Follow TV Tropes


Mars and Venus Gender Contrast

Go To

"...There's a river dividing men and women, deeper and wider than the ocean."
Ryoji Kaji, Neon Genesis Evangelion

You know this trope. It's the one where people of different genders are treated as if they were more like different species, and species that can't communicate or get along at that. Since characters in works using this usually don't live in one-gender worlds, and tend to be overwhelmingly heterosexual, they are nevertheless compelled to seek interaction with each other. This usually works out about as well for all involved as you would expect.

Although often "officially" a Discredited Trope, this is often also claimed as Truth in Television, sometimes with a Debate and Switch or "Just Joking" Justification approach.

Subtropes include Men Buy from Mars, Women Buy from Venus, along with just about every "war of the sexes" trope in fiction.

Key signs that this trope is in effect in a work: you appear to have come into a world where

  • The ways of men are by their very nature incomprehensible to women, and vice versa: a great deal of the dialogue will be attempts to decode the mysterious ways of wo/men ("What did s/he mean by [insert action/dialogue]"). This will rarely involve asking the particular wo/man in question, but will often involve the protagonist asking another opposite-sex character to explain their incomprehensible significant other.
    • For extra bonus points, have the protagonist ask their best friend of the opposite sex, who is secretly pining for them, to help them understand (and win) Alice/Bob.
    • For the grand prize, have the protagonist ask their friend of the same sex, who claims to be an expert on the opposite sex and has no idea what s/he's talking about.
  • The goals of women and men by their very nature diverge and may even play a zero-sum game: even if a relationship between opposite-sex partners manages to get off the ground (not always the case), the ride will continue to be bumpy, with every gain for one side being a loss for the other.
    • Bonus points for this leading to a crisis about getting married and/or moving in together, and for complaining to third parties about the significant other's gender-specifically annoying ways, such as (according to gender and matching stereotypes) refusing to talk about their feelings/putting cutesy stuff and scented candles in the bathroom/never putting the toilet lid down/filling the house with shoes.
  • Both these points will tend to be lampshaded, shape characterization, and drive the plot, whether Played for Laughs or Played for Drama, or both.

Characters need not be (entirely) flat, but women will tend to be stereotypically female and men stereotypically male. Deviations from stereotype, where they appear, will tend to be plot points in their own right as exceptions that prove the rule, and are usually resolved by a return to something more stereotypical (e.g. you know the Tomboy Wrench Wench who snarks at every boy is serious about this one when she puts on a skirt and lets down her hair).

Which particular gender stereotypes are invoked may vary considerably, and inconsistently, even within the same work; e.g., women want romance/men want sex, women want to talk about feelings and go to the opera/Men Are Uncultured, All Women Love Shoes/all men hate shopping, Women Are Wiser/men are all Man Children, etc. Stock contrasting stereotypes (hello, Betty and Veronica) substituting for nuance will often also be in play. Outright logical contradiction between different stereotypes will rarely, if ever, be addressed.

Insofar as this trope tends to rely heavily on binary gender stereotypes, it also functions (in a somewhat complicated way) as a Super-Trope of several other Gender and Sexuality Tropes: expect regular joint appearances by complementary tropes such as All Men Are Perverts and All Women Are Prudes.

The key point, whichever particular stereotypes are invoked, and even where they are/seem to be avoided, is that male and female characters align so as to allow the first three points to apply. Whether men or women (or neither) come off better for the comparison may vary. Expect Double Standards to apply fairly frequently if the work does take a side for one or the other gender.

Works using this trope often also tend to outright celebrate the stereotypes they invoke (embrace your inner Manchild/Imelda Marcos!), and see them as making an essential contribution to the value of opposite-sex relationships, which just wouldn't be as meaningful without this particular source of misunderstandings and tension. Conversely, though, even where this trope is combined with outright misogyny or misandry, obtaining (at least) one of the opposite sex as a partner is still usually viewed as essential and urgent.

In works that use this trope as a central element, naturally, both male and female characters will also, as noted above, tend to be overwhelmingly or even exclusively heterosexual. Gay men, usually of the Camp Gay variety, may appear, often as a female character's Gay Best Friend.note  Lesbians tend to appear even less frequently, except as fantasy objects for male characters (and viewers): Bait-and-Switch Lesbians may appear for similar reasons, but rarely get beyond a Sweeps Week Lesbian Kiss.

