What Measure Is a Non-Badass?

"How the hell
Did it do so well?
When the main character is totally gay?
He whines like a girl!
And he fights like one, too!
Crying "I must not run away!"
I always thought that an anime hero was meant to have big hairy balls!
But then this guy, Shinji, seems quite unable to get up whenever he falls!"
LittleKuriboh in a parody of the Neon Genesis Evangelion intro

The idea of a fandom and/or characters in a series disliking someone simply for not living up to the level of Badassery that would be expected of the series or genre. Even more so if a little Angst is involved: expect that someone to be called out as wangsty.

This trope also leads to something of an Anti-Intellectualism attitude: The hard, grumpy, antisocial badass will be worshipped for being manly and tough, while The Smart Guy, even if they're just as awesome, will be treated as a pussy because they dare to resort to anything other than their fists (even though the smarter character will often use certain tropes that are seen as awesome).

If the character in question is far more badass than the fandom gives them credit for, they may well be Underestimating Badassery. In rare cases, the fandom know that a character is badass, but dislikes them all the same, either because the character isn't "badass enough" or because they are badass for reasons other than, for example, fighting ability. A quick way to test this is to think about what a character does in fiction and wait to see if any Fridge Logic emerges.

Compare Real Women Don't Wear Dresses, A Real Man Is a Killer. It may invoke Double Standards.

