Gendered Insults YKTTW Discussion

Gendered Insults
Insult a person by playing the
Better Name
(permanent link) added: 2012-07-04 19:00:33 sponsor: surgoshan edited by: DAN004 (last reply: 2015-09-20 02:56:00)

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DAN 004 wuz ere takin over ur druft

Whatever the reality of gender, the fact is that it has a lot of baggage tied to it, physical and cultural. It comes with expectations. And this trope is about people who defy stereotypes. Or who live up to them. Or who don't, but the person thinks they did. Or maybe someone just needs an insult and something about gender is handy. Insulting your gender is easily as handy as insulting Your Mom.

This can be expressed in multiple ways (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Insulting a guy/girl for not conforming to his gender (ie. You like clothes? That's a girl thing.)
  • Insulting a guy/girl for conforming to her gender (perhaps Stop Being Stereotypical, perhaps just "girls suck at math")
  • Calling a guy/girl with the wrong gender as an insult

This is related to Acceptable Feminine Goals and Traits and its non-existent Spear Counterpart. It also finds itself crossing not just gender, but sexuality (accusations of homosexuality).

It's incredibly common for some characters to throw these out as a matter of course: the Heteronormative Crusader and Drill Sergeant Nasty.

Note: For Real Life examples, be sure to be cautious.

Supertrope to: This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!

Indices: Insult Tropes


Comic Books
  • In Starman 80-page Giant, there's a story featuring "The Little O'Dares (And Partrolman Clarence)" in which young Hope O'Dare tells one of her brothers "You throw more like a girl than I do!"

  • One of the girls stuck at the retraining camp in But I'm a Cheerleader eventually blows up in protest; she's not gay, she likes boys! She just happens to also like keeping her hair cut short and playing sports! The entire film is a giant parody and Take That at the Heteronormative Crusader and approved gender roles.
  • Harold & Kumar establishes Harold's character early, when he evinces enjoyment of Sixteen Candles, to Kumar's open disgust.
    Harold: Whatever, it's a beautiful story.
    Kumar: Homo.
  • Van Wilder. At one point early in the film,the title character throws a cross-dressing pajama party. This his father walks in on him making out with someone in a closet, and sees him wearing lipstick in a teddy.
    Van Sr.: Sweet Jesus my son's a fairy.
    (Girl appears.)
    Van Sr.: Oh, thank God.
  • Pete of I Love You Man faces a lot of subtle and not so subtle scorn and derision for his metrosexual characteristics and lack of guy friends. At the poker game, he faces a storm of abuse from the host for not playing his masculinity right.
  • Thor. The title character is grudgingly willing to leave Jotunheim without a fight, until Laufey says something.
    Laufey: Run back home, little princess.
    Loki: Damn.
  • In Aliens, Hudson attempts to insult Vasquez with this. She turns it right back around on him.
    Hudson: Have you ever been mistaken for a man?
    Vasquez: No. Have you?
  • In The Sandlot, Ham and the leader of the local Little League team exchange a variety of childish insults. Ham wins when he says "You play ball like a girl!"
  • In The Shawshank Redemption the head bull casually insults the prisoners by calling them "ladies."
  • Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. Dr. Evil's assassin Random Task tries to kill Austin by throwing his shoe at him. Instead being killed Austin just gets a bump on the head. He's so disgusted that he tells Random Task "Really, you fight like a woman."

  • The Realm of the Elderlings does this deliberately to invoke setting, when it shows up. The first and third trilogies take place in the fairly egalitarian society of the Six Duchies, in which gender roles are more fluid; women can be warriors and no one gives it a second thought. The second and fourth trilogies take place in the far more gendered society of Bingtown; Althea is repeatedly attacked for being masculine in the second trilogy, and Sedric is too feminine in the fourth.
    Sedric: I just like things to be nice!
  • Theon Grayjoy throws some insults at his sister, who he feels is unacceptably mannish, in A Song of Ice and Fire. His unhappiness is increased by the fact that he had been trying to get in her pants without knowing she was his sister, on learning that she is his father's favorite, and that his people see him as unacceptably womanish.
  • Discworld
    • Monstrous Regiment. Borogravia is an Expy of a war-torn Eastern European nation with a rigidly backward authoritarian religion that forces women to wear dresses and head scarves and only do women's worknote . The book follows a plucky Sweet Polly Oliver as she sheds these notions and helps usher in a new era for the nation, and explores some notions of gender norms and what exactly is an Abomination?
    • The Fifth Elephant. Ha'ak is a very serious insult in Dwarfish. We aren't told what it means, but it's applied to a (female) dwarf who displays Tertiary Sexual Characteristics, to the point that Cheery nearly breaks down in tears and Detritus proclaims he will shoot the next dwarf to say the word with his Piecemaker.
  • Dua from The Gods Themselves was called Left-em when she was young (a long story involving Bizarre Alien Sexes).
  • A common sight in the Tortall Universe because one of the main themes is sexism and misogyny. Most prevalent in the Protector of the Small quartet, though. The heroine, Kel, is the first known female to try for knighthood in a century (the only other Lady Knight disguised herself as a boy). Among the various insults thrown at Kel: girls are not as strong, girls are too emotional, etc.
  • In R Scott Bakker's The Disciple Of The Dog, Disciple Manning Lampshades and Parodies this trope by implying that only women listen to Kelly Clarkson. A female character snarkily comments, "Let me guess, you hate Kelly Clarkson," to which Disciple responds, "Not at all. I love her. Every time I hear a Kelly Clarkson song, it makes me want to draw a hot bath, light some candles, and shave my vagina."