Characters male and (especially) female who are affected by this trope may occasionally get wistful about the idea of how much easier things would supposedly be if they could only get together with someone of their own sex, but this rarely goes anywhere lasting, and the work will rarely notice how many potential Unfortunate Implications and internal contradictions there are in this line of thought. Transgender characters are also rare, but not entirely excluded, though expect treatment of any Gender-Blending Tropes to reinforce rather than bring into question more traditional/mainstream gender binaries.

Almost unavoidable by definition in Chick Lit and Lad Lit, and the corresponding flick genres, and pervasive if not quite inevitable in Rom Com. Also a frequent feature of Dom Com.

The presence of certain actors (Jennifer Aniston, Meg Ryan, Sarah Jessica Parker, and on the Spear Counterpart side, Michael Douglas, Vince Vaughn, and Seth Rogen) tends to indicate this trope will come into play.

A common feature of observational Recorded and Stand-Up Comedy. Oh, and there's just a tiny bit of this in advertising, too, as seen in Men Buy from Mars, Women Buy from Venus. This trope is also most of the raison d'etre of magazines specifically meant for one or the other gender (Cosmopolitan, FHM, etc.).

Do not expect works that invoke this trope heavily on a regular basis to be shining examples of gender equality.

That said, in a perverse way works of this type emphasizing the male perspective tend to do better than average on The Bechdel Test, as in order to set up this trope they will normally introduce multiple female characters alongside the male ones, and by law of averages a few of the female characters' discussions will not be directly related to the opposite sex.

Likewise, in works emphasizing the female perspective, there will also usually be at least one straight man who believes that Real Men Wear Pink. Although this will usually be countered by the character "making up for" this with an excess of machismo in other areas,note  he will often serve as an example of how even a Manly Man does not have to mean a character who is unrefined or childish.

The Heteronormative Crusader probably believes in this trope, the Straw Feminist will see every difference or conflict between characters of differing gender as this trope, and the Straw Misogynist will decry any attempt to defy it.

For contrasts along cultural lines rather than gender lines, see Culture Clash. For when this trope causes an actual competition between the characters, see Girls vs. Boys Plot.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • One Piece: Nami proves to be an archetypal character for this trope. As the series unfolds, it's clear Nami simply doesn't get men's way of thinking, be it their values, attitudes, behaviors, codes, intentions, decisions, or actions. Specifically, she doesn't understand the tacit communication between Luffy and Zoro (as seen in Buggy arc), is the only character who hates to be in a Wanted poster (in contrast with general cheerfulness male characters react with to publications and updates of those posters) and her opinions and advice are usually disregarded in topics like adventures, honor or discipline, and respect, which are important for men (like her permission for Luffy and Zoro to fight Bellamy in Jaya arc, her attempt to ruin Luffy's adventure in Skypiea and her refusal to have a campfire in Upper Yard, the whole Usopp affair in Water 7, or the "Monster Trio" accepting or supporting the "Davy Back Fight" challenge against the Fox Pirates). Even after the Time Skip, that situation doesn't change at all, as seen in Punk Hazard arc or the Whole Cake Island arc, wherein Nami decides to cut bonds with Sanji, only to see how Luffy, unlike her, stays totally loyal with him, overriding Nami's decision in the process.
    • Even something as simple as an interest in technology is treated as night and day. Whenever Franky shows off his robotic prowess, such as the General Franky, most of the male characters (led by Luffy, Usopp, and Chopper) can hardly contain themselves, but literally every female character present just doesn't care, not even little girls as seen in the Punk Hazard arc. Keep in mind that technology of that level is rarely seen in this series, so a complete lack of interest of the unknown comes across as very strange, simply because Oda believes women and girls don't care about robots, unlike men and boys.
  • Vandread: Men and women are literally from two different but neighboring planets and have vastly different cultures. Then three men get stuck on a female pirate ship sent nearly a year from their homes. They must journey back together. Hilarity ensues.
  • Haruko intentionally switches around the roles in FLCL Alternative as she readies her guitar to attack a giant rampaging mecha.
    Haruko: Women are from Mars and Men are from Venus. I don't know about you, but I GOT A GIANT PENIS!

