Not even Batman, who knows every other skill in the world, can hold a baby without a woman's help.
The character was raised around a bunch of rough guys (or just one) and usually is thus dysfunctional
in normal society, especially around women. The trope may use an exaggerated, Testosterone Overdosed
version of masculinity.
This situation can be seen as overall positive for a male character as it can only make him "manlier". However, a girl in this situation often becomes One of the Boys
or The Lad-ette
and, in some cases, may never be seen as a true
woman for lacking the mandatory Acceptable Feminine Goals and Traits
. In milder cases, I Have Brothers
may be invoked instead.
Often comes with the Unfortunate Implication
that, in the absence of women
, men cannot competently raise children, especially babies and little girls. Can set up a Double Standard
for Real Life House Husbands
and single dads, not to mention gay people. Compare and contrast to Maternally Challenged
, which focuses on female incompetence when it comes to raising children.
Sadly, this has a bit of Truth in Television
. Several studies indicate that the absence of one of the parents has an unseen, but strong negative effect in the child's psyche that takes a lot
of effort to overcome (though it can be done, and there are plenty of first-hand witnesses to that). Of course, discrimination and mockery are not the solution, and occasionally this trope can refer to that. Besides, this is true for single parents in general, not just men. Single moms are just as likely as single dads to screw up raising a child in real life.
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Anime and Manga
- Goku in Dragon Ball was raised by his adoptive grandfather Son Gohan (up until Goku looked at the full moon, went Oozaru and stepped on him in his rampage), and much of the comedy of the early parts of the series was due to his complete innocence in regards to girls, to the point of initially not even knowing the difference between boys and girls. That last part might have less to do with his Grandfather being his only parental figure and more with being his only human contact up to that point in his life.
- Guts from Berserk is a Byronic Hero who was raised mainly by his abusive stepfather which makes him generally reluctant to form bonds with people. Also, he doesn't seem that good with his own Creepy Child of a son either, at least at first given that the kid was literally tainted by evil. His lover Casca on the other hand...
- Sanji of One Piece was raised primarily by men who taught him to cook and fight. Which makes his obsession with women a bit more...understandable.
- Asu no Yoichi!: The eponymous character spent his entire life on a mountain with his dad and no other human contact so far as we know. He goes around town and to school in samurai clothes complete with a wooden sword, but he's pretty decent at talking to women, notwithstanding the two elder sisters' opinions or his misfortune at being the protagonist of a Harem Comedy.
- Prussia from Axis Powers Hetalia, according to Hungary; possibly Hungary herself, which would explain her Bokukko traits. Belgium, the other token Bokukko is also hinted to be this, stating herself that she's surrounded by men.
- Averted by Trowa Barton of Gundam Wing. He was taken in by a group of mercenaries after being lost for several years, with his only female contact apparently coming at age 10 or so. When he shows up in the anime at age 15 (or so), he's quiet but he can still function in everyday life without any problem.
- Ranma ˝: Ranma grew up with only his amoral and martial arts-obsessed father for guidance. It shows.
- Allen Schezar of Vision of Escaflowne is an interesting example. While we don't know exactly who "raised" him, his mother died and his sister disappeared when he was very young, and so he has probably only had male influences for most of his life (not his father, though). He is an exceptionally moral person, but he tends to put women on pedestals, and his over-protectiveness towards Hitomi verges on stifling. He's a notable example of how someone can be a really good person and a really bad boyfriend, and a lack of strong women in his life during his youth is probably the cause.
- Motoko from Change 123 was raised by her three dads after her mother died. Although they are explicitly mentioned to be kind and caring, they insisted on training her in their respective combat mastery (karate, jujitsu, and swords/firearms). The resultant Training from Hell caused her to develop three additional personalities just to cope. Motoko (the "main" personality) is fairly feminine and well-adjusted, while the other three range from tomboyish to borderline Ax-Crazy.
- Naruto: Minato used this as his excuse for why he had to sacrifice himself to seal the Kyuubi into Naruto instead of allowing Kushina to take the bijuu with her as she died, and thus being able to stay alive to raise his son. Kushina promptly disagreed and both of them wound up dying to protect their son.
- Kyo from Girl Got Game was raised by her basketball-obsessed father, resulting in her Gender-Blender Name, tomboyish ways, and (much to her chagrin)complete lack of cooking skills, in addition to her Sweet Polly Oliver disguise. Her attempts to fem-up for Chiharu after he learns her secret are both sad and hilarious.
- Misaki from Ice Revolution has a Karate obsessed father and three older brothers. No wonder she's become such a tomboy.