This trope is possibly a consequence of I Just Want to Be Badass. The Wish Fulfillment aspect of fiction generally makes people want to see characters they identify with do things that are cool/heroic/manly (i.e. Badass), which allows them to experience Badassery via a proxy of themselves. When the audience is denied their Wish Fulfillment, they may dislike it and displace that dislike onto a character. Generally, any character that isn't a nail chewing badass (and/or is capable of showing... *eugh* emotion) will be instantly dismissed as a Scrappy or Creator's Pet.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Generally speaking, if you follow an anime series in which the heroine is bullied or abused (specially by her classmates or her family) and doesn't resort to beating them up as a result... please think twice before reading the comments and/or reading about it on blogs. Mikan from Gakuen Alice, Tohru from Fruits Basket and Nanako of Oniisama e... are specially hated by viewers who blame them for the hardships they go through "because they're weak whores who don't fight back".
  • Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion has many moments of angst, cowardice, selfishness, and reluctance and outright refusal to fight, but also has some moments of heroism, bravery and awesome feats. But according to some people he is always the former and the latter are anomalies. (Or, in the instance of some famous pieces of fanfiction, have him take several thousand levels of badass.)
  • Fushigi Yuugi
    • Miaka as the Priestess of Suzaku gets a lot of flak for not being a badass. She's a regular middle-school student about to take her entrance exams when she ends up in the Universe of the Four Gods, she has no combat training (aside from some moves she copied from Wrestling she watched on TV) and often doesn't take part in the action, with her warriors often having to rescue her. Yet, despite that, she still managed to talk back at Nakago, still believed in her friend and successfully summoned Suzaku, even earning her happy ending with Tamahome after more trouble comes her way.
    • Anti-Miaka Fans got worse when Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden came out and gave us Takiko. She's more action-oriented, actively tries to reach out to the warriors who all have their share of baggage, often suffering physical injuries to help other people and knows how to save herself out of situations. A big problem in comparing the two in terms of Badass Protagonists is the fact that Takiko lives in The Roaring Twenties of Imperial Japan and Miaka comes from The '90s, with a lot of cultural and socially established norms having changed since.
    • Even Seiryu's Priestess Yui can't run from this, though she gets it less than Miaka. Despite her role as the antagonistic priestess toward Miaka, she is often not out to search for her warriors. They seem to just gravitate towards her as she lays around, doing nothing while pining after Tamahome and mistrusting her friend. Her action-less role was a sore point for readers, who thought she would be a polar difference to Miaka.
  • Fate/stay night
    • For viewers of the anime version, unfamiliar with the VN, Shirou wasn't Rescued from the Scrappy Heap until he finally subverted this trope. The early part of the series lacked the justifying and mitigating motivations behind Shirou's behavior, and revealed relatively late in the story how painful and potentially life-threatening his independent practice of magic was to him.
    • Also, Sakura in the VN. She is a Damsel in Distress, and in her route she doesn't kick ass like Saber or Rin, but that doesn't mean it's her fault that she's horrifyingly abused by the Matou family, as well as raped constantly by her stepbrother Shinji. And yet fans continue to bash her, implying it's her own fault that she's an abuse and rape victim!
  • Mytho from Princess Tutu sometimes gets flak for this from the fandom, thanks to being a Distressed Dude for most of the first season... despite the fact that in the second season once he regains most of his heart he's revealed to be a better, more capable swordsman than fan-favorite Fakir. Given the ending, it's possible that the way this gets fans to prefer Fakir is intentional.
  • Ganta from Deadman Wonderland is often lamented to be a useless, cowardly pansy, with many fans much preferring Crow (who is often declared the most Badass character in that series). They seem to be ignoring the fact that Ganta is only 14 (compared to Crow, who is obviously much older than him) and was just a normal student who never really got into fights, and who is also new to Deadman Wonderland.
  • Yukiteru from Future Diary, in that, much like Shinji, he is a young boy who was forced into a world of violence. For much of the run he is mostly intent to stay out of the survival game, sometimes protecting as best he can those he cares about (including enemies) and only killing when out of options, with utter revulsion. Importantly, he needs the guidance of Yuno and others to take effective action. Then after 20-30 chapters/18 episodes he gets broken and takes a Level in Badass.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia:
    • Canada! Many Western fans have a tendency to turn Canada into a Memetic Badass and Deadpan Snarker instead of the fairly nice, unassertive guy he is in canon.
    • China is also bashed once in a while because of his "girly" looks and voice, and he also gets some "revision" to make him more snarky and assertive (though not nearly as much as with Canada). Even though he's shown to have martial arts skills in canon and Super Strength rivaling America's in the anime.
    • Poland's Keet behavior and penchant for ponies and skirts makes him hated in some circles. Him being one of the few nations who will fearlessly stand up to Russia will be conveniently ignored by them.
    • In an odd case of this, fans of this kind don't hate Greece for being sleepy and laidback; they just want him to be with Turkey all the time because Turkey is the only thing that causes him to lose his calm, easygoing nature and hence makes him a Hot-Blooded Tsundere who's "stronger" and "cooler" than the calm Nice Guy he is with Japan everyone who's not Turkey. Some of these fans even seem to believe that Greece waxing philosophical, taking care of numerous cats, and being affectionate and respectful toward Japan makes him a "personality-devoid Satellite Love Interest" because apparently he can't be a strong or complex character if he isn't constantly angry, fight-happy, short-tempered, or otherwise "manly" like he is with Turkey.
    • Lithuania gets this sometimes, due to his Woobie tendencies...as with Poland, the fact that he definitely has shades of Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, and that it's the fandom itself that wimpifies him, tends to go ignored.
    • Hungary is sometimes used as THE example of a "strong female character" and as a yardstick to measure all the other Hetalia girls with, with her fans then bashing the other girls for "not being strong enough". Conversely, she's also bashed due to the trope: many "feminist fans" believe that she was only a good female character when she was a little kid, due to thinking that she was a boy. They then state that when she became girlier and later became Austria's Violently Protective Girlfriend she "lost her strength" and "betrayed feminism" for hanging around Austria's Big Fancy House and protecting a Non-Action Guy like him.
    • ALL the female characters have been smacked around with this trope, no matter how their personalities and roles are. For the "fandom feminists" Belgium is a weak whore for wearing a cute dress once and using flowing skirts sometimes (nevermind that she's a self-made woman and a Plucky Girl who doesn't let her brother Netherlands and other guys boss her), Belarus is a psycho bitch for dressing like an Elegant Gothic Lolita and chasing after her brother Russia (while Russia is fetishized and adored for being even more psychotic than she is), Taiwan is a stupid bitch who wants to be Japan's "child bride" and nothing else (even when she interacts with the Asian boys as an equal and without fear, and that she NEVER clings to Japan), Liechtenstein is a weakling whom everyone takes pity of (despite how she can handle someone as grumpy as Switzerland without even blinking), etc.
    • The Nyotalia cast, when not being bashed for being too "girly" or "useless" compared to their male counterparts, are also sometimes used as a way to bash on the canon female characters, deeming them to be less badass and compelling than whatever potential the Nyotalia characters could have. The male Nyotalia characters are also sometimes deemed better than their canon female counterparts, simply because they'd appear stronger.
  • A couple of fans had this complaint about Canute in Vinland Saga. Many hoped he'd be killed off eventually. Which is moronic, since he is a historical figure that lived to be quite old, and thus the only guaranteed survivor amongst the heroes. There is a very good chance that people who are complaining don't even know he's a real person.
  • A complaint regarding a number of Demoted to Extra characters from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. Prime example is Yuuno Scrya, but many would also level the complaint regarding Chrono Harlaown, who has shown himself to be genuinely Bad Ass on occasion. Some people would even say this about Nanoha herself, because she seems to be nonlethal no matter how much property damage she ends up inflicting, up to and including blowing through a large portion of a warship from inside. It's actually supposed to be a sign of Nanoha's power that she has enough self-control to only inflict nonlethal but very, very painful magical damage.
  • Bleach:
    • Orihime is The Medic, a Barrier Warrior and a true pacifist in a battle manga. In universe and out she is regarded as unsuited for battle. When her Trauma Conga Line was taken to its natural Heroic BSOD climax, she was castigated as irredeemable by a portion of the fanbase for not breaking out of character to fight back against villains even the combat characters were being thrashed by, despite her never once giving up trying to heal and shield those fighters. Conversely, combat characters who have suffered an Heroic BSOD and actually given up entirely (including the main character) receive sympathy, excuses and forgiveness from the fanbase who consider it to be character development. Eventually, Word of God himself stepped in to point out that Orihime's experience is quite a natural human reaction to the level of abuse and stress she had suffered. It didn't stop the double-standard.
    • Rukia, like Hungary above and Lyndis, is frequently used as the yardstick to measure the "strength" of Bleach women, who often end up compared unfavourably to her, especially Orihime.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    • Many of Kamina's fanboys (which is about 90 percent of the people that watched the show), refuse to acknowledge Simon as the main character, simply because, according to them, he's not as badass as Kamina... despite the fact that the show made it clear that Simon far surpassed Kamina by the end of the show, and without Simon's help, Kamina wouldn't have made it as far as he did. In the Lotus-Eater Machine, Kamina himself admits that Simon has surpassed him. Misaimed Fandom at its finest, ladies and gentlemen.
    • Rossiu is considered The Scrappy by a large number of fans because he's the Only Sane Man and more subdued and cynical than the rest of the cast.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Alphonse Elric gets hit pretty hard with this in the 2003 anime version. He's not weak, but he's much more reluctant to fight than his brother, and has a much quieter personality in general. He's still a main player whose actions have a direct effect on plot development, but many fans dislike him for not being proactive or badass enough.
  • Samurai Champloo: Fuu gets a lot of hate for having no fighting prowess and being The Heart of her group. There's some Misaimed Fandom in this opinion, in that while her co-protagonists, Jin and Mugen, are certainly badass, it's quite clear that they really lack social/life skills (Jin starts out stoic to the point of apathy and isn't good at anything except kendo; Mugen is a hotheaded Sociopathic Hero who doesn't plan ahead at all), and wouldn't have developed as people had Fuu not roped them into serving as her bodyguards.
  • One Piece: If they're not badass, THEY SUCK AND ARE ANNOYING AND WEAK, no questions asked. Apparently, to many fans it matters not if a character is intelligent, has a wonderful heart, or has a strong moral compass. And never mind that many of the badasses on this show never would have gotten anywhere or would be dead by now if not for the 'weak' characters.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica : Madoka Kaname is condemned by the fanbase for being emotionally crushed by all that happens to her at the start. These fans focus on Madoka's justified grief at the situation without taking into account that Madoka is a firmly proactive protagonist, saving people from unwittingly killing themselves at the hands of a witch, singlehandedly trying to stop Sayaka from fighting, and trying to convince Homura to team up with Sayaka for her benefit; all of this meant to establish that trying one's best to do what's right doesn't always result in a happy ending. The ending makes it a Defied Trope, as she rescues herself from the scrappy heap without becoming a badass. She essentially saves everyone with The Power of Love, by Rules Lawyering herself into goddessdom.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: One of the key reasons some Seto Kaiba fans find Yugi and his friends unlikable. He's stoic and ruthless and doesn't give friendship speeches. This is despite the fact that he's as successful than Joey when it comes to fighting villains. This trope also sums up the attitude to non-dueling main characters who are sometimes seen as useless or unnecessary in a world where Duels Decide Everything.
  • A Certain Magical Index: One of the reasons why many fans like Mikoto more than main heroine Index is that the former is a living rail gun and the latter is a living library. Sure, their difference in personality has something to do with it but the fact that Index is a more passive and usually non-combat character while Mikoto is an Action Girl definitely had impact. Thing is, Index can be Badass Adorable when she wants to. People just ignore that.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Out of the fans who prefer Erza over Lucy, a good portion of them were heavily influence by this. Nevermind the fact that Erza is a veteran while Lucy is a newcomer or that her magic is summoning.
    • In-universe example: Laxus Dreyar's early jerkassery toward his guildmates, eventually culminating in his attempt to take over the title guild during the Fighting Festival arc, is largely due to him being well under this trope's influence. Thankfully he takes a level in kindness later on.
  • Naruto : Many parts of the Fan Dumb have this attitude as applied to any character: any time a character appears to be something less than a Badass who accomplishes everything without any effort whatsoever, you have hordes of people saying how they must suck as a character because they are "weak". In the rare occasions where they don't, they'll bitch that the writer sucks for not making them "badass enough" or turning them into Mary Sues.
  • Mawaru-Penguindrum: Shouma Takakura gets potshots that range from mere affectionate jokes to straight-up bashing for not being as action-geared as his older brother Kanba. Even more so after episode 19.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Kaoru is the head of her own dojo and a national-level fencing champion. In other words, she's plenty badass when it comes to regular fighters. The problem is that hanging around Kenshin and Sanosuke and the caliber of villains they fight means she is constantly outclassed. It doesn't mean she deserves the utter SHIT she gets from fandom.
  • Pokemon Special: Never mind that White has her own dreams (which boils down to making people happy nationwide with the added bonus of boosting the economy), knows what she has to do to achieve them, and can do it as well (which involves running her own business, an impressive feat for a girl in her mid-teens); she gets constantly bashed for not knowing how to battle right off the bat. Fans seem to ignore that Yellow and Platinum initially didn't know how to battle in their respective arcs.
  • Pokémon: Max from the anime, largely due to having no Pokemon.
  • Sailor Moon: Ami/Sailor Mercury suffered a bit from this in the first season. Her bubble attack only temporarily fogged the area and lowered the temperature, making her the only member without an offensive attack. Cue cries of What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway? and claims of her being useless despite still playing an important role as The Smart Guy.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Almost every non-Saiyan fighter is hit with this to some extent, but Krillin and Yamcha (the latter especially) get some of the worst criticism. Both guys are very strong by human terms but are called "weak" by a good chunk of the fanbase because they're not as strong as the Saiyans. They also get criticized for dying a lot despite being far from the only characters that died more than once.
  • Attack on Titan: Armin is sometimes the target of this trope. He starts out as a Cowardly Lion that is physically weak (by military standards) but possesses a brilliant mind, often comparing himself negatively to his much more physically-gifted comrades. His lack of confidence and tendency to doubt himself wears on some fans, prior to him realizing his strengths and becoming a Manipulative Bastard. This extends even into the marketing of the series, with Ensemble Darkhorse Levi frequently replacing him alongside Eren and Mikasa. This gives the impression that Armin is a minor character, as opposed to the third member of the series' main Power Trio.
  • Sands of Destruction: Kyrie gets a lot of flack for being an Action Survivor and Distressed Dude who tries to calm everyone down and talk his way out of fights instead of jumping in blade first. It doesn't help that his companions are both extremely skilled in combat while his skills lie in the culinary arts (and, unlike the game, he never weaponizes poisonous food). That time he defended a fellow human prisoner from an abusive feral prison guard? Totally didn't happen. He's even derided for wearing a suit of armor (you know, being sensible) when forced in a colosseum. He finally takes a level in the finale, which lead to quite a few fans wondering why he couldn't be like that for the whole series.
  • Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in the OVA is regarded as useless because she doesn't have any shining moments in combat. However, she gets a lot of done with shamanistic magic outside of combat: finding a way out of a trap in the pilot, guiding the group through the Forest Of No Return, protecting them from the hot air vents in the ancient fire dragon's lair, and guiding the others to Parm's location after he gets his ass handed to him by Wagnard

