Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off
"This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you..."
: My father? Very strict. It didn't matter that I was the youngest, when I would act up, he gave me his belt. Dick
: You wore the same size? Bug
: No, as punishment he would put me over his knee and give me a whooping. Dick
: He gave a "whoopin" and a belt? Bug
a belt. Dick
: And then he gave you the belt? Bug
: Um... yeah.
Li'l Jimmy's done it now. His dad is angry, and this is a crime worthy of far more than a Time Out
. And Daddy's getting out the belt. This ain't gonna be pretty.
Truth in Television
. Corporal Punishment
has been around since practically the beginning of time. More and more parents are considering it barbaric these days, but it still goes on. Values Dissonance
tends not to be called out, (like other forms of punishment/abuse) because of how common
an occurrence this trope was in Real Life
for anyone born before the last couple of decades, and how common it is in certain cultures. Heck, many parents still use spanking today, despite many sources going against it.
Of course, in the comedic version
, the father takes his belt off, raises his arm to apply some pain, and his pants immediately fall down for want of a belt to hold them up.
Sometimes this trope is inverted when the father, after realizing he has been unfair with his son, hands his son the belt at the last minute and tells him to spank him.
"You're not too big to turn over my knee" is a common variation. A variation of this trope in a Southern US setting is "Do you want me to cut a switch"?
A common and rather peculiar feature of this trope is that the son or sometimes daughter who is threatened with the belt is often high school or even college-aged, but no one on the show seems to find it odd that they are still being spanked as if they were children. A possible explanation is that young kids may make up a large part of the shows' viewers and hence may find this sort of punishment relatable.
Related in spirit to Get a Hold of Yourself Man
, but different in application.
It is often treated like an explicit child abuse or an older form of discipline in period pieces. Can be coupled with (and the result of) Calling the Old Man Out
. Depending how it's portrayed, this can occur in many places along the Sliding Scale of Parent-Shaming in Fiction
; it could be anything from genuine Tough Love
to a misguided Overprotective Dad
to outright Abusive Parents
Subtrope of Corporal Punishment
; compare A Taste of the Lash
. Compare and contrast the Sister Tropes Comedic Spanking
and Kinky Spanking
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Anime and Manga
- In Link's New Look, what's the thing that Young Link fears the most in the world? A spanking from Princess Zelda. Apparently a Falcon Punch to the face is nothing compared to getting spanked by her.
- John Gage got it a lot as a kid in the slightly AU Emergency! fic "Remembrances of Things Past". To the point where he has a major panic attack in the locker room when Roy, who's a bit angry at him about something, quickly pulls his belt off as he's changing. Roy has to reassure John he isn't going to hit him with it.
Films — Live-Action
- Pootie Tang has a magic +5 belt of whoopass which is the Source Of His Power.
- In one Tyler Perry film, Madea turns a young hooligan girl into a proper young lady... by repeatedly beating her with a belt. Violence makes right, folks!
- In Curse of the Golden Flower the Emperor beats one of his sons to death with a huge gem-encrusted belt.
- Possibly justified, as the kid had just killed one of his brothers and attempted a coup. Pretty much every person in that movie pulls something like that on a family member.
- In Antwone Fisher, this is the favorite form of punishment for the title character's mother. Unfortunately, she goes way too far.
- In Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, a young J.B. gets the belt for singing a rock song about fucking the devil at the dinner table.
- In Good Will Hunting, Will describes how his father would add a layer of psychological torment by making him choose what he would be beaten with. He always chose a wrench, the worst of the three options, "Because fuck him, that's why."
- Treated humorously in John Waters' black comedy Female Trouble. Dawn Davenport, played by Divine, threatens to whip her daughter Taffy with a car aerial for jumping rope.
- Spoofed in Troll 2, where the dad fumbles with his belt while yelling at his son for ruining their food... and tightens it to deal with the hunger pains.
- In The Godfather Carlo threatening and attacking Connie with a belt after she confronts him about his affairs is the thing that drives Sonny over the edge, on purpose of course, so that Sonny is lured to his death at the tollbooth.
- In Get On The Bus, Flip tells a story about the time he tried out for his school's track team against his mother's wishes. She showed up at the tryouts with a belt so thick nobody could actually wear it, and, well... let's just say Flip hates wearing belts to this day.
- In Rock N Rolla, in a flashback, we briefly see Lenny Cole getting ready to take his belt to his rebellious son, the future rock'n'rolla Johnny Quid.
- In Bastard out of Carolina, Bone's stepfather Glen frequently whips her savagely with a belt. When her uncles find out about this they give Glen a beating with his own belt.
- In Talk Radio, Barry Champlain takes a call from a listener who tells him, "My kids give me any trouble, I take off m'belt. They see the belt, that's it." Barry proceeds to berate him for hitting his kids.
- In Youth in Revolt, Ray Liotta's character apprantly dealt with Nick this way before the start of the movie. Subverted in movie-proper.
- The Headmaster, form masters and prefects of Greyfriars school can all dispense corporal punishment and do with (to a modern reader, at least) incredible frequency and little regret. A poor or obnoxious student, like the notorious Billy Bunter, can expect 'six' for offences as minor as 'lounging'. "Yaroooooh!", indeed.
- In Richard Wright's Black Boy, Richard offends his visiting uncle without understanding why. He had offended his uncle when, after being woken up in the middle of the night because his uncle wanted to know what time it was, his perfectly civil response is somehow perceived as insolent. The uncle declares that he'll give Richard (who is around 11) the beating of a lifetime. The uncle makes a big show of ripping a branch off a hickory tree in the yard to whip him. Only to discover that Richard, in the meantime, has snatched up two razor blades between his fingers, one on each fist, and told his uncle that he'd fight him off. After a standoff, the uncle looks very weary, and gives up while sighing. Then the uncle tells everybody in Richard's life that the boy is a menace and is not to be given any help whatsoever in anything...including school.
- Miss Trunchbull threatens to punish Matilda with the buckle end of her belt.
- Subverted in the short story The Pudding Like a Night on the Sea from The Stories Julian Tells. Julian's father warns him and his little brother to not, under any circumstances, eat the pudding he's just made for her mother when she gets home. Of course, Julian dares his brother into eating it. The father snarls, "There's going to be some beating and some whipping!" What happens next? You guessed it. Their punishment is to make a new pudding, and they have to beat the eggs and whip the cream.
- Happens to Menolly in the Dragonriders of Pern. When she starts improvising, her sexist father, who is ashamed that a mere daughter has the skills of a Harper, ominously dismisses the class she's teaching and signals to her to lift up her tunic (not what it sounds like, but unpleasant in a totally different way) before belting her savagely. Even Menolly's mother, who's not a great help to the girl at the best of times, is shocked by the injuries inflicted on her unfavourite daughter.
- The Bible has a verse or two about physical punishment, for example Proverbs 23:13-14: "Withhold not discipline from the child, for if you strike and punish him with the rod, he will not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell." Elsewhere, though, it warns fathers not to drive their children to anger.
- The Halachic codex Shulkhan ‘Arukh subverts this by saying that if you must hit your child to discipline him, use nothing worse than a shoelace.
- This is used as punishment by Liza's father in Bones of Faerie.
- Discworld: Verence II of Lancre was beaten by his grandfather with a belt often when a child. Since said grandfather was a retired court jester, it was a belt with bells on, which made it more painful.
- Nimbalo The Slayer's father in the Redwall book Taggerung frequently did this, until he finally stood up to the scumbag and ran off. Despite this, Nimbalo's still heartbroken when he discovers that his father was murdered by the vermin they're chasing with his own battle axe.
- In Me and My Little Brain, part of The Great Brain series, John finally gets fed up with his adopted brother attacking him in mute silence, so he takes his little brother behind the woodshed and delivers an intense spanking. He expects to be whipped even worse by his parents for it, but the discipline breaks through the trauma his little brother had earlier experienced and caused him to open up to humanity again.
- Purple Hibiscus: Kambili (a girl) pushes her deranged father over the edge and he beats her. She nearly dies.
- In Summer of My German Soldier, Patty Bergen's Abusive Father doles out several savage beatings with his belt.
- Inverted in an allegorical story where the much-loved father of a naughty boy forces the boy to beat him for the boy's misdeeds instead of the other way around. The boy cries throughout the process since he does love his father and hates hurting him. This helps the boy realise that by misbehaving, he's hurting his father as much as a beating hurts and causes the boy to try to behave better.
Live Action TV
- A common match type is a "whipping" match, or a "(whip/belt/other weapon of the promoter's choice) on a pole," where the objective is for one wrestler to whip his opponent into bloody and bruised submission. Various adjustments to the rules apply.
- In 1987, when Ken Patera was released from prison (he had served time on a vandalism charge), he turned against former ally Bobby "the Brain" Heenan and renounced his former rule-breaking ways, sealing the deal when Patera whipped Heenan before tying the belt around his neck and whipping him across the screen. A week later, Heenan's minions got revenge by ganging up on Patera and whipping him until he lost consciousness.
- Cited by many Black stand-up comedians. Sinbad even had a routine wherein his mother turned into a superhero for the express purpose of catching him and giving him a whupping. It was for talking back to her (which you did not do with your parents back in the day) during lawn cutting day, and then turning around while she was reprimanding him. She beat him so bad, it was Monday when he woke up.
- Bill Cosby referred to this in many of his stand-up routines, including his mother's threat to "knock the black off of him". One routine he specifically cited it - "We had never seen 'The Belt'. But we had heard about it."
