Created By: RossN on December 31, 2011

Chaste Action Heroine

ActionGirl protagonists are less likely to have sex or even just a love interest than their male counterparts.

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Action heroes tend to be romantically active. Even if they don't have sex onscreen they are probably going to end the film in a relationship with the female lead and if their original lover dies at the beginning of the film they'll probably pick up a new one by the end.

When the lead character is female though this seems less common. An action heroine protagonist is probably not going to end the story riding into the sunset with the male lead. If there even is a male love interest he will probably end up dying pretty early on and unlike the action hero's equally disposable wife he won't be replaced. Additionally it is very possible that the heroine's (ex)love interest is evil and will end up dead so no relationship there.

Notably, an action herione is less likely to be trying to save a boyfriend or husband. More often they will be driven to rescue or protect a child.

See also Final Girl.

Examples:
  • Ellen Ripley does have sex in the Alien films but none of the men she sleeps with (a) survive or (b) form much of a connection with her. When it comes to saving a character she is far more invested in saving Newt.
  • Sarah Connor's love interest dies two thirds of the way through The Terminator and she doesn't have a love interest at all in the sequel.
  • Evelyn Salt's husband dies pretty quickly.
Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • December 31, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    I think Chaste Hero already covers this.
  • December 31, 2011
    RossN
    I don't see the connection. Chaste Hero is a (usually male) naive character type who is clueless about flirting and sexual attraction. This is more a plot/story convention that the herione doesn't have much of a romantic life.
  • December 31, 2011
    TiggersAreGreat
    Video Games

    • Oni: Konoko has absolutely no love interest at all. Then again, that might be fortunate, considering how the world she lives in is in danger of collapsing and that she has issues.
    • Tomb Raider: Lara Croft really doesn't have a man in her life. Well, there was Larson in the remake of the first game, but she ended up literally killing him herself!
  • December 31, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^ The second paragraph includes this.
  • December 31, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • Buffy subverts this trope. Angel. Riley. Spike. All long-term lovers.
    • Leeloo is an action girl but she has just enough Distressed Damsel in her to require saving by Korben.
  • December 31, 2011
    Nndaia
    This seems to be a heroine-specific variant of My Girl Is Not A Slut.
  • January 1, 2012
    Koveras
    • Claymore is one of the few shonen action mangas with a female protagonist and a mostly female cast, and all of them seem completely asexual so far.
  • January 1, 2012
    Arivne
    This is usually true for an Action Girl in horror movies because of Sex Equals Death.

    Film
    • Resident Evil. It's hinted that Alice will get together with either Spence or Matt by the end of the movie, but she ends up alone.

    Tabletop RPG
    • The super heroine Justice in GURPS Supers: Mixed Doubles. With her secret identity as a police officer plus her super hero duties she doesn't have the time for romantic complications.
  • January 1, 2012
    RossN
    @Dragon Quest Z: Again not really. Chaste Hero covers a character type ("usually a teenage male") who is clueless about sex. That doesn't really have anything to do with this trope which is that an action heroine is far less likely to end up with a love interest.

    Cleary this needs a different name. Suggestions anyone?
  • January 1, 2012
    captainpat
    ^ Are you talking about a trend or a character type? Is "a action heroine that doesn't end up with a love interest" or "Action heroines in general do not end up with love interest". If it's the former then that's already covered by Chaste Hero (usually does not mean exclusively), if it's the latter then your example list needs to be exclusive to aversions, subversion, lampshade, etc...
  • January 1, 2012
    RossN
    It is "Action heroines in general do not end up with love interest".

    Though frankly even if it was "a action heroine that doesn't end up with a love interest" I still don't understand the Chaste Hero connection - Chaste Hero very clearly states it is about a character who is 'clueless' about sex and flirting and such. Yes it is possible that an action herione might also fall under Chaste Hero but I certainly don't see an automatic link.
  • January 1, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    I agree Chaste is probably not the best word choice.

    and I'm wondering if the action heroine who doesn't get sex is to make her more palatable to men. She does action as good as a man, she can't seduce her chosen partner as good as man! Or, the flipside of that, she does action as good as a man, but we'll leave her unattached so all the fanboys can envision themselves the one she chooses.
  • January 1, 2012
    RossN
    I think it might stem as much from the Double Standard about someone needing to be rescued. It's fine for a male action hero to have a Distressed Damsel love interest since she doesn't lose (much) audience respect for being captured. If a dude needs rescuing by the herione it's more difficult to sell them to audience as an item since he looks weak for needing to be rescued.
  • January 1, 2012
    captainpat
    ^^ Non clueless cases would be covered by Celibate Hero.

    Anyway, if the trope is "Action heroines in general do not end up with love interest", then listing cases of every work where an action heroine doesn't end up with a love interest is not an example. The trope is "Action heroines in general do not end up with love interest" not "an action heroine that doesn't end up with a love interest". The examples need to be lampshading, subversions, or really anything other than specific cases of this trend.
  • January 1, 2012
    Noaqiyeum
    If anything it's Chaste Hero whose name and description are mismatched, not this trope.
  • January 1, 2012
    MorganWick
    Great, one of those dreaded aggregate or comparative tropes. Combining one of those, especially a non-obvious one, with an "aversion/subversion/lampshade only" clause seems to be begging for trouble. (We've had non-obvious aversion/subversion/lampshade-only tropes be mistaken for their opposite or for being non-tropes in the past because that's what all the examples have been.)

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