"'Cause I got a really small penis?"
Like building an Evil Tower of Ominousness or wielding a BFS or BFG, there are just some things that have to make other characters wonder if a male character must be compensating for certain other inadequacies.
See also Phallic Weapon, Mid-Life Crisis Car. This can be gender-inverted, though rarely, if a woman is trying to compensate for something like A-Cup Angst or a ticking Biological Clock. And of course, a similar phenomenon can occur with male or female examples of The Napoleon, who often try to compensate for lack of inches in a different context (cf. Small Girl, Big Gun).
The examples are limited to In-Universe. Please do not add your own speculations.
- You see those tossers and hoons on the road and think, "Gee, are they compensating for something?" Well one New South Wales ad indicates yes, they do.
- It's explicitly stated by the narrator. K (Vice's master) from Karakuridouji Ultimo buys impressive vehicles and weapons to make up for his low intelligence and lack of physical power.
- Uzu Sanageyama of Kill la Kill wears a uniform with three large metal spikes jutting from the belt, and his Nudist Beach attire has three suggestively placed guns instead of the usual one. Now combine that with his canonically confirmed "size", and you got a guy covering for some obvious insecurities.
- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. The war veteran in NIGHT CRUISE appears to be a potential "lone gunman" assassin, brandishing a Desert Eagle and fantasizing about killing a politician. When he's thrown out of a brothel after failing to perform with a prostitute, his pistol is taken off him by a Yakuza thug whom he cowers in front of. At the end of the episode we discover his lower regions are prosthetic, thanks to a nasty STD virus he caught during the war, and he'll never carry out his assassination fantasies.
- In the Rurouni Kenshin spin-off prequel To Rule Flame, the prostitute Yumi mocked Shishio, Soujirou, and Houji when she first met them, implying they used their swords to compensate for something.
- Female example in Sword Art Online: Alternative Gun Gale Online. Karen Kohiruimaki is explicitly ashamed of her unnatural height and lack of feminine charm, so when she fires up GGO, LLENN is deliberately made to be as small, cute, and pink as possible.
- In The Unfinished Spelling Errors of Bolkien, Martin Pearson notes that Saruman's Evil Tower of Ominousness is completely hollow, and wonders if he could be compensating for something.
- In his "We Like War" routine, George Carlin says that this is the whole reason for wars.
George Carlin: Men are terrified that their pricks are inadequate and so they have to compete with one another to feel better about themselves and since war is the ultimate competition, basically men are killing each other in order to improve their self-esteem. You do not have to be a historian or political scientist to see the "bigger dick foreign policy theory" at work. It sounds like this: What? They have bigger dicks?! BOMB THEM! And off course the bombs and the rockets and the bullets are all shaped like dicks. It is a subconscious need to project the penis into other peoples' affairs. It is called FUCKING WITH PEOPLE!
- Christopher Titus briefly discusses this mindset in The Voice In My Head:
Titus: I don't even know— what is your deal with that, ladies? What is your problem with that? "Oh my god, look at his car, he's gonna be like that!" Does that mean anyone driving a Prius is hung like a bear, is that what that means? You better be, you're driving a Prius.
- Deadpool once had a gun actually called "The Compensator", as per the quote:
Deadpool: Hey, y'know what money can buy? A solid gold gun. That shoots diamond bullets. I call it "The Compensator". Whatta ya think?
- Herr Starr from Preacher develops an obsession for large handguns after he gets his junk bitten off by a trained dog. He poses in front of the mirror holding one in front of his crotch and goes: Doom cock. DOOM COCK! DOOOOOOM COOOOOOCK!!!!!!!!!
- In Doom Patrol, one minor villain was an impotent man with a... size problem... who designed a phallus-shaped multi-purpose crotch weapon and dubbed himself "Codpiece" before a short-lived crime spree
- Subtly lampshaded in the second issue of Volume 4 of Atomic Robo. Japan's real-life Super Sentai team has a giant rail gun, and this exchange occurs in the same panel as a shot of it being delivered by an equally-giant helicopter:
Pilot 1: <Careful, wind's acting up.>
Pilot 2: <Compensating.>
- X-Men 2099
- Suicide King is a dwarf who loves huge Hand Cannons. X-Man Metalhead asks if he's compensating for his "size", but the King takes it in stride — apparently he's heard that one before.
- Broken Haiku's bodyguard Ulysses is very similar in stature and armament. Xi'an calls him a "tired cliché": little man with a big gun,
- Minor Superman villain Barrage constantly gloats about his massive Arm Cannon. Maxima asks, "Why do so many Earth males measure their masculinity by the size of their weapons?"
- Sad variation in Hivefled; Eridan was sleeping around as much as possible with the fleet to compensate for the fact that he found sex repulsive and terrifying, and if anyone suspected he wasn't perfectly normal he would be killed.
- Trixie likes to take potshots at the villain, Lord Umbra, with this remark in Unlikely Allies, referring to his imposing fortress and the immense beast he commands, respectively. He has plenty to compensate for, actually. She also thinks that Twilight is compensating for something else with her massive magic power.
- In the Someguy Series of mods for Fallout: New Vegas, there is a character named Charlie Halfcocked. It's an apt name, as he's prone to fits of anger, but also because he literally has half a penis; the other half got shot off. His weapon of choice is an absurdly large, seven-foot long Antimaterial rifle named The Penetrator.
