It's not easy for women and girls on TV today to be both beautiful and strong, like the Amazons of Greek mythology. Why? Because All Guys Want Cheerleaders, but no guy wants a girl who can beat him up. If you must be a Magical Girlfriend, he would prefer the domestic type. A Huge Schoolgirl or Cute Bruiser all grown up is a threat to his tough, masculine image. Often he also simply is not attracted to this kind of women.
That she would be capable of inflicting severe physical harm to him — especially if they break up — rarely seems to be the issue.
So you frequently find a protagonist who is instantly attracted to a hot girl only to discover too late that she's a black-belt, a professional athlete, or a superhero, and he suddenly needs to find a way to prove he's tougher and stronger than her.
Unlike All Guys Want Cheerleaders, this trope doesn't currently tap into what the entertainment industry presumes turns guys in the audience on or off — that's more a part of Chickification. The proverbial Amazon is usually portrayed in a positive light and the guy as the fool. The most common way to end the plot was traditionally with An Aesop about equality. Today, the girl is just as likely to be the protagonist, and the ending is likely to be a Slap-Slap-Kiss. However, in older (1950 to 1990ish) media the trope is usually played straight and without irony, because writers assumed that young male viewers would see a naturally strong woman as an insult to the hero's (and by transference their own) masculinity.
A leading cause of The Chick meaning 'girly' or non-combatant. Contrast with Amazon Chaser, where guys go for a woman because she kicks ass. Also contrast with Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy, where the man in question is meant to be weaker and girlier than his female counterpart, and the various tropes on Acceptable Feminine Goals and Traits.
Please remember all "Subversions" or "Aversions" go under Amazon Chaser!
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Anime & Manga
Makoto/Sailor Jupiter from the Sailor Moon anime was so worried that her tall stature, great karate skills, and hot temper would scare away guys that she learns to cook and dresses in a girly way so she would stop intimidating boys. It doesn't work. It's only in the third season, where she sees the much more masculine Haruka stand proud of herself, that she decides to forget what the boys think.
Also happens to Minako in the manga version: part of her bad luck with boys is openly attributed to her being a tomboy and beating up boys who mocked her for it.
This shows up in one of Hinagiku's internal monologues regarding a tardy Hayate the Combat Butler. She needn't worry, though.
The karate-loving, brash Genki Girl Tamayo in the Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer anime comes very close to being an Unlucky Osananajimi. Her longtime crush is in love with a much cuter girl and sees her as "one of the guys". She does get him in the end, however. (In the manga, she doesn't seem to have much of an interest in him, and ends up with someone else without this trope rearing its head.)
Saint Seiya: Despite all the Amazons being beautiful, none of them ever hook up with any of the guys. Instead, Ikki, Shiryu and Hyoga fell or have Ship Tease with Yamato Nadeshiko type of women.
Sorcerer Hunters. Carrot Glace is a bit of an idiot, a womanizer, and his only useful skill in fighting sorcerers is totally out of his control — he turns into a horrible, deadly monster when struck by magic. Despite all that, he has two loyal, beautiful women, who've known him forever, pursuing him — the sisters Chocolate and Tira Misu. They are also, however, dominatrix-queens whose real job in the team is to beat the bejeesus out of Carrot after he's transformed, to turn him back into a human. He is, by his own admission, too afraid of them to think of them romantically.
Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl, a lesser known comedy anime from the early 90's, featured the cute, school-girl, protagonist Yawara, who also happened to be a highly skilled martial artist, coming from a long line of martial artists and having been taught as such from a really young age. In only the first episode of the anime, she displays her abilities to her crush, who then proceeds to run away from her in fear for a good portion of the rest of the series. It should be noted that Yawara herself seems to be aware of this trope, and wants to quit practicing fighting in order to be a normal girl for exactly the above reasons, which is what generates a sizable amount of the show's plot.
Another prime example is Chiharu Nitta from Boys Be. While she is pretty and some males have an interest in her she is called "Amazon Woman" by Makoto because Chiharu is on the high school track and field team.
Sumika from Sasameki Koto couldn't care less that the guys consider her as this. Her grief comes from the fact that the girl she loves only likes 'em cute.
In Outlaw Star, Fred Luo asks Gene to keep a woman from winning a championship. Said woman has a deal with Fred that if she wins so many championships in a row, they'll be married according to family tradition, when family members come of age they marry the strongest. Even Gene is disturbed by her body. Of course, Fred has other reasons for not being interested as well.
