Mrs, Ms, and Miss.
A trio of girls/women: the innocent child
, the steady, wise wife
, and the sexual, often sexually predatory seductress
The wife, the wiser, calmer aspect, is someone around whom one could build a home life. The seductress is sexually experienced and independent. The third, the "child" (who does not
have to be a child literally) will be an innocent, perhaps painfully so
So in short, a triad of:
All three character types are considered to be very feminine — with Child representing Light Feminine, Seductress representing Dark Feminine
and Wife being in the middle, just like the movie that the trope gets its title from. Instead of Beauty, Brains and Brawn
it's (pretty) Beauty, (pleasant) Beauty, and (provocative) Beauty. Instead of butch, femme, and neither
it's (girly) femme, (lady-like) femme, and (overtly sexy) femme.
When adding examples, please note that the sexual
aspect of the "seductress" must
be present, and cannot be replaced with some other characteristic, like "anger" or "strength" or "selfishness". Also note that the second character is wife
, not just a maternal character, a woman who gives birth, or one with any other motherly trait
, but one who would make a good life partner. The innocent aspect of the child must be present, not Kids Are Cruel
. Please don't put a square peg in a round trope
Contrast Madonna–Whore Complex
where any individual woman must be either "sexual and attractive" or "virtuous and maternal", but cannot be both. Compare and contrast The Hecate Sisters
, where the "maiden" combines the naivete of the child with the sexuality of the seductress, the "mother" combines the liveliness of the child with the maturity of the wife, and the "crone" doesn't have a close counterpart. Compare and contrast also The Three Faces of Adam
, the Spear Counterpart
to The Hecate Sisters
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Anime & Manga
Generally, most Unwanted Harem
series' will have a dynamic among the potential love interests, with the child typically being the Token Mini-Moe
- Ah! My Goddess' three Goddesses:
- Immature kid sister Skuld, who is the goddess of the future and represents the child.
- The calm, compassionate, and domestic Belldandy, goddess of the present and represents the wife.
- The flirty, firey, half demon Urd, goddess of the past and represents the seductress.
- Cat's Eye: The Kisugi sisters.
- Older sister Rui is the Wife: The one more similar to the girls's Missing Mom, not to mention the wisest of the three and had to raise the other two.
- Middle sister Hitomi is the Seductress: the one with a steady love interest, very sexy and emotional.
- Younger sister Ai is the Child: tomboyish, cheerful and a Wrench Wench
- Erika is the calm, intelligent, reflective, prudent and reluctant to do anything rash wife.
- Raiza is the hot and sensual seductress, using her body charms to get what she wants.
- Nana is the young, temperamental, rash child.
- Mazinger Z
- Jealous, temperamental, nagging, tantrum-prone Sayaka Yumi is the child.
- Mature, calm, collected, professional Misato is the wife.
- And beautiful, sensual and alluring Erika is the seductress (who, actually, tempted The Hero).
- Panzer World Galient:
- Queen Felia is the wife, calm, mature and wise.
- Hilmuka is the temptress, beautiful, sultry, and more than willing to use her charms to get what she wants.
- Hot-tempered, rash, inmature, emotional twelve-year-old Chiruru is the child.
- Ranma ½: This dynamic is overplayed for laughs with the three Tendo sisters:
- Kasumi, the oldest, is the motherly House Wife figure, and so kind and purehearted that she has no negative instincts whatsoever.
- Nabiki, the second, is the sociopathic hedonist, manipulator, swindler, scam artist, and heartbreaking seductress.
- Akane, the youngest, is the naive, shy, overachieving, sentimental, helpful, self-sacrificing idealist child who is also clumsy, hasty and hot-tempered.
- Saber Marionette J:
- Lime is youthful in appearance, overly cheerful, and a bit dumb at times, making her the child.
- Cherry is extremely domestic and focused on being proper which causes her to appear more even-tempered and less impulsive than Lime or Bloodberry. Often when the other two are running rough-shod over the show's protagonist she is the one to stop and consider his feelings. She fits the wife archtype in addition to really wanting to be the protagonist's wife.
- Bloodberry is more shameless than Cherry, and more sexual in her intention. Additionally, the is the only one of the trio with a mature-looking body.