- In Every Class is Different, the Spy accuses the Engineer of this, citing the Engie's "ridiculously overpowered guns".
- Kid Icarus Uprising 2: Hades Revenge makes this joke in relation to Cloud Strafe's sword, to the point of calling it a "dicksword".
- In Pony POV Series, Makarov's airship is absurdly huge and looks like it is made of solid gold, causing Princess Cadance to make this joke when she sees it.
- In Xanauzumaki's Ocarina of Time: the Abridged Series, Ganondorf wishes to take over the kingdom to compensate for his unbelievably small penis. His logic behind this is that if he can't have a big dick, then he shall BECOME one! To quote the Great Deku Tree, "You see, Ganondorf's penis is so small that the only way to compensate for it would be to obtain the powers of a god and conquer the entire kingdom of Hyrule."
- Compensation by TantaGreen on DeviantArt, about them Transformers. Because, what if Mecha isn't Humongous enough?
- In This Bites!, Soundbite tells a variation of this to "Big Knife" Sarquiss; that his knife isn't big enough for him to compensate with. Even members of Bellamy's crew thought that was funny.
- In the Dangerverse, Draco Black discusses this trope with Lucius Malfoy in regard to the 18-inch Malfoy Family Wand.
- The Palaververse: Invoked with the names of the three new enormous, top-of-the-line and very heavily armed dreadnaughts of the Asinial navy: the Fear Nowt, the Actually, Fear Lots and the No, You're Compensating.
- Captain Proton and the Planet of Lesbians. After Queen Sapphia reveals how the women of Venus got rid of all their men, Proton accuses them of having "a classic case of Venus Envy."
- Discussed in Wilhuff Tarkin, Hero of the Rebellion, in which Tarkin uses it as evidence that the Emperor is not a paedophile: according to him a paedophile is trying to compensate conscious or unconscious doubts about themselves by dominating their victims, " and if Palpatine has one uncorrupted virtue that is an unshakeable belief in himself".
- In Dragon Ball Z Abridged, Raditz unzips his fly after Goku and Piccolo remove their weighted clothes because he concludes that nudity makes you stronger on Earth. Piccolo observes, "So that hair does compensate for something."
- The first movie includes this as a joke with Shrek talking to Donkey about Lord Farquaad's giant castle. Kids take away the meaning of compensating for being short, and adults take away the other (which is more likely, since Shrek hadn't met Farquaad yet when he made that joke).
- He later reprises this joke in Shrek 4-D (the 3-D Movie that plays at Universal Studios) upon seeing Lord Farquaad's particularly massive grave site.
- In the original Ice Age, Manny is introduced going in the opposite direction of the migrating herd. A moeritherium shouts at him to "MOVE YOUR ISSUES OFF THE ROAD!" Manny responds "If my trunk was that small, I wouldn't draw attention to myself!"
- The RiffTrax edition of Spider-Man 3 suggests this is why Harry bought M.J. a bigger bouquet of flowers.
- In Stranger Than Fiction, this trope is invoked in reference to a double-necked guitar.
- There's a rather long monologue in M. Butterfly (a Deconstruction of Madame Butterfly and many Asian Stereotypes that's very vaguely based on a true event) related by the protagonist that his ex-girlfriend said that boils down to this: "Big Cars, Big Buildings, and all the great, big inventions are done by the guys with the smallest dicks."
"Say I'm a guy with a small weenie. I'm gonna take over this BIIIIIIIG country, or build this really TALLLLLL building, or write this really LOOOOOOOOONG book, so the other guys don't know, right? But the problem is, you're still wearing clothes, so you conquer the country or whatever, but you're still wearing clothes, so no one can prove who has the bigger weenie."
- Discussed in I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, when a Mook questions why the heroes have such bigger guns than they do; his compatriot replies, "It's a phallic thing, I dunno."
- Even mentioned in James Cameron's Titanic, during a scene in which one of the boat's backers is bragging about the ship's capabilities, claims which our heroine Rose greets with some skepticism. "Do you know of Doctor Freud, Mr. Ismay? His ideas on the male preoccupation with size might be of some particular interest to you." The likeable characters snicker at this, the unlikable ones are either confused or upset.
- In Undercover Brother, after noticing the size of Undercover Brother's car, hair, and jewelry, Sista Girl believes that he is "overcompensating for something." And of course, there's the matter of his "big, black, fuzzy balls" hanging from his car's rear view mirror.
- From Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time:
Amar: [to a Hashansin warrior with a huge sword] You know what they say about men with big swords... [bends pinky finger]
- In the pre-credits sequence from Goldfinger, a girl asks James Bond why he always carries a gun. He just shrugs and says he has a "slight inferiority complex".
- Averted in the 1987 movie version of Dragnet:
Connie Swail: [who has just been rescued from becoming a virgin sacrifice] How come his is so much bigger than yours?
Officer Joe Friday: Miss?
Connie Swail: The gun.
Officer Joe Friday: I've never needed more.
- In the first sequel to Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment, it is revealed that gun-obsessive Tackleberry is still a virgin.
- In Taken, Liam Neeson's character implies this is what his ex-wife's new man is doing when pointing out all the ways to rescue the girls that involve him utilizing his wealth.
- In Iron Sky, The absurdly large Götterdämmerung moon fortress, as pointed out by Vivian.
Vivian: [Klaus] must sure have the smallest dick in the universe.
- The entire message of Dr. Strangelove in one sentence: "Men make war to prove they have big dicks and it'll destroy the world now that there are nuclear weapons." In particular, General Ripper launches World War III specifically to compensate for his own sexual impotence, which he has blamed on the Soviets using Insane Troll Logic.
- In Freddy vs. Jason, Kia tries to distract Freddy by trash talking him. Among other things, she says that the knives on Freddy's glove are probably his way of compensating for the obvious. She also notes that in contrast to him, Jason wields a huge machete instead. She meets said machete a few moments later.
- What Tony thinks about all the guns strapped on the War Machine armor in Iron Man 2.
- Adrian from Pain and Gain, who gets involved to pay for ways to make his penis work again.
- Death Proof. Lee and Abernathy watch Stuntman Mike burn rubber out of the service station in his Dodge Charger R/T 500 and conclude, "Little dick." Given that he gets his kicks by killing women with his car, and is later shown sitting with the hood ornament between his legs, they may be right.
- Joey, the resident Jerkass in 10 Things I Hate About You, drives a very flashy large car, and is revealed to have a very small penis.
- A chase scene in Need for Speed begins with Julia (who's driving) and Tobey getting boxed in on a narrow road; a car carrying a shotgunner is pressing them forward, while two big off-road vehicles come at them head-on, blocking the road. Tobey advises Julia to drift onto the shoulder, but Julia aims at the more blinged-out off-roader, pointing out various mods the driver uses to make up for his "inferiority complex". She's proven right when the off-roader swerves at the last second to avoid getting hit and runs into a cliff.
- Colonel Richard Strickland from The Shape of Water is a veritable study in Freudian overcompensation; he is driven to depravity by his bland, mediocre home life; he conforms obsessively to societal standards of masculinity (namely regarding violence, sexuality, and "being in charge"); he's aggressively preoccupied with asserting his dominance over others and proving his superiority to women (even having a perverse sexual attraction to women who don't talk); he carries around a long cattle prod as his Weapon of Choice (even calling it a "dingle" at one point); he buys a fancy new Cadillac to feel better about himself; and he desperately craves the approval of his superior officer.
- In a Russian Gag Dub of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, when Sarumian (his name was changed to make him seem Armenian) is looking at Sauron's house via a spy satellite. He notes how much bigger it is than his own and references this trope.
- There is a joke about a man who wants to buy a gun. He tries every model in the shop, but always finds something wrong —not big enough, not shiny enough, wrong balance... In the end, the shop owner gives him a note and says "Here is my brother's address, he can help you." Once the man leaves, the assistant asks "Who's your brother, a private armorer?" The owner says "Nah, he's a sexopathologist."
- It's a common joke, both online and in real life, that men in ownership of a very large souped-up truck is doing this.
- The bigger the car, the smaller the penis. The bigger the shoes, the bigger the penis. No wonder people are so terrified of clowns.
- Erik Scott de Bie once mentioned a trend in his books: "I just got why all my annoying NPC wizard villains carried around blasting scepters... compensating, you know."
- Used hilariously in The Dresden Files: Harry has a standard revolver (it's really the only gun he can use due to being a Walking Techbane), while Psycho for Hire Kincaid has an entire trunkful of weapons of all different sizes, all clearly built for this exact sort of mission. Harry looks at Kincaid's guns, looks at his gun, then looks Kincaid in the eye and says "My dick is bigger than your dick."
- Invoked in A Dance with Dragons. In the previous book, Cersei burned down the Tower of the Hand after her brother Tyrion killed their father, believing he might still be hiding in it. Upon being informed that Mace Tyrrell, the new Hand and head of her family's archrivals, is going to rebuild the tower twice as tall as the old one, she jokes that maybe he's hinting at something.
- In Shibumi, we have this passage:
In his experience, Hel had found that only older North American drivers, with the long distances they habitually travel on good roads with competent machines, have become inured to the automobile as toy and as manhood metaphor. The French driver's infantile recklessness often annoyed him, but not so much as did the typical Italian driver's use of the automobile as an extension of his penis, or the British driver's use of it as a substitute.
- In Jingo, Angua says "You know what they say about men who like big weapons." Her boyfriend Carrot says he doesn't know what they say, and Angua says, "They're, er, rather small." Carrot still doesn't get it and thinks she's referring to their height, since dwarfs and short watchman Nobby love big weapons. (Specifically, he says dwarfs love a big "chopper"... one of those points where the reader wonders if Carrot is really as naive as he lets on.)
- Margin Play:
- In Noob, the second novel only Mauve Shirt Shaadö has a two-meter long BFG. Later, Omega Zell, while asking about him, refers to him as (paraphrasing) "the guy with a big gun who, if you want my opinion, must have been compensating for something."
- In The Man with the Golden Gun, M reads a psychiatric report on Scaramanga speculating that he uses a Hand Cannon because of his ambiguous sexuality. Which explains why the manly James Bond only has a Beretta .25 at this point in the novels. Bond does keep a long-barreled Colt .45 in his glove box though; does that imply he might "come out of the glove box" some day?
- A Mage's Power: Because Culmus carries around a BFS, he is subject to many of these jokes. When Tiza makes fun of him for joining a joust (and using a lance), Basilard tells her to knock it off.
- The Steampunk sales catalog Doctor Grordbort's Contrapulatronic Dingus Directory has a lot of fun with this, implying that gentlemen of leisure who feel a lack of masculinity can easily solve the problem via the acquisition of the various Exterminators of Prodigious Dimension on offer.
- In one Anita Blake Vampire Hunter novel, Anita looks at the Hand Cannon a male associate is carrying and accuses him of overcompensating. He claims that it's needed for counterweight.
- Friday. The title character on seeing a policeman (who's come to arrest a member of the family she's staying with) notes that he's a big guy in appearance but that he has a "little soul". She Neck Snaps him and takes his Ray Gun—noting that it's "powerful enough to kill a mastodon", she wonders why men with little souls have to have big weapons.
- In the Cheers episode "From Beer To Eternity", Diane confronts Gary, the arrogant rival of Sam's who has made it an obsession to prove his own bar as superior to Cheers. In a polite and classy "The Reason You Suck" Speech which for the most part consists of rebuking him for choosing "silly competition" over art and music, Diane innocently throws in a speculation that "perhaps you are compensating for some physical shortcoming"....
- Top Gear:
- They stick nearly all flashy supercars in the "Uncool" section of the Cool Wall for this very reason:
Jeremy Clarkson: Let me put it to you this way: you would have to have literally no penis at all to buy a car like that. [...] The flashiness of your car is inversely proportional to the size [of your penis].
James May: Is that right? And you're saying that to a man with a 1.2 litre Fiat Panda? Mister swollen-wheel-arches Mercedes CLK Black.
Richard Hammond: He does have a point there. He does...
Jeremy Clarkson: You've got a Ford Mustang!
Richard Hammond: Let's move on!
- Hilariously, the Hummer H3, one of the most flashy and preposterous cars they ever had on the show, ended up being an exception to this rule because it is a giant middle finger to political correctness and it pisses off environmentalists.
- More hilariously, the H3 is just a soccer-moms Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon cosplaying as a military vehicle. It has about as much in common with a military Humvee as a Prius does.
- They stick nearly all flashy supercars in the "Uncool" section of the Cool Wall for this very reason:
- One episode of A Bit of Fry and Laurie has a hospital patient who has just had his genitals removed. The doctor, in order to help him cope, gives him a pet Doberman, a rusted white van, a subscription to Guns and Ammo, and a lot of camouflage clothing, telling him that it's standard policy. This joke doubles up when the patient complains about needing to urinate. The Doctor's response? If he drives around in that car, in those clothes, with that dog, people will be taking the piss out of him all the time.
- Doctor Who:
- In "Robot", the Doctor, speculating about what the robot's motivation could be, starts talking about Freudian psychology and "compensation". Cut to the Brigadier blasting the robot with a disintegration ray by firing from the hip. Causing the robot to get taller.
- In the reboot series, the Master's "Laser Screwdriver", longer, thicker and more dangerous than the Sonic Screwdriver. It's never brought up in the show, but the producer claims that on the first day the prop was brought on set, he received a text message from David Tennant saying "His screwdriver is bigger than mine."
- When the Eleventh Doctor meets his earlier incarnation in "The Day of the Doctor", they whip out their sonic screwdrivers to establish each truly is the Doctor. Ten is disconcerted to see that Eleven's sonic screwdriver is bigger and fancier than his, even after he extends the tip.
Tenth Doctor: Compensating?
Eleventh Doctor: For what?
Tenth Doctor: Regeneration — it's a lottery.
- Happens in the episode "Playthings".
Dean: Of course, the most troubling question is, why do these people assume we're gay?
Sam: Well you are kind of butch, they probably think you're overcompensating.
- On another occasion, Dean implies that Cas is doing this when Cas boasts to another character about how large his true form is.
- Happens in the episode "Playthings".
- Stargate SG-1. Shortly after returning as a regular cast member, Vala makes an accusation of this to the chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. General Landry is not amused.
- In an episode of Friends, "The One Where They All Turn Thirty", Ross buys himself a sports car:
Ross: How hot do I look in this? Huh?
Chandler: Ross, a sports car? Wouldn't it be cheaper to just stuff a sock down there?
- In the episode "Night of the Nearly Dead" of Father Ted, the character Eoin McLove is an arrogant manchild who gets what he wants regardless of the effect it has on other people. Eventually, his PA makes him apologize and he confesses to Ted and Dougal: "I haven't got a willy."
- Noah's Arc: This exchange between Noah and Wade in the first episode:
Noah: Wow Wade, that's one big truck. Hope you're not compensating for anything.
Wade: Nah playa, it's all good in my hood.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
Giles: I don't know, I just—I was so at loose ends, I found myself searching for... some way of feeling more...
- In "The Zeppo", Xander, trying to establish a cool identity for himself, shows up at school in his uncle's flashy '57 Chevy convertible, referring to it as "my thing". Buffy asks "Is this a penis metaphor?"
- Giles gets the Mid-Life Crisis Car version when he replaces The Alleged Car with a red, BMW M3 convertible.
- Vampire Spike gets a Restraining Bolt that prevents him from attacking humans, and a Running Gag involves this situation being compared to impotence. In one episode he tries out a pistol, but finds he can't even aim it at someone. He responds by demanding a bigger gun.
- Averted when Spike fights Buffy for the first time in "School Hard". They're both holding weapons and Buffy asks if they're really necessary. Spike replies; "I just like them. They make me feel all manly." He then tosses his weapon aside.
- In "Seeing Red", Warren gains strength and power via two magic orbs that he wears on his waist. After Buffy beats him by breaking his balls...err, orbs, Warren then goes and buys a gun to take her on.
- Person of Interest:
- Detective Carter is threatening a wife beater.
Kovacks: You come after me, and I will exercise my Second Amendment rights. [looks her up and down and smirks] I promise you, I've got a pretty big gun.
Carter: Man as angry and bitter as you are, I got a feeling it isn't that big.
- In "God Mode", our heroes break into a lockup to find a Ferrari. Shaw promptly hands her SPAS-12 shotgun to Reese.
Reese: What's this for?
Shaw: To help you feel less inadequate while I drive this thing.
- Detective Carter is threatening a wife beater.
- Mentioned by Wayne in Letterkenny.
Wayne: You drive a jacked-up truck but not so jacked that people start to question the size of Big Jim and the Twins.
- Titus has Ken take child Titus into a sporting goods store, where Christopher is in awe at the gun another customer is holding.
Titus: Dad, I want a gun!
Ken: You don't need one of those, Christopher. The men in our family have penises!
- In one episode of Barney Miller, Wojo finds out that he's sterile after being hit with a paternity suit, and then gets sent out on a call to deal with an armed suspect. As usual for the show it's described after the fact, by Dietrich, who starts the story of Wojo running into an alleyway and throwing a full trash can at the suspect like this:
"...and then the Wojo Express rolls in."
- On Cybill, Cybill referred to a sportscar as a "driveway penis".
- The Saturday Night Live recurring character Guy Who Just Bought a Boat is some sort of strange hipster who, in-between loads of nigh-incomprehensible slang and misogynistic plans for dates and whatnot, constantly says how small his penis is. He says it so much and so casually it makes you wonder if he has some sort of mental condition.
- In the pilot of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Elliot makes an offhand comment on the witness stand that suggests this as the motive for a defendant accused of exposing himself in public. This enrages the flasher, who promptly decides to disprove this notion in open court.
- Batwoman (2019). In "Down Down Down", Tommy Elliot has a lifelong jealousy towards Bruce Wayne. Knowing that he's Batman, Tommy steals a handheld railgun that Bruce Wayne developed to kill him. When Kate discovers this Tommy pulls a Glock on her, whereupon Kate quips that Bruce's gun is clearly bigger.
- Exaggerated by dance duo Captain Ahab on "I Don't Have a Dick", in which the singer brags wildly about his material possessions (all of which have Axe Cop levels of awesomeness, but lack in terms of practicality) in between shouts of the Title-Only Chorus. Subverted in the studio version, which features a monologue in which the singer points out that there is absolutely no connection between his lack of genitalia and his ridiculous levels of awesomeness.
- The song "Gibt's Das Auch In Groß" ("Does That Come In Large") by German singer Barbara Schöneberger is basically about this. The lyrics describe a man who's always asking the store assistant for the biggest in whatever they sell; and then in the end, she herself is asking him the same question in a different context.
- CAKE's song "Race Car Ya Yas", a sarcastic critique of obnoxious drivers:
The land where large fuzzy dice still hang proudly like testicles from rear view mirrors
- Christina Aguilera's song "Can't Hold Us Down", featuring Lil' Kim, contains the following line:
"You must talk so big, to make up for smaller things"
- Hobo Johnson: Discussed in "Subaru Crosstrek XV" where Hobo justifies not getting a fancy car by imagining himself and his future family:
"Why does Dad have a Lambo? He was insecure about himself son, let it go."
- In Low-Life, this is the name of an Edge which grants a bonus to Spirit rolls whenever the character in question is wielding an oversized weapon.
- Averted in Warhammer 40,000 as far as Orks are concerned: True, they fervently believe Bigger Is Better applies to every aspect of their lives, including ridiculously oversized guns and vehicles, but seeing as they reproduce asexually, there's nothing to compensate for (indeed, they reproduce by dying, so their oversized guns tend to help with that by making them priority targets).
- In Exalted the City of Lux is a Genius Loci whose prior life was a woman. When he became a city, he decided that it was vitally important that his design incorporate a 3 mile tall golden tower surrounded by rounded plates.
- Big Eyes, Small Mouth: A piece of art in the Hot Rods Gun Bunnies suppliment humorously referenced this trope by depicting a woman wielding a massively scaled-up revolver (about the size of a bazooka) that has "Freud this!" written on the side.
- The Tower of Babel sequence from The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged):
Nimrod: We're of one tribe and one language and we can do anything! That is why we're building a tower to God!
Caphtorim: Oh please! You're building that tower because you have a teeny weenie.
- In classic Greek play Lysistrata, the men of Sparta and Athens are portrayed as fighting with each other because of this, and all the women decide to hold a sex strike to get them to stop. Notably, the original play called for all the male characters to wear oversized phalluses as part of their costumes, the implication being that they're doing all their thinking below the belt.
