Created By: WaxingName on March 3, 2012 Last Edited By: WaxingName on November 22, 2012
Nuked

Action Guy

(Omnipresent Trope) A male Action Hero

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Main
Page Type:
Trope

NOTE: This is separable from Action Hero and Badass in that both pages specify that they are gender-neutral.

An Action Guy is a male character who solves problems through fighting. This kind of character is seen in every entertainment medium. This is primarily due to long-standing Double Standards relating to fighting being a man's job.

Because of the Double Standard of males being stronger than girls, most characters that do the fighting in most works are male. This is because that even though men are not action-oriented by default in the real world, most people are lead to assume that any person who is willing to solve problems physically is male. Due to gender stereotypes, women aren't instantly expected to be Badass; they are expected to be either a source of moral support and/or a Love Interest, but rarely a person who gets into a fight. Action Girls are often portrayed differently to males, commonly taking shots at how females aren't as frequently expected to kick ass as males are.

Even today, probably because of Most Writers Are Male, most Action Heroes in fiction are male. You'll see more females being either Distressed Damsels or behind-the-scenes workers. However, the onset of civil rights for women have made Action Girls slowly more common as time has passed. Also, the notion that guys are more willing to fight than girls are is sometimes portrayed in a negative light to emphasize that Women Are Wiser.

Contrast, obviously, Action Girl and Non-Action Guy. Sister Trope to Women Are Delicate.

This is an Omnipresent Trope, so no examples are needed
Community Feedback Replies: 52
  • March 3, 2012
    WaxingName
    If anyone says that this is People Sit On Chairs, I defend that this is instead an Omnipresent Trope because Action Girl pushes the definition of not being People Sit On Chairs, and we have Hero Protagonist and Villain Antagonist as Omnipresent Tropes, so I think this can fit as an Omnipresent Trope.

    I thought this YKTTW up to round out Non Action Guy and Action Girl.
  • March 3, 2012
    KingZeal
  • March 3, 2012
    Koveras
    The absence of this as a separate trope is (or was once) pointed out on the Gender Dynamics Index.
  • March 5, 2012
    WaxingName
    I've read that article, and I still argue that this is an Omnipresent Trope. If this would be PSoC, Hero Protagonist and Villain Antagonist would be PSoC also. That's why I want this to be an Omnipresent Trope.
  • March 5, 2012
    darkclaw
    I agree with the above. Although the Gender Dynamics Index points out this Double Standard, I still feel it should be addressed. Due to gender stereotypes, women are not instantly expected to kick ass and Action Girl types are often portrayed differently (look at the differences between Heroic Build for genders, the YKTT Ws Dainty Combat and All Women Are Delicate, etc.) However, men are expected to kick ass or else they are a failure at masculinity and are thus a Non Action Guy. Due to that expectation; people assume men are all badass...or so it is said; but since Non Action Guy can even exist, I argue that a lot of people don't assume all men can fight; rather that men want to fight more and are more violent (in contrast to Women Are Wiser) in terms of stereotypes.

    I think Action Guy is perfectly valid if Action Girl is.
  • March 5, 2012
    Cider
    When, and only when, action girl is cleared of all examples and becomes a page, will I accept this one in any form. Action guy is not an omnipresent trope. Plot Point is an omnipresent trope, The Protagonist, consistency are omnipresent. Innocent Bystander proves "action guy" is not omnipresent. That it is so easy to tell a story that doesn't use or subverts action guy proves it is not omnipresent.

    What you are looking for is "Too Broad To Trope". What is a badass? It is an empty term. What is awesome, what is cool, what sucks? Just saying blah is badass is not a valid laconic, it tells nothing because badass has no concrete meaning. Badass shouldn't have examples either, it should just be an index.
  • March 5, 2012
    atheywa
    The male counterpart to Action Girl is Action Hero.
  • March 5, 2012
    Cider
    The page disagrees.

    not gender specific and can apply to both males and females and Action Heroine redirects to Action Hero, to support that it is not gender specific. Really, action girl should just be deleted, or be strictly limited to an index.
  • March 5, 2012
    fulltimeD
    ^yup, it's an Omnipresent Trope.
  • March 5, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    People Sit On Chairs. There's a genre named after it (it's called Action genre).

