Jake wrote:And it's not like GitS doesn't contain women being sexy in tight clothing...
Sure, I can think of a lot more crappy western superhero comics than I can Japanese female-led action stories, but... well, I'm also quite aware that the real dross doesn't make it outside of the Japanese market because it's dross.
Actually, taking GITS, is it really female-led? I don't mean Motoko being a cyborg, but exchange Motoko for a guy... and does that much change? I don't think so. The lines, the action, it's not like it's specifically tailored for a woman, the plot and situations are actually quite gender-neutral, as far as I remember.
So, really you often see anime with a female main protagonist, but when you think about it, for conveying the message of the movies and series, it's often not relevant whether it's a girl or a boy that is saying the famous quotes or put through the events that make up the story's plot.
So more often than not I'm thinking it's the visual appeal of girls to the otaku that is the cause for females having lead roles.
It also is connected to the question whether replacing one boy in a BxB love story with a girl would completely destroy it - sure for BxB fans the answer would be yes, but I'm not so sure that common people would even notice that they are dealing with BxB in disguise.