    Comic Books 
  • Ultimate Spider-Man: Peter had to cancel his date with Mary Jane because Electro left him too weak. He tries to apologize, but Mary Jane refuses to talk. He asks her if she's mad at him, and she denies it... which of course means that she is mad at him.
  • Wonder Woman (1942): While the actual comic allows men (like Steve Trevor) to be compassionate and kind and women to be cruel and violent (like Priscilla Rich) these traits are explicitly coded as feminine and masculine and with war-loving shortsighted Mars and peaceful loving Aphrodite acting as avatars of the two sides, as pictured above.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Spoofed in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. Satan and Saddam Hussein are in bed together, and while Saddam Hussein waves dildos suggestively at Satan, Satan is reading Saddam is from Mars, Satan is from Venus and bemoaning their inability to communicate.

  • In A Brother's Price, Eldest Whistler explains to Jerin that this is due to the different upbringing. They spoil and coddle the rare boys, who as a result will be emotionally open and trusting, but teach the girls to mistrust everyone and search for weapons before hugging anyone.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Harry at one point complains that it's as if girls speak an entirely different language. Justified because the characters are fourteen at the time — among adults and older teens in the Harry Potter universe this isn't nearly as much of a problem. Fourteen-year-olds are incredibly susceptible to this trope; people that age generally suck at communicating within a romantic relationship due to lack of experience and/or lack of maturity, and the ones in heterosexual relationships can blame it on their love interest being an incomprehensible girl/boy.
    • Hermione is smart and mature enough to explain some such misunderstandings. She still has difficulties with Ron later until the end. Though influencing their interactions is the fact that Ron and Hermione very much like each other romantically, but are hamstrung by their intense insecurities, which they show in different ways.
  • The Wheel of Time makes this central to the setting, even building it into the Functional Magic. It's also played for Hypocritical Humor, with each sex accusing the other of traits they obviously hold themselves, such as stubbornness or an obsession with gossip.
  • This is also the case for Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea series, at least in the beginning — only men have magical training; women's magic is a byword for incompetence and for malice.
  • The Dresden Files plays with this — it doesn't help that the protagonist and usual viewpoint character has No Social Skills to the point where, combined with certain magic and body size enforced mannerisms (not meeting someone's gaze due to fear of a soulgaze, softening his voice and hunching over to de-emphasise his height), tend to lead to assumptions that he's autistic. In fact, it's more likely that it's just due to his low self-esteem and horribly damaged capacity to trust/open up to anyone, even those he cares for, due to his Dark and Troubled Past. It just so happens to especially apply to women, since he spent a very long time believing that Elaine, his First Love, betrayed him and that he'd accidentally killed her while fighting his Evil Mentor (in fact, she was Brainwashed and Crazy, but subtly enough that it was next to impossible to tell, and fled the fight). Certainly, it's relatively unusual in the setting - more socially savvy characters, like Thomas, decry his inability to understand women.
    • In the novella, Aftermath, told from Karrin Murphy's POV, Murphy keeps telling us that men (or at least, the particularly those in the particularly testosterone fuelled policing profession and similar) speak their own language, largely composed of grunts and physical postures, that has nothing to do with English without even realizing it. She calls it Martian and insists that while she learned to speak and understand it by necessity, she has no idea what thought processes are responsible for it.
    • Another quick example pops up in Proven Guilty when Harry complains about wanting to talk with Thomas, but not telling Thomas that. Of course, when it comes to personal matters, both Harry and Thomas tend to be extremely buttoned down.
      Murphy: Let me get this straight. You want him to talk to you, but you won't actually tell him or ask him any questions. You sit around with the silence and tension and no one says anything.
      Harry: That's right.
      Murphy: (disbelieving stare)
      Harry: You need a prostate to understand.
    • In Cold Days, Harry goes on for several paragraphs about how women supposedly communicate on five separate levels at once, according to a magazine article he read, so it's no wonder that men — who communicate (apparently) on about two (and he thinks that that's a stretch) — can't understand them.
    • The first time Molly meets Susan, Harry comments that Susan gives Molly "the scan", a quick overview and analysis of clothing, makeup, shoes, posture, appearance, probable relative wealth and social status, which will dictate how two women will interact. Harry muses that men's equivalent is "Does he have beer, and, if yes, will he share it with me?"