    Action Girl is an exception to the norm, so it should stay. Action Hero should be the main, and Action Heroine should redirect to it. And this is the one that needn't exist.
  • March 6, 2012
    KingZeal
    It's not People Sit On Chairs. Men are not action-oriented by default in the real world. It's a storytelling trope because it's what we want to assume men should be.

    That said, this isn't the Spear Counterpart to Action Girl. Action Girl is a woman who goes above and beyond what is expected of her gender; for men, that would be Rated M For Manly or something like that (since Action Hero is neutral). The problem with this trope is that it's both what is expected of men but doesn't fit Real Life.

    If All Women Are Delicate worked out, I was going to make another Omnipresent Trope called All Men Are Tough. I personally think we should rename this to that to avoid confusion.
  • March 6, 2012
    Catbert
    I'm not at all seeing what this accomplishes that Action Hero and Badass doesn't.
  • March 6, 2012
    darkclaw
    Action Hero and Badass are gender neutral, but Action Girl isn't. People assume that all men can kick ass, because according to stereotypes, men should all be able to kick ass...but not all men can in Real Life just like not all women can kick ass in Real Life. In my opinion, by having an Action Girl page that explores the ways female badasses are different from male ones in fiction; the wiki is further enforcing gender stereotypes as it is agreeing that men by defaultt all kick ass, so only the exception (Non Action Guy) deserves a page while women are not expected to kick ass so only the exception deserves a page (Action Girl). If a page for Action Guy was made, it would be easier to both highlight the differences between male and female badasses and acknowledge that not all men can kick ass by default. A Non Action Girl page could be interesting too.

    Also, if Action Girl is so unexpected, then why are there 6703 entries of it on the wiki? The number of men who kick ass on the other hand is harder to figure out since they can only have the gender neutral "badass" and "action hero". It might be more fair to say, in my opinion, that men are expected to kick ass but not all can while women are not expected to kick ass but many can. Hopefully more pages can be built or changed to better explain the Double Standard related things at play in fiction.
  • March 6, 2012
    KingZeal
    I don't think Non Action Girl is necessary. All Women Are Delicate should cover that, when I launch it. The other examples should go into more appropriate subtropes, like Men Use Violence Women Use Communication, Lady Of Adventure, Guys Smash Girls Shoot, and Distressed Damsel.
  • March 6, 2012
    WaxingName
    The reason I put the laconic as "a male Badass" was because the Action Girl page clearly states that an Action Girl is a female Badass. Also, I agree that Action Hero and Badass are both gender-neutral. And, again, I proposed this Omnipresent Trope in order to round out Action Girl and Non Action Guy: two actual tropes.
  • March 9, 2012
    WaxingName
    Just changed laconic to male Action Hero, as I believe that fits much better.
  • March 17, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    This is one of the Universal Tropes, as it's genre specific.

    "When, and only when, action girl is cleared of all examples and becomes a page, will I accept this one in any form."

    So the validity of this trope to you is not tied to the actual validity of Action Girl, but what is done with the page? Tropes don't work that way.
  • March 17, 2012
    Catbert
    Trope pages don't exist to advance gender equality or to balance out other trope pages. Trope pages exist to document tropes.

    I don't think this concept is separable from Action Hero and Badass, and the existence of Action Girl as a separate trope does not create a need for this page.
  • March 17, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    ^Action Hero and Badass are not gender-specific, so it is separable.

