"The greatest joy for a man is to defeat his enemies, to drive them before him, to take from them all they possess, to see those they love in tears, to ride their horses, and to hold their wives and daughters in his arms."
An Omnipresent Super Trope
and Sister Trope
to Women Are Delicate
. It can be assumed to exist in every form of media unless otherwise stated. For a number of reasons, fiction tends to treat men as the stronger, hardier, more reliable, and more resilient of the two genders. In most forms of human society, the assumption is that women are the more delicate of the sexes or are more suited for nurturing than the more aggressive roles undertaken by males of the species. This creates the assumption that every
man is a natural Badass
, or should
be. This may be because Most Writers Are Male
, or the implication that Men Act, Women Are
has two forms:
- Unilateral: Men are naturally tough, strong, competent, capable, aggressive, stubborn, blunt, or dominant.
- Bilateral: Men are stronger, tougher, or more blunt, dominant or aggressive than women and/or "inferior" men. In this form, even if a man shows more passive, submissive, or weaker qualities, he either shows less of them than his female peers, there is a weaker man to juxtapose him (unless he is the weaker man), or he compensates for it in some other area.
Regardless, a man being in a dominant, physical role is seen as natural while a woman in the same role is treated as exceptional
. Even if a woman does
take on a physical role, there still exist tropes which portray her as less tough than her male counterparts such as Guys Smash, Girls Shoot
However, the Double Standard
has a negative effect for men, too. Men are often treated as the expendable gender
or the only ones capable of being abusive
. Further, because the toughness bar is raised for men, a Non-Action Guy
will be more harshly criticized than a female counterpart. He will also have to take greater risks and perfom more physical forms of combat. In Guys Smash, Girls Shoot
, he'd better
be the one smashing even if he's more skilled at shooting.
Further, men are often portrayed as not being capable of anything BUT physical force to make their points
. Often despite the target audience being themselves male, guys are portrayed as dumb, childlike, blunt instruments
who can't do anything right if it involves becoming "domesticated"
. When that happens, a former Badass
will turn into a Jaded Washout
, and possibly a Fat Slob
. His only means of domestic problem-solving will involve Percussive Maintenance
or Tim Taylor Technology
with marginal degrees of success. When it comes to their own children, domesticated men will often be bumbling wrecks
, over-compensating in aggression
, or completely disinterested altogether
. In short, these domesticated men are portrayed as having something "wrong" with them, due to being removed from fields of violence, power, or non-domestic achievement.
Also, please keep in mind that the word chosen to represent this trope was "tough". In addition to physical force or power, "tough" also means resilient, stubborn, slow to change, dense, and inflexible, which are also ways men are stereotyped.
No Examples Please.
This should be an index of tropes, and nothing else.
- Accidental Pornomancer: As this trope involves Questionable Consent, it is usually male because it's less unfortunate that way.
- Action Dad: A Badass who isn't slowed down by fatherhood.
- A Day in Her Apron: A guy struggles to do womanly chores around the house.
- All Amazons Want Hercules: No matter how strong she is, she always wants a stronger man.
- All Men Are Rapists: A very unfortunate and untrue extreme of this trope. Because men are so tough, they're always the sexual aggressors
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Every man is expected to have sex. No exceptions.
- A Man Is Always Eager: Ready for sex any day, any night, during tidal wave, in the midst of a plague of locusts, etc.
- Badass Baritone: A deeper voice makes a man sound more powerful.
- Badass Beard: A beard makes a man appear tough and rugged.
- Badass Grandpa: Age only makes men tougher (and the experience that comes with the years helps a lot).
- Badass Mustache: Not quite as potent as a beard, but often a more distinguished form of masculine badassery.
- Barbaric Bully: Big, butch, and uncivilized bully that typically uses violence as his first response to everything. Almost Always Male and usually Wouldn't Hit a Girl, because that would look weak.
- Bastard Boyfriend: He mistreats his fragile girlfriend, but it's played for the titillation of a female audience.
- Beard of Barbarism: Rugged, unkempt beards are often used to symbolize wild, untamed barbarian brutes.
- Behind Every Great Man: A great man has a woman behind him to assist his greatness.
