Double Standard Abuse Female On Male: Literature

  • Some examples in The Wheel of Time
    • The nation of Altara has institutionalized this trope. Women are legally allowed to murder men, and all wives carry a ceremonial dagger that they are supposed to use to slice up their husband if he gets out of line. This is all treated like a curious local custom at worst.
    • Mat Cauthon is stalked, sexually harassed and eventually raped at knife-point by the much older queen of Altara. It's played for laughs, and the female characters think that he deserved it because he's a flirt.
      • Just as a reminder of what actually happened: Mat locked himself in his room to avoid Tylin. Tylin broke into the room, tied Mat to the bed, and forced him to have sex at knife point. Flip the genders there, and it's hard to imagine any justifying edits about how Mat "really felt" or the "real reason Mat was freaked out".
  • The Dark Elf Trilogy inverts this. A major theme in the series is the social and physical inferiority of the male Drow. However, this is one of the major ways that Drow society is shown to be notoriously evil.
  • Subverted in the first Provost's Dog book by Tamora Pierce. Protagonist Beka Cooper's first chase scene is with a woman who has doled out plenty of drunken violence against her husband and three children. The man's neighbors seem to believe this trope, wondering why her husband didn't just fight back, but Beka has nothing but sympathy for him. The law also treats his wife as she should be, sentencing her to hard labor and barring her from ever seeing her family again.
  • In L. Frank Baum's The Marvelous Land of Oz, Jinjur tried to take over the country. She has a cameo in a later book, placidly explaining that she is content with her quiet life with her husband — and her husband is nursing a black eye because he had milked the cows in an order she did not approve of.
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: The Jury has the Vigilantes finding out that Paula Woodley has had every bone in her body broken by husband Karl Woodley, who is the National Security Advisor, The Napoleon, and had the President himself as his best man at their wedding! So the Vigilantes go to his home and break every bone in his body! Collateral Damage reveals that Paula has been non-physically abusive (for the most part) to Karl, making him eat baby food and watch her eat a fine Southern meal, confining him to a few rooms, and taunting him when they do interact. By this point, he is wheelchair-bound, and he has lost his ability to talk. Female characters take Paula's side, while male characters seem to be uncomfortable with the whole situation (possibly because they are wondering if their spouses or loved ones will do this to them next!). In short, the series does its best to rationalize Paula's treatment of her husband.
    • Maggie Spritzer's treatment of Ted Robinson and Abner Tookus is also terrible. Fortunately, Maggie finally wakes up to the realization that she's been unfair to both of them and attempts to make amends in Deja Vu. Home Free has her hooking up with Augustus "Gus" Sullivan, and she realizes that she can't take advantage of him the way she did to Ted and Abner.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. Mannie explains to Stu LaJoie that a woman "can hit you so hard she draws blood; you dastn't lay a finger on her," and that this is because there are two men for every woman on the Moon. The consequent intense competition among men for female favors means that men not only tolerate abuse from women, but will enforce its acceptance on each other. Attitudes on Earth are completely different because there is no huge sexual imbalance there.
  • Subverted in The Underland Chronicles. Fairly early in Gregor the Overlander, Luxa slaps Gregor across the face and is immediately reproved - first by Boots, then by Vikus.
  • In Harry Potter, Ron and Hermione on the verge of having a Relationship Upgrade when a fight causes Ron to get together with Lavender instead. A distraught Hermione winds up conjuring a flock of birds to attack him, leaving marks on his arms weeks later. The pair make up by the final book, but after a fight with Harry, Ron walks out on him and Hermione and can't rejoin them for more than a month. When he comes back and tries to apologize, Hermione goes into an Unstoppable Rage and attacks him with such force that Harry has to use a Shield Charm to separate them. (He, at least, is gratified when Ron stops acting meek and penitent and starts yelling back at Hermione.) For what it's worth, the author Rowling later regretted their relationship after publishing the books, expressing that they would probably need counseling during the marriage.
  • Inverted but also subverted in A Brother's Price, which takes place in a world where between three and five percent of healthy babies are born male, most boys miscarrying before they get that far. Therefore men are very rare and constantly outnumbered; they are sold into group marriages like property. The fact that some wives abuse their husbands is well known, and Jerin actively fears being sold to such a family. Hurting a husband is frowned on socially - killing one turns someone into a monster in-universe - but it still happens. We also do see a case where it's a husband who abused his younger wives while staying in good graces with the older ones. That kind of violence isn't as talked about, but there is a socially-approved course of action.
    • Also, the first chapter of the book has Jerin being hassled by an older sister and thinking that if he throttled her, people would shrug and say, "She was one of thirty-two girls a middle sister and a troublemaker too, and he he's a boy." However, we quickly see that not only would he never even start to try such a thing, but her anger towards him is a lot more alarming than his towards her - the book mentions the "sudden, tiny, fearful knowledge" that she is armed.
  • Definitely subverted in Dolores Claiborne, as the scene in which Dolores stands up to husband Joe's physical abuse by smashing his face with a cream pitcher is chilling and definitely not played for laughs.
  • Averted in one of Jeaniene Frost's Night Prince novels. Leila delivers an APS to Vlad and storms out. Later, he points out that he's never before let anyone touch him in anger without retaliation, and implies he let it go this once because her anger was justified. She then feels shame, knowing that violence has no place in a relationship for any reason.
  • In The Reader, Hanna is portrayed as a sympathetic character despite being a Nazi war criminal who carried on a sexual relationship with an underaged boy. One can only imagine how the novel would be received if the sexes were reversed.