"That little firecracker wife turned out to be a real school marm, didn't she?"You have an Action Girl, who may also be One of the Boys. She rocks. But she's probably the only female in the main cast. Or at very least, the most openly tomboyish in the female cast. What's an executive to do? Soften her tough image to something more fitting for the 18-35 male demographic. Gradually, the Action Girl is seeing significantly less action. She has been chickified. This trope is not about any Action Girl who shows "female" emotions or likes girly-girl dresses. There is no rule that a heroine cannot have feelings and express them and neither is there a rule against kicking ass in a skirt or partaking in girlish pastimes. If the heroine changes as the result of physical and/or emotional trauma, but maintains a strong presence in the narrative, it's more a case of Broken Bird, Break the Cutie, Heartbroken Badass, etc. Remember, Tropes Are Tools, and this is not a part of the Complaining Index either. Compare with Girliness Upgrade, in which a woman becomes more feminine but doesn't lose her backbone. Remember, there is absolutely no overlap between these two tropes. If this is done to a male character in a Slash Fic, it may be part of Wimpification. If the girl used to be an active character but now is just there, the trope is Men Act, Women Are. For girls that are both badass and feminine, see Girly Bruiser. For a tomboyish woman who still has a more girlish side, see Tomboy with a Girly Streak. Contrast with Xenafication, which is the exact opposite. Not to be confused with Jack Chickification.
— Kame Sennin/Muten Roshi, Dragon Ball Z
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Anime and Manga
- Dragon Ball:
- The page quote references Goku's wife Chichi, although she's actually a subversion. It's mentioned that she always wanted to live a peaceful life away from war and fighting, despite her being a rather skilled Cute Bruiser. She's the one who started training Goten how to fight. Furthermore, she does not lose her backbone. A common joke says that she's the only character who can "defeat" Goku. She does however come to see the Z Fighters as a gang of jobless thugs rather than an intergalactic superhero team, pushes Gohan to focus more on his studies than running off training to save the world, and desperately tries to force Goku into settling down and getting a job with a stable income. (Which he eventually does by becoming a radish farmer after the Buu Saga... sometimes)
- Android 18 is a somewhat straighter example. While everyone who isn't a Saiyan takes a second seat to Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, Trunks and later Goten, no matter their gender, she also occasionally takes a backseat to Krillin after she marries him, despite usually being the stronger of the couple.
- In Resurrection F this is actually Fridge Brilliance. One of them has to stay behind to keep their daughter safe in case Freeza wins and decides to go tearing Earth apart. Freeza knows who Krillin is, buy he's never seen 18 before. and her energy can't be sensed. She's the logical choice, regardless of who's stronger. Not to mention, she doesn't have any interest in fighting unless it's for money, or a few specific other reasons.
- In the anime of Blue Dragon, Kluke is changed from a self-confident, mature girl who's virtually raised herself since the deaths of her parents to your stereotypical damsel in distress with no explanation. She doesn't even get her powers until near the half-way point of the series.
- The Corrector Yui anime. Played straight and subverted in the second season.
- Played straight: Freeze, the only female of the Corruptor team, was an extremely efficient Dark Action Girl with ice-based powers. When she switched sides for the second season, she walked the thin wire between Action Girl and Faux Action Girl, with more emphasis given to her clumsiness outside of the battlefield and comical inability to keep a stable work in the Com.Net, which ultimately makes her liable to be manipulated by her more stable boss... who was working for the Big Bad.
- Subverted: In the first season, Haruna Kisaragi became a Corrector like her best friend Yui, but due to ending up Brainwashed and Crazy, she ultimately returned to the sidelines and act as Dr. Inukai's assistant during the season finale. Cue to second season and having Yui being turned into rock in the Net.com and rendered comatose in the real world: without any ounce of hesitation, Haruna returns to be a Corrector, and in her first real fight she uses the four Elemental suits perfectly and teams up with the morally ambiguous Corrector Ai to save Yui, Freeze and other victims. She's remained a Corrector ever since and was there for Yui, Ai and the other Correctors in the Grand Finale.
- Mai Shiranui of Fatal Fury has always been sort-of The Ditz, but she's a pretty competent Action Girl otherwise and proud of her skills. In the OVA and The Movie, however, the poor girl's primary purpose is to get kidnapped so Andy can save her. (She wins one fight and it's with another girl.) Mai however more or less hints that she allows herself to be at someone's mercy as payback a lot of the time. After all, Andy does reciprocate her feelings but he's too shy to act upon them and so he oftens ignores her or is outright cold to her. Mai in return puts herself in a bad situation she could actually get herself out of, just to make Andy squirm and so he can rescue her.
- Hikaru Hazama of Metal Fight Beyblade goes from Action Girl to Secretary in the second series. She made the mistake to pick a fight with Ryuga, who was packing L-Drago, a centuries-old primeval Beyblade that demolished every opponent it met thus far. She had no clue what kind of nightmare she was in for until he thrashed her to bits like all the others. Traumatized, she resigned herself to this role to help forget what happened and recover, then resumed her action girl status late in the series as the climax began.
- Sakura Haruno in Naruto zigzags in and out of this. On one hand she starts out as a Faux Action Girl because she's a graduate like Naruto and Sasuke and the show talks up her great ninja intelligence but doesn't bring as much to table as her teammates. She Took a Level in Badass during the Time Skip and defeats a member of Akatsuki, but is then quickly overshadowed by Naruto and Sasuke, and soon after falls back into the role of a background character who can only pin her hopes on Naruto. The few times she does shake this off, the results are genuinely impressive: like how before the Time Skip she managed to hold off the Sound Genin when she barely had any skills at all and resorted to biting to protect Lee, Naruto and Sasuke; how during the Fourth Shinobi War she discovered the Zetsu clone spies and captured one alive; and in Chapter 632 when after perfecting one of Tsunade's best techniques she wrecks havoc among the Ten-Tails's clones—which impresses Sasuke but terrifies Naruto.
- Rurouni Kenshin: Kaoru Kamiya is accused of this, but technically speaking her case is Overshadowed by Awesome or at most Faux Action Girl: with few exceptions, she still joins the guys in fights no matter what the results for her are. The only case in this anime/manga where this trope is played straight is Misanagi from the Black Knights arc.
- Black Lagoon subverted this with a vengeance. While Rock and Revy wait together in a submarine full of corpses and relics, Rock tries to get Revy to open up and show there's a person who cares underneath her tough exterior. She reveals some of her past, and after she notices Rock's sympathy over it, she threatens him with death if he even hints at what he's seen, then goes on a Kill 'em All rampage on the ship above.
- Shirobako: In-Universe, this is what happened to the adaptation of Sailor Suits and F3s, an earlier work of Takezou Nogame (author of Third Aerial Girls' Squad, which MusAni adapted in the second half of this series). The otherwise fairly serious sports manga was retooled into a Gag Series, with its battle-hardened Action Girl protagonist being turned into a vapid moeblob.
- The Sands of Destruction manga had a problem with this at the end. Morte is shown to be a hyper-competent Dark Action Girl at the start of the story, capable of superhuman feats of athleticism and totally a gung-ho Blood Knight. However, as soon as she learns that she's the Princess of Guidance, the one who wished for the world and accidentally screwed it up big time, she forgets all about her fighting abilities and her strong-willed, sharp-tongued demeanor. She has to be rescued from atop a ship, despite the fact that she'd been shown jumping similar distances with ease before, and while she does try to join Kyrie's fight against Vreveil, she just ends up shot through the heart before she can do anything to really help - aside from giving Kyrie precisely the motivation he needs to make Swiss cheese of Vreveil, of course. The game it was based on is a notable example of this trope averted: while Morte does Take A Level In Kindness by the end, she doesn't lose either her fighting ability or her personality, and while Kyrie eventually grows into his role as The Hero, they become a Battle Couple instead of relegating her to the sidelines so he can shine.
- Most of the female X-Men were temporarily hit hard by this when Chris Claremont left for the first time.
- Storm was relegated to background scenery and occasional artillery when the romantic/heartbreak subplot got dumped.
- Psylocke was mostly just Worfed, but it's worth noting that the villain who eventually gutted her was someone she'd previously defeated even before she'd learned martial arts.
- Rogue, despite being strong enough to bench-press tanks and capable of outflying almost any weapons she cannot laugh off, was repeatedly pummeled by far less formidable foes, and at least once screamed for help from a boyfriend that was barely a step above Badass Normal. Her psychological fortitude went down the tubes to boot.
- Black Canary is still capable, but not in her own book. While Birds of Prey and Justice League of America which she is the leader of both feature her kicking ass, Green Arrow/Black Canary treats her as a perpetual Damsel in Distress for Green Arrow to rescue.
- Similarly, The Wasp's intelligence, combat effectiveness, levelheadedness, and leadership abilities seem to vary inversely with the degree to which the writer plays up her relationship with her ex-husband Henry Pym. After a few years as more or less The Load, they apparently gave up and stuffed her in the fridge so Hank could have more guilt.
- Prince Valiant stories: Parodied a couple of times, and lampshaded at other times (but by no means averted) where competent, resourceful girls deliberately make themselves out to be less so in order to be more appealing to the men.