- Here's one from a comedian named Russell Peters. "Somebody's gonna get a hurt real bad," indeed.
- Double Subverted by comedian Katt Williams:
"Look, I know all comics come on stage and say you need to beat your kids, but as a father, let me just say publicly that maybe we should stop beating our kids... publicly."
- Pretty common with a lot of ethnic groups, especially Irish. Denis Leary:
"Hey, my dad used to beat the shit out of me, and looking back I'm glad he did. And I'm looking forward to beating the shit out my kids. Aren't you?"
- (Leary's routines from after he became a father make it clear his kids have got him totally wrapped around their fingers.)
- Rex Navarette would fondly recall the usage of his mother's toe on him in Church.
- Steve Geyer recalled how his mother would tell him to bring her something to spank him with. At first, he would bring "a belt with a buckle on it", but eventually wised up and started bringing her sheets of notebook paper (don't laugh, he still has paper cut scars back there). Then she moved on to Hot Wheels tracks.
Steve: And then, one day, I thought to myself, "Steve, get a clue, she's spanking you... with your own toys?!" Yeah, glad I never got that wood-burning set I wanted, though.
- One black comic mentioned that her mom once spanked her with a wet towel for lack of anything better. "My ass said 'Motel 6' for a week."
- It also happens with redneck stand-up comics. Jeff Foxworthy stated that getting a "time out" in his family meant that "our dad would take time out of his busy day to blister our butts!"
- Bill Engvall, who states that there's nothing like "the sound of a belt clearing belt loops".
- Russell Peters did a routine about the time he tried to defy this trope. He'd gone over to a friend's house and seen how he talked back to his parents. When asked, the boy told him that they couldn't touch him because of child services. The comedian then imitates the boy upon returning home (responding to being nagged about chores with "fuck you dad"). His father, naturally, is less than impressed, and demands he front up for punishment. The comedian then tells his father that if he touches him he'll call child services. His dad's response? "Let me get you the phone." The father points out that there's a 23 minute gap between the call being made and someone arriving at the house, and that in that time, "somebody gonna get a hurt real bad."
- Christian comedian Mark Lowry said that when you heard the sound of his dad's belt flying through belt loops "you knew JUDGEMENT had come!!
- Double Subverted by Louis C.K. in a routine where he rants about how ridiculous corporal punishment is. "Kids are the only people it's okay to hit! They're the most defenseless, and they're the only people it's okay to hit!."
- In EarthBound, after Pokey and his brother Picky arrive late at home, his father takes them both upstairs and a repeating smacking sound is heard. Afterward, when Ness talks to him, he says "I was really scolded by my father. Aa, my butt hurts." The American localization replaced the smacking sound with something more comical (though, from context, it's still obviously a hit) and Pokey replies with "My dad really got after me. He said I get no dessert for the rest of the decade..."
- In the old school learning adventure game Peppers Adventures In Time, Pepper meets a young Ben Franklin and chats with him. However, at one point his father calls from upstairs for Ben to bring the candle wick that he'd (forgotten to) pick up at the general store. If you don't give him the bit of string you have in your inventory, Ben eventually goes upstairs to face the music and a smacking sound ensues.
- In Halo 3, Sgt. Johnson will occasionally yell out in the middle of combat "Don't make me take off my belt!"
- A caller on Chatterbox in Grand Theft Auto III mentions that he was disciplined as such by his nanny when he was a boy. Now he's seeking a nanny because "Freddie's been a very naughty boy". About a minute later, it's revealed that the caller himself is Freddie and he now gets sexual satisfaction from spanking.
- Princess Raeka has a moment of this to Itchyknee-san in Samurai Princess during their battle in the tower.
- Typically happens at the end of an episode of Moral Orel. This eventually developed into a Running Gag of Clay's pants falling down because he forgot to put his belt back on after the beating.
- Just like in the comics version, Granddad of The Boondocks does/threatens this often...Seeing his Indiana Jones-esque skills with a belt, you can't blame Riley for freaking and running like hell.
- The Simpsons:
- Grampa Simpson tries and fails this trope in "War of the Simpsons".
Grampa: You want me to take off my belt?
Grampa: All right, I'll show you. [pants fall down] Doggone it!
- This elicits Nelson's first ever "ha-ha!"
- In "Bart the Genius", Homer can be briefly seen loosening his belt at his meeting with Principal Skinner about Bart's bad behavior. No damage is done.
- In "Pranksta Rap", Bart returns home from sneaking out to a rap concert his parents didn't want him to go to. He looks in the window and sees them angry that he disobeyed them, with Homer taking off his belt and saying Bart's going to be like "N.W.A.: Not Without Asswelts". This prompts Bart to fake his own kidnapping.