- Best Her to Bed Her: She's strong and he has to be stronger to win her
- Bigger Is Better in Bed: The "biggest" man is always the most talented lover. Implies that the size of a phallus is a measurement of sexual prowess.
- Boyfriend Bluff: A man pretends to be a girl's boyfriend to protect her from predators.
- Bros Before Hoes: Men are more reliable friends, so looking out for each other is paramount.
- The Bro Code: Men can deal with anything other than getting involved in each others' love lives.
- The Casanova: Getting the ladies is his passion and mission.
- Carpet of Virility: A hairy chest is a sign of a man's potency, power, and fertility (justified inasmuch as the testosterone surge which comes with puberty drives these changes also).
- Dad the Veteran: Dad fought in the war.
- Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Child raising is domestic and so men suck at it. They're more likely to be Walking the Earth For Great Justice or some other more active pursuit
- Declaration of Protection: A man vowing to protect a woman.
- Decoy Damsel: A woman pretends to be a Damsel in Distress to trap the hero.
- Disappeared Dad: Dad is never around. He's either dead or has better things to do (in his opinion).
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Men are tougher, so they're expected to take abuse.
- Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: A Man Is Always Eager, so raping one is often seen as impossible because they'd never turn down the chance to get laid. Not true.
- Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male: Male-on-male rape is often either seen as funny or something deserved.
- The Dulcinea Effect: A man instinctively acts to protect a woman, even a complete stranger.
- Dumb Muscle: Fiction demands that the stronger a man is, the dumber he must be as a Necessary Drawback.
- Extra Y Extra Violent: A Y chromosome is supposedly linked to aggression, so an extra one leads to extra aggression (naturally, women are exempt).
- Favors for the Sexy: Men will do anything to get laid.
- Females Are More Innocent: Women are incapable of doing anything wrong or harmful unless influenced by a man.
- Female Angel, Male Demon: Angels are beautiful, kind, and merciful, and thus women. Demons are hideous, cruel, and aggressive, and thus men.
- Female Feline, Male Mutt: Women are the delicate and graceful cats while men are the tougher and lumbering dogs.
- Galley Slave: The inverse of Mandatory Motherhood. When a man is enslaved to put his power to use. Can apply to women, but is much less frequent.
- Glorified Sperm Donor: He hit it and quit it. This serves the purpose of demonstrating how desirable his "tough genes" are without any implications of domestication.
- Good Ol' Boy: An old-fashioned, conservative male. May fully embrace and defend gender roles.
- Grease Monkey: Mechanical work is often seen as "men's" expertise.
- Grumpy Old Man: The way fiction would tell it, men get more antagonistic as they grow older.
- Guys Are Slobs: Guys have no manners because they are tough instead of delicate.
- Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Men are physically more capable, so their method of fighting is melee, while women use magic or projectiles.
- Heir Club for Men: In which boys are the only worthy heirs, while girls don't count and are often expendable.
- He-Man Woman Hater: A man who hates women and may use his toughness to do them harm.
- Heroic Build: Male superheroes are muscular and impressive while females are fit, dexterous and buxom.
- Hero's Muse: The hero goes off on a journey and is inspired by a woman.
- High Heel-Face Turn: Women are more likely than men to make a Heel-Face Turn because of their innate innocence.
- Hollywood Action Hero: Almost always male to reinforce this trope.
- Honey Trap: A woman uses her feminine delicacy (real or feigned) to seduce or endear a man for sinister purposes. It works because this isn't the sort of fighting a tough manly man excels at.
- Hunk: A man who is sexy because of his masculinity.
- Husky Russkie: Russian men are often portrayed as husky, hairy, manly men.
- I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: In which men can only think with their pants, so women naturally control them.
- I Have Your Wife: A woman is kidnapped to motivate a man (it can be inverted, but that is far less common). At least in modern Western culture it's the one person he's publicly sworn to give a damn about above all others, so his foe's choice is well made (or sometimes not, as the case may be).
- I'm a Man, I Can't Help It: In which A Man Is Always Eager, and should be excused for any dumb decision.
- I Want to Be a Real Man: A man who lacks any of the any stereotypical" manly" traits wants them in order to become a "real man".