- When looking at Richtofen's portrait in the Kino Der Toten map of Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies, the player's character can be heard saying, "His portrait's bigger than anyone else's. Must be trying to compensate for somethin'."
- Admiral Vigoro in Skies of Arcadia just oozes this trope. His flagship, The Draco, has a gigantic cannon on it that looks sort of like... Yeah. His main taunt before his ship boss fight starts is that said gun, in his own words, is "bigger than yours." Aika loudly suggests that he has a complex and is obviously compensating for something.
- In the Saints Row series, a giant truck called "The Compensator" is used by two "macho" gangs, first The Brotherhood gang of Saints Row 2, fans of excessive tattoos and demo derbys, and then by the Luchadores of Saints Row: The Third, a gang of muscled masked wrestlers.
- If you choose to upgrade The Ravager in the Baldur's Gate II expansion Cespenar wonders if this is why.
- BlazBlue: "That is quite an impressive body you've built. But I believe only 30% of it is truly necessary. Are you perhaps, compensating?" — Rachel Alucard on defeating Iron Tager.
- Orlok the Eternal from The Hierarchy in Universe at War will frequently decree "I compensate for nothing."
- One of the more expensive cars in The Sims 3 is called the "VFN Kompensator".
- In Fallout: New Vegas, Rose of Sharon Cassidy thinks that Caesar's choice of a Bull for his insignia means he's compensating for something. She also thinks the Two Rangers Shaking Hands statue at Mojave Outpost is this as well.
- In Fallout 4, if you're carrying a large weapon the Diamond City guards will occasionally ask you if you're compensating for something.
- In Mass Effect, Joker seems to make a snarking comment about it when his tiny Normandy passes the absolutely humongous Destiny Ascension by saying that "size isn't everything". But he then clears it up that he didn't meant to imply that he was feeling inadequate, but that the Ascension's firepower is even more impressive.
- Dragon Age:
- BioWare also hit this one with Dragon Age: Origins, where Morrigan, Sten, and Oghren may all comment on how the Circle Tower is a giant phallic symbol. Sten will actually say "Humans, overcompensating as always."
- Party banter between Anders and Carver in Dragon Age II:
Anders: You've got a real chip on your shoulder, you know.
Carver: I've got a big blade on my shoulder, magey.
Anders: Right. Wonder what you're compensating for?
- Dragon Age: Inquisition has a humorous example with regards to the dwarves. While exploring a series of tombs in the Hissing Wastes, Varric remarks on the fact that, despite being unable to use magic themselves, dwarves incorporate a lot of magic into their technology and are capable of making very powerful runes. He thinks they're compensating for something. The fact that Varric himself is a dwarf only makes it funnier.
- In the Inquisition DLC Trespasser, this is Blackwall's suggestion when Sera wonders why dwarves make their tunnels so tall. Sera asks what that says about Blackwall's big sword.
Blackwall: That's not compensation. That's a counterweight. (Sera, of course, finds this hilarious.)
- And another BioWare example: One of the story quests in Star Wars: The Old Republic has a Omnicidal Maniac causing widespread madness on a city-world, and the player character has to distract the abomination and get him to focus on the player character and not on the people he's holding hostage. Most of the classes do this by laying out some Badass Boast or professional intent to take him down. But the Smuggler (a squishy Muggle criminal and Refuge in Audacity incarnate) can get the world-devouring monster's attention with:
Smuggler: Now see here's my thing. You go around acting all big and scary, but look at what you're scaring! Slim pickings, you ask me! Even I'm not scared of you. How pathetic is that? I dunno... maybe you're overcompensating for something?
- Likewise, Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords has Kreia commenting that males seem to want lightsabers for some reason.
Kreia: There is much weight, much craving attached to such a tiny thing of light. For the male, it seems to have inordinate importance. But we shall leave such male preoccupations for philosophers and cultural historians.
- In Exit Fate, Trevor's ridiculously-huge sword is mocked by both Daniel and Sick for this reason.
Daniel: And what's with that ridiculous sword anyway? It's like a huge slab of iron!
Sick: He's compensating.
- Naoto of Persona 4 is a rare example. Naoto is actually a girl, who both dresses up and acts like a boy as she feel that her being a private detective would be ridiculed by the authorities due to gender bias. Her shadow manifests as her desire to be accepted for who she is, and attempts a (possibly fatal) gender change operation on Naoto. It doesn't help that her Persona, Sukuna-Hikona and its evolutions, Yamato Takeru and Yamato Sumeragi, have extremely long swords compared to their small bodies. Not to mention they are based on male legendary figures, making her the only one in the game that has Personas not in the same gender.
- Salvador, the vicious "Gunzerker" of Borderlands 2, stands at a tiny 5'4" due to steroid abuse stunting his growth. His ability to wield Guns Akimbo is called "gunzerking", and he knows exactly what it looks like. "TIME TO COMPENSATE!" Whether he's compensating for his height or that other thing is open to interpretation.
"SCREW YOU FREUD!"
- In Halo 4, The Mammoth is the size of an ocean liner, with wheels the size of houses, and the biggest gun right on top of it. Cortana being Cortana...
Cortana: Well. Someone's overcompensating.
- Randy from Dead Rising 2 uses a giant pink chainsaw. He revs it when he gets excited about losing his virginity, he occasionally screams "Mine's bigger than yours!" when you fight him... The only way it could be more obvious is if the game told you it.
- In Zap Dramatic's Move or Die, Wilma suggests that the nursing home guy needs a gun to compensate for "a lack of firepower elsewhere." Predictably, he attempts to shoot them for it.
- In Jets'n'Guns, there is a spaceship shaped like a long cylinder with a dome on the end opposite the engines. Its name is the USS Impotence.
- Whenever you destroy a statue of Di Ravello in Just Cause 3, Rico may say that "You know what they say about a guy with a big statue."
- One of the group victory quotes of Talesof Xillia 2 has its resident BFS wielders Alvin and Gaius perform Demon Fangs one after another with Gaius' being larger. Alvin immediately says he feels inadequate, and Gaius informs him that the difference is in the size of the blade.
- Examining the Emir's throne in Al Kharid in RuneScape generates the message "Someone's compensating for something!"
- In Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite's story mode, Iron Man notices Arthur's lance and mockingly asks the small knight if he's compensating for something.
- Destiny 2:
- During the Arm Dealer raid, Hawthorne jokingly psychoanalyzes Bracus Zahn by suggesting that the reason he has so many underlings is because he has to surround himself with others like himself to feel important. Cayde-6 immediately chimes in that this is true for all insecure men, which is why he works alone.
- Xol, the smallest and weakest of the Worm gods, feels the need to give himself grandiose titles like "the Will of Thousands" (in contrast to his siblings, who mostly use simple titles like "Honest Worm"). He also picks up Nokris as his Dragon, mirroring Hawthornes above-mentioned joke about insecure men surrounding themselves with similar people.
- In Xenosaga, Shelley Godwin implies that this is precisely why Jr. is so fond of his gunslinger heroics.
- This idea permeates just about everything to do with the sleazy stripclub owner/porn czar Mars from Broken Saints, from the way he talks to (surprise) his gun.
- Kevin & Kell has had fun with the SUV and this trope on a couple of occasions, including one that was owned by a flea (don't ask how it could reach the wheel and the pedals at the same time, please), prompting a comment about "The bigger the car, the smaller the man", and Ralph Dewclaw, who was obviously compensating for his complete lack of hunting-ability.
- Bob and George:
- ObviouslyCompensatingForSomething Man of the subcomic Jailhouse Blues sports "More Ammunition than God" as his special power, and was defeated by
Yo Momma Man'sJazz's Smack Talk power regarding his... deficiencies.
- Done in the main comic, also; upon seeing Wily's gigantic fortress, a character remarks that he must be compensating for something. When he targets them with an absurdly large laser cannon (shaped suspiciously like a phallic symbol), one says "He IS compensating for something!"
- After the character Dive Man destroys the cannon, he says something along the lines:
Dive Man: Did I symbolically castrate you now?
- ObviouslyCompensatingForSomething Man of the subcomic Jailhouse Blues sports "More Ammunition than God" as his special power, and was defeated by
- Girl Genius:
- The comic implies this about the Wulfenbach household here, in particular taking note of the giant floating Castle. There are lots of jokes about this in general, involving "death rays" or "tool belts".
- One of participant brought to the assault on Mechanicsburg troops riding something between a Walking Tank and the lower half of Powered Armor. That is, "vehicles" looking like wide pants... with a big gun set on the fore end.
- Is mentioned once in Beyond Reality in regards to Orion's BFS, as well as having much of the fanart (especially about the time a dragon snapped it in half) talk about it in a certain way.
- Lampshaded in this Antihero for Hire strip.
"Wow, that gun is pretty accurate for its size."
"Well, I don't have to compensate for things like some people."
- In The Last Days of FOXHOUND, Vulcan Raven has a pet peeve for "Compensation" jokes made at him because of his weapon of choice. Later on, Grey Fox outright asks him if he's got a small penis, to which Raven responds that he's officially made his death 25% more painful.
- In a rare female example, one furry comic called Vitaboob has this as the punchline. The main, female fox girl in it (selling some kind of breast enhancement drug which she gleefully tells you she uses regularly) has ENORMOUS, perfectly spherical breasts bigger than her head, a HUGE poofed out tail twice as long and big as her body, and MASSIVE feathered Farrah Faucett '80s hair, and you kind of wonder why she needed her breasts enlarged in the first place... except she's like a tiny, little, itty-bitty thing about 4'10" tall. See, she's really small, and wants to make up for it by being as big as possible. What was that Rev. Lovejoy said? "To compensate for my own smallness"? Yeah, she's got you beat there Reverend.
- The comic Chaos Campus has a similar female example, in the character Jamie Schaffer, a goth poser who is unusually short and compensates by having massive, cartoonish, 72"-of-inadequacy breast implants.
- Exterminatus Now in the strip named after one stunt from Predator:
- In a Fanboys page lampooning the Doomed Hometown trope, the generic RPG hero complains that he has a sword that can "compensate for the entire village's manhood".
- Iceland in Scandinavia and the World has disturbing ways of dealing with a severe insecurity complex related to his small... population. His severed penis collection is based on a Real Life phallus museum in Iceland.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:
- One of the villains in a recent arc of Fans! was a Middle-Eastern property developer who had a tendency to build extremely tall structures emblazoned with his initials on them. When time comes to battle him in the climax, the heroes have difficulty until they hit upon the idea of taunting him for his obvious efforts at compensation. He doesn't take this so well.
- Lampshaded in the bottom panel of this Ever After comic.
- In Meat Shield, Ch'p wonders if the two huge snake statues at the entrance of the port of Vedris means the city is compensating for some shortcoming.
- In Curtailed, some random guy tries to compensate for the fact that he drives a Prius by plastering it with a bunch of "manly" bumper stickers. Now, notice that the comic is tagged "really happened."
- In this Manly Guys Doing Manly Things strip, Sten dismisses Dante's BFS as "scrap metal on a stick", before asking him if it is supposed to fulfill this trope.
- Done subtly in this The Whiteboard strip. During a zombie apocalypse, one fireman asks another why the latter's gun is bigger than his. The second fireman's reply? "Genetics."
- Parodied in this xkcd strip.
- Epic Rap Battles of History has this line from Dumbledore to Gandalf:
Dumbledore: Nice staff you compensating for something?
- Gronkh discussed this in his Let's Test Atlantica Online, where he called the cannnon "compensation cannon".
- The Pandora Boxx song "Nice Car! (Shame About Your Penis)". 'Nuff said. (Not Safe For Work)
- We Are Our Avatars: Whether it is true or not, Levin is constantly mocked in this way, particularly by Longram.
- Analyst Bronies React: One of the analyst wonders, if a dragon is using a smaller lava surfboard than the other dragons, is he undercompensating?
- Whateley Universe: During her first job as a art thief in training acting as lookout for her mentor, Imp spots a Super Hero called The Ram, whom she'd had to run away from previously. In order to lure him away from the gang that had adopted her, she taunts him into chasing her instead with:
You know what they say about a man with big horns, she called back, trying to distract herself just as much as she was him. The Ram started to puff up a bit and smirk at that, but then she added, The bigger they are, the more hes compensating for. And wow, with the size of those horns, you must be compensating a LOT.
- Brazilian website http://www.kibeloco.com.br/ has a "Portal do Futuro" note segment where they predict that in 2030, the cure for impotence will make the sales of luxury cars decrease.
- Used as a joke while TB Skyen was playing Dark Souls II and used a double-BFS setup to kill two enemies who each also had a BFS:
You're not the only one who has a big sword to swing around! You're not the only one overcompensating for their penis size, I mean, who...have a...good taste in weaponry!
- Scott the Woz opens his Call of Duty (for Wii) video by suggesting an alternate title for the franchise:
Scott: The Call of Duty series, also known as "Hey Guys, My Crotch Is Huge, I Swear!"
- The series Click & Clack's As the Wrench Turns milks this joke for all it's worth in one episode with an SUV that's literally called the Compensator, which looks more like a tank than anything else.
- Family Guy:
- The episode where Peter discovers that Chris is well-endowed has an absolutely beautiful riff on this. Peter gets a Mid-Life Crisis Car that is decidedly phallic, taunts a motorist with a normal carnote , then upon coming to a tunnel repeatedly backs in and out of it...until it gets flattened by an oncoming bus. Which is full of bikini models who laugh at him, causing Peter to hurtfully say "Ow, my pride." The same episode also suggests that everyone in the NRA is a member for this reason.
- Also in the episode "Peter's Progress", Stewie (who is a baby) is King Stewart of England. When someone asks Brian why the King is so nasty (which is normal for Stewie), Brian replies it is due to Stewart having an extremely small penis. He describes it as "that one grape in a group of grapes that never really became a grape."
- In an episode, the crew visits Washington, D.C. We see them fly by the Washington Monument, and the Clinton Monument, which looks just like Washington's except twice the size.
- "Into the Wild Green Yonder" has a television advertisement for the MagnaPhallix three hundred two inch TV. "It's bigger!"
- Lrrr is given horn extensions when he informs a plastic surgeon that Omicronian horns house their testes.
- In Recess, 3rd Street School's identical cross-town counterpart 98th Street School has a 50-foot flagpole installed, intentionally trying to "outsize" 3rd Street, as part of an ongoing rivalry between 3rd Street principal Peter Prickly and his brother Paul, principal of 98th Street.
Peter Prickly: A flagpole that high is unseemly.
- In The Simpsons, Rev. Lovejoy just comes right out and says it.
Marge: Why do we need a church steeple that big?
Rev. Lovejoy: To compensate for my own sense of smallness.
- Used openly on Robot Chicken, when a dweeb who's shopping for a new vehicle demands something appropriate for a guy with an extremely small penis.
- In The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Guy", Gumball encourages Josh to rag on the fat purple cowboy by saying he wears a big hat to compensate for... Josh doesn't guess right.
- A rare female version in Steven Universe: All of the Diamonds have personal murals/symbols depicting themselves surrounded by worlds they've conquered and with a sphere behind them. Pink Diamond's background sphere is almost three times bigger than the others, obviously to draw attention away from the fact that Pink only had one planet (for comparison, Yellow and Blue have about a dozen each). Pink was a Royal Brat who was obsessed with making the other Diamonds respect her, so the insecurity subtext is pretty blatant. She was also significantly smaller than the other Diamonds (Though still large by human standards).
- A rather dark female example occurs in Moral Orel: Ms. Censordoll's obsession with eggs is her compensating for the fact that her Abusive Parents made sure her own eggs got scrambled when she was a child.