Matt: And it all ends with a joke about how she broke a nail. This movie.
Chris: It’s very empowering.
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 for reasons including that they are either afraid of hurting the woman, or they are afraid that if they fight back, they will be considered the aggressor by the authorities despite any retaliation being in self-defence.note And if the woman actually is charged, her sentence will probably be far less severe than the other way around, statistically speaking. Conversely, since stereotypically Men Are Tough, a man may be ashamed to admit he was hurt by a woman, leading to victims not coming forward at all.
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 victims are shamed by their attackers into silence. If this is you, you need not be afraid. There are people who can and will help you. Please read Useful Notes: Abuse for help and resources. You Are Not Alone.
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- 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.
- The Letter:
- 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.