- Jerk Jock: The athletic bully, under the impression that athletically dominant men are also assholes. Usually paired with the Alpha Bitch.
- Jock Dad, Nerd Son: An athletic or competitive dad has an academic or geeky son as a Foil.
- Kavorka Man: Horrible looks do not impede him from getting around.
- Kid A Nova: A seductive boy.
- Knight in Shining Armor: An elegant or saintly knight comes to a lady's aid.
- The Ladys Favor: The favor of a special or noble lady is carried by a man during a difficult task.
- Lady and Knight: A noble or special woman has a stalwart knight to accompany and defend her.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: An important character is another important character's dad. He might be unsure about this or be told by his child instead.
- Macho Masochism: When a man resorts to hurting himself just to prove he's tough.
- Manly Gay: An aversion of Camp Gay. These men are manly and love men.
- Macho Camp: Over-the-top, exaggerated manliness. Often portrayed as a gay stereotype.
- Masculine Lines, Feminine Curves: Men are often drawn with rigid straight lines to demonstrate strength, while women are drawn with delicate, flexible curves.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: He's grounded, but boring. She's flighty, whimsical and Closer to Earth, and is on a mission to spice up his life.
- Masculinity Tropes: A list of tropes in which masculinity is associated with being a Badass.
- Men Act, Women Are: Men accomplish everything within the setting; women are either scenery or support.
- Men Are Better Than Women: Women are ineffectual, dumb and weak, while men are just better at everything because they're physically tougher and mentally stronger.
- Men Can't Keep House: Guys don't know the first thing about keeping a domicile.
- Men Don't Cry: Only in the harshest of situations is crying acceptable.
- Men Are the Expendable Gender: Because men are tougher and "generic", they take the hits for the delicate, valuable women.
- Men Are Generic, Women Are Special: A man in a fictional role needs some other trait to prove himself worthy of being in that role in some way. For women, merely being female itself is treated as special.
- Men Are Strong, Women Are Pretty: In which men are expected to demonstrate their toughness, while women are expected to demonstrate gentleness and delicateness in the form of beauty.
- Men Are Uncultured: Since men are "tougher" and more suited for action and violence, they don't know the first thing about civility.
- Men Use Violence, Women Use Communication: Men struggle to solve any problem without violence, while women use savvy and communication.
- Most Gamers Are Male: Men are the usual demographic when one thinks of "gamers", owing partly to their competitive nature, physical demands, and violent and/or sexual content.
- Mother Nature, Father Science: Nature is thought of as maternal and emotional, while science is thought of as paternal and cold.
- Mountain Man: A rugged man of the wilderness.
- My Dad Can Beat Up Your Dad: Two children (often both boys, not surprisingly) measure each other up by how tough their dads are.
- No Guy Wants to Be Chased: Men are supposed to pursue sex from women, not the other way around.
- No True Scotsman: There are the traits Stereotypical of the "Real Man". Those who lack these traits are rejected.
- No Woman's Land: Every place outside of the main setting treats women deplorably, so it's the protagonist's job (mostly male) to save them.
- Officer and a Gentleman: The pinnacle of a man of service; a man who is both adept in military and societal affairs.
- Old-School Chivalry: The old-fashioned (perhaps seen as outdated) practice of a gentleman looking after the well-being of a lady.
- Overprotective Dad: The usual attitude of fathers towards their daughters is fierce and over-reacting aggression towards anyone who as much as appears to be getting friendly with her.
- Pale Females, Dark Males: Men are shaded darker to demonstrate greater power/threat.
- Parenting the Husband: A woman struggles to keep after her child-like husband.
- The Patriarch: The powerful, stern head of a family or clan.
- Pec Flex: Moving pec muscles used to demonstrate physical power.
- Perma Stubble: An unkempt look used to show ruggedness, but not to the extend of a full-on beard.
- Pervert Dad: All Men Are Perverts. Becoming a father does not stop it.
- Pink Girl, Blue Boy: A feminine girl is matched up with a masculine boy.
- Pink Is for Sissies: A man refuses to wear pink because it's the color girls usually wear.
- The Pornomancer: He can go from zero to bed in sixty seconds.
- Rated M for Manly: A plot which oozes masculinity, in the form of violence, badassery and sexual conquest.
