"But wasn't it her fault as well as the man's?"
"Nothing is ever a lady's fault, you'll learn that," Lord Trimingham told me.
This remark, confirming something I already felt, made an immense impression on me.
— L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between
A special kind of double standard
that completely screws around with a show's internal logic. A male character is portrayed performing an act that seems evil and unfair in a relationship, like say, looking at another woman. Meanwhile, a female character can perpetrate the exact same actions but not receive any sort of penalty or negative dividends for it. As such, the end result of this is usually both that male sexuality (and the expressions thereof) are presented as inherently "wrong", "dirty" and "ugly", and that any problems that arise in a heterosexual relationship are automatically the man's fault.
This most commonly appears in long-running series. Shorter works rarely deal with the characters long enough for the disconnect to be very obvious. This is also highly abstract in execution. Expect the target of the discontent to be a guy or girl of the week
For a look at affairs in general, see Good Adultery, Bad Adultery
. Interestingly, the more involved named characters
a work has in any given adultery plot, the closer the Sympathetic Adulterer
ratio between men and women reaches 1:1. I'm a Man, I Can't Help It
overrides this trope, but only with sympathetic male characters. The Inverted Trope
of My Girl Is Not a Slut
, for the post-Women's Lib era.
Overlaps with Females Are More Innocent
, Women Are Wiser
, The Mistress
, and Never My Fault
Note: This only relates to the double standard against men in relationships. If anything relates to abuse, please see Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male.
open/close all folders
- In a State Farm commercial featuring a boyfriend and girlfriend, the girlfriend uses the genie-like powers of the State Farm jingle to make her boyfriend more attractive. When he then immediately does the exact same thing to her, she's absolutely furious at him. In this case, it's possible that this one was meant to be played for laughs.
- One of their Competitors, Allstate, is not above it either. One commercial has a husband and wife playing Rock, Paper, Scissors for their bonus check. He wins and says "Rock beats paper." At which point she just takes the check from his hand and smugly replies, "Wife beats Rock", Unlike the State Farm commercial, it was not played for laughs.
Anime and Manga
- Writer Geoff Johns reinvented the Green Lantern Corps so that now there are seven Corps, each representing a different emotion. The Violet Corps represents love. All of its members are female. It's especially notable because every single other corps are fully integrated regardless of race or gender. When asked why, Johns just said, "most men are not worthy". Let's hope he meant that the all-female Zamaronsnote didn't consider men worthy. Since the Sapphires run on every kind of love, people like crazy stalkers can (and one was possessed by Predator, the embodiment of love) become sort of Sapphires, if not official members.
- Considering Guy Gardner, of all people, has worn a Sapphire ring it would seem that it's more a prerogative of the Zamaron's than the rings. Other male wearers include Krona with his Guardian "hack" of the corps' rings and Kyle, thanks to Said doing the same in his favor. That the latter of these two has fully learned to harness love like any female Star Sapphire only illustrates the arbitrariness of this recruitment policy.
- To further enforce the trope, the Predator, the stalker entity is male. The only male being associated with the violet light is a stalker. The stalker tendencies of the female Star Sapphires are justified with the retcon that Star Sapphire power source had a design flaw that overwhelmed the psyche of the bearer.
- The X-Men's Cyclops cheats on his wife Jean Grey with Emma Frost in his mind (though that was actually Emma telepathically messing with his mind) and he's seen as a cruel cheat. But nobody mentions that earlier, Jean had lusted for and even made out with Wolverine, as well as previously lusting after Gambit and Fantomex. In fact, prior to finding out about the 'affair', she actually propositions Wolverine, only for him to turn her down out of loyalty to Cyclops (ironically, after years of trying to get her out of her pants with no respect for Cyke's feelings in the matter).
- Years earlier at the beginning of the Dark Phoenix Saga, Jean is subjected to similar manipulation at the hands of Mastermind (Jason Wyngarde) and is seen as a completely innocent victim. Scott wasn't so lucky. Mastermind, in that case, was treated with the same scorn a rapist would get and Jean all-but kills him for his manipulations. Here, Emma is not only forgiven by both Jean and Cyclops, but Jean actually encourages Scott to date her as she dies, using telepathy to basically Mind Rape him past the stages of grief. In the end, Jean is dead and as such immune to criticism, Emma is dating Cyclops, and Cyclops is left hated by a big portion of the fanbase and the X-Men in-universe, including his daughter.
- Then of course, there's Cyclops' 'jealousy issues'. Whenever Wolverine was putting the moves on Jean, Cyclops would warn him to stay away and Jean would call him out for being so petty and jealous. One time this was flipped, with Psylocke trying to do the same to Cyclops, Jean also got jealous, but didn't get treated as an obsessive yandere the same way Cyclops does. Though, it was, at least, inverted with the lusters: Psylocke later apologized to Jean, explaining her actions as a result of still recovering from being merged with a psychic assassin, while Wolverine has NEVER apologized for his lack of respect towards Cyclops' relationship with Jean, and his lusting after Jean is one of his sympathetic traits... somehow.
- One of the early issues of Ninja High School features Sammi, a Chinese food delivery female forced to dress like a male due to the stupidity of her father making a bet with his friends to have a son (its a long story). In the story she runs afoul of the local cheerleaders who are very feminist and one of the girls takes a liking to Sammi (again due to looking like a boy). Sammi tries to let the girl down gently that she isn't interested. But this only offends her friends since they think Sammi figures she not good enough, to the point they nearly kill Sammi over it. Said girl isn't a saint either, practically trying to force Sammi to be her boyfriend. At the end, when Sammi finally reveals her secret to the girl, said girl gets angry (for her VERY psychotic mistake) and hits Sammi with a mallet for the embarrassment. Granted its played for laughs but really some people can't take a hint.
- Happens in dozens of Lifetime Movies. The man cheats? His fault! The woman cheats? His fault too!
- Before the Rains has the man taking advantage of the woman, who is trapped by her society.
- In the Meryl Streep movie Its Complicated, the main character divorced her sleazy husband when he cheated on her. But when the main character has an affair with her (now married) ex-husband, it's treated like one wild fun sign of her living life. Her friends cheer and laugh when they find out. She does spend a good portion of the movie agonizing over the fact that she can't seem to stop, its when both her friends and her therapist told her it's a good idea that she decides to stop and even then, she quickly realizes she didn't like it anyway and goes after the not married Steve Martin.
- In the '80s version of The Jazz Singer (don't know if it was used in the others) Jess's wife, Rivka, is worried over him chasing his dreams of becoming a singer and him heading to California. Later in the film she comes down herself to drag him back home despite the fact he been very successful and is happy. Jess tries to convince her to stay with him (despite a budding relationship with Molly) but she leaves him saying "she lost him". Wait? So he in the wrong cause he wanted to do something he liked? Oh yeah keep in mind he and Rivka were still living with Jess's father in his house. So... yeah.
- In This Means War, the female love interest gets upset that her two male love interests have not been upfront that they knew each other and lied about their jobs (to hide that they're CIA agents). At the point you start dating two people simultaneously, honesty in a relationship is not a realistic expectation. This definitely isn't the only example of hypocrisy in the movie (e.g. the male love interests complaining when they try to sabotage each other, even though they're both guilty), so it's possible that this is a subtle subversion.
- In Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, the Casanova protagonist Connor Mead is portrayed as needing a lesson in respecting women. The problem is, not only is he given a sympathetic backstory (a childhood crush hurt his feelings, and he turned into a player to avoid such pain again), but they show the bridesmaids pretty much engaging in the same bed-hopping behavior (even competing to bed the protagonist) with no negative consequences. There is even a scene where it is discovered that one of them slept with the groom (Connor's brother). When Connor makes the logical arguments that 1) this was years before his brother even met his fiance and 2) they were comforting the bridesmaid, when she was the one he slept with and she didn't tell the bride either, he is treated as scum and even his own brother tells him off for it.
- The Hangover is a subversion in this case with the character Stu and his eventually ex-girlfriend by movies end. Melissa is depicted as being that type of "feminist" who mistakes equality for all genders as meaning supremacy for the feminine as she's been described as assaulting her boyfriend, cheating on him and then getting angry with him at the prospect of him watching strippers. 'Again' thankfully it's a subversion, because at the end Stu grows a spine, calls her out on previously described b.s. and sends her packing.
- Particularly blatant in Zerophilia, with the main character and his love interest being revealed to both switch genders when they get horny / have sex you'd think the trope would be subverted, but no it's played perfectly straight: Luke gets blamed for pretty much everything that goes wrong in the relationship while Michelle playing mind games by flirting with him as two different people while he was trying to deal with a difficult change in his life and stay faithful to her girl half is completely glossed over. Also Keenan being bothered by his girlfriend saying she'd sleep with his best friend is presented as him being close-minded, but his somewhat insensitive comments later on are a big deal that cause a breakup. The happy ending is earned by both guys eventually groveling sufficiently for forgiveness.
- Played straight in Crazy Stupid Love - Emily cheats on Cal and then asks for a divorce, and she's treated with sympathy. Cal starts sleeping with other women after they separate (again, initiated by Emily)? He's a cad and needs to ask for forgiveness.
- A bit downplayed in American Dreamer. Cathy, while under Easy Amnesia, does sleep with another guy, but her husband isn't a cad, just a controlling jerk.
- In The Kids Are All Right, Jules and Paul (the sperm donor for Jules and her lesbian partner Nic) have an affair. When it's discovered, they're both blasted by Nic and their children, but Jules is eventually forgiven by everyone. Paul on the other hand is treated like dirt and shunned by everyone, including Jules, who acts downright disgusted and angry that he genuinely wants to be with her. It's obvious why Nic and the kids would forgive Jules, who they've known longer, but Paul doesn't deserve to have all the blame dumped on him.
- Up in the Air: After Ryan shows up at Alex's doorstep and finds out she's married with children, she's the one who calls to confront and accuse him of potentially ruining her family even though she was the cheating wife who never informed her lover about her situation.
- Kate and Leopold: Kate and her ex Stuart have equally sharp tongues, but:
Kate: I can't believe I gave you the best years of my life.
Stuart: Those were your best?
Kate looks like she's about to cry. Director expects audience's sympathy to be with Kate. Audience mostly wonders why Stuart ever put up with her.
- Played with in Love Actually. One of the characters is Happily Married but finds himself increasingly tempted to have an affair with his attractive secretary. It's unclear whether he actually does or not, but his wife is understandably hurt when she finds out about his wandering eye. However the man, while still presented as in the wrong, is still shown to be somewhat sympathetic and is basically a decent person who just makes a foolish mistake; they're both just two mostly good people who get embroiled in a difficult situation. His secretary, on the other hand, is depicted as scheming and manipulative in leading on a married man.
- Subverted when another character learns that his girlfriend has been sleeping with his brother behind his back; he's decent and sympathetic, she's not.
- Notably averted in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Sarah cheating on Peter is portrayed in a negative light, and it gets even worse when you find out that she's been cheating on him for over a year before the breakup. When Sarah's new boyfriend reveals that he's been cheating on her she realizes just how awful it was of her to cheat on Peter, and she begs him to take her back. He doesn't.
- The original, Raimi-helmed Spider-Man Trilogy films became guilty of this in the third film, though this is after the second film had MJ treat Peter like shit constantly, prior to them getting together. In the third film, Peter kisses another woman as an improvised bit for a show as part of a "Spider-Man appreciation fair", resulting in later, when Peter's attempting to propose, MJ calling him on it, forgetting the fact that she's an actress who does romantic plays, who should know what a stage kiss is. However, since its "their kiss" (i.e., him hanging upside down), she believes he was wrong to do it with someone else... despite the fact she did the same thing with John Jameson in the previous film. Then, there's the fact that, in the second film, she rubbed her engagement to John Jameson in Peter's face because she was angry at him for missing her play. In the third film, when he rubs in the fact he's now on a date with the woman he stage-kissed after she broke up with him, he's presented as being an asshole as further evidence of the symbiote influencing his actions.
