Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male

aka: Abuse Is Okay When It Is Female On Male
Chris: Barb eventually beats up enough people that one of them calls her “babe,” so she gets to slowly pick up a gun and shoot him six times while he stands there patiently waiting for her to do so.
Matt: And it all ends with a joke about how she broke a nail. This movie.
Chris: It’s very empowering.
Chris Sims and Matt Wilson on Barb Wire

Female-on-male violence is viewed as more acceptable in fiction than male-on-female violence. Often, a woman using physical violence on a man will be Played for Laughs; sometimes it will be Disproportionate Retribution. The key is that in most works where this trope is in effect, it would be completely impossible to imagine the same violent situation play out with the participants' genders reversed without a large dose of drama getting added into the mix. The basic Double Standard at work in this trope is sexist on both sides: no woman is strong enough to harm a man, so any man weak enough to be harmed by a woman isn't a real man, and that's funny; that way, also, you get Amusing Injuries instead of broken bones and cuts.

But don't think that people who believe that a woman can harm a man don't believe in this trope, oh no. For those people, there is the belief that any man who is being abused by a woman must have done something to deserve it, because Females Are More Innocent and Women Are Wiser, so they would never resort to using violence against another living thing unless absolutely necessary.

The trouble is that because of stereotypes and double standards like these, often men don't fight back for reasons including that they are either afraid of hurting the woman, or they are afraid that if they fight back, they will be considered the aggressor by the authorities despite any retaliation being in self-defence note .

Note that this trope does not describe situations where violence is genuinely adequately justified, such as Wonder Woman attacking Lex Luther in defense of Metropolis. Nor does it apply in situations where universal humorous abuse is delivered to the Butt Monkey or The Chew Toy by both men and women for equally flimsy reasons — that is just Comedic Sociopathy. Obviously, it likewise doesn't apply in situations where female-on-male violence is treated as a serious subject. An exception to either case is when one or more of the female characters' involved in dealing the violence actively justify their behavior with this trope, whether out loud or within the privacy of their mind.

Related to All Abusers Are Male, All Women Are Doms All Men Are Subs, Domestic Abuse, Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male, Men Are the Expendable Gender, and Stalking Is Funny If It Is Female After Male. Belligerent Sexual Tension often has elements of this trope. Compare/Contrast Would Hit a Girl. A very similar anime/manga trope that does not always include abuse, but typically often will involve a woman violently beating a man and is played for comedy is Tsundere. The female half of this trope is very often a Jerk Sue.


Domestic abuse is a horrible experience to go through, and all too often the victims are shamed into silence by their attackers. If this is you, you need not be afraid. There are people who can and will help you.
  • Battered Men is a male-specific resource for men who are abused.

And Now You Know.

Alternative Title(s):

Abuse Is Okay When Its Female On Male, Abuse Is Okay When It Is Female On Male, Other