- Lois Lane: After being depicted as a reckless and fiery reporter throughout the 1940s she was chickified into a useless Damsel in Distress who constantly needed saving and couldn't handle anything on her own in the Silver Age. Even attempts at improving her character during the Bronze Age fell flat, with her Earth-2 counterpart Lois Kent far outstripping her in badassery. Fortunately, the Post-Crisis reboot of the Superman mythos restored her Golden Age persona, with an added side order of army brat and combat training.
- A lot of the females in Sonic the Hedgehog are hit with this, especially the love interests for the various heroes:
- Princess Sally and Bunnie Rabbot are hit pretty hard post-time skip, Sally more than Bunnienote . It wasn't until the previous writing team left and Ian Flynn took their place that both of them were returned to their Action Girl roots (and Bunnie got Demoted to Extra, sadly).
- Mina Mongoose, on the other hand, wasn't hit with this until after the writers changed. Since her introduction around the Sonic Adventure era, she had been played up as a budding Freedom Fighter and a perfectly competent Action Girl in her own right. Once Karl Bollers (her creator) left and Ian Flynn stepped in, she was hit with Deus Angst Machina over a failed missionnote and retired to a life as a pop singer where she contributed nothing of value (save for turning the citizens of New Mobotropolis against Nicole after the whole Iron Dominion debacle).
- There are many fics in which Hermione Granger, one of the smartest and most pro-active females in Harry Potter canon, is a poor battered and weepy victim wife to Ron the Death Eater who abuses, beats, and rapes her so Harry will sweep her off her feet and they'll team up to bloodily murder him and Ginny, who is likely to be written as a fat and ugly bitch who doesn't deserve Harry's love since the fanworker makes her lose her good looks as soon as she married him - while Hermione, despite all the Domestic Abuse, is angelically beautiful and perfect and all. The Last War is among the best examples of such crap.
- In This World and the Next goes out of its way to portray Ron the Death Eater as a "shit wizard" who couldn't even hex two Muggles properly, yet he's still able to overpower Hermione (twice!) implying that she's fallen victim to this trope in a bad way. Later, she's perfectly willing to defer to Harry on everything.
- Knowledge Is Power:
- Hermione in particular doesn't do a great deal in the fic. Hell, her own mother is actually a bigger Action Girl than she is in this fic, despite having crippling emotional problems.
- Luna, too, gets very little dialogue and even less action, to the extent that one reviewer suggested she could be replaced with a desk lamp (a reference to this article on female characters in comics) and nobody would have noticed.
- The Legend of Korra fandom gets in on the act with Abuse Cycle, which does for Korra what The Last War does for Hermione.
- Cori Falls loves doing this to poor Jessie in her fics. Sure, the girl's still allowed to kick some ass, but more often than not, she's crying or swooning in James's arms or needing to be rescued from perverts.
- The fanfic writer Of Broken Love does this to Hilda in her fics. Hilda is transformed into a perpetual rape victim, whether it be by Grimsley, N, or someone else. Hilda also constantly cries and angsts. (In fact, she also does this to characters from other franchises, such as Sakura Haruno.)
- There's a disturbing Fanfic community dedicated to doing this to Lenneth so that Lezard can be the dominant one of the "relationship". Odlly, it leaves Hrist and Silmeria alone.
- The infamous Hetalia fic All He Ever Wanted pulls this on almost all the female characters:
- Hungary, who in canon is a tomboy who grew into a Ninja Maid and Girly Bruiser. In the chapter "The Seventh Door", Prussia brutally tortures and rapes Hungary to both force her into a Face–Heel Turn and "teach a lesson" to her beloved ex-husband Austria, whom Prussia is holding hostage — and who is Forced to Watch the brutal torture/rape session.
- Vietnam was hit with this too. In World War II, Vietnam the country had already started fighting for its independence from France. In Hetalia canon, Vietnam the Moe Anthropomorphism is mentioned to be a Plucky Girl who follows the example of the many emotionally/physically strong women in her history. In the fic, said Moe Anthropomorphism is... Bound and Gagged.
- This is a pretty common sight in Hetalia fic, with the above mentioned All He Ever Wanted as merely the most infamous example:
- In many, many Prussia/Hungary works, the sweet but also plucky meido who managed to avert this trope in canon is portrayed as a weepy mess who secretly pines for Prussia after being forced to marry Austria via the Austro-Hungarian Compromise and/or is abused in many ways by Austria so Prussia must hop in to rescue her and show her what true love is. Yes, Hungary has been constantly shown to be physically more powerful than both Prussia and Austria, but in these fanfics she wails and wangsts endlessly before even trying to do something to defend herself. For worse, considering the main couple in these fics, it's mixed with Die for Our Ship since Austria is portrayed as a Domestic Abuser and Jerkass to make Prussia look better.
- The other girls also go through this often in some shipping fanfics, leading to the untrue and unfair assumption from the most rabid Yaoi Fangirls and "feminist fans" about all the Hetalia girls being Satellite Love Interests in canon. The more frequent victims of this are: Belarus (who goes from an hilariously creepy Yandere and Knife Nut who chases after Russia and breaks Liet's fingers, to either Russia or America's blushy and passive/passive-aggressive bride) and Taiwan (who isn't action-geared and is comfy with her uber girliness, but is still a Genki Plucky Girl... and yet she ends up as a Yamato Nadeshiko caricature who only wants to be Japan's child bride).
- Ukraine. Sure, in canon she's a passive crybaby who often puts others above herself. But some fans exaggerate her submissive traits to even greater extremes and use her only as a prize girlfriend to make a male character look more strong, masculine or heterosexual. Also, it's made abundantly clear in notes that she has a fearsome side. And though she's the Naïve Everygirl, she's not exactly The Ingenue. And for all of her crybaby tendencies, out of her siblings she's the one with better social skills: she easily handles Poland (something even Lithuania has difficulty with), uses her big boobs to her advantage once in a while, and can make Russia bend to her if she feels like it... but in these fanworks, she will just cry, and cry, and cry. An infamous doujinshi with Cossack!Ukraine and Ottoman Turkey fits in here perfectly: Ukraine is a Defiant Captive in the first page... but then she's stripped naked (save for her some jewelry), delivered to Turkey's Royal Harem, and raped by Turkey until she enjoys it.
- Digimon fanfiction:
- You'll be hard-pressed to find a fic that has Rika/Ruki acting anything like herself, preferring instead to make her a weak, weeping wallflower who can't handle any aspect of life without being rescued by Takato/Jenrya/Ryo. Even people who don't like Yuri or Interspecies Romance wind up preferring stories pairing her with Renamon because they're the fics in which she's more likely to be capable of being in a romance and acting something like herself at the same time.
- Sometimes even Renamon herself isn't immune; despite being The Stoic in canon, there are several stories (often pairing her with Guilmon) where she acts more like an emotional teenage girl instead of a Lady of War.
- While it's safe to say that the entire casts of both Mass Effect games experience varying degrees of chickification in fanfiction at some point or another; Garrus Vakarian (in a rare male example of this trope seen near exclusively in het fic where he's paired with Female Shepard), Commander Shepard (usually Female Shepard, though Male Shepard is not immune either, usually in stories pair him with one of his few canon male love interest Kaidan), Tali'Zorah and Liara T'Soni experience the heaviest levels of this trope more often than the others.
- The infamous Avatar: The Last Airbender fan-comic How I Became Yours does this to every female canon character who appears (except Mai, who's demonized instead):
- The biggest example is Azula. The Magnificent Bitch with a Jerkass Woobie streak becomes a sort of Yue copycat who does almost nothing but whine and cry after getting amnesia and has a super Sue-fied love story with Sokka.
- Toph is the next worst example. She goes from a devil-may-care Badass Adorable who didn't mind a makeover once, to a soft-spoken and nervous flower of a girl who willingly bottoms to a guy she calls "twinkle-toes" and is a borderline maidservant to Katara.
- Pulled on Katara too, although to a lesser extent. She goes from an Action Girl Team Mom with mood swings and Hidden Depths into a whiny, weepy, selfish Jerkass whom everyone mollycoddles, who cares more about being Zuko's pasted-on love interest and babymama than anything, and only shows her Action Girl skills when she bloodily and horribly kills Mai in revenge.
- Even cameo characters aren't immune: June the bounty hunter, who only appears in one panel, comments that she likes getting dressed up and wishes she could do it more often, and giggles. This is supposed to be the same June who was introduced tearing a bit of a ship's deck off to find her quarry.
- All characters in Touhou are prone to this due to their Moe qualities, but Remilia Scarlet and her sister Flandre are particularly common targets due to fanartists' tendency to exaggerate their childishness.
- Incredibly common in the Card Captor Sakura fandom. Sakura Kinomoto, one of the most powerful magic users along with an assertive and determined personality that defines her as the Action Girl of CLAMP, would suddenly either be an easy victim of Domestic Abuse from either a rapist or a demonized Syaoran (ignoring the fact that she could use her cards to easily get out of trouble) or is derailed into a generic nice girl for about 90% of Transplanted Character Fic that are infesting the fan fiction website where she has little personality outside of being a submissive Love Interest of the male lead and getting easily kidnapped leaving Syaoran to save the day from any wannabe abusers. In their defense, Sakura being an Extreme Doormat or forgetting about her powers did happen in canon at times (and was often for the sake of dere dere moments with Syaoran), but not to an exaggerated amount.
