Daughters Are Always Vulnerable
Dads always have to protect their daughters from danger and boys. ESPECIALLY boys.


(permanent link) added: 2012-02-26 14:12:43 sponsor: KingZeal (last reply: 2013-07-30 09:29:24)

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This trope is being suggested to combat Missing Supertrope Syndrome. Because it's a missing Supertrope, it will overlap with its subtropes. This overlap does not mean that it is the same as them.

Being a parent is hard work. And if fiction is to be believed, being the father of a little girl is the main cause of male baldness.

Daughters (along with their mothers) always seem ripe for kidnapping. In addition, in most forms of fiction the Protagonist (or, sometimes, the Antagonist) is irresistible. Throughout the course of the story, at least one girl (or several if you really want some tension) will latch themselves onto him and feel drawn to his strength and conviction. While most stories show this through the eyes of the Male Lead and Female Lead, the character who is usually left out of the equation is dear old Daddy.

In fictionland, a daughter's purity, chastity and innocence have to be protected from the men who will come to take her away. That handsome stranger, chisel-jawed hero, or mysterious villain is always looking to "spend the night" (in her bed) or "rescue her" (from her virginity) or "kidnap her" (and have sex with her). Fathers have to be alert, vigilant and sometimes downright paranoid to make sure that their little girls aren't Defiled Forever. Even when rape or seduction aren't involved, the duty typically falls upon the father to rescue a daughter from harm's way. A Lifetime Movie of the Week excepted.

This is an "aggregate" trope. In other words, it's the Super Trope that the Overprotective Dad believes. He wouldn't be overprotective if he didn't believe his daughter was always vulnerable in the first place. So, with that said, some of the examples here will simply be about a father who is hostile to his daughter's boyfriend for no adequately explained reason. It's the refusal to believe that she can't protect herself or be sensible enough to make up her own damn mind and leave it at that which is THIS trope.

It's specifically the father acting for her safety, even against his daughter's wishes or desires, that this trope is all about.

Subtrope of both Men Are Tough and Women Are Delicate. Possibly averted with the Standard Hero Reward (unless Dad is really reluctant to give it). Can also be averted if the father is a Gold Digger.

Compare and contrast the Heir Club for Men, where a daughter may or may not be expendable due to sons being the inheritors.

Common subtropes include:

And if Daddy fails to thwart Stage One, his last resort is:

Examples:

Advertising
  • A 2013 car commercial features two play-by-play commentators describing the first meeting between a new boyfriend and his girlfriend's parents. The commentators firmly establish that the father is a hard-to-impress hardass, but after one glance at the car the boyfriend appears in, he softens a bit.

Comics
  • Batman: This adequately describes Batman's relationship with Talia, the daughter of his archnemesis, Ra's Al Ghul. Although, in a twist, Ra's actually wants Batman to wed his daughter (and hell, wouldn't you?) but he won't allow it until Batman agrees become his successor. Ra's actually only treats his daughters (and sister) valuable insofar as they can sire male heirs. Batman didn't call him "The World's Oldest Chauvinist" for nothing.
  • Superman: Lois Lane's father, General Sam Lane, is general depicted as resentful, suspicious, and downright villainous towards the big blue hero. To his credit, though, Superman is a nigh-unstoppable alien with enough strength to break Lois in half with a sneeze.
  • The Incredible Hulk: General Thunderbolt Ross hates Bruce Banner (the Hulk) so badly that he's spent years trying to chase him down or destroy him. Though he denies it, it's clear that Bruce's relationship with his daughter is one of his key motivations.

Film
  • Back to the Future: Marty's grandfather was NOT eager when Lorraine offered to have him sleep in her room. Marty himself was horrified by the idea, of course, because he was being hit on by his teenage mother after a bout with Time Travel.
  • Taken: It's a plot point that the daughter gets herself kidnapped and the dad, who was previously thought to be overprotective, gets her back.
  • In the film 11:14, Cheri's father Frank is very protective of his daughter and assumes the worst about the guys she dates (including his assumption upon finding the dead body of one of her boyfriends that Cheri must have killed him in self-defense).

Literature
  • In Twilight, Bella's father wasn't exactly thrilled about her daughter's relationship with Edward. But, he was absolutely powerless to stop her in any meaningful way. Compare this to when he finds out that she punched Jacob (after he forced a kiss on her), and laughs.
  • Stick in one of the Warrior Cats Expanded Universe novels constantly fears for his daughter Red's safety, especially since a new gang of cats has moved to town and been causing trouble. Red ends up falling in love with one of them (though Stick refuses to believe it's love, claiming that Harley tricked her), and eventually her father's strictness drives her to join the other gang. Stick even goes to his ex-mate Velvet, Red's mother, to see if she can do anything, but she simply points out that Red's old enough to make her own choices. Stick's obsession with "saving" Red from the other cats eventually results in Red's death, when she jumps in the way of her father attacking her mate.

Live-Action Television
  • Al Bundy of Married... with Children often treats his ability to protect his daughter's virtue and safety as his only real accomplishment since he got married. Unfortunately for him, Kelly is actually the town bicycle.
  • Jack of Unhappily Ever After is an Expy of Al Bundy, except his daughter is such an extreme combination of Jailbait, The Tease, and Gold Digger that any man who meets her extremely narrow standards is the one who's really in trouble.
  • In The West Wing, President Bartlet is extremely protective of his daughters in terms of personal safety, publicity, and dating. He reminds Charlie--who is basically his surrogate son--about the 82nd Airborne when Charlie dates Zoe, and will fly into a rage anytime he thinks a journalist is trying to get one of his daughters into a story.

Videogames
  • Art of Fighting: Takuma certainly seems to think so, when it comes to his daughter, Yuri. She's already been kidnapped once before, by Mr. Big. But his student, Robert Garcia, is a greater cause for concern, due to his amorous designs for her. So Takuma and Ryo make sure to keep an eye on him, so he doesn't try anything.
  • Mike Haggar of the Final Fight/Street Fighter universe epitomizes this trope. One of his win quotes for Marvel vs. Capcom 3 has him tell his defeated opponent that if they'd touched his daughter, he'd REALLY have given them a beating.

Webcomics
  • Pre Teena, where Hugh Keene gets seriously agitated over his eleven year old daughter showing the first signs of romantic interest in boys. He is resigned to it with his older daughter Jeri, who in any case has impossibly high standards. But with eleven year old Teena, all the alarm bells ring. Loud.

Western Animation
  • Futurama: The three "Robot Daughters" Bender seduces on the moon.
  • Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths has Rose Wilson, President Slade Wilson's daughter. It was hinted Ultraman killed her mom with his heat vision, and does a Shame If Something Happened about Rose. When the Red Archer tries to kill Rose, the Martian Manhunter is able to foil him. Then bond with Rose afterwards.
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