Women Prefer Strong Men

Looks like Mr. Potato Head doesn't measure up.

"I learned several major things about power that day. [...] That girls are attracted to it."
The Sandman, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man Annual

Exactly What It Says on the Tin. This trope is behind the stereotrope that any given girl would prefer to date the captain of the football team instead of the captain of the chess team. The former is bigger, broader, and more physically fit. Back in the day, this is the kind of guy that would spear boars or kill bandits, i.e. a more practical husband. This is no longer the case in many soceities but the distinction remains.

Note that this does not mean stronger than the woman in question but strong, period. In turn, even a weak woman isn't going to be impressed by a guy merely stronger than her; he has to be fairly strong as far as guys go, too. Thus the strongest man in the room is the most attractive.

Even works applying this assumption may still portray women as befriending weak guys and consider them "cute" in a very literal sense of the word but it will still present an in-universe obstacle to weak guys looking for a date.

Compare All Amazons Want Hercules, where the (Amazonian) woman would only settle for a man who is stronger than her and All Girls Want Bad Boys, where it's his strong personality that attracts her. Contrast Weakness Turns Her On and the genderflip, Amazon Chaser, where a guy is attracted to strong girls. Studies have shown that this is generally Truth in Television, although Real Life attraction is of course more complex than just one factor.


Examples

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     Anime And Manga 
  • Possible with Bulma in Dragon Ball; it would explain her falling for Vegeta, recently a genocidal villain, in Dragon Ball Z. He is in a different league than her previous boyfriend, Yamcha, a much lower threat.

     Comic Books 

     Film 
  • The pictured example from Toy Story 3 is more of a parodical example.

     Literature 
  • Ward of Hurog comments that despite his Obfuscating Stupidity, some women at court tried to get into his pants. He speculates that, maybe, some wanted him because of his seeming lack of intellect, but the less disturbing explanation is that he's a giant of a man and the women were turned on by his strength.
  • Asche, a minor character in Gaunt's Ghosts spin-off novel Double Eagle, is notorious for picking up fellow pilots currently having their five minutes of fame and instantly dropping them on the very moment they lose their star status. Unfortunately, only one of them is wise enough to see her real intentions and reject her advances.
  • In Cold Days, Harry...attracts... several Winter fae of the female persuasion after he kills someone.
    • This trope also influences Winter's hierarchy. The court's strongest note  warrior is declared the Queens' consort, and obligated to 'serve' them. This is because the Winter Court is essentially a self-sustaining army: each successive generation must be protected from the Outsiders...and strong enough to eventually protect their own children.

     Live Action TV 
  • Angel: Hanging around Angel and Doyle has ruined Cordelia's preference for preening, rich day trader types. (No comment on Wesley.)
  • In The Big Bang Theory, all of Penny's ex-boyfriends are dumb, muscular guys. Then inverted, when she falls for Leonard, they become an item, and she finds it very hard to go back to dating such idiots.
  • In the Louie episode "Bully," the middle-aged Louie is on a date with a middle-aged woman. It goes well until a teenager whom Louie asked to quiet down comes over and threatens to beat Louie up. Louie backs down and his date explains in a brutally honest fashion that while she understands intellectually that Louie made the sensible, adult choice, at some gut level for her he's simply not a sexual or romantic prospect anymore because he wasn't "strong." Louie makes the all-too-common mistake of attempting to shame her into being sexually attracted to him, which backfires, and the date ends awkwardly.
  • This is a major point in an episode of Noah's Arc. When Wade and Noah briefly live together for the first time, Noah sees all the beauty products Wade uses. Noah later comments with his friends about how the whole "metrosexuality" thing is a bit of turn off and prefers a strong, rugged man.
  • Friends: Inverted with Monica when her boyfriend Pete trains to become the Ultimate Fighting Champion. (He doesn't do a good job, but is still a lot stronger than before.) Monica hates seeing him hurt, and prefers him when was sweet and geeky. They eventually break up because of it. A similar case happened with her husband Chandler. When he and Ross are armwrestling, Monica says she loves his sensitivity and kindness not strength. From his end, he happily admits that she is freakishly strong and could kick his ass.

    Music 
  • One version of "Could You Use Me" (as sung by Judy Garland in 1943 in the film version) from the musical Girl Crazy and its remake Crazy For You:
    There's a chap I know in Mexico
    Who's as strong as he can be
    Eating nails and drinking Texaco
    He is the type for me
  • The George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin song "The Man I Love" (1927):
    Some day he'll come along
    The Man I love
    And he'll be big and strong
    The man I love
  • Édith Piaf's "Mon Légionnaire", about a woman falling in love with a soldier.
  • "The Beers" by The Front Bottoms is about a guy trying to seem tougher than he is in order to appeal to a girl he likes.
    And I will remember that summer
    As the summer I was taking steroids
    Because you like a man with muscles
    And I like you

    Professional Wrestling 

     Web Comics 

     Western Animation 
  • In the Daffy Duck short "Muscle Tussle," Daffy's girlfriend is swept off her feet by a muscular beach hunk. Daffy is then tricked by a con man into believing he can lift 500 pounds after buying his serum. After a challenging the rival to a contest of strength, Daffy wins by pure fluke and his girlfriend instantly likes him again.
  • A central trope throughout all Popeye cartoons, with Popeye and Bluto trying to perform greater feats of strength to impress Olive Oyl.
  • In the Tom and Jerry episode Muscle Beach Tom (another Beach Episode example), Tom and Butch try to out-do each other with feats of strength in order to impress a female cat.