The reason why Elizabeth "Lizzie" Middleford from Black Butler refused to show her fighting abilities. She recalled that, when they were bitty kids, Ciel was shit-scared of Lizzie's willful and harsh mother Frances; thus, when Lizzie took up swordsmanship, she thought that Ciel would be scared of her too if she openly showed such an "uncute" side of her. It's also mixed with Values Dissonance: the story is settled in Victorian Britain, where women were encouraged to behave only like proper ladies, and would face different degrees of social ostracism (from being merely scoffed at, to being locked away in asylums) if they didn't act like that.
Soul Eater: Despite Soul's statements that he's "too cool" to be involved with someone like Maka who, despite superb fighting skills, is thin as a pole and flat-chested, Soul seems to be more annoyed than pleased by their very Amazon-esque Cat/Human pet/rooommate, Blair. Ship Tease and Soul's girl!form (based on what he finds attractive in the opposite sex) in the chapter of Lust would also seem to contradict his claims. This trope also get played straight with Maka herself: while learning to fly, she tells Soul that she wants angel wings; but since the form of the wings relies on both partners' images, they don't come out right. Soul can't think of Maka as an angel since she's constantly hitting him.
Son Pan goes on a date in the first episode of Dragon Ball GT, only to have it interrupted by a crime in progress. She subdues the criminals single-handedly, but scares her date off in the process. Fandom thinks (with good reason) she'd have better luck with Uub or Trunks.
Midori Days: The local otaku asks for Seiji's help to impress a girl by pretending to bully her so he can intervene and chase him off. When she kicks Seiji's ass, he loses interest, as he's one of those Moe-obsessed types.
Despite being an Amazonian Beauty, She-Hulk manages to marry just about the only guy in the world that prefers Jennifer Walters to seven feet of green She-Hulk.
Milo Manara's X-Men features a plane-worshiping leader (don't ask) courting Storm, to the chagrin of the man's wife. Once he discovers that Storm has powers, he loses all interest: His wife has powers too, and he was looking for a Human woman so that he could have the upper hand for once.
In Artesia, the men of the Middle Kingdoms are disturbed and horrified by the warrior women coming down from Daradja. They believe women belong in the home, not the battlefield.
The movie My Super Ex-Girlfriend passes through this trope — the guy does, indeed, dump the superpowered girlfriend. However, it's not because she's a superhero (Which he actually found cool). It's because she's super-needy and super-jealous. In the end, she hooks up with the villain, and the guy hooks up with a SANE superwoman. It's kind of a zig zag. He dates the alter ego then finds out she's a superhero (but he thinks it's awesome at first.) Then he leaves her for a normal woman, and she subsequently gets superpowers too. At the end of the movie, he seems to be taking it in stride. The villain had more hang ups about it but he gets over it at the end too.
Paula: No boy's gonna go out with a girl who's got bigger muscles than him!
Played with in the Hallmark version of Jason and the Argonauts as Jason does not see the boyish Atalanta as more than a sister to him, having eyes for Hot Witch Medea. However Atalanta does attract an admirer of her own.
In the 2009 Chinese version of Mulan, Mulan's father complains about his daughter learning kung fu, saying that no-one will marry her.
The Stepford Wives has a town full of insecure "men" who are happy with their wives being Brainless Beautys. Even Joanna's husband says that ever since they've met she's beaten him at everything. She's stronger, she's faster.
In The Cell, the killer's nightmarish mindscape includes an extremely muscular and naked woman who acts as a servant. Word Of God states that the character was included because the filmmaker asked a friend what creeped him out, and he responded, "Female bodybuilders."
Raptor Red has a scene in which a giant of a female raptor attempts to woo the main character's consort. The consort is more than a little freaked out about this. When the giant is eventually chased off, the narrator tells us she'd been dealing with this all day: no Utahraptor male would pair off with her because of how freakishly large she is.
In Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis's Bones Of The Dragon, the main character Skylan is in love with Aylaen. However, Aylaen loves fighting and is a tomboy. Most of the story centres about Skylan Wangsting about wanting her to stop being one and start acting like a good housewife, especially when he tells her 'you'll be raising our sons anyway' when she complains about the duties assigned to a chief's wife.
Keladry in the Tortall Universe is outright told this. Cleon begs to differ, and it's implied that Dom does too.
One of Keladry's childhood friends, a Yamani Princess set to marry the crown prince of Tortall, is worried that her future husband will find her habit of practicing martial arts to be vulgar and unladylike. Luckily the Prince in question has very little problems with this, especially considering his mother the Queen founded the Queen's Riders and personally led them in many battles for years.
Also comes up for Kylaia in the short story "Student of Ostriches", as illustrated by the former page quote. However, the Shang Master who saw her fight is impressed enough by her self-taught martial arts skills that he is willing to pay a full bride-price to take her as a student.
Anita Blake briefly tries to date a fellow animator, only to run into this trope.
Monica Figerola from The Millennium Trilogy. She's 185 cms (6 foot 2) and a former bodybuilder. Despite practically all men considering her gorgeous, all her previous relationships failed because of this trope. She's the one who ends up with protagonist Mikael Blomkvist, though.
Toulac, a retired soldier in Maggie Furey's Shadowleague books, pokes fun at this trope on occasion, saying that the only truth in it lies in the fact that men think it's true, and thus avoid strong women because they don't want to be looked down on.
The lovely and powerful Rowan, of David Gaider's Dragon Age novel The Stolen Throne, is a finely nuanced version of this trope. She is truly beautiful and a strong warrior at the same time. Though at first seemingly played straight, if you look closely it becomes apparent that the guys who didn't want her just weren't right for her or mature enough for her, rather than necessarily rejecting her because of her strength, and that her fondness for one of the characters is more the product of an adolescent crush and lingering insecurity than real, true love thwarted by her own prowess with a blade. Later it becomes apparent that while one guy one runs away from an amazon another chases them.
The heroine of Reserved For The Cat is a ballerina who wins two fights, one with Waif-Fu and another with magical firearms. In both cases she downplays her involvement for fear of scaring off potential suitors.
A Song of Ice and Fire: Brienne of Tarth is a trained knight and one of the most kind and honourable characters in the book series. But because she's tall, strong and considered ugly, so no man wants her. Though later books hint at Jaime being attracted to her.
There are those who are willing to marry Brienne for her inheritance — one of them said he would not tolerate her wearing 'man's mail' and ended up with several broken bones when he tried to 'chastise' her for it.
Jane Layton's The Boyhood of Grace Jones takes place in the 1930s. Grace feels completely male at this point in the series. She wants to be a sailor and live as masculine a life as possible, and strenuously exercises to keep up with the strength of guys her age (eleven or so). Her parents have this whole worried conversation about her getting muscular. Fortunately, she undergoes full Chickification and by the end of the novel is deeply into clothes and makeup. Readers still complain about the way Layton "sold Grace out".
Drake & Josh, Drake was going to break up with a girl because she saved him in a fight involving a bunch of bullies. He then decides to deny that she is tougher than him, leading them to have a "friendly" sparring match.
An episode of Saved by the Bell saw Zack dating a girl on the wrestling team and getting all embarrassed when she saved him from getting beaten up.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy's boyfriend, Riley, has a related malady. Riley wants Buffy all the more for being superheroic, but he seeks to enhance his performance to not feel inadequate next to the Slayer. There were also numerous references to the trope by guys who were intimidated by her strength in high school and Spike quips about it when she is dumped after a one night stand. It should be noted that Riley's insecurity stems at least in part from his (perhaps justified) belief that Buffy doesn't love him as much as she could.
Name a 1950s Sitcom that didn't use this as An Aesop for teenage girls.
Reaper, Ben is happy dating Nina unless he comes across a situation where it's obvious that being a human he's much weaker than her. Borders on Too Dumb to Live when he wanted to fight a another demon who had an eye for Nina.
Vala on Stargate SG-1 gets told that this is the reason for her lack of romantic luck. However, since she's been married multiple times and apparently Really Gets Around, it's probably not true.
On Friends, Joey dates a very petite woman who always punches him playfully in an affectionate way, the only problem is that her punches actually really hurt, which no one else believes until she also punches Rachel.
