Men Use Violence, Women Use Communication
"Our females don't lack for spirit. For males, a good show of force sorts things out. But females like to talk about it. And think about it. (sigh) And then talk about it some more! (...) So sometimes I pretend to listen and... well, let's just say krogan females have tempers too."The main bulk of any narrative is that whatever conflict exists gets resolved, in either the hero's or villain's way. An action show would typically showcase some form of violence as a method of solving conflict, while a more dialogue based show would showcase a form of compromise to have it resolved. Though there's a mindset out there that dictates that the process of conflict resolution is usually based on gender, with men being associated with violence and aggression and women being aligned with compromise and/or manipulation and this is applied regardless of what the show's genre is, which results in any of the following scenarios:
— Urdnot Wrex, Mass Effect 3
- Men getting praised for using either violence or compromise, and women getting booed at for not using the latter.
- Women being lauded regardless of what method of conflict resolution is being used, and men being considered pansies unless they solely focus on using violence.
- Women being lauded as automatically morally superior to men because of this trope—the "if only women were in charge, we wouldn't have wars" idea.
- Violent men putting a permanent end to the conflict, while manipulative women, for all the mudslinging and underhanded tactics that they use, end up prolonging the feud, sometimes to the point where it goes on forever.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Gender flipped in Axis Powers Hetalia, with Austria and Hungary. Austria prefers to use marriage and alliances to avoid conflict, while Hungary cheerfully will beat up anything that threatens them.
- Genderflipped by most Tsundere, who prefer to use a Megaton Punch instead of letting their Love Interest explain the compromising situation she finds him.
- In the Mazinger trilogy -Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger and UFO Robo Grendizer- male characters tend to resort quickly to violence to solve a conflict whereas female characters tend to look for alternate, peaceful means to solve it or regret when a peaceful outcome seems out of reach:
- In Mazinger Z episode 3 Sayaka tested Aphrodite-A's new weapons and stated that she wished that Aphrodite was only used for peaceful purposes. In the prior episode Koji swore that he would use his Super Robot to fight Dr. Hell.
- King Vega was convinced that invading and conquering other planets was the only way to find a new home to his subjects after their homeworld's demise. Duke was convinced that the only way to stop them from invading Earth was fighting them. Rubina -daughter of the former and ex-fiancee of the latter- thought that mutual annihilation was the only possible result of that war. So that she did find an alternative option and tried to talk both into a ceasefire. It did not work.
- In a manga story, Duke has to fight brainwashed Kouji and Tetsuya. Meanwhile, Hikaru laments that there is no way that peace can result from that battle, not matter who wins.
- In the first episode of Grendizer Kouji decided to try and negotiate with the alien visitors, for once. However he chose the worst possible time to change his usual approach, and he got nearly blown up.
- Mobile Fighter G Gundam: "fighters communicate through their fists!" It just so happens that there are only two female gundam pilots.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Nanoha Takamachi tends to find herself resorting to violence when communication breaks down (hint: it always does). Especially prevalent in the second season, with quotes like 'Listen... to me!' delivered in the midst of unleashing a cannon blast.
- Genderflipped in Black Lagoon: If Revy has a problem with you, she will shoot you. If Rock has a problem with you, he will talk with you, though he might include some polite threat or veiled blackmail.
- In the second episode, Lagoon Company is hijacking a cruise ship. Rock uses a megaphone to politely request that they surrender while Revy is arming a grenade launcher.
- Thor #300: The Celestials are going to judge the worth of humanity in 1000 years. When the male leaders of the gods of Earth find out, they are sure it will end badly and plan to fight them. However the female leaders decided to prove humanity's worth by gathering the best example of each human skill or art and making them immortal. Sure enough, when the Norse gods attack them they get curbstomped. Then Gaia shows up with the chosen humans, and convinces The Celestials to spare mankind.
- In a story arc of the Overman brazilian newspaper comic, he's searching for someone who can destroy electronic objects by looking at them. He's certain that the villain is a woman because as a man, he would just break stuff with his fists.
- Wonder Woman is known for this trope, although some writers have suggested that she would be willing to kill villains if need be.
Wonder Woman: “We have a saying, my people. ’don’t kill if you can wound, don’t wound if you can subdue, don’t subdue if you can pacify, and don’t raise your hand at all until you’ve extended it."
- The Han/Leia and Anakin/Padmé pairings in Star Wars. Though both Padme and Leia are definitely action girls and usually hold their own in a fight, they both clearly prefer diplomacy. Han can be quite reasonable at times, too, but never parts with his blaster. Anakin, sadly, was so this he killed most of the cast.
- Not exactly this, but a similar concept is very subtly used in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy: the titular character, a chauvinist Casanova Wannabe, signs off his reports with his trademark "You stay classy, San Diego!", while his much more level-headed female rival, Veronica Corningstone, signs off with "Thanks for stopping by, San Diego." His is a command, hers is a compliment.
- The Vorin religion practiced by the cultures of most of the main characters in The Stormlight Archive takes this Up to Eleven, to the point where it's considered a sin for women to fight and for men to learn to read. The only exception is the ardent priestly caste, which can ignore the gender rules.
- A Song of Ice and Fire zigzags all over the place but it's generally played straight-women use sharp words and men use sharp blades.
Olenna: "All these kings would do a deal better if they would put down their swords and listen to their mothers."
- Par for the course for any Silk Hiding Steel woman hoping to find ways to obtain and assert power heavily patriarchal society. Plenty of its prominent female characters use manipulation and/or sweet words to avoid conflict in the middle of a civil war mostly fought by the men.
- King's Landing crew — Cersei Lannister and Margaery Tyrell are outwardly sweet but are more manipulative than they let on, and this gets them far.
- Asha Greyjoy uses plenty of violence herself, but she's the only one out of the Ironborn who suggests diplomatically making peace with the North.
- The series's most prominent Chessmasters and smooth-talkers, Varys and Littlefinger, are both male.
Live Action TV
- Torchwood: Miracle Day has a genderflp. Lynn tried to solve the problem with mind games and snark but Gwen had different ideas.
Lynn: If you're the best England has to offer, God help him.Gwen: I'm Welsh. *punches Lynn across the airplane, possibly dislocating her arm as Lynn was handcuffed to her seat*
- Averted by the Doctor in Doctor Who, who resorts to violence only after exhausting other options (the Tenth was very fond of Don't Make Me Destroy You). Sometimes inverted when he has an Action Girl companion like Leela or Ace.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Averted. The Slayer is always female and 99% of vampires have to be dusted.
Buffy: I wasn't gonna use violence. I don't always use violence. Do I?Xander: The important thing is you believe that.
- From Merlin, Gwen talks her way out of most of her problems while Merlin and Arthur fight. Justified because she is a maid and has no fighting skills, while they are a Warrior Prince and a Mage. For what it's worth, the series ends with Arthur dying of a wound sustained in combat, Merlin going into self-imposed exile, and Guinevere becoming the sole ruler of Camelot who Word of God confirms brought about the Golden Age.
- JAG: In "Scimitar", the US military's plan has Harm acting to bust Corporal Anderson out of Iraqi prison, while keeping Austin entirely out of the loop and believing their primary goal is to get him acquitted at the trial. Meg isn't thrilled when she learns of this. This neatly mirrors the relationship between Lt. Dumai and the male Iraqi officers.
- Drew Carey mocked the "there'd be no wars if women ran the world" idea and suggested that there'd be more wars than ever, going by his experience with the way women handle conflicts, and presents this hypothetical scenario:
Politician A: "What's going on? Why the hell are you bombing us?!"Politician B: "Oh, I think you know why we're bombing you!"Politician A: "Please! We have no idea why you're doing this!"Politician B: "Well, if you don't know then we're not telling you!!"
- Averted with the Drow of Dungeons & Dragons. note Most of their combative roles are taken by their women (who also tend to be priestesses of Lloth, the spider goddess and the reason Drow live underground.) Drow are ruthless!
- Toward the end of Persona 4, notice that the males in the party advocate enacting revenge by throwing Namatame into the TV without a second thought, while the females dissent, suspecting that they'd missed a crucial detail somewhere in the investigation and begging the player and Yosuke to think it through more carefully. Though Naoto seemed to be in favor of tossing him in since she was the one who first pointed out that they could do so.
- Mass Effect 3 suggests that the krogan work this way, although we only meet one female krogan in the entire series due to genophage-induced Gender Rarity Value. It's also a relative value, since the first thing we see her do under her own power is gun down two enemy soldiers without a second thought.
- Made more obvious during the Tuchanka mission. During a meeting, some of the Krogan begin to squabble and appear seconds away from tearing each other limb from limb, only for "Eve" to appear, immediately order everyone to shut the hell up, before convincing them to work together.
- Eve admits that after the Genophage is cured, the Krogan women are going to gain a more political clout in their society and hints that they are also not above using a Lysistrata Gambit to keep the men in line and attempt to curb the worst of their Blood Knight tencendies.
- Mordin relates that the first time he met Eve, she was in great pain and clearly distraught by her ordeal as one of Maelon's experiments. While he was treating her injuries, she managed to break out of one of her restraints and grabbed him. She could have easily killed him... but instead, all she said was, "Please". This small act of kindness made Mordin regain his faith in the Krogan and vow to cure the genophage.
- It's also played with on the asari. They're monogendered (all female), and are considered flighty, promiscuous alien space babes who want to sleep their way around the galaxy (we later learn there is a very good reason why asari choose to mate with other races and not other asari). However, they are also considered top-notch diplomats and their long lifespans tolerate a degree of debate and intertia mose other races can't. (If you want an issue talked to death, ask an asari). They are also the most adept at wielding biotic abilities, however, and their commandos are just as deadly as anything else in the galaxy.
- Their views do bite them in the arse when the Reapers hit Thessia. The open, debate-heavy asari political system is unable to present a co-ordinated defense in time, and while asari are born Spec Ops-operators, they are too few, and not of much use in defensive battles that require massive levels of firepower.
- Flat-out inverted in Trails in the Sky. Joshua is the one with the "silver tongue" (as Estelle pointed out), while Estelle would rather beat people up with her staff.
- This is expressed through the virtues embodied by Link and Zelda in every The Legend of Zelda game: He holds the Triforce of Courage, and she holds the Triforce of Wisdom; he saves the world, and then she rules it; war is his domain, and diplomacy is hers.
- Averted in The Order of the Stick, especially with Haley and Celia. While Celia fits the female half of this trope perfectly, Haley (another woman) is more content to shoot her way through the Theives' Guild scene.
- Also, the main character most likely to use diplomacy is Elan, a male.
- In Girl Genius, Gilgamesh Wulfenbach, heir to his father's "Pax Transylvania" empire, is extremely exasperated with people looking down on him because he wants to try diplomatic solutions. Which prompts him to remind them that he is definitely his father's son when he resorts to doing things the hard way. Witness his epic rant on the matter.
- Subverted in Zombie Ranch. During episode five, after the McCartys arrive at the ranch, Muriel McCarty is more than willing to do anything to get her way, including shooting Brett (one of the hands) and releasing zombies to attack him. Likewise, Suzie has no problem holding the McCarty boys at gun point. However, she still willing to discuss this until Muriel pushes her too far. Meanwhile Frank and Muriel's husband, Eustace McCarty end up negotiating, not that it ends up doing much good.
- Subverted in general by the reviewers of Channel Awesome, who whether male or female, prefer beating their enemies up. In the first year brawl event, The Nostalgia Chick, That Girl With the Goggles, Marzgurl, and Little Miss Gamer cheerfully join in on the fight, and Ask that Guy of all people ends up quietly talking everyone into getting along.
- The Freudian superhero team of Id, Superego, and Ego in Animaniacs. Superego is a woman who peacefully resolves conflict with an enemy. The others are male monsters that smash things up.
- The main cast in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is mostly female but still manages to use this trope through the two resident tomboys, Applejack and Rainbow Dash (especially Rainbow Dash).
- Alien X of Ben 10: Alien Force and Ben 10: Ultimate Alien has two personalities, Bellicus and Serena. Bellicus is a warlike male whose answer to everything is to smash and destroy. Serena is a peace loving female who would prefer to talk everything out in a loving way. Naturally, it's almost impossible for them to agree on anything... except killing Paradox on sight, thinking he is violating the restraining order against him.
- In the episode "Romeo Must Wed" from The Proud Family, Penny developed a crush on Kwok while rehearsing for their school's production of Romeo & Juliet. After a while, Kwok's parents, the Wongs, politely asked Penny's parents, Oscar and Trudy, that they not allow Penny and Kwok to see each other anymore. While Trudy remained civil in her inquiry, Oscar immediately jumped to conclusions, thinking that the Wongs didn't approve of their son having a relationship with Penny because she wasn't "good enough" for them. This prompted both Oscar and Mr. Wong to imply the other was a racist. It turned out the real reason was that Kwok had an arranged bride, who was coming to town for a visit.
- Inverted somewhat in the Family Guy episode 'Forget-Me-Not' were after being mind wiped and placed in virtual reality Peter, Brian, Joe and Quagmire all try working together to figure who they are and why the town is empty and only resort to violence when they think Peter killed everyone else. While Bonnie, Lois and Meg in the same situation started fighting each other almost immediately.
- In The Smurfs episode "Supersmurf", Brainy as Supersmurf tries and almost succeeds in getting the Smurfs' supply of food back from Bigmouth by using violence, only for his magic-given superpowers to wear out. Smurfette tries using communication (which in this case means feminine wiles and pleas of sympathy) to get the food back from Bigmouth, only that doesn't work either. It takes Brainy coming up with the idea of distracting Bigmouth's appetite with rocks dipped in slime sauce that the Smurfs are able to get their food back.
- The final confrontation in one TaleSpin episode has Baloo ready to pummel his air race opponents (while dressed in drag—the only sponsor who'd spring for him was the Daughters of Aviation, as he was so unmanly he had a female boss). Rebecca (said boss) tells her pilot to stop, and they'd settle things 'like ladies'—and get the villains disqualified.
- In an Adventures of the Gummi Bears, Grammi and Cubbi have to chase a sprite who has magically put Gruffi to sleep. This episode has a balance of values with Cubbi advocating direct forceful action to solve problems, which works but when they finally catch up to their quarry, it is Grammi's diplomacy that finally is needed to convince the sprite to restore Gruffi.
- Inverted by Hank Pym ((Gi)Ant Man) and Janet van Dyne (Wasp) of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes at least, until Hank goes Yellowjacket. Hank would much rather talk to and rehabilitate supervillains than fight them, whereas Jan is happy to just zap them. This is the primary source of conflict between them, as neither understands the other's perspective. As the vast majority of the other Avengers agree with Jan, this eventually causes Hank to leave the team.
- Not all hunter-gatherer tribes had men as the hunters and women as the gatherers; many of them had the roles reversed, or both genders working in both fields. Tribes where women hunt alongside the men still exist to this day, like in Africa, for example.
- Studies have shown that when two men get together, they tend to position themselves so that they're both facing the same way, whereas when two women get together, they tend to position themselves so that they're facing each other. This has commonly been interpreted to mean that women are more social, each orienting herself so that the other is the center of her attention. However, the findings can be interpreted many other ways as well: maybe women are more combative, physically orienting themselves in opposition to one another, while men are more cooperative, orienting themselves toward a common goal. The real moral of the story? Sociological studies are bunk and interpreting them is a bunch of Wild Mass Guessing.