- In Saiyuki, personality-wise (even though all three are male):
- Goku is optimistic (especially for a demon), youthful looking, and more than a bit clueless, making him the child.
- Hakkai is the smartest and most even-tempered, fitting the wife archetype.
- Gojyo is flirty and physical, making him the seductress.
- The three female Card Professors in Yu-Gi-Oh! R fall into this. Reiko Kitamori, the Child, is a Shrinking Violet whose first instinct is to run away whenever she sees a Duelist despite being a very skilled one herself. Tilla Mook is the Seductress, a beautiful Goth whose deck revolves around her vampire "master". And Mrs. Maico Kato is the Wife, a sedate old woman who dotes on her grandchildren (and has to be careful not to beat them too badly when they play Duel Monsters.)
- Aria the Scarlet Ammo has Aria who is a childish tsundere, with a hefty amount of emphasis on her lack of experience, Shirayuki is a Yamato Nadeshiko, classic wife material, and Riko seduces people for fun and profit.
- Of the three girls who are in love with Kurusu in Daily Life with Monster Girl, Papi is the Child because she is joyous, absent-minded, and a bit naive; Centaurea is the Wife because she is incredibly honorable and chivalrous, as well as unerringly loyal to Kurusu; and Miia is the Seductress because she is very flirtatious, trying to seduce Kurusu on multiple occasions.
- In Change 123, Motoko's three alternate personalities follow this mold. Mikiri is the innocent child, Hibiki is the Hot-Blooded seductress and Fujiko is the wise, motherly wife.
- In Please Teacher!, the heroine, Mizuho, is obviously the "sensible and capable" Wife, her "innocent childlike" sister Maho is obviously the Child, and the "Hotter and Sexier" Hatsuho is the Seductress, despite the fact that she's their mother.
- Madlax gives us Margaret Burton as the Wife (gentle, quiet Ordinary Highschool Student), Madlax as the Seductress (deadly and sexy hitwoman with a heart), and Laetitia as the Child (creepy-looking Lonely Doll Girl). It's even more meaningful when we find out that Laetitia and Madlax are actually parts of Margaret's whole self, released when she killed her Brainwashed and Crazy father (and the first Madlax) in self-defense years ago. In the end, Margaret decides to accept her past and split herself again in three, adopting Laetitia as her little sister and releasing Madlax so she can live her life as she sees fit.
- In Tenchi Muyo!! the first three girls in Tenchi's household
- The pure-hearted and young Sasami
- The dignified and demure Ayeka
- The boisterous and overtly sexual Ryoko
- In some versions of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Triplicate Girl (or Triad) has a different personality for each body; Triad-Purple is brash and outgoing (seductress), Triad-Orange is shy and quiet (Child) and Triad-Neutral is the stable figure who has to keep the other two together (Wife).
- In the DC Universe series Gotham City Sirens, Harley Quinn plays up her clownish persona by acting ditzy and naive (child), Catwoman is pragmatic and sensible (Wife), and Poison Ivy is a vamp known for using her sex appeal to get her way (seductress). They team up.
- The DCU also has Halo (child), Katana (wife/widow), and Looker (seductress) of the Outsiders.
- Evangelion 303: The three female pilots:
- Asuka is the Wife: she is intelligent, competent and dependable (when she is emotionally stable).
- Mari is the Seductress: She is sexy, she knows it, she flaunts it (her weapons officer states she shoots off hormones like they were lasers) and she is willing to flirt and using her charms to get what she wants (even if what she wants is merely messing with someone else's head)
- Rei is the Child: she is naive, innocent and insecure.
- The Second Try:
- Asuka is the wife in more ways than one: She is wise, dependable and supportive. She is the one makes plans and devises strategies and Shinji usually depends on her for everything.
- Misato is the seductress, often acting flirty towards Shinji (although she toned it down when she learnt that Shinji and Asuka were secretly married
- Rei is the child: she is innocent, inmature, insecure and socially ignorant.
- It's not really canon, but if we count Past Sins, then the three ponies touched by the Nightmare Forces fit this trope: we have wise Luna (wife), innocent Nyx (child), and flirty Rarity (seductress).