    Also, the point here is that men are associated with action-dom, whereas women aren't, making the former a trope.
  • March 22, 2012
    Cider
    My stance hasn't really changed. I still say action girl should be a trope index with no examples, as should bad ass. But suppose this Women Are Delicate page does get through. If we are documenting a "double standard" then this needs a better title. Action Girl is not a double standard, rebellious or new. Women have been in scraps since they existed.

    A title like, Men Are Stronger, Guys Are Tougher would make that double standard more clear. It needs a description that takes in more points too.

    "In fiction men characters tend to be stronger and tougher than women characters. This is true in real life to an extent, men do tend to be larger, have larger muscle groups, denser muscle fibers and more testosterone. Their records in most competitive sports will almost always be higher by the numbers for example. Furthermore, before advancement in medicine changed things, women had lower life expectancies than men, it only made sense that men be in harm's way when it was required, being less likely to die and not as critical to the group's continued survival if they did.

    That's not to say this is a universal occurrence, neither in fiction nor in real life but you will find more men construction workers, police officers, soldiers, fire fighters miners, hunters, security guards and such than you will women, though fiction may exaggerate, women have and still do all of those things. This can especially be problematic when applied to other species, as noted in Insect Gender Bender and More Deadly Than The Male, but then Most Writers Are Male."

    Really if we are just covering a broad gender Double Standard then "Action Guy" is way too narrow a title. As is, neither Action Guy nor Action Girl need to have trope pages, as Action Hero is gender neutral and Action Heroine is a redirect. Badass shouldn't be used as a standard for anything. Badass has no concrete meaning beyond something someone found "impressive". It is as meaningless as trying to make a trope out of "Awesome", "Amazing" or "Sucks". Badass is index material at best. Action Girl is index material, at best.

    It Sucks is an index. Would make a page with "A Female/Male who sucks" as a laconic? How do they suck? How are they badass? Strength and toughness, or even broad physicality can at least be measured objectively somewhat.
  • March 22, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    ^No, we need examples on supertropes. Otherwise, Missing Supertrope Syndrome will quickly kick in.
  • March 22, 2012
    Cider
    They are not Super Tropes. Not as this very wiki defines them. Badass Boast, Badass Angster, Badass Crew and Badass Baritone have absolutely nothing in common with each other beyond 2 things. They impress people and they page that described the trope has badass in the title.

    Action Girl is not a super trope, Action Hero is the super trope. Action girl a collection of various figures who may or may not be heroic, good at what they do, or even get into fights. There is nothing holding them together besides being women who are physically active, except when they are too young to be called women. When there is no pattern that is not superficial it is an index, not a trope. So no examples.
  • March 22, 2012
    TropeEater
    I don't think that this is all that much of a bad idea, but you need to realized that a character can be a Badass or an action girl without being an action hero. An action hero thinks that violence solves everything, completing the triangle between Science Hero and Guile Hero.

    I repeat, an Action Heroine and an Action Girl are not the same thing.
  • October 26, 2012
    IndirectActiveTransport
    Yeah, Action Heroine is a trope worthy page and Action Girl is not. Neither is this one, in my opinion. This is at most a footnote for the Action Hero page, that they are usually and traditionally male but can be female. This is NOT worth a whole new page that will have no examples!

    Action Guy could and Action Girl could work as indexes for specific types of Action Heroes by gender but why not just have Action Hero do double(triple, quadruple?) duty and serve as a trope page and an index? Let us be honest here, these are all the same trope.Using it in a slightly different way does not make it page worthy.
  • October 27, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    ^If Action Girl isn't tropeworthy, bring it up in TRS. Don't derail this YKTTW to be about this.
  • October 27, 2012
    IndirectActiveTransport
    This one isn't worthy either though, for the same reasons. It's just a footnote for Action Hero. Action girl isn't on the repair shop right now because it was full last time I checked(and there are plenty of other things that may or may not be more urgent).
  • October 27, 2012
    WaxingName
    I guess all we can do is wait for TRS to open up, then. I'm thinking of opening one for Action Girl and maybe Badass considering how much it's being brought in that it's PSoC.

