Follow TV Tropes


Men Are Better Than Women

Go To

"If [women] were not fundamentally evil, they would not have been born women at all."
Prince Genji, The Tale of Genji

We all know that in works of media, the saintly women are more competent than those piggish men... Except when they're not.

This is a trope for works of media in which men are either portrayed as all-around more competent than women or are stated to be superior. It isn't Straw Misogynist or He-Man Woman Hater, because those are about a character in-story having the worldview that men are superior to women. This trope is for when the author seems to have this worldview. In one of these works, male characters may not be sexist against the women, but they will certainly be mentally, physically, or morally superior to them.

Unlike Women Are Wiser, Men Are Better Than Women is not necessarily about male characters in the work being morally superior. Instead, it may be about men having an intellectual genius or fortitude that female characters are not shown in the work to have. It may even be combined with Women Are Wiser, creating a world where women are viewed as frail angels and men as competent movers and shakers.

Although not as frequent as in older works this trope is still sometimes played straight. When it is played straight the show will generally feature a male lead or male characters who are physically and/or mentally (fairly often even emotionally and morally) superior to female characters in the same setting even if said female characters are fairly competent in their own rights. This applies whether the number of male characters outnumbers or are outnumbered by the number of female characters, in the latter case the few or lone male character (usually the lead) still has the tendency to be superior to the surrounding female characters in most ways that are significant to the plot. A form of Double Standard, in that it holds men to an impossible ideal and depicts women as naturally inferior. Like its counterpart, the trope is inherently sexist, or at the very least grounded in Author Appeal.

A society that thinks this is a No Woman's Land. Spear Counterpart to Women Are Wiser. Contrast The Unfair Sex, Men Are the Expendable Gender. Compare and contrast Men Are Generic, Women Are Special, Double Standard, and Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality. Compare Acceptable Feminine Goals and Traits, Never a Self-Made Woman, and Stay in the Kitchen. Someone who believes Men Are Better Than Women may also believe My Girl Is Not a Slut, or No Guy Wants an Amazon. Might lead to Gender Incompetence skewed in favor of men.

Note: No Real Life examples, please!


  • Harvest Home is theoretically a matriarchy...but it turns out to only be theoretical as men are the only gender with the curiosity or ability to try to solve the "mysteries" of Harvest Home, or to escape. The women are either so weak that they can't face the truth, so lustful that it implies they deserve to be raped and/or are easy to recruit into a murderous fertility cult, or murderous to make sure that they keep their power.
  • In the Sector General novels, human women are nurses, not doctors. It is also outright stated that woman can't take Educator tapes (which involves having a recording of an alien mind inside your head). They just can't stand the experience. Since the tapes are standard for surgeons and absolutely required for Diagnosticians, the hospital's highest-level doctors...the implications are obvious and unfortunate. (This is mostly down to society's rules, but was too deeply embedded for the author to retcon it away.)
  • Sharp Objects: Camille is a bit of a Female Misogynist so some of it might be a case of Unreliable Narrator, but all the villains are female. There's Adora, a monster with Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy who poisoned and tortured all three of her daughters, killing one; Amma is a narcissistic sociopath who killed three girls because she was competing for their love; Amma's girl posse was totally willing to go along with the murder, except Jodes, who is portrayed as a pathetic walkover who is on the brink of being murdered herself. And the prepubescent girls Amma and her friends murdered? They were aggressive "bad girls" themselves, with Ann maiming someone with a pair of scissors. The men include John Keene, who- is suspected of being a pedophile but is actually a Nice Guy, Alan, who is much more sympathetic here than in the TV series where it's left highly ambiguous if he knew Adora was a poisonous murderer, whereas in the series, he is shown abetting her, if only by omission, and Richard, who may turn out to be weak and is manipulating Camille, but he's also a good cop who knows Adora is bad news.
  • Xanthippic Dialogues: Lastenea claims men love better than women - from Doylist perspective, she's obviously recounting Plato's views, so they can be picked apart later. From Watsonian perspective, she's just as obviously head over heels with the philosopher.

Live-Action TV

  • The Blacklist, though having competent female characters from time to time, tends to portray the men as being wiser and more grounded than the women:
    • The clear example is the relationship between Elizabeth "Lizzie" Keen and Raymond "Red" Reddington, as, despite the fact that Lizzie can show competence and insights, Lizzie almost always has to turn to Red for clues and advice, reaching levels where Red is the one telling Lizzie how to do her job. Lizzie is also quite impulsive and reckless, often needing Red or her husband, Tom, to keep her grounded.
    • On Lizzie's team, the only other woman is Meera Malik, who will provide clues and insights from time to time but is almost always overshadowed by Aram Mojtabi or Donald Ressler, who seem to always have the "key" clue.
    • On the criminal side, Gina Zanetakos, Madeline Pratt and The Judge are outsmarted by Red, with The Judge even getting a dressing down in terms of justice from Red. With regards to Jolene Parker, it at first appears that she's able to outsmart Tom but eventually Tom gets the better of her, often sounding more level-headed than the rash Parker.
    • Other women on the show tend to be nothing more than ciphers, being there to assist whatever male character is the focal point at that particular point in the narrative.

Other Sites

  • Averted in The Art of Manliness; while it is chock full of advice towards men on how to live up to the traditional ideals of proactiveness, wisdom, personal strength, independence, elegance, and chivalry, it doesn't assert the superiority of men over women in any way, explicit or implicit. In fact, one of the site's owners and main contributors is actually a woman.
  • In its critique of The Art of Manliness, rival men's website Return Of Kings asserts that Men Are Better Than Women is true, and claims that The Art of Manliness ignoring this "fact" is what makes it inadequate as a men's website.