- Heroic Trio has a young ditz, a motherly type, and a (formerly) dark seductress as the main characters.
- Deconstructed in Black Swan. At first glance, the older and Prima Ballerina Beth who is Thomas's girlfriend would seem to be the wife, the sweet, innocent Nina is the child, and the sexy and wild Lily would be the seductress. But it turns out that Beth is clingy and insane, Nina is very repressed and begins to mature throughout the film, and while Lily does enjoy casual sex she is not as manipulative or self-serving as Nina believed.
- Van Helsing has the three brides of Dracula. Verona is the Wife - she is the leader and Word of God confirms that she is Dracula's favourite. Marishka is the Child - we don't see too much of her but she is very playful and Too Dumb to Live. Aleera is the Seductress - she by far gets the most Les Yay with Anna.
- In The Chronicles of Magravandias, the three women in Valraven's life—Ellony Leckery (child), Varencienne Malagash (wife), and Pharinet Palindrake (seductress)
- Helen and her two friends Millicent and Annabella who all marry into the same group of friends form this trio in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Helen is the wife, steadfastly devoted to her marriage even when it begins to fall apart; she takes her marital duties so seriously that she returns to Grassdale when Huntingdon is ill to care for him. Millicent is the child, innocent, idealistic, and very passive, needing others to take care of her. Annabella is the seductress, tricking Lord Lowborough into marriage with her beauty and luring Huntingdon away from Helen, the death blow for Helen's love for her husband.
- David Copperfield gives us the three ladies whom David loved through his life. His First Love is Little Emily, the Seductress (aware of her good looks, may or may have not been a prostitute and her best friend Martha is one, ends up running away with Handsome Devil Steerforth and is massively broken for that); his Second Love Dora is The Child (spoiled, sweet, naive, even nicknamed 'his child wife' and what drew David to her may have been his Mommy Issues since she was similar to his also very child-like mother Clara; and finally, his third love and second wife Agnes is the Wife (reliable, the "angel of the house", softspoken, a Proper Lady)
- In Knots Landing, the three main women fill these roles perfectly: Karen is The Wife, the wiser, calmer aspect. Abby is The Seductress — sexually experienced and independent. Val is The "Child" (although she's the same age as the other women) and is innocent, perhaps to the point of naïveté.
- Although all the same age the girls on Friends can be viewed this way, with flirty and sophisticated Rachel as the seductress, innocent and quirky Phoebe as the child and capable, responsible Monica as the wife.
- The three women in the study group of Community fit this to a tee:
- Shirley is the Wife; she is not only the oldest, she tries to be the voice of reason and mediator wherever possible, as well as the group's moral center.
- Britta is the seductress; she has the most varied sex-life and uses sex to get what she wants now and again, she is the most traditionally attractive, and she is the most cynical.
- Annie is the child; she is the youngest and the most idealistic and naive, something she often gets made fun of for.
- The three female leads of Mad Men: Joan is the seductress, completely capable of using her sexuality to get what she wants. At first glance, Betty (Stepford Smiler housewife) would be the Wife and Peggy (Plucky Office Girl) would be the child, but before long, childishness establishes itself as one of Betty's crucial qualities if not her Fatal Flaw, and Peggy displays a determination to leave behind the role of wide-eyed little girl and becomes a capable woman and Don's equal in a way Betty (his actual wife) never was.
- The three ladies of The Golden Girls minus Sophia. Rose was the child (sweet and naive), Dorothy was the wife (calm and sensible) and Blanche was the seductress (sexy and fiery.)
- The ladies of Gilligan's Island, but not the way you'd expect:
- Mrs. Howell (the oldest chronologically and the only married woman, and very happily so) is actually the Child: she's naive, pretty much nonsexual, and dependent.
- Tall, sexy, flirtatious, Hollywood-starlet Ginger is the Seductress.
- Young, sweet, gentle farm Girl Next Door Mary Ann is the stable, mature, reliable Wife".
- With Prue's death at the end of Series Three of Charmed, Piper becomes the wife, eventually growing from insecure middle sister to capable eldest sister. She is also the first one to actually get married and have children. Paige is the child, being the youngest, newest member of the family and the least experienced in the ways of magic. Phoebe is the seductress, having the most active love life of the sisters.