    But enough about that. I need more description for this YKTTW or else it will never be ready.
  • October 27, 2012
    WaxingName
    Added a bit of text based on what we've been discussing in the comments.
  • October 27, 2012
    McKathlin
    Men Act Women Are discusses this gender dynamic. Edit: I see that Men Act Women Are discusses a lot of other things aside from the tendency for male characters to be action heroes, and for action heroes to be male. So a page about men being tough by default might be in order after all.
  • October 28, 2012
    WaxingName
    Now, I've got a big question. Is this an Omnipresent Trope or a Universal Trope (or both)? After reading both pages and their indexed tropes, I'm leaning towards Omnipresent Trope now.
  • October 29, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    These two concepts are unrelated; Universal Trope means "exists in every medium" and Omnipresent Trope is ... well. I lean towards Universal Tropes.

    Also, I think the Bad Ass and Action Hero ambiguity could easily be fixed with a Men Are Though trope or somesort - Action Guy is supposed to be that, right?
  • October 29, 2012
    WaxingName
    ^Action Guy is much broader than what I think you mean Men Are Tough, since it refers to any male who can fight, rather than just the Double Standard. Especially since Action Girl is not titled Girls Arent Supposed To Be Tough But This Girl Is Anyway, even though the description describes the gender stereotype of girls not being action-oriented. The description of this YKTTW does the same: the title doesn't mention the Double Standard, but the description does. The title also serves the purpose of rounding out a triangle with Action Girl and Non Action Guy. Also, Non Action Girl is already covered by All Women Are Delicate.
  • October 30, 2012
    KingZeal
    Men Are Tough was actually a supertrope I was going to work on.

    But the issue is that "tough" isn't exactly the proper word. The reason I went with "Delicate" for women was because it conveys multiple meanings: thorough, demure, sensitive, nurturing, kind, careful, etc. "Tough" doesn't convey nearly as much as that. For one thing, it doesn't really explain the Dumb Dad or Fat Slob tropes. You could argue that they're playing off of Women Are Wiser, but it still has nothing to do with toughness.
  • October 30, 2012
    WaxingName
    ^Action Guy doesn't even cover the Dumb Dad or Fat Slob tropes or whatever else, since those concepts are independent of the ability to get into a fight or not. I guess we can propose a Men Are Uncouth YKTTW to cover those sorts of tropes, since Uncouth is fairly broad in its definition. Action Guy covers the entire spectrum of males who are Action Heroes.

    What you can do to help out, King Zeal, is to post down the ideas that you had going for your theoretical "Men Are Tough" YKTTW. I could even give you permission to edit this YKTTW at your leisure if you want. I remember on your Gender Supertropes thread that you said that the ideal male is represented by both Worlds Strongest Man and Gentleman And A Scholar. These ideals are fairly separate unlike the Women Are Delicate trope. In fact, a theoretical "Men Are Uncouth" would be part of the "Improper Ideal" you spoke of according to you.
  • October 31, 2012
    CarrieVS
    I think this isn't a trope, because we have Action Girl as well as Action Hero. If action-hero-who-is-a-girl is trope-worthy in addition to plain ordinary action hero, then female action heroes are contrary to the norm/perceived norm, so by deduction male action heroes *are* the norm for that trope and so don't need a separate trope. (And if Action Girl didn't ought to be a trope, then there's no case for making gender specific pages for this at all).

    Some people have suggested we need this trope because not all men are action heroes. I disagree. Strongly. In fact I don't even understand why that was brought up. Action Girl isn't trope-worthy because not many girls are action heroes, it's trope-worthy (if it is at all) because not many action heroes are girls (or at least that's perceived/assumed to be the case). The fact that Action Hero doesn't cover all male characters ever has no bearing on this.
  • October 31, 2012
    KingZeal
    ^^ I suppose Dumb Dad and Fat Slob can maybe be considered zig-zagged subtropes to Men Are Tough if we think of the Fat Slob and Dumb Dad as the result of today's "emasculated" male. The Fat Slob is usually presented as a man either past his time or "domesticated" out of his natural badass habitat. In fact, I like that. The God of those tropes would probably be Al Bundy. Followers would be John Mc Clane (socially incompetent unless placed back in his natural habitat in the role of a badass) and Homer Simpson.