- Ryo in Otomen is raised by a police officer and martial arts expert father who doesn't like girly things a lot leading to her becoming a tomboy, spicy food loving, Genki Girl as a counterpoint to the lead character Asuka who is male (and a kendo expert) but very feminine. Naturally they are an item. Ryo's grandfather who also helped raise her is very similarly masculine but actually has a secret girly streak just like her boyfriend.
- Yotsuba&! She's raised by a single dad and her other contacts with adults have previously been only her dad's male friends... who are absolutely nuts.
- In Valentine's Day by a quirk of fate, Vincent Valentine was born female. Her mother wanted nothing to do with her, so it fell mostly to her father to raise her. He had a tendency to forget she was really his daughter and was raised by a widower himself so treated her as his son. Slightly subverted as, though Vincent has a tendency to be more masculine in nature, she's perfectly capable of acting like a girl and even later has a boyfriend. Most of her problems actually come from being a Turk and Hojo.
- Homestuck fanworks frequently have Karkat Vantas be raised by the Midnight Crew, a group of gangsters albeit fairly incompetent gangsters. Cities In Dust and Troll Cops are notable examples. This is less of a problem than many examples; while Spades Slick and Clubs Deuce aren't fit to raise children, the more level-headed Diamonds Droog and Hearts Boxcars are able to serve as decent parental figures.
- Three Men and a Baby.
- Very nicely subverted by La Cage aux Folles and its American remake The Birdcage. A man who was raised by a gay couple (he was the result of a heterosexual fling by one of them, and his mother was never involved in his life) becomes a perfectly normal adult, whose ultimate breakthrough at the end comes from telling his fiance's family the truth about it, without any shame.
- Subverted in Armageddon, in which Bruce Willis believes daughter Liv Tyler to have been Raised By Dudes, which she truthfully has. But in spite of this fact, and no thanks to him, she's a perfectly well-rounded and psychologically sound woman.
- In Twins, Arnold's character is raised by scientists and his biological parents (all seven of them) are excluded. When he ventures into normal society, he is very much a fish out of water.
- Sydney White has the titular character growing up with her dad and his construction worker friends. She is a well-adjusted girl, if only a bit confused when it comes to interacting with the preppy, soronity girls.
- The reason why Harry Mason was turned into Rose for the Silent Hill movie, according to the director, is because his loving and nurturing of his daughter was determined to be 'feminine' by the director.
- In My Girl, Vada was raised by her widower father, and since there were some topics Dad was either himself less than fully informed about or too squeamish to discuss with his daughter, her first period comes as a frightening shock to her. Fortunately for her, a female employee of her father (who later becomes her stepmother) is available, and quickly steps in to explain to Vada what's going on and reassure her that she's OK.
- Altaira of Forbidden Planet is very well adjusted with an extremely healthy libido despite being raised by a mad scientist father and Robby the Robot.
- Alk and Ilke in Phenomena was raised by Sha-ra and Arol.
- Doc Savage was raised by his father and a handpicked team of male tutors. It is mentioned in the novels as being why he has a poor understanding of the psychology of the female mind; one of his few weak spots.
- Mostly averted in Robert B. Parker's Spenser series. Spenser was raised by his father and his uncles, all of whom were tough as nails. Spenser turned out to be a Cultured Badass hero. However, while he's an excellent chef, very well-read, and gruffly charming around women, his rigid ideas about masculinity cause him problems in his relationship with Susan, and elsewhere. (E.g., it's why Rachel Wallace initially fires him — he's incapable of passive resistance.)
- Sydney White was this, as her mother died when she was young and she grew up with her father and his construction buddies.
- The Suvi Kinos series tells the story of a girl raised by her five uncles... Hulking 7 feet uncles with doctoral theses and the social graces of a Neanderthal. The type of men who panic when the baby cries for the third hour straight, and the childcare book has no keyword for "alarm, audio".
- Delved into in detail by Ethan of Athos
- A Brother's Price: Men in this world are seen as the softer, gentler sex and perform the nurturing aspects of childrearing. But because they are rare and fragile, prone to heart failure and other inherited diseases, it's not uncommon for them to die and leave their children to their wives. In the absence of new husbands or sons old enough to take up the work, wives step in; and children conceived via the cribs never know their fathers at all. Children raised solely by women are socially functional and competent, but they don't have the same reactions of shock and horror if they encounter a man who was raped and murdered.
- In the Alice Series, Alice's mother died when she was a child, and she lived with her dad and older brother. For a time, she was obsessed with finding a female role model to teach her about girly things.