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: In this series, men are unable to understand women at all, except for Jack Emery, and even he has failed in his attempts several times. The author firmly sided with women in this series, with an unhealthy dose of misandry thrown in. Naturally, you have Double Standards, Henpecked Husbands, Unfortunate Implications, as well as a cringe-inducing speech by one female character about how men are little boys at heart, and you just need to give them a few things to keep them happy! Indeed, women in this series are presented as understanding men completely, except evidence in the series points to the fact that the author and, by extension, the female characters don't understand anything about men!
  • The Belgariad. Played With. In the first series, it's more apparent, with women being apparently incomprehensible to men, who seem to almost never win an argument against them. However, this is complicated by a couple of things:
    • Most of those arguments are between someone (usually Garion) and Polgara. Since Polgara is the most eminent woman in the world (and after her father, most eminent person, full stop), as well as being an ancient sorceress, scholar, and an extremely skilled and experienced manipulator — it was pretty much her job for the best part of 3000 years — very few people can out-argue her at all. The fact that she's legendarily stubborn (which, ironically, is a trait she gets from her father) doesn't hurt. In fact, aside from gods, only three people can out-argue her — her parents and Beldin (who is both a genius and her Parental Substitute for a while).
    • When it comes to arguments between those on level footing, it's a different matter. As noted, Belgarath and Polgara understand each other better than they'd like to admit and tend to be pretty balanced as far as their relationship (a variation on Vitriolic Best Buds, despite being father and daughter), and Belgarath usually gets around Polgara in the end. Garion and Ce'Nedra's arguments in the first series usually devolve into shouting matches that go nowhere. And Lelldorin's loss of his argument with Arianna (his then-technical, soon actual, wife) suffers from the fact that Lelldorin is a brilliant archer and a decent actor, but otherwise a lovable dimwit - while one would expect this to have Arianna down as a case of Women Are Wiser, it doesn't. While she's definitely much, much smarter than he is, and far more practical... that's only when he's not around. When he is, Love Makes You Dumb entirely applies.
    • At any rate, the sequel series plays it down - though there are some things about each gender the opposite is just unable to comprehend (women being baffled by the male fascination with fishing, for instance, which becomes a Running Gag - though Garion doesn't seem to get it either). The narrative, being through trope-aware, sometimes lampshades this and plays it for Hypocritical Humour. For instance, Polgara and Belgarath's prequels, written from their respective points of view, confirm what the two series imply — that they're much more alike than they want to admit.
  • The Gods Themselves has a world where there are three sexes — and they still have a version of this: Rationals, Emotionals and Parentals often baffle each other. Justified in this case, as the three sexes are only able to think and act in line with their gender stereotypes: Rationals are only interested in learning, Parentals are only interested in mating and raising children, and Emotionals are Exactly What It Says on the Tin. On the other hand, this trope is absent when humans deal with each other, though that's mostly because there's only one major female character in the book.
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Ruins of Isis hits just about every point, looking at a society in which, with rare exceptions, men and women live entirely separate, gender-specific existences other than at specific rituals. One unusual aspect is that the occasional biological male, presumably transgender, is allowed to identify as female, but with certain restrictions: using a two-syllable name (male names must have one syllable; female names, three) and not participating in ritual sexual encounters.
  • The Trope Namer was a continually discredited but continually popular self-help book from The '80s, which referred to men as Martians and women as Venusians. They were the same species, and used the same language, but lived in very different ways on two different planets. In the books, Martians valued status and achievements, stoicism, direct communication, and practicalits, and placed somewhat less emphasis on status and achievements. Martians apparently need time to sulk any. Venusians, meanwhile, valued very nuanced communication, art and pleasure, expressing of feelingd navel-gaze, and Venusians apparently go through a regular cycle of feeling good and feeling crappy. Eventually, the Martians figured out space travel, and launched a Benevolent Alien Invasion on Venus, after which they and their new Venusian wives and girlfriends headed to Earth to build a new society. But because their communication styles, emotional needs, and values clashed, they developed problems in their relationships with each other that Martians rarely or never experienced with other Martians, and Venusians never or rarely experienced with other Venusiansnote , and began to resent one another, leading to relationship drama and messy breakups. The solution to this problem, as posited by the book, is that men and women need to return to traditional roles and relationships.