- Real Men Can Hunt: Real men kill things (proving their strength and dominance) that don't want to die.
- Real Men Hate Affection: Real men only care about logic, competition, and strength, with no use for softer emotions.
- Real Men Eat Meat: Real men eat dead animals, either for protein, or to become the dominant predator.
- Real Men Get Shot: Real men take a bullet to prove their bravery. They survive and prove their toughness.
- A Real Man Is a Killer: A real man can take life and suffer few repercussions.
- Real Men Dont Cry: Real men do not show their weaknesses or break down.
- Real Men Hate Sugar: Real men do not eat sweet or pleasant foods, to prove their toughness.
- Stay in the Kitchen: A woman is forced to avoid danger by men because she's a woman.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: A man is the more resilient and stoic partner; the woman is energetic and flighty.
- Seme: The "man" in a Yaoi relationship is usually dominant, powerful, successful, and controlling.
- Sink or Swim Fatherhood: Dad doesn't know the first thing about being a father, so he resorts to toughness tests.
- Standard '50s Father: The wise, employed, masculine father of an ideal 1950s setting.
- Stout Strength: Muscle and girth going hand-in-hand to demonstrate power.
- Straight Gay: A gay man who behaves like a straight man, and thus, would never be considered gay unless demonstrated or stated.
- Stuffed into the Fridge: A woman is brutally killed off in order to provide conflict or motivation for a man.
- Supernatural Proof Father: In a Haunted House setting, the father is usually the most "stable", sceptical, and rational member of the family—to the point of blatantly ignoring the supernatural events around him. Contrast the Haunted Heroine.
- Talented Princess, Regular Guy: This trope tends to team up a talented "princess" with a male character who is meant to be an Audience Surrogate, due to his genericness.
- Team Dad: The disciplinarian and strategist of a team, as opposed to the gentle and insightful Team Mom.
- Tell Me About My Father: Children want to know more about the Disappeared Dad. This is especially the case with sons, who typically see their father as The Paragon of masculinity and want to emulate him.
- Testes Test: If anything bad has happened to him, a man will check to make sure his scrotum (the essence of his manhood) is still intact.
- There Are No Girls on the Internet: Because of the wild, savage and blunt nature of the internet, women are thought to be a rarity.
- The Three Faces of Adam: Men are categorized as symbols of power: either a hunter, a lord, or a wise prophet.
- Tim Taylor Technology: A man thinks MORE POWER is the solution to everything.
- The Unfair Sex: Exceptions are made for women, under the assumption that it's safer or more fair for them, that wouldn't be made for men.
- Warrior Prince: A royal man who is also physically powerful.
- Wet Blanket Wife: The Hero has awesome, or dangerous, things to do but his Love Interest pleads or nags him not to do it. Her reasons may be valid but they're not conducive to the plot.
- White Male Lead: The most common Protagonist template in Western media, as a consequence of men being considered the generic "default". It may also be a WASP. It falls under the "men are dominant" aspect of this trope. Part of the dominant/centrist attitudes toward men comes from how normalized it is to see them as the center of a story or the person who drives a story. White Male Lead specifically does that, and has become so normalized that trying to get rid of it creates hostility and backlash
- Women Are Wiser: Men are merely blunt instruments, while women do all the thinking.
- Women Prefer Strong Men: The implication that women are always attracted to shows of power and dominance—especially physical force and musculature.
- World of Muscle Men: A trope that almost always has a Double Standard where every man is heavily muscled but the same never applies to women.
- World's Strongest Man: This trope taken Up to Eleven. While all men are tough, this one is the toughest of the lot!
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: A woman feigns injury or weakness to frame someone else (typically a man). As the page explains, "If you saw a wounded gazelle and a lion in a clearing, who would you believe?" Because men are tough and brutish, they are typically seen as the lion.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Because he's tough and she's delicate, a real man refuses to hit a woman, no matter the reason.
Aversions, inversions and subversions
- Action Girlfriend: A girlfriend who is more badass than her boyfriend.
- Agent Peacock: When an effeminate man is also an Action Guy.
- Bishounen: When a man is just as beautiful as most women.
