[[quoteright:250:[[VisualPun http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/strawmanguthing.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:250:Your argument did not address his, but nice try.]]

->''"A straw man argument is one based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position. To 'set up a straw man' or 'set up a straw man argument' is to describe a position that superficially resembles an opponent's actual view but is easier to refute, then attribute that position to the opponent."''
-->-- ''Wiki/{{Wikipedia}}''

You've set out making your latest work with the intention to speak your piece on some contested issue, but you've found it's harder than you expected. You have to write both sides of the issue, after all, and what do you do when you can't bring yourself to fairly represent the other side of the argument. What if you're not entirely clear on what the other side ''is''?

Simple: declare war on straw! You're the writer, aren't you? You control what the "other side" has to say. All you need to do is present the opposing position as a laughable shadow of its former self and you can easily knock it over. You'll always be the winner! Everybody loves a winner. Bonus points if the opposing side is violently murdered afterwards (with the killer [[KarmaHoudini never being punished]], naturally, because why would you ever punish someone who's ''right?'').

Some of the tropes here are not strawmen every time they appear; for instance, a CorruptChurch, AnimalWrongsGroup, or AmoralAttorney can sometimes be used as a villain a la AcceptableTargets [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotDidactic without any (deliberate) intention]] of making a larger political statement. Sometimes people use those things with the justification that [[PoesLaw they do exist in reality]] to a limited extent -- but they are still strawmen when used, implicitly or explicitly, to try to make a larger argument against anyone who shares their beliefs (especially if they happen to be particularly extreme and/or alienating to even other people who ''do'' share them but are decidedly more moderate about the topic in question).

Sometimes the existence of non-corrupt/wrong/amoral versions is acknowledged in the setting to indicate that there's no hard feelings; on the other hand, sometimes those good versions are really a FoxNewsLiberal used to try to make an actual strawman less obvious.

It is also important to note that ''caricature'', [[TropesAreTools itself, can be a perfectly valid way to make an argument]]; Voltaire, Swift, and many other writers have used it effectively and incisively against their opponents. The distinction is that valid caricatures use exaggeration and hyperbole as rhetorical devices to present nonetheless legitimate arguments, exposing the victim's failings and flaws without misrepresenting them. But the line between the two can be extremely thin, especially in unskilled hands or when the author does not truly understand what they are trying to caricature; many authors have produced strawmen that were painfully obvious to others while believing themselves to be penning biting Swiftian satire.

For more detail about the fallacy upon which this series of tropes is named, see StrawmanFallacy.

The flip side (where a position is so off-the-wall that it's impossible to distinguish between a genuine statement and an exaggeration/parody) is PoesLaw. The actual inverse is sometimes referred to as "Steelmanning," where a debater attacks the ''strongest'' possible interpretation of their opponent's argument, even if it is not the argument they necessarily made. This is often used against evasive "guerrilla debaters" who attempt to avoid actually presenting their own arguments, in the hope of constantly taking shots at their opponent without having to defend their own position.

When you fought the straw and the straw won (in the opinion of your readers/viewers), it's StrawmanHasAPoint.

The War On Straw has many fronts; among them are:

* AgentScully: Used to portray skeptics, scientists and other people who don't believe in magic/the paranormal/higher powers as closed-minded and dogmatic.
* AllIssuesArePoliticalIssues
* AmbulanceChaser: When the strawmen are portrayed as InUniverse UnacceptableTargets.
* AmoralAttorney
* AnimalWrongsGroup
* AntiRoleModel
* AssimilationAcademy: Schools are portrayed as soul-sucking institutions designed to mould everyone into being identical.
* BeliefMakesYouStupid
* BerserkButton (when the opponent is easily offended by something)
* BlondeRepublicanSexKitten
* BombThrowingAnarchists
* CategoryTraitor
* CorruptChurch (or PathOfInspiration if that trope is used to portray a real-world religion, or an {{Expy}} of one)
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: Frequently, when one of these appears in fictionland, it's to either be, or set up, a strawman)
* CrapSackWorld
** CrapSaccharineWorld
* CruellaToAnimals (pretending anyone who eats meat or wears fur actually likes animals being hurt)
* DeconstructionFic
* DeliberateValuesDissonance
* {{Demonization}}
* DesignatedEvil
* DesignatedHero
* DesignatedVillain
* DryCrusader
* EasyEvangelism: The strawman has never considered the opposing view and immediately converts once they hear an explanation.
* FamilyValuesVillain
* FalseDichotomy: Two fronts for the price of one!
* FoxNewsLiberal and its counterpart, the MSNBCConservative.
* TheFundamentalist (can be used to portray a religious stereotype)
* FurAndLoathing (to make someone look bad just by what they are wearing)
* GayConservative
* GodwinsLaw: Comparing anything you don't like with one of the worst dictators in human history
* GoldenMeanFallacy (to declare that both sides are extreme and the "correct" side is somewhere in the middle)
* GoodIsDumb: Portrays {{goodness|Tropes}} and {{idealism|Tropes}} as utterly moronic and out of touch with life
* GrumpyBear: Essentially a straw [[TheCynic cynic]].
* HateFic
* HateSink: The strawman is created to attract hate to promote a point.
* TheHedonist
* HeteronormativeCrusader
* HollywoodAtheist
* HollywoodSatanism
* InformedWrongness
* InternalAffairs
* InternalRetcon
* JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope
* LadyLand
* LawfulStupidChaoticStupid
* MalcolmXerox
* TheNewRockAndRoll
* NotMakingThisUpDisclaimer (when [[RefugeInAudacity the Strawman in question is an honest representation]])
* NoMereWindmill
* NoWomansLand
* OutgrownSuchSillySuperstitions (when used [[AuthorTract as a way for the author to say]] religion is evil/encumbering on society)
* OutsideJoke: A joke based on a misrepresentation or misunderstanding of the subject.
* ParodyReligion
* PoesLaw (when a strawman is mistaken for the real thing, or vice versa).
* PoliticallyMotivatedTeacher (in its most basic form)
* PompousPoliticalPundit
* ThePresentsWereNeverFromSanta (When the trope is used to dismiss authority and undermine legitimacy)
* RevengeFic: Canon characters are transformed into strawmen
* RonTheDeathEater: {{Demonization}} applies to a canonical hero for their flaws and/or evil sides.
* ScareEmStraight
* StrawAffiliation
* StrawCharacter
* StrawCivilian
* StrawCritic
* StrawFan
* StrawFeminist
* StrawHypocrite: The {{hypocrite}} doesn't even believe what he preaches; as with AmoralAttorney or CorruptChurch, not ''always'' a subtrope of The War On Straw, but a frequent one nevertheless.
* StrawLoser
* StrawMisogynist
* StrawNihilist
* StrawVegetarian
* StrawVulcan
* StrawmanBall: The author's opposing ideas are passed between different characters, usually similar to FlipFlopOfGod.
* StrawmanEmotional
* StrawmanHasAPoint (what happens when bad writing or authorial myopia creates a front in The War On Straw that the author actually has a chance of losing)
* StrawmanNewsMedia
* StrawmanProduct (making a false image of another product)
* StrawmanU
* TheoryTunnelvision
* ThereAreNoGoodExecutives
* ThisLoserIsYou
* TooIncompetentToOperateABlanket
* WideEyedIdealist - essentially a strawman version of TheIdealist.
* WindmillCrusader
* WindmillPolitical