- The Stillman Sisters, evil blonde counterparts in season 6. Leader Mabel is the wife, ditzy youngest sister Mitsy is the child and flirty and provocative Margo is the seductress. They do indeed impersonate the corresponding Halliwell sibling.
- Certainly alluded to in episode three of the BBC/Starz series The White Queen, in the scene in which Jacquetta Woodville, her daughter Queen Elizabeth (consort of Edward IV, not the more famous daughter of Henry VIII), and her daughter, also named Elizabeth, use witchcraft to send a terrible storm against Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, and George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence. Jacquetta, the grandmother and the most knowledgeable in witchcraft, and with the steadiest, most phlegmatic temperament, is the crone or mother figure, or the wife, although by that time she is a widow (which is why they are trying to kill Warwick and Clarence in the first place). Queen Elizabeth, the beautiful (and that is historically accurate, as the accounts all agree that she was gorgeous) young wife of the king, with the most passionate temperament of the three, is the seductress. Little Elizabeth, being at that time only three years old, and not really understanding just what they are doing or that she is helping with the spell, is the innocent child.
- In Saved by the Bell the three female leads qualify. Kelly is the Child; she's portrayed as kind to everyone and often too naive for her own good. Jessie is the Wife; she's the student council president and the most mature of the Six Student Clique. Lisa is the Seductress; as she herself puts it "my hobbies include dating, guys and dating guys".
- Apartment 3 G:
- Margo is the sly , hot headed, scheming seductress.
- Bubbly and bubble-brained Lu Ann is the child.
- Stable, domestic Tommie as a very dull Wife (ironic seeing as how she's eternally single.)
- Fate/stay night has Ilya as the Child (acts very precocious and is literally stuck in a child's body), Arturia as the Wife (partner to The Hero and eventually enters into a relationship with him), while both Rin and Sakura have different aspects of the Seductress (Rin is virginal yet very headstrong and independent, while Sakura is sexually experienced even if NOT by choice but emotionally dependent).
- An alternative interpretation focusing on the heroines: Saber is the Child, unused to personal relationships and clinging to a childish ideal. Rin is the Seductress, competent and fiery but also insecure. Sakura is the Wife, sexually experienced and dedicated to the happiness of Shirou above her own.
- Final Fantasy games in general have a pattern to their three playable females (and there are always three; see the Three Females Rule in the Grand List) are almost always represented as an Innocent Princess type, a Tough but Sexy Type, and a Perky Girl type. Occasionally this overlaps with the faces of Eve archetypes, although often times the Tough but Sexy character is not a seductress but more passively sexy.
- Final Fantasy VII has an interesting version of this. For starters, one of the three women is an Optional Party Member, and secondly, the two who weren't looked like they played one role, but in fact were the opposite:
- Tifa, who looks the part of the seductress, is in fact most reasonable and sensitive — also the secret-keeper of the group (her last name, Lockheart foreshadows this).
- Aerith, who looks the part of the demure wife, is in fact flirty, street-wise, and the most assertive in her sexuality.
- Yuffie (the optional one) both looks and acts like the child and is naïve and idealistic (if not particularly honest or trustworthy).
- Final Fantasy VIII
- Rinoa is the wife: the fact she is The Protagonist's romantic interest is brought on by her calm, gentle demeanor, her selflessness, and her pleasant Girl Next Door character design.
- Quistis is the seductress, she not only plays a short list of fetishes, but she is actively flirty and far more mature than the other women.
- Selphe is the child, her hyperactivity, relentless perkiness is exaggerated to the point of annoying even the other characters.
- Final Fantasy X
- Yuna is in the wife role, being unerringly calm and lives to helps others, self-sacrificing, soft-spoken, and graceful.
- Lulu is in the seductress role, most obviously in how she dresses, the tone she uses when she speaks, and how she holds her self and moves around in her battle animations.
- Rikku is in the child role, the fact that she is the youngest is exaggerated by her consistently upbeat personality, her sweet but shortsighted convictions, and her occasional ditziness.