- Zig-Zagged in In a World.... Moe's clumsy attempt to sleep with an attractive neighbor is Played for Laughs with shades of I'm a Man, I Can't Help It. His wife Dani's adultery is Played for Drama and she herself feels very guilty about it, although some characters dismiss it as not a big deal.
- French Stewart’s Love Stinks is a parody of this trope as no one both in and out of universe are expected to see the Chelsea Turner as in the right with Seth Winnick’s (French Stewart) lawyer saying the only reason she would win her lawsuit is because of her gender and his station.
- Played straight with Bill Bellamy’s character’s wife who despite knowing full well that her friend had manipulated Seth into moving in with him, that she was the one who broke up with him, and that their relationship was no where near the point of marriage felt that she was in the right in suing Seth for Palimony. Made even more ludicrous due to the fact that she was offended that Bellamy referred to her as a hooker despite the fact that one of the reasons she stated that Chelsea deserved the money was because she gave up her body
- Dr. Larry Arbogast’s (Danny De Vito) wife Angela in the movie Junior left him when they found out that he couldn’t conceive only to get pregnant from a one nightstand and wants him to be the doctor delivering her baby. Because of her pregnancy she is presented sympathetically despite how incredibly cruel and manipulative she acted.
- Unlike other examples we actually do see how strongly this affects Danny De Vito’s character yet the two still reconcile in the end and agree to raise the baby together.
- Paul Nathanson examines the double standards affecting the portrayal of men in pop culture and pop culture criticism at length in his non-fiction book Spreading Misandry: The Teaching of Contempt for Men In Popular Culture.
- Zig-Zagged in The Wheel of Time. For the first few books of their marriage, Faile internally complains about her husband Perrin not magically knowing and abiding by the relationship mores of her home country that she never deigns to explain to him, never considering that maybe she should adjust to his culture, especially considering that that's where they live and there are no shortage of female role models to teach her how things are done there, whereas Perrin is stumbling around in the dark when she expects him to treat her according to her culture's customs. After the fans were well and truly sick of this aspect of her character, she suddenly realizes how unfair this is and arranges a touching romantic gesture to show him that she's willing to meet him halfway. She promptly forgets all about this in the next book.
- Intentionally invoked in The Belgariad, as the main characters engage in a long running exchange of witty banter over the "fairness" of which gender gets to do which things, complete with an informal scoring system for particularly telling jibes.
- In one of the Warhammer books about Malus Darkblade (Bloodstorm, to be precise), Malus mentioned in passing that a druchii woman could have as many lovers as she wished, while a male druchii was expected to be faithful. This example is especially notable due to the context - Malus's half-sister had discovered that her lover, Bruglir, was cheating on her. She got so angry that she literally became a living saint of the god of murder himself - and the first two times she appears, she was in the middle of her harem and having an orgy, respectively. Psychologically justified in that the overlord of the Druchii is the Witch King Malekith, who has a major Oedipus complex with his mother Morathi, who used to head up the largest Slaaneshi cult in the elf world. Malekith was born, and reached prominence, by his mother screwing the king of the elves. In short the entire kingdom of Nagaroth is built on the back of matriarchy, or rather the matriarch's penchant for being on her back. Other instances include only females are allowed to use magic, baby boys are rounded up for mass sacrifice one night a year, with the few survivors becoming assassins who are by game mechanic unable to lead their female counterparts. Strange how the evil elf races are always this trope in spades.
- Subverted in Last Night at Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger: throughout the novel, as Brooke and Julian's marriage falls apart, Brooke seems to constantly put the blame on how much Julian's career takes him away from home and otherwise causes him to neglect her. All while she insists on putting her career first by continuing to work sixty hours a week at two jobs, income from which they don't need anymore now that Julian's first album has gone platinum within its first week out. The subversion comes from the fact that she admits as much at the end when they reconcile, acknowledging that she's guilty of the same thing.
- In one of The Princess Diaries books, Mia's friend Tina is dumped by text message by her boyfriend after she fails to return his calls, leading to her friends calling him a sexist pig. Granted, he broke up with her in an obnoxious way, but nobody calls her out for being rude enough to ignore his phone calls.
- She is indirectly called out to this, as Mia's mother says during a conversation that it is just plain rude to not return somebody's calls.
- The Anita Blake series practically runs on this trope after Narcissus in Chains. The main character has about 8 official lovers and sleeps with many other men during the course of each book, yet, except Richard who's treated as the resident Jerkass, none of her main lovers are allowed to even look at another person, and she has dumped some lovers for being unfaithful. The author tries to justify with Magical Addiction to sex.
- Some people say that Their Eyes Were Watching God has this trope written all over it. However, because while Janie did leave her first husband with another man and then condemned her second husband while he was on his deathbed, the narrative makes it clear that she was an extremely naive, too-romantic-for-her-own-good girl whose hasty decision to run off with Joe Starks was probably not the best of decisions considering that Joe Starks turns out to be an insanely possessive Jerk Ass who tried to emotionally control her as a submissive housewife, which also most likely indicates that her "The Reason You Suck" Speech to him wasn't entirely unjustified. Plus, she never acted "bitchy" toward Tea Cake who mostly treated her like an equal (not even when she thought that he had left her or when he slapped her after she was set up on a date with another man), and the very fact that Tea Cake was shown to be a fairly decent and sweet husband should be a good indication that this book wasn't aimed at painting the entire male gender as abusive jerks. Any Unfortunate Implications here probably fall under Men Are the Expendable Gender or Her Heart Will Go On better than this one.
- In The House of Night series, Zoey initially was slightly hesitant about having a relationship with Erik because he had previously dated Aphrodite. This is after (A) she walked in on Aphrodite all but raping Erik (trying to force a blowjob on him while he repeatedly asked her to stop) and (B) it was made pretty obvious that Aphrodite and her friends made use of Erik and other boys in such a way. Zoey does hook up with Erik...and dives into a relationship with a teacher at the school, while rekindling a relationship with her human boyfriend. At the end of Chosen, we're apparently supposed to think Erik's such a mean guy for not being so kind and understanding that Zoey had sex with said teacher and just had "We share a bond" as an excuse.
- Averted in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. After Ron found out that Hermione might have kissed a guy who asked her out two years prior while she was single AND getting told that his overbearing watchdog tendencies about his sister were due to his own inexperience with girls, he gets into an extremely shallow relationship with basically the first girl to give him the time of day, largely out of spite. He is portrayed as insensitive and, giving how publicly he flaunts the relationship, pretty hypocritical, and quickly gets his own comeuppance by means of his “girlfriend” being utterly insufferable. Hermione attempts to retaliate by asking out the Jerk Jock who had been eyeing her for most of the book… only for the plan to implode immediately since she genuinely can’t stand the guy. Harry, and by extension the narrator, are quick to point out that they’re both idiots, though he’s slightly more overtly critical of Hermione, possibly owing to the fact that Ron was being an impulsive idiot who didn’t think things through, whereas Hermione was being consciously and deliberately petty.
Narrator: "Harry was left to ponder in silence the depths to which girls would sink to get revenge."
- And note that this was written by a woman.
- Ironically, despite the book's point, a good deal of the fanbase blamed the whole shebang entirely on either Ron or Hermione. Usually Ron.
- In-universe, there's a milder case of this: girls can go into the boys' bedroom without problem, but there's a charm on the stairs to the girls' bedroom that turns it into a slide if a boy tries to enter.
- Played with all the time in most Danielle Steel's novels. It is played straight whenever there is a May-December Romance. A villain (usually male, of course) is said to look ridiculous dating/marrying a younger woman, and the woman in question is always made out to be a gold-digging, airheaded tramp. Meanwhile, her heroines can easily date or marry someone up to 40 years older with no one batting an eye. (In all fairness, her male protagonists are often granted this privilege too). But this trope is usually averted in the case of adultery. Usually no matter what, a protagonist and his/her True Love's adulterous relationships will be portrayed as good, while their cuckolded spouses will be portrayed as horrible excuses for human beings.
- The Notebooks of Lazarus Long: From his "ingredients for a happy marriage":
In a family argument, if it turns out you are right—apologize at once!
- Justified in Guilty Wives. The four eponymous wives do all cheat on their husbands, but it's hard to really hold it against them. Abbie, the protagonist, did cheat on her husband Jeffrey, but he had been cheating on her for quite some time before the action of the novel began, and she knew it. Bryah's husband Colton had been abusing her. Serena and Winnie, it's true, did not have such good excuses. Even so, the revenge that their husbands take is so out of proportion that you can't really hate the four women.
Live Action TV
- Common in sitcoms, where one of the running gags of the butt monkey is that he is often times rejected by women in a pretty messed up way. But if one of the female stars is cruelly rejected by a guy of the week, or if she is dating him but he turns out to be a jerkass, expect him to get some sort of comeuppance by the end of the episode, anywhere from humiliation to a Curb-Stomp Battle.
- On Maury, women bring on multiple different men, often over more than one episode, to find out if a man is the father of the woman's baby through a DNA test. The audience is always, always against the man in this conflict (though the men often don't help matters by making a scene). Even if the amount of men this woman has slept with is in the double digits, which is not uncommon, and even if the woman is the one who cheated on the man, the audience universally chides the man and praises the woman, even though logic would point to the woman being at the greatest fault here.
- There was one notable aversion, though, in the infamous "I'm 1000% sure" episode, where the audience cheered while the accused man danced after being told he wasn't the father.
- Arguably worse on Steve Wilkos. At one point, a woman tackles her husband on stage while he, in turn, grabs at her ankles to pull her down with him. Steve threatens to arrest the man, treating him as the aggressor, while giving the woman a slap on the wrist. In another instance, a woman is beating up on a man after finding out he cheated on her and Steve asked the man why he should be surprised, even though Steve would have had her escorted out in handcuffs if the genders were reversed.
- Thankfully though it's mostly averted on Steve Wilkos. If a woman does something bad, you can expect them to be chewed out as much as the man. Generally Steve only gets mad at someone on the stage if they are the ones responsible (a woman who cheats is going to be chewed out, while a woman who's been cheated on will be comforted).
- In Saved by the Bell, two occasionally-reused plots throughout the high school and college years were (a) "Zack pays a little too much attention to another girl and Kelly gets mad," and (b) "Kelly sees another guy and drops Zack like a hot potato." In cases of A, Zack having to figure out how to make it up to Kelly (or realizing he needed to) would be the focus of the plot. However, in cases of B, Zack would still be made the villain, for standing in the way of Kelly's happiness for his own selfish needs. Apparently, Negative Continuity is in play and you're not supposed to notice this pattern, but it's hard not to. The Grand Finale of the original students' saga is Zack and Kelly's wedding. What led Zack to pop the question? He was afraid that Kelly would meet another guy on an upcoming trip that Zack wasn't going on. Aw, how romantic.
- Used regularly on Friends.
- Ross is somewhat treated as the guilty party after his first divorce even though it was Carol who cheated on Ross with Susan. And Susan acts like a harpy towards Ross during most of her appearances.
- Susan's behavior makes sense when you remember that Carol didn't leave Ross because she didn't love him. And, for a divorced couple, they get along rather well. Susan also resents that she gets no officially recognised role for her contribution to Ben's life;
Susan: There's Mothers day, Father's day! There's no Lesbian Lovers Day!
Ross: Everyday is Lesbian Lovers Day!
- Of course, sympathy for Susan's plight is somewhat blunted by the discussion about what's Ben's surname will be, where Susan suggested "Benjamin Willick-Bunch", dropping "Geller" (Ross's surname) in favor of her own.
- Meanwhile of the six main cast, the women routinely get away with acting unfairly towards the men. "The One With All The Poker" centers around the three being displeased with the boys not letting them play poker with them, then when the men do let them play Rachel mocks they're using their skill at the game to lord over them. "The One With the Embryos" has Rachel and Monica challenge Chandler and Joey to a trivia game to see which of the pairs knows the other better — they end up raising the stakes that if they win, Chandler and Joey have to get rid of the chick and the duck, and they accept if Rachel and Monica will trade apartments when they lose. The boys win, but Rachel and Monica are incredibly bitter when it comes to holding up their end of the deal, and they end up going back on it a few episodes later, though to their credit it was by allowing the boys to watch them "kiss for one minute".
- From Ross and Rachel's breakup in season 3 to the beginning of season 5, when Ross was in a relationship, Rachel would become jealous, distressed, and often seek to make everyone around her miserable until he was inevitably single again; while this behaviour wasn't necessarily condoned, she was often given a great deal of sympathy from her other friends over it. Meanwhile, if Ross ever displayed the slightest bit of jealousy over any of Rachel's relationships, it was met with utter exasperation and being told the relationship was over and he needed to move on. However, from season 5, they became more comfortable with the others dating.
- Though one episode finally seemed to put this in some perspective with Rachel latching on to a complete stranger on a plane and telling him her entire sob story, until the guy sitting next to her gets fed up and tell her how immature, selfish, cruel and petty she was being (especially in going to ruin Ross and Emily's wedding - calling her a horrible, horrible, person), and "By the way, it seems perfectly clear to me that you were on a break!" What made that moment even more glorious was the fact that the stranger was played by none other than House himself, Hugh Laurie. Here it is, by the way!
- This is kind of lampshaded in an episode where Rachel borrows Monica's expensive car. We say borrow, but we really mean steal. Ross does his best to keep her from taking it, but ends up going along with it to make sure she brings the car back in one piece. Long story short, Rachel speeds, and gets pulled over by a cop. She shows him her license, which expired ten years earlier. Rachel flirts with the cop more than a little, and the cop let's her go without even a slap on the wrist, advising Ross to drive, since she doesn't have her license. Later in the same episode, Ross is pulled over—for driving too slow—and gets a ticket. He tries the same tricks as Rachel did, which is really more pathetic than effective.
- Also gets lampshaded and ultimately averted in season six. After he and Rachel drunkenly get married while in Vegas, Ross fails to have the marriage annulled, partially because he doesn't want the embarrassment of having a second failed marriage pop up in less than a year and partially because despite his denial he still had some feelings for Rachel. When the truth comes out and Rachel is completely pissed at him, Ross actually snaps back at her that it's utterly no different from Rachel's behavior at the aforementioned wedding incident. Rachel attempts to respond that there was still a difference since she still had feelings for Ross during that time... and then realizes the truth about how Ross was feeling, which causes her to quickly shut up.
- Notably averted in The One that Could Have Been when Rachel is making excuses for why it would be okay for her to cheat on her husband with soap-star Joey, only for Monica to cut in, saying "Nothing you say could make me think it's okay for you to cheat on your husband!"
- Later on however, after just barely resists temptation, she returns home to find her husband in bed with another woman (which harkens back to the first season, when she went to apologize to her ex-fiance for being a runaway bride and ultimately discovered he had been cheating on her with one of her bridesmaids even before she left). Granted however as she attempts to play the injured party and complain about what pigs men are to Ross, he points out her plans beforehand.
Rachel: Oh what are you, a detective?
- An early episode has Rachel having an affair with her ex-fiance Barry, who is at this point engaged to her best friend Mindy. When she confesses this to Mindy, she also reveals that during Rachel's engagement to Barry she was sleeping with him. In spite of the fact that they were all knowingly cheating on each other, Barry is the only person to get any abuse for it. Rachel's friends give her very brief notice of their disapproval, but in the end there is no comeuppance for her or Mindy.
- Also amusingly Played for Laughs in one episode where Ross outs Chandler for casually flirting with another woman even though he and Monica were a couple by this time. Monica acts cool and reveals she does it too, leading Chandler to have a freak out and point out why it's much more serious in her case: "You see, you're much hotter than I am."
- Also averted in one late episode where Chandler was transferred to Tulsa and has to work Christmas Eve alone with the only other worker there, an attractive woman. Chandler naturally acts faithful to Monica, but Monica still panics and instantly assumes the worst, but in this case it's made clear her behavior is being irrational.
- Used far too often in Scrubs.
- Best exemplified in JDs Anvilicious closing narration in My Tormented Mentor: "There will always be a battle for power between the sexes, sometimes a man just has to give in, other times he just has to take a positive step, and once in a while a man just has to be there for her." The subtext being that women can't be wrong because they have it hard on account of being women(!?), while in the same episode the chief complaint a female surgeon has against Turk is that he assumes women in their profession have it hard (which is true, at least in universe) and then punishes him for being perfectly nice to her. The female surgeon who is in charge of Turk constantly insults everyone around her and then prevents him from operating indefinitely because she overheard him defending her in front of the resident Memetic Molester and he told her he doesn't share the prejudices of the other male surgeons. Hint: You're not supposed to be supportive of women, it's demeaning. All instances of female surgeons in the show basically illustrate one point: cocky men are assholes, cocky women are professionals who fight the good fight for women all over the world and it's completely justified if they lash out and misuse their authority from time to time (or all the time.) Note that this head surgeon abuses her power over Turk when Carla uninvited her to their wedding due to lack of space.
- That episode has another example with Dr. Cox and Jordan. After Jordan's brother dies (who was also best friends with Perry), Dr. Cox is extremely upset but finds it difficult to move on with Jordan's friends staying with them. Said friends openly insult and demean Perry at every opportunity and even lash out at him when he tries to get close to Jordan for emotional support. In the end, rather than getting an aesop that the two of them need to work together to overcome the loss, Perry learns he's meant to comfort and support Jordan at all times, even letting her cheerily keep her friends at the apartment knowing how much they upset him. His emotional needs are all but ignored.
- Elliot sleeps with JD then immediately dumps him the day after because her old boyfriend came back; JD's jealousy is depicted as petty and he's advised to "be a good friend". Later, JD convinces Elliot to leave her boyfriend but realizes that he doesn't love her. After struggling over his dilemma, he admits this to her; she physically assaults him and carries a grudge for the entire next season.
- Elliot is engaged to marry Keith. The day before the wedding, she realizes that she doesn't love him (wow, small world) and dumps him. The day afterwards, she changes her mind and gets back together with him, sleeping with him twice. Then she decides that she's repeating a bad pattern and dumps him again. Keith is understandably furious and carries a grudge for the next season; meanwhile, Elliot can't understand what the big deal is and bemoans Keith's "lack of professionalism". (Speaking of professionalism, the reason they got together in the first place was because Elliot wanted a sex buddy and chose Keith, her subordinate.) Carla does manage to force Elliot to face up to the psychological devastation inflicted on Keith and apologize, but this is undercut substantially by being basically a way to write Keith off the show. He wasn't seen until the penultimate scene of season eight's last show (which was intended to be the series finale) and never again.
- JD accidentally gets Kim pregnant on their fourth date, but they decide to raise the baby and work together to make their relationship work. Kim suddenly takes a lucrative job offer a few states over (naturally, JD doesn't want her to go but "learns" that the correct reaction is to support her decision unconditionally) and a few months later, informs JD that she has miscarried. Turns out, that was a lie to get out of their relationship. JD is furious but decides that he will get back together with Kim for the sake of his child, even if it means trapping himself in a loveless relationship for the rest of his life. When Kim is in labor she demands to know what he thinks of her; he admits that he doesn't love her and she is furious, dumping him immediately afterwards.
- Inverted in one episode where Elliot sleeps with a male patient only to discover that he's married. When he tells his wife, the wife goes into a frenzy directed only at Elliot, and hunts her for the rest of the episode.
- Sex and the City runs on this, though through an Unreliable Narrator and her female friends, who generally complain a lot about men. Some instances show Carrie in a negative light, like when she tore through a boyfriend's personal locked belongings in a fit of jealous needy snooping, or when she cheated on Aidan with the married Big. Or when Charlotte freaked out on Harry for waiting too long to "set a date", or Samantha cheating on Smith. But about 90% of the time, the women are portrayed more sympathetic or funny in any given situation, and the men are pigs. However this is arguably down to the fact they are the protagonists more than their gender.
- Trope averted in a few cases: Charlotte got some serious comeuppance after exploding on Harry, and Sam suffered through quite probably the most boring, degrading sex of her very prolific sex life when she cheated on Smith (and wept afterwards). As for Carrie and Big's tryst, she was dumped by Aidan (and quite literally never trusted by him again). Miranda was also called out a few times for misandry and double standards (even by the other women). Not to say that the show is void of this trope: for instance, in a series where the characters routinely lament the double standard of attractiveness, the girls often do the same — Samantha refuses sex with a boyfriend because he has a small penis, and she genuinely liked (if not loved) him, and she misses him for quite some time after he's gone.
- In The House: Maxwell’s and Mercedes relationship is ludicrous at best. In fact the only explanation for why Max puts up with her antics is that it was love at first sight for him. The first time they broke up was when Mercedes found out that Max was lying to her about being rich and left him for thinking she would be so shallow. Conveniently forgetting that she only agreed to go out with him after he got her ridiculously expensive and hard to get items. Later after they got married Mercedes left again after their very first argument which was entirely her fault for constantly spending money that they didn’t have. When she came and they went to counseling it was all about how Max needed to treat her better.
- Tiffany is no better by the end of the series she strung along two guy’s one an older grad student the other a delivery man. Later when her friend Raynelle feeling insecure by the fact that Tiffany I in college and she isn’t decides to date Mark the delivery man Tiffany confronts the amorous couple about their betrayal. In the end to preserve their friendship Mark is made the bad guy for being pissed off that they both used him. What makes this worse is that Tiffany had a story arc about people looking down on her something she obviously did to Mark.
- In the nurse drama Mercy, the Jerkass lead Veronica claims it's alright that she cheated on her husband with an attractive male doctor in Iraq because 'it was Iraq and she could've died' and because 'he cheated first'. She gets called out on both of them, though.
- Third Rockfromthe Sun: Dr Albright and Nina getting mad a Dick for finally meeting and constantly talking about a woman in “Auto Eurodicka”, despite the fact that the two constantly joke about Dr Albright’s promiscuity and later actually cheating on Dick being played for laughs.
- That '70s Show has Donna Pinciotti who could be the trope codifier. The way she treats Eric Forman is appalling and she is rarely (if ever) called out on it. Examples include:
- Blasting Eric for daring to make plans with his friends without asking her permission first. At the end of the episode, Eric has to promise to always check with her first before seeing his friends. He then asks her if she needs to ask his permission to see her friends, to which she replies "no" and skips off to meet up with a friend.
- Yelling at Eric for having two dates with another girl when Donna and Eric were broken up, conveniently forgetting the fact that she herself dated and slept with Casey Kelso in that same timeframe.
- Going to a wedding with a guy whom she knows has a crush on her and then blasting Eric for not being alright with it.
- Getting upset at Eric for being upset that she announced on radio over most of the state that she was single, and failed to take two seconds to explain to him that it was a marketing thing foisted on her by the station manager.
- The Grey's Anatomy Spin-Off series Private Practice takes this to the extremes, to the point that one character dates two men at the same time, sleeping with/cheating on both of them regularly, gets pregnant, refuses to allow a paternity test while ignoring both men during her pregnancy, abandons her child after birth, sleeps with Addison's father, and when confronted about it tells Addison that she doesn't regret it because "It was a wonderful experience". Most of the other characters act like she's completely insane and very selfish but they just aren't mentioning it to her face, because she's so traumatized.
- Desperate Housewives is a pretty bad case: The ladies get away with crap that they'd be crucified for if it was a man. Anywhere between throwing your spouse outside the window of the top floor when you find out he found out you were trying to con him out of taking all his money (Gabrielle), to keeping your deceased spouse literally Stuffed In The Fridge, albeit to avoid tax (Karen), to kidnapping a drug-addict's child, murdering said drug addict when she comes back for her child and dismembering her corpse (Mary Alice), and though while the latter does lead to Mary Alice committing suicide after someone finds out, she is still remembered fondly by the four main characters, while her husband is perceived as a very unpleasant person for doing the exact same thing.
- Averted in Bones, when Brennan has been dating two men; one she has the sex with, the other intellectual conversation. At the end of the episode, both men show up at her workplace at the same time, realize what's going on, say they wanted what the other guy is getting as well as their "specialties", call her out on it, and break up with her.
- Funny thing is, even after getting called out on this, Bones tries to logically explain the reasons why she prefers each man for certain reasons, expecting everyone to be as calm and "logical" as her. Of course, Bones is supposed to be an anthropologist (i.e. an expert on people and their social interactions and culture). It's weird that she never saw it coming.
- It was played straight when Pelant framed Bones for murder forcing her to abandon Booth and to go into hiding. Everyone repeatedly stressed that she had no other choice and while Booth agreed with the before statement Bones saw nothing wrong with what she did even telling Booth not to do things with their daughter because she had already done them. Later when Pelant blackmailed Booth into calling off the wedding everyone called him out on betraying Bones and out of all the geniuses the only one to put 2 and 2 together was Sweets.
- To make matters worse the most vocal person to call out Booth was Angela, a woman who has done the same thing to literally everyone she has ever been in a relationship with including her husband.
- In the first season of Jersey Shore, Ronnie and Sammi were being followed home and harassed by a man who was determined to get Ronnie to fight him. Sammi was antagonizing the man and his girlfriend and wouldn’t stop when Ronnie insisted that she stop. When Sammi wouldn’t stop, Ronnie shoved her away from him in frustration, then ended up fighting the man. Everything that happened that night is blamed on Ronnie, and the part of the situation that Sammi and the rest of the cast focused on was that Ronnie shoved her. It's particularly obnoxious when Ronnie ends up with bruises and a black eye, and Sammi, without a mark on her, is yelling "You've TRAUMATIZED me."
- Sammi’s role in her abusive relationship with Ronnie is generally downplayed. He’s cheated, screamed at her, and smashed her things in anger. Sammi is vindictive, emotionally abusive, and a spoiled brat, but that's rarely pointed out.
- Months after finding out that Ronnie cheated, Sammi would follow Ronnie around the house demanding to know if he was with any girls and would not get out of his face; it appeared that she wouldn’t leave Ronnie alone until he admitted that he was cheating (at the time, he wasn’t). She won’t allow him to be friends with Jenni, and when she finds out that he is, she punches him in the face. When Ronnie refuses to get out of Sammi’s face after she’s suspected of cheating (she actually did) it’s abusive.
- To get back at Ronnie after breaking up with him, Sammi goes to the same club he is at and makes a scene dancing with guys to make him jealous. Ronnie goes home and smashes all of Sammi’s things. What Ronnie did was way worse, but no one calls out Sam for getting revenge.
- In the sitcom My Wife and Kids, the infamous Sweethearts Day episode. To summarize, the women (egged on by wife Jay) invent a holiday for the express purpose of forcing their men to buy them diamond jewelry. Michael buys Jay pearls instead when she displays a bad attitude, and she reacts like he did something terrible and responds by doing such things as refusing to make him breakfast (and putting raw bacon on his head). Jay is presented unflinchingly as the right one in the conflict, and at the end of the episode, Michael is the one apologizing.
- In another episode, Michael wants a quiet evening at home so he can watch the basketball game, but Jay drags him to a fancy Japanese restaurant instead. The restaurant's staff openly rips him off and treats him like garbage, up to and including the waitress stealing sips from his drink and lying about it when he complains. Jay's response is to chastize him for being a baby.
- In yet another episode, the girls decide to play a Newlywed Game-style parlor game where the men have to guess their responses to questions like "When was our first kiss?" The men miss all the questions and end up in the doghouse, but turn it back around on the women and prove that they don't know anything either. All of the women admit their mistake, apologize and make up except for Jay, meaning Michael has to go the extra mile to get back in her good graces.
- Possibly subverted on Malcolm in the Middle where Lois says she has no problem with Hal looking at other women. Hal insists he never does. When Lois mentions that she looks at other men, Hal is crushed. It's very much played for laughs and eventually it's revealed that Lois is more devastated than Hal. This is because it means that he is even more in love with her than she is with him. Considering Lois' obsession with always being the better partner, its a hard hit to take.
- Though other aspects of their relationship could be considered playing it straight due to the fact that it’s played for laughs yet if the genders were reversed it would be considered incredibly creepy. Hal’s utter devotion to Lois to the point that little things like her moving slightly away from him in bed or buying orthotics causes him to flip out, or the fact that anytime she is away for him for longer than a day his personality drastically changes. This coupled with the fact that he was dating someone else when they met can lead to the Unfortunate Implications that he was brainwashed.
- When the flakey babysitter of Jamie dates Craig and Abe at the same time, no one finds fault with her. All it basically does is make her more of a Scrappy.
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit had a case involving a murdered lesbian who was in an abusive relationship. The said abusive lover was portrayed much more sympathetically than any other on SVU. While most male abusers are treated like a villain, she was treated like a nice girl with an unfortunate bad temper. In the writers' defense, they may have been trying to avoid Unfortunate Implications of the Psycho Lesbian variety.
- Whenever there is a female suspect or perpetrator, there will usually be something to throw the blame on a man, or a man actually did it, or something will happen to rob the man of his sympathy.
- In the same show, whenever there's a female victim (unless it's a child) there will sometimes turn out to be a twist in which the woman actually did it, or did something else evil to cause her to be in the situation. That show just likes screwing with the audience.
- One particular episode begins with a woman claiming to have been raped by a rich (married) man and had his baby, and he denied ever sleeping with her, typical set-up... until it turns out she's a con artist who drugged men and uses an anal probe to force them to ejaculate while unconscious so she could impregnate herself. The poor sap she accused is one of many rich, successful men she did this with and his swimmers just happened to be better than the competition. Oh, and that was just one part of a two-part scam she was running with her mother. Once the reversal is revealed, Benson and Stabler are much more sympathetic to the male victim and treat the woman like a villain, though she gets away with it until she and her mother were later arrested in a crossover with Law & Order, avoiding a potential Karma Houdini.
- However it is still played straight by the fact that they said that the only thing they could charge her with was theft because there were no rules how to retrieve a man’s sperm when he is unconscious. They did not like her and said that There Should Be a Law but they never even considered charging her with sexual assault.
- Degrassi The Next Generation generally avoids this problem. Males and females being treated equally (and having equal shares in drama). Use of schoolyard morals also means that if a male has two girls its okay, but if a girl has two guys she's a slut. Except when Hazel suggests it is the male's place to be afraid of and completely obedient to their girlfriends. Something akin to a puppy, or a faithful manservant. The instance itself is less of an example, as Spinner was cheating on Paige (or getting ready to).
- Even then, it was a bit of a subversion because Spinner implied the whole "loyal puppy" thing was the reason why he almost cheated. Either way, the whole concept of the guy being subservient to his girlfriend is never brought up again thankfully.
- In Glee Will's wife Terri admits that she did everything she could to prevent him from feeling good about himself in order to trap him in a loveless marriage and support her financially. What really horrified fans was that in the same scene Will got angry and grabbed her wrist hard enough to make her cry out (YMMV, some fans considered that the show's first Crowning Moment of Awesome given the context).
- That may have been contributed to the fact that Will was always mellow and passive to his wife, and that little confession kind of sent him over the deep end, a kind of shocking Beware the Nice Ones in a rather upbeat show.
- Also in Glee (especially in the first season), almost everything involving Quinn. She had sex with Puck while involved with Finn. At the time, she was president of the chastity club and never had sex with Finn. When she found out she was pregnant, she lied to Finn and told him it was his child, saying it was because he ejaculated in a hot tub that both of them were in at the time. Throughout the season, this lie was presented as entirely justified, with Mercedes even telling Puck that it was Quinn's right to choose who would act as the child's father. Furthermore, Quinn judged Puck's fitness as a potential father solely on the basis of his fitness as a romantic partner for her. Once the lie got out, she chose to put the child up for adoption, even though Puck previously expressed a strong desire to be a father. The next season, Quinn resumed her relationship with Finn, the guy she had betrayed so blatantly before.
- Even though Brittany cheated on Artie, the show presents their breakup as Artie's fault for calling her stupid.
- Likewise his first relationship with Tina ended because he was a "bad boyfriend." Nevermind that she cheated on him with Mike.
- An ID channel documentary called Women Murderers. The subjects were child murderers, black widows, angels of death, or went on violent rampages with their boyfriends where they participated in the bloodshed. However, the show was sympathetic toward all their subjects, consistently going to great lengths to portray them as victims driven to their crimes by past child abuse or stress in life. The one lone dissenting voice, who was also the only female interviewed, was a female profiler who put it all into perspective: Many people, men and women, suffered horrible abuse as children, yet they didn't go out and commit murder.
- This is the basic premise of Snapped as well. Apparently all female killers are somehow driven to their horrific acts by men. But considering the channel it's on (Oxygen)... this attitude isn't shocking.
- Thankfully averted in Deadly Women, another Investigation Discovery documentary series. In the majority of cases, the female killers aren't treated with sympathy and if a Freudian Excuse is brought up, the show makes it clear that it's not enough to excuse murder. In addition, while other shows often portray female killers who were in cahoots with male killers (such as Myra Hindley) as victims, Deadly Women asserts that these women should be held responsible for their actions. The only exceptions to this attitude are women who were being abused or were mentally ill, and even though the show treats them more sympathetically than the other killers, the murders they committed aren't ever justified or excused.
- The later seasons of Everybody Loves Raymond basically run on this trope. Debra acts like a Smug Snake and physically-abusive bitch and rarely receives a comeuppance for it, while Ray gets browbeaten and screamed at for the most minor of offenses. Debra and Marie are nasty harpies to their husbands, and rarely get comeuppance from them. Debra only ever gets called out by Marie (a character whose opinions the show usually wants viewers to ignore), while Ray is publicly humiliated and physically beaten by Debra on a regular basis, and still gets treated like he is somehow in the wrong. Even in times when he's right, he's often treated by Debra and the show like he's wrong, while the show constantly tries to act like Debra is some sort of an innocent saint, possibly in an attempt to pander to Debra's fanbase (Marie's fanbase, if it even exists, is outside the show's target demographics and therefore not appealed to as much as Debra's).
- A great example of Debra exploiting Double Standards is in an episode where Ray is at the airport when an attractive woman tries to flirt with him, but as soon as Ray realizes what's going on, he quickly informs her that he's married and sends her away, out of loyalty to Debra... but when Debra finds out what happened, she goes into jealous banshee mode and decides to punish him anyway, and throws Ray's clothes out the window... even though Ray did the right thing. Meanwhile in an earlier episode when the family went to Italy, a couple of men start flirting with Debra and making kissy noises and she is clearly enjoying it, as she stands there giggling, smiling back at them, and tries to strike up a conversation. When her husband Ray (quite rightly) gets upset and hurries her away from the men (as she turns back and waves goodbye to them), Debra chews him out and makes *Ray* out to be the bad guy. The moral of the story: When Debra disrespects Ray by soaking in flirts from other men, and he gets upset... *he's* somehow in the wrong; and when Ray gets hit on by another woman but rejects her out of respect for Debra... Ray is *still* somehow wrong. Debra apparently has the right to feel jealous and take any revenge she likes, but if Ray ever feels jealous then he's a horrible, horrible person who needs to sit back and let Debra have her fun. Definitely serves as an example of Debra's Mary Sue status on ELR (as well as of Ray's Informed Wrongness).
- In the mid '90s Soap Opera General Hospital had a very similar scenario with super couple Sonny and Brenda. Throughout their entire relationship, Brenda constantly acted very inappropriately with her friend Miguel—suggestively dancing with him, hanging all over him, going on and on about how hot and sexy he was. But if Sonny dared to complain about any of this, Brenda would ignore him and instead chose to blast him for supposedly being a controlling pig who didn't trust her. On the flip side, Sonny befriended Miguel's girlfriend Lily and the two often acted as each others confidantes (namely because they were upset about the way their respective partners consistently behaved with each other). Brenda's response was to go ballistic everytime she saw the two talking as though this were on par with adultery. Then, when Sonny and Brenda broke up, she began sleeping with Miguel within 48 hours and promptly did everything she could think of to throw it in Sonny's face... yet continued to fly into a rage whenever she saw Sonny and Lily together. So dry-humping a guy in front of your boyfriend, jumping into bed with him two seconds after your breakup and then rubbing his nose in it? Perfectly fine. Befriending a woman and waiting until several weeks after your breakup with your shrewish, hypocritical tramp of a girlfriend to explore a relationship with her? Pure evil.
- There's Bridezillas, where whenever the man is involved with his groomsmen throwing a bachelor party, the bride-to-be pitches a fit, then promptly goes and dances with a male stripper sometime not long after, usually putting whip cream on him and licking it or some such.
- Considering the show's premise, this sounds more like the producers showing the brides' hypocrisy rather than an example of this trope.
- On Everybody Hates Chris, Julius is forced to go on strike and stay at home (not his fault nor his choice), forcing Rochelle to have to get a job again. Instead of just sitting around all day doing nothing, Julius cleans the whole house AND makes dinner with dessert. You would think Rochelle would be appreciative or at least show a sign of gratitude like the kids do, but no... she gets all bitchy at him and complains about every little thing (and by every little thing, I mean she likely makes stuff up to irritate him). Then when he justifiably snaps and says he does a better job and doesn't find it difficult, she yells at him saying he's only been doing it one day and has no idea how difficult it is for her. However it makes absolutely no sense for her to say something like this, as narrator Chris explains just seconds prior that Julius was the oldest of eleven children and had to do the cooking and cleaning for them, something you would think his wife would know. Then to add to the stupidity of it, he has TWO jobs at once, so of course he wouldn't find it difficult if he's already a hard worker. He then is guilted into 'fixing' the horrible crime of being a good, hardworking husband at the end. They try to play the whole "she just feels underappreciated" card, but that kind of fails since she starts getting irritated before the kids even say much, and there still isn't any logical reason to feel jealous, seeing as how the strike just started a day prior and showed no signs of lasting a long time. You know it's bad when the narrator says that the man is in the right, yet is still wrong.
- Not exactly the same (although it is in universe) since the Chris Rock and the show agrees with this page, but it's a story, it pretty much says: They're women and we love them so much we would take the blame and all that, even when it's obvious they're wrong.
- Occurs in Home Improvement, but perhaps most notably in an episode where Tim & Jill argue about whether or not Jill told Tim three times they were going to the opera that night, as she claims. As the episode progresses, Tim realizes that Jill did let him know, but the hints were so subtle that Tim missed them completely until that point. Jill, meanwhile, realizes that she "did everything except sit Tim down and tell him we're going to the opera-oh my God I didn't do that." At the episode's end, Tim apologizes to Jill for having missed her notes and Jill... lets him. She does nothing to apologize for what she did wrong.
- Egregiously, Home Improvement used Recycled Scripts as well, using the same plot twice, only with Tim's and Jill's roles swapped around. Tim was always on the wrong side. For example, one episode portrayed Tim as an unfeeling jerk because he said he did not want any more children, seeing as in a marriage, he can't decide this sort of thing alone. Then, when in a later episode, Tim decided he'd like to try for a daughter, he was portrayed as foolish and insensitive because it's really his wife's decision, and she doesn't want any more children.
- In "Let's Did Lunch," Tim helps his friend Dave conceal from Karen the fact that he is cheating on her. It is later revealed that Jill was concealing the fact Karen was planning to end the relationship anyway. Tim fails to understand why this isn't hypocritical of Jill.
- One episode after Tim is proven right, he can't convince Jill to say "I was wrong". She is glorifying herself instead.
- This is sort of played with in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode "It's a Wonderful Lie". Will lies to his girlfriend Lisa, saying that he's at a basketball game when really he went to a frat party. Lisa says that she'll just hang out with her girlfriends at home, but he sees her at the same party. Lisa is rightfully angry because he lied to her, but at the same time, she also shouldn't be mad at him since he wasn't with any girls and she showed up at the same party.
- Subverted in Peep Show. While Mark and Jeremy often commit heinous acts, the women are just as complicit and likely to be viewed as bad, such as Elena cheating on her girlfriend with Jeremy. In a season two episode, the show even portrays Jeremy sympathetically when he cheats on his girlfriend while showing Toni as the bad one for exploiting his unhappiness in his relationship because of her jealousy of his wife Nancy.
- Averted in a season one episode of Frasier in which Frasier discovers that one of his parents had an affair. His father, whom he had a very difficult relationship with at this point, says it was his fault. Later however Frasier discovers that his late mother, whom he was very close to, had been the guilty party and Marty was trying to protect her legacy. Frasier is more surprised about his mother. While Marty does accept a degree of responsibility, both must admit that Hester was the one at fault. This trope is also averted in other respects, for at no point does anyone suggest that Lilith was justified in cheating on Frasier and Maris is portrayed as wildly unreasonable while divorcing Niles.
- In fact, other than the typical Humiliation Conga of cruel women/embarrassing dates in which the men are given the Butt Monkey treatment, Frasier was far, far better at averting this trope than almost any other sitcom at the time. (And even the aforementioned humiliating dates were occasionally dished out to Roz or Daphne without bending over back backwards to let them get revenge.)
- It even went so far as to do what few other aversions have done... it would occasionally have women admit their own culpability in the matter. While many other aversion examples are simply examples of other characters or the work as a whole not playing up this trope, Frasier's one of the few where the woman herself was known to say "Yes, it was my fault."
- The overall attitude to gender can perhaps be best seen in the fact that when the characters do stand up to their wives and call them out on their crap (e.g. Niles standing up to Maris after years of mistreatment or Frasier's truly epic chewing out of Diane when she comes back) it is treated as a moment of awesome and is quite glorious to watch. Mistreatment is mistreatment no matter whom it comes from.
- On Robin Hood Much and Allan-a-Dale are chewed out by Kate for saving her first from an attempted rape and then from a throat-slitting. Aware that Much has a crush on her, Kate demands that they both stop protecting her and concentrate on the mission instead. In the very next episode Kate manipulates and then downright sabotages several outlaw missions with her attempts to set herself up as Robin's girlfriend (by using Much as a proxy, no less!) The writers didn't seem to notice the Double Standard, and Kate gets what she wants by the end of the episode with no reprimands for her childish behaviour whatsoever.
- Lampshaded on Buffy the Vampire Slayer with Anya, a vengeance demon who punished unfaithful men, when she finally muses out loud that in all her years granting wishes to scorned women they were often just as much to blame for the messes they found themselves in.
- Community has an in-universe example. After Britta publicly declares her love for Jeff, he turns her down because he doesn't feel the same way. Everyone views her as brave for this, ignoring that she put him in an impossible situation and views him as a heartless jerkass. The show makes a clear point that Jeff does not deserve to be treated in such a manner.
- Often played for laughs in later seasons; Britta, as the show's resident Soapbox Sadie Straw Feminist, will often attempt to invoke this by citing some claim of female moral or gender superiority over men, only for her to almost immediately demonstrate that she herself at least doesn't come close to meeting the high standards she claims for womenkind.
- In "Digital Exploration of Interior Design", Annie encourages Jeff to make amends to someone who's feelings he apparently hurt when under the impression that it's a lady, only to discover that they've been misled by a Gender-Blender Name. She then immediately dismisses the guy's upset and his subsequent actions, which she quite approved of when under the impression that he was a lady, as pathetic. Subverted, however, in that she later calls herself out for her own issues surrounding gender and acknowledges that she's being unfair.
- Coronation Street thrives on this trope. Sally Webster has a nerve to be upset about her husband cheating on her when she herself cheated on him years ago. And got away with it, lying to say said man had made it all up. When he brought it up in a Continuity Nod, Sally just remarked "I never slept with him" and it was dropped. And then there's Rosie who actually knew about the affair, strangely keeping quiet about that.
- An interesting case happened with Dev and Tara. The whole "we were on a break" thing from Friends actually happened only it was a friend of Tara's though Dev didn't know this. A barmaid told Tara about it and Tara plotted her revenge, eventually revealing a nude picture of Dev on a billboard in the middle of the street. Of course if it had been Dev doing that to Tara, reaction would have been a lot different. But she was still treated as vindictive for doing it and Dev's daughter Amber gave her a "Reason You Suck" Speech.
- Averted with Tracey and Steve in regards to their parenting of their daughter Amy. He refuses to see or even contribute financially to her but is depicted sympathetically because his wife insists on it (albeit due to Traceys terrible behavior announcing he is the father on their wedding day but that isn't Amys fault) but when she stops seeing her daughter because her boyfriend wants it she is depicted as the mother from hell. Although considering that Tracey is clearly a manipulative self-centred sociopath who has selfishly upset and ruined Steve's life more than once, it's not incredibly difficult to sympathise with Steve on this one, to some degree at least.
- An episode of NCIS has Kate slap Tony upside the head. Just imagine the tantrum and sexist accusations she would've thrown if he'd hit her back.
- Later averted with Ziva, who is treated like any other member of Team Gibbs, including receiving the trademark Gibbs slap when she messes up. And while she has occasionally hit Tony without retaliation, that's less sexism than the fact she's a genuinely scary Mossad Action Girl, and Tony's more than happy to annoy her into submission instead.
- Played straight and subverted in Coupling. In the last episode of the second series 'The End of The Line' both Steve and Susan flirt with random strangers in a pub, however it is only Steve who gets called out on it (though only because he doesn't find out about her flirting, while his was exposed in the worst possible fashion). However, in the first episode of the third series, Susan is shown to complain that the worst thing about finding out that her boyfriend flirted with a stranger in a bar is that she did exactly the same thing and so can't complain.
- Subverted in Oz. Tim McManus sleeps with multiple women throughout the show and is still portrayed sympathetically. Claire Howell is sexually aggressive, assaults Tim and nearly ruins his reputation when he rejects her advances and sexually abuses many prisoners and is treated by the show as a monster.
- Averted on The L Word which had an almost all female cast. Jenny cheats on Tim in Season one and spends most of the season lying to and manipulating him. Both are treated sympathetically but it is never suggested that Tim was at fault in any way. When he does act like a jerk, it is viewed as nothing more than should be expected and he is allowed to leave the series as a good guy who simply got caught in a messy relationship.