    Comic Books 
  • Nite Owl II of Watchmen definitely qualifies for this. Since he decided he wouldn't want to be involved in a futile battle of good against evil for the rest of his life and retired, he's clearly the "worst" of the main characters.
    • Even Rorschach held this view for a period of time. And considering his popularity with readers, his view of Nite Owl II probably contributed to the way a lot of fans saw him. Rather ironic considering how Moore intended the exact opposite effect.
    • Parodied in I'm a Marvel... and I'm a DC, where Dan and Cyclops discuss this trope.
  • X-Men:
    • Cyclops holds his own against Wolverine in hand-to-hand combat, takes out the entire team when they're brainwashed and he's injured, beats up six men at once with his eyes shut, pulls off impossible trick shots, earns the nickname Fearless Leader… and a lot of X-Men fans still think of him as a pussy, because he dares to not get along with Wolverine (which, when you think about it, is pretty badass in its own little way).
      • Also, for the young teen male fan demographic Scott's powers don't look like fun. Yes, they're potent, yes, they can be used to take down most targets...but the constant, unremitting self control they demand looks more like work than fun. Which it is, by any reasonable standard Scott's mutant ability is a curse, because he can't control it other than by use of his visor. Thus, even though Scott has, at times, displayed every single identifying mark of the Badass (he is, in fact, a major Badass), he's not the kind of badass a 13 year old boy wants to be.
      • Ironically, Wolverine has became an inversion: Because writers grew up with him and love him for being a badass, he's became so badass its became ridiculous and the fact his way is presented as 'right', he's gotten quite a bit of flak. Wolverine has always worked better as a Static Character, so when they try to write him seriously, it can come off as irritating or Narmy.
  • A Badass Normal hero will sometimes get heat for being 'normal' and not super powered. Yes, that includes Batman (though obviously, this is so rare it's hardly worth mentioning). As there's many superheroes to which normal problems would be boringly easy, they need threats that would challenge them, but, this leaves the badass normals useless in these situations: If they're only human, than it would be ridiculous for them to deal with the same level of threats the other does regularly. In a shared universe, the normal guy will look pathetic in comparison: Superman can deal with planets colliding, while Batman can (just barely) deal with two trains colliding by himself. While they can be compensated in Team ups by the 'normal' guy doing something more flashy (such as performing some insanely cool looking martial arts moves to fight a group of enemies) while the super dos something more boring looking (like just a simple backhand to all three), usually, there will be a massive power slant, resulting in team ups being used to deal with middle ground threats at most while Superman Stays out of Gotham. Because of this, the Badass Normal will have a certain stigma to deal with: They'll have to really prove they're a tough badass, who can deal with the situation head on or else they'll be regarded as pathetic. For example:
    • Hawkeye of The Avengers: Despite being one of the most popular of the group and one of the most badass heroes in the Marvel Universe, he's often seen, in universe and out, by some as being 'the weakest' of Avengers, since while his teammates include Thor, Hulk, and Iron Man, he's 'just a guy with a bow and arrow'. The fact that he can keep up with these guys without faltering is sadly lost on some people.
    • Due to the popularity of Badass Normals (Batman in particular) this can also be a inversion. Now it's the superpowered ones who are seen as less Badass because they have superpowers, yet the Badass Normals are written as being able to take on the same threats as they do.
  • The Bat Family, Batman's partners, Robins, sidekicks, and mentees are all hit with this trope. While Batman has the same stigma, he's still seen as an incredible badass. So, his sidekicks, who unfortunately are limited in how many levels they can rise to or risk overshadowing him, tend to appear this (Dick Grayson was the poster child of Distressed Dude during the Silver Age). With exception of Cassandra Cain, they're occasionally hit with this by someone, the worst being Stephanie Brown. While each member has at least one skill they excel at (Dick's leadership and acrobatics, Tim's detective skills, Babs' intelligence, Jason's homicidal violence, etc) Steph is a realistic portrayal of a Badass Normal: She's got an average intellect and reasonable training and skills in fighting and athletics, she lacks Photographic Memory and Training from Hell the others possess. So, while she is as badass, if not more so, than many real life people or action heroes, she's limited in what she could reasonably achieve. To this day there's many a Hate Dumb that will decry her as 'weak', 'pathetic', 'stupid', and call her 'incompetent' for not having Charles Atlas Superpowers and being The Pollyanna.
  • In the Teen Titans fandom, though some of the "weaker" characters will have their fans, they are generally hated for not being as badass as the major members of the team. A few examples come from this:
    • Aqualad/Tempest took heat from some fans and DC editorial for having "lame" powers (similar opinions exist about his mentor, Aquaman), and for coming off weaker, less "manly", and less proactive than the other male Titans. Even after he got an upgrade in power, his role gradually diminished and he was killed off. Phil Jimenez (who wrote the Tempest mini-series) has stated that the current editorial team wasn't too fond of the character.
    • Flamebird, for being ditzy and more obsessed with Robin at first than actually fighting seriously. Even after her character development, her hatedom still considers her "too useless", "girly", "stupid", and a waste of space that could be given to tougher characters.
    • Jericho, for being too sensitive, a "wuss", not being much of an action guy, and having a flamboyant costume and weird hair in his early days. The showrunners of the animated series had stated they felt the need to try to make him look more badass, as they considered him to be pathetic in the comics.

  • Death Proof: The initial group of women that run into Stuntman Mike are treated as annoying, disposable types while the second group are the heroines we cheer for. No matter that the second group prove themselves to be irresponsible jackasses (such as abandoning one of their own to a seriously creepy possible rapist simply so they could whiz around in a car for a few hours); since they are indisputably Badass, we like them more than the theoretically more sympathetic (but non-Badass) first group.
  • Take any of Steven Seagal's later movies; the most common complaint will be that he hardly does any real fighting anymore since he's gotten older and put on weight. Though this is perhaps what inevitably happens when you build your entire early film career on subpar movies whose central appeal is you being a total badass. The fact the he is often replaced with a double has helped this preception.
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon got flak for Megatron, who in the first film was touted as being an unstoppable badass and in the second film easily tore apart most threats, being unable to fight during the third film due his grievous injuries from the last film, namely, the large hole in his head from being shot at point blank range by Optimus. As he's too injured to do much by himself, he gets essentially bullied around by Sentinel and is later Curb Stomped by Optimus, and people see this as an insult to their childhood or call him Anti-Climatic, all the while ignoring the reason for this. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen also gave Megatron Flak for coming Back from the Dead in a (theoretically) more powerful body, but utterly failing at his fight(s) with Optimus only succeeding at his first through a cheap shot, and failing at the second because of Optimus's upgrades.
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, Fix-It Felix Jr. is fairly unimpressive next to his Love Interest, Sgt. Calhoun. When the chips are down, he ventures out into much tougher worlds than his own to save his game and faces down insectoid cyborg monsters in defense of the whole arcade.

  • Harry Potter: Ginny Weasley. Molly Prewett-Weasley. Nymphadora Tonks. Lily Evans-Potter. All of these women are bashed endlessly by the Fan Dumb and called "weak", "slutty", submissive to men", "submissive to gender roles" and other misogynistic insults for one or another "reason" and this is one of them.
    • Ginny becomes more outspoken, blossoms into a fine Cute Witch plucky girl and Harry falls for her? It doesn't matter, she only developed to be more "desirable" to Harry and steal him from Hermione who deserves him so much more! What a Mary Sue!
    • Molly has gained the liking of many, many fans after her duel with Bellatrix Lestrange in which she manages to kill her, especially for her epic Pre-Asskicking One-Liner. Thus proving this trope.
  • Vorkosigan Saga": In-universe near the end of Barrayar, Cordelia is furious when she realizes that she's respected for ordering a man's head cut off, when other women who endured much more are dismissed.
  • The Lord of the Rings: This may contribute to Frodo's poor reputation. While most of the characters including the other hobbits get Badass moments, Frodo's progressive weakening while carrying the One Ring means that he is able to do less and less.
  • Circle of Magic: Sandry's the most feminine of all the main characters, with a very sweet personality and a love of fashion. Her magic over thread is an obvious case of Heart Is an Awesome Power- she uses it to defeat whole troops of soldiers, hold a person's very life-force to their body, and joins the minds of the four main characters together, just to start. Despite this, numerous fans express intense dislike of her compared to other characters, who are more masculine.
  • The Hunger Games: Peeta occasionally receives this because of Die for Our Ship. Because of his upbringing, Peeta lacks the survival skills of many of his fellow tributes, and it's a common accusation to hear people saying that Katniss should've chosen Gale over him because he's "more badass."

    Live Action TV 
  • Lost:
    • Because of the mystery surrounding the character and his agelessness, many fans built up Richard Alpert as the answer to the entire show, the most powerful character, and, among some fans, a literal Memetic Badass and the show's version of Chuck Norris. Fans on GameFAQs and Lostpedia even developed a joke episode dealing with the idea that he is a superhuman badass. So when the end of season 5 revealed Richard to be an ordinary person with realistic flaws and personality (as well as being an Unwitting Pawn), the fandom reacted violently and Richard suddenly became unpopular.
    • The beginning of season 6 had "Fake Locke"'s first act after killing Jacob being to beat up Richard in front of the Others for no apparent reason other than to establish his authority. That didn't go over well with the aforementioned people.
  • Survivor: This often happens where people make it to the finals but are told they're not badass by the jury despite that the game's Slogan is "Outwit, Outplay", and "Outlast". They tend to forget that last "O"...
    • Amber Brkich in Survivor: All-Stars was the first major example of this. Many felt that Boston Rob should had won for ruling strategically and physically. However, Rob's game left three angry jurors who were against him and he did poorly under questioning. Amber on the other hand, did well and only had one person against her.
    • Natalie White was considered this on Survivor Samoa, particularly by her aggressive competitors who were with her in the last tribal council. Then jury-member Erik stands up and delivers a speech in which he points out that since she's still in the game, she must be doing something right, and furthermore, did it in a way that didn't sacrifice her integrity. Meanwhile, Mick claimed to deserve votes (Natalie didn't), while Russell Hantz just sociopathically bullied his way through the game and finished by boasting "These two suck - Aren't I awesome?" to the jury. This speech may well have contributed to her 7-2-0 win. Much of a Base Breaker as it was, compared to the following season, this would be nothing.
    • Sandra Diaz-Twine in Heroes vs. Villains had this by the Base Breaker fans as well as Russell Hantz himself. Russell claims that Sandra being able to win twice is somehow proof that the game's rules are flawed, because she would be terrible at physical challenges and have zero personal immunities under her belt, yet was good enough with people to know what was up, and was able to play the lesser of three evils. ("I hate Russell, too.") Meanwhile, Parvati already had a pretty loyal fan base and played a game more people approved of, as opposed to Sandra who went with the flow. Mario Lanza (a foremost columnist on Survivor) pointed on his "The Fall of Russell Hantz entry on his The Funny 115 that she and Russell taunted the heroes with J.T.'s letter. Some Sandra supporters even pointed out that Sandra had more allies in the jury (including the entire Heroes tribe) and Russell should have considered that — Parvati did realize this and tried to get Russell to see this too, but he kept on insisting that Sandra had no chance of winning... just like he insisted that Natalie had no chance of winning in Samoa. Cue the Humiliation Conga.
    • Becky likely received no votes because of the final four tie-breaker where she and Sundra took two hours to make fire. Never mind that she and Sundra helped Yul and Ozzy go on a chain of immunity wins when the mutiny reduced their tribe to four.
    • In fact, the Survivor players accused of being this are usually female. Matthew, Rupert, Bob, and Fabio were criticized by some for their lack of strategic play compared to others, but not nearly as much as the above listed females were.
    • Overall, "niceness" tends to be an extremely underrated trait among a vocal portion of the fanbase who complain whenever a strategic player is beaten by a less strategic but more likeable one and call these "nicey nice" winners "undeserving" winners who won only because they were facing bitter juries who didn't appreciate the strategy of their opponents. This not only ignores that more often than not, these so-called "strategic" players had horrible jury performances (Twila from Vanuatu, Sugar from Gabon, Russell from Samoa and Heroes vs. Villains, and Sash from Nicaragua) compared to the strategic winners who knew how to read and work the jury (Chris from Vanuatu, Todd from China, Parvati herself from Micronesia) or bring along opponents even more disliked than them (Brian from Thailand, Danni from Guatemala and Boston Rob from Redemption Island, ), but also that niceness has proven to be a valuable asset multiple times like how Bob's fatherliness endeared him to Sugar and Fabio's likability compared to his opponents was most likely the major reason for Naonka voting for him in the end in spite of having regularly made fun of him in earlier episodes.
  • Dr. Keller suffered from this a bit in Stargate Atlantis. While the other doctors in the show are also pretty non-action-oriented, Keller's fragility, especially when contrasted with Teyla's hardy survival instincts in the episode "Missing", do make her a boring character for some. To be fair, she isn't a soldier, but Rodney's been pretty badass since his big sacrifice in the second episode, so Keller does look pretty weak by comparison.
  • Merlin : On the surface, Guinevere is essentially portrayed as a Shrinking Violet, a stark contrast to Morgana as a Spirited Young Lady. Morgana gets to do lots of cool things: sword-fight, telekenetically throw people through the air and stand up to King Uther. However, this is a huge simplification of each woman's characterization and Character Arc: namely that Morgana's fall into evil was marked by her It's All About Me attitude in which she ranks her own grievances and pain against the needs of others and begins a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against not just Uther, but everyone, including innocent people. In contrast, Guinevere (who is also deeply wronged by Uther when he has her innocent father executed) rises above her inner turmoil and explicitly refuses wallow in hate. Many fans seem to have completely missed the juxtapositioning of Guinevere's declaration that she would never seek vengeance against Uther because: "that would make me just like him" with the observations by several characters that Morgana is now no different from Uther. It also fails to take into account the fact that Guinevere's attempts at proactivity have a far higher success rate note . Though Guinevere has played the Damsel in Distress a few times, Morgana has been in similar situations just as often (as have all the male characters) and is extremely Weak-Willed given the consistency with which she is placed under enchantments. Guinevere, on the other hand, has the unprecedented move of removing an object of enchantment from her body of her own free will (and thus breaking the spell she was under).
    • The reactions to Lancelot and Guinevere are a perfect example of this trope. Most of the complaints about the episode state it as Guinevere's biggest Damsel in Distress moment, and that she needed three attempts by Morgana, Lancelot, and then Arthur and Merlin to rescue her due to her extreme incompetence. 1) It was Guinevere's You Shall Not Pass moment that saved Morgana, not the other way around, 2) In Lancelot's rescue, we never see her get captured, so we don't know if she tripped or ran into a group of bandits, and 3) All of that would have been for nothing had Gwen not kept up a Morgana impression throughout the duration of her imprisonment, which kept her alive until help could come. Uther even mentions that it would take a small army to beat the number of bandits in the fortress she was held in, so unless you're expecting her to spontaneously turn into River Tam, there was no way she could have escaped without help.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: An in universe example appears with characters such as Willow, Xander and Dawn being derided for not being badass. Buffy eventually bitches everyone out because they aren't, which comes back to bite her when her nemesis Faith appears and treats the potential Slayers as though they will be badass, in time.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Many times, the fact that a heel cheats or is insulting to people just isn't enough: he must prove how thoroughly despicable he is by having the nerve to whine and complain if he gets physically attacked, or even file a lawsuit (of course, if he does physically retaliate, he's still in the wrong, and will get his ass kicked again eventually). While in Real Life only the most cynical of people will fault you for suing an assailant if your injuries are serious enough, in wrestling anyone who can't personally beat up someone they hate is just a big crybaby.
  • Out-of-universe example: After Lita and Trish Stratus kick-started the WWE Divas' division as we know it today, many of the other Divas were disdained for not quite measuring up to the in-ring standards of the first two, even if they trained at a level roughly equal to Lita and Trish - and even though when most of these Divas (including Lita and Trish) started their careers in the late 1990s, many fans considered it impressive when women wrestled at all.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Games in general
    • Elves in general tend to get this. Who cares if they can put an arrow through your eye from a mile away? They're far too girly to pose a serious- *thwuck* *thump*
    • In any tabletop RPG, it's not uncommon for certain character builds to be considered badass or overly strong. In some cases this is simply because conventional player wisdom expects them to be (such being the case with many late-game Wizard builds in 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons) or because the setting declares them to be so (Street Samurai in Shadowrun, Juicers in Rifts). However, every gamemaster runs a game their own way and a character that is theoretically badass on paper may turn out to be useless because the challenges the party faces aren't in their area of expertise.
  • Shadowrun: A street samurai is a cyberwared-rocking, face-destroying nightmare of a combat monster… until the party realizes stealth, ingenuity and kill-free missions work out better. The end result is a screwed-out player rocking back and forth in his/her seat, looking utterly useless.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons forums, you are worthless if you can't deal lots of damage. Thus metagaming pros like Divination Wizards are overlooked and so are smooth talking Bards and Rogues who can stealth and sneak and talk their way out of anyone who wants to listen.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The Tau and the Craftworld Eldar get a lot of stick from the fandom for not being as overtly manly as the other factions, although they are no less awesome. It should tell you something that the biggest factions in terms of sales are the Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines, Imperial Guard and Orks. In words, all armies where everyone is bulging with muscle and has "run at the enemy shouting and brandishing an oversized and rusty melee weapon" as their main battle strategy. The Dark Eldar ever so occasionally get this treatment as well, although they avoid the worst of it by being Wicked Cultured and having only about twenty people in the world play as them.

    TV Tropes 

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy
    • Dissidia: Final Fantasy: Terra Branford got this when many were unhappy with her characterization—while her timidity and fear of Power Incontinence is in line with how she behaved in the early game, they didn't like that she seemed to be hiding behind the half-pint Onion Knight when she got to be a serious Mama Bear in her home game.
    • Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Princess Sarah endured similar accusations when made into a playable character.
    • Final Fantasy IV:
      • This is the main reason people hate Edward/Gilbert. All things considered, Cecil and Kain are about as spoony as he is, but they're powerful frontline fighters and Edward is a support character who was not useful at all before his abilities were rebalanced in later editions.
      • Rosa suffers from this. She's a white mage/archer and while her one offensive spell is on par with Meteor, it is just the one and takes longer to cast; her archery gives her the best damage output of all the mages but her white magic is usually more needed. She also gets hit with the Distress Ball for a big chunk of the story and is in love with Cecil from the start. (hatedom insists this is her only interest; never mind the many times she adds relevant commentary on the plot and politics.) Black Mage Rydia—with her arsenal of spells and summons, Big Damn Heroes moment and UST with Edge—gets far more attention from the fandom.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Sora, The Protagonist is goofy, naive, lacks angst and ambition, and is incredibly gentle and empathic. His attitude screams the opposite of badassery. He is also quite possibly the second most powerful individual in the universe, beaten out by a reality warping Physical God. Without training or preparation, he has accomplished more than three of his (formally trained) predecessors put together. His combat prowess is amplified in Kingdom Hearts 2's Action Commands, but this serves only to highlight the dissonance.
  • Max Payne 3 has been met with tremendous backlash for various reasons, but among them is that Max is now well into middle age, heavier and bald.
  • Fire Emblem Elibe
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty's Raiden got a lot of flak from fanboys, mostly for being a Replacement Scrappy for Solid Snake, but attributed to him being a "weak, overly-feminine character" (despite the fact that he fought well, taking down several Metal Gears, killing the Big Bad, and did far better than most people could have done in his profoundly shitty situation, leaving with renewed purpose, the respect of his mentor, a renewed relationship with the woman he loved, and with the child of a castmate still alive). Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots reinvented him to be a cyborg ninja, and these days, he's a lot more popular - even though his ninja self spent half of the game dying slowly of kidney failure and whining about his awful situation. To be fair, he's still a powerful fighter who has his fair share of Big Damn Heroes moments, but the primary difference between his MGS2 and MGS4 personas seems to be Angst more than anything else. It just goes to show how shallow this trope (and/or people's standards of Badassery) is; Raiden was judged pathetic because of his appearance (his actions did not matter).
  • Mega Man X: The title character of the series gets this a lot. His viewpoint (except for in the seventh game) is that he'd rather not fight, but does because he feels he has to. Because he wishes he didn't have to go to war, he's usually portrayed as a pansy and/or gay (though the latter has more to do with the Ho Yay between him and Zero). Zero, by contrast, is a Badass killbot with a laser sword, who enjoys Epic Battle Boredom, and is thus much more popular.
    • Fans also like to completely ignore the fact that once X has all his upgrades and armors, he's an unstoppable One-Man Army who is much more powerful than Zero. Not only that but both he and Zero have climatically fought each other to a tie, Zero outright says X is the better Hunter, and a bad guy killed millions so X would fight him all-out (and had no interest in fighting Zero). But no, still a pansy because he realizes that after 8 wars, more fighting doesn't solve anything. It's truly amazing how many people can dismiss him technically beating Zero in X5, while surrounded by a virus that weakens him and renders Zero Nigh Invulnerable, and only succumbs to its effects after beating the death machine into the ground.
  • Carl Johnson from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas; his feats are comparable to those of Tommy Vercetti and Niko Bellic, but he also has a tendency to show compassion to those who he wronged. Because, you know, considering the ramifications of his actions every once in a while makes him a pussy. Some of his cutscenes involve some lack of competence. Pushed around by two cops, scolded by his brother or being raped by a psychotic woman make him look bad.
  • Touhou has Rinnosuke, the only named humanoid male character in the entirely of Gensoukyou that isn't missing or dead who happens to completely lack any combat ability. If he isn't ignored entirely in favour of more badass characters, the fandom portrays him as a Memetic Badass (known as MANnosuke) who all of Gensoukyou fears. Furthering the trope, this may be linked to how Rinnosuke is the oldest and closest friend of Marisa (regularly considered the manliest character in the series), and a badass character having a non-badass friend is clearly blasphemy.
  • Pokémon
    • There is a small but vocal group of people who will not stand for anyone who uses non-attacking moves in their monsters. There seems to be a continuum here; one example of disagreement among this group is whether or not Sleep moves are acceptable. This is likely a side effect of competitive circles, who dislike moves and strategies that rely on luck calculations such as chance of evasion and duration of status effects. After all, one of their goals is for any two matches in which the players perform the same actions to have the same outcome, and thus conclusively prove which player is more skilled and not more lucky. It's also a mentality holdover from the average first playthrough, when the player is wondering why the hell Tail Whip, Growl, and Leer are even in the game.
    • From the Pokémon Black and White fandom are people who view N Harmonia as "weak and stupid" because he doesn't go around doing a ton of evil stuff like the other main-series antagonists before him did (this despite the fact that he does use a Legendary Pokemon far more effectively than the others, and he still controls the story to a greater extent than any villain before him except Cyrus).
  • In Dynasty Warriors, one of the biggest reasons Guan Suo gets backlash from fans is solely for his character design (Or more specifically, having flower in his hair). The majority of the backlash comes from fans from the west, who only tolerate characters with a bishounen appearance if their actions or relevance screams badassery. Since he fits neither note , he is seen as a Scrappy in their eyes.
  • The King of Fighters: This one of the reasons why Yuki was hated. Since she was a mix of Barrier Maiden and Ordinary High-School Student who didn't fight, fans of other female characters thought she was stupid, useless, weak, and stole Kyo from "more deserving" strong females (and/or other males).
  • Kyrie from Sands of Destruction isn't the most manly of men: he Apologizes a Lot, he's a Reluctant Warrior, he follows the whims of a very destructive girl because he fell in Love at First Sight but never tries to get in her panties, favoring verbal confessions of love to anything physical. If you flipped the genders of the leads, you'd have a very typical story about a gentle soul whose Love Redeems, but with the male as the patient Love Martyr, fans get annoyed. This is despite the fact that, unlike the anime, Kyrie is a legitimate fighter here and is capable with his knives; he would just really rather not use them.
  • It seems that in BlazBlue, the only way you could attain fan interest if that if you have Godlike, reality-breaking powers or can stand up to them, or for the fans of 'good morality', can go toe-to-toe with the two broken villains: Terumi and Relius (and always refusing them). These are probably why even Platinum the Trinity, who could be considered The Scrappy, might be escaping it a bit, because she's the host of Trinity Glassfile, one of the Six Heroes. This is why back in the old days, Jin Kisaragi was widely hated in favor of his more Badass and more 'morally straight' Hakumen (in spite of Hakumen being a Knight Templar, apparently being a Badass means that everything you do is more righteous). This is also why fans enjoy morally questionable characters like Rachel and Kokonoe because they oppose Terumi and are some of the most powerful individuals in the verse. This is also why characters like Litchi and Arakune are largely ignored or derided even with their tragic story ongoing... solely because the former is Overshadowed by Awesome (in both muscles and brains, by Kokonoe) and dares become an Unwitting Pawn for those villains and mopes around her personal problem instead of shoving them off and focusing on awesome things like world-saving, and the other one... seems to never get past of being a Cannon Fodder type Mook in the eyes of many. This is also why Noel is always considered a whiny crybaby, because of her acts in the earlier games, and only after Chronophantasma that she gains confidence that fans started looking up to her more, though not everyone, and this is also why Makoto is praised like hell, because if anything, she tanks up everything Terumi threw to her, continues being a 'good guy' and wrecked his plans (even by accident) in her CS EX story. This whole thing is more prevalent in America, because badassery is worshipped like a God there.

  • Homestuck: Some fans are enraged at trollwoobie Tavros for failing to stand up to Vriska, who enjoys killing people and crippled him. Also for being impaled on his own lance when he finally decides to confront her. Which leads to a horrible pun of the wheelchair bound Tavros not being able to stand up to Vriska.
  • Survivor: Fan Characters: The creator has a very dim view of the tendency of some parts of the Survivor fanbase to blast players as "undeserving" just because they weren't as strategic as their opponents, especially in regards to claims that Russell Hantz "should" have won over Natalie and/or Sandra, and has criticized this mindset repeatedly in his comic. Whenever he sets up a strategic player to be beaten by a less strategic one, he'll make sure to point out that the winner might not have had the best strategic game but played a much better social game (Montana from Season 3, Ker from Season 7, Cherman from Season 9) and that their "strategic" opponent alienated members of the jury by either backstabbing more than they needed to (Baxter from Season 3) or turning off people with their sociopathic gameplay (Wrecker from Season 7, Bonnie from Season 9). This hasn't stopped some fans from complaining about these winners having "no game", especially in regards to Ker, but the SFC fanbase by large seems to be more accepting of these winners with Montana and Cherman easily being among the series' most popular winners.
  • Great: This trope is deconstructed in-universe. The main character, Lyle, Takes A Level In Badass after realizing that his boring and mundane life sucks, and ultimately becomes a highly successful chef. The deconstruction comes in when his wife turns out to be a better chef than he, thus leading to everybody else finding Lyle's food inedible, and Lyle being unable to accept the fact that somebody is better than him. So he goes on a journey of self-discovery, and doesn't realize until the last arc that, even though he was very successful, he wasn't happy, and only finds contentedness when he settles for just running a small noodle shop in the park, and living a normal life. The comic is screaming to the reader that one does not need to be a Badass to live a fulfilling life.

    Web Original 
  • An in-universe example: in Season 10 of Red vs. Blue, Church claims that Washington has gone from being a Badass Freelancer who could fight toe-to-toe with Tex to Carolina's whipping boy - yet he is still a skilled fighter and has in fact turned the Blues into a much more effective fighting force. The Badass Decay is relative when compared to Carolina. Then it gets completely revoked when he puts a gun to Carolina's head when she threatens Tucker and shoots her an Ironic Echo before walking out on her.
  • Demo Reel: Femmy bisexual Donnie DuPre got the comments sections flinging homophobic insults like "pathetic f*g" because he ending up crying after being kidnapped, left in the woods to die, his every attempt at getting food failed, he was missing his dead mommy and he thought nobody would mourn him.
  • Red Letter Media: Played for Laughs In-Universe. In "Mr. Plinkett Reacts to the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer", Mr. Plinkett makes fun of Emperor Palpatine for not being badass enough. At least by today's standards, mainly because he doesn't look the part.
    Mr. Plinkett: Look, Palpy, just get lost. No one cares about the emperor anymore. We care about new cool robotic sith lords with 16 lightsaber blades and robot faces and prosthetic arms that flip around and explode. By all standards today, you're an old outdated grandpa who couldn't even beat up Yoda. Everyone could beat up Yoda!

    Western Animation 
  • The Legend of Korra
    • Korra has gotten heat, bashing, shaming and false Faux Action Girl accusations for daring to angst and cry when she feels she can't live up to Avatar Aang's awesome legacy, and especially for crying and maybe even considering suicide to allow for a better Avatar to be reborn (according to some) when Katara couldn't restore her bending in the Grand Finale. Among the more understandable criticism of how this was dealt with in-story, loud screams of "sexism" and "misogyny" were heard from "fandom feminists" everywhere.
    • Fandom only started to lighten up in the Asami hate when she showed herself as an Action Girl Badass Normal. And yet the moment she showed human reactions to the Love Triangle business, some people were and still are quick to accuse her of being "nothing but Mako's Clingy Jealous Girl" (Despite how she mostly defies the CJG trope.)
      • The trope was lampshaded in series. Korra at first assumed that Asami was a prissy Rich Bitch only into shopping and makeovers, and only started treating her with respect when she learned she was a Biker Babe. Korra was not supposed to be seen as being in the right: it was established that she had a chronic lack of social skills due to her sheltered upbringing, that she was acting very rude towards the Spoiled Sweet girl who sponsored her and her team, and she also made lots of assumptions solely based on Asami's looks and her wealthy background without bothering to dig deeper. She later took these assumptions back, aknowledging that having girlier interests doesn't automatically equal to being a priss.
    • T*here's the passive-aggressive and insidious war between Korra fans and Asami fans, in which the trope is thrown back and forth to make one girl look better than the other. Fandom truly is unpleasable.
  • ThunderCats (2011): Lion-O gets this treatment both in and out of universe. His more pacifistic and merciful attitude is dismissed and mocked by his own race for not adhering to their warrior culture values. On the fandom side, many fans have expressed a disliking of Lion-O for losing a lot of the battles he gets into, especially in contrast to his brother Tygra who beats him every time they fight. When Lion-O does overcome his enemies, it is usually done through cunning or seen as being done too easily or without any real skill.
    • What's ironic is that a major theme of the series is showing how someone doesn't need to be badass to be heroic, nor do they even need to be a good fighter to be badass, and how ultimately ruling through strength instead of kindness causes more problems than it solves. In fact, it could be said that the series subtly deconstructs this trope and that many fans miss this point. Lion-O's real victories don't come from simply defeating Mumm-Ra, but through his ability to unite the races of Third Earth, some of whom have hated each other for centuries.
  • BIONICLE: Toa Vakama, the supposed leader of the Toa Metru has built up an unrelenting hate-base for his Wangsty portrayal in the second movie, where even his own fellow Toa pushed him around. This, despite that he defeated the Big Bad all by himself (through trickery) and that his depiction in the comics and novels (which were written by the "official" writer, not the hired movie-writers) made him out to be far more competent and far less emo. One of the main reasons for this hate is that the previous Fire Toa, Tahu, was a very badass, battle-hungry hothead. Vakama Took a Level in Badass in the third movie, but by then, the fandom's opinion had already been settled.
  • Ben 10: Alien Force: Julie Yamamoto gets incredible amounts of hate from the fandom, being called a Satellite Love Interest, a Damsel Scrappy and a useless character, to the point the writers ended up Pandering to the Base having her break up with Ben. In truth, she was very rarely a Damsel in Distress (it happened only three times over the course of five season, each season being at least of 15 to 20 episodes) and Took a Level in Badass over the course of the show; she just happened to be less frequently involved in the whole "Saving the world" thing than the three protagonists.
  • Batman Beyond: Canon Love Interest Dana Tan is often called weak and useless, compared to the two Fan Preferred Love Interests, Max Gibson and Melanie Walker, a would-be sidekick and a former criminal respectively. While Dana has fewer Action Girl attributes and moments than the other two, she's also not involved in the action as often. The times when she is, she handles herself pretty well for a civilian, averting the Neutral Female and Damsel in Distress tropes by actively trying to get herself out of trouble.
  • This mentality gave rise to the "Applejack is a background pony" meme within the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fandom, because she's the only one of the group not able to fly, use magic, or have Pinkie Pie's borderline reality warping abilities. Needless to say, it's also something of a Fandom Berserk Button because most fans will be quick to point out she's pretty damned Badass without them.

    Real Life 
  • "Fabian strategy" is a term for a military strategy in which battle is avoided in favor of wearing down the enemy by misdirection, denying them resupply, and other generally non-violent tactics. It was named for the Roman commander Fabius Maximus, who knew that fighting Hannibal head-on was a losing proposition. He also knew that Hannibal was operating in enemy territory, making resupply difficult, and had virtually no ability to besiege Rome itself. Fabius therefore simply did not march out to fight. As time went on this seemed more and more cowardly to the Romans, who eventually removed Fabius and installed someone more aggressive as commander. Hannibal then crushed the Roman army at the Battle of Cannae, one of the worst defeats in military history. The Romans wised up and went back to denying Hannibal battle, and he achieved few other significant victories over them. The Fabian strategy has been utilized at other periods in history, such as the American Revolution and the Russian defense against Napoleon. Despite the proven success of the strategy in certain situations, commanders who implement it are often seen as weak and cowardly.
    • To add to the irony Fabius still had to be incredibly violent, just not towards Hannibal's standing army. Hannibal was actually able to recruit large numbers of allies among the tribes and city-states of Italy, who, after all, were hardly thrilled about Roman domination. Fabius' strategy was to deny Hannibal supplies and reinforcements from these allies by marching in to a place after Hannibal had left and massacring the town or towns that had helped him.
  • Stalin felt his way about his son. When said son tried and failed to shoot himself, Stalin remarked that "he couldn't even shoot straight."
  • Jimmy Carter has frequently faced ridicule for being "soft" or "wimpy", despite having served as a submariner in the early years of the Cold War. He has been the only modern US president who didn't lead the country into any major armed conflicts (although that may be due to the backlash against the Vietnam War).