- In the Homestuck fandom, common in most of the female cast, most likely because they're all Action Girls. Especially Jade Harley.
- Fan interpretations of Terezi during her kismesissitude with Gamzee often veer into this. He canonically did cross the line into outright abuse, given that he bullied her into making an unwanted and irreversible change to her body, and towards the end she does seem to have given up resisting, but some would have you believe she was a wet dishrag from the beginning. It's also not unknown for her repeated stabbing of him to be ignored.
- TheWitchsCat tends to do this to Elphaba in her fanfics. While otherwise well-written, Elphaba is constantly being pushed around and beat up, and she CRIES in about every single chapter! It Makes Sense in Context.
- In a Yuri example, generally either Yoruichi or Sui-Feng will suffer from this in femslash fiction featuring the pairing. This is a case that can go either way, since canon indicates that Sui-Feng is the "submissive" one in their relationship as it exists, and anime omakes have done such things as portraying her fantasizing about being a princess who is rescued by Prince!Yoruichi, but at the same time Sui-Feng is regarded as the more "butch" of the two, mostly based on her appearance and upbringing, so those who run by personality tend to chickify Sui-Feng, while those going by appearance tend to chickify Yoruichi.
- In a non-yuri example, Rukia Kuchiki is sometimes subjected to this by rabid Ichigo/Rukia shippers who then reduce her brother Byakuya and/or her best male friend Renji to Domestic Abusers that Ichigo must rescue her from. This completely ignores how both Byakuya and Renji are actually insanely protective of her.
- In Fire Emblem Awakening, the Female Avatar is a Plucky Girl who's strong physically note , mentally note and emotionally note . But you'd never know it if you read half the fanwork featuring her, where she either endlessly whines and weeps over her being the Apocalypse Maiden of the plot and needs Chrom's "tender loving" to be whole again, just passively lays down and thinks of Ylisse while she's undressed/fondled/sexed-up/straight up raped/etc. by either Chrom or her other prospect boyfriends/husbands, or is portrayed as some sort-of ~saintly~ Purity Sue who is given few *actual* personality traits aside of being Chrom's Perfect Love Interest and Lucina/Morgan's Beloved Mother as well as The Center Of Chrom/Lucina/Morgan's Universes". note It becomes hilariously hypocritical when you remember that many culprits are Chrom/Female Avatar fangirls, who sometimes tend to hate on his other Implied Love Interest Sumia for "not being strong and badass enough to deserve his affections"... and then they portray poor Female Avatar as more Chrom-centered, weepy and spineless than Sumia would ever be!
- There's a popular tumblr fanartist who not only makes girl!Avatar a poster girl for the above Character Derailment, but also uses the youngest and cutest of the three customizable Avatar models note ... and then moe-fies girl!Avatar further via giving her super cutified looks that go beyond the "younger model"'s already present canon cuteness, in a measure to make her look more appealing as Chrom's "Perfect Wife/Babymama".
- And poor Cordelia, who's canonically a Stoic Woobie and a Badass Angster is reduced from a complex character with plenty of reasons to be sad but still presses on and does not let her angst get the better of her, into a weepy mess who pines day and night for Chrom to the point where she claims her life is "not worth living" without his love. This isn't helped by the fact that it can be potentially seen as canon if we take in consideration her and Frederick's S support, in which she "spent two hours crying over Chrom" beforehand and seems to accept Frederick's proposal just so she can get over Chrom quickly - nevermind that Frederick clearly knows she's still hurt and proposes to her anyway, which can be seen as him acting like an entitled "Nice Guy" (tm) sweeping her off her feet when at her most vulnerable and her as using him to forget about Chrom.
- Some fans apply similar stereotypes to Lucina, the blue-haired Badass Adorable and Iron Woobie who is also Chrom's Kid from the Future. Apparently, having witnessed stuff as horrible as the death of her father at the hands of his brainwashed best friend (and maybe his wife/her mother, if he married girl!Avatar), the deaths of all the parent characters and the effects on her friends and Grima taking over the world means that she's some poor and helpless woobie who needs to be healed by the cock of either boy!Avatar or Gerome, ignoring that both guys have DEEP issues of their own and that Lucina's biggest goal is to change the Bad Future that she comes from.
- In this fanfic, Olivia not only starts a romance with Lon'qu when he rescues her from danger, but also passes out after he adoptive father Basilio playfully pats her in the back with a bit more force than usual. Olivia isn't the most super powerful unit in battle and is a Shrinking Violet personality-wise, yeah, but she is the adoptive daughter of a badass fighter (who also has quite the confidence in her skills) and comes from a land of fight-happy people like Regna Ferox, so why is she suddenly made of tissue paper? It's also coupled with Wimpification, as the male Avatar is seen as a Distressed Dude with lots of gayngst for Chrom who is actually Olivia's husband whom he's having an affair with while Olivia cheats on him with Lon'qu. Uh...
- And if you think that chickifying Sumia isn't possible... this fic says otherwise. It portrays Sumia, who is a Submissive Badass and Dork Knight in canon, as a pathetic and weepy wallflower who never wins a fight in the Plegian war, passive-aggressively hates girl!Avatar for being the perfect Battle Couple partner for Chrom, and practically runs away from Ylisstol in angst when girl!Avatar marries "the love of her life". And then Henry shows up as a Manic Pixie Dream Guy supposed to whisk Sumia off her feet...
- In a lost forever series of Fire Emblem Awakening comics focusing on the canon bad timeline that the kids come from, all the first generation women who showed up were chickified:
- Poor Lissa was morphed into a permanently crying mess over the deaths of her husband Lon'qu and her brother Chrom, mainly because the artist loved "drawing grieving Lissa" - as opposed to in canon, where after Emmeryn died she only wept for a chapter before getting tired of it and vowing to press on and defeat Gangrel. In the comic, there was barely a panel/post/reblog where Lissa wasn't shown weeping her heart out... even the one where the author mentioned how Lissa was supposed to become The High Queen for Lucina and go the Silk Hiding Steel way. Said author had promised, however, to return her to her original Plucky Girl roots... and then she couldn't keep with the comic itself.
- In the same comic series, Sully was shown taking care of the Rosanne state while her husband Virion is out there fighting and finally dies. It was not that bad, until you recalled that Sully is a very headstrong Action Girl who values physical strength quite a bit in herself AND her love interests; she would have been likelier to go out there to fight with her husband. note It made even less sense since in the same comic, Cherche did not stay behind... even if her only role was melodramatically dying alongside her husband Stahl.
- The one hit the worst with this in the comic was Panne. Her "role" in the story went straight into Disposable Woman and Women in Refrigerators as she was accidentally killed by two hunters who mistook her as a wild beast due to her trying to give birth to her canon kid Yarne in the woods in her Taguel form... and this was strongly hinted to have become a VERY convenient "excuse" for her husband Henry to go the Crusading Widower way. It was even worse when you saw that there was literally NO reason for it, even when the author attempted to handwave it via mentioning that, in their headcanon, Taguel have "strong animal instincts which they can't really override", including "Taguel mothers's need to give birth in the woods". Since this was "expressed" via Panne literally running away from a mostly safe castle to have her baby in a much more dangerous place like the forest, it seemed to mean that Panne's "Taguel instincts" made her completely irrational and stupid when she needed to keep her cool the most. The Chickification was even more blatant later, since both Panne's spotlight and her and Henry's actual relationship were relegated to one short fanart post and one page of author's notes (not including the fanart post and the strip where she was fridged), while Henry's own spotlight was much larger and chock-full of OOC mangst. note This also included his Parental Neglect of the "beloved" son Panne bore him, and a "Heroic Sacrifice" that was much more "impressive" than his wife's stupidity-induced death.
- While not as explicit as the others, the Female Avatar was yet another case. The mini-comics and/or fanfiction reblogged by the site owner, alongside two/three sketches by her, tended to portray her as few more than a poorly-disguised self-insert whose main "role" in-story was being Chrom's saintly, flawless and beloved wife with next to no personality traits other than being "his perfect love interest", since according to the author herself "the family drama is too delicious".
- The only apparition by Cordelia was a 4-frame comic from Stahl's POV about his first failed romantic experiences. Predictably, Cordelia's ONLY trait there was drooling over Chrom from a distance and ignoring Stahl's crush on her. (Though it could also be argued that, at the same time, Stahl was hit with Wimpification)
- The Avatar in Fire Emblem Fates gets a lot of canon angst and melancholy due to their backstory and the consequences of their choice in either Birthright or Conquest, but the female Avatar can be especially prone to this trope in shipping fics.
- Oboro gets hit with this hard in a fic that pairs her with Ryoma, in which she's nothing but a sad, traumatized woman who cries over Takumi not noticing her feelings and constantly breaking down into PTSD fits over the death of her parents.