    Yeah. If you let me change this to Men Are Tough, I can get to work on that.
  • October 31, 2012
    WaxingName
    ^^The problem with Action Hero is that the page only touches on the fact that most Action Heroes are male, and in a single sentence, too. If you read the description, it actually says, in bold print, that Action Hero applies to both males and females. The trope description is only about what an Action Hero is and what he does. And if you're referring to the usage of male pronouns, it's just a case of the Men Are Generic Women Are Special trope for the sake of a simpler description.

    ^Fat Slob is an entirely independent concept of what you're thinking of. The man who is past his prime is a trope in itself, called Jaded Washout (which actually used to be named "The Al Bundy" in the past). And I'm still not convinced that Men Are Tough is a better name than Action Guy. Men Are Tough would be a good name, but as you said earlier, "tough" is a fairly vague concept, and it doesn't explain some tropes. Now, I also proposed making a Men Are Uncouth YKTTW, which would cover Fat Slob and other related tropes.
  • October 31, 2012
    CarrieVS
    So action hero isn't specifically about men, therefore there must be another trope specifically about action heroes who are men?

    Why? It's just The Same But More Specific.
  • October 31, 2012
    WaxingName
    ^The same could be said of Action Girl: The Same But More Specific. An Action Girl is just an Action Hero who is female. The only reason that it's way more notable than Action Guy is because of these societal implications of having a girl who can fight.
  • October 31, 2012
    CarrieVS
    It seems there's some debate over whether Action Girl is trope-worthy. If it isn't, Action Guy clearly isn't, and if it is, why do we need them both? Are they not both saying the same thing: that most action heroes are men? Arguably, action girl deserves its own page because it's different from the norm. In that case, action guy is the norm, and is just 'everything in this trope that's not in that one'. Not necessary.
  • October 31, 2012
    WaxingName
    ^First off, this YKTTW is not the place to argue about the tropeworthiness of Action Girl. We're just waiting for TRS to clear up (which may take a while) until we discuss about that there.

    Second, even though both Action Girl and this YKTTW both say that most Action Heroes are male, the two pages are about different topics. Also, we do need a page dedicated to describing the norm, since that would increase the notability of Action Girl that this wiki is so intent on keeping, and because there are many people (including myself) who are confused as to why an Action Girl is not a case of PSoC. And describing the norm is not an alien concept on the wiki; we have Hero Protagonist and Villain Antagonist as Omnipresent Tropes
  • October 31, 2012
    CarrieVS
    I wasn't arguing about the trope-worthiness of Action Girl, I only mentioned the fact that it appears to be debated in passing because it was relevant to the thrope-worthiness of this one. I didn't even give my opinion - unlike you, even though you say we shouldn't even mention it.

    And a minute ago you were arguing for this trope based on the fact that it's almost as notable as that one, so if you don't actually think Action Girl is trope-worthy, what's your actual argument for Action Guy?

    We have Action Hero for everything in that trope, and we have Action Girl for the less-common subtrope. It does describe the norm, and all this trope would do would say the same thing, but with a list of all the male Action Heroes instead of a list of all the female ones. They're not about different topics, they're about the same topic viewed from two different sides. What exactly would it add besides a second place for the majority of action heroes to be listed as examples?
  • October 31, 2012
    WaxingName
    ^Action Hero does not dedicate sufficient writing to how most Action Heroes are male to be the main descriptor. And the fact that being female an Action Hero when most males are is not a fundamental part of being an Action Girl; the only thing that makes an Action Girl an Action Girl is the ability to fight. The same thing goes for Action Guy; the only thing that makes an Action Guy and Action Guy is the ability to fight. Also, you're saying that this trope would have a list of all the male Action Heroes, when I specifically state in the description that this is an Omnipresent Trope, so there are no examples needed.
  • October 31, 2012
    CarrieVS
    So it won't even add the thing that I said would be the only thing it would add.