- Strangely played straight, with the other woman involved. Marina did much of the pursuing in that affair and turns out to have been simply stringing Jenny along, already being in a relationship with someone else. Other characters (and fans) recall it as Jenny being a Jerkass to Marina.
- Averted and Inverted in Friday Night Lights. Tim and Lyla have an affair while Jason, who was his best friend and her boyfriend, is in hospital and dealing with paralysis. Jason finds out and is understandably infuriated with both of Them and every other character is disgusted. The inversion is that Lyla, who was there for Him every day, is treated far worse for her infidelity than Tim (Who couldn't even visit Jason in hospital) by the school to the point where hate sites are dedicated to bashing Her. While She is treated sympathetically, the overall view is that She screwed up and had to accept responsibility for her actions while the majority of sympathy is definitely with Jason.
- Usually averted in How I Met Your Mother, however, it crops up in season 6's "Hopeless": Ted and Robin run across a man at a club, which results in Ted finding out that Robin had a crush on him while she and Ted were dating and on one occasion (around three years prior to the episode), flirted with him at a store behind Ted's back and later that same night, Robin made Ted cover up his face while she had sex with him, in order to fantasize about the other man. Ted is angry over this, but then Robin reminds him that the same day at the store, the reason Ted bought his infamous red cowboy boots was because a pretty saleswoman said he'd look hot in them. Ted then "realizes" that maybe he's not in a position to criticize Robin, and anyway, all of that's in the past now. Which would be fine, except that getting convinced into making a bizarre purchase by a pretty face is simply eye-rolling and a little annoying, while fucking your (long-term, serious) boyfriend and covering up his face so that you don't have to look at him while you pretend you're fucking another guy is one of the most sexually degrading things you can do to a romantic partner, and a male character who did that to his girlfriend would be called a sleazy, disgusting chauvinist pig for it.
- Another example of this trope happens in the season 8 episode "Bad Crazy". In that episode Robin accuses Ted of being responsible for Jeanette's psychotic behavior because he's been sending mixed signals to her. This despite everybody already knowing that Jeanette was crazy; she stalked Ted for over a year before they met and she even started a fire in a building so that she could meet him.
- Averted on a M*A*S*H episode in which Margaret thinks she might be pregnant. In one scene, Margaret says that it's all her husband's fault. Hawkeye replies that he wouldn't blame it all on her husband, since Margaret was "probably there when it happened."
- Subverted in the Doctor Who episode "Boom Town", when Rose meets up with her boyfriend Mickey. She wants to take up where they left off, but Mickey reveals that he's started seeing another woman. When Rose reacts poorly to this, Mickey explodes, pointing out that she unhesitatingly abandoned him for another man like he was "nothing" with nothing but a smile and a kiss, disappeared for a year (albeit inadvertently) resulting in everyone suspecting him of murder, and even now is quite happy to disappear out of his life for lengthy periods at a time to be with the Doctor while still expecting him to obediently hang around waiting for her. While Mickey hasn't exactly been the perfect boyfriend himself throughout the season, it's understandable why we're clearly supposed to side with him about Rose's behaviour being selfish and unreasonable, and Rose has no response to this.
- Inverted in Once Upon a Time when David Nolan and Mary Margaret's affair was discovered, Mary was the one given the cold shoulder by the entire town while David was mostly ignored. Justified since David was amnesiac and the townsfolk thought she took advantage of him.
- In The Steve Harvey Show, this is practically Lovita Alizé Jenkins-Robinson’s defining trait. Anytime Cedric want’s to do something that she doesn’t want him to do, or want’s him to do something that he doesn’t want to do, she always says that they are married and partners. But when it is the other way around, she always says that she is a proud black woman and he has no say in her decisions. A great example of this is when Cedric and Steve went to a bachelor party. Lovita literally broke down the door and the show went out of its way to show Cedric was wrong. But in an earlier episode when Lovita and Regina went to a bridal shower, they pretty much laughed in Ced’s face that there was going to be strippers and that was the last you heard of it.
- Don’t forget she gets mad at Cedric for constantly doing things for her that he didn’t want to do. Or when told that her friend was hitting on him, she disreguarded and out right ignored it to make the situation Cedric’s fault even to the point of forgiving him for being a man.
- Then there is her treatment of Steve. While Steve is generally rude to her she repeatedly mooches off of him breaks into his house, goes through his things, tell other people his secretes and when he got into a position of authority disregarded it and even undermined him making thing worse then it had to be but letting him take all of the blame. While the show plays both for laughs imagine how the characters would react if Steve started treating her like she treats him.
- Regina Grier isn’t immune to this either while a lot of it is due to her narcissism she has exploited double standards quite abit. Anytime Steve gets into a commited relationship and not just a fling she goes out of her way to find something wrong with the woman. But if Steve says anything about the men she dates he’s just jealouse and hasn’t gotten over her. One time when Steve was offered a prestigious position she spent the entire day telling that he betrayed her but then willfully let him starve to death.
- Connected to the above example she intentionally gave Cedric bad advice just so she could look superior. Or the time she got mad at Steve for being worried that a man was taking advantage but later being ashamed of him for letting a girl take advantage of him.
- Even as early the Pool Sharks Bet bit we see her double standard view of the world when she accused Steve of seducing a crazy temp and even getting angry when told it was the other way around. When told that the temp was stalking him by both Steve and Cedric she didn’t agree to fire the temp until after she went after her.
- Let’s not even get into the Driving Me Crazy episode “well you boys all do stick together don’t you”
- In Married... with Children, Al and Jefferson (Marcy's second husband) get this constantly from their wives: nearly anything they do is blatantly and stupidly wrong - and it usually is - but the girls tend to do the exact same thing and it's completely justified. Played with in that only they think it's justified, and they get called out on it as often as not. It finally got turned around one Christmas episode, where Al finally has all his debts paid off and actually has some extra money for presents, spends some time picking out a series of thoughtful gifts for everyone in the family, only to have his credit card inexplicably denied. Come Christmas morning, everyone has bought each other amazing gifts, except Al, who they then berate for being so thoughtless. He then finds out that everyone, especially Peg, used his credit card to buy each other and themselves gifts. He proceeds to pick up all the gifts that "he bought for himself" and go into the basement to enjoy his Christmas while everyone else is left to stew in the guilt of what they did. And then in later episodes, it all goes back to normal.
- They re-hash the same plot for Al and Peggy's anniversary. He goes to buy her an beautiful watch, his credit is declined. His family and friends belittle him until it's revealed they used his credit to buy all the gifts and food, with Kelly even finding it funny he thought she would use her money to buy something for someone other than herself. Even Marcie, who normally hates Al with a passion, says they should apologize to him.
- In an episode of Monk, the title character was attacked causing him to get amnesia. He was later found by a woman who convinced him she was her husband. Even though what she did was pretty much attempted rape it was all played for laughs. Imagine if this was done with the genders reversed.
- Don't have to imagine that, it's the Kurt Russell/Goldie Hawn movie Overboard.
- In Smallville Lana’s great aunt Louise is portrayed very sympathetically even though she cheated on her husband with a man she just met and admitted she never loved him, and it's implied that she was also carrying on an affair with a local sheriff, given that Clark and Lana found old love letters from the sheriff hidden among her things. To make matters worse, her husband Dexter blamed himself for not letting her go and him spending the rest of his life in jail after being framed for her murder was just punishment. Oh, and even worse: the reason why Dexter was put in jail in the first place was because he was framed by the very same sheriff who was implied to be carrying on an affair with Louise.
- It runs in the family; Lana repeatedly falls in love while she’s dating someone else. Yet the fact that Lex likes to sleep around makes him a horrible person who treats woman like crap. This is especially jarring when you remember that in every commited relationship Lex has had before that episode the woman betrayed him. So it is very understandable why he would prefer meaningless flings.
- The woman who tried to kill him cheated on her fiancée. The only one to blame for her ruined relationship was her.
- On ER, after Doug and Carol reconcile, he goes from one extreme to the other. Whereas he frequently cheated on her during their first relationship, he's now 100% committed and faithful, proposing to her within months and planning a surprise wedding within weeks after that. She on the other hand, wants to take things slowly (no doubt leery because of his history). To that end, she impulsively kisses another guy. When Doug finds out, he's understandably (if hypocritically) hurt and angry and suggests that she did it to get back at him for his past behavior. Her response is to scream at him, calling him a "selfish, self-centered, bastard" and blast him for not giving her time and space. Despite having changed for the better, Doug ends up looking like the bad guy again and apologizing to her.
- Also during the early years of the show, Mark's wife Jen constantly bitched at him about being friends with another woman (Susan). Despite the fact that she herself was friends with another man. Her hypocrisy goes Up to Eleven with the revelation that she's been having an affair with him and planning to leave Mark for him. She acts completely remorseless about this, continuing to make snide comments about Mark's friendship with Susan.
- Mark's second wife Elizabeth wasn't too thrilled about his friendship with Susan either. This is especially bad as Mark never once gave her grief about the fact that she and her ex-lover Peter were co-workers, yet it was apparently an unfathomable sin for him to work with someone he merely had Unresolved Sexual Tension with and hadn't seen in years.
- Cosmopolitan magazine and others like it run on this. Some examples:
- Between Friends is the queen of this. The only major male character that hasn't been one the teenaged kids, a hunky waiter, or Viggo Mortensen (don't ask — please), has been an abusive husband featured in a recent story arc which had the added benefit of sending the comic spiralling into Cerebus Syndrome territory. Lovely.
- A rare Gender Flip occured in For Better or for Worse: when Creator's Pet Anthony was emotionally unfaithful to his wife Therese, readers were supposed to be perfectly okay with it because the other woman was Elizabeth, one of the Pattersons. This didn't work out so well... not simply because of the prevalance of this, but due to the massive Moral Dissonance, and Anthony being a detestable Creator's Pet.
- Subverted in Doonesbury, when JJ left Mike for scruffy bad boy Zeke, she was portrayed the entire time as a fool for doing so, for both her reasoning (She felt she had to "seize the moment" to achieve happiness) and for her taste (Zeke has never been portrayed as other than a dumb slacker).
- On the other hand, played pretty darn straight by Joanie, JJ's mother, who (back in the 1970s) breaks her husband's nose, abandons her kid, and is lauded as a liberated woman.
- Averted with Andy and Roger in Foxtrot: while Andy is infinitely more competent than Bumbling Dad Roger, on the rare occasions when she is at fault, she gets called out on it. Played straight, however, with their son Peter and his girlfriend Denise. Half their story arcs revolve around some misunderstanding that could have been cleared up with a single sentence, and Peter is always portrayed as having been at fault. What makes it especially jarring is that the situation is always crafted in a way that leads the reader to make the same mistake as Peter - up until he's made out to be a complete idiot for interpreting the situation the same way the audience did.
- In Dreamgirls, Lorrell has an affair with Jimmy Early, who's married. Throughout the entire play/movie, he is made out to be a total sleaze for treating her badly and sleeping with two (possibly more) women at the same time. However, Lorrell is shown in a strictly sympathetic light, despite the fact that she's knowingly and willfully engaging in a long-term affair with a married man.
- All's Well That Ends Well: Helena is a hero for forcing, stalking and raping Bertram, Bertram is a villain for not falling in love with Helena.
- In Helena's defense, she does try to take back the forced marriage when she realizes Bertram is unwilling. And many scholars aren't really sure if anyone's really supposed to be a hero in that play. Hence the "problem play" classification.
- In Persona 3, the protagonist's available Personas and their power levels are determined by Social Links with other people. For the male protagonist, reaching rank 5 with any female classmate will make the relationship "serious," and the game itself will warn you that merely seeing any other girl (regardless of that girl's current rank) will make her jealous, potentially stalling or completely breaking the link. In the PSP version's female protagonist route, this is not an issue; of the seven guys who can end up in love with her, only two (Akihiko and Ken) seem remotely aware of one another as rivals for her affection, and the only result is an argument between them which is played for laughs.
- Note that that might have less to do with the double standard, and more because of gameplay changes. In Persona 4, even though the same warning message appears, there are no negative consequences if you pursue more than one girl romantically at the same time. Persona 3 Portable, which inherited many of Persona 4's gameplay tweaks, likely inherited this feature.
- Dragon Age: Origins (specifically, Leliana's romance) plays this for laughs.
Leliana: Don't ask me that! You make me uncomfortable.
Warden: But didn't you just say you feel comfortable around me?
Leliana: I am a woman; I reserve the right to be inconsistent.
- A thousand times funnier if you're romancing her as a woman.
- Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening unfortunately plays this straight. One side quest features a dying Grey Warden, Keenan, who asks the player to deliver a message and his wedding ring to his wife, Nida. When you find her it’s revealed Nida's having an affair with another man. She justifies herself by saying that she never wanted her husband to be a Grey Warden and that “love can only take you so far,” while the game provides no option for the player to call her out on her infidelity. She always gets the last word in. It's as if the game automatically assumes the player sympathizes with the adulterous wife rather than her dying husband who, with his last breath, wanted to give her closure.
- Dragon Age II plays it far more straight with a side quest involving a man whose wife has left him. Not only was she unfaithful, she was apparently quite open about it and throwing it in her husband's face. While the husband is definitely a complete jerk, there's absolutely no option to at least acknowledge that what the woman was doing was wrong... every dialogue option involves shaming, scolding, or mocking him.
- And you actually get rivalry points from one of your female companions for agreeing to help him find his cheating spouse. Despite the fact that he makes it pretty clear that if he doesn't at least find out where she is or if she's alive, her family will probably have him assassinated.
- You get rivalry points from Isabela (who is very into promiscuity and independence, remember) because of him saying things like:
Man: She needs to be dragged home!
Isabela: She's your wife, not a dog.
Man: At least a dog can be trained.
- The part that tries to subvert it is that, according to him at least, they used to be happy together, and actually married out of love rather than some obligation; it's just never made clear whether his treating her like an object drove her away, or if her philandering ways made him act so cynical. Or both.
- Utawarerumono: Sopok tends to take this view. Eruruw, too, to a lesser extent. Karura forcing herself on Hakuoro under threat of injury? That's totally his fault. And as Eruruw is the lead heroine as is treated sympathetically in this regard and Sopok's "men are things to be tamed and girls need to be catered to" attitude is treated as a voice of wisdom, you can kinda say that the work in general takes this view.
- In Mass Effect 3 if previously romanced, male Shepard calls out Ashley on this attitude, noting that if he chose to romance someone else in the second game, it was only because Ashley made her feelings abundantly clear on Horizon that they were over.
- In Fire Emblem Awakening, if you pair Chrom with a female avatar, in their B Support he walks in on her naked. It's his fault. In their A Support, she walks in on him naked. It's still his fault. To be fair, though, she does apologize and admit she was wrong to freak out at him afterwards.
- In Questionable Content, this is one of the main problems with Dora and Marten's relationship. She repeatedly accuses him of attempting infidelity, at one point giving him the third degree because he intentionally didn't mention that a girl had asked him out - despite that he immediately turned the girl down, and despite that Dora's workplace routinely has to deal with customers asking the staff out and she doesn't think that is mentionworthy. She also blows up on him for getting a haircut without consulting her on it, but when she gets one and he says he preferred her old look, she dismisses him. She also goes digging through his porn folder just to sate her curiosity when he explicitly asks her not to, yet expects him to respect her own boundaries. However, she has been called out on this behavior, repeatedly and the last example is the catalyst for their relationship to breakdown; Marten, not unreasonably, flips his shit when he discovers her violating his privacy, and when they break up Dora is informed in no uncertain terms that she ruined a good thing for stupid reasons and needs help.
- Something Positive features this fairly often, but it's spelled out best here.
- It's still strongly averted when it comes to the question of infidelity - no matter their sex, and no matter their rationalizations, the cheater is in the wrong. It's the one area where even Aubrey would drop that kind of reasoning, and probably threaten anyone she caught using it. Otherwise, Aubrey and Peejee will use it on Davan because their friendships are based on giving each other hell, and Aubrey will pull it out on other women and then chastise them for failing to measure up.
- One occurrence pops up during the wedding arc of Better Days. Both the bachelor party and the bachelorette party hire strippers. When the girls find out, they are outraged and treat it essentially as the groom "cheating" on the bride. They don't see anything wrong or hypocritical about their own party choices, since they're convinced that all male strippers are gay. (Exactly how does that justify lusting after them?) Eventually one of the male strippers call everyone out on their stupidity, explain the facts and force them to make peace.
- This Cracked article demonstrates how magazines like Cosmopolitan can take this trope to extremes. However innocuous his actions or behavior may be, the reader is encouraged to treat their partner with utmost suspicion and respond with over-the-top, vicious, humiliating and even abusive reactions. It also deconstructs them, by presenting them from the point of view of a man whose girlfriend subscribes to these attitudes — she comes across as a temperamental, unstable and paranoid psychotic.
- Inverted on Literotica, where stories about cheating usually get the heaviest criticism from readers of the same gender as the person being cheated upon. Most of the site's users are male, so stories where women cheat on men often score two points lower than similar stories where men cheat on women. (And it goes even lower if they cheat on a white man with a black man...)
- Gears of War Versus Marriage is a video depicting a man playing Gears of War's Horde Mode online. His wife asks him to find some information about their friends' wedding so they can use their airline miles to buy tickets before they expire. He responds in a distracted manner, and she leaves, only to return and confront him under the reasonable assumption he was ignoring her. He then cuts her off by providing the information she asked for, in detail, since he's playing the match with the groom in question. Well and truly shut down, the wife has no response other than "Okay, you win this one.."
- This trope kicks in not with the video, but with the response to it around the Internet; the husband is apparently still in the wrong for "being rude" and "ignoring" his wife (when he didn't) and not telling her that he was talking to "Mike" right then. He ignores her, he's wrong. If he accidentally makes her think he ignored her, he's wrong. Any response short of "Yes, honey, I'll get it done right away" or "I'm playing with Mike right now, I'll ask him" is unacceptable. What's more, the alleged rudeness is apparently more important than whether he actually ignored his wife.
- Things I need to tell my teenaged daughters about boys. The entire piece is misandrist, but one bit in particular stands out. The list says that men are boring and their heads are "full of landmines and useless whining," and that the teenaged girl in question shouldn't bother trying to get into a man's head for at least ten years, and says that men don't have genuine interest in girls for another 10 on top of that. Then it denigrates men for not allegedly being interested in what women are thinking and being self-centered. Also, young men are "frequently ill equipped to handle the emotions that arise from having sex." Nothing about young women, who can often be just as irrational.
- A recurring theme on the 'Social Justice Sally' meme, several examples of which — according to Sally (and the 'social justice warriors' she parodies), at least — suggest that anything, no matter how innocuous or excusable, immediately becomes reprehensible if said, thought or done by a straight white man, and anything, no matter how reprehensible, immediately becomes not only excusable but moral if it is being said, thought or done to a straight white man.
- The Proud Family: Oscar showing the slightest interest in another woman (even so far as being tongue-tied around Mariah Carey) is perfectly justified grounds for his wife to abuse him (sometimes physically, sometimes emotionally, sometimes taking his things, sometimes depriving him of things ranging from dinner to entrance into his own house), but said wife is allowed to run off with any handsome man she sees and expects Oscar to go along with it without question (to the point of when, in one of the few occasions he was able to get out an objection, she threw him across the room and basically said she was going to cheat on him with this random guy).
- Very simply and frequently played in Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats, usually in shorts involving Riff Raff and Cleo. If Riff Raff was cheating on Cleo, Cleo would beat the sauce out of him until he saw the error of his ways. If Cleo were cheating on Riff Raff, Riff Raff would beat up 'the other man' to win her back.
- Lois Griffin from Family Guy is incredibly guilty of this. She frequently calls out Peter on his selfishness and lack of commitment, yet frequently displays selfish or nymphomaniacal behavior (especially as the show progress). Only very recent episodes have actually pointed out she is a hypocrite.
- In one episode, Lois forcefully and lustfully tongue kisses Richard Dawson, but later when Peter, who is under amnesia, is going to have sex with another woman, Lois is hurt and leaves him. Within less than a day, she is in Quagmire's bed. This is especially jarring with the sheer hypocrisy that she's conveying. She had no justification of kissing Richard Dawson, other than just to say she did, but Peter actually did have a justification, that he was under amnesia and didn't even know who Lois was at the time.
- In a later episode, Lois is constantly barraged by Peter's insults regarding her age and declining sex appeal. Lois goes to Bonnie for help, and Bonnie actually admits she has had an affair with a man online and encouraged Lois to do the same since it's only a matter of "being in control of her sexuality." She makes out with Meg's boyfriend, and is caught by a very pissed off Meg and later Lois admits the affair to Peter and says that he drove her to it.
- And another episode after that, Peter makes insensitive remarks about her age again, leading to Lois having a mid life crisis, degrading into a teenager and having a promiscuous lifestyle. She ditches Peter when he can't keep up and later tries to seduce Justin Bieber. Peter accuses Bieber and beats him up, while Lois blames it all on him, claiming all her actions (including an attempted affair) were just to make him happy. Peter accepts this and takes full blame again.
- Bonnie's cheating and double standard nature is further explored in "Foreign Affairs" and "Internal Affairs." In the former, she makes another attempt (who knows how many times she's done this) to cheat on Joe, getting angry when Lois is rightfully disgusted by her intent and is only convinced to stop when Joe shows up. In the latter, she is cold and indifferent to him most of the episode, with Joe stating she's been like that recently. Her behavior drives Joe to cheat on her (helped by being reminded of her attempt to cheat on him in "Foreign Affairs" but thinking she actually did, a point screeched by Bonnie when Joe's affair is found out. Not that the fact she failed that time should really hold any weight, since she has outright stated she cheated on Joe at least once before) and she is outraged when she finds out.
- After Peter gets shipwrecked for a long period of time, he returns to find Lois has married Brian. She is emotionally distant and condescending to Brian and refuses to be intimate with him. However, when Lois finally submits to lust and has an affair with Peter, Brian is made to feel bad for robbing her of a happy love life and lets her marry Peter again. As a final insult, she explains afterwards, in the most patronizing tone possible, that she was a day from actually having sex with Brian.
- Lois raped Peter when he took up abstinence because she has "needs" and was "proving" Peter wrong about abstinence. This is somewhat mitigated in that Peter's reasons for abstinence were horribly misinformed (e.g. "If you have sex, your penis will fall off, and land in another dimension, populated entirely by dogs, who will eat it."), and Peter being Peter...
- She did previously when she learns Tai Jitsu and becomes drunk with power. She abuses and rapes him, upon which she blames him for belittling her and not giving her a say in the household (granted Peter is a jerkass but it's still Disproportionate Retribution). Later on, after slugging Peter hard and then outright gloating about it. Peter finally snaps and slugs her back, upon which Lois immediately whines double standard. Peter, however, hands it back to her and both of them end beating each other into an equally bloody pulp. Peter negating Lois' attempt at a double standard also doubles as a Crowning Moment of Awesome as well.
Peter: You... you hit me...
Lois: *smugly* That's right.
Lois: You can't hit me, I'm a girl!
Peter: Sometimes I wonder.