Live-Action TV
  • Ross and Chandler on Friends, hoo boy.
    • One early episode focused on how everyone thought Chandler was gay when they met him, and it became a running gag. He was metrosexual before it was really a thing, complimented the women's clothes, and preferred to watch the parade rather than the game on Thanksgiving.
      Rachel: Seriously, ESPN, just have it on in the background sometimes.
    • Ross, on the other hand, wore soft clothing (tweeds, sweaters) in pastel colors (actor David Schwimmer's preference), though he tried to dissemble by calling a shirt "salmon" rather than "pink". A number of jokes revolved around his lack of manliness.
      Ross: She doesn't think I'm man enough to play this? I could play this!
      Joey: Ross, you're not even man enough to order the channel.
  • How I Met Your Mother loves to insult Ted and Marshall for not being manly enough. On multiple occasions, they're derided by the group and called women (even by the women) for being sensitive or caring about their appearance.
    Ted: You know what I need?
    Lily: A vagina?
  • JD on Scrubs, beginning with the first episode and lasting until he left the show. His mentor, Cox, almost never called him by his name, but by a different girl's name every episode.
  • On Everybody Loves Raymond, Frank will call his son Raymond "Nancy" when criticizing him for doing or handling something in what he thinks is an unmanly fashion.
  • Bones
    • The title character occasionally gets attacked for not being "a girl", meaning when she doesn't act like a gentle, supportive, June Cleaver type.
    • One episode sees an agent very upset to learn that a case he'd been working for thirty years had gotten a plea deal behind his back, and was called a little girl for complaining about it. 9 years for the death of a cop, thirty years of work, and he gets called a little girl for being unhappy.
  • Psych
    • An early episode takes a brief detour into Shawn insulting his father's lifestyle choices, accusing him of being metrosexual for fake tanning, taking a bubble bath, and cooking a roast. It quickly devolves into a fight about "real men".
    • In a second season episode:
      • Shawn learns that Lassiter has a thing for horses.
      Shawn: ... when he was little, Lassie wanted nothing more than a pony.
      Lassiter: beat Well, who didn't?
      Gus: Anyone who wasn't an eight-year-old girl.
      • Later in the same episode:
      Shawn: When I left my dad's...
      Gus: You mean stormed out like a little girl?
  • On 30 Rock, mainly in earlier episodes, Jack would insult Liz by calling her mannish or telling her to shop at a women's clothing store. The show's third episode ("Blind Date") centers around him assuming that she's a lesbian.
  • On Angel Spike loves to call Angel a Nancy-boy. One example was his mocking narration in 'In the Dark' where he refers to Angel's hair gel that way.
  • When Oliver's learning to fight with a blade on the island in Arrow's flashbacks, he's told that he has "no skill. To say you fight like a girl would be a compliment." Later, he's unfavorably compared to a girl scout.
    Oliver: You been fighting a lot of girl scouts? Ow!
  • The West Wing
    • When Sam one-ups Lionel Tribbey in an argument about Gilbert and Sullivan by asking if Tribbey was the recording secretary of his university's G&S society, Tribbey's response is "No, but then again I'm not a woman."
    • When Sam is out-debated by Ainsley Hayes on a Sunday morning show, the other senior staffers are particularly entertained that he was "beaten by a girl."
    • One female government staffer isn't pleased with Sam criticizing a piece of language by saying "it sounds like a high school girl wrote it" and wants to know why he thinks a girl's writing would be any more amateurish than a high school boy's. He gets defensive and then reiterates that "it sounds like a girl to me" when the meeting is over.
  • On That '70s Show, Jackie would often make fun of Donna for her mannish clothes, comparing her to a lumberjack.
  • The Mythbusters tested the "throws like a girl" insult. Result: it's all training, nothing to do with in-born differences.
  • On Mystery Science Theater 3000, the host and the bots frequently call each other "femme", implying an activity is unmanly. This happens more frequently in the episodes in which Mike is the host, and it comes off as rather childish (Mike and the bots tend to be very immature).
  • In the Lizzie McGuire episode "One of the Guys," Kate makes fun of Lizzie for being called a "dude" by Ethan. Never mind that Ethan clearly did not mean it as an insult.
  • The Bazura Project, an Australian series comedically examining "Sinema with an S", had a segment examining this. The white male hosts show a slew of clips from movies with men calling women "bitch", "whore", etc, which they see nothing wrong with, but take exception to the final clip, where a woman calls a man a "jerk". They then talk about racial insults, once again seeing nothing wrong with insults towards minorities, but being offended by "What are you gonna do about it, whitey?"
  • In Blackadder II "Potato" Captain Rum refers to anyone who hasn't got roughed up by the sea as having a woman's [blank]
    Rum: You have a woman's hand, milord! I'll wager these dainty pinkies never weighed anchor in a storm.
    Rum: You have a woman's purse! I'll wager that purse has never been used as a rowing-boat. I'll wager it's never had sixteen shipwrecked mariners tossing in it.
    Rum: You have a woman's mouth, milord! I'll wager that mouth never had to chew through the side of a ship to escape the dreadful spindly killer fish.
    Rum: You have a woman's legs, my lord! I'll wager those are legs that have never been sliced clean off by a falling sail, and swept into the sea before your very eyes.
    Blackadder: Well, neither have yours.
    Rum: That's where you're wrong.
    Rum: [to the queen] You have a woman's bottom, my Lady! I'll wager that sweet round pair of peaches has never been forced 'twixt two splintered planks, to plug a leak and save a ship!
    Queen: Certainly hasn't, and I'm quite pleased about it!

