A careful study of Sword & Sorcery literature placed its inception as a subgenre of fantasy in 1961 with Leiber's response to Moorcock. The ensuing years (1965-1981) brought forth a meager handful of books, which ultimately led to movie adaptations of Conan the Barbarian (March 1982), quickly followed by The Sword and the Sorceror (April 1982), The Beastmaster (August 1982) and was ultimately distilled into the less-than-female-friendly DeathStalker (1983), as well as the somehow more derivative and even less-female-friendly DeathStalker II (1987).
The influences of these early forays of the genre into screenplay are easily witnessed in the more contemporary Korgoth of Barbaria (June 2006), which could either be interpreted as a celebration or satire of those earlier films due to its accurate depiction of common tropes from those movies. One thing in particular that stood out to me was the treatment (in the literary sense of the word, "the presentation or discussion of a subject") of women in that show.
I have since gone back and watched the movies (in approximate order of release date) that influenced Korgoth, and I was left with questions about the very nature of the subgenre itself.
My question relates to the historical and societal context of the early (1960s-1980's) S&S works (literature and movies):
Was there ever any branch of the Sword & Sorcery subgenre that forayed into modern feminism (i.e., contained themes pertaining to post-First Wave Feminism)?
Based on feedback from the comments, I am adding some specific criteria directly from Second Wave Feminism (~1961-1990, which coincides with the early development of the S&S subgenre). This is intended to clarify the definition of feminism as it applies in the context of this question. A relevant answer to this question would include books, movies or other works in the Sword & Sorcery subgenre that delve into some, if not all of the following topics:
- the workplace (e.g., in the context of this question: profession/trade/quest)
- reproductive rights
- de facto inequalities (i.e., physical/biological)
- official legal inequalities
Also, in order to provide context to some of the comments, the original title of this question (and what I was contemplating when I originally wrote it) was:
Is the Sword & Sorcery genre inherently anti-feminist?
The reason that I'm highlighting this is to clarify that the mere presence of a female protagonist would not automatically satisfy the above criteria. Further, the revised title (Are there any examples of feminist works in the Sword and Sorcery genre?) has re-framed this question as a list-based question that excludes most of the works of the S&S genre, which was not my original intent (i.e., the question "is the genre anti-feminist?" cannot be fully answered without examples and counter-examples). Case in point, the summary of Red Sonja (1973) on Wikipedia contains the following:
Sonja is well known for her bikini armor, consisting typically of scale mail covering only her waist and breasts.
If the above character features were used a platform for plot points to cover some of the afore-mentioned criteria (either pro- or con-), then I could see it as being topically relevant to an answer. In short, I would like to see at least a few specific reasons why a particular work would satisfy (or break) the stated criteria (i.e., not a simple list), because the available online descriptions only highlight the very surface of some of these works, and there may be some non-obvious yet highly relevant themes buried in the content itself.