- Final Fantasy XIII has this in its three female party members.
- Lightning (believe it or not) plays the part of the wife. She's the most motherly and caring of the group — particularly towards Hope and (much later) Snow. She is also said to have acted this way around Serah.
- Fang plays the role of the seductress; she is the most flirty and provocative of the group, and is quite Hot-Blooded at times. Interestingly, these aspects of her personality originally belonged to Lightning (with Serah as the seventh party member and playing the part of the wife), but when Fang was made a woman, they were given to her instead.
- Vanille is usually very bubbly and other characters will comment (or complain) about her childishness. Vanille is actually putting a lot of that behaviour up as a facade to hide her guilt, but genuinely is like this otherwise.
- BioWare is fond of using this trope for the female love interests in its RPGs.
- In Baldur's Gate 2. Sweet Aerie is the Child, no-nonsense world-weary widowed Jaheira the wife, and darkly playful Viconia the seductress.
- Dragon Age: Origins:
- Child - Leliana is on the ingenuous side of Ping-Pong Naïveté. She had been drawn into espionage and political intrigue by the sense of glamor, excitement, adventure, and it wasn't until after she was burned by the shady side that she realized she had relied on Marjolaine to shelter her from that so she could continue to innocently play games. Instead of becoming the jaded manipulative spy, she chose to preserve her purity of spirit by seeking sanctuary with a stable and nurturing parental surrogate, the Church of Andraste.
- Seductress - Morrigan is cynical, instatly contemptive of others, knows her sex appeal and how to use it to her advantage. Before the end, she will try to seduce a Warden to get what she wants, whether or not that Warden has ever shown interest in intimacy with her, or even likes her at all.
- Wife - Wynne is cool-headed, perceptive, compassionate, and far more worldly wise than the confined life of a Tower Mage would suggest. She's no stranger to giving and receiving pleasure in her relationships. Modest and pragmatic, but not overly prim, she simply flirts with more decorum.
- The three female companions in Dragon Age II:
- Child - Merrill is a Ditzy Genius Fish out of Water and your most relentlessly cheery teammate. Of course, she's also a powerful blood mage and the only party mage to focus entirely on damage. She looks up to the more worldly Isabela (see below).
- Wife - Aveline is the only character to start the story married (although she is quickly widowed), and the only character almost guaranteed to end in a relationship. She's wise, honest, caring, no-nonsense, and a capable leader; she takes her responsibilities as captain of the city guard seriously and strives very hard to keep the men and women under her as safe as possible.
- Seductress - Isabela flirts with everyone and makes no bones about her love of sex and no attempt to hide her past sexual exploits. She is the most provocatively dressed member of the party, and offers to teach Merrill how to do body-shots.
- In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, we have the naive Handmaiden as the child, saucy Mira as the seductress, and self-sacrificing Visas as the Wife.
- In Super Robot Wars Original Generation, resident Ms. Fanservice Excellen Browning makes up a group called the "Three Beautiful Sisters", consisting of herself, Viletta Vadim and Lamia Loveless. Lamia is the Child (due to her recent discovery of what it's like to be a human, made more obvious in Original Generations when she gains a Split Personality that sounds like a little girl), Viletta is the Wife (she's the sensible and capable commander of the SRX Team), and Excellen as the Seductress (bloody obvious).
- Among Excellen's clones, this trope also applies: Alfimi as the innocent yet Creepy Child, Lemon as the sensible right hand of Vindel Mauser, and Excellen still as the Seductress.
- The Women Fighters Team from The King of Fighters has the half-naked kunoichi Mai as the seductress, hyperactive karateka Yuri as the Child and tomboyish kickboxer King as the wife.
- The Highschool Girls team from KOF 2003 had Athena Asamiya as the Wife (more experienced membress, leader of the group, Idol Singer who sings to keep the spirits of her fans high no matter what), Hinako Shinjou as the Child (naive, Spoiled Sweet, a Cute Bruiser who wants to show how girls can do what they wish) and Malin as the Sedductress (Combat Pragmatist, outspoken, veeeeery short Magic Skirt)
- Alternatively, in KOF 96 and KOF 97 there are some changes to the Women's Team's roster and they fit in here as well. KOF 96 has Kasumi Todoh replacing Yuri as the Child, and in KOF 97 Chizuru Kagura becomes a secondary Wife.