  • Orson Scott Card's The Originist: Leyel's inner monologue often provides a contrast between how he believes women (like his wife Deet) and men view the world. When they discuss the idea of two branches of primates that both evolved at the same time, Deet points out that he's described the contrast of Men versus Women.
    You have just described the relationship between males and females. Two completely different species, completely unintelligible to each other, living side by side and thinking they're really the same.
  • Comes up occasionally in Dave Barry's columns. For example, in "Why Humor is Funny":
    Men have a certain body part that women do not have, and men always think that jokes about it are a stone riot, whereas if you tell such a joke to a woman, she will look at you as if you were a baggie full of mouse remains.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Married... with Children Al goes so far as to form an organization dedicated to promoting the well being of men.
  • Many episodes of According to Jim end with an Aesop about the differences of men & woman and what it means to be a good husband/wife, that are treated as universally applicable. One episode has Jim countering the new metrosexual trend by becoming a flannelsexual advocate for traditional gender roles.
  • Cheers and Frasier both have tendencies to this, if less overtly so for Frasier.
  • Home Improvement- a definite example of Men Are Uncultured as both something men are/should be proud of, as well as a way in which Women Are Wiser.
  • In the universe of The Big Bang Theory, almost all nerds are male and their nerdiness can be awkward when trying to talk to women. After the fourth season, when Amy and Bernadette were added to the permanent cast, this has been the case more often than not. Either the girls have a separate storyline involving "girl time," or we see the "female perspective" on one nerd-issue or another.
  • In an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch Sabrina casts a spell on herself to become a boy because she wants to understand how they think. Hilda does the same.
  • The Office takes a look in Season 2's "Boys and Girls" episode. Jan holds a "women in the workplace" seminar, and Michael takes the "boys" down to the warehouse—where's he's just as unwelcome.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series. The episode "Spock's Brain" had a society split along gender lines so that the men (Future Primitives who lived on the surface of a barren world) had no idea what women were — just the Others (a Lady Land of Brainless Beauties living in an Underground City) who would periodically abduct them and "bring pain and delight". The Wonder Years parodied this episode (and this trope) when Kevin realises that he doesn't understand women at all, then has an Imagine Spot that he's Captain Kirk in "Spock's Brain".
    Spock-Paul: It appears, captain, that we are on an alien planet, inhabited by strange beings with long hair, and very short skirts.
    Kevin-Kirk: Who are you? What do you want from us?
    Spock-Paul: Highly illogical, Captain. These are alien beings. They think and act in ways you cannot hope to understand.
  • Discussed in 3rd Rock from the Sun, as Sally struggles to understand human social dynamics (and her own biology, when living as a human). When she realizes then men and women are opposite sexes, it's something of an epiphany for her, making much of the inability of the the two to understand each other much more logical.
    "Men and women are basically different species, and it's just a cruel, cosmic joke that we have to share a planet."
  • Friends often dipped into this in the early seasons with several episodes opening on the gang discussing the different ways men and women think about things. The differences are probbably best shown by the way everyone reacts to Ross and Rachel's First Kiss. Rachel pours wine for Monica and Phoebe and gives them a detailed description of every gesture and feeling. Ross, Joey and Chandler munch on pizza and limit their discussion to:
    Ross: And then I kissed her.
    Joey: Tongue?
    Ross: Yeah.
    Joey: Cool. (goes back to eating)
  • My World… and Welcome to It: Echoing a recurring trope in Thurber's work, several episodes present husbands and wives as incompatible adversaries, most notably the episode "The War Between Men and Women." Here, an argument between Phil Jensen and his wife Ruth escalates to the point where she throws him out of the house. Phil and his colleagues at The Manhattanite scheme to get him back home covertly and run afoul of their own wives in the process. Detente is finally reached by all parties when the men threaten to close off their wives' credit cards.