- The Dresden Files' titular Harry Dresden has almost no maternal figures in his life. His mother died shortly after he was born. He was raised in succession by his father, Justin DuMorne and Ebeneezer McCoy. The exception is his fairy godmother who rightfully terrifies him. Some of his character quirks such as his old-fashioned chivalry can be partially attributed to this upbringing. He lacks the typical awkwardness around women due to meeting his First Love rather young in a fellow student of DuMorne.
- Because her mother is a highly successful and very busy scientist, Scarlet of The Ultra Violets was raised by her father and three brothers. Unsurprisingly, she's quite the rowdy tomboy.
Live Action TV
- Vina claims to be this at first in the Star Trek pilot "The Cage", acting awkward and unfeminine around Captain Pike because she was raised by a group of old male scientists.
- Played straight in another episode of the original series where a young man was raised on a mining planet and only ever knew men. His first contact with a girl doesn't end so well.
- Al (short for Alicia) in Step by Step features this in the Lamberts' backstory. Growing up in a house with a dad who owns a construction company, a Jerk Jock older brother, and a fart humor loving younger one, she became very much a tomboy who had trouble getting along with girls her age and got into fights fairly often. On the inverted side, Mark was the youngest son of the Foster family, with a beautician mother and two older sisters who are The Ditz and a deadpan snarking Granola Girl, respectively. He has problems mustering up any kind of masculinity, being a Hollywood Nerd who cringes from any kind of conflict (and is, not coincidentally, routinely beaten up by Al). Many episodes from the first few seasons deal with Al and Mark trying to adapt to having an opposite-sex role model, with varying degrees of success.
- Rachel from Glee has two gay dads. She's socially stilted, being very... focused on singing, and having a viewpoint revolving around Musical Theatre and any tropes involved with that. Admittedly her biological mother has a lot of the same qualities, so some of it's an It Runs in the Family issue.
- Robin in How I Met Your Mother was primarily raised by her father, who was also in denial about her sex and raised her as a boy. On finding her kissing a boy he said "I Have No Son" in shock. She's The Lad-ette, but socially capable.
- Alexis in Castle was raised primarily by her single father who has sole custody. She is emotionally stable and intelligent.
- Tess Foster in Life With Boys. It is one of the reasons she has trouble balancing her competing tomboy and girly-girl natures.
- Jo from Eureka, since she grew up without a mother. It's not treated as a character flaw, but used to explain certain aspects of her personality.
- Inverted with Derek Morgan on Criminal Minds. His father died when he was young and all of the other relatives who appear on the show are female. As a result, he is exceptionally caring of the women in his life and very good with kids.
- In William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, the lost Princess Perdita is abandoned as a baby and raised by a Shepherd and his son. Slightly averted in that she seems to have grown up to be a perfectly well-adjusted young woman.
- Marie from Gaetano Donizetti's La fille du régiment (Daughter of the Regiment) is an orphan girl raised by the soldiers of a Tyrolean regiment. Marie is actually a long-lost membress of a noble family, and the plot truly kicks off when her biological family reclaims her. The story finishes with Marie about to get in an Arranged Marriage... but her "dads" and her boyfriend Antonio go Wedding Smashers mode.
- When Rock Howard came into the custody of Terry Bogard after the death of his father Geese at the former's hand, he spent the next ten years or so pretty much isolated from women. This doesn't factor much into his appearance in Garou: Mark of the Wolves, but in The King of Fighters: Maximum Impact, he's hit full force by his inability to be anything other than awkward around members of the fairer sex. He's unwillingly shoehorned into being the object of desire in a Love Triangle between Ninon Beart and B. Jenet. Poor Rock is absolutely flabbergasted when both of these babes make passes at him. It would seem that of Regulation A, the only female that he acts "normal" around is Blue Mary, but considering her relationship with Terry, it's plausible that he sees her as an older sister or even as a second mother.
- Though her backstory is only given in the shortest form on account of her minor role in the game, Ashei of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was raised in this trope. She was raised by a single father, who was a knight, and while he acknowledged that she was his daughter he basically treated her like a son, raising her to be a soldier. Ashei herself comments on it only to say that if she seems a bit rough around the edges, this is why.
- Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!: Nova's tomboyish personality may have come from being surrounded by male monkeys all her life and not being able to socialize before the Monkey Translator was built.
- The Venture Bros. never knew their mothers, being raised by Rusty and (thankfully) Brock. Rusty himself was raised by his Doc Savage-like father, in a life similar to Jonny Quest (and none of them turned out that well, including Jonny.)