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 active roles undertaken by males of the species. This, however, 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.
Further, men are often portrayed as not being capable of anything BUT physical force to make their points
. Often despite the target audience, 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 the Call Reception Area
or having Missed the Call
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.
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Every man is expected to have sex. No exceptions.
- 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.
- The Bro Code: Men can deal with anything other than getting involved in each others' love lives.
- Bros Before Hoes: Men are more reliable friends, so looking out for each other is paramount.
- Dad the Veteran: Dad fought in the war.
- Disappeared Dad: Dad is never around. He's either dead or has better things to do (in his opinion).
- Double Standards: Often a result of this Super Trope.
- 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.
- Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Men are physically more capable, so their method of fighting is melee, while women use magic or projectiles.
- Extra Y Extra Violent: A Y chromosome is supposedly linked to aggression, so an extra one leads to extra aggression (naturally, women are exempt).
- 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.
- Grumpy Old Man: The way fiction would tell it, men get more antagonistic as they grow older.
- Heir Club for Men: Boys are the only worthy heirs. Girls don't count, and are often expendable.
- Heroic Build: Male superheroes are muscular and impressive while females are fit, dexterous and buxom.
- Hollywood Action Hero: Almost always male to reinforce this trope.
- Jerk Jock: The athletic bully, under the impression that athletically dominant men are also assholes. Usually paired with the Alpha Bitch.
- Macho Masochism: When a man resorts to hurting himself just to prove he's tough.
- 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.
- Masculine Lines, Feminine Curves: Men are often drawn with rigid straight lines to demonstrate strength, while women are drawn with delicate, flexible curves.
- Masculinity Tropes: The below tropes are ways in which masculinity is associated with being a Badass.
- 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.
- Badass Mustache: Not quite as potent as a beard, but often a more distinguished form of masculine badassery.
- Beard of Barbarism: Rugged, unkempt beards are often used to symbolize wild, untamed barbarian brutes.
- Carpet of Virility: A hairy chest is a sign of a man's potency, power, and fertility.
- Good Ol' Boy: An old-fashioned, conservative male. May fully embrace and defend gender roles.
- Grease Monkey: Mechanical work is often seen as "mens'" expertise.
- Hunk: A man who is sexy because of his masculinity.
- Husky Russkie: Russian men are often portrayed as husky, hairy, big guys.
- Manly Gay: An aversion of Camp Gay. These men are manly, but love men.
- Macho Camp: Over-the-top, exaggerated manliness. Often portrayed as a gay stereotype.
- Seme: The "man" in a Yaoi relationship. Is usually dominant, powerful, successful, and controlling.
- Straight Gay: A gay man who behaves like a guy, and thus, would never be considered gay unless demonstrated or stated.
- Mountain Man: A rugged man of the wilderness.
- 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.
- Rated M for Manly: A plot happening which just oozes masculinity, in the form of power fantasy, violence, and badassery.
- Stout Strength: Muscle and girth going hand-in-hand to demonstrate power.
- Warrior Prince: The default character type in ye olden fairy tales.
- World's Strongest Man: The personification of this trope.
- Men Act, Women Are: Men accomplish everything within the setting; women are either scenery or support.
- Men Are Uncultured: Since men are "tougher" and more suited for action and violence, they don't know the first thing about civility.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 practice of men looking after the well-being of a woman, and not the other way around.
- The Patriarch: The powerful, stern head of a family or clan.
- Pink Girl, Blue Boy: A feminine girl is matched up with a masculine boy.
- Real Men X: These are the traits of a Stereotypical "Real Man", with those who lack these traits being rejected.
- 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 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.
- Women Prefer Strong Men: The implication that women are always attracted to shows of power and dominance—especially physical force and musculature.
Aversions, and subversions
- 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.
- Househusband: A man who does the housekeeping while his wife is the breadwinner. Considered atypical of gender roles.
- In Touch with His Feminine Side: Depending on how many feminine traits he exhibits, a male character can completely subvert this trope.
- 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 subvert 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 actually heterosexual.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: When a more masculine, tough, or butch girl is matched up with a more feminine guy for contrast.
- Mr Seahorse: A man carries a child the way women do, encountering many of the same delicate problems and issues.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Pink, the color associated with girls and femininity, is worn by a dude who's cool with it.
- Uke: This man is the more feminine and submissive lover in a gay relationship.
- More Deadly Than The Male: Because women are typically portrayed as more delicate or weak, situations where men are the weaker sex are considered odd or quaint.
- Non-Action Guy: A man who is not combat, action, or adventure adept. Common in Real Life, considered extremely odd for fiction.
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, however, 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. Considered unusual for pragmatic, stoic and tough males.
- Manly Tears: Men crying or showing tears. However, these men are usually not shown as emotional broken or destraught, and only as a moment of "weakness" or irrationality.
- 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.
- Gentleman and a Scholar: A man who is both educated and adept in culture. May be a Non-Action Guy, but still 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.
- Noble Male, Roguish Male: A contrast between a more socially-adept and proper man, and a rebellious, roguish outsider. Typically compared for toughness.
- Non-Action Snarker: A man who is not physical tough, but compensates for it in abrasive or cynical attitude.
- Prince Charming: A dashing, handsome man who arrives to romance and/or rescue a waiting female.
- 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 by playing this trope straight and subverting it.
- Teeny Weenie: A man's worth is measured by the size of his genitalia.
- Testosterone Poisoning: Manliness to the extreme.
- Would Hit a Girl: Hitting a female is considered reprehensible, no matter the reason. But not hitting a guy. This character (almost Always Male) 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Camp Gay: An effeminate man who is attracted to men. Can have Unfortunate Implications which insist that men who don't want women are "unmanly".
- Sissy Villain: A villain who is campy, effeminate, and evil. The association can imply that those traits go hand-in-hand.
- Effeminate Misogynistic Guy: A misogynist who hates women despite displaying the stereotypical characteristics of one. Perhaps to show that he can do it "better".
- Dominatrix: A woman dominates a man, but solely for the sexual fetish.
- Eunuchs Are Evil: A man missing his genitalia who is portayed as evil. The association can imply that those traits go hand-in-hand.
- Henpecked Husband: A husband who is nagged, abused, or derided by his wife. Implies that the man is either weak-willed, or that his wife is just irrational or bitter. Or both.
- Bumbling Dad: A man is portrayed as incompetent at a domestic task like raising children.
- Lazy Husband: A man is portrayed as a do-nothing while his wife does all of the work both in home and out.
- Lady Killer In Love: Being a Casanova comes at odds with finding a One True Love. Again, carries the connotations that a sexually-aggressive man is unused to more delicate or romantic feelings.
- 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.
- Fat Slob: A man who is uncultured, slovenly, and overweight.
- Jaded Washout: His glory days have passed long ago, and he cannot adjust to a new life.
- Lazy Husband: A man is portrayed as a do-nothing while his wife does all of the work both in home and out.
- NEET: A college-aged male who is portrayed as a Butt Monkey, due to being a do-nothing layabout with no ambitions.
- Useless Boyfriend: A man does nothing to assist in day-to-day life with his far more pragmatic and forward-thinking girlfriend.
- Unlucky Everydude: An Everyman who does not know his way with women, 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 becomes a powerful supernatural woman. However, she usually becomes subservient to him.
- Momma's Boy: A man who is either subservient or extremely protective of his mother.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: No matter how evil he becomes, he still cares for the woman who nurtured him.
- My Beloved Smother: A sonwho is nagged, abused, or derided by his mother. Implies that the man is either weak-willed, or that his mother is just irrational or bitter. Or both.
- 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.