argued, female stock characters are only stereotypes (child/woman, whore, bitch, wife, mother, secretary or girl Friday, career women, vamp, etc.)."[2] Thus, the subject of female stock characters has attracted scholarly attention as seen in the work of Ulrike Roesler and Jayandra Soni whose work deals "not only with female stock characters in the sense of typical roles in the dramas, but also with other female persons in the area of the theatrical stage..."[3]

Andrew Griffin, Helen Ostovich, and Holger Schott Syme explain further that "Female stock characters also permit a close level of audience identification; this is true most of all in The Troublesome Raigne , where the 'weeping woman' type is used to dramatic advantage. This stock character provides pathos as yet another counterpoint to the plays' comic business and royal pomp."[4]

Tara Brabazon discusses how the "school ma'am on the colonial frontier has been a stock character of literature and film in Australia and the United States. She is an ideal foil for the ill mannered, uncivilised hero. In American literature and film, the spinster from East - generally Boston - has some stock attributes. Polly Welts Kaufman shows that 'her genteel poverty, unbending morality, education, and independent ways make her character a useful foil for the two other female stock characters in Western literature: the prostitute with the heart of gold and the long-suffering farmer's wife.'"[5]

Table of female stock charactersEdit

Stereotype Example
Angel Angela
Assassin Nikita
Aunt Aunt Agatha
Avenger The Bride
Barmaid Carla Tortelli
Bimbo[6] Kelly Bundy
Bitch[6] Alexis Colby
Blue stocking Mary Bennet[7]
Bond girl Pussy Galore
Bride Buttercup
Bunny boiler Evelyn Draper
Catgirl Catwoman
Cat lady Eleanor Abernathy
Childhood sweetheart Winnie Cooper
Cinderella Cinderella
Clown[8] Columbina

Lucy Ricardo

Companion Sarah-Jane Smith
Cook Mrs. Bridges
Courtesan Inara Serra
Damsel in Distress Rapunzel
Dancer Vicky Page
Dark Lady[8] Josie Packard
Daughter Becky Conner
Diva Norma Desmond
Dominatrix Isabella Valentine
Dumb blonde[6] Sugar Kane
Essex Girl Sharon and Tracey
Fairy Tinkerbell
Fairy godmother Fairy Godmother
Feminist Helen Morgendorffer
Femme Fatale[9] The Vampire (Theda Bara)
Fishwife Roseanne Conner
Gamine Mathilda
Geisha Chiyo Sakamoto
Girl next door Mary Jane Watson
Girlfriend Tracy
Girls with guns[10] Trinity
Goddess Ororo Munroe
Gold digger Becky Sharp
Good-time girl Holly Golightly
Gossip Gretchen Wieners
Goth girl Nemi
Governess Jane Eyre
Grandmother Granny Moses
Groupie Penny Lane
Guardian angel Monica
Heroine Buffy Summers
Hooker with a heart of gold Elsie Tanner
Housekeeper Mrs. Hudson
Housewife Marge Simpson
Ingénue Christine Daae
It Girl Clara Bow
Jewish-American Princess Gretchen Wieners
Jewish Mother[11] Beatrice Bellman
Lady Lady Bracknell
Latin Lover[8] Cha Cha DeGregario
Land girl  
Lesbian Joanne (Rent)
Love interest Lois Lane
Madam Miss Scarlett
Magical girl Sailor Moon


Maid Rose Buck
Matron Matron
Mermaid Ariel
Mistress Crystal Allen
Mother June Cleaver
Mother-in-law Endora
Mouse Sister Mary Patrick
Movie star Ginger Grant
Musician Haley James Scott
Nag Estelle Costanza
Nanny Mary Poppins
Nerd girl Willow Rosenberg
Newly-wed Betty Spencer
Nun Sister Bertrille
Nurse Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan
Nymphette Lolita
Orphan Young Cosette
Party girl Mary (Party Girl)
Pantomime dame[12] Widow Twanky[12]
Personal assistant Virginia "Pepper" Potts
Princess Princess Peach
Prostitute Fanny Hill
Protective Mother
Queen[13] Daenerys Targaryen
Saint Joan of Arc
School diva Cordelia Chase
Schoolgirl Kagome Higurashi
Schoolmarm Clara Clayton
Scientist Susan Calvin
Secretary Miss Moneypenny
Servant Mammy
Shrew Katherine
Singer Hannah Montana
Single mother Lorelai Gilmore
Sister Lizzie Phagan
Slut Liane Cartman
Spoiled brat Veruca Salt
Stripper Erin Grant
Suffragette Mrs. Banks
Switchboard operator  
Teenager Meg Griffin
Three Fates Crystal, Chiffon, and Ronette
Tomboy George Kirrin
Trophy wife Stepford Wife
Tsundere Sayaka Yumi
Ugly duckling Betty Suarez
Urchin Eliza Doolittle
Valley Girl Cher Horowitz
Virgin Joanna (Sweeney Todd)
Waitress Alice Hyatt
Weird Sisters
Wicked stepmother Julia Cotton
Widow[14] Miss Daisy Werthan
Witch Wicked Witch of the West

Definitions of examplesEdit

This is a list of stereotypical female characters. These stock characters play off of popular stereotypes of women (e. g. innocence, helplessness, etc.,) or, more recently, attempts to break these stereotypes (e. g. women's rights, feminism, etc.)