  • David Byrne's "Women Vs. Men":
    Women have their world, and men, we have ours.
    We're into sports, and they're into flowers.
    The women are talking. We do not understand.
    They speak in a language we do not comprehend.
    No one knows how it started, and God knows how it will end.
    The fightin' continues, women versus men.
  • Byrne also covered this topic with his band Talking Heads on the song "The Girls Want to Be With the Girls" from More Songs About Buildings and Food:
    The girls don't want to play like that,
    They just want to talk to the boys.
    The just want to do what is in their hearts,
    And the girls want to be with the girls.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes believes this, because he's at that age. At one point when witnessing Susie (gasp!) doing her homework, he finds the idea of doing it voluntarily so strange that he dubs girls "the gender from outer space!"
  • The boys of Zits seem to believe this. It was done with nuance during the early years, showing that it's only true to a certain extent, but in later years, it seems to be played more and more straight.

  • Parodied by Laura Shavins on The Now Show, "celebrating" the anniversary of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus:
    He wrote that all men are stupid, all women are mad,
    That's why mixed-sex relationships will always go bad.
    The best advice to give any young girl or lad,
    Is that all men are stupid, and all women are mad.

    Recorded and Stand-Up Comedy 
  • German comedian Loriot who coined the quote: "Männer und Frauen passen einfach nicht zueinander!" (Men and women simply don't fit together!)

  • Camelot: King Arthur, after an argument with Guinevere, starts wishing that Merlin had included women in his childhood education:
    And what of teaching me by turning me to animal and bird,
    From the beaver to the smallest bobolink?
    I should have had a whirl
    At changing to a girl,
    To learn the way the creatures think!
  • Prince Kaguya: It's said that the gods gift men with strength and women with kindness, which makes both happy, and that Kaguya is happier than anyone else because he's Raised as the Opposite Gender.

    Video Games 
  • Catherine:
    • The degree to which this trope applies to the game would be a good, essay-length discussion of how the game portrays the intricacies of gender relationships. On one hand, the central plot element is about a laid-back slacker trying to decide whether he'd be happier settling down or remaining unchained, with a Betty and Veronica Love Triangle externalizing his decision. Mars-and-Venus symbolism abounds: the planetary symbols are ubiquitous, one of the background tracks is a Classical Music remix of an ode to the planet Mars, and one of the worst things that can happen to the player is the "Curse of the Morning Star" (i.e., Venus). Most of the protagonist's friends don't "get" women, or make assumptions about the fair sex that are flat-out wrong. When their favorite waitress—the most approachable female character—tries to set the poor boys straight, none of them take her advice. Instead, they scoff because it's assumed she wouldn't get it either. Though this is because she is MtF. The other women don't get as much screen time, but don't fare any better: "Betty" is a straight-laced Ice Queen type, while "Veronica" shows early signs of Yandere behavior. So, what does the game ultimately decide about this Trope? It doesn't. You do.
    • The Updated Re-release, Catherine: Fullbody, complicates this even more so with the introduction of Qatherine, who is a Third-Option Love Interest or a "Cheryl." Unlike Catherine (the "Betty") or Katherine (the "Veronica"), Qatherine or "Rin for short, is "sweet, kind, supportive, and calming despite being an amnesiac and a bit of a klutz. Vincent has the most at ease interactions with Rin, which makes the surprise bigger with the reveal that Rin is a a male... or rather from a race of shapeshifting Angelic Aliens, who's human form are feminine-looking males or Otokonoko. This in turn adds several more paragraphs to the potential essay of the elements of this game.

  • Questionable Content — full of Female Character X explaining to Male Character Y that "girls all..." and vice versa (though these seem like they're meant to be rules of thumb rather than statements of literal fact), and occasional examples of the 'men and women don't speak the same language' subtrope that usually lead to severe confusion, painful misunderstandings, or both in combination. It gets off pretty lightly compared to most of these examples, though, since none of the characters are defined utterly by their gender and the stereotypes thereof (although Steve sometimes comes close to being a stereotypical man, especially when drunk), nor is it Anviliciously heteronormative.
  • Sluggy Freelance has many such moments. Torg, Riff and Gwynn especially can be pretty stereotypical. And then there's Aylee, who sometimes naturally acts clearly "female" but at others still has huge difficulties understanding how that works in human society. Some characters are not affected at all, such as Sasha or Bun-bun.

    Web Original 
  • Present in this article here.Not a parody. For a Distaff Counterpart, see also [1]. Note: these are examples of this trope because they both present the dynamic as being true to the fundamental nature of the genders, and of individual people as members of them — which is rather different than just saying some people like sub/dom dynamics on an individual level, or without the gender-based essentialism.
  • The website Girls Ask Guys revolves around this concept, providing a place for people of either gender to ask questions and share their life experiences, in a general bid to attempt to better one anothers' understanding of the mysteries of the other side.
  • An old Seanbaby article for The Wave magazine recounted a time he and some buddies were watching pro-wrestling and a friend's girlfriend kicked off an argument by dismissing it as "a soap opera for men". Once the dust settled, Sean realized that he wasn't mad because she tried to emasculate them for liking pro-wrestling, but because she was trying to insult them by weaponizing the crappiness of most entertainment marketed to women:
    "How dare she imply we had taste as bad as her people? If the entire situation was reversed, and I told a woman that One Life to Live was like Walker, Texas Ranger for girls, I'd mean that as a compliment."

    Western Animation 
  • One episode of The Fairly Oddparents has Timmy wishing he was a girl so he could figure out what his crush wants for her birthday. Justified, since the kids still believe that Girls Have Cooties. Chester discusses this when he sees Timmy as a girl going into an arcade and freaks out: "Boys like comic books, girls like dolls. Boys like video games, girls like makeup. We're different! That's why we have different bathrooms!"...which is immediately followed by a girl walking out a stall and questioning if she's in the wrong room.
  • Futurama: Parodied with the Omicronians: "It is true what they say. Women are from Omicron Perseii 7, men are from Omicron Perseii 9."
    • Also parodied in "Time Keeps On Slippin'" with Leela rejecting Fry: although it's not a case of Incompatible Orientation, "you're a man, I'm a woman. We're just too different!"
  • Lampshaded in the Kim Possible movie "A Sitch in Time", when Kim discovered that Shego, not one of her male villains, was destined to become the "Supreme One" who would conquer the world. The fact that Kim herself is female is never brought up.
    Rufus 3000: Wasn't it clear that Shego was the only one smart enough to take over the world?
    Kim: Uh, well, I guess it always seemed more like a guy thing.
  • Hilariously subverted in Phineas and Ferb by Candace, who has a tendency to overcomplicate things by assuming this is the case. From "The Baljeatles":
    Stacy: I think it's going really well; he asked me to save him a dance.
    Candace: He did? What do you think he meant by that?
    Stacy: I'm pretty sure he meant he wants to dance with me.
    Candace: Hmmm.... Men and their impossible endless riddles.
  • This trope was given a Take That! in Rugrats where Phil and Lil switch the hairbow so that Tommy can see it won't be hard for him to pass as a girl. Phil cries while wearing Lil's bow and Betty rushes to 'her' side.
    Betty: (in a soothing voice) Oh, whats the matter with beautiful baby girl? (turns to Didi) Girls seem to cry more at this age. (turns to Lil without bow in a buffer voice) Oh, my big baby man. Guess they're ok Deed, now where were we?
    Didi: We were talking about the difference between men and women.
    (Phil and Lil soon switch the bow while the Mom's backs are turned)
    Phil and Lil: See?
  • Igra: The girl draws things like flowers, while the boy draws cars, tanks, planes, etc. For that matter the boy takes most of the aggressive actions, while the girl's actions are mostly defensive, at least until she draws herself a gun.
  • Parodied in Camp Lazlo, where the Squirrel Scouts are told this by Ms. Mucus when they ask about boys. However, they assume it means that all guys are literal aliens. The three main scouts kidnap our protagonists who decide to play along with their misconceptions as payback.

Alternative Title(s): Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus