"I don't enjoy killing women. Men — I can waste them all the live long."
— Negan, The Walking Dead
"To put it simply: men are neither supposed nor allowed to be dependent. They are expected to take care of others and themselves. And when they cannot or will not do it, then the assumption at the heart of the culture is that they are somehow less than men and therefore unworthy of help. An irony asserts itself: by being in need of help, men forfeit the right to it."A Double Standard in media whereby women automatically have the audience's sympathy and men don't. Comes in large part for the need for hordes of non-faceless Mooks whose suffering and death we won't lose much sleep over in all sorts of media. A female character can lose that some or even all of the audience's sympathy if they are manipulative, somehow "immoral", ugly, violent or just plain evil. Male characters on the other hand have to earn the audience's sympathy by entertaining or interesting us with their their actions. If they don't, we either don't care what happens to them or want them to suffer for failing to entertain/interest us. A Lovable Coward male character is not an exception since we find them entertaining. Strangely, women find it difficult to lose audience sympathy by being useless, worse than useless, or selfish cowards—as long as they don't get other people with the audience's sympathy killed, that is. Stranger still, all this can still hold true if the woman in question has already been established as a badass. See Chickification. Perhaps strangest of all, this trope also bleeds over into villain roles: the suffering and death of female villains is generally not dwelt upon, if only because they are generally less evil than their male counterparts. But the suffering and death of male villains, on the other hand, is much more acceptable if only because they are often so much, well, eviler. Like most tropes, this one didn't come out of nowhere. In purely biological terms, men are more expendable than women because 1 male and 10 females can produce 10 times the offspring of 1 female and 10 males. In primitive times when epidemics were far more common and relatively few people survived to adulthood "women and children first" was not just misandristic braggadocio, it was a matter of basic survival. Societies that didn't protect their women tended to expand more slowly and die out more easily than those that did. Conscription - mandatory non-compensated military service for all able-bodied men - can be considered as Trope Codifier. However, there is a subtle but significant difference between protecting women and expending men. In the modern world, we know that gender (like race) has no relation to the worth of a human life, though this sexist trope unfortunately lingers in our cultural assumptions. The consequences in fiction of this are complicated, but in summary:
— Peter Marin, Jill Gets Welfare--Jack Becomes Homeless
- If the story requires random anonymous characters to die just to move the plot forward, they'll likely be male. If the plot requires a tragic death that motivates the protagonists or shows how evil the villains are, the victim will be female. One exception to this is a Heroic Sacrifice that is commonly committed by a man and often for a woman and/or The Hero. Similarly if the story demands random mooks get a beat down by a character to up the sense of danger or because they are generic enemies in a video game, or just show off how awesome the protagonist is, they will be male.
- Female villains are more likely to be redeemed and/or have sympathetic justification for their villainy, especially if the main hero is a man. They are also less likely to be taken seriously or depicted unsympathetically in their schemes.
- Male characters get more explicit and brutal deaths. It's no secret that viewers are more uncomfortable watching women get tortured, maimed, and/or killed. If a man and a woman are killed in equally grisly ways, the woman's death is treated as worse. Extra points if the camera cuts away right before she gets butchered.
- Male villains who target female characters are portrayed as more evil than those who target men. Female villains that target primarily men are often considered sympathetic, often more than a bit Anti-Villain or simply not taken seriously.
- Sympathetic male characters are expected to put themselves at risk to protect female characters. Female characters do not lose as much audience sympathy for being unwilling to put themselves at risk to protect characters of either gender and are less likely to be accused of cowardice.
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male
- Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male
- Closer to Earth
- Damsel in Distress
- Disposable Woman
- The Dulcinea Effect
- Her Heart Will Go On
- High-Heel–Face Turn
- Men Are Generic, Women Are Special
- Men Act, Women Are
- Missing White Woman Syndrome
- Sacrificial Lion
- The Smurfette Principle
- Stay in the Kitchen
- Stuffed into the Fridge
- The Unfair Sex
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl
open/close all folders
- Baccano!: The only female character to even get noticeably injured in the bloody events aboard the Flying Pussyfoot is Rachel — and we never actually see her injury, only the gunshot and her subsequently bandaged leg.
- Bleach: Earlier on, there's a limited example of the lack of anonymous women in the Soul Society arc. At the beginning Soul Reapers are generally being used as Mooks, and all such are male, as opposed to the leading cadre which includes a handful of females. Once the named characters have been shown enough that we can start sympathetically viewing Soul Reapers as a group, we start seeing Academy flashbacks in which a reasonable proportion of the anonymous Soul Reapers are female, and proceed from there, making it clear this trope is the Raison d'être.
- This is especially apparent in the Arrancar and Hueco Mundo Arcs, in which only two female arrancars in the manga die, one of whom is revived. In contrast over 20 named male arrancars are permanently killed in the manga.
- Elfen Lied: Plays this completely straight. On one hand, many women die horribly. On the other hand, the characters very directly responsible for most of the death are girls, whom we are still expected to feel sympathetic for even after they slaughter dozens of people, innocent or not. And when a scientist shoots a rampaging disclonius, we are expected to see him as a heartless bastard. Also, most of the women killed off get a slow-motion sequence to go with it, while the guys get their heads torn off with brutal swiftness.
- A similar thing also happens in Fullmetal Alchemist, just replace ninja with soldiers. Thankfully it is a bit more justified and lenient about it, It's set in a 20s setting so female soldiers would be uncommon (they still are, for reasons of this trope), and even then, many characters that are male get lingering shots and it's shown with Mustang that to him, his men are not expendable, his friends are not mooks merely sent to die. I.E a example of a lingering shot on a dead male character Colonel Maes Hughes
- Noir: The two main characters are female assassins who mow down the male mooks.
- In Ooku, the trope is completely inverted. A plague reduces the male population to one fifth of the total. Men thus become very valuable, especially for their seed, and are kept out of harm's way and carefully bartered.
- Saint Seiya: Despite the high death count, all the female Saints, Marin, Shaina and June, manage to survive while all but the five main bronze boys die.
- Sky Girls: Mentioned but never expanded upon. It was stated that nearly 90% of the male population aged 20-30 was wiped out in the first war with the WORMS. Among the surviving humans actually seen, however, there appear to be just as many young adult men as women.
- Strike Witches: Men are pretty much Cannon Fodder for the Neuroi on the other hand the show treats all deaths as equally tragic, even Minna's boyfriend was given a well-rounded backstory which is more than can be said for a lot of male deaths in such stories. Witches are the only ones who can seriously harm Neuroi, conventional weapons are fairly effective but not nearly as much. Obviously the military brass are not too happy that the women are getting all the military glory while the men are sent back in body bags or soup cans on other hand it's not expanded upon exactly how much male combatants are actually involved in direct combat and as such it seems that most men are limited mostly to support roles while the Witches do all the heavy lifting. Most instances where men actually do fight seem more accidental than intentional. The fact that there are no non-Witch women serving on the front-lines is on the other hand justified by simple reality and explained in universe. The brass originally didn't want girls on the battlefield just like in real life which is why they were almost all male but had to conscript teenage magical girls because nothing else was effective. Despite this there do appear to be non-Witch women serving on battleships but even their roles are no elaborated upon. If there's any reason women aren't being hired as cannon fodder it's because the brass doesn't want women killed unless absolutely necessary.
- One Piece tends to follow its Shonen brethren in this issue, in that women are often seen in combat roles, but only in positions of authority (the show has been accused of The Smurfette Principle, but women are numerous enough generally to dodge that) and never in the faceless pirate/marine hordes that serve as cannon fodder. The closest comes in with Amazon Lily, where, by the island's nature, women had to serve as mooks. Civilians, meanwhile, tend to be a realistically even mix.
- Done in Black Lagoon. Would you expect anything less of what is essentially an action movie parody?
- Gintama tends to zigzag this trope and mixes it with Females Are More Innocent: on one hand, you have the Night King arc where the presence of an Amazon Brigade warranted a high female death toll; on the other hand, this was the only time this would occur and, after that arc, you would be hard-pressed to see a woman die brutally. In addition, there aren't many villainesses in the series and neither one was ever killed for what she did... unlike male villains who are almost always dealt with permanently.
- Attack on Titan averts this pretty much across the board. The military sees men and women serving together in all capacities, and being slaughtered in roughly equal numbers. Whether their death is played as tragic or not depends less on gender, and more on that particular character or the senselessness of their death. Among the Trainees killed at Trost, Marco's death is the only one played as tragedy while the girls killed are mere Red Shirts never mentioned again. Civilians can be of either gender, and there doesn't seem to be any sort of "Women and Children first" standard in play. The Titans play with this in a strange way, as while they are Mooks and appear to be male, in reality Titans lack any sort of external sexual organs and may or may not even have a distinct gender.
- Averted in Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! thanks to all the non-lethal combat.
- Sailor Moon averts this. Men and women die over the course of the story and whether or not their deaths are noteworthy depends heavily on their role in the narrative. However, Naoko Takeuchi has said in interviews that she feels she kills her male characters off too easily. In particular, she regretted killing Jadeite off so early once she heard his voice for the anime.
- Y: The Last Man:
- Two male astronauts who survived the Gendercide by being in orbit when it happened die ensuring the survival of their female crewmate after a fiery re-entry, because she was pregnant with a baby that could have belonged to either of them.
- Also, male corpses are pictured in an advanced state of decomposition as well as piled on each other and loaded into a garbage truck. Female corpses, on the other hand, are handled with a lot more discretion. This is probably because there are just so many bodies that they can't deal with them all like they should, and the woman who Yorrick sees loading men in a dump truck does go out of her way to see every man gets a proper funeral at the end of her one-shot and states how disgraceful it was to the men.
- When the Justice League of America moved to Detroit they introduced a group of new superheroes that had an equal number of males and females. However after the new additions proved to be unpopular DC decided to get rid of them by killing off the men (Vibe and Steel) and having the women (Vixen and Gypsy) leave the team. The only reason for having only the men killed appears to be this trope.
- In a letter column for Brian Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming's Powers, in response to the the first several story arcs, a female reader wrote in to ask why Bendis felt the need to kill so many women in his Powers stories. Bendis's reply was that, looking back over the stories the reader mentioned, three women had been brutally killed, but so had something like forty men.
- One may wonder how much of the importance attached to the "Women in Refrigerators" phenomenon is a matter of perception, since for the most part the victims in question happen to be attractive young women. For instance, the death of Spider-Man's girlfriend Gwen Stacy in Amazing Spider-Man #121 caused a huge outcry among fans (so big in fact, that Marvel brought Gwen back as a clone less than two years later to assuage them), her death is still seen as a deep injustice by a number of diehard fans, and many people want to portray it as the Ur-Example of Stuffed into the Fridge. Before her death, four supporting characters had been killed off in-story really without causing a ripple among readers, all men of various ages: Uncle Ben, Bennett Brant (Betty's brother, caught in the crossfire to provide a reason for her to hate Spider-Man), Frederick Foswell (Daily Bugle reporter) and George Stacy (Gwen's father, died trying to save people's lives to provide an obstacle to her romance with Peter Parker). In later years The Death of Jean DeWolff, the second female supporting character to be killed off, caused another major stir. The deaths of various male supporting characters — Professor Miles Warren, Nathan Lubensky (Aunt May's fiancé), Ned Leeds (one of Peter's oldest Bugle colleagues), and even Harry Osborn (Peter Parker's oldest and best friend of the male persuasion) — not so much. Harry Osborn who, as it turned out, could not well be replaced in his role in the cast, but that was fourteen years after his death. Even Aunt May (whose apparent death in Amazing Spider-Man #400 was widely seen as a satisfying ending to a fulfilled life) was brought back to the living more quickly. And while only Uncle Ben is referenced in-story nearly as often as Gwen Stacy, quite a few of the dead male characters are all but forgotten both by the writers and the fans.
- A Conan the Barbarian comic has Conan finding out just how many of the men he is presently dealing with (most of whom need killing) have had carnal knowledge of his current concubine. She responds with a quiet dignity, "it's not easy being a woman in a man's world." Conan then bluntly subverts the trope by countering, "You should try being a man in it."
- 247°F features 2 women and a man trapped in the sauna. One of the woman does nothing until the end, where she completely loses it and screws them all over. The other woman is just a complete bitch to everyone in the sauna and often suggests the exact opposite of what they should be doing. The man acts rationally and is often the sole voice of reason. Both women live. The man dies. But you probably guessed that without reading this spoiler, considering the page this entry is on.
- Frozen (2010) features 2 men and a woman trapped on a ski-lift. Guess which one lives? The woman does nothing but cry the entire movie and survives based on luck. The men, who try to make useful contributions, are both killed.
- No females died in Push. There were two female villains, and neither died. They were specifically scripted to not have done anything too bad that they can cross the Moral Event Horizon. They at least didn't kill anyone, but merely get in the way of the heroes. One pulled a gun and was about to kill someone but was stopped just in time to avoid facing Karma. Conversely, all the male villains, including mooks died, regardless of whether they killed anyone or not.
- Planet Terror kills off nearly every male character of consequence while having all the female characters but one survive.
- In The Happening, almost all onscreen deaths are male and often gruesome. Women get injured — or pick up guns — but do not die onscreen and not nearly in the same numbers. The one woman who dies gruesomely (off-screen) is established as unlikable prior to her death. Since this is about a neurotoxin released by plants in populated areas, the difference in the film's treatment of male vs. female death is particularly unjustifiable, except explicitly as an instance of this trope.
- When Grendel attacks the hall in Beowulf, he targets all men, except for one woman whose death was far less explicit (as it was implied but not seen) then that of her male companions. The hall was filled at the time with revelers of both genders. Possibly justified as the women there would be civilians (and thus likely to run for their lives) while the men were the king's soldiers (who would thus stay and fight and die). Plus, well, he's implied to be kind of a Momma's Boy.
- In the original Star Wars trilogy none of the Rebel pilots or grunts are female, at least until Leia insists on going on the mission to Endor. This is particularly striking in the first film when the Rebel pilots flying against the Death Star are all male, even though the idea of women combat pilots is now widely accepted both in real life and the Star Wars Expanded Universe (such as the X-Wing Series).
- In 2012 three out of five of the male main characters die. One out of three of the female main characters die. The women are routinely shielded from bad news by the men. During the climactic scene where the stowaways have to fix the mechanical problem they created by stowing away illegally, only the male protagonist and his son attempt to fix it. Despite the fact that the female protagonist is just as responsible and, presumably, as an adult stronger and more competent then her ten year old son.
- This is Lampshaded in Death Race. All of Machinegun Joe's navigators somehow keep dying during every race, so he's the only racer with male navigators so as not to unnerve viewers. Also played straight in the movie itself, where we see many explicit deaths of the male racers, while (most of) the deaths of the female navigators are either offscreen or implied.
- In the original Death Race 2000, running down women was worth 10 points more than men in all age categories.
- The Wolfman (2010) is a big offender; dozens of men are killed and messily dismembered on screen while the very few female deaths are merely implied. Or, in the case of Lawrence's mother played for maximum tragedy and horror as against the Gorn the male victims go through.
- An early version of the screenplay for The Professional provides a very clear example of this trope. The Big Bad demonstrates his Big Badditude by coldbloodedly massacring Mathilda's family, including her father, mother, teenage sister, and infant brother. The sympathetic Leon and his protégé adhere to a "no women, no children" creed; gunning down random men in a park for target practice is just fine. This got toned down in the production to having Mathilda shoot just one man in the park with a paint pellet, and asking to "use real bullets next time", but the fact that the original idea was even considered is telling. Additionally, countless male mooks are massacred, together with a SWAT team (who were only doing their jobs, albeit for a corrupt boss), and Leon's contracted targets who were never depicted doing anything unsympathetic.
- Braveheart spends one scene on William Wallace's grief over the deaths of his father and brother, but the death of his wife is the Emotional Torque that drives the rest of the film.
- In Titanic (1997), there are dozens of male corpses floating around in the water, but the lingering shot is on a woman with her young baby. True to the event, many men are shown choosing to give their spots on the lifeboats to women and children. The trope is even invoked by Molly Brown who chides the other women for leaving their men behind to save themselves.
- The Clash of the Titans remake almost every secondary character dies over the course of the movie but the death of The Chick is a much bigger deal to Perseus; later Zeus brings her back to life, but everyone else stays dead. This was due to Executive Meddling, since Io was meant to stay dead and Perseus would have ended up with Andromeda with Io and Perseus's relationship being more brother/sister. The studio disagreed. This was also inverted with the death of Andromeda's mother, which got swept under the rug as quickly as any faceless mook. Several of the male characters who died in the fight against Medusa were given far more import.
- The sequel Wrath of the Titans has Ares massacring Andromeda's army. He kills about five male soldiers with no fanfare. But when he stabs the lone female, it's presented as a Moral Event Horizon.
- Inverted in Avatar. The death that serves as the movie's first Gut Punch is that of a male, Neytiri's father. The movie likewise kills off two developed females in the final battle, with only one significant male death. The rest of the male protagonists survive.
- In The Spirit many male characters are killed off with their deaths often played for black comedy. All female characters whether good or bad are allowed to survive the film.
- The first death in Eaten Alive is female. It is also the only female death in the film out of 5. Of the 4 characters who meet the villain and survive, all are female.
- The Hills Have Eyes 2, the sequel to the remake, has some unnamed woman die at the beginning, and both the female characters in the movie survive while only one out of the males does.
- Splice is a very blatant perpetrator of this trope. every major character except the females dies. Dren is only killed after her Gender Bender.
- Burke and Hare (based on the real life Burke and Hare murders) tries to make its main characters sympathetic. Consequently, they almost exclusively murder (young) men (some of whom are asshole victims). In contrast, the real life murders were almost exclusively women (the exceptions being an elderly man, a mentally disabled man, and a blind child).
- In Batman Begins, it's suggested that on some level Bruce Wayne feels angry at his father for not defeating the murderer, protecting himself and Bruce's mother, and saving Bruce from emotional trauma and orphanhood. The possibility that Bruce's mother could have done anything whatsoever to protect herself, her husband and her child, let alone that she should have, is never even suggested. This despite the fact that the murderer had a gun and none of the Waynes were armed, so Martha probably stood about as much of a chance of defeating him as her larger and presumably stronger husband did.
- In Alexander Nevsky, most of the women stay home while the men go out to fight. There is at least one female soldier who is allowed to fight (without anyone trying to stop her), but she gets declared as the bravest soldier on the battlefield at the end of the film.
- There's only one female victim in Uncle Sam, and her death is completely offscreen. She's also never named and has about one minute of screen time.
- Used in the movie of I Am Legend. Will Smith's only living companion throughout the movie is a German Shepherd named Sam, and near the end of the movie, the dog gets infected by the vampire-things he's been studying, and Smith is forced to kill it before it can infect him. Having to kill his beloved dog is bad enough, but just to try to throw in an extra cheap wrench, just before the dog succumbs to the infection, Smith addresses it as "Samantha".
- Mother's Day (the 2010 film, not the 1980 flick it is loosely based on) has seven male characters and nine female ones. six of the seven men die while only three of the women do - and all three women who die are presented as someway 'unsympathetic' (one is an adulteress who has been sleeping with the heroine's husband and the other two are spoilt and obnoxious rich girls and very minor characters to boot). The men who die regardless of whether they are presented as sympathetic or not..
- In Jurassic Park Ellie is disgusted when Hammond implies he should put himself in danger instead of her simply because he's a man, especially because being an old man who walks with a cane while she is much more physically able, it makes no sense at all. However, this trope is still played straight throughout the series, as up until the fourth film a (human) female was never killed off, at least not onscreen.
- Not a numerical situation but this happens twice in The Dark Knight. First Batman chooses to save love interest Rachel Dawes instead of Harvey Dent and Dent yells at his rescuers that they should rescue her (then again, he is in love with Rachel). Rachel ends up dying and Harvey continues to live, though he dies at the end of the film anyways. Then, later in the film Dent kills corrupt male cop Wurtz but leaves equally corrupt female cop Ramirez alive.
- King Kong (2005) has this trope in spades. Ann Darrow, the beauty to the beast, is the only major female character and survives the film relatively unscathed. On the other hand, numerous male crew members (seventeen by the film's count) die in the attempt to save her - including the only two non-white cast members. Of the natives killed in the initial clash, only a man is shown shot to death. Kong does accost several women in New York trying to find Ann, but none of them are explicitly shown to have been killed or even seriously injured. Though the male deaths are treated sympathetically, the comparatively brutal and gory nature of them makes this trope seem especially egregious.
- The 2007 film Hitman plays this straight with no women being killed throughout the entire film. There are sequences that deliberately spare female characters including several deleted scenes, one of which where after killing all the male henchmen and executing his target, Agent 47 leaves the room but as he does it is revealed that all the women in the room safely survived the carnage.
- The main reason there are no female giants in Jack the Giant Slayer or the fact Isabelle is pretty much is the only female as the director didn't want any women killed in the film.
- In the French film Baise-Moi, two women abandon their morals after a savage sexual assault (where a group of men rape them). In an act of revenge the women go on a wild lark littered with sexual escapades and murder. Although a few women do get murdered in the film, the movie has an excessive amount of violence towards men with little to no regard as the men are written off as pigs. In a sequence at a bar/brothel the women choose to kill many of the patrons participating in sexual acts in the back. After the massacre the camera pans around the room only slowing down on two of the female victims while clearly passing over the dead male victims with no consideration. Even during the attack all the men are killed in graphic detail on screen while the few women get discretion shots.
- In the 1972 made-for-tv disaster movie, Short Walk To Daylight, nine characters, five men and four women are introduced in a subway car before a big earthquake hits, leaving them trapped underground. The unnamed train conductor dies from injuries after being buried in rubble. Later on, as the remaining eight try finding a way out, a junkie starts acting wild and irrational due to going through withdrawal after he and his girlfriend have separated from the others to go their own way, and ends up throwing himself on the subway's third rail and dying of electrocution. Afterwards, the tunnels are being flooded and the survivors must cross the huge leak by shimming along a set of pipes, and the train's motor man (the only character who didn't know how to swim) is the last to cross but falls in the water when the pipes break, where he drowns and is swept away. After one more obstacle, the rest of the survivors finally find an exit, with three out of five men dying, and all four women surviving.
- In Mad Max: Fury Road, the female Splendid's death is played as a senseless tragedy, the male Nux' as Redemption Equals Death. In-universe, the War Boys as a whole are taught from a young age that not only are they expendable, but that death in battle is the only way to reach Valhalla.
- In Tremors, the Graboids kill several people, but their only female victim is Megan. Her death is probably the least gory because instead of being eaten, she is Buried Alive and suffocates offscreen. Afterwards, there are no more women killed until the fifth movie.
- A little girl is looking at her dad's sword, hung over the fireplace. She asks her mum what it's for, and Mum replies "That's what makes men strong and powerful, so they fight wars." The daughter says "They believe that?" Mum says "Yes. That's why they're expendable."
- In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Chessmen of Mars, Ghek uses mind control to stop the Kangaroo Court, but must maintain eye contact; he tells Turan that they will kill Tara, and Turan overcomes his reluctance to leave Ghek to carry Tara off. Afterward, he apologizes and says if they had been three men, they could have all stayed and fought, but he could not leave her in danger.
- The original novelization of the Star Wars movie has a mention of men and women pilots kissing goodbye to each other before the attack on the Death Star. There are no female Imperials ever seen, although the Expanded Universe retconned this, saying the Empire was sexist. All of Jabba's thugs in Return of the Jedi are also men. In the prequel trilogy, all of the pod racers (most of whom seem to die in the race) and Naboo soldiers and guards in the first movie are male, plus all of the clone troopers in the second and third are male. In the case of the clone troopers, this is because they are all cloned from the same man. Revenge of the Sith subverts this trope, though, and shows both male and female Jedi being massacred when the clone troopers carry out Order 66. The fact that there are only male villains, but male and female Jedi plays to the trope however.
- The Wheel of Time:
- Rand goes to considerable effort to remember every woman who died for him (including the one who died because he wouldn't fight back against the evil sorceress trying to kill them all). The considerably more numerous men can apparently go hang. It's not really clear where this attitude comes from, seeing as the women of Two Rivers aren't exactly delicate flowers.
- The trope also plays out in the city of Ebou Dar, where men give women a knife on their wedding day. To quote the other wiki, "By custom, the wife is to stab the husband with this knife if he should ever displease her."
- The book Starship Troopers plays this straight. There are female pilots, but all of the infantry are male. The movie and its first direct-to-video sequel, however, subvert this and include female infantry, many of whom are killed in battle. However, the second direct-to-video sequel surprisingly played this straight. Seven people are stranded on a planet — five men and two women — and only the women survive. Also, pretty much everyone else killed in the movie was male.
- Although inverted (once) near the end of book three, most of The Black Jewels Trilogy lives and dies (pun intended) by this trope.
- Scott Adams lampshades this in his blog turned book "Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain", saying that the reason that the military is composed mainly of men is because their deaths aren't as much of a tragedy; if it were children, people with special needs, or other groups of people, there would be no war because it would be too tragic.
- In Redwall, the villain hordes, while not exclusively male, have many more males than females. The hordes are usually wiped out. The male heroes/goodbeasts also have a higher rate of death or injury than the females do.
- Dr. Warren Farrell examines this trope (which he calls "male disposability") in The Myth of Male Power, which is about the ways the system that feminists often call "patriarchy" serves to harm men as well as women. Adam Jones wrote Effacing the Male: Gender, Misrepresentation and Exclusion in the Kosovo War, which examines the way this trope applies to discussions about victims of war. There are, of course, feminists who agree with this reading of the situation and those that don't. And that's all we have to say about that.
- Robert A. Heinlein has Lazarus Long defend it full bore:
All societies are based on rules to protect pregnant women and young children. All else is surplusage, excrescence, adornment, luxury, or folly, which can — and must — be dumped in emergency to preserve this prime function. As racial survival is the only universal morality, no other basic is possible. Attempts to formulate a "perfect society" on any foundation other than "Women and children first!" is not only witless, it is automatically genocidal. Nevertheless, starry-eyed idealists (all of them male) have tried endlessly — and no doubt will keep on trying.
- Reversed in the world of A Brother's Price, simply due to the sheer paucity of men. Someone who kills a man is therefore instantly seen as a monster; meanwhile the deaths of criminal women and female marines alike are only remarked on in passing. There is a single case of a family where only the fifteen-year-old brother survived, and that was because spies for the enemy abducted him before the enemy killed every single other family member. This is in the backstory, and the narrative is not clear on whether the enemy would have killed the brother, or instead considered him neutral and arranged a suitable marriage for him.
- This is very subtle, but present still in The Host. Almost all of those who die are male, and they get killed off before we really get a chance to know them much.
- A Song of Ice and Fire:
- An iPad app breaks down the series and tracks the deaths throughout the books. Overall there have been 1,528 male deaths, 26 female deaths and 207 children killed. The male deaths take up 85% of the deaths in the series where as the females only take up 2% (children take up 13%). The series has many battles in it, but it takes full advantage of killing as many men as possible while keeping the females very clearly out of harm's way.
- Early on in the first book one instance introduces the recurring character Osha, a wildling who is found running through the woods with a gang of other wildlings when they come across a young Stark. They try and steal his horse but are interrupted by the young Stark's brother. He and his partner kill all the wildlings except Osha, but in an aversion there was another woman with them who is killed (unceremoniously) by Grey Wind the direwolf along with the three men (one of whom has more focus and is the only one besides Osha named). Played straighter in the TV-Series adaptation, where Osha is the only woman and there are two men who die.
- In The First Law, Inquisitor Glokta ruthlessly interrogates, tortures, exiles, and/or orders the death of numerous people throughout the books. The first time he shows mercy is also the first time they show him interrogating a woman. Even he can't explain why he spares her.
- In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Father Christmas provides Susan and Lucy with weapons (a bow and arrows and a dagger) but warns them that they are to be used only as a last resort because "battles are ugly when women fight." Their brother Peter gets a sword and shield and no such warning against using them proactively, presumably because it's somehow less "ugly" when it's men doing the fighting and dying.
- In the sci-fi short story The Cold Equations the male protagonist highlights how if it had been a male stowaway on board he'd have promptly tossed him out an airlock without a second thought no matter how young and how much life he had ahead of him, but because it's a teenage girl he promptly agonizes over the tragic loss and about her future she'll never has and wastes a fair amount of time struggling with things before killing her.
- A movie or TV show is much more likely to get its rating pegged up a notch for violence if it is directed against women. For example the content advisory for The Sopranos warns: "Very strong brutal violence, sometimes even directed at women."
- In the episode "Exile on Main St.", Dean is attacked by three Djinn, two male one female. He beats one to death, his grandfather stabs another and a third they trap in a sack. Guess which one was female.
- There's also the season 1 episode "Nightmare", wherein a young psychic kills his father and uncle, and would have killed the stepmother if not for Sam.
- There is also the hunter Gordon, who it seems every time he pops up tells a tale of how he killed/tortured a monstrous or possessed woman, just to show how terrible a person he is. Even though, as noted below, the brothers do the same thing.
- The ratio of deaths is roughly 2:1 (male:female) throughout the series (as of S6, total of 227 male deaths to 116 female deaths). See http://spn-heavymeta.livejournal.com/425753.html for more details.
- Far more men (or about double) are killed quickly to set the scene for any given episode, but Supernatural subverts this with recurring female characters. Mary, Ellen and Jo all sacrifice themselves (rather pointlessly) to support Sam and Dean's endeavors, Pamela is killed while helping them, and Ruby is obviously set to defend them with her life, whatever her reasons may be. None of these really fit the Women in Refrigerators trope either, because with the exception of Mary Sam and Dean feel bad for like two minutes and then move on.
- In the Merlin episode "Excalibur" the Big Bad is extorting food from the peasants and punches a woman who tries to stop him. A man runs out to save her and is shot with a crossbow. The camera lingers on the woman, and another man is shown coming to her aid and holding her, the man shot with the crossbow is apparently irrelevant as he isn't seen again nor is it shown that anyone comes to his aid. It's obvious that the audience is expected to worry more about a woman getting punched then a man being shot in the chest with a crossbow.
- Doctor Who:
- In the episode "Tooth and Claw", the only victims of the alien werewolf were male.
- In the episode "Journey's End", when the Doctor's soul is revealed, he flashbacks through all the secondary characters whose deaths he was indirectly responsible for. Although a good number of men have died throughout the series, apparently only the women are noteworthy as they comprise a vast majority of the deaths he regrets.
- In the episode "Dalek", large numbers of male redshirts are electrocuted on screen. By contrast, a female officer gets a discretion shot.
- The only characters to survive "The Caves of Androzani" are female.
- Inverted in the episode "Human Nature". The two male victims are shown in a state of terror in their last moments before their bodies are possessed. The two female victims are summarily taken.
- Also inverted in "42". Only the male crewmembers survive — the only female to survive is Martha.
- Inverted once again in "Voyage of the Damned". All of the survivors were male.
- In the 2010 and 2011 series Rory is used for this. Repeatedly.
- Generation Kill: The main characters are passing a series of corpses lining the road. One of the characters points out a particularly mutilated corpse and says, with glee, "Dude, look at that guy!" Another character says "That's not a guy," and a horrified silence descends as they realize it's a young woman.
- Babylon 5:
- In an episode, Ivanova futilely tries to prevent one ship from firing on another by crying out, "There are women and children on board!" This is an especially weird example since Ivanova herself is a woman and never hesitates to put herself in danger even if it's something a male character could take care of. Either she was trying to play on the shooters' sexism, or she somehow forgot that "women and children" is not a synonym for "civilians" despite being a woman and a soldier herself.
- Na'Toth, a female Narn, and a warrior, has done the same thing. This is even more strange than the Ivanova example, since one would assume the Narn don't carry the same cultural baggage we Humans do, and wouldn't necessarily consider women to be more helpless than men by default.
- In the Mayday episode 'Behind Closed Doors' McDonnald Douglas's DC-10s have a faulty door latch that causes Turkish Airlines Flight 981 to crash. Everyone aboard is killed, including men. You'd never know that from the show's final montage however because it only includes shots of female passengers.
- Star Trek generally plays this straight, despite the fact that men and women are supposed to be equal.
- In Star Trek: The Original Series, dozens of male redshirts were killed, but only one female redshirts was (among women, it was more likely to be the Girl of the Week or one of the medical/sciences personnel).
- In the episode "By Any Other Name," an alien turns two of Kirk's crew members, a man and a woman, into identical little stones. It crushes one of them and turns the other safely back into a human, just to show that it can kill or spare at its whim. The fact that it's the man who was spared is turned into a shocking reveal, and Kirk does a little Heroic B.S.O.D.
- In "The Maquis," a Deep Space Nine two-parter, the Maquis are shown to be about equally male and female in the first part, but in the second part, when Captain Sisko and crew raid a Maquis base and shoot several Maquis in a firefight, there are no female Maquis.
- In the 2009 Star Trek film, almost all of the Romulans, the villains, were male. Starfleet, the heroes, were somewhat more equal (though the vast majority of Starfleet characters actually shown doing dangerous, action-y things were male as well).
- On Lost several male members of the others are killed by the survivors but are quickly forgotten about, however after a minor female other named Colleen Pickett is killed by Sun we see the others give her a big funeral. Of course Col death would have some lasting consequences considering that her husband Danny Pickett was the Jailer of Kate and Sawyer.
- In Day 6, CTU is attacked (again) by a group of Chinese mercenaries who take everyone hostage and ask for the person in charge to step forward. This is a woman, but her love interest steps up and claims to be the boss, and is promptly shot. When the lead captor finds out that the woman is charge, he tells her to stand up, asks her about it....and then tells her to sit back down.
- Out of the numerous characters Jack has killed from mooks to major characters, only 4 have been female.
- Out of every main cast member to get killed on the show past and present, 11 have been malenote , while 7 have been femalenote . Though it's worth noting that until Day 6, the male ratio was actually smaller than the female ratio.