In LOSTAna Lucia Cortez was a tough, pretty, fiery, physically powerful for her size, Latina ex police officer who was trapped on the island with the rest of the castaways. Before the plane crash she shot and killed a man in revenge who had shot her in the past, and whose bullet had caused her to miscarry the baby she was carrying at the time. This caused her to develop a lot of emotional issues and a suspicious orneriness and a fierce protector of the children among the survivors. Her fellow castaways, in part due to her actions and abrasive domineering personality (and in part because she shot Shannon to death - though it wasn't out of pure malice, and she did genuinely apologize for it), took a long time to accept her as one of them — but she eventually found some companionship with Mr. Eko as a friend and then with Sawyer as a lover, even if it was for a day. She eventually became one of the team and her loss was felt when she was killed by Michael. However, most of the resentment came from the fans of the show who was repulsed by her attitude even if in a real way she was a female version of Sawyer and did much of the same things he did — yet he was loved by the fans and she wasn't. They didn't have any empathy for what she had went through which caused her to be the way she was. Much rejoicing ensued among many fans when the character was murdered by Micheal working for the "Others" to get his kidnapped son Walt back.
There are traces of this with Prince Arthur on Merlin. He is disgruntled when Morgana saves his life from a bandit, humiliated when Morgause beats him in single combat, astounded when Princess Elena wins their horse race, and shows distaste at Princess Mithian's love of hunting. He's in love with the spirited, but uber-feminine and passive Guinevere.
In an episode of Lizzie McGuire Lizzie frets about this when she discovers she has a talent for playing football. She worries that the boys will stop thinking she's feminine and won't want to date her. The Brawn Hilda of a coach then reveals that she has a swing dancing date every weekend.
In an issue of MAD featuring "A Mad look at the Olympics", a man falls in love with a female discus thrower who stands head and shoulders taller than him. She falls in love back, and they tie the hitch. Fast forward to a marital spat where the discus thrower is throwing plates, discus style, while her husband cowers behind the sofa...
It's actually rather funny, as in real life, Annie's husband pretty much fell in love with her when she beat him at sharpshooting, then went on to give up his career to support hers.
Wonderful Town features the song "One Hundred Easy Ways to Lose a Man" which is about how no man will accept a woman who has even half a brain.
Seemingly the reason the management of WWE regulates Natalya Neidhart, Jillian Hall, and Beth Phoenix (who could probably mop the floor with some of the men on the roster, like Chyna used to) to jobber status while pushing glorified swimsuit models to title reigns.
Recently WWE have shifted a bit from this, with Beth Phoenix reigning as Diva Champion, and with the massive Kharma (a.k.a. Awesome Kong) returning as a dominant face. TNA on the other hand seems content with pushing the best lookers.
Chyna (WWF/E), Nicole Bass (WWF/E), Jazz (WWF/E), Asya (WCW), Awesome Kong (TNA/WWE), Natalya Neidhart (WWE), Midnight (WCW), Bull Nakano (WWF), Queen Kong, and many other monster-heel types/skilled female wrestlers weren't exactly sex symbols in the same way as say a Sable, Medusa, or the modern WWE divas.
Nanaly Fletch of Tales of Destiny 2. Everyone welcomes her and acknowledges her beauty... except Loni Dunamis, the resident Handsome Lech wannabe, who finds her tomboyish attitude more prominent on her and at times verbally refused to acknowledge her as his wooing victim. Unfortunately, Nanaly usually takes that as an insult and if she ever hears that, Loni is in for a bone crusher.
Much of Yui's route in Brass Restoration deals with Ryo being unable to see her as anything other than a guy with boobs.
Suikoden III plays with this trope. Lucia tells Chris that if she wants to be a mother she has to show 'weakness'. On the other hand, Lucia is the unmarried chief of her tribe, not at all shy or passive, uses a whip in battle, and her son is one of the three protagonists. Then there's the fact that Chris already has a few admirers.
Samurai Warriors 3 - In Kai's story path, she gets ragged on by Kunoichi for being manlier than most of the guys in the Hojo clan (though the way she says it, she's also insulting the Hojos for being weak).
Brooks in The Orion Conspiracy is definitely an amazon. Unfortunately, most of the guys do not want her. She does point out that the resident Jerkass Ward made moves on her, but he got scared off when she wanted to have sex with him on the cold, hard floor.
A female Trooper in Star Wars:The Old Republic can tell a potential love interest "There aren't exactly a lot of men lining up to woo female commandos, either.", which is rather true in-game considering her lack of flirt options.
If you lose the combat tournament in Princess Maker 2, the butler comments "girls are better if they're not incredibly tough". Similarly, the lumberjack makes a comment about how most girls wouldn't want to build up their muscles. Similarly, all the jobs which make your daughter stronger and more athletic, will also make her less pretty and refined and starving her (which damages her athletic abilities) is the best way to get her to fit into the nicest dresses.