    And I'm not saying Action Hero is the main descriptor of how most of them are male. I'm saying that Action Girl is.

    And you talk about how little Action Hero says about most of them being male. Edit it?

    And finally, do we not have something about characters who can fight? Badass perhaps (Action Girl is described as a female badass,and I understand that this is the male counterpart) If Action Girl and Action Guy are about that rather than about being an Action Hero, are they not exactly what I was talking about but with Badass in place of Action Hero?
  • October 31, 2012
    WaxingName
    ^Action Girl can't be the main descriptor either because it only dedicates one paragraph to how there is a double standard that men fight more than women. Not much else on that page describes it.

    And I will not edit Action Hero to mention how most of them are male, since that would be off-topic for a page that isn't about gender standards.

    About the laconic, I actually had it as "A Male Badass" for a time for the reasons you spoke of, but then I agreed with Cider up above that Badass has no concrete meaning besides "cool" or "awesome" or such. I changed it to "A Male Action Hero" because our definition has a very concrete meaning. Action Hero outright means a hero who solves problems through fighting.
  • October 31, 2012
    CarrieVS
    I'm losing track of what you're even arguing for. Clearly neither of us is going to convince the other, so I'm going to abandon ship here. Good luck.
  • November 2, 2012
    KingZeal
    Fat Slob is an entirely independent concept of what you're thinking of. The man who is past his prime is a trope in itself, called Jaded Washout (which actually used to be named "The Al Bundy" in the past). And I'm still not convinced that Men Are Tough is a better name than Action Guy. Men Are Tough would be a good name, but as you said earlier, "tough" is a fairly vague concept, and it doesn't explain some tropes. Now, I also proposed making a Men Are Uncouth YKTTW, which would cover Fat Slob and other related tropes.

    Jaded Washout is only a zig-zagged subtrope of (the theoretical) Men Are Tough. The entire point is that without an outlet for their masculine identity, these men are utter failures everywhere else. The best example of this comes in Sin City, with Marv. During a scene in which Marv is Drowning His Sorrows at a bar watching the stripper he has a crush on, Dwight mentions that in another time, another era, Marv would have been the perfect Gladiator and would have had all the action (both violent and sexual) he could have ever wanted.

    The reason "Tough" is a good word for this is because it means opaque, impenetrable, violent and thick in contrast to "delicate" meaning gentle, flexible, nurturing and soft.

    But if that doesn't work for you, no biggie. I can propose a new YKTTW if necessary.
  • November 2, 2012
    WaxingName
    "Tough" could also mean strong, sturdy, and brave. Which is why I think "Uncouth" would be a much better word for what you're talking about.
  • November 2, 2012
    KingZeal
    But that's not ONLY what "tough" means. Tough can also mean obstinate, slow to change, and stubborn.

    Men Are Uncouth would just a subtrope, like Women Are Wiser is to Women Are Delicate.
  • November 2, 2012
    WaxingName
    But that definition of tough is a very informal and rarely used one to my knowledge. I'm not really sure there's an effective way to cover all the gender stereotypes of men in just one clear word unlike "delicate" to "women".
  • November 2, 2012
    KingZeal
    Not really, it isn't. "Tough" literally means "resilient", which is often synonymous with difficult to change or stubborn.
  • November 2, 2012
    WaxingName
    Well, it looks like our arguments are getting nowhere. King Zeal, you can make Men Are Tough if you want, but I'm not going to change this YKTTW to that.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=kdork2bbn9swmqa6b20jhfuj&trope=DiscardedYKTTW