- Primeval was an egregious user of this trope. All deaths in the first series were male; while this is understandable in the case of special ops all the civilians killed were also male. Later the show became marginally more egalitarian in terms of victims.
- In the beginning scenes of the pilot episode of Caprica, a man is shot dead by a woman who fires multiple bullets into his chest while laughing. There is a later scene of a woman being stabbed complete with a Gory Discretion Shot; this scene causes the protagonist's double to suffer traumatic stress, fail her mission, is later discussed in detail and becomes an emotional pivot point for the plot and characterization of the society.
- One scene in The Walking Dead has most of the female cast sitting by a lake doing the laundry, complaining about the "division of labour" in the survivor's camp. With the exception of Andrea, however, they are all willing to allow the men to do the far more dangerous job of protecting the camp from the Walkers. When Rick suggests traveling back to Atlanta to retrieve a bag full of guns, the group that goes is all male, to use one of many examples from the show.
- Dexter does not frequently kill female criminals. Women who die on the show are usually the target of the villains, to show they are more evil than Dexter.
- Once Upon a Time: Few female characters die during the show.
- So far, Cinderella's fairy godmother and Maleficent. Although the show plays this trope straight in that far more men die, and all the mooks cut down are male, there's an emotional subversion in that neither of the female deaths are counted as particularly heinous, whereas some male deaths are hugely emotional and serve as Start of Darkness or other important moments for the female mains.
- The series gets much more equal later on with Mila (who's death is a major motivating factor for another character), Cora, Zelena, Ingrid, in the backstory, Helga and Cruella. Though it does also bring Maleficent and Zelena back. Cora (the first major female character to die), possibly tying into the biological existence of this trope, is well past child bearing age too.
- Charmed's demons killing men is usually done with no fanfare, unless it's one that the sisters know. However when a female innocent is killed, the Tear Jerker aspect is played up a lot more. This is exploited in a Straw Feminist themed episode where Zira has her master lure Billie out by attacking an innocent, stressing that it must be a female.
- Parodied in a Monty Python's Flying Circus skit: A ship is sinking and the captain is announcing "Abandon Ship, women and children first!" cut to the bridge, where the Captain and crew are busily disguising themselves as women and children. It's made even more comical when they run out of dresses and school uniforms and start using other costumes ending in a debate over whether Eric Idle's costume represents a Flemish merchant or the "complete realization of the ideal Renaissance man."
- This trope is the subject of the song "Men" by Loudon Wainwright III:
Have pity on the general, the king and the captain
They know they're expendable; after all, they're men
They know they're expendable; after all, they're men
- In the essay Survival Horror and the Female Protagonist, it is theorized that this trope is why female protagonists are so common in the genre.
Female protagonists of modern horror in general push the boundaries in terms of defining ‘the feminine’ and add a certain emotional touch to the genre that a male protagonist often fails to provide...
- Surprisingly present in Team Four Star's Dragon Ball Z Abridged: Cell's absorption of the male Android 17 is shown in its entirety and played for laughs, with 17 complaining about how "not cool" a death it is the entire time, while Cell's absorption of the female Android 18 is played as tragic, using dialogue that equates it with rape, and happens off-screen. Of course, being Team Four Star, they immediately subvert it with an alternate scene where Krillin accidentally blows 18's head clean off her shoulders with a bomb.
- In the 1930s Flash Gordon radio serial, Flash is forced to chose one of the people he loves to be sacrificed. The men draw lots to decide which of them will be sacrificed, but Flash immediately exempts Dale Arden from the choice because "as a woman she must live".
- In Dino Attack RPG, the overwhelming majority of anonymous Red Shirts are male, and the only known female Red Shirt was merely wounded, not explicitly killed like her male peers. The only women who are killed, such as Amanda Claw, are major characters whose deaths bring great emotional impact and serve to motivate the survivors to fight even harder to defeat the enemy.
- Lampshaded by Jason Manford in his 2011 stand-up show. He references the trope by name without quite decrying it.
Jason Manford: In the house, when there's a noise downstairs, who's checking that noise out? That's dad, isn't it? A hundred percent of the time, that's dad. You could be married to a ninja, you're still the first one down the stairs. Why is this, is it because you're stronger or braver or better at fighting than your wife? No. It's because out the two of you, you're more expendable. It's not nice to hear, dads, I understand. The family will be upset but they'll crack on.
- In the Clue VCR Mystery Game, the characters are shocked and horrified to learn that Prof. Plum had killed his wife, but they barely even blink at the fact that Mrs. Peacock had murdered several husbands. It was also implied that Col. Mustard had shot his brother, Reggie, and Mrs. White had poisoned Mr. Boddy, and again, neither of these provoked anything close to the revulsion shown toward Prof. Plum.
- Tabletop RPG sourcebook: GURPS Lensman includes an interesting analysis of the phenomenon in the section "Women and Lenses", pp. 9-10.
- Warhammer 40,000:
- While the background material hints that there are just as many females as there are males in the Imperial Guard Army, most of the Imperial Guard Models are all male, with few to no female variants throughout the years. Other races tend to have one set of "female" traits for every 3 "male" traits (breastplates mostly). One whole regiment of Imperial Guard is made up solely of males as well, the aptly named Vostroyan Firstborne (made of firstborn sons). Space Marines may be this at a glance, due to genetics basically making female space marines in fluff impossible, but are largely balanced because each new initiate marine is still infinitely more valuable than 10k imperial guard women and that their Distaff Counterpart, the Sisters of Battle, are all female.
- Also averted with the Eldar and the Dark Eldar. Where females are quite common, just wearing battle armor so it's less noticeable.
- Played with a bit, but generally averted, in the Ace Attorney series, where all victims (even Asshole Victims) are treated with at least a degree of sympathy and their murderers (even sympathetic ones) are not pardoned for their crimes, regardless of gender.
- The first five games contain twenty-three cases and only five female murder victims: Cindy Stone, Mia Fey, Valerie Hawthorne, Elise Deuxnim AKA Misty Fey, and Cece Yew (who only was a murder victim in the backstory of the case). Three of these women are treated to far more grief than the typical murder victim. However, of the three who are given more compassion, two of them were genuinely sympathetic and plot-important characters, and the other was an innocent who was killed because she happened to possess evidence that would have brought down an international smuggling ring. Cece's role as the tragic "innocent victim" is by no means unique, nor limited to her gender; in case 3-1, for example, Doug Swallow was murdered by Dahlia Hawthorne because he tried to warn Phoenix Wright that she was stealing poison from the science lab. He is treated just as sympathetically by the game as Cece. Additionally, the discrepancy between the numbers of male and female deaths can be attributed to Truth in Television, where men are three times more likely to be the victims of murder than women.
- It is also important to note that all male victims who are not Asshole Victims are treated to the same amount of sympathy as female non-Asshole Victims, and female murderers whose victims were male (i.e. Dahlia Hawthorne to Doug Swallow and Terry Fawles, with attempts on Diego Armando and Phoenix Wright) are not given any leniency because of their sex (the aforementioned character is arguably the most evil and unforgivable villain in the series). Male victims are also never shamed or made out to look incompetent.
- In regards to the gruesomeness of the victims' deaths, gender doesn't seem to factor in, and females are murdered just as ruthlessly as males: Cindy and Mia are bashed on their heads by statues onscreen, Valerie and Elise are stabbed in the back, Cece is stabbed, Candice Arme is hit in the head with a heavy bomb, Constance Courte is stabbed with an awl, and Metis Cykes is impaled by a katana; the sheer gruesomeness of the latter's death scene may have been a contributing factor to the game's M rating.
- In one case in particular, a male character is blamed by another for not protecting one of the women who died, despite the fact that he's a Non-Action Guy, was a young rookie at the time, and she was his far more capable and experienced Mentor. However, the character blaming him (Godot/Diego Armando) is revealed to be the boyfriend of the deceased who is projecting his own self-loathing for being unable to protect his girlfriend (despite the fact that he had been in a coma during her death and was thus physically unable to do anything to prevent it) onto Phoenix Wright, who was technically, by Godot's reasoning (i.e. he was alive and conscious), in a position to have stopped it. It is neither of their faults that the victim died, and the game makes it quite clear that Godot is sorely misguided — by having the victim herself, a channeled Mia Fey point it out to him, thus saving him from himself. It's also worth noting that Godot is a character with established sexist tendencies, hence his belief that men need to protect women at all costs.
- Investigations 2 gives us two female attempted murderers (Katherine Hall and Jill Crane) who, while incredibly sympathetic characters whose would-be victims are themselves unrepentant murderers, are not pardoned for their crimes. Once she's found out, Katherine acknowledges that her actions were inexcusable and gracefully accepts her punishment. Furthermore, while there is only one female murder victim (Crane), the male non-Asshole Victims Rooke and Cameron are treated very sympathetically.
- Dual Destinies evens out the playing field. Including the DLC case, there are three male victims (Rex Kyubi, Clay Terran, and Jack Shipley) and three female victims (Candice Arme, Constance Courte, and Metis Cykes), and all are treated sympathetically. Debatably, the real Bobby Fulbright, murdered a year prior to the events of the game, might also count as one of the victims, adding another to the male side; however, his case is not tried in court within the game and is only mentioned briefly, never explored.
- In the Assassin's Creed series, the in the present day Desmond only ever kills male guards and Templars, with the exception of killing Lucy Stillman through the apple; through Juno's command. Her death is treated with much concern and grief on Desmond's part. And in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Ezio only ever assassinates 3 female Templars across both games. Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, however, averts this to hell and back. See below.
- Gears of War: The first two games and the novelizations play this straight with the military. Only men do the fighting. All fertile women are expected to reproduce to replenish war losses, while non-fertile women serve in support roles. The third game, however, subverts this. The women fight alongside the men. This is because humanity is down to its last throes and needs every available body to fight. The prequel also averts this.
- In Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier, we meet the Aeropans in the beginning and see both men and women (no kids, though) wandering around the city. Once it's revealed that the Aeropans are bad guys, not only do they all become identical Mooks, but they all become male.
- Although, under all that heavy armor, it is very hard to be sure.
- Most of the zombies you encounter in half the games in the Resident Evil series are male. This is averted in the second and third games, as well as the Outbreak spin-offs, since the T-Virus escaped in a midwestern city. In the original game and Code: Veronica, the virus infected an isolated laboratory without any listed female personnel and an isolated South American prison complex that either had no female prisoners at all, or stored them on a part of the island that you never visit during gameplay.
- In Half-Life, all of the Red Shirt scientists and security guards Gordon Freeman encounters in the game are male. Writer Mark Laidlaw joked that all of them stayed home that day because they knew something was wrong, but the real reason is that they wanted to include female scientists, including a sequence where one would betray Gordon, but the system simply couldn't support it. The Fan Remake Black Mesa adds some female scientists, but all of the Headcrab Zombies and guards are still male.
- In Half-Life 2 the Combine Overwatch and Civil Protection units who make up the majority of the enemies the player will kill in the game, are humans who are either voluntarily collaborating with the Combine or are being forced to do so and are exclusively male. This can be understood, up to a point, but no explanation is given as to why Headcrab Zombies are also exclusively male.
- One of the enemies that didn't make it into the game was the obviously female Combine Assassin, the reason for this being that female Combine soldiers would be so heavily armored/augmented that they would resemble male combine soldiers anyway. Also, the Citizen in question was referring to the Civil Protection, who are separate to the Combine Overwatch and were never planned to have any female specific units.
- This behavior is encouraged in one of the missions in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, called Ravages of the Plague. There you pass through a village that is about to be sacked by bandits. Only one female villager appears there, and she is also the only named villager there — her name is Splendora. It doesn't matter how many male villagers get killed by bandits, but if Splendora survives, she gives you a potion.
- Near the end of the first episode of Telltale Games game The Walking Dead, the player has to choose between two characters to save from the zombies. They also track player choices. 75% of players chose to save Carly over Doug. Something of a cheat by the developers though: she's the only one with a gun, and the scene is laid out to look like she could save Doug better than the player character can if you toss her a fresh clip, but if you try to save him she will definitely be overrun while you're fighting in close quarters. One of the dialog choices immediately after even lets you state this was your intent.
- Inverted in Episode 4: the player has to make a choice between helping Christa or Omid on to the moving train. Omid obviously needs your help more than Christa due to his injured leg, and even though he manages to get on board even if you help Christa she chews you out for helping her instead of him.
- L.A. Noire has it to where you can gun down dozens of men, but a woman that shoots you you simply knock out. There is even a side mission where a woman and her two male accomplices are robbing a vault. You gun down both the males but if you gun down the woman you have to restart the mission.
- Averted in Syndicate Wars, the sequel to Syndicate: While the Unguided and the Church of the New Epoch include plenty of female fighters, Eurocorp agents and guards, as well as the Police, are universally male, barring one or two renegade female Eurocorp agents.
- Can be completely inverted in XCOM: Enemy Unknown. For reasons known only to the developers, the entire base staff of engineers, technicians, workers and scientists aside from one person (Dr. Vahlen) is male. You can recruit as many female soldiers as you want, however and have an all female squad, creating a situation where all the men essentially Stay in the Kitchen while the women fight and die to protect them, and this is XCOM so somebody *is* going to die.
- Meta example between two games:God of War: Ascension was met with accusations of misogyny by feminist groups after players received the trophy "Bros Before Hos"note , (which occurs after Kratos seemingly kills a single female enemy), despite the fact that the two events were not directly related.note The Tomb Raider reboot released soon after, gave players the 'Widowmaker' trophy for killing many male enemies, and received no such controversy from feminists, despite the fact that the two were explicitly related.
- Tomb Raider (2013) has this badly in general. The game starts out with eight named characters, four white men, one white woman, one Eurasian woman, one black woman and one Native American guy. Half of these characters die before the game ends, and no, you do not get points for guessing which half. Also, all enemies are men, and the vast majority of them white (there is one black guy as well as a small number of undead Samurai). However, all the villains have actually been browbeaten into serving the malevolent spirit of a female Japanese Empress who wants to transfer her spirit into the body of her descendant for likely malicious reasons, making this an interesting case of the Greater Scope Villain decreeing men as the expendable gender as she needs a female sacrifice to continue living.
- Tomb Raider has female villains, but they are quite rare and only appear as boss characters that advance the plot (Natla in Tomb Raider/Anniversary/Underworld, Sophia Leigh in Tomb Raider III, Kristina Boaz in Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness, and Amanda in Tomb Raider Legend/Underworld). All other enemies in the series are men that either advance the plot or serve as nothing more than mooks for Lara to shoot. Compared to the female villains in the series that have somewhat complex motives for their goals (reshape the world in their own image, revenge, etc.), the male villains tend to go for more simple goals, such as taking over the world or gaining power.
- Every human enemy in Borderlands is male. It isn't until the 4th and final expansion pack that you end up fighting a very small handful of female assassins. Borderlands2 continues with this, with the only female characters you fight in the entire game being the Sheriff of Lynchwood, Laney White, Motor Mamma, and the Sorcerer's Daughter.
- Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! continues this, even having the main enemy force be led by a female leader despite her being, apparently, the only woman in her unit. The Bandit-like Scavs are all male too.
- Grand Theft Auto allows the player to kill men and women at their own leisure as far as pedestrians are concerned. However, there are no female antagonists at all except for Catalina in Grand Theft Auto III, though her motives for betraying the player character is greed and nothing more.
- Super Smash Bros. for Wii U has an event match that plays the trope straight. You'll face off against Marth, Peach, and Zelda and you win by defeating Marth. Knocking out Peach or Zelda is an instant failure and the two princesses will always crowd around Marth to make your job that much harder.
- For a long time, PAYDAY: The Heist and PAYDAY 2 had no female police officers or playable female robbers, so all the violence was directed towards males only. Sometime during the sequel, two playable female characters were added and female FBI agents were added as enemies, though the latter only appear for one level. The Biker DLC adds a heist where you fight a gang of bikers that are composed of both men and women. The gang member that holds the keycard in day 2 is a female that wears a mask like the players, has a ton of health, and wields a light machine gun, a weapon that is only seen on Skulldozers (Death Wish difficulty) and the Commisar.
- Super Mario Bros. didn't have female antagonists or mooks for a while until Super Mario Bros. 3 introduced Wendy O. Koopa as a boss character. Wendy remained the resident token female enemy for the majority of the series, though the RPG spin offs would put female antagonists more in the spotlight. Admittedly its hard to tell the gender of most Mario enemies to begin with
- The Legend of Zelda in the exceedingly rare times, Link faces human enemies in the series, they're always males in face obscuring armor. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time would introduce female thieves that you had to sneak by in their fortress and you also had to fight some of them to free their prisoners. However, beating the guards causes them to just run away instead of dying. The Wicked Witches in the same game are killed however. This May be What Measure Is a Non-Human? however, as several enemies, and boss monsters are identified as female. In the rare times, Link faces human guards with their faces exposed, as in The Legend of Zelda Oracle games, they also run away.
- The developers of For Honor said in an interview that their game should be inclusive by having both male and female playable characters. This is what they did, but all the weak anonymous AI Mooks in the battlefield are exclusively male.
- Complete aversion on all points in Dead Winter— a sympathetic male character is seen sniping a female extra, whose death gets just one panel, and you see blood spatter from the exit wound.
- Another aversion on all counts is Digger. The hyena Digger comes to name Ed is an exile who killed his wife, because it was the only way to protect his child. Having been driven half-mad by the death of her first child at birth (which, while common to hyenas, she thought she was exempt from, since Ed was a surviving firstborn and therefore a living good luck charm), she began to beat first Ed, and then their daughter, at which point Ed realized his wife was never going to get better; so he killed her, in her sleep, to keep her from doing their daughter lasting harm, and then peaceably accepted exile because he knew that what he had done was technically unforgiveable (technically because most of the tribe knew the circumstances and felt he should be forgiven, but his in-laws, lead by his wife's sister, insisted upon exile if not the death sentence).
- In xkcd, one of the characters is playing a game where he gets the life history of the people he's shooting in an FPS. The caption indicates he starts feeling guilty when one of them turns out to be a woman. Then he starts feeling guilty that he didn't feel guilty for the dozens of other guys he just shot.
- In The Order of the Stick, when Haley, Belkar, and Celia are under attack by the Greysky City Thieves's Guild, this is played straight in the nameless mooks. There are a few women, and elves, but men dominate by a ratio of more than 5:1 and they are killed without sympathy (although Haley does mention most of the guild are jerks). Most notable when Belkar and the Cleric of Loki fight their way through a massive crowd of thieves, and all of the men are slaughtered while the lone woman gets kissed. It's inverted later after the mooks are dead, because the lone female named character, Crystal, is treated without any sympathy or redeeming features, while the level-headed and male Hank comes up with a plan to end all of the bloodshed.
- Inverted in "Xenospora". The matriarchal society of Praxis Prime measures losses by male deaths.
- The Mary Sue faces this criticism for their condemning of comics and videogames where female characters are put in harm's way, yet seldom showing outrage when the same happens to a male character. Case in point, The Killing Joke is considered misogynistic filth due to the treatment of Barbara Gordon, while no mention is made of James Gordon's kidnapping and torture in the same book, and Jason Todd's ordeal in A Death in the Family,
- A tacit example on This Very Wiki: the page image for Missing White Woman Syndrome (originally from Cracked) attacks the titular syndrome by noting in a parodic manner that black 'girls' who go missing don't receive the same attention and sympathy; no mention is made of 'male' humans of any race despite it being perfectly possible to make the same point that way. Apparently, saying that Missing White Woman Syndrome is bad by pointing out the lack of sympathy afforded to victimized men just wouldn't tug the same heartstrings.
- Superjail! on Adult Swim makes a habit of killing male prisoners in the most graphically disturbing ways possible. One episode it depicted a woman getting shot and slumping over to suggest the chaos had gone too far. Considering this was interspersed between images of men being decapitated and graphically disemboweled, it was a particularly jarring and perhaps intentional invocation of this trope.
- Some mild but significant examples in Avatar: The Last Airbender. In the episode "Zuko Alone", we learn that the soldiers lord their power "mostly over women and kids", this small dialogue serving both to damn the soldiers in the audience's eyes as well as gain more sympathy for Zuko and forgive him nearly killing the guy with firebending towards the end. Also, in the Grand Finale, Zuko agrees to an Agni Kai with Azula so "no one else has to get hurt", implying Katara being hurt is worse than him losing and possibly dying (this despite knowing firsthand how competent she is). Both these examples are particularly interesting as he comes from a surprisingly liberal country.
- Spoofed in an episode of The Simpsons. Homer and Marge find that Lisa went with Marge's reporter friend to a feminism convention and go to find her, only to learn that she and the reporter went to an erupting volcano instead. Homer says "I'll go save Lisa; you stay here!" and the feminists boo at the perceived Stay in the Kitchen. So Homer says "Okay, you go; I'll stay here", and gets more boos for putting her in danger. Exasperated, he asks "What do women want?!"
- In The Venture Bros., OSI strictly forbids the killing of women among its agents as a way to maintain a moral high ground. Brock really doesn't understand this and asks his mentor Hunter if any loopholes exist. The only one we hear is that a vampire is undead and thus not technically alive in the first place, so he could totally kill a female vampire if he wanted. Years later, Brock is sent to kill a rogue Hunter only to find that he's undergone sexual reassignment surgery and as such is off-limits.
- In the original Under the Hood comic, Black Mask's assistant Mr. Li is killed by Jason Todd. In the film adaptation, Batman: Under the Red Hood, Mr. Li becomes Ms. Li, who ends up Bound and Gagged by The Joker, but is otherwise unharmed.
- A particularly peculiar example occurs in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic among the Equestrian Guard. Despite the series' subliminal progressive and egalitarian themes, outside of Fanon the nation's armies seem to be exclusively comprised of stallions to the point where even the two participating characters among the guard, Shining Armor and... Flash Sentry... have been male. That being said, the show has come under fire from Moral Guardians on multiple occasions, so it's possible the producers simply don't want to risk another incident, especially considering the fact that every mare and stallion in Appleloosa leapt to its defense during the altercation with the neighboring tribe of buffalo. With pies, that is.
Anime and Manga
- The Magical Girl genre tends to have most villains female, either Monsters of the Week, Quirky Miniboss Squad, or both. Especially noticeable in Sailor Moon, where the [MOTWs] are 99% female and end up destroyed (the only male monsters who can't be defeated by being healed are in the Supers season, and even there they're barely a 1% of the monsters used).
- Attack on Titan averts this in more ways than one. The Titans aren't picky about the gender of those they eat and if they get hold of a woman, she is devoured just as messily as a man would be.
- Berserk is a notable aversion and yet a variation. While men are technically more shown dying than women due to most battles happening on a battlefield (it's a Medieval era drama), if the battle takes place anywhere else or if we're talking about executions, evil-aligned astral beings attacking villages or Apostles rampaging, women are just as likely to die and the author makes it a point to show it to us clearly and on-panel.
