I was checking out the Mortal Kombat Animated Series, when one episodes had a female assassin for Shao-Kan get close to Jax so they could kidnap him. She eventually turns good (for unknown reasons, but I’ll just say, because the script forced her to).
One thing I noticed early on when I was growing up, was the number of female characters that were, for whatever reason, evil, then decided to turn good (and god help you if you were a male character who was evil and became good; you will always die [the only time this didn’t happen was when Vegeta from Dragonball and Xanatos from Gargoyles turned good, but they still remained morally ambiguous characters; males only died if they went ‘true’ good], but that’s another post entirely)
The biggest example I have for this is The Incredibles. In this film, Mirage is clearly working for the villain, but then decides to help the main heroes. This woman killed other superheroes, and then turns good because Syndrome was willing to gamble that Mr. Incredible wouldn’t kill her. This happens again at the end of Voltron; the main female villain (and not even the main villain, like almost all the examples I will use) suddenly decides to become good because of something that happened to her heart or…I really don’t remember or even care.
In Vampire Hunter D, the lone female not only ends up surviving, but also does the right thing in helping D. In Digimon, the one villain to turn good is Gatomon, a female Digimon. Episodes later, it’s reveled that she was tortured and brainwashed to be the evil character that she is because woman can’t possibly be evil on their own (let’s see, main evil female Digimon in Season 1 are…, oh wait, all of them were male). Also, if you watched G.I. Joe: The Movie, the Baroness (the only female villain) was actually brainwashed into doing all those evil, evil things.
These are just examples from my memory at the moment, but it happened a lot in my 80’s and 90’s cartoons, enough that it was the first Trope that I remember realizing existed. For some reason, the media believes that woman can never truly be evil, and they can always be forgiven, but, yeah, screw the males, they were born evil, and their punishment for being indecisive is death.
Does anyone have any examples from their Saturday morning cartoons growing up where they noticed this?