- In one episode, Lois becomes a surrogate mother, Peter is portrayed as completely selfish and ignorant for arguing with this (the same guy who is lectured over and over for ignoring their commitment and not giving Lois a say in anything). Later on, Lois changes her mind and decides to abort the baby, to which Peter changes his mind and insists she keep it. Once again it is strictly Peter who is portrayed as wrong. An episode of American Dad! used a similar plot, with Stan being portrayed as inconsiderate for complaining about Francine having a surrogate baby behind his back.
- This treatment seems to run in the family. Her father Carter once cheated on his wife, Barbara, the episode was devoted to showing how tight and loving (in a twisted sense) their relationship was, and how unforgivable Carter's actions were, despite the fact Barbara had once left Carter for Ted Turner the moment he lost his fortune, had an affair with Jackie Gleason (that traumatized her son to insanity), and also was perfectly willing to have sex with Peter due to being unsatisfied sexually by Carter. The end of the episode stated Barbara did it so as to divorce Ted and get half his money and belongings so she and Carter could go back to being rich. And it's implied that Barbara has already had to deal with a lot of crap from Carter, such as having to renounce her Jewish heritage while dealing with him playing pranks on her because of it.
- Peter had been sexually harassed by his boss Angela. When he tells Lois, she says very bluntly, "A woman can't sexually harass a man." Later in the episode, Angela reveals that she was only sexually harassing Peter because she's too unattractive to get a man any other way, which suddenly and bizarrely makes her sympathetic.
- In "Brian's Got A Brand New Bag", when Brian is stood up by his date for another man, her mother laughs it off and reasons it as harmless. When Brian dates her instead and eventually cheats on her, she proclaims it unforgivable, and only more so because he tried to rationalize it.
- The worst part is that Lois had the nerve to say Loretta's actions were "unforgivable". And yes, this was after she cheated on Peter with Bill Clinton.
- Loretta herself also falls into this. Later in the episode, when Quagmire tries to seduce her to show Cleveland she was no good for him, she accused him of ruining her marriage with Cleveland, despite the fact that she had seduced him by taking advantage of his lack of self-control.
- In a Valentine's Day episode, Stewie brings in all of Brian's previous dates to counsel him over his love life. They go through his numerous flaws, which eventually degrade into petty insults such as laughing at his small penis. When Brian is insulted, they claim he's overreacting to honest criticism. A snarky Brian backhands this by insulting them, leading them to all chase after him in a violent rage. (It should be noted that most of Brian's insults were restricted to childish name calling, the show did not allow him to call out their genuine hypocrisies such as Carolyn cheating on him or Tracy trying to dump their son onto him.)
- In The Cleveland Show episode "Frapp Attack", Donna becomes jealous of Cleveland being friends with Tori a female coworker. Later, after the music producer who is interested in the resulting "Frapp Attack" video begins flirting with Donna in Cleveland's absence, Cleveland tries to warn her only to have it dismissed it as harmless, falsely equivocating it with his relationship with Tori.
- Reversed around concerning his divorce with Loretta. Loretta is treated as a repulsive Jerkass for cheating on him with Quagmire, with him and the entire cast despising her. This is only punctuated by them having nonchalant conversations with Quagmire in nearly every episode concerning her, his actions being completely forgiven. (Oddly one episode of Family Guy made a forgotten attempt to finalize this sympathetically, with Loretta trying to make up with Cleveland, but him gently telling her to move on. The others don't trust Loretta's word at all and come to conclusion that, to prove how evil she is, they'll ask their good friend Quagmire to seduce her again).
- In The Boondocks episode "Tom, Sarah, and Usher", Sarah has a fangirl moment over meeting Usher, which Tom objects to (while somewhat jealous, he is also embarrassed by her behavior and her treatment of him during their anniversary dinner). In the car, when he brings this up, she becomes furious with him and asks to be let out of the car. Played for laughs with his daughter Jasmine, who actively encourages her father to stay away from home so Usher can be her new daddy.
- In Danny Phantom, Danny follows his friend Sam around on a date with the new guy in town and eventually sees what he thinks is a passionate make out. When he brings this up to Sam, she blows up at him for following her on her date. Danny must make amends. However, then Sam follows Danny around on a date with her rival, Valerie. They both had good reasons, since Danny was dating someone who wanted his ghost half's head on a spike, and Danny thought the new guy Sam was dating was a government agent, but only Sam's actions are treated as justified in the show.
- What makes this even worse is that this sort of thing happened before (Danny's sister, Jazz, got into a relationship with a ghost who was trying to have his girlfriend possess her). None of that matters to Sam, though.
- Played With on King of the Hill: Bobby and Luanne (who are cousins) end up believing they're caught in an Accidental Marriage. After they both freak out for a couple of seconds, the first thing Luanne does is lay down some rules:
"I get to date whoever I want, whenever I want. You can see Connie
if you want, but not in public. No, wait. On second thought, you can't
see Connie. Ever
- Another episode had Nancy becoming quite jealous of Dale spending time with an attractive female exterminator, worrying that he might fall in love with her and that he'd be quite justified in doing so since she cheated on him for fourteen years and he never found out. When Nancy tells Dale not to spend so much time with the other exterminator, Dale points out that he never complained about all the time she spent with John Redcorn, although he's not aware of how much that hurts Nancy.
- Worth pointing out that after he says this, Nancy realizes she's throwing stones in a glass house, and all but says that she deserves it if Dale cheats on her. Which he never does.
- The episode I Remember Mono can be seen as an example of this as well. When Peggy found out that Hank missed their first date not because he pulled some tendons in his back but because he got mone. She wasn’t angry about the fact that Hank lied to nor about the fact that he kissed another woman as Kerri Strug told her that Hank instantly threw her off of him after she threw herself at him. No Peggy was angry because she no longer had a story to brag to other people about. So for weeks Peggy just stops taking care of herself and ends up looking like a homeless bum. Finally Hank decides to give her what she wants and ends up repeating various movie type scenarios, like putting his coat over a puddle. One such antic causes him to throw his back out with Peggy leaving him there to wallow in his own stupidity. She later tells her friends and after seeing them sigh at how romantic that was she realizes she has something to brag about again. We later find out that Peggy has been lying to Hank about the fact that she wasn’t a virgin.
- And even then despite the fact that it took the entire episode all Peggy had to do was put on some revealing cloths.
- Averted in the first episode, Fry's girlfriend Michelle cheats on him and throws him out. In a later episode, Michelle ends up in the 31st Century the same way that Fry did, and insists that she and Fry get frozen and thawed out in a future time she is more comfortable with. Even then, she still continues to treat Fry like dirt, and eventually leaves him again. Throughout, Fry is portrayed as a Dogged Nice Guy, while she is portrayed as selfish and unreasonable.
- Played straight in "Why Must I Be A Crustacean In Love" where Fry helps Zoidberg woo a female of his own race. She ends up falling for Fry instead and throws herself at him. When Zoidberg walks in on them he challenges Fry to a duel to the death. Never mind that Edna was the one who threw herself at Fry, who didn't want her. Also Leela who accidentally sets Edna after Fry is never called out either. Although to Leela's credit she was actually trying to direct Edna to Zoidberg and off of Fry.
- The Simpsons:
- Episode "Dangerous Curves". When Homer and Marge learn that they both nearly had affairs on the same night five years ago, Marge gets mad at Homer for nearly cheating on her. He proceeds to call her out on her hypocrisy, pointing out that she is just as guilty as he is.
- Sort of Inverted For Laughs, actually—he claims she's actually worse than he is, because she did the same thing despite starting out better.
- In recent seasons Lisa has developed Straw Feminist tendencies that lead into this trope. Twice Bart has gotten into relationships where the girl was just as bad or even worse than him but the show and Lisa in particular always pointed out how Bart was in the wrong.
- In "Beware My Cheating Bart," Jimbo’s girlfriend Shauna forces a physical relationship with Bart before he was ready both traumatizing and intriguing him. Behind Jimbo’s back she decides to date Bart and all throughout the episode complains about why they can’t go out more despite the danger Bart is in. In the end Lisa convinces her to break up with both of them and Bart is the only one who gets punished despite the fact that all of it was Shauna’s fault.
- "Love is a Many-Splintered Thing" was arguably worse. Essentially the premise of the episode is a gamer boyfriend meme transposed into the context of someone young enough for it to be understandable. Bart's heartstrings are pulled once again when Mary Spuckler returns to Springfield, but his failure to pay her enough attention strains their relationship. However both Bart and Mary did the same thing. When Mary played her song Bart got bored and found something else to do. And when Bart invited her over to play video games she expressed complete disinterest and complains the whole time. Yet all the time it is Bart who is told he needs to treat her better with Lisa even pressuring him with "you'll never find someone better".
- In “The Art of War” after all the men Luann dated, cheated on, and got engaged to while she and Kurt were separated she had the gall to get mad at him when she finds out he dated one woman.
- Daria averts or even inverts this—Jane is ticked at both her boyfriend Tom and her best friend Daria when they kiss, but forgives Tom fairly quickly, accepting his apology and the fact that their relationship was on the rocks anyway. She is considerably more hurt by Daria's betrayal, though, which takes most of a TV movie to repair. Jane had spent some time afraid about some Unresolved Sexual Tension going on between Daria and Tom and had been acting rather neurotic about it. The episode where Daria and Tom kissed started off with Jane forcing Daria to help her dye her hair and then blew up when it turned into a disaster, yelling that Daria did it on purpose to steal Tom even though Daria repeatedly stated she wasn't any good at dying hair. After apologizing about her paranoia and moving past her suspicions, Jane got thrown through a loop when Daria admitted she kissed Tom after she stated she had no intentions of going after him. Jane's hurt came from fearing Daria was planning to steal Tom, assured she wasn't, and then told to her face that Daria made out with him the very day after they settled the matter.
- Averted on Total Drama World Tour—Courtney's boyfriend Duncan and her friend Gwen kiss, but Courtney's wrath seems much greater for the latter than the former. Most of the D/C fanbase followed suit, but a notable minority wonders why Duncan should get a pass, especially since, unlike Gwen, he never seemed particularly sorry. He also went on to treat Courtney like dirt for the rest of the season, as if she was the one who had caused their breakup.
- Averted in the second Ice Age movie. Manny fumbles on the whole "save the species" conversation with Ellie. When their conflicts put their lives in danger, Manny refuses to apologize, insisting that Ellie overreacted - and she admits he's right.
- The American Dad! episode "Stan Time" is a perfect example. Stan gets some pills from the CIA that let him function without sleep so that he can use the night as personal time, since his every waking hour is devoted to taking care of his family. When Francine finds out, she demands that Stan give her the pills as well so that they can spend the nighttime together, yet again robbing Stan of his "me time". When he attempts to put his foot down, Francine abandons the family to discover herself and almost cheats on Stan with a marine biologist she meets (it doesn't happen because he's gay). The episode presents Stan as being in the wrong, and it's up to him to find Francine and apologize for being selfish and taking his loved ones for granted — all because he just wanted enough quiet time to read a book in peace.
- Punctuated by Francine having almost the exact same Aesop in a later episode, however while Francine learns to be appreciative of what she has, she is granted a fair compromise and some time to herself, something Stan does not.
- Perhaps the most ludicrous case of this is in "The Kidney Stays In The Picture", where Francine is revealed to have had an affair just a day before their marriage. Stan is still the bad guy, to the point the affair is depicted as being for the best.
- In "Bollocks To Stan", Hayley spends the whole episode switching between Bollock and Jeff, and dumping them in the most callous manner (as well as endangering Stan's career and the family's upbringing in the process). The Aesop is about Stan not treating her with enough respect.
- It's truthfully easier to say that Seth Macfarlane just really likes this trope. In all three shows, the housewife is a hypocritical, promiscuous sociopath, yet has moral superiority over the Bumbling Dad 99.9% of the time.