The rare inverse of this trope in Tomb Raider, No Amazon Wants A Normal Guy, leads to Alex's death. A crush he's had on Lara since before the game begins is taken Up to Eleven when he sees how bad-ass she's become, and he fears there's no way she would ever be interested in him now. He decides to return to the wreck of Endurancealone to recover equipment needed to repair the survivors' escape craft to impress her.
Fate/Stay Night: While Shirou wants Saber, he is initially overly protective of her and does not want her to fight — which is quite dumb, since she clearly is orders of magnitude more powerful than him. In addition her life is tied to his, so getting himself killed to save her would not, in fact, save her for more than a few hours. His coming to terms with these facts drives the story in the first half. Saber herself starts to get self-conscious over her nature as a warrior woman around the time Shirou stops treating her in that way.
Although the reason he tries to keep her out of combat is because he can't bear to see her get hurt, not because he actually believes that women shouldn't fight. This is made quite clear by playing the other routes, as it is only in the Fate route where she is his primary love interest that he displays this behavior. It's not the fact that she's a more capable combatant than he is that bothers him, it's that he's afraid of losing her.
In Pacificators, the ladies with powers usually have a hard time finding a date, because no sane guy would want to date a "witch". That's why we see one of the main characters, Cinna, on multiple failed dates.
A big problem for Tennyo in the Whateley Universe. The only guy she's had who was really interested looks like a seven-foot-tall werewolf all the time, and he dumped her. Maybe it's that she's so dangerous other students can get expelled just for fighting her. Maybe it's her combat final, where she nearly wiped out an entire city.
Kim Possible, in the early seasons, goes mostly dateless, as does her enemy, Shego.
This exchange from Justice League Unlimited between the female leads of the resident Love Triangle (the focus of their attention being Green Lantern):
Vixen: You might want to ease up there. Most guys don't go for the ripped, bulky look. Hawkgirl: ...Just trying to maintain my girlish figure. My... girlish, girlish figure...
Luna from The Boondocks is another example of "guys don't like that she's strong, but she really is crazy". It's sort of a chicken-egg problem, as she usually intimidates men and then does something really bad to them for being scared of her on the advice of her friend. And this all comes from a long history of abusive boyfriends. She might even be considered a deconstruction of this. Luna may be more of an example of people who keep making the same bad decisions (in different guises) without any sense of responsibility until they reach the point when they start making even worse decisions.
Luna's problem is based primarily around self-esteem issues, combined with a friend who didn't know better who was trying to get her to destroy her own relationships. If she didn't go crazy she probably wouldn't have a problem at all.
Heloise on Jimmy Two-Shoes. It's been shown several times that every guy in Miseryville is completely terrified of her. When Jimmy tries to find her Secret Admirer, every guy is terrified at the prospect of dating her.
On the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode Zoobotnik, the space bounty huntress Katella fell in love with Doctor Robotnik. She was a drop dead gorgeous redhead who looked like a human being except for having a nose like a cat. Doctor Robotnik was not interested in her romantically because she enjoyed beating him up with wrestling moves as much as she liked kissing him. Examples of her affection were kissing him on his head while chocking his neck with her long curvaceous legs and slamming him against a wall before dragging him on top of her for smooching. Katella wanted Robotnik's hand in marriage and showed this by actually crushing the bones in his hand! She almost forced Robotnik to marry her but his mother interupted the ceremony. Katella was last seen chasing after what seemed to be a planet of men in her spaceship. The planet which comedically had a face of a man with a long mustache got scared and floated away.
This may be less an example of No Guy Wants an Amazon and more an example of no guy wants a girl who thinks beating the crap out of her boyfriend is romantic.
Happens in an episode of Totally Spies!. Like in almost every other episode, Alex meets a Satellite Love Interest in the form of an attractive body builder at the gym, who ends up becoming a part of the muscled Camp Gay villain's experiments in attempting to sell off "Bulky Bars" that cause people to go through a Growing Muscles Sequence, gain strange colored skin, and HairTrigger Tempers, as they grow larger with every bar consumed before they explode. To even up the odds against the villain's muscled Mooks, Alex munches on the Bulky Bars herself, gaining her own set of busts and completely trashing the villain and his minions. When she, still in her muscled state, tries to hit it off with the body builder she saved, he kindly rejects her advances, his reason being his discomfort dating girls more "rip" than he is.