I think it's innate. We see a strong woman beating up a man (this means that she is inherently better than him) and then we think, "Yeah! She did it, I identify with her, so I can do that, too!" It's not coherent like that. It's just a feeling. But that is basically the process.This no doubt explains the otherwise mysterious popularity of all the incredible warrior women over the last 20 years. Although it doesn't come close to replacing the conventional romance model, in which two Alphas battle over the right to be chosen by the reader representative
It's female solipsism.
Feminists, of course, would like to see that trope transformed, so that Bella stakes the vampire, has the werewolf put down at the pound, and runs off with a woman who looks like Pete Rose.