Created By: callsignecho on October 5, 2010 Last Edited By: callsignecho on October 12, 2010

More Deadly Than The Male

Name Space:
Page Type:
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 Kipling

This 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.


Comic Books
  • The Boys: the character's name is The Female (of the Species) and she is Ax-Crazy.

  • 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.

Live Action Tv

Real Life
Community Feedback Replies: 27
  • October 5, 2010
    Another trope that can trigger this in addition to Mama Bear and Ax Crazy is Woman Scorned.
  • October 5, 2010
    • In Nemesis The Warlock, female Warlocks are stated to be the more powerful gender of the alien species.
    • In Gears Of War, females of the Locust Horde are referred to as "Berserkers." They're blind but have heightened senses of smell and sound to track their prey... and they are much more powerful and deadly than the more typical Locust drones. COG soldiers absolutely dread them.
  • October 5, 2010
    Needs A Better Title. Not saying that the Trope Namer isn't credible, it's just the title doesn't really convey the meaning of the trope.
  • October 5, 2010
    Just make The Female Of The Species Is More Deadly Than The Male a redirect on launch, like what we did with With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility. The quote in it of itself is pretty identifiable, even if you can't recall having heard it, you just know this is about females being stronger than the male.
  • October 5, 2010
    Invoked constantly in P.G. Wodehouse's stories, often with a reference to the page quote, as in Right Ho, Jeeves!: "Old Pop Kipling never said a truer word than when he made that crack about the f. of the s. being more d. than the m."
  • October 6, 2010
  • October 6, 2010
    In The Edge Chronicles Only female Trogs could turn Termagent. The males were therefore both weaker and less violent.

    And Female Supremacy sounds like the clearest option.
  • October 6, 2010
    In That70s 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.
  • October 6, 2010
    The other half of the quote will work as a name: More Deadly Than The Male
  • October 6, 2010
    Seconding More Deadly Than The Male. Female Supremacy is far to vague and has nothing to do with violence.
  • October 7, 2010
    Thirding More Deadly Than The Male. See also Action Girl, since it really overlaps with this.

    My obligatory example (and shameless plug):

    The Mythology 101 Cycle LOVES this trope. The female characters are depicted not only as more magically powerful, but also much more competent in battle. In fact, if a Memetic Badass is spawned by this series, her name will probably be Kylie.
  • October 7, 2010
    Rudyard Kipling's poem, The Female of the Species sums this trope up poetically, and attributes it to the hardships of motherhood.

    Add also Rudyard Kipling's "The Young British Soldier":

    When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
    An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.

    Another fan of Rudyard Kipling, Robert A Heinlein in his novel The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress had the Warden's rapist guards punished by the women. It wasn't pretty.
  • October 7, 2010
    I thought of Female Supremacy as the Distaff Counterpart to Male Supremacy, which is an established term.
  • October 7, 2010
    If done wrong, it can be Positive Discrimination.
  • October 7, 2010
    In several species of animals the females are larger and more agressive than males. Especially true among many insects and arachnids (for example male mosquitoes are vegetarians while the females suck blood because they need the proteins for the eggs to develope), but also quite prevelant among fish, reptiles and birds.
  • October 7, 2010
    ^ That's an excellent example of not an example. I'm trying to work the description to make it clear that this is about personality, not actual battle prowess or physical strength.
  • October 7, 2010
    • Warcraft Naga. The males are shown to be much more muscular and larger, but are mostly servants for females, who do most of the politicking and spellcasting.
  • October 7, 2010
  • October 7, 2010
    Real Life
    • According to this page, the smarter mare will be at the top of the pecking order and the physically stronger stallions will defer to her.
  • October 7, 2010
    The female mantis eats the male after mating

    And don't even get me started on female angler fish!
  • October 7, 2010
    A Real Life example would be the tricoteuses of The French Revolution (as Burke called them, "All the unutterable abominations of the furies of hell in the abused shape of the vilest of women"), which inspired the creation of Madame DeFarge in Charles Dickens' A Tale Of Two Cities.
  • October 8, 2010
    Not sure if this counts, but in Life Of Brian the only people attending the stoning were women (other than Brian himself who was dragged to it by his mother), despite the fact that women were forbidden to attend. They were all desparate to stone the stonee and ended up stoning the MC.
  • October 11, 2010
    • Tamora Pierce likes this trope, among others. Possibly justified, as any woman who has just succeeded in getting that high in the order in medieval times better be good.
      • Song of the Lioness Quartet. Guess who got elevated to King's Champion? Yes, the only female knight.
      • Also her Protector Of The Small, Keladry is surrounded by big guys who could take her brute force to brute force. However, Kel is clever and a leader.
      • In the Beka Cooper series, the male dogs (cops) are tough. The female ones will beat you with a stick until you can barely walk. Or realize exactly what you've been doing and then just. Keep. Coming. Beka gets her nickname because of that--Terrier.
  • October 12, 2010
    (Ehem) Lady Macbeth, srsly.
  • October 12, 2010
    • In Film/Clue, the Kipling poem The Female of the Species is reference. This is Foreshadowing. In all three endings, a female is a/the murderer.
  • October 12, 2010
    • The Celtic women were considered more dangerous than the men by the Romans. A quote goes: "If you meet a barbarian, you're in trouble. If you meet his wife, you're dead."
  • October 12, 2010

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable