Basic Trope: An Action Girl or other competent, active female character becomes a Distressed Damsel with little or no justification beyond the needs of the plot.
Straight: Alice and Bob are secret agents in Bob: the Movie.For much of the film, Alice is just as kickass as Bob, but two-thirds of the way in, a Mook manages to catch her arm and Alice is quickly subdued. She spends the rest of the movie trapped in a cell in the Big Bad's lair, waiting for Bob to rescue her.
Exaggerated: Alice, Warrior Queen of the Amazons, cuts a bloody swath through her people's enemies and is a One Woman Army until she meets up with Bob the Barbarian. She immediately stops wearing armor, seems to forget how to use a sword, and her most commonly used line for the rest of the series is "Save me, Bob!"
Double Subverted: The Big Bad guessed Alice's game and put in extra security precautions to make sure she stays distressed.
Bob the macho action hero is turned into a woman, and immediately starts acting out the role of Distressed Damsel, even though several people (including the Big Bad) point out that this particular Applied Phlebotinum doesn't affect the victim's personality. The other characters begin to wonder if maybe Bob isn't a bit too into this distress thing.
As part of the heroes' Batman Gambit, Alice is forced to play the role of the Damsel in Distress. Because she's such a kickass action girl, however, she does so dreadfully.
Whether Alice becomes a Distressed Damsel or retains her normal Action Girl prowess and escape capabilities depends on the needs of the plot, so varies from episode to episode.
Alice is a Magical Girl Warrior that transforms into an Amazon but the transformation has a Power Limiter, so she can go from a strong and trained assassin to a helpless waif who can't lift a finger to save herself, and everything in between.
Averted: No capable female characters are chickified; Any Distressed Damsel is that way from the beginning.
Enforced: "Bob's the title character, so he should be the focus of the climax. How about we have Alice get captured so Bob can rescue her?"
Lampshaded: "So this is the famous Warrior Queen Alice. How the mighty have fallen, eh?"
The Big Bad aims an enfeebling ray at Alice so that she can be captured more easily.
Alice lets herself be captured, since she's wearing a tracking device.
Defied: Alice refuses to go down that easily, and if captured, escapes at the earliest opportunity.
Discussed: "I hope Alice is all right. It's not like her to be so easily captured".
Conversed: "We're about two-thirds of the way into the movie and...yep, there goes Alice's competence. It's all damsel in distress from this point on".
Secret agent Alice is devastated by how easily she was overcome and kept captive. She's plagued by recurring nightmares, and her fitness for field missions is questioned....
Alice is deliberately feigning weakness when necessary as part of a larger strategy to train and boost Bob's confidence and public profile.
Reconstructed: Alice was a bitch and the experience humbles her. Bob rescues her and they fight their way out together, falling in love in the process. Alice becomes a Retired Badass who can still kick ass but prefers being a House Wife at Home Sweet Home).