Professional Wrestling
  • TCW heel "Golden Boy" Greg Anthony is often greeted with a Crowd Chant of "Golden Girl! Golden Girl!"

  • Insulting men by calling them bitches (female dogs) goes back to at least the sixteenth century, showing up in various plays, including the works of Shakespeare.
  • The Ancient Greece playwright Aristophanes heaped abuse on a notorious homosexual in several of his comedies. Roasting prominent audience members was considered par for the course, though, so it's not quite as awful as it might seem. YMMV, though, as he was quite conservative, making him somewhat the Glenn Beck of his day...

TV Tropes

Video Games
  • Unsurprisingly, the Joker is quite the misogynist in Batman: Arkham Asylum.
    • On one occasion:
    Joker: If you weren't hiding in the shadows - like a little girl! - this would be over so much faster.
    • The sequel also throws in random insults between the many, many prisoners of Arkham City, directed at each other, Batman, and some of the super criminals.

Web Animation
  • The Weebl & Bob song "Amazing Horse" includes the line "Shut up, woman, get on my horse!". The site writes the following comment to the song: "A song about how women's rights have improved as the use of horses for transport has declined."

Web Comics
  • Parodied by Oglaf in the episode "Amazon Linguistics", where one amazon is trying to insult another by suggesting that she's not a man, and things like that, and the second amazon keeps ignoring the insults to comment on the usage.

Western Animation
  • Futurama's Zap Brannigan certainly isn't intended to be sympathetic.
    Zap: Kif, I was just thinking... Oh, I'm sorry. You're crying. Like a woman.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy
    • In one episode, Double D using a sewing machine to repair a ripped seam in a curtain, to which Eddy remarks, "Gee, Double D, I never knew you were into girl stuff", which Double D exclaims, "Household tasks are not just for girls, Eddy!"
    • Also throughout the series, Double D is seen having loofah sponges in his possession; again, in one episode, Eddy remarks, "You actually use one of those things?"
    • In "Quick Shot Ed", the Eds act like nature photographers while taking pictures of other cul-de-sac kids for a calendar; while observing Jimmy playing with dolls with Sarah, Double D offers this explanation: "Sometimes animals get confused, and adapt to another animal's habits."
  • When SpongeBob SquarePants is training Gary for a race, he calls him a girl, saying that it's a motivational tactic that coaches use. Meanwhile, miles away, Sandy gets the urge to kick SpongeBob's butt tomorrow.
  • On Everybody Loves Raymond, Frank will sometimes call his son Raymond "Nancy" when criticizing him for doing or handling something in what he thinks is an unmanly fashion.
  • The Simpsons: The Nuclear Power Plant goes to baseball game as a group outing. Mr. Burns weakly thows out the first pitch. Bart & Lisa have fun heckling him.
    Bart: You throw like my sister, man!
    Lisa: Yeah, you throw like me!

Real Life
  • Anne Hutchison caused quite a stir in 17th century Boston when she started a schism in the church, preaching her own brand of Puritan doctrine. She and her family were eventually exiled, and one of the charges she was found guilty of was stepping out of her place as a woman and "making of thyself an Husband".
  • Homosexuality
    • It wasn't quite as common in ancient Greece as the plays might lead you to believe; it was more an affectation of the upper class. However, there were two ways to practice, and only one was acceptable. Being on the receiving end was unmanly and known bottoms were ridiculed in public for it.
    • Ancient Rome treated homosexuality much the same way. It was okay to be a top; it made you even more manly. Being a bottom made you a woman and that was bad.
  • Sports: Take any group of boys playing a sport...someone will get told they hit/kick/whatever like a girl. Given the rise of young girls in sports like soccer, this can be true, even if they are a girl. It's still insulting.
  • In Norse society, receiving an insult like this was legal ground for to challenge the one who gave it to you to a duel to the death. That is unless the insult was true, which means you were probably an object of public mockery and may even be kicked out of the tribe soon.
  • Aicha said to her son Muhammad XII, the last Sultan of Grenada that:
    —"Now you weep like a woman over what you could not defend as a man."

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