When you put everyone else first you end up last.
If the character is responsible and pacifistic it will lead to Beware the Nice Ones
. Selflessness, on the other hand, is a flaw that will be punished, either by the other characters, the writers or both. This is usually portrayed as a woman being domestic (either by choice or society's expectation), maternal or just being kind-hearted. Maybe the good girl is picked on just because she is an easy target (like when she is the poor Designated Victim
), or perhaps it is the writers' way of avoiding making her a Mary Sue
Her weakness might be her lack of individuality, having no thoughts besides how a woman's place is in the home (or interests that aren't domestic) and how she should stand by the man in her life. Or she's a woman who seems to have had nothing to do with her life so she figures that the one thing she can be good at is raising a child, so that's what she'll do, because how hard can it be?
It might be that the dependent wife or girlfriend is betrayed
and abandoned or the strong independent woman
succeeds where the sweetheart fails. She might grow into a stronger person and even have a loving, healthy relationship by the end of the story, but don't count on it. Basically the good girl image
will be used as an excuse to be cold, cowardly or clingy. Subject to Unfortunate Implications
, as if to suggest that it's true that Real Women Never Wear Dresses
or Nice Guys Finish Last
. Contrast the Yamato Nadeshiko
and the sit-com Housewife
(who are domestic but strong) as well as the Mama Bear
(who is strong and maternal) and The Chick
(who is strong but kind-hearted). Compare No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
, Being Good Sucks
, Dogged Nice Guy
, Break the Cutie
, and The Ingenue
Anime and Manga
- Once Nana “Hachi” Komatsu decides that she's going to be more mature and start being friends with guys she meets, she begins a serious relationship with Shoji, whom she decides to follow to Tokyo. When she gets there she wants to keep house for him “like a wife”, but after a while he starts cheating on her and leaves her for the other woman. Things just go down hill for her after that.
- Averted by Hungary and Liechtenstein from Hetalia. The first went through a Girliness Upgrade, but her fighting skills did NOT decrease as Prussia can attest. The second is softspoken and quiet, but she handles her brother Switzerland's Hair-Trigger Temper very calmly.
- Stay-at-home-mom Linda Hanson from Premonition makes the decision to love her husband so he will change his mind about cheating on her.
- Mary Jane Watson from the Spider-Man films goes from being the girl with the abusive, alcoholic father to being the love interest who is happy to rely on her hero to rescue her again and again.
- Enchanted's Giselle is a subversion, as she is a naïve damsel who wants to do Robert's housework (with the aid of adorable critters like roaches and rats). Both Robert and Prince Edward want to protect her, but in the end she's the one who saves Robert when he's in danger.
- Julia Stiles's character is an inversion in Mona Lisa Smile when she stood up for her decision to be a housewife to Julia Roberts's character saying, “You're the one who said I could do anything I wanted. This is what I want.”
- Emily of Definitely, Maybe purposely broke her boyfriend's heart to let him go. Ever since then she feels pretty lost, especially when it comes to relationships. She is the one recognized by Maya as the girl's mother because Maya saw the affection that makes her feel better when she's upset, which is all it takes to make her a great mom according to Maya.
- The Stepford Wives has a whole community of women who are their husband's patient, subservient and impossibly beautiful robot mistresses.
- The Dear America book A Coal Miner's Bride: The Diary of Anetka Kaminska says that she is trying to be a patient and loving wife and mother but her husband doesn't appreciate anything she does.
- In Felicity Learns A Lesson of the American Girls Collection, all any female cares for is learning how to serve tea and do stitchery, except the protagonist, who would like to attend college to study Greek, Latin, philosophy and geography, just as the young gentlemen do.
- First Love And Forever, written by Anita Stansfield, is about Emily Hall, who tries to be the best possible wife and mother she could be, but for all her effort her husband makes her feel worthless. It gets worse for her before it gets better.
- Smallville's Lana Lang can be a little too faithful of a girlfriend. Seen best in Nicodemus when Lana tells Whitney that she feels like she's “locked in this relationship out of guilt.” A little later she talks to Lex referring to her usual self as an insecure little girl. She's also a big contrast to the self reliant Lois Lane who will end up with Clark.
- In Kyle XY there's Amanda Bloom, who ended her first relationship of the series when she learned that he had cheated on her. She says that she ends her relationship with Kyle, not because he kissed Jessi, but because she can't be with him when she's losing him to someone else.