- Code Geass R2 has female Knightmare pilots dying, including an entire all-female unit.
- The hostage situation at the beginning of the second season Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex sees both men and women from the Chinese embassy held at gunpoint. Similarly, the availability of gynoids means a lot of artificial women are killed on screen through gunfights or other brutal exchanges.
- Additionally, given her status as Section 9's lone female member, Major Kusanagi is the only one who gets her head splattered, though her actual brain was remotely controlling her body at the end of the first season. By the second season, however, she's joined an actual, permanent fatality, with one of the rookies'.
- Mobile Suit Gundam, particularly in the Universal Century series, does a good job of keeping significant male and female death rate about the same, contributing to director Yoshiyuki Tomino's Kill 'em All reputation. Of particular note is Mobile Suit Victory Gundam's infamous all-female Shrike Team, that dies off one by one from the moment they're introduced.
- It's important to note that while this trope is frequently averted with regards to the main characters (which often have a relatively decent male-to-female ratio on the front lines, making aversions unavoidable) Gundam usually plays it straight otherwise. The vast majority of anonymous extras killed off, be they redshirts or mooks, are male. Most female deaths are from the main cast, and are thus significant and/or tragic. This is a rather bizarre phenomenon when one thinks about it: with there being women in the main cast as members of the Federation/Zeon/Alliance/ZAFT/etc. it would seem that those organizations have no problem allowing women to serve, but when pretty much all the background mobile suit pilots, grunts, and officers are men.
- In the Earth Alliance warships and bases. When GENESIS wipes out the Earth Alliance lunar bases you see women explode alongside men, and female wounded/dead pilots. Also see in Gundam Seed Destiny when the Earth Alliance smashes rebels in western Eurasia plenty of females are killed. Also, see the CYCLOPS system, destroying JOSH-A. You see females go plop there, and the wounded seen in the aftermath of the attack. Also the massacre at Panama's mass driver.
- Shakugan no Shana likes to show a typical cross-section of society being frozen in time and eaten by monsters, with no distinction made or fanfare placed on any non-main character regardless of gender, age, or social status. (In other words, men, women, and children all die onscreen, and men and women die at roughly equal frequencies.)
- In Freezing, battles with Novas require the involvement of Pandoras and Limiters, who are always female and male respectively. Battles with the Nova always involve insanely high morality rates for both genders and the death of a Limiter is typically as horrific and emotionally scarring as the death of a Pandora.
- In The Walking Dead comic, no one is safe from dying. Men die, women die, kids die, everyone dies. In fact, the only characters from the start of the comic still alive are Andrea, Rick (whose missing an arm), and his son Carl (and the left side of Carl's face is disfigured and left eye missing cause he got shot in the face).
- In ATM, two men and a woman are trapped in an ATM by a psychotic killer. One of the men lives.
- The Evil Dead trilogy. Of the seven people killed in the first two movies, five of them are women. The Sole Survivor of the party is a man. Admittedly, a man who Took a Level in Badass, but still.
- The Blade Trilogy, where female vampires get ashed in the background to no more note than the male vampires, though there are far more male vampires getting killed.
- Inglourious Basterds: none of the female characters survive, whereas three important male characters do. Von Hammersmark's strangulation was at least as brutal as any of the male deaths.
- In The Man with the Iron Fists the three main male characters also survive while none of the female characters do.
- Death Proof has a significantly higher body count for women.
- The Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher Black Comedy Killers is amazingly egalitarian about killing off male and female bad guys. There are equal numbers of male and female bad guys and there is no difference at all in how (un)sympathetically they are depicted and how they are killed.
- Death Race averts this numerically, but plays it straight in its use of Gory Discretion Shots for most female deaths. (Also, the rule seems to be applied in-universe to the death race itself — it's just that the race is so risky that female navigators are likely to get killed anyways.)
- In Sanctum, the lead female character (Victoria) dies, with her dead body later seen.
- 1997 Starship Troopers featured both men and women being ripped apart by giant space bugs. One woman gets dragged down a burrow by her crushed legs, another is bisected by a closing emergency door, while another is impaled through the shoulder. The women suffer just as much as the men, and Paul Verhoeven goes into excruciating detail with every kill, making it hard to really find standouts. The only notable female death given any attention is Dizzy, but even then, her death was no cleaner than any other in the film.
- The obscure science fiction movie Gog features a security agent investigating sabotage and murder at a secret underground laboratory. There are a number of brutal onscreen and offscreen killings by robots, lasers, radiation, getting frozen to absolute zero, etc. The ratio of male to female victims is about the same. (Quite unusual for a movie released back in 1954...).
- In Deep Blue Sea all three female characters are killed, and so are all but two of the male ones.
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier completely averts this. Female characters are seen to be shot, injured and (for background characters) killed as much as the men, most notably Black Widow and Agent 13. The movie also deserves props for having both gender as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and Hydra Mooks in the background (although in the latter's case all of the significant character are men).
- Warcraft has female warriors fighting alongside their male counterparts on both the Orc and human sides of the conflict, and they are killed off just as readily as the men during battle. Bonus points for the human Stormwind soldiers, who wear bulky, obscuring armor, so you won't even know they're female until they let out a death scream as they're being crushed by an Orc's hammer.
- In A Brother's Price, the protagonists are horrified when they find the corpse of a man. The female bodies nearby? Just business as usual. As about five to ten boys are born for every hundred girls, males are sheltered and protected. Killing a male is seen as crossing the Moral Event Horizon. In the course of the plot, our heroes kill a couple of women, but not men whatsoever.
- In Carnosaur a woman and her two children, a son Simon and daughter Fiona, get attacked by a dinosaur. Both Fiona and her mother are killed and Simon lives. The villain's henchmen later debate killing the boy because he saw the dinosaur and decide not to, with Simon's gender never entering their decision making process. Males and females still die in essentially equal numbers but this incident of the brother surviving and the sister dying in a sibling pair is noteworthy as usually writers will seemingly choose the girl to spare and not the boy.
- David Weber's Honor Harrington series completely subverts this. There is an abundance of female villains, including mooks. There are women serving in the navies, marines, and armies of Haven, Manticore, and every state except Grayson, plus there are female pirates, merchant crewmembers, thugs, and Havenite State Sec personnel. The women die as often as the men-which is very frequently, considering that it is a military sci-fi series. In universe, the conservative Graysons are the only ones who play this straight, but they are gradually moving away from it.
- For a long time in their history Graysons had to adopt this strategy as they were teetering on the brink of planetary extinction. They needed babies to survive which required lots of women having lots of babies. Due to a massively unequal sex ration between males and females, they practiced polygamy for the same purpose.
Live Action TV
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer is far more willing to kill off its major female characters than its male ones; Jenny, Kendra, Joyce, Tara, Buffy and Anya all die before the end of the final episode, whereas the only significant male good guy to die (and stay dead) is Jonathan. That said, the vast majority of the mostly-all-killed-off villains were male.
On the other hand, it's hinted quite often, particularly by Spike in Seasons 2 and 3, that vampire feeding habits are very connected with sexuality. In other words, they kill whatever sort of person they used to be attracted to as humans (male heterosexual vampires would kill women, and so on). As a result, we could expect a relatively mixed vampire population. Nevertheless, the vast majority of the hordes of vampires Buffy kills are male. The female-male mook ratio is generally around 2:5.
- Heroes. Sylar has no problem killing people of all genders.
- Lost is often criticized by female fans for constantly killing off female characters. 7 of the 9 main female characters have died or are unaccounted for.
- NCIS: According to the wikipedia entry, ALL the regular/recurring good guys who have been killed off were female.
- Except for Pacci, but he was in about three episodes and was promptly disemboweled... in season 1. That was in 2004. He was the only one.
- Changed as of Season Eight as in "Swan Song" recurring character Mike Franks is Killed Off for Real, but that still does not go a long way towards evening the scales.
- Supernatural, anyone? Season 11 leaves only about four recurring female characters still alive (Lisa Braeden, Jody Mills, Linda Tran and Amelia Richardson, for those curious).
- Boardwalk Empire, all of the gangsters who are killed off are necessarily male, but several prominent female characters have also been killed off. One minor recurring character got used as a Human Shield.
- Charmed featured its fair share of female villains and yes female Mooks, a few of which are killed off with no fanfare. The sisters themselves may count since they have each died many times, Phoebe taking the honours with nine deaths. Female innocents tended to get killed off a lot as well. Sometimes their deaths would come with emotional impact but so would deaths of some male innocents.
- An early episode of Kamen Rider had Shocker kidnapping pet owners. The villainess of the episode made sure to note that the men would be spared for experimentation, implying that the unfortunate female captives would simply be killed and disposed of. And there were a lot of female pet owners shown lined up at Shocker's trap...
- On an episode of Night Court when there is the threat of a hurricane hitting the courthouse Judge Stone tells the galley to evacuate in this order: "First the elderly and infirmed, then women, then able-bodied men!" Instead everyone panics and rushes out at the same time.
- While 24 does play the trope straight in a few areas, female characters will still get killed as often as male characters, both supporting and minor. In addition, while there are more male terrorists and criminals than female ones, the male ones have a much higher chance of surviving: while a good number of male terrorists wind up only captured by the end of a season, even including a Big Bad or two, female terrorists will always die by the season's end with the only exception being Mandy.
- Red vs. Blue: Season 9 had female mooks mixed in among the dozens of male mooks getting mowed down.
- Into the Woods: The first act follows the logic of Grimms' fairy tales (albeit the gorey, non-Bowdlerised versions), while the second act Anyone Can Die. This ranges from sympathetic characters making relatable mistakes (The Baker's wife getting distracted, Rapunzel panicking, Jack's mother mouthing off) to troubled anti-villains (The Witch disappearing, The Giantess going on a grief-stricken rampage) coming to tragic ends. Given the domestic focus of these fairy tales, a lot of these characters just happen to be women.
- In Bloodborne, of all the characters you can rescue in Yharnam, if you have progressed all of their quest lines, the Sole Survivor would be Narrowed Minded Man. And the rest of the women? Given the situation of Mars Needs Women brought by Oedon, how desperate you need the Umbilical Cord pillaged from the pregnants note , as well as killing the others for Caryll Rune note , and some dies on their own note , they are all dead.
- Call of Duty: Black Ops III is the first game in the series to have female combatants among the enemy forces.
- Deus Ex: Invisible War is one of the few FPS's that completely averts this trope. The Order, SSC, the WTO military, and the Knights Templar all have an abundance of female troops for the player to gun down. Male cannon fodder enemies still outnumber female ones, but not by a very wide margin. The only human enemy types that don't have female character models are the Arctic Templars and the Illuminati Commandos (the latter may be justified with the possibility of them being cloned). This is likely the result of the developers compensating for the lack of gender equality in the original Deus Ex, where the only female non-boss enemy is the occasional Woman In Black.
- Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus shows female soldiers operating on the front-lines for both Deep Ground and the WRO, and while being less in number than their male counterparts, are picked off in cutscenes and gameplay. A sizable number of female Deep Ground troopers will be taken down by Vincent as you play through the game, with no way or attempt to avoid it.
- In Final Fantasy VIII wide shots of SEED in combat we see as many women as men.
