Male Might, Female Finesse
A Force And Finesse dynamic with a Force guy and a Finesse girl.
In fiction, male-female fighting pairs tend to have the guys dealing damage from close range while the girls stay out of the front lines and dish out damage from long range either as an archer or a mage (or both) or heal up the guy doing all the fighting. Then there are male-female pairs where the girl is also a melee fighter, but her fighting style focuses more on speed and precision strikes while he simply smashes his way through the enemies through sheer strength. Male Might, Female Finesse is basically Force And Finesse combined with stereotypical gender roles. It describes a foil where a stronger but slower male character is paired with a faster but weaker Action Girl as an Action Duo. Women don't tend to be as physically strong as men, so they tend to make up for that with agility and reflexes. You can expect said women to have lots of Waif-Fu. This portrayal and dynamic exists because of the Mars-and-Venus Gender Contrast; stereotypical men are strong and durable while stereotypical women are agile and flexible, and it's rare for them to mix both attributes. This sometimes extends to their temperaments; men would be either boisterous or stiff while women would be more cheerful, open-minded or sultry (though as they're Action Girl they're definitely never "fragile girls"). Of course, expect inversions every once in a while. For their fighting style, expect the male to be brawling with brute force while the female to be agile and graceful, with the female tending to exercise She-Fu and/or Waif-Fu. Sub-Trope to Men Are Tough and Women Are Delicate. May be part of a Battle Couple, but not always. Can be justified if Huge Guy, Tiny Girl is in play. Compare Guys Smash, Girls Shoot for another way the gender roles play in fighting.
ExamplesAnime and Manga
- Ranma ˝: A variation occurs in that it's embodied in the same person. Ranma has a curse which turns him into a girl. While his male half is still pretty fast, his female form allows him even greater speed and agility, but at the cost of being smaller and weaker than his male form.
- This also comes into play during his battle with Herb of the Musk Dynasty. Herb, who is initially locked into a female form, uses a form of Ki Attack that has Ranma baffled, until Herb manages to turn back to male and uses the same attack, at which point Ranma can see what's happening. Herb's female form had done it so blinding fast Ranma couldn't make heads or tails of it.
- Marvel Comics' duo Cloak & Dagger are composed of Cloak, a Mighty Glacier type hero paired with Dagger, a Fragile Speedster type with She-Fu. Cloak enfolds villains and mooks in the darkness of his cloak, wherein they come face-to-face with their own wickedness. Baddies emerge quivering, terrified wrecks. Dagger is an angelic young woman who has had ballet and dance lessons, and can fling "light-knives" that can cause villainous BSOD, or "cure" substance addiction.
- DC Comics: The 90's version of the team Hawk and Dove featured a male Hawk whose strategy usually consisted of wading in and punching his opponent as hard as possible, and a female Dove who was weaker but more agile and much more subtle in her strategy.
- Inverted when Marvel Comics ran some story arcs around X-Men members Gambit and Rogue as a romantic pair. Gambit tends to be quick and elusive in combat, flinging kinetic energy at adversaries, while Rogue is a melee scrapper, able to absorb the traits and powers of those she contacts.
- Marvel Comics' cosmic colossus Galactus is a world-devouring Mighty Glacier, largely impervious to mundane weapons. However, populated worlds can be problematic, so Galactus for a time had a herald called Nova, a superheroine given the powers of blistering flames and limitless flight. Nova arrives first, informs the populace that "time's up," burns off their puny resistance, then Galactus comes and finishes off their whole planet.
- X-Men: Colossus the Husky Russkie with metallic skin is often paired with Kitty Pride, an Intangible Woman who has trained in ninja skills.
- The Duo of Stargirl (AKA Courtney Whitmore) and S.T.R.I.P.E. (Pat Dugan) from DC comics have this dynamic. The relies on a combination of speed and agility (along with her Cosmic staff to shoot) while the later fights using Powered Armor that gives him greater strength to make for its slower speed.
- In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the Super Strong Captain America is paired with the acrobatic spy Black Widow.
- Inverted in Godzilla (2014) with the MUTOs: the male is an agile Giant Flyer, while the female is larger, land-based and relatively slower-moving (which is also Truth in Television for many insect species that inspired these creatures).
- In Pacific Rim Hong Kong is attacked by a pair of Kaiju; Leatherback, a massive, hulking brawler, and Otachi, a more slender creature with faster attacks, and the ability to fly. Otachi is shown to be female when it turns out she's pregnant.
- The Star Wars Legends novel Darth Bane: Rule of Two has the Sith Lord Bane instruct his apprentice Darth Zannah in a different form of lightsaber combat than himself, explaining that her smaller size, weaker musculature, and lack of nigh-indestructible orbalisk armor means she can't effectively use his Attack! Attack! Attack! variant of Form V: Djem So. He instead teaches her to use a double-bladed saber and Form III: Soresu, which she initially dislikes because the defensive style is more typically associated with the Jedi.
- One episode of The Six Million Dollar Man is "The Secret of Bigfoot," which has The Hero Steve Austin encounter a band of aliens living in a secluded woodland. They have a huge android called Sasquatch, whose strength keeps Colonel Austin in check. Sasquatch's chief controller is Shalon, an alien humanoid female with a device on her Utility Belt that allows her warp time around herself, an effect that mimics teleportation. Only Steve's bionic eye can track Shalon in this accelerated mode.
- In Rise of the Kasai, male playable character Rau uses sheer might in battle while the female playable character Tati uses quick reflexes and flipping around.
- Batman: Arkham City. Batman tends to use heavy punches and kicks while Catwoman flips around and cartwheels.
- Zaalbar (a Mighty Glacier wookie) and Mission (a stealthy rogue girl) in Knights of the Old Republic.
- Any party of a Marauder or a Templar (Strength-based male characters) and a Ranger (pure Dexterity-based female character) in Path of Exile.
- Half-Life 2's Gordon Freeman and Alyx Vance. The audio commentary for the first expansion/episode says that the reason Alyx can jump and climb better than the player is that she's more athletic while Gordon's more heavily built (and wearing Powered Armour, of course).
- Mortal Kombat
- The Lin Kuei assassins Sub-Zero and Frost
- The Shokan warriors Goro, Kintaro, and Sheeva
- Super Soldiers Jax Briggs and Sonya Blade. Although, Jax can become a Lightning Bruiser in Mortal Kombat 3 due its Run feature.
- The latest entry has Ferra/Torr, two characters that fight as one. Ferra is small and fast, and Torr is huge and powerful.
- Gender Inverted with Jack Russell and Ridley Silverlake in Radiata Stories.
- In Mass Effect 2, Garrus tells the story of a female colleague, with whom he once resolved his differences in a sparring: the fight went undecided because he "had reach, she had flexibility". Afterwards, they had a "rematch"... in bed, and it must have been good, since he reiterates that "he had reach, she had flexibility".
- In the Tekken series, Kazuya Mishima and his son Jin Kazama are unstoppable Lightning Bruisers who can transform into One Winged Angels, while their respective Love Interests Jun Kazama and Ling Xiaoyu rely on their Waif-Fu to kick ass.
- In Trine, we have Pontius the Mighty Glacier guy and Zoya the agile, sneaky thief woman.
- Devil May Cry: The second game featured co-protagonists Dante and Lucia. The former's moves are based on strong attacks while the latter was less powerful but made to be more agile and quicker. Trish, by virtue of being based on Dante's move set from the first game, however, is a subversion - by being both strong and female.
- Awesomenauts plays with this: the male characters run the gamut in terms of capabilities, but the four females currently on the roster are all balanced toward speed.
- Eddie and Ophelia in Brütal Legend: he sports a ridiculous Heroic Build and fights with a giant double axe, while she is a petite girl who dual-wields daggers and relies on evasive moves. Also an example of Huge Guy, Tiny Girl.
- The People Are Awesome youtube video features lots of clips where men do amazing sports activities or potentially dangerous stunts, while the few clips with women all focus on their flexibility.
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