Created By: KingZeal on February 26, 2012 Last Edited By: KingZeal on July 11, 2015

Daughters Are Always Vulnerable

Dads always have to protect their daughters from danger and boys. ESPECIALLY boys.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
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.

Web Comics
  • PreTeena, 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.
Community Feedback Replies: 44
  • February 26, 2012
    captainpat
    Overprotective Dad should probably be mention somewhere. Also, none of the examples here mention anything about a father trying to protect their daughters.
  • February 26, 2012
    KingZeal
    ^ I forgot to mention Overprotective Dad. Although, there's a spot where they don't overlap.

    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. 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.
  • February 26, 2012
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • Inverted with a half-twist in Back To The Future. Lorraine needed protecting from Biff, but it was her (unbeknownst to her) son who tried to protect her at first, and then it was George Mc Fly, her future husband, who ended up doing the Big Damn Heroes bit.
  • February 26, 2012
    KingZeal
    Actually, it's played straight in Back To The Future. Marty's grandfather was NOT eager when Lorraine offered to have him sleep in her room.

    And there can't be an inversion or aversion of this trope. It's specifically about a father who can't trust his daughter's own hormones or desires. It can be defied in-story, however.
  • February 26, 2012
    Sackett
    This seems like just Overprotective Dad only from another viewpoint.
  • February 26, 2012
    Treblain
    Agree. If every example is going to be redundant with Overprotective Dad, then what's the point?
  • February 26, 2012
    KingZeal
    Noted.
  • February 26, 2012
    Dcoetzee
    Seems to be a combination of two tropes (Damsel In Distress and Overprotective Dad). I think some kind of index/supertrope could be useful but I'd send this one back to the drawing board.
  • February 26, 2012
    KingZeal
    Well, this IS the drawing board. LOL
  • February 26, 2012
    ArtyMorty
    ^^^ Funny Sidenote: Biff's Actor, Tom Wilson, is a Standup Comedian as well and he sings a song that plays this trope straight:

    "You touch her, or hurt her, or make her sad I'm gonna hurt you twice as bad." link
  • February 26, 2012
    Damr1990
  • February 27, 2012
    Madrugada
    This is a missing supertrope. Supertropes overlap with their subtropes. That overlap does not make them redundant.

    Overprotective Dad is a subtrope, where the father is irrationally or violently protective, beyond what protection the daughter needs.
  • May 11, 2012
    lexicon
    What about Taken where the daughter gets herself kidnapped and the dad, who was previously thought to be overprotective, gets her back? Does that fall somewhere else?
  • May 11, 2012
    TwoGunAngel
    That would fall under Papa Wolf, if I recall correctly.
  • May 11, 2012
    katiek
    When I saw the name, I immediately went to the Lifetime Mom type of story, where she has to rescue her daughter from the meth-addict-pimp-cult-leader-boyfriend, so I don't think it is totally clear.
  • May 11, 2012
    MiinU

    Video games

    • 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.
  • May 11, 2012
    Dawnwing
    Literature:

    • 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.
  • May 13, 2012
    MiinU
    bump.
  • May 13, 2012
    Scalondragon
    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.
  • May 13, 2012
    MiinU
    ^How is that an example of her father believing she's always vulnerable?

    It'd be different if her father was always checking on her, or had her flanked by 'round the clock security, or something like that.
  • May 13, 2012
    MorganWick
    Mads' distinction just makes Overprotective Dad sound like this But More So.
  • May 24, 2012
    KingZeal
    If it's a subtrope, that would be acceptable.
  • April 22, 2013
    Misskitten
    Bump.
  • April 22, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Film

    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).
  • April 22, 2013
    randomsurfer
    The Hulk example doesn't mention Ross's daughter at all, not even that he has one.
  • July 30, 2013
    XFllo
  • July 30, 2013
    DAN004
    Is The Chiefs Daughter related?
  • July 30, 2013
    KingZeal
    According to the description, yes.
  • July 30, 2013
    AgProv
    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.
  • July 30, 2013
    jayoungr
    Regarding the Twilight example, the trope is averted when it comes to Charlie's attitude toward Jacob. Upon learning that Bella punched Jacob after he forced a kiss on her, Charlie just laughs.
  • July 30, 2013
    KingZeal
    Both the above have been added.
  • July 30, 2013
    jayoungr
    Re the Twilight entry, Charlie is Bella's father! (I guess I should have made that clearer, sorry!)
  • July 30, 2013
    eowynjedi
    • 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.
  • July 30, 2013
    xanderiskander
    This might be related, or sometimes the reason, that Girl In The Tower happens. To protect the girl from the world, or from boys.
  • April 28, 2015
    jayoungr
    Just ran across this; seems like it could go with the new Honorable Marriage Proposal rework, so I'm bumping it to see if it might be launchable.
  • April 28, 2015
    Rjinswand
    I don't see how this is an "aggregate trope". An Aggregate Trope is when there's a certain tendency in many works, e.g. Black Guy Dies First. This trope seems to rather be an in-universe motivation for the Overprotective Dad character. There's no tendency in works to show daughters as vulnerable, it's only that the Overprotective Dad believes so.

    UPD: And most of the examples are just examples of Overprotective Dad, anyway.

    I also don't like the name, it makes it seem like an actual occurrence instead of an Overprotective Dad's belief.

    As for Farmers Daughter, The Generals Daughter etc., these tropes seem to actually be subtropes of Never A Self Made Woman, a trope we're currently fixing in the TRS. Or at least, they're subtropes to a missing subtrope of it that could be Notable Mans Daughter.
  • April 28, 2015
    DAN004
    So... what to do with this? Discard? Repurpose?
  • April 28, 2015
    Rjinswand
    ^ I'm currently preparing a huge wick check post for the Never A Self Made Woman TRS, in which I propose (among other ideas) to create a trope along the lines of Notable Daddys Daughter. It could become the Missing Supertrope to all the "Xs Daughter" tropes, possibly as an example-less index (not yet sure).

    The rest of this trope feels like Overprotective Dad to me. Though maybe I'm missing something?
  • April 28, 2015
    justanotherrandomlurker
  • April 28, 2015
    DAN004
    Problem is, the whole problem is mostly being seen through the dad's POV, which makes this sound like Overprotective Dad.

    I propose to cut the mention of the dad to minimum and then mention what else could be the daughter's problems.
  • July 8, 2015
    jayoungr
    What about making it "Women Are Always Vulnerable" and pulling in some other "damsel in distress" tropes to go on the list? We could add I Have Your Wife, Girl In The Tower, I Have You Now My Pretty, etc. (Girl In The Tower should possibly be a subtrope even if this stays in its current form.)
  • July 10, 2015
    Rjinswand
    ^ I like the idea, but I think that would be better done with a new YKTTW (with its own comment section, collection of hats, etc).

    As for this trope, I don't see a possibility of it being salvaged. Most of the examples are for Overprotective Dad, and even the description equates it to Overprotective Dad in a couple paragraphs. There are not enough differences from Overprotective Dad to be able to repurpose this trope etc.
  • July 10, 2015
    MorningStar1337
    It appears that this trope would do well in the Double Standards idex
  • July 11, 2015
    Alucard
    Also see Let Her Grow Up Dear for a common reaction.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=zjhogtudz8eekq5sgbc2bnj5