- A subversion or something in Left 4 Dead where the opening cinematic of the first game shows Zoey (a female) telling the rest (males) to go on while she holds off the tank (a big freaking zombie) and she almost dies. Yes, a young, attractive, female character almost heroically sacrificed herself. Then played straight by the second game, we see that Bill (a male) actually DID die defending the rest of the group, although he was the Cool Old Guy
- The background of the story, however, hints that the females are much more susceptable to being infected than males, as males apparently possess the gene required to be immune to the virus and then become carriers. This is reflected by the fact that both teams of survivors only had one female in the group. However you encounter roughly the same amount of females and male common infected in-game. Special Infected, however, are largely lopsided towards the male end of the spectrum, with 2 dedicated female Special Infected and around 5 male Special Infected, and 1 that has both a male and female version. This may be a subversion, however, as Mass Speculation thinks it may be due to certain hormones and chemicals that causes this, rather than it being lazy on the dev part (or both).
- Final Fantasy X features the Crusaders, which is a military organization which has both male and female members. In one memorable sequence, they launch an offensive against Sin the result of which a massive amount of their members are annihilated. Women as well as men are shown being disintegrated, and the death that carries the most emotional weight out of all these for the player characters is that of a man.
- Among the crowds of people that try to kick your ass in Streets of Rage are a surprising amount of women.
- In Saints Row all the rival gangs are destroyed completely except for 2 important male characters Benjemin King and Donny while Tanya Winters and Lin, 2 of the only 3 important female gang members (Aisha never actually joined the Saints) both die by the end of the game.
- Also averted numerically: enemies (whether gang members or police officers) are just as likely to be female as male (indeed, sometimes it seems most of the cops are female) and the game never makes a big deal out of it.
- DLC for Saints Row: The Third allows boss and a female supporting character to kill literally dozens of Space Amazons with laser weapons. The whole thing is just the setting of a movie, but the weapons are all shown to be quite lethal and if boss is a woman herself, then the whole thing is a massive Action Girl Fight with no men even being seen. Still not convinced? There are two achivements for killing 35 Amazons with one of the ray guns and another for beating 7 to death with melee attacks! Saints Row may be a lot of things, but it does not discriminate against its characters.
- The main game also had a mission called "Trojan Whores" where one of the Saints' cribs is attacked by an army of "hooker assassins" hired by the DeWinter sisters. By the end of the mission all of them are dead and many lonely men are left without company for the evening.
- Thief: The Dark Project had only male enemies, but its sequel went out of its way to avert this; nearly half of all guards, police, enemy zealot Mechanists or others were female.
- Final Fantasy X-2 had pink-clad female goons fighting alongside green-clad male goons in the Leblanc Syndicate. Since the main characters (all women) have to go undercover in the Syndicate at one point, they would have stood out a bit more if there were no other females in that force.
- Assassin's Creed: Syndicate goes out of its way to avert this, with female Mooks fighting for the templars and rival gangs, in addition to female boss enemies and high-ranking templars. This is likely an Author's Saving Throw after Ubisoft made asses out of themselves trying to explain the absence of female Assassins in Assassin's Creed: Unity.
- BioWare loves to avert this trope:
- Mass Effect has plenty of female Mooks to go around. In the first game, female Mooks seemingly show up randomly and can be anything from snipers to soldiers to biotic commandos. Mass Effect 2 still has female enemies but they show up in specific roles, mostly commonly the heavy trooper class, but also as engineers and vanguards. This is likely because it's easier for the game designers to make a class of enemies one particular gender for programming reasons, although in one mission you go up against an all-female mercenary army that obviously has female characters fulfilling all roles. Finally, in Mass Effect 3, the only organic enemies you'll face (kind of) are the all-human Cerberus forces, which has two types of enemies that are always female: the Nemesis sniper class and the Phantom biotic class. And of course, allied female characters show up all over the place and are just as readily dispatched as the men by big-honking robots and machine gunners within the first half-hour of each game alone.
- Several species in the Mass Effect universe play this straight however, for entirely practical reasons. Krogan females stay on Tuchanka, their homeworld, and breed with male krogan rather than leave to become mercenaries, but this is because the krogan have been hit by a Sterility Plague that makes fertile females astronomically rare, so obviously they can't be thrown into the fray. The salarians also don't have any women in dangerous occupations, but this is because selective breeding habits make only 10% of the entire species female. As a result, the salarians are a matriarchy where the women are "stuck" leading the salarians.
- Dragon Age absolutely averts this with female Mooks and characters running around in both the enemy and allied forces, even if they're numerically rarer than male enemies. Nonetheless, as far back as Dragon Age: Origins you could saw a female Mook's head off with your sword, and Dragon Age II included an Amazon Brigade street gang that you could potentially end up fighting. The Qunari don't let their women fight, but they're a largely offscreen presence in the games. The only outlier to this otherwise very clear cut aversion is a main mission in the first game where Redcliffe village is under attack by the undead and only the men of the town volunteer to join the militia and fight against them, while the women and children hide in the chantry.
- Mass Effect has plenty of female Mooks to go around. In the first game, female Mooks seemingly show up randomly and can be anything from snipers to soldiers to biotic commandos. Mass Effect 2 still has female enemies but they show up in specific roles, mostly commonly the heavy trooper class, but also as engineers and vanguards. This is likely because it's easier for the game designers to make a class of enemies one particular gender for programming reasons, although in one mission you go up against an all-female mercenary army that obviously has female characters fulfilling all roles. Finally, in Mass Effect 3, the only organic enemies you'll face (kind of) are the all-human Cerberus forces, which has two types of enemies that are always female: the Nemesis sniper class and the Phantom biotic class. And of course, allied female characters show up all over the place and are just as readily dispatched as the men by big-honking robots and machine gunners within the first half-hour of each game alone.
- Similar to the Streets of Rage example, God Hand also averts this. The only exception is in the first stage as all the enemies are men. Some of the hostages are women though and can be killed if not saved or "accidentally" killed by the player.
- While the mooks in Star Wars: Battle for Naboo are genderless droids for the majority of the game, the eleventh mission pits the player against Borvo the Hutt's private fleet of mercenary fighters, whose pilots have a roughly even male/female ratio. The kicker? The only indication of the pilots' genders is from the screams they make over the radio as you shoot them down, one by one...
- Warframe partially averts this. While the Corpus seem to deploy only men onto the battlefield (backed by a variety of cyborg and robot units), the Grineer have a number of female combatants- primarily either harpoon-throwing assassins or highly-armored heavy gunners. Given that the Grineer are a bunch of degenerate clones, most of whom are extremely violent and have a natural lifespan of less than a decade, it's possible that both of their genders have no actual role in reproduction and women are considered just as expendable as men. As for the Tenno... while the Warframes themselves have gender-specific physiques and are called "him" or "her" in their in-game descriptions, the fact that they are manufactured shells psionically-controlled by Operators may preclude them actually being able to reproduce.
- Pokémon averts this among the titular mons. Among Pokémon, gender (or lack thereof) will not save you from a fight. The move Attract (which creates a failure chance on an opposite-gender Pokémon) can be learned as easily by males whose species can learn it as by the females. Further, the gender of human characters is completely irrelevant to any battle mechanic, with the only consideration being how good a trainer you are. The only difference is that characters will often have Pokémon matching their gender.
- The Luminoth in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes has both their men and women being slaughtered by the Ing during the war before the start of the game. As you progress, the game isn't afraid of showing you many dead Luminoth peppered throughout every region and scanning some of them shows how both male and female Luminoth met their end.
- While the lion's share of unnamed Mooks are male, in terms of named characters, Fire Emblem Fates inverts this. Due to in- and out-of-universe oddities with how the second generation characters are recruited, it's the father that needs to be present for the story to make sense, so most of the men the player recruits will only be permanently wounded rather than Killed Off for Real, whereas any non-plot-crucial female (that is, most of them) will buy the farm for real. Meanwhile the Another Side, Another Story nature of the game means your enemies have the same fairly equal gender ration the player does, and they die in droves.
- A massive aversion occurs in Dead Ends. Most female characters who are introduced are killed off by the end of the chapter. In fact, by chapter 6 Foxy is the only female main character still alive.
- The Legend of Korra makes sure that there are female mooks, from random robbers to villains' henchmen, in the background along with the male ones. While killing isn't particularly common due to this being a kids' show, they all get more or less the same beating.
- A notable exception is the Northern Water Tribe's military during Season 2, which still seems to be an all-male force even after 70 years. Apparently Katara's lesson to Master Pakku didn't sink in...
Anime and Manga
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Lust suffers one of the more brutal deaths in the series as she is repeatedly burned alive onscreen by Roy Mustang. Yes, it is a gorn death at the hands of a male character that is played not as horror, but as a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
- Compare her role in the 2003 anime version, where she is recast as a sympathetic villain and her death is used to destroy sympathy for Wrath.
- One subplot in the original Mobile Suit Gundam is Char Aznable's hunt for revenge against the Zabi family. Three of the men die in explosions, one is shot in the head, but the worst is saved for last when the only woman, Kycelia Zabi, is decapitated by a bazooka. Through the glass window of a launching spacecraft in zero-gravity while floating amidst debris in a space-suit.
- The anime Angel Cop features a female communist being shot several times, with the final bullet blowing her skull into pieces in full Gorn-y detail. The death isn't remarked upon as anything particularly noteworthy by the nearby police officer witnessing it other than an impressive display of marksmanship.
- Berserk makes its second appearance here. In the Berserk-verse, Gorn is for everyone, and we mean E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E. Men, women, children, babies, pets... No one is safe from a Cruel and Unusual Death at the hands of the Apostles. That is, if humans themselves don't take the job.
- Gantz goes to great lengths to show the reader that yes, Anyone Can Die.
- In Higurashi: When They Cry everyone dies horribly, often. It seems however, that the women have the worst deaths.
- That depends on your personal opinion of clawing oneself to death. Also, it should be noted that there are six female protagonists and one male.
- In Freezing, deaths are brutal, bloody, horrifying and destructive for both male and females and battles with the Monster of the Week, the Novas, leaves fields and scores of ripped to pieces bodies of both males and females. A recent arc takes this Up to Eleven, showing both genders getting eaten alive slowly and painfully.
- Antichrist: Lars von Trier hates women.
- Exploitation films are very fond of torturing women, usually in a sexually charged way - people care more. For an example, look at schlock like The Body Shop
- The Midnight Meat Train's first onscreen death is a woman whose head is smashed in with a meat tenderizer. Later in the movie it gets hard to tell if it's played straight or averted, because the camera rarely settles on the victims long enough to tell their gender.
- Women end up in unpleasant traps all the time in the Saw movies — most memorably, one woman ends up chopping her own arm off to escape a trap in Saw V.
- Played straight in the first one, where the only victim to survive the (arguably much easier) puzzle is a woman.
- Averted by Saw III, which has all the named female characters die. The final female death is also extremely violent: the lady gets her face blown off with shotgun shells.
- Zig-zagged in Saw VI; the victims that do live are women, and the female victims that die either could not have been saved or only have themselves to blame for it.
- Subverted by the first trap of Saw 3D. Two men have to fight and kill each other to save a girl. Who dies? The girl. They let her die because they realize she was playing them against each other for the umpteenth time.
- Piranha 3D may be the ultimate gorn aversion: while the victims make up both genders the many, many, many women who become fish food (or sliced in half by falling cables or get scalped by motor boat engines...) almost certainly make up more of the gorn onscreen than the male victims.
- Three female characters are killed by the unstable robots in Chopping Mall the Rich Bitch of the group gets the goriest death, her head explodes after one shoots her in the head with it's laser gun.
- Mad Max: Fury Road makes extensive use of the Gory Discretion Shot (cutting to the aftermath, having them implied or panning away to show them from a distance) for both male and female deaths; however, all the exceptions but one are male and the Big Bad gets the most brutal death by far.
- Gladiator's recreation of the Battle of Zama in the Colosseum features several female chariot-mounted archers on the Roman side of the battle, who are just as subject to gory deaths as everyone else in the arena: One of them is bisected by a chariot wheel-blade, while another has her throat sliced open by Maximus. Though some have criticized their inclusion as being historically inaccurate, female gladiators did indeed exist during the time period the movie takes place.
- You can eviscerate, explode, burn... any random female you find in Postal (a really equal game in Gorn).
- In Soldier of Fortune, you can blow up the Prometheus Squad female soldiers in one hit just like the rest of the male enemies.
- Being a woman in Fallout will not save you from exploding into meat chunks after taking a .44 to the face. There is even a perk male characters can get that lets them manipulate women through dialog and deal extra damage to them in combat. If he wanted to, a male player can put 100 skill points in unarmed and take a few perks that will let him beat every evil female slaver and raider he comes across to death with his bare hands. And it is absolutely the right thing to do.
- Dead Space. Men, women, children, babies... these games WILL kill you horribly unless you are the protagonist, and sometimes EVEN THEN.
- God of War: Kratos doesn't care about gender. If you're a female monster/God/Fury, he will eviscerate you all the same.
- Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, the stand-alone expansion to Wolfenstein: The New Order, includes only three female enemies that you will kill (zombified Pippa, zombified Annette, and Helga von Schabbs), but they are just as brutally dispatched as the male enemies, which in this game means lots and lots of Ludicrous Gibs.
- In both "No More Heroes" games, the women are killed off every bit as brutally as the men, but they are still portrayed much more sympathetically than them. He's still reluctant to kill women, but a female assassin tells him that it must be done. In the second game, Travis jumps from 50th place to 25th place on the assassin rankings when he defeats the high school football star's giant fighting robot and it explodes with the athlete and his cheerleaders still inside of it.
- During an early moment in Xenoblade we see a female civilian crushed to death, complete with limbs going limp, by a mechon. Probably one of the more brutal deaths in that game as well.
- Family Guy doesn't hesitate to show violent and graphic female deaths onscreen, for example, Peter blew out an Indian girl's head and Stewie's evil clone sliced a woman in half, among others.
- In South Park is common to see women die or get killed in gruesome manners (equal as men) when the masses die in some episodes. Also, one episode shows Britney Spears shooting herself in the face onscreen and she didn't die. Well, not yet at least.
- ''Bring Me The Head of Charlie Brown'' is a Peanuts fan film made by animator Jim Reardon when he was an animation student. Virtually all of the cast, male and female, get brutally gunned down Peckinpah-style, but Lucy gets the worst of it by far...
Anime and Manga
- Sonic X tends to avert this trope particularly in series three, where Molly and Cosmo both die. Cosmo's death is long, tragic and beautiful; Molly's not so much, perhaps because she's only in one episode while Cosmo is a character throughout the third series. Of course if you watch the 4Kids English dubs you'll walk away thinking they were just Put On A Bus or something.
- Xenophilia presents a version of Equestria where, on average, female ponies outnumber the males by four to one, and in Ponyville, eight to one. Thus, historically, stallions have been more valuable simply because there are barely enough of them to go around. This leads to an inversion of the typical sexism seen in Real Life, such as a social stigma against mares hitting stallions, old-fashioned ideas about stallions staying in the fields, and so on.
- In A Brother's Price, the protagonists are horrified when they find the corpse of a man. The female bodies nearby? Just business as usual. As about five to ten boys are born for every hundred girls, males are sheltered and protected. Killing a male is seen as crossing the Moral Event Horizon. In the course of the plot, our heroes kill a couple of women, but not men whatsoever. Because that would be terrible.
- The death of Charity Burbage in the Villain Opening Scene of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The previous three books each featured the death of a sympathetic male character and all these deaths were treated with great weight. In contrast, Charity Burbage's death was essentially just a plot device to explain why the Muggle Studies position is open this year and she's barely mentioned for the rest of the book (and in the film, she's not mentioned again at all). Of course, she had never previously appeared in the series, although she was quickly established as a sympathetic character. It's also notable that Snape managed to not lose any sympathy points for allowing her to die as part of maintaining his cover.
Dumbledore: If Lily means so much to you, surely Lord Voldemort will spare her? Could you not ask for mercy for the mother, in exchange for the son?Snape: I have - I have asked him -Dumbledore: You disgust me. (Snape seemed to shrink a little.) You do not care, then, about the deaths of her husband and child? They can die, as long as you have what you want?
- Another subversion in Harry Potter. Snape attempts to get Voldemort to kill James Potter and his son Harry, but spare the mother, Lily, who he loves. However, Lily sacrifices her life for Harry instead. Dumbledore even gets Snape to admit that he acted as if Men Are The Expendable Gender:
Live Action Television
- The opening of one episode of Growing Pains has a subversion of the "husband goes to check out a strange noise in the night while the wife stays safely in the room" scenario, where both Jason and Maggie Seaver carefully investigate a potential robber while brandishing a hockey stick and ice skate respectively as makeshift weapons, which turns out to be their son Mike sneaking back into the house after staying out past curfew.
- Saints Row again. During the final mission of the Vice Kings arc Tanya Winters (female) is confronted by Jhonny, King, and Playa (all male) and brutally shot several times before King sends her plunging out the window onto a parked car below, killing her. The entire death plays out as if she were just another male boss and no one even bothers to comment on it.
- Assassin's Creed generally has fewer female enemies, but when they do die they both usually had it coming and aren't treated with any more weight than the other enemies who get a Dying Speech. The only female villain who doesn't get treated like the rest is Lucrezia Borgia, partly because the historical one lived through the strife caused by her family only to suffer Death by Childbirth, and because it's clear that she is at best an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain who loses most of her drive to do ill once her brother and father are both dead.
- Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood has Lia de Russo, an amoral smuggler who Ezio finds standing over the body of her latest kill and hunts down and kills without a second thought. The Hellequin Caha is also dispatched by a single crossbow bolt to the back of the head without any fanfare.
- Assassin's Creed: Revelations Ezio kills Mirela Djuric and Lysistrata, one of whom is a Romani turncoat working for the Templars and the other an Ax-Crazy thespian who kills for fun and whose targeting of male victims indicates that she believes in this trope.
- Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag also doesn't treat the deaths of Lucia Márquez and Jing Lang as being anything less than karma. For Lucia Márquez, it's because she intended to wipe out the Taino people including a woman who was very likely her own half sister (not that either knew) as revenge for the (probably deserved) death of her father. And in Jing Lang's case, she and feigned a romantic relationship with Assassin in an attempt to get information of a treasure cache and played to both brothers' paranoia so that they killed one another.
Anime and Manga
- Variation in Berserk, again. Casca is considered less expendable than the rest of the Hawks during the Eclipse but not because she's female, but because she is in charge in the absence of Griffith.
- More literally, during the Conviction's Arc, Nina's cowardly and indecisive behavior in the face of imminent danger, even though she wasn't a main character or anything. Her failure at being useful to the group she was tagging along with (which included a child, Isidro, and a retarded thus truly helpless woman, Casca) and trying to avoid putting herself on the line for everyone's welfare was met with unanimous disapproval.
- The Legend Of Mother Sarah is an aversion in that, even though it's a woman-centered story, it doesn't treat female death (which happens quite a lot) as something to be grieved over more than male death. If anything, women just get no special treatment for being women.
- In Munich, the Israeli assassins kill a Dutch woman who killed one of their co-workers. Although they retain audience sympathy, or at least remain morally ambivalent, that assassination is also portrayed as more noteworthy than the assassinations of numerous male characters and the only assassination that was questioned in-movie, which is especially interesting as she is an amoral hitwoman working for pay and thus arguably morally worse than the ideologically motivated Black September members that make up the other victims.
- In The Sting Hooker begins a relationship with a waitress who (unknown to him and the audience) is actually an assassin contracted by The Irish Mob to kill him. She is killed before she can do it by a bodyguard hired by Gondorff. The moment itself is shocking, but there is no angst or condemnation about it - she might as well have been a male hitman.
- While From Paris with Love features a lot more in the way of the heroes killing male mooks, Wax has no trouble shooting and killing a female terrorist and isn't demonised for it. Reese is eventually forced to shoot his fiancee Caroline when she is threatening to trigger a suicide bomb and while he hesitates and it's obviously sad it's presented as absolutely the right thing to do.
- Walter shoots, Phyllis in Double Indemnity, disgusted at her manipulation of him, shortly before dying himself. Despite the fact that he did all the actual killing and most of the cover up, the film makes sure to depict Phyllis as a shady lady right from the beginning and thus make her look like an evil manipulator and Walter look like a helpless schmuck.
- Red has two villainous female characters: a rocket launcher carrying hitwoman and Cooper's boss CIA agent Cynthia Wilkes who is eventually revealed to be The Dragon. Both are killed by male good guys without pause or comment regarding their gender.
- While many modern action films have a Dark Action Girl (who may or may not be killed) Iron Man 3 is unusual in having plenty of female Mooks in the ranks of the villain's organization who get killed off with as little fanfare as their male counterparts.
- In Django Unchained has a female bounty hunter get shot without any more focus than the other male Mooks in the same scene, and Django shoots Laura Candi across the room without any hesitation. Should be no surprise coming from Quentin Tarantino.
- The Dark Knight Rises: Miranda/Talia is the main villain and nobody sheds a tear for her when she dies.
- Halo: Nightfall averts this. Once the Condor crashes and "lifeboat rules" are brought up when the protagonists realize only two people will be getting off the Alpha Shard alive, no one mentions making sure the two female soldiers on the team - Wisner and Macer - are the ones to go. Instead, they all agree to draw straws to decide who makes it out alive once their mission is complete. Or that how it would have gone if everyone didn't start to betray one another, until it's only Locke, Aiken, and Macer who end up drawing straws in the end.
- The straw drawing scene is more of a subversion than a clear cut aversion. During the final scene where Locke, Aiken, and Macer draw straws, Macer is initially left out of the drawing not because she's a woman, but because she's the youngest one in the group, and both Locke and Aiken have something of a Death Wish at this point. She demands being let in on it though, so she draws with Aiken and Locke and ends up getting to leave the Alpha Shard with Locke. Subverted again when it's revealed that Aiken rigged the drawing so that he would be the one to stay behind and ensure their survival.
- Also, the first character to die after the Condor crash is Wisner, who is killed off in a rather Gorn-y death. Her death is mourned by the team, but not any more so than any of the other characters once they start dying and before everyone starts backstabbing each other.
- In A Brother's Price, the villains have killed a man. Everyone takes this as proof of utter depravity, the villains have crossed the Moral Event Horizon by doing so. Women are often killed in feuds or such, that's just what happens. But men are very rare, and valued very highly. The villains also raped the dead man before killing him, which, as a protagonist points out, makes it even more horrible, as "What will they tell their daughters? 'I killed your father'?"
Live Action Television
- Eddie Orlofsky of Desperate Housewives is a Serial Killer who only targets women (including at one point the fan favorite Julie Mayer, though she survived) but the show is remarkably sympathetic towards him, depicting him as very much a Tragic Villain. He is even given a Freudian Excuse that explicitly blames a woman for what he became - his mother.
- In the Justice League episode "Fury", this trope is actually noted upon by the Amazons, as Hippolyta notes firsthand that she didn't think it was important, to realize her mistake.