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Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male

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Chris: Barb eventually beats up enough people that one of them calls her “babe,” so she gets to slowly pick up a gun and shoot him six times while he stands there patiently waiting for her to do so.
Matt: And it all ends with a joke about how she broke a nail. This movie.
Chris: It’s very empowering.
Chris Sims and Matt Wilson on Barb Wire

Female-on-male violence is viewed as more acceptable in life than male-on-female violence. Often, a woman using physical violence on a man will be Played for Laughs; sometimes it will be Disproportionate Retribution. The key is that in most works where this trope is in effect, it would be completely impossible to imagine the same violent situation play out with the participants' genders reversed without a large dose of drama getting added into the mix. The basic Double Standard at work in this trope is sexist on both sides: no woman is strong enough to harm a man, so any man weak enough to be harmed by a woman isn't a real man, and that's funny; that way, also, you get Amusing Injuries instead of broken bones and cuts.


Alternatively, female-on-male violence is treated the same way as Batman Grabs a Gun. Women are often considered to be inherently nonviolent as well as morally superior to men, therefore any time a woman hits a man, he must have done something to deserve it; because how could a sweet, innocent woman ever be violent towards anyone unless they were seriously provoked?

The trouble is that because of stereotypes and double standards like these, often men don't fight back, sometimes because they are afraid, but equally as often their abusive partner may threaten them with calling their self-defence domestic abuse. Indeed frequently when women are reported, the man who reports this abuse is arrested along-side her as it is assumed the women are acting in "preemptive" self-defense, meaning male victims can be arrested without ever laying a finger on the woman, even if they were the ones who called the cops on her - and in many cases even if they have injuries to show for it. This also includes, in some cases, defending a child or pet. Abusive mothers have attacked their children and accused the father of it and won. Children are suffering. Abusive girlfriends have murdered their boyfriends and brag about it and walk free. Neighbours may hear a woman screaming insults and assume she is the one being attacked - while, of course, still not bothering themselves to get involved. And if the woman actually is convicted - rare - even if her partner has been physically injured her sentence will be more lenient, statistically speaking. Ultimately if a crime goes unreported it won't be recorded.


Additionally if a man constantly emotionally abuses a woman, she will be sympathised with and supported, while if a woman emotionally abuses a man - say, throwing plates at him and screaming insults over a minor disagreement - it is seen as her standing up for herself. And of course, there's more help for abused women.

It's true that men can punch harder, but women are more likely to use other methods of abuse - such as screaming insults and threats, throwing plates - and in one case a fully adorned Christmas tree - using weapons, attacking while sleeping, cutting up clothes, using their children as a means of extortion, and isolating their partner from family.

Note that this trope does not describe situations where violence is genuinely morally justified, such as Wonder Woman attacking Lex Luthor in defense of Metropolis. Nor does it apply in situations where universal humorous abuse is delivered to the Butt-Monkey or The Chew Toy by both men and women for equally flimsy reasons – that is just Comedic Sociopathy. Obviously, it likewise doesn't apply in situations where female-on-male violence is treated as a serious subject. An exception to either case is when one or more of the female characters involved in dealing the violence actively invoke this trope in an attempt to morally justify their own behavior, whether out loud or within the privacy of their mind.


Related to All Abusers Are Male, All Women Are Doms, All Men Are Subs, Domestic Abuse, Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male, Men Are the Expendable Gender, and Stalking Is Funny If It Is Female After Male. Belligerent Sexual Tension often has elements of this trope. Compare/Contrast Would Hit a Girl. A very similar anime/manga trope that does not always include abuse, but typically often will involve a woman violently beating a man and is played for comedy is Tsundere. The female half of this trope is very often a Jerk Sue.

Domestic abuse is a horrible experience to go through, and all too often the attackers manipulate their victims with emotional abuse as much as physical abuse. When an abusive woman threatens a man that he will go to prison for his self-defence, she is also manipulating the sympathies of society. Double Standards will persist until they are acknowledged, and this will not happen unless you can come forward and tell your story. It's true that there's a lot more support for women, but if you want things to change, you have to take action. Maybe you will be arrested. Maybe she will get off lightly. But that's not fair, and there are a lot of people who will agree with you on that. Please read Useful Notes: Abuse for help and resources. You Are Not Alone.


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    Asian Animation 

     Standup Comedy  

  • In his early routines George Carlin used to talk about his work for charities that were slight variations on real ones, like the Salvation Navy ("no one wants to sit in a boat and bang that huge bass drum"). One was battered husbands: "It happens when she is very big and he is very small and they both drink a quart of whiskey a day." Always killed.
  • Later, Eddie Murphy got a lot of laughs recalling the way his mother would throw shoes at him, his brother and (once) his father when she was sufficiently annoyed.
  • Kevin Hart speaks from experience, having been in an abusive relationship himself.
    Hart: Ever argue with a female and, in the middle of the argument, you no longer feel safe because of her actions? She may start pacing back and forth real fast, breathing out her nose. You know what my girl do? When she get mad, she start talking in the third person. That's scary as hell because that's her way of telling me that from this point on, she is not responsible for none of her actions.
  • Christopher Titus may be the reigning king of this trope, relating an experience where, after being punched five times in the face, he smacked his then-girlfriend once in retaliation (and it didn't have the intended effect), he was the one arrested for it.
    Titus: "Well she hit me first!" That didn't work in grade-school, not gonna work with the LAPD.

     Visual Novels  

  • The Letter:
    • Isabella hits her friend Ashton when she becomes too annoyed with him, which is Played for Laughs.
    • The player can invoke this by having Rebecca not apologize to Luke after she assaults him at the café because she mistook him for abducting a child.
  • Shuukaku No Juunigatsu: Masaki Konno's Unwanted Harem girlfriends is a Yandere who repeatedly attacks him with a naginata without consequence. When one of his old girlfriends meets up with him and makes an advance on him, he slaps her hand away and tells her it's over. Because said girl is a popular fashion model, half of the school ends up out for his blood because he "attacked" her.

Alternative Title(s): Abuse Is Okay When Its Female On Male, Abuse Is Okay When It Is Female On Male, Other


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