- One particular fic hits Camilla mercilessly with this trope, in which she's portrayed as a fearful, trembling victim of Iago's sexual advances, forced by her father and governess to keep company with him despite her misgivings. This culminates in him raping her after forcing her to drink a drugged cup of tea, then threatening to tell Garon what a slut she is and to harm Elise in the future if she doesn't keep quiet! After that, Camilla becomes a shell-shocked ball of fear who remains so until it's time to kill Iago in the storyline, at which point she finally regains her Action Girl traits.
- This is happening more often to Camilla in general lately, with fics subjecting her to life-threatening injuries or harrowing childbirth scenarios for the sake of Collateral Angst for her love interests or family members, or making her into a weepy mess for her love interests to comfort. While Camilla is canonically a Broken Bird and did sink into a deep depression and yandere behavior over the Avatar choosing Hoshido in Birthright, she's far from the emotionally frail wreck some of these fics make her out to be. And while an Action Girl is likely to have some battle wounds, she's also one of the biggest, strongest women in the army and is far from made of paper, which reflects on the gameplay rather often.
- While Princess Sakura of Hoshido is canonically a Shrinking Violet and goes through some tough times in Conquest, some fics set after that particular route make her a weepy basket case who passive-aggressively hates Corrin for both picking Nohr and for the invasion of Hoshido (which Corrin never wanted in the first place but forced themselves to do because it was the only way to prove Garon was Not Himself anymore) and wallows in despair and PTSD angst, usually so whoever the writer ships her with can pick her up and make it all better. Or, in one case, making Sakura kill herself over all that happened. In addition, some fic pairing her with Leo portrays her as more fragile than she really is so Leo can play her manly rescuer (likely due to the fact that he did technically save her from Zola in Revelation but it had more to do with his hatred for Zola rather than the need to protect Sakura). This contradicts the fact that Sakura is actually much stronger than she appears and deals with her low self-esteem and traumas by working extra hard and trying her best to take care of people rather than weeping and whining.
- Some Superjail! fanfiction pulls this on the Mistress, in order to make her more "suitable" as a love interest for the Warden and not be any threat. Suddenly, the Mistress is all about angstily pining for her true love, portrayed as a submissive wife who will do anything and everything to please him, having her earlier cruelty explained away as her father sexually abusing her from childhood or having been otherwise physically abused by lovers and the Warden being the only one who can heal her. Oddly, some of these writers decry the "Hippie Mistress" twist in season 3 for making her "less strong", as well as her overall canon case of personality change in "Stingstress" beforehand, but don't seem to mind their own alterations. There's a reason why the canon change wasn't looked so fondly upon by these writers, though, considering what lead to Mistress going hippie: The Warden didn't know how to have sex with the Mistress, so Alice slept with her instead and Mistress decided she didn't need ANY men. Which kind of put a hold on the thought of pairing those two..
- Very common in Les Misérables fics that focus on Eponine. In-canon she's street-smart, more than a little vindictive, known to stand up to gangs of armed criminals each twice her size, and is implied to have connections in the Paris underworld via ex-boyfriend Montparnasse. In fanfic, she's a weepy victim of said Paris underworld ripe for being rescued Disney Princess style by Marius or Enjolras. Though in a weird bit of meta, this is actually how the canon Eponine perceives herself.
- Frozen fanworks:
- Fanfics pairing Elsa and Anna tend to do this to Anna. In the film, she's a strong character who's quick to take action, keeps a clear head whilst being pursued by wolves and giant snowmen, doesn't hesitate to come to the rescue of others, and never cries during the entire film, despite suffering an intensive Trauma Conga Line. Fanfiction tends to morph her into a tortured soul who managed to bottle up her grief during the events of the film, and, once everything is back to normal, quickly breaks down and pours her heart out to whatever soul will listen, usually Elsa. The wimpiness of Anna in fanfiction is usually proportional to the strength of Elsa; the more resilient Elsa is in any particular fic, the more chickified Anna becomes. Generally, Anna's sudden chickification is explained by the shock of having her sister back, and the years of loneliness she endured during the film's prologue.
- Elsa herself can also qualify; although she is far more emotionally vulnerable than Anna and breaks down several times during the film, her tendencies tend to be exaggerated in fanfic, making her a wreck incapable of human contact as a result of isolation (despite it being her who first reached out to Anna at the party in the film) and constantly suffering nightmarish flashbacks to the events of the film and its climax.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic canon, Princess Celestia is a competent and wise ruler. In My Little Unicorn, she clings to the Distress Ball with a firm grip and runs with it.
- Deliberately invoked in Divided Rainbow. Rainbow Dash suffers from Chickification as a result of a magical curse. Specifically, the same one that swapped her with Fluttershy in the Magical Mystery Cure episode.
- Sailor Moon fanworks:
- It rarely happens nowadays, but in the heyday of this fandom, it was common for writers of the Zoycite/Malachite pairing to turn the headstrong, bitchy Zoycite into a blushing prissy princess (literally in some cases) who needed Malachite to hold her hand and rescue her from Neflyte and Jedite's bullying. Other times she would tremble and cower at the mercy of Queen Beryl, who randomly had it out for her despite the two having a rather cordial professional relationship before Zoycite angered her by disobeying a direct order.
- Also happened to Minako in fics that paired her with Kunzite or even Makoto, dialing her canon angst Up to Eleven.
- Usagi herself gets hit with this hard in shipper 'fics despite developing into something of a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass in canon. Either she becomes the victim of a suddenly abusive Mamoru for Rei or Seiya to rescue, or a cowering submissive to the dangerously masculine Mamoru as he charms his way into her pants in mundane AU fics.
- Some Haruka/Michiru fics have Michiru attacked by a rapist so Haruka can either rescue her or play nurse while she suffers from PTSD for many chapters. Haruka herself also gets this treatment in some Seiya/Haruka fics.
Films — Animated
- Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo shows Starfire being rescued by Robin much, much more than in the series, and doing less to contribute to the group's success. At the same time, Robin himself contributes the least success, rather, the most damage- his hunt for Brushogun leads to disaster, getting himself thrown in prison for all the wrong reasons. After his escape, he has to parade around as an average Joe to avoid drawing attention, which brings him down from a costumed hero to an unnerved, edgy Badass Normal. Played for Drama- it's to help make her look and feel more vulnerable, draw closer to Robin, make him draw closer to her, and at last, bring them together for The Big Damn Kiss.
Films — Live-Action
- Sonya Blade is chickified about half-way through Mortal Kombat. For the first half she's tough, cold, efficient, and mercilessly kills Kano in the ring. Then Shang Tsung sneaks up and grabs her hair and she dissolves into a blubbering Damsel in Distress.
- Gone Baby Gone shamelessly Chickifies Angie, who was much tougher in the novel.
- Jane in Johnny Mnemonic isn't exactly weak, but she's not nearly as hard-assed as her counterpart Molly in the original story.
- Katara spends most of the film adaptation of The Last Airbender looking like she's about to cry. It's instructive to compare the different versions of her fight with Zuko - in the original, she almost wins, whereas in the movie, he defeats her easily.
- Greg Rucka, the author of Whiteout, complained about Carrie Stetko being made weaker in the film adaptation so as to prop up the male characters. "At least they got rid of the scene in the script where she - a U.S. Marshall - hears someone following her and runs away. What's she gonna do, call the cops?"
- Jean Grey in the X-Men film series suffers from a special case of this. The Phoenix storyline is major Never Live It Down material for her, so she got some major movements of power-spiking leading up to her Phoenix debut... but the rest of the time, she suffers as mentioned down in Western Animation. So she spends movie one as love interest and gets beaten by the Toad. Movie two, she uses her powers to hold back Scott's Eye Beams. Movie three, she ascends into full Phoenix mode... and though she does kill Xavier, she otherwise does nothing but be the MacGuffin of the story because her Story-Breaker Power means she can solve any problem she likes in an instant.
- G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra featured Courtney "Cover Girl" Krieger, who in comic-continuity is a former high-fashion model who enlisted and became a missile-tank driver. Who is fond of doing all the upkeep and repair work on her own tank. In the movie, she's Hawk's Girl Friday. This is a Justified Trope though, as it's explained in the prequel novel that sometime prior to then, she was critically injured during a mission and is no longer physically capable of serving combat duty.
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians turned Badass Bookworm and Action Girl Annabeth Chase from an incredibly intelligent girl and highly skilled fighter (she was once called the best fighter in the whole camp) into a borderline-useless and young woman who only seems to accompany the group because she did so in the books. In particular, she gets her ass kicked by Percy, who has been training in swordsmanship for a few hours tops.
- Female offers an ending that even for 1933 was pretty damn sexist. Allison Drake, owner and CEO of Drake Automobiles, is not only a badass, take-no-prisoners corporate executive, she also likes to indulge in consequence-free casual sex with the men in her headquarters, reassigning them to the Montreal office when they get too emotional and clingy. But when she finally falls in love with Jim, the handsome new-hire engineer, she falls apart, no longer able to deal with the pressures of business. The film ends with her giving Jim the company while declaring she will stay home and have babies.
Legends and Folklore
- The earliest Welsh King Arthur stories portray Guinevere as a badass warrior queen and/or spellcaster. In later retellings, her main achievement is to bonk Lancelot behind her husband's back, and modern retellings can use either as the author prefers.
- Maid Marian from the Robin Hood legends is an odd case. She was an Action Girl in some of her original appearances (fighting Robin to a standstill while disguised as a boy in one ballad). Victorian writers turned her into a Damsel in Distress. Modern writers tend to make her the Action Girl again, with The New Adventures of Robin Hood turning her into a Xena clone. The Outlaws of Sherwood, the novel, has Marian and Robin sharing the public role of Robin Hood, with Marian being the better archer of the pair.
- The Host:
- Wanderer is a strong, intelligent Soul who has been on more worlds than most and is held in high regard among the Souls. She once defeated a Claw Beast on the planet of the Bears, transplanted a friend into it on the spot, and rode it into the city. At the end of the book, she's implanted in the body of a petite young blonde girl and can't even carry her own sleeping mat without the help of her man.
- Melanie gets it as well. She starts out as a strong survivor who opted to jump down an elevator shaft to save herself from being assimilated. Any time her boyfriend appears onscreen though, or comes to her mind, she makes some pretty stupid decisions, including letting Wanderer know where her colony of "wild" humans are hiding (keep in mind that Wanderer's job is to find and assimilate them as well). Her decision is justified. Melanie sends Wanderer her memories and emotions and shows the "wild" human colony's location only when she is sure that Wanderer cares deeply about her boyfriend and brother. Wanderer wouldn't be able to betray them, which Melanie knew, having constant connection with her mind. That said, Melanie is still heavily dependent on Jared, to the extent that she only bothers trying to "talk" when he is around. He even has to pull off a subverted Damsel in Distress rescue when she's not responding in Wanderer's head.
- Adaptations of The Phantom of the Opera tend to turn Christine from a stubborn, outspoken girl who's arguably a bit of a jerk into a passive ingenue. The musical version in particular makes her more like the original novel's Decoy Protagonist than like her original self.
- At the start of Universums öde by George Johansson, Amalthea is introduced as Len's equal. However, in the third book, she and Len have barely landed on New Earth when she is attacked by a predator bird and develops a phobia of violence that means that she has to Stay In The Hut while Len does the hunting.
- Happens to Elena In-Universe in Throne of Glass:
"There are many things history has forgotten about me. I fought on the battlefields during the demon wars against Erawan - at Gavin's side. That's how we fell in love. But your legends portray me as a damsel who waited in a tower with a magic necklace that would help the heroic prince."
- Patience, by the end of her role in Dinoverse. She starts as The Leader, more decisive and certain of herself than the others, proactive and abrasive, completely willing to plunge into the unknown. But her motivation starts to change and revolve around a pair of boys. A classmate starts telling her how she can be more feminine - don't swear, don't fight or be physical, laugh at everything a boy says, don't disagree with him, don't show him up - and follows it. A book which has Character Development for the male characters learning about self-confidence, self-assurance, and self-reliance ends with Patience going along with the Beautiful All Along scheme that she'd found utterly insulting at the start. In her last appearance she finds that the boy(s) she loves is Trapped in Another World and in need of rescue, and is content to sit back and let two guys she doesn't even know go after him while she babysits a third character she doesn't know.
- Poppyfrost from Warrior Cats is initially portrayed in Warrior Cats The Power Of Threeas a fearless warrior. By the next series, she's an anxious wreck who stays in the nursery taking care of her kits and fretting over them.
TV Series — Live-Action
- American Gothic (1995): This happened to Gail Emory. At the start of the show, while not exactly an Action Girl, she was certainly a female Determinator who, as an Intrepid Reporter, was determined to find out the truth of her parents' deaths and bring their murderer to justice. But as soon as she learned her parents were not the paragons of virtue she thought them to be, her Belated Backstory was dropped and she seemed to flounder about with nothing to do. By the end of the series, she's morphed almost completely into a Damsel in Distress, having to rely on Buck himself for protection, and in her last scene is left in a hospital bed, crying piteously over the baby she's lost—even though she didn't want it in the first place, seeing as it was the son of Satan (as depicted graphically via ultrasound—or maybe not). At least some of this may be due to Executive Meddling in order to pair up the major male and female leads, or a result of the show being Screwed by the Network so that Shaun Cassidy had to wrap everything up far too quickly and nonsensically. But some surely isn't.
- Days of Our Lives: Stephanie Johnson is one of the most blatant cases. When the character first returned to the show as an adult she was played by redhead Shayna Rose and appeared as a tough girl race car driver. After Rose was fired, the character was recast with brunette former beauty queen Shelley Hennig as a rather uninteresting fashion plate character with little or no real character.
- Lily, of Hannah Montana fame, started off as a cool skater-chick who was good at sports and very much a tomboy, despite the pilot showing her going gaga over Miley's (very girly) clothes. One episode lampshades her lack of girly tendencies after a boy asks her to the school dance. Just sure that the boy will like Lily even more if she dolls up, Miley makes Lily over into a sexy (for a kid's show) glamorous fashion model. This makes the boy dump her, because he liked her as she was. By the final season, the only real difference between Miley and Lily was that Miley was more Deadpan Snarker and Lily more Cloudcuckoolander. Lily's hobbies and fashion sense began to mimic Miley's almost exactly.
- Hawaii Five-0: Kono seems to be going this route. In season 1, she kicked ass in almost every episode. Now, she spends much of her time back in Mission Control or off doing grunt work while the new action girl gets screen time. Actress Grace Park had a child during production of S3, so that may have affected her role.
- Kamen Rider Double: Saeko went from stoic villainess to Clingy Jealous Girl as soon as her love interest Isaka appeared on the scene, with bonus Unnecessary Makeover to boot. Some would also argue that Akiko underwent this after her Last Minute Hook Up with Terui.
- Merlin (2008)'s Guinevere in the BBC version. She kicks some serious ass for the first season, teaching Merlin how to put Arthur's armour on properly, going into battle to defend Ealdor, facing her own execution bravely; but the moment Arthur notices in season two that he might just fancy her, she gets kidnapped and can do nothing but trip over her own feet and foul up two attempts to rescue her. She does get her normal badassery back in Series 3.
- Power Rangers: Both of Tommy's girlfriends. Kimberly single-handedly defeated monsters such as the Terror Toad and the Snizard, and Kat(herine) was instrumental in nearly bringing down the Rangers themselves while under Rita's spell. When they started dating Tommy, it seemed that not one episode could go by without one of them screaming "TOMMY!" at the top of their lungs. (On the other hand, given how often Tommy wound up in need of rescue...).
- Robin Hood: Happened to both Marian and Djaq to some extent. Marian is shown to be a capable fighter throughout most of the show, but towards the end of season two she is hit in the face with the Distress Ball and ends up as the Damsel in Distress on numerous occasions. In her final appearance, just before Gisborne stabs her to death the writers ensure that our intrepid heroine is denied the opportunity to wield a sword in her defense of the king, and she's reduced to simply flailing her arms around. Djaq kicks ass right to the end, but many were put off by her abrupt declarations of love for Will Scarlett, and the fact that she spent the rest of the finale behaving like a gooey-eyed teenager before opting to stay in the Holy Land to raise pigeons with him. Conversely, the two women who were brought in to replace Marian and Djaq were Isabella and Kate: the former starts off as a Damsel in Distress before Taking a Level In Badass, but the latter is a bona fide Faux Action Girl right from the start.
- Sanctuary has an unusual male version of this, not surprising, since the show likes to genderflip tropes. Will starts out as a Badass Bookworm and ends up the Designated Victim. In later seasons, the only time Will shows some badassery is in the Bad Future vision when a Zombie Apocalypse has forced him to Take a Level in Badass.
- Cheers did it to Ms. Rebecca Howe who went from cold, efficient manager in her first appearances to blundering, gold digging crybaby by the end of the series.
- Happens to Rei at the end of Tomica Hero Rescue Fire, when her brash and Lad-ette personality is greatly toned down and she falls for a much older man, with the implication that she will eventually quit to marry him and take care of his son.
- The Walking Dead has Andrea. She initially was a Girl Next Door trying desperately to be an Action Girl in season 1. In season 2, she sort of made it by the end, yet was still making bad decisions. However, in season 3, she ends up basically becoming the Governor's personal slut. She slowly lets him take away her gun and her freedom. Lets him. She has plenty of outs, including leaving with Michonne, the girl who SAVED HER FREAKING LIFE on multiple occasions. What's worse, she defends the Governor despite all of the horrible crap he does. She becomes so irritating that some fans call her the New Lori.
- The titular character is a trained marital artist and competent marksman who isn't shy about using either on bad guys when the situation warrants... for the first season or so. Afterwards these skills are rarely seen again and she becomes completely helpless when a killer is within 20 feet of her and has to be rescued. The worse example is the Villain Sue Pelant, who Bones has the opportunity to stop a few times and just stands there until he says his piece and gets away.
- Mind you, this trope gets completely thrown out the window when her colleague-turned lover-turned husband, Agent Bones, is the one who needs rescuing.
- Doctor Who:
- Some fans think this happened to Sarah Jane in Doctor Who for Cast Speciation reasons. While the companion of the Third Doctor, she was intended as a tough feminist career girl who saw herself as the Doctor's equal (or even superior) no matter how condescending he was to her, and her relationship with him was quite prickly, serving as The Lancer. The Third Doctor had been nearing the end of his tenure around the time of her introduction, and the original plan was to regenerate him into a physically feeble but mentally formidable old man character; so a male companion, Harry, was introduced to serve as a Nerd Action Hero character and fight for the Doctor when required. However, the decision was instead made to cast a young, strong man as the Fourth Doctor, who was more than capable of doing the action scenes intended for Harry, and so to rebalance the dynamic Harry took over the role of The Lancer and Sarah Jane was relegated to Damsel in Distress. This also coincided with her relationship with the Doctor taking on a romantic tinge - her relationship with the Third Doctor had felt paternal due to the big physical age gap and the power dynamic, but her relationship with the Fourth Doctor, who looked younger and saw himself as equal to her, oozed Unresolved Sexual Tension to Implied Love Interest levels. Once Harry left and Sarah Jane was the sole companion, she returned closer to her original characterisation again, finding a kind of middle ground of badass and added romantic dimension (not to mention respectful treatment from her Doctor) that many fans feel is the most entertaining version of her character.
- Another victim of this for reasons of Cast Speciation was the First Doctor companion Barbara. While she spends most of her time being confused and screaming in her first episode, this is Justified by the circumstances of her companionship, and she soon gets some Character Development and becomes The Hero of several stories (notably Part 2 and 3 of "The Keys of Marinus" and "The Aztecs"). In stories where she has a more backseat role, it tends to be a more dynamic one (such as journeying with a Thal war band in "The Daleks", and going on an expedition to defeat the Daleks in "The Dalek Invasion of Earth"). In both "The Dalek Invasion of Earth" and "The Rescue" she is shown to be willing to kill in order to protect younger female characters with her. However, after Susan, the Damsel in Distress in most of her stories, leaves, she's replaced with Suspiciously Similar Substitute surrogate-granddaughter Vicki, a more energetic and optimistic character who tended to be paired off with the Doctor so they could go on Vagabond Buddies-type adventures as a comical B Story. Since Vicki was ineligible to be the Damsel, the role got handed over to Barbara, who then started getting captured, hypnotised, sold into slavery, and threatened with rape a lot more often. A plot point in "The Crusades" even centres around her supposed unwillingness to kill, even to protect a young female character with her.
- The New Avengers has Purdy capable of taking on the best and winning. Unless that weeks episode calls for her to cry and phone Steed for rescue. The episode where important figures, including apparently Steed and Gambit, are being replaced by imposters, is a case in point.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation:
- Marina Sirtis noted that Deanna Troi's intelligence and general effectiveness seemed to vary in inverse proportion to the amount of cleavage she was made to display. In later seasons, when they put the character in a Starfleet uniform like everyone else, covering her up to the neck, Troi suddenly started getting better storylines.
Marina Sirtis: My cleavage had gone. My gray matter came flooding back. I was on away teams! I was the leader of one away team! I had a medical tricorder! And unlike Beverly, I seemed to know what was wrong with people.
- Marina Sirtis noted that Deanna Troi's intelligence and general effectiveness seemed to vary in inverse proportion to the amount of cleavage she was made to display. In later seasons, when they put the character in a Starfleet uniform like everyone else, covering her up to the neck, Troi suddenly started getting better storylines.
TV Series — Western Animation
- Æon Flux had this happen once, recoiling in terror from a man threatening to beat her with his wooden leg.
- Played with in the episode "A Last Time for Everything". Aeon lets Trevor create a copy of her for his own amusement and then switches places with her so she can seduce Trevor and then let the clone kill her, thereby tormenting Trevor (rationalizing that she and the clone are identical, so she doesn't mind letting the clone take her place, but only the death of the original will really hurt him). But, to her own surprise, the original genuinely falls in love with Trevor. When the clone comes to rendezvous with her, the clone has decided against killing her so that they can both run off together; but she then sees that not only has original Aeon fallen for Trevor, but doing so has Chickified all her badassness away. They both make a run for the border, but original Aeon's heart isn't in it, so she can't dodge the automatic guns any more, and dies. Ironically, the plan works out just as they originally intended, breaking Trevor's heart mercilessly, but neither Aeon nor the clone wanted it that way by then.
- Taken together with the wooden leg example above (who was her boyfriend at the time) it's possible that being more vulnerable and "feminine" around men she cares about is just another aspect of her character, and one that she's not particularly proud of at that.
- DuckTales: The reason Mrs. Beakley was hired as the triplets' nanny was because she was the only one "tough enough" to handle the little terrors, and for the first few episodes, she lives up to the job: breaking characters out of prison, escaping giant penguin-eating walruses, chariot-racing Vikings... and by DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp, she's nothing more than a weeping fainting woman.
- Gargoyles: One of the reasons the "Goliath Chronicles" season is so lambasted by the fandom (in addition to its Word of God Canon Discontinuity) is that several of its female characters underwent the Badass Decay that had been scrupulously avoided in the first two seasons. A particularly dire example noted by series creator Greg Weisman on his blog, concerns Dark Action Girl Fox in the episode "Ransom", who becomes quite the weepy Neutral Female after her baby son is kidnapped, as opposed to a previous kidnap attempt (by Oberon, godlike king of The Fair Folk) where she calmly waited in front of his crib with a laser gun.
- Pepper Ann parodied this trope in an episode where a cartoon starring fictitious Comic Book heroine Tundra Woman turns her into a shopping-obsessed bimbo and her archenemy into her Satellite Love Interest boyfriend. Unfortunately, Pepper Ann's sister's protest campaign causes them to veer too far in the other direction.
- The Powerpuff Girls also parodied this. While the girls starts remember stuff in a clip show, they remember that they once aged up to becoming teenagers. In this flashback they stop fighting and instead became shallow, boy-obsessed morons. This was a Take That! from Craig McCracken to Executive Meddling which attempted to chickify the girls for feminine merchandise. It was also a Take That! towards members of the fandom who would send him fanart (and fanfics) of the girls dating the Rowdyruff Boys (nevermind the fact that they're mortal enemies) forgetting that the show is an action cartoon first and has little (if any) romance in it whatsoever.
- Rocket Power.
- Inverted with Clio. In her first appearance, Clio is a straight-up Girly Girl who likes ice dancing and thinks it's improper for girls to play hockey (though later she tries hockey after betting with Reggie). Later episodes show her skateboarding, rollerskating, and playing roller hockey. Justified in that Clio trying ice hockey would have made her more open to playing more male-dominated sports.
- Reggie invokes this in "Reggie/Regina" where she falls in love with a new student from New Zealand named Trent. She pretends to be bad at surfing to get his attention. Luckily, she snaps out of it by the end of the episode.
- Sam uses it in his game "Super Squid" where Reggie's counterpart, Reginalda, can't do extreme sports and doesn't know how to ride the ski lift and needs Sam to teach her, whereas in reality, Reggie was the one who taught Sam to ride the ski lift.
- Spider-Man: The Animated Series: Black Cat was awesomely awesome during the arc "Partners in Danger," which introduced her. She leaves near the end, but puts in one more guest appearance in which she's as cool as ever. Unfortunately, when she returns again for "Secret Wars," her role in the story is to fall off of things, scream, and be caught by Captain America while Petey looks on with jealousy. Maybe it was a Skrull impostor...
- X-Men: The 90's animated series had a bad habit of doing this to Jean Grey. In the comics, she was one of the original X-Men, who even in The '60s, could hold her own against formidable opponents. In the cartoon, however, she was the go-to girl if they needed a Damsel in Distress, playing the role of The Empath more than a contributing member. Some other adaptations are worse due to the Never Live It Down status of the Dark Phoenix Saga. Writers seem to think that going Phoenix, going nuts, and dying is all she ever did, and when she's not Phoenix, being Scott's Satellite Love Interest and the girl Logan wants as his Satellite Love Interest is about all there is to her.
- Parodied with Steve Trevor, love interest of Wonder Woman in his appearance at Batman: The Brave and the Bold: In all other incarnations (comics, animation, live action TV) he is a fairly proactive guy, in The Teaser of “Scorn of Star Sapphire” he is a secret agent so confident that Wonder Woman will come to his rescue that he doesn’t move a muscle to get out of a Death Trap, left her do all the work, and gushes in her presence. This immortal line:
Steve Trevor: Have to say, being a secret agent is a cinch when you have a super-powered girlfriend.
- Jessica Bannon in Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures is a good example. In the first season she is tough but in the second season though she reverts more and more to the Damsel in Distress.
Mythology and Religion
- Classical Mythology: The Romans identified Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and war, with Minerva, a considerably more domestic goddess of crafts.
- Mesopotamian Mythology: Observed by looking at the oldest Sumerian myths to its later derivatives. One example is Nammu, who went from the sole creator goddess in Sumerian myths to her more well-known Babylonian version Tiamat, a co-creator who after the death of her husband became a tyrant who is probably the Ur-Example of God Save Us from the Queen!. Sumerian Ereshkigal was the sole ruler of the underworld, but in later Assyro-Babylonian myths she was subdued by Nergal and forced to share her power with him. Several other goddesses are known to us mainly as Shallow Love Interests are also believed to have held more prominent roles in prehistory.
- In the 1930s and 1940s, not only did the top women's wrestlers draw just as much and sometimes more than their male counterparts in the USA, but the very best were considered equals. Over the course of five years, the top woman draw in the country, Mildred Burke, wrestled 200 men and only lost to one of them. After Mildred Burke and promoter Billy Wolfe got divorced though, Wolfe got Burke banned from the National Wrestling Alliance in 1952, which resulted in interest for women's wrestling declining and subsequently, fewer instances of women defeating men or main eventing shows.
- DIVING CROSSBODY?! NAH, JUST SPANK HER A COUPLE TIMES AND YELL!
- Once regarded as a high peak for a woman wrestler to climb, perhaps the highest, the reputation of the WWE women's division started to deteriorate around 1999, though the causes behind it went back further. From women's champions not allowed to use any moves men were doing, to women's champions who don't bump, to Divas champions who can't run the ropes it became disturbingly common to use the very idea of WWE divas in a serious context as a punchline. Proven talents repeatedly being passed over for unproven counterparts based on presumed sex appeal, efforts to hide aesthetic injuries and reduced match time also being contributing factors.
- Introducing first, from some kind of place, weighing in at so many pounds, wrestler's name! That used to be the standard entrance for any wrestler but at some point, the WWF decided to stop giving the weight of women wrestlers. (Sensational Sherri usually weighed in at 144 lbs, for example, but Alundra Blayze's was conspicuously ignored) While plenty of other companies still recognize why listing a wrestler's weight might be important, such as Ice Ribbon eliminating the 60 KG limit on the ICEx∞ so Manami Toyota could challenge for the belt, more than a few seem to have taken the WWF's example.
- The creative direction just completely buries them. Mickie James, Beth Phoenix, Melina, Natalya, and Michelle McCool were all excellent workers - probably better workers in the ring than even Trish & Lita. They just didn't have the character depth beyond "evil cheerleaders" or time for a feud. They also didn't get to mix it up in angles involving main-eventers like Trish & Lita did. It's almost as though WWE doesn't believe more than 4 wrestlers can be stars at a time.
- If you've ever sat through Total Divas at all you've seen the women taking instruction from Mark Carrano, oozing visible slime as WWE's "talent relations" exec. All Carrano cares about is the Divas' image and not if they can actually entertain or not. They all speak as if they have to maintain approval under Daddy Carrano's watchful eye, like a pimp convening with his hos.
- To illustrate the WWE problem in a more personable manner, women such as Sara Del Rey, known for her 60 minute time limit draw against PGWA champion Nikki Roxx, Traci Brooks, whose feud with Trinity brought women's wrestling to new venues and April Hunter, whose matches had fans around the world asking for WWE to sign her, were passed up. Body building legend Lenda Murray failed to get a developmental deal. So there was only one title to wrestle for but presumptions that the WWE roster was simply full were disproved when it was cleaned out for the sake of untrained talent who were then pushed as wrestlers. Tori, Jacqueline, Ivory, it happened slowly at first but then in a move that somehow went unnoticed by the NAACP, Nidia, Gail Kim and Jazz were simultaneously released with failed contestants from the 2004 diva search put in their place. While WWE somehow avoided a discrimination lawsuit for replacing all its remaining nonwhite women at once with inferior workers, it would take twelve years before the division's reputation began to recover.
- Both Monster Ripper and Jillian Hall went into WWF/E with fearsome reputations that had to be rebuilt upon leaving. The former was given a goofy trailer park gimmick, which still managed to work until she was told not to use her slams and throws. The latter became more girly, then got saddled with many ridiculous gimmicks, which still managed to work until was stuck doing the job for years on end.
- Chyna, although hers was more enforced from above. She came in as a bodyguard (not valet, Bodyguard) to Triple H. She then went on to feuding with the male wrestlers, had absolutely no interest in the Women's Championship, and was the first woman to hold a man's wrestling title (not counting the Hardcore Title, but that's another story.) Toward the end, after she ended up the hypotenuse in the Chyna / Triple H / Stephanie McMahon triangle, she was pushed back into the Women's Division before being quietly pushed out the door in May 2001.
- Natalya suffered from this. She debuted as a powerful heel and was put into contention for the new Divas' Championship but was quickly dropped from that and eventually became a manager for the Hart Dynasty where the most she usually did was slap her guys' opponents a little. This got reversed when they brought in The Usos to feud with them who had a woman as their valet. When they split, Natalya became a prominent part of the women's division and won the title. But when that was done Natalya became little more than a joke, paired with The Great Khali and Hornswoggle and often losing to other girls like The Bella Twins.
- Once ranked among the top wrestlers in the USA, USWA boasting that she was the very top woman in the country, Jacqueline debuted in the WWF as Marc Mero's valet and although winning the reinstated Women's Championship, was booked rather weakly and lumped together with the non-wrestler divas such as Terri and Sable. But fast forward a year and she gets to show off the full extent of her wrestling ability, even competing in intergender matches. She defeated Chavo Guerrero Jr.. for the WWE Cruiserweight Title in 2004 before losing it back and being pushed out the door to make room for those who did not win the diva search.
- Upon leaving WWE for the second time, Gail Kim claimed, among other things, that WWE wants the division to be more "girly" and have barred the Divas from things like punching and kicking. That obviously cuts out a lot but still leaves pretty of moves to do right? No, even go to stuff like the DDT apparently got divas reprimanded to the point they had to sneak spots past the agents. Possibly as a result, these "rules" would change week to week. Whatever WWE's case may be, the chickification of this once great women's division is painfully obvious.
- Many of the contestants from the Diva search, even the runner ups, had real life credentials that could have logically been transcribed into matches. Maryse was a black belt in karate but she rarely showed it, mostly slapping, running away and hitting the occasional back breaker. Eve Torres, a blue belt in Brazilian jujitsu, was taken somewhat seriously at first but if you heard anything about her background, it was probably her cheer leading and then she was reduced to a panicky mess whenever Kane appeared. So he's akin to a slasher villain she logically shouldn't have a chance against? Fine but she does not have to stand there "Frozen in fear" as Michael Cole describes instead of making an effort to run away during his slow walk to the ring.
- Frozen in fear also applies to Aksana, who would fight for what she wanted on WWE's version of FCW and duck out of the arena to avoid what she didn't want. On the main roster, she passively hung around general manager Theodore Long for no reason and became a nervous wreck just thinking about Kane.
- Nickla Roberts, who was best known as Baby Doll, a valet in WCW's predecessor JCP, started out as a female wrestler in WCCW with a metalhead gimmick who beat both female and male wrestlers in the ring. Once JCP hired her as a valet, though, that was the end of her actually wrestling.
- In the late 1980s up about 2000, many of the top women wrestlers from the continental United States Of America were not known to fans in the continental USA because so many wrestled almost exclusively outside of it, often in Japan, Mexico or a territory such as Puerto Rico. It didn't help that the AWA(post nineties) and WCW women's titles had nearly the entirety of their defenses in Japan. Before foreigners, particularly Japanese, would often have to migrate overseas because Zenjo didn't want anyone over 25.
- This trope was one of the motivations behind the founding of the PGWA in 1992. Since most "major" promotions in the USA were giving women five minute matches, Tom Randolph and Penny Banner decide to give them a place where most of the matches were between fifteen and thirty minutes, in order to let women show a wider range of what they could do and use the footage to increase their standings.
- Daizee Haze accused Chikara of trying to downplay her worth and skills, which lead Sara Del Rey to suggest they take The BDK's side in its war on the promotion, which they did. Since its starting year the promotion had been playing around with what the roll for women would be in it exactly before just throwing its hands up and deciding as far wrestling went there was no difference between men and women.
- Whatever you want to say about TNA's indy years (crass, dumb, offensive) they had several good points, such as recognizing the tough women on their roster and making use of their talents. Alexis Laree and Trinity in particular were likely to be competitive no matter who they were in the ring with and Traci Brooks was not too far behind them. Then Jim Cornette (Spike TV was the real culprit, but that was off screen) made it illegal for men to fight women and the girls ended up having a much more passive role as a result. At least until they got their own division but see below.
- The Knockout Division in TNA was chickified when Hulk Hogan appeared. Before there were all sorts of women with different styles, after Hogan came and the firing of Awesome Kong and other women being released the division suffered. Not to the extent of "The Divas", a decent match could usually be expected at least every other show but the division was hardly taken as seriously as before, by the commentary or "the writers" who couldn't seem to find time for them or thought their talents were better spent acting out soap plots or stripping; this on top of there being fewer wrestlers overall. The return of Gail Kim did lead to the knockouts eventually getting back to the main event though, especially after Havok debuted.
- In the second half of the Big Finish Doctor Who audio drama The Anachronauts, Sara is Promoted to Love Interest for Steven and acts terrified of everything, always 'clinging' to Steven, crying, paranoid and willing to do cowardly actions to survive, which at first appears to be this trope. However, it turns out that this is intentional and Steven explains to her that Sara does not show weakness, does not admit defeat and does not love him, clueing us into the fact that she is not the real Sara.
- Like every RPG trope and its dog, the Tales Series plays with this one.