The Adventuress is a female character who takes on an adventure-hero role, especially from periods (such as the Victorian and Edwardian eras) where such activities wouldn't be considered "ladylike". Examples include:

Bad Girl/RebelEdit

The Bad Girl/Rebel is often an antagonist, the female counterpart of the Bad Boy. The Bad Girl/Rebel is usually a troubled and rebellious adolescent or young adult, often the black sheep of the family and a sort of outcast in school. Her preferences in music, fashion or lifestyle are unconventional or non-mainstream. The Bad Girl/Rebel is loud or obnoxious, and is not afraid to stand out in a crowd, an individual who does not care much about what anyone else thinks. Examples include:

A version of the "bad girl" is the good "bad" girl, "that stock character of popular fiction, who despite appearances and circumstances, proves virtuous in the end."[15]

California GirlEdit

The California Girl is usually a sun-streaked blonde-haired, tanned, light-eyed girl who only eats health food and loves the environment more than anything else. Examples include:

This is in contrast to Valley girls.

Cinderella or Pretty Ugly GirlEdit

Cinderella or The Pretty Ugly Girl is supposed to be somewhat plain-looking, yet is actually quite attractive—the most famous examples being Cinderella herself and Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. Usually, the girl's mother is either completely absent or is, of course, a Wicked Step-Mother. Her father is usually distant or uninvolved with her. Often this character is contrasted with someone considered to be the Beautiful or Popular Girl, such as:

Damsel in DistressEdit

The Damsel in Distress is a young, beautiful, virginal woman and often a Girly girl who must be rescued from some cruel fate by the Hero à la:

This archetype is now often subverted, with the damsel being secretly formidable and waiting for the right moment to strike back (such as Amy Rose or Princess Fiona), or learning to do it as the story advances and she leaves her initially passive attitude, such as:

Defensive Hopeless RomanticEdit

The Defensive Hopeless Romantic, as a lead character in a Romantic Comedy context, is usually an attractive female that supposedly does not believe in true love, usually from being left heartbroken many times. Some Defensive Hopeless Romantics are players, some are single, and some are just plain man-haters, as a means of defense against any more emotional pain associated with a relationship--that is, until they meet their match. Examples include:

Drama QueenEdit

The Drama Queen is an overly self-centered, popular, vulnerable, and dramatic person. Her sensitive side contrasts with her tendency to be controlling. Examples include:

Dumb BlondeEdit

The Dumb Blonde or Bimbo, often also an Ingenue, but may be simply unintelligent but attractive, or a very popular girl in school.[16] Could also be just plain silly/comic relief-such as:

Occasionally the Dumb Blonde is not actually blonde, just dumb. Marilyn Monroe portrayed this stereotype in a number of movies. In rare cases the dumb blonde is not dumb but acts in the fashion of the dumb blonde to avoid being classified as a Nerd Girl in her social circle.

Femme FataleEdit

The Femme Fatale, the vamp, La belle dame sans merci, the Black Widow, the Dragon Lady is a beautiful, seductive, but (traditionally) evil woman who leads the hero to his doom. Examples include:

In more modern fiction, femme fatales are not necessarily evil, but are simply women who use their looks and female charisma to get what they want. More often, they are protagonists, supporters of protagonists, antiheroes, or villains who switch sides, rather than all-out antagonists. Examples include_

Female TriadeEdit

The Female Triad is a group of three girls who are mostly seen together. Often used in fantasy fiction as three women in magic (i.e.: witches, deities, etc.) or at least with different "special abilities", like Dylan, Alex and Natalie in Charlie's Angels, but may alternatively be three girls who have different tempers that play off each other. They are usually differentiated by distinct hair colours: blonde, brunette and redhead. The Three Fates and the Weird Sisters are examples of the former; the Plastics from Mean Girls, The Powerpuff Girls and Josie and the Pussycats are examples of the latter. Occasionally qualifies as both, as with the Halliwell Sisters from Charmed.

Girl next doorEdit

The Girl next door is the archetype of wholesome, unassuming, or "average" femininity and female counterpart to the "boy next door". Her character is open and straightforward, and her intentions do not need to be concealed. She is seldom much richer or of much higher social status than the protagonist. The girl next door is most likely someone the protagonist has known for most of his (or her) life, but in the past could not appreciate the depth of her feelings because of his age. Examples include:

Hooker with a Heart of GoldEdit

The Hooker With a Heart of Gold or Tart with a heart is a young, attractive sex worker who, despite her lowly status in life, is a world-wise and compassionate person.[17] Examples include:

Inga from SwedenEdit

Inga from Sweden, often named Inga or Ulla, is a blonde, tall beautiful girl from Sweden. This comes from the myth that Sweden is a country of sin and free sexuality. Examples include_


The Ingénue is a sweet, beautiful, and virginal maiden, in mental or emotional rather than physical danger, usually a target of The Cad. Usually a fawn-eyed innocent. Examples include:

It GirlEdit

The It Girl, sometimes a Girl next door or simply the girl that everyone wants to be. She has everything that you want so you tend to envy her, however, she isn't mean as a Queen Bee. Her presence is always appreciated, all the guys want her and all the girls want to be her. Although she looks perfect, she's hardly happy and has a lot of issues. Examples include:

Make Over GirlEdit

The Make Over Girl is a female stereotype who is the typical ugly duckling, usually initially ignored, unnoticed or downright ridiculed, at times on account of being homely, but later transforms into a lovely or elegant swan. Examples include:


The Motor-mouth is a female character who just doesn't know when to shut up, hold her silence or keep a secret, regardless of whatever harm that could befall her or her companions. Either for truth be known, uncontrollable urge, wanting to gain the approval of a certain person or group, or simply because they want to, these women will not simply put a lid on it. Examples include:

Nerd GirlEdit

The Nerd Girl differs from the Pretty Ugly Girl by being less wholesomely mainstream. She doesn’t dress fashionably and may be intensely interested in some specialized area or notable for her intelligence. Examples include:

The Nerd Girl is often kind and goodhearted, and may be quite attractive, or have the potential to be so with some “tidying up” like:

Like the Pretty Ugly Girl, she is explicitly contrasted with the beautiful but shallow popular girl.


The Nurse is typically a woman who finds the hero or villain injured, and nurses him back to health. She falls in love with him, but will never have her love returned because of his love for another or his plans for conquest. According to University of North Carolina Philological Club, "As a rule the nurse is but a stock character, common to all plays."[19] Examples include_


The Outsider excludes herself from popular social circles and avoids people. Her story is centered around a new life for her and how she gets into trouble with the new society. She is usually the victim of every negative stereotype and rumor, and she doesn't have a social life. But it doesn't matter to her, because she hardly has anything to lose. Examples include:

Popular GirlEdit

The Popular Girl is a girl who is well-liked and appreciated at her school, but is often mean and prissy to less popular girls. She is usually very attractive and often has sidekicks following her everywhere. In recent times, this character type has gained the appellation Queen Bee. In many high school Cinderella stories, the Popular Girl is the initial love interest of the male lead character--until she reveals her "evil qualities", which is usually midway through the story or near the end. Examples include:


The Prep is a superficial girl whose biggest preoccupation is with wealth and the appearance of wealth. More often WASP, blue-blooded and from aristocratic family. Her characteristics include particular subcultural speech, vocabulary, accent, dress, mannerisms, etiquette, and entitled life view. More generally, preps attend elite college preparatory schools, often boarding schools. Preppy culture idealizes intelligence, athleticism, sociability and wealth and in fashion the term "preppy" is associated not with dramatic designer fashions, but with classic and conservative clothing and accessory brands. Examples include:

Spoiled PrincessEdit

The Valley Girl is young, rich, and spoiled but usually sweet and not as mean as the Popular Girl, The "Val" is a typically blonde-haired and tan-skinned (not necessarily a natural blonde), bright eyed Caucasian woman, although many other women of different nationalities are devoted to the trend. The typical style of dress was often garishly loud and colorful—a combination of pastel and neon colors, ruffles and lace. Tutus, leggings and bodysuits were more rare, but represented the extremes of the trend. The 21st century version typically carries such technologies as cell phones, iPods, etc. A typical Valley Girl is usually considered to be attractive and sexually promiscuous. Examples include:

The Jewish-American Princess (JAP) or Black American Princess (Bap). It is referring to a stereotypical spoiled somewhat snobby young, rich, wealthy, materialistic and selfish girl. A pampered female of African American or Jewish American descent born to upper-middle- or upper-class families. Her life experiences give her a "sense of entitlement" and she is accustomed to the best and nothing less. Examples include:


The Tomboy is a female character who is “one of the guys”, the Tomboy is generally "independent" and displays superior physical or athletic prowess and/or is able to relate more with males in terms of interests. Because of her attitude, interests or activities, the Tomboy is sometimes, though not always, a Pretty Ugly Girl. The Tomboy exhibits a deep-seated or transient envy of more feminine girls, usually when confronted by a boy she likes; others try to find a balance between their boyishness and some degree of femininity, with varying results. Michelle Ann Abate explains that "tomboys became fixtures in adventure novels about the 'Wild West' that were geared for boys. From Prentiss Ingraham's Crimson Kate, the Girl Trailer (1881) to Edward Wheeler's Deadwood Dick/Calamity Jane series (1877-1885), a rootin'-tootin' tomboy who roped, rode, and 'ranged became a stock character."[20] Michael R. Stevenson notes that "the tomboy heroine...has persisted as a stock character in American children's books."[21] Examples include_

Ugly Sidekick or WannabeEdit

The Ugly Sidekick or Wanna Be is a female character that isn't necessarily ugly, but is referred to as such for being inferior in looks to the Popular Girl. The Ugly Sidekick idolizes and emulates the Popular Girl in manner of speech, dress and attitude. Out of envy and with a goal to someday outrun The Popular Girl in the rat race, the Ugly Sidekick has a tendency to backstab her idol. Examples include:

Warrior HeroineEdit

The Warrior Heroine is a female hero who has many characteristics of traditional male heroic stock characters. The Warrior Heroine is sometimes prejudiced in her line of work by misogynist male characters, but always manages to come out on top. Many Warrior Heroines are Adventuresses. Some are also Femme Fatales or Tomboys, but do not necessarily have to be either. If the Warrior Heroine is of royalty, she is also a Warrior princess. Examples include:

Sometimes, if caught in a turn of events, this warrior heroine will leave her wild, spiteful, cold ways if rescued by a handsome/main character/newly introduced male and transform into a loyal, loving Barbie doll for her new crush. Shampoo from Ranma 1/2 again is an excellent example for this, but another great example is the Native American Princess "Tiger Lily" from J.M. Barrie's [the author] & Disney's version of Peter Pan.


  1. Oxford English Dictionary,, retrieved 2008-05-03 
  2. E. Graham McKinley, Beverly Hills, 90210: television, gender, and identity (1997), 19.
  3. Ulrike Roesler and Jayandra Soni, Aspects of the female in Indian culture: proceedings of the symposium in ... (2004), 119.
  4. Andrew Griffin, Helen Ostovich, and Holger Schott Syme, Locating the Queen's Men, 1583-1603: Material Practices and Conditions of ... (2009), 172.
  5. Tara Brabazon, Ladies who lunge: celebrating difficult women (2002), 147.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Bitches, bimbos, and ballbreakers: the Guerrilla Girls' illustrated guide to female stereotypes, Penguin, 2003, 
  7. David Gallop (April 1999), "Jane Austen and the Aristotelian Ethic", Philosophy and Literature 23 (1): 96–109, doi:10.1353/phl.1999.0016, 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Clara E. Rodriguez (1997). Latin Looks: Images of Latinas and Latinos in the U.S. Media. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press. ISBN 0813327660. 
  9. Clyde de L. Ryals, "The "Fatal Woman" Symbol in Tennyson", PMLA 74 (4Adate=September 1959), 
  10. Diane Waldman, Janet Walker (1999). Feminism and Documentary. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press. p. 109. ISBN 0816630070. 
  11. Rachel Josefowitz (2000). Jewish Mothers Tell Their Stories: Acts of Love and Courage. New York: Haworth Press. ISBN 0789010992. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 Chrid Buckton (2003), Lightning: Year 5 Plays - Teacher's Notes, Harcourt Education, ISBN 9780602308452, 
  13. Classen, Albrecht (January, 1989), "Matriarchy versus patriarchy", Neophilologus 73 (1): 77, doi:10.1007/BF00399640, 
  14. Carlton, Charles (1978). "The Widow's Tale: Male Myths and Female Reality in 16th and 17th Century England". Albion (The North American Conference on British Studies) 10 (2): 118–129. doi:10.2307/4048338. 
  15. Leslie A. Fiedler, Love and death in the American novel (1960), 169.
  16. For more information on this type of character, see Brendan Burchell, Colin Fraser, and Dale Hay, Introducing social psychology (2001), 231.
  17. For more information on this type of character, see Brendan Burchell, Colin Fraser, and Dale Hay, Introducing social psychology (2001), 231 and Bram Dijkstra, Idols of perversity: fantasies of feminine evil in fin-de-siècle culture (1986), 174.
  18. T. J. Wray, Good Girls, Bad Girls: The Enduring Lessons of Twelve Women of the Old Testament (2008), 45.
  19. University of North Carolina (1793-1962). Philological Club, Studies in philology, Volumes 12-13 (1915), 90.
  20. Michelle Ann Abate, Tomboys: a literary and cultural history (2008), xv.
  21. Michael R. Stevenson, Gender roles through the life span: a multidisciplinary perspective (1994), 48.