- Bromance: When men avert Real Men Hate Affection, and show an emotional side toward their fellow man. But not in THAT way.
- Camp Straight: When an effeminate man, typically an example of Camp Gay stereotypes, is heterosexual.
- Distressed Dude: A man needs rescuing—a role that women usually play in fiction.
- Gender Is No Object: A true aversion of this trope. For example, a boy who is just as much a Fashionista in a movie/show about clothes. This trope becomes less of an aversion in media where toughness is a virtue, such as a Fighting Series, because of the different styles mentioned above.
- Househusband: A man who does the housekeeping while his wife is the breadwinner. This is considered atypical of gender roles.
- In Touch with His Feminine Side: A man gets in touch with his inner delicateness. Depending on how many feminine traits he posses, he could range from a Gentle Giant, Bruiser with a Soft Center, an Emotional Bruiser, a Warrior Poet and other types.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: When a more masculine, tough, or butch girl is matched up with a more feminine guy for contrast.
- Mistress and Servant Boy: A woman who exudes power, prestige, or professionalism over a submissive male servant.
- More Deadly Than The Male: Because women are typically portrayed as more delicate or weak, situations where men are the dangerous sex are considered odd, quaint, or scary.
- Mr Seahorse: A man carries a child the way women do, encountering many of the same delicate problems and issues.
- Non-Action Guy: A man who is not combat, action, or adventure adept. It's common in Real Life but considered odd for fiction.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Pink, the color associated with girls and femininity, is worn by a dude whose cool with it. The point is that he is so innately manly that he can pull off stuff like this without looking effeminate as a result.
- Uke: This man is the more feminine and submissive lover in a gay relationship.
- Weakness Turns Her On: A woman is attracted to men who are weaker than herself.
Zig-zagged (neither played straight nor averted)
Tropes in this section tend to showcase a man with both tough qualities and more delicate ones, or two or more characters with juxtaposing characteristics.
- Action Hero Babysitter: A man is cast in the nurturing role of caretaker, but using tough, badass skills to get the job done. Played for Laughs.
- Beard of Sorrow: A manly way of showing emotions, usually used to show that he's lost touch with society and let his appearance slide.
- Bromantic Foil: A raunchy, headstrong, and often perverted male friend or companion which makes another male (usually the Protagonist) look well-adjusted or normal by comparison.
- Casanova Wannabe: A man who believes he's a ladies man, but has substantial flaws in his approach.
- Cuckold: A man whose woman is having sex with another person(s). The "Bull" (her lover) is almost always another man because otherwise the effect is lessened. Her infidelity is played for the humiliation and emasculation of the cuckolded man, the sexual depravity of the wife, and to portray the Bulls as "superior" men. The scenario is used for the titillation of the audience. The cultural implications is that any man who fails to satisfy his wife, and "tame" her, is less of a man while the men that succeed are "real" men.
- Emotional Bruiser: A badass who fights with his emotions on his sleeve. It's considered unusual for pragmatic, stoic and tough males.
- Gentleman and a Scholar: A man who is both educated and adept in culture. He may be a Non-Action Guy, but he is also rational, stable, and elegant.
- Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: A man reminds everyone that he is not homosexual, because that would be "terrible".
- I Was Beaten by a Girl: Being beaten by a girl is considered insulting for a tough guy.
- Manly Tears: Men crying or showing tears. However, these men are usually not shown as emotional broken or distraught, and only as a moment of "weakness" or irrationality.
- Noble Male, Roguish Male: A contrast between a more socially-adept and proper man, and a rebellious, roguish outsider. The idea is to compare two models of masculinity.
- Non-Action Snarker: A man who is not physical tough, but compensates for it in abrasive or cynical attitude.
- Papa Wolf: A man who fights to defend his younger charges or children. Usually the go-to portrayal for a fatherly role in an action setting.
- Prince Charming: A dashing, handsome man who arrives to romance and/or rescue a waiting female.
- Prince Charming Wannabe: He's not as dashing/handsome as he believes. The woman may scoff at his rescue.
- Prince Charmless: A prince that has no tact, social skills, or charms whatsoever.
- Real Men Cook: Manliness is paramount to being able to use fire to prepare food. Cooking is is usually associated with feminine traits, but in this case, the ability to master such a skill is considered manly. (For example: in fiction, maids and housewives can cook, but a Master Chef is usually male.)