- Tales of Symphonia subverts this. The Action Girl Sheena is clearly crushing on Lloyd. When she eventually helps save their friend Colette, she unfortunately messes up and ends up hanging on for dear life but encourages Lloyd to go on and save the poor girl regardless. When he's out of earshot, she contemplates that perhaps some Chickification might do her some good as it would more or less guarantee that someone would rescue her when she's in danger... only to immediately dismiss the thought, as it "... wouldn't be (her) style."
- Chloe Valens from Tales of Legendia has to be rescued by Senel from drowning (since she can't swim), and struggles with her growing feelings for him throughout the game. At the same time, she defeats Senel in single combat, is a Knight in Shining Armor who subverts Honor Before Reason when it matters most, and doesn't take revenge when she had every reason to do so. Though she may so "female" emotions, Chloe is an example of this trope done well, as she is no less of a badass at the end of the game than she was at the beginning.
- Altered Beast is a meta-example; in Greek Mythology, Athena is the goddess of wisdom and war. Here, she is Chickified into a standard Damsel in Distress.
- Knights of the Old Republic. Inverted: Bastila spends most of Taris in an enemy prison, but once you rescue her she becomes an actual Action Girl.
- Odin Sphere: Likely as a reference to the above example and general Valkyrie lore, the Valkyries fear this trope. Disobedient Valkyries are punished by being placed into slumber and given away to a man who will be their husband upon awakening, whereas Valkyries who are no longer able to fight are forcefully stripped of their status and married to men, where they must be obedient wives for the rest of their lives. An early Valkyrie NPC in Gwendolyn's story is facing this fate and terrified, whereas Gwendolyn herself suffers the slumbering sort as a punishment early in her story. The rest of her story has her struggling against her growing feelings for Oswald and her new role as a non-warrior. The game later reveals that Odin only used magic to make Gwendolyn sleep and not to manipulate her emotions. No one actually tells Gwendolyn this, probably because they looked at how hostile she was to Oswald and figured she must already know she wasn't enthralled. She never seems to realize that her feelings for Oswald were always genuinely her own. Ultimately, she decides it doesn't matter if they're fake or not, because Oswald is the first person in her life to treat her like a human being as opposed to her selfish, cold-hearted father. As for fighting, she seems to have little trouble with that and rescues her husband herself from a dragon, a fire elemental king, and the queen of the dead. Clearly this trope just can't stick to her.
- World of Warcraft has done this to Jaina Proudmoore. In Warcraft III and its expansion, she was one of few people who listened to the Prophet's Cassandra Truth and led people across the sea to escape the Burning Legion. She even helped kill her own father when she decided there was no other way to secure a peace between the Alliance and the Horde. In World of Warcraft, her role until Patch 3.3 was limited to cheering up orphans, and in Patch 3.3 she decided to see if her ex-boyfriend the Evil Overlord was redeemable. Good luck with that.
- She suffers from this very badly in the Arthas novel, too, where aside from setting a couple of granaries on fire, she mostly wibbles about said ex-boyfriend, when she's not making out with him.
- Complains about this was heard and Mists of Pandaria broke her so devastatingly with the destruction of Theramore. And the result? Jaina turned into an extremely aggressive warmonger that wanted the Horde to be destroyed REALLY badly and nearly drowned Orgrimmar if Kalegcos and Thrall didn't talk her down about it. Needless to say, this is a rather controversial development that there's some camp that prefers the 'Chickified' Jaina...
- Tyrande Whisperwind has suffered from this as well, not just in World of Warcraft but in most of the Warcraft novels since. Even in Cataclysm, where most faction leaders have gotten at least one badass moment, if not multiple ones, so far all she has done amounts to staying in Darnassus and telling players about how Malfurion, her love, has returned and will fix everything.
- While Sylvanas has generally been more at risk of jumping off the slippery slope, there was an especially ridiculous example in the Sunwell Trilogy manga, when she became a Damsel in Distress at the hands of a heretofore unheard-of male Villain Sue in the Ghostlands. The Ghostlands are the southern half of what's left of Eversong Forest, which Sylvanas would have been intimately familiar with as bloody Ranger-General of Quel'thalas.
- She suffers from this very badly in the Arthas novel, too, where aside from setting a couple of granaries on fire, she mostly wibbles about said ex-boyfriend, when she's not making out with him.
- In Summon Night: Swordcraft Story, a large part of Sanary's character is centered around her desire to avoid this fate due to one of her role models falling deathly ill and requiring her lover to look after her. She does wind up falling into this, needing to be rescued twice 3 times if you count "possessed by a berserk spirit" and is forced into a maid outfit during the first. Her anger over this is what allows her to be possessed in the first place. An odd contrast is found in PrattyXRazzy's path, where Pratty notes to Razzy that a girl doesn't need to look or act feminine to be beautiful.
- Ariel in the first Kingdom Hearts was an Action Girl able to cast powerful spells and take down The Heartless with a whip of her tail. Come the sequel, however, and she has suddenly lost all of the ability, leaving her almost (unfortunately they excluded her feisty attitude) exactly as she was in her original film, leaving many players to wonder what the point of revisiting Atlantica was to begin with.
- Played straight and subverted in The King of Fighters:
- Played straight: Chizuru gets hit with this after 2003, since she gets Brainwashed and Crazy, had her Yata mirror stolen and the deal badly shakes her self-esteem. (True, her life has had many Break the Cutie episodes, but until then she had managed to mostly deal). The ending of XIII implies that she got her Mirror back and that said episode was Retconned when Ash (the one who stole the Mirror from her) got himsef Ret Gone'd.
- Subverted: Leona seemed to have been hit by this in XI, after being broken in 2003 (when her Orochi blood took over her again and she almost beat Ralf and Clark to death), prompting her adoptive father and commander Heidern to replace her with her friend and fellow Action Girl Whip. However, this turned out to be a 10-Minute Retirement: in XIII Leona was fully back, having decided to live with her condition and not break down again.
- Additionally, the Fan Dumb loves to falsely accuse King of this. Technically speaking, she went through Vocal Evolution (her voice got more high-pitched) and a slight Girliness Upgrade (she's still a Bifauxnen and Action Girl, with her sprites becoming slightly more feminine and the XI ending showing her in a cute dress — during a date). Her fighting skills and basic personality remain untouched.
- Terra in Dissidia: Final Fantasy. The prequel address this by rewriting her dialog in the text scenes to her less of a Shrinking Violet who needs to be protected, and more of a Reluctant Warrior who's willing and able to fight but doesn't want to if she can help it, which is closer to original characterization.
- Completely subverted with the Badass Princess Say'ri in Fire Emblem Awakening. Excellus believes that revealing that her older brother Yen'fay didn't betray her but instead sacrificed himself for her sake will completely break her to the point of stopping fighting altogether... but, ultimately, it just pisses her off enough to come after him and, if you let her, chop his filthy head off. This subversion doesn't count as Xenafication, though; as she's badass to begin with.
- In Spyro: Year of the Dragon Bianca was a competent (if somewhat meek and conflicted) dragon to the Big Bad until she had a Heel–Face Turn near the end. She was also shown to be a fairly good (if inexperienced) sorceress and very helpful to the heroes but after Insomniac left she was Demoted to Extra in Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly. Her voice is noticeably higher and fluffier, compared to her lower and sarcastic laden voice, despite having the same actress. She's treated more as a Token Girl who's only use is her Deus ex Machina inducing spells. In the portable games she's treated even worse, degraded from a sorceress to a performing magician.
- In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Tetra starts off as a boisterous pirate captain and is one of the few early characters who doesn't sing Link's praises at every opportunity. She's not afraid to get her hands dirty either. Then at the midpoint of the game, the moment she learns she's Zelda, all her fire completely vanishes, and she can only act meek and dumbfounded as she's Put on a Bus and treated as a living MacGuffin. Subverted in the final battle, where she finally gets her act together and helps Link fight, but for a large chunk of the game Chickification is in full effect.
- Lampshaded and ultimately averted in Final Fantasy VII. At some point Barret is horrified to discover that Tifa, who had been a prominent member of a terrorist organisation before Cloud showed up, now feels she has no idea what to do without the missing Cloud around, and he outright asks her when the tough woman he used to know 'turned into such a wimp'. Soon after, Tifa leaves the party after only a short spell as leader, telling the other party members that she has no interest in saving the world or doing anything beyond being by a comatose Cloud's side any more. However, Tifa soon brings herself and Cloud back via taking a Journey to the Center of the Mind to help both of them and rejoins the party along with him. Barret even reverses his judgement - "You're some kinda lady."
- Megagi la Skunk from Sonichu was originally a spike-wearing mohawked skunk who really stood out from the other female characters, all of whom were shallow female stereotypes with no personality (this is likely due to the author not creating her, but stealing her from a friend). She was rapidly chickified over her next couple of appearances until she became a literal cheerleader and indistinguishable from the other females in the cast. This is considered to be evidence that the author isn't just unable to write characters with distinct personalities; he's actively against it.
- In The Hero of Time, Sheik spends most of the movie helping Link fight monsters and free the sages. The pair go into the final battle only for one of Ganondorf's minions to grab her from behind and hold a knife to her throat to get leverage over Link. Link ends up stabbed because of this, and Sheik can only cry over his bleeding body after he saves her.