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For ages I thought the femme fatale stereotype was all about sexist men being afraid of women. But then I found out a number of these movies are mainly watched by women. "Gone Girl" for example was the most successful film in its year with women audiences. It's about a woman who fakes her own rape and murder to get back at her boyfriend. So I wonder if this kind of character has become a symbol of women's power as well.

In anime and manga, nearly all the women are conventionally attractive and somewhat sexualised, but they also tend to be a lot stronger characters (in terms of personality) and more often have special powers than the male heroes (who are usually everyman types, and very rarely musclemen). It's quite common to have scenarios with very ordinary male leads surrounded by basically superhero women. I don't know quite what the causes of this are, maybe Japanese men find it easier to imagine themselves as ordinary yet adored by exceptional women than to imagine themselves as superheroes. What's weird is, the frequency and empowerment of female protagonists in anime/manga would make me expect Japan to be a lot less sexist than it actually is.