Formerly known as "The Female Of The Species." Rolling Updates. Indices: Gender and Sexuality Tropes, Double Standard, Always Female, More Than Meets the Eye.
When the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
He shouts to scare the monster, who will often turn aside.
But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.
Rudyard KiplingThis is when men are physically stronger and quite capable of violence, but females are characterized as having a hidden, but apparently bottomless capacity for lethal mayhem. Remember, this does not describe a situation where men are weak and women are strong. This is when females are depicted as far more ruthless, more cunning and ultimately more bloodthirsty than their Spear Counterparts, despite--or because of--being smaller and weaker. While males are visibly larger and more aggressive, they tend more toward forms, codes and displays of power; meanwhile, the wiley female bothers not with such things. To help this trope along, expect the bad guys to totally ignore the female, dismissing her as a threat. She may even appear to capitulate or collude with the enemy, suffering indignities no one would expect her to tolerate, all in order get a better shot at revenge. This is the precursor to the modern Action Girl. While she may seem smaller and meeker, but should she attack it will be a No Holds Barred Beat Down. Should you be foolish enough to want to trigger such behavior in a female, try threatening her offspring or crossing her in love. This is the polar opposite of The Chick.
Examples:Comic Books Literature
- Rudyard Kipling's poem, The Female of the Species sums this trope up poetically, and attributes it to the hardships of motherhood.
- Cordelia's Honor:
- Princess Kareen realizes her son is alive and that she's been lied to. Without hesitation, she draws a nerve disrupter in a room full of soldiers and fires at her lover, the self-proclaimed Emperor.
- Despite Aral being a remarkably capable warrior, ultimately Cordelia leads the team that ends the coup attempt and changes the fate of the world...on the way to rescuing her son, her real mission.
- Lady Macbeth.
- That '70s Show: The guys taunt Donna and Jackie with claims that while men can entertain themselves with play-fighting, girls get too angry and begin to fight for real. Cue the girls beginning a nice, playful fight that quickly descends to barbed words and legitimate violence.
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