- Samus is a Girl: A tough and badass character appears and, to everyone's shock, reveals that they are a girl.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Two men that contrast each other in regards to toughness.
- Teeny Weenie: A man's worth is measured by the size of his genitalia.
- Testosterone Poisoning: Parodies of manliness meant to draw laughs instead of awe.
- Would Hit a Girl: Hitting a female is considered reprehensible, no matter the reason, but not hitting a guy. This character would hit both.
Tropes in this section are tangentially related to this trope, in that they likely would not exist if this trope was not the default assumption. These tropes are typically "exceptions" to this trope—but with some sort of baggage that examines the negative consequences of men failing to be tough, or the benefits of measuring women that have the same capability of men. However, the relation has become woven with so many societal complexities that they cannot directly be considered subtropes or aversions.
- All Women Are Doms All Men Are Subs: Women are typically portrayed as dominatrices in fiction, because it's considered less uncomfortable than a man dominating a woman.
- Badass Family: Similar to Battle Couple, but with every member of the family being just as awesome.
- Badass Gay: With the assumption that homosexuality is weak and unmanly, a homosexual character that is unquestionably a Badass is a significant aversion.
- Bastard Girlfriend: An abusive, creepy, or violent woman is played for fetish.
- Battle Couple: In heterosexual relationships, having both a man and woman that are tough is treated as remarkable. In a homosexual relationship, it overlaps with Badass Gay.
- Bumbling Dad: A man is portrayed as incompetent at a domestic task like raising children.
- Camp Gay: An effeminate man who is attracted to men.
- Dogged Nice Guy: A Nice Guy who is interested in a female companionship, but is stuck in the Friend Zone.
- Dominatrix: A woman dominates a man, but solely for the sexual fetish.
- Effeminate Misogynistic Guy: A misogynist who hates women despite displaying the stereotypical characteristics of one. Perhaps to show that he can do it "better".
- Eunuchs Are Evil: A man missing his genitalia who is portrayed as evil. The association can imply that those traits go hand-in-hand.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: No matter how evil he becomes, he still cares for the woman who nurtured him.
- Fat Slob: A man who is uncultured, slovenly, and overweight.
- Henpecked Husband: A husband who is nagged, abused, or derided by his wife. It implies that the man is weak-willed, and/or that his wife is irrational or bitter.
- Jaded Washout: His glory days have passed long ago, and he cannot adjust to a new life.
- Ladykiller in Love: Being a Casanova comes at odds with finding a One True Love. Again, it carries the connotations that a sexually-aggressive man is unused to more delicate or romantic feelings.
- Lazy Husband: A man is portrayed as a do-nothing while his wife does all of the work both in home and out.
- The Slacker: Men in a domestic or social setting are shown as do-nothing layabouts. Has become a more reoccurring trope in modern fiction, as the Everyman has gained popularity.
- Unlucky Everydude: An Everyman who does not know his way with women and generally incompetent in other areas. It's usually implying that this is the typical male condition. While it demonstrates a discomfort with women which is far from the idealized manly man, the "unlucky" portion also implies that this is a bad thing.
- Magical Girlfriend: A man who is normal or unremarkable meets a powerful supernatural woman. She may or may not become subservient to him.
- Momma's Boy: A man who is either subservient or extremely protective of his mother.
- My Beloved Smother: A son who is nagged, abused, or derided by his mother. It's implies that the man is weak-willed, and/or that his mother is irrational or bitter.
- NEET: A college-aged male who is portrayed as a Butt Monkey, due to being a do-nothing layabout with no ambitions.
- Sissy Villain: A villain who is campy, effeminate, and evil. The association can imply that those traits go hand-in-hand.
- Straw Misogynist: An extreme misogynist that goes way over the top in bashing women or femininity. Used to push the point that misogyny is really, really bad, but lacks any sort of ambiguity.
- Unmanly Secret: A man who strives to be manly has a secret which reveals him to be In Touch with His Feminine Side.
- Useless Boyfriend: A man does nothing to assist in day-to-day life with his far more pragmatic and forward-thinking girlfriend.