- Persona 3 has Aigis as the Child — guiding the plot without knowing why — Elizabeth as the Wife — providing guidance and Side Quests to help the hero grow stronger — and as the seductress, the Big Bad Nyx, who's trying to bring about The End of the World as We Know It through coaxing humanity across the Despair Event Horizon.
- Persona 4 also has its own trio of girls, which are Yukiko (quiet, delicate, and responsible wife), Chie (spunky, impulsive, and tomboyish child), and Rise (playful, cheery, and naive seductress). If we use the description from the Final Fantasy example, it also fits their shadows too in that Yukiko's shadow is The Innocent Virgin Princess (literally, complete with castle, pink dress, knights and all), Chie's shadow is Tough But Sexy (how else could you describe a dominatrix?), and Rise's shadow being The Perky Jailbait (to the point of squick, and even the main character's homeroom teacher refers to her as such).
- In The Legend of Zelda Oracle games, the three Oracles (shown in the page image) are Din, an outgoing dancer (seductress); Nayru, a gentle singer (wife); and Farore, a helpful intellectual (child). Unfortunately, the game which was supposed to feature Farore was cancelled. Incidentally, the Oracles share their names with a trio of goddesses in the series mythology (the goddesses of power, wisdom, and courage), but we don't know enough about them to know if they match the trope.
- In Tales of Vesperia, you have Estelle (Innocent Virgin Princess), Judith (Tough But Sexy), and Rita (Perky Jailbait).
- The DS update of Dragon Quest V gives the hero three brides to choose from: Bianca (the child), Nera (the Wife), and Debora (the seductress).
- In Fire Emblem there are several all-female Power Trios, but the one that fits in the best is the Pegasus Knight sisters from Fire Emblem 7. The Wife is the eldest sister Fiora (who even tends to be overprotective and strict), middle sister Farina is The Seductress (strongwilled, materialistic, yet with a hidden gentle side) and the Child is little sister Florina (Shrinking Violet)
- All of the girls that can potentially be fathered by Chrom count as this in Fire Emblem Awakening: Patient and serious Lucina is the wife, strong-willed and rough Kjelle the seductress and clumsy, innocent Cynthia the child. Heck, even Chrom's wife choices themselves can be this: Robin and Sumia (wife), Sully and Maribelle (seductress), and Olivia (child).
- In the mistresses of Overlord II: Kelda would serve as the child (least evil of the Mistresses and the only one to actually love The Witch-Boy), Juno the seductress (Gold Digger) and Queen Fay is the Wife figure (the one most "Equal" to the Witch-Boy).
- The NOL girls of BlazBlue. Noel is shy, innocent and idealistic (the Child), Tsubaki is level-headed and academic (the Wife), and Makoto is the most blatantly fanservicey (the Seductress).
- The past arc in the Magic Guild girls too: Caelica the bright younger sister girl, Trinity the sensible, if bookish one, and Nine the fiery and buxom one.
- The three playable women in Breath of Fire II:
- Child - Katt's personality is up-beat, innocent, impulsive, and a little bit dim.
- Seductress - Bleu is the overtly mature one with flirty dialog and a stripperiffic costume.
- Wife - Nina is the favored love interest for the protagonist, she is often the voice of reason and is compassionate and graceful, as well as a being bit maternal towards her younger sister.
- The ladies of Chrono Trigger fit this trope.
- Marle is the child, maintaining her naivety and innocence through most of the game.
- Lucca is the wife, smart and sensible and always the voice of reason.
- Ayla is the seductress, flirting with both Crono and Kino, a kiss ability, as well as wearing the least amount of clothes.
- The Real Ghostbusters contains another Gender Inverted Example: The playful, jovial, energetic, child-like Ray, who shows little to no interest in women outside of grinning and blushing like mad around his old childhood crush, is the innocent; Peter, at the opposite end of the spectrum, is an incurable skirt-chaser and Casanova Wannabe; and the stoic, levelheaded, reliable Egon is the only one with a single, steady love interest.