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Men Are the Expendable Gender

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Looks like one of these mentioned antagonists is really happy with their fate.
"I don't enjoy killing women. Men — I can waste them all the live long."
Negan Smith, The Walking Dead (2010)

A Double Standard in media whereby women automatically have the audience's sympathy and men don't. Comes in large part for the need for hordes of non-faceless Mooks whose suffering and death we won't lose much sleep over in all sorts of media.

A female character can lose some or even all of the audience's sympathy if they are manipulative, somehow "immoral", ugly, violent or just plain evil. Male characters, on the other hand, have to earn the audience's sympathy by entertaining or interesting us with their actions. If they don't, we either don't care what happens to them or want them to suffer for failing to entertain/interest us. A Lovable Coward male character is not an exception since we find them entertaining.

Strangely, women find it difficult to lose audience sympathy by being useless, worse than useless, or selfish cowards—as long as they don't get other people with the audience's sympathy killed, that is — and sometimes even then, if this person (usually a man) was perceived by the audience as somehow not strong enough. Stranger still, all this can still hold true if the woman in question has already been established as a badass (See Chickification). As a mark of the true Double Standard this trope exemplifies, a woman is more likely to lose the audience's favor by getting another woman killed than by getting a man killed.

The boundaries between this trope and one that it spawned (the existence of characters who Wouldn't Hit a Girl), are sometimes confusing and difficult to define, but as a general rule, that trope refers to when characters within the story are unwilling to harm women, this one refers to when the story itself seemingly refuses to let a woman come to harm. The disparity is most obvious when the source of danger that is threatening the cast has no actual intelligence or sentient character of its own, as when you see the rampaging T-rex, tornado, human-killing robot uprising, nuclear bomb, or hungry zombie horde ignore a female character in favor of killing a male one, with no plausible or justified reason for them doing so other than the author doesn't want a woman to be hurt. Conversely, this trope could be a meta-example of Would Not Hit A Girl from the author.

Perhaps strangest of all, this trope also bleeds over into villain roles: the suffering and death of female villains is generally either not dwelt upon or played for sympathy, if only because they are generally less evil than their male counterparts. But the suffering and death of male villains, on the other hand, is much more acceptable if only because they are often so much, well, eviler.

About the only place where this is usually averted is in the horror genre, but even then, there's usually a clear disparity in male vs. female deaths - male deaths are much more likely to be either comically portrayed or quickly forgotten about.

The consequences in fiction of this are complicated, but in summary:

  • If the story requires random anonymous characters to die just to move the plot forward, they'll likely be male. If the plot requires a tragic death that motivates the protagonists or shows how evil the villains are, the victim will be female. One exception to this is a Heroic Sacrifice that is commonly committed by a man and often for a woman and/or The Hero. Similarly if the story demands random mooks get a beat down by a character to up the sense of danger or because they are generic enemies in a video game, or just show off how awesome the protagonist is, they will be male. If there's a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits that includes one woman, when the party gets cut down one by one expect the lone woman's survival to be basically guaranteed. In fact, if there's one woman in the party she's usually safer than the actual protagonist, who might still perish in the climax - especially if it's for her sake. If the male and female leads have had sex at any point during the story, the safest place for a man to stand is directly behind that woman.
  • Female villains are more likely to be redeemed and/or have sympathetic justification for their villainy, especially if the main hero is a man. They are also less likely to be taken seriously or depicted unsympathetically in their schemes. Only exception is when a female villain kills children with her own hands (simply giving the order isn't enough) or, more rarely, if she kills helpless (i.e., elderly or disabled) adults in a particularly brutal way. In other words, female villains are only taken seriously if they walk into Complete Monster territory.
  • Male characters get more explicit and brutal deaths. It's no secret that viewers are more uncomfortable watching women get tortured, maimed, and/or killed. If a man and a woman are killed in equally grisly ways (or even if the woman's death is less gruesome than the man), the woman's death is still treated as worse. Extra points if the camera cuts away right before she gets butchered. If a woman does die, and we actually get to see her body afterwards, expect her never to look dead. If a female character is subjected to torture, expect her to not sound like she's in any actual pain (more often than not she'll be moaning like she's having some slightly rough sex).
  • Male villains who target female characters, lustfully and/or out of hatred, are portrayed as more evil than those who target men (except sometimes when the Depraved Homosexual trope is in play). Female villains who target primarily men, lustfully or out of hatred, are often considered sympathetic, often more than a bit Anti Villainous, played for Fanservice, or simply not taken seriously.
  • Female-on-female violence is dismissed as a Cat Fight, much like rape and molestation which are often played as Fanservice rather than a threat. A woman who targets other women needs to be particularly violent and brutal in her aggression in order to be treated as a serious threat to other women, let alone to a man.
  • If a woman does die in a gruesome or violent way, she's much more likely to be evil, ugly, or both - or at least portrayed as ugly. This partly goes along with the "protagonist female deaths are tragic, protagonist male deaths are quickly swept under the rug" rule above.
  • Sympathetic male characters are expected to put themselves at risk to protect female characters. Female characters do not lose as much audience sympathy for being unwilling (or unable) to put themselves at risk to protect characters of either gender and are less likely to be accused of cowardice.

See the Analysis for more.

There are a lot of related tropes:

  • All Abusers Are Male: Villainy, or immorality in general is perceivably more prevalent on men, especially in pop culture, so the level of sympathy that's implemented on them is relatively limited.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Women are not allowed to get seriously injured or perform bodily functions.
  • Closer to Earth: Women aren't allowed to be illogical. Note that this trope isn't always gender-based and can apply to other "minorities" as well.
  • Damsel in Distress: A female character whose main purpose is to be in peril so the hero can rescue her.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Male heroes aren't allowed to physically fight with female villains, and must rely on a fellow female hero to do it for him. If that's not available, then the male hero is generally reduced to fleeing from her or trying to non-physically subdue her.
  • Disposable Woman: Killing off a woman who has no personality but was the girlfriend/wife/family member of a male protagonist just so that he can avenge her, without paying any attention to the other effects of her death.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Female abusers and male victims are not treated as seriously as male abusers and female victims.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: A woman raping a man isn't treated as seriously as a man raping a woman.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male : Nor is a man getting raped, period.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: The male protagonist does something drastic for a woman he just met.
  • Entitled to Have You: Since this trope is more likely to be applied to males (i.e. a guy thinks that he deserves to win a lady's heart), despite the fact that it's not necessarily gender-exclusive, the comeuppance that came along with it is not much to feel pity for.
  • Females Are More Innocent: Women tend to be on the better receiving end for the audience's sympathy for them.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Male characters are generally given melee weapons and are expected to engage threats in close quarters combat, which is inherently more dangerous than attacking them from range, which is what female characters typically do.
  • Her Heart Will Go On: When the dude is killed off just to give his female lover something to angst about while still being "strong". Interestingly, that trope did originate in a fictional female's perspective.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: The phenomenon of women being more likely to reform than men.
  • Madonna-Whore Complex: Someone, most notably a male, views a particular woman as either "pure" ("Madonna") or a "slut" ("Whore").
  • Men Act, Women Are: Male characters are defined by their actions, females by their personalities and appearances.
  • Men Are Generic, Women Are Special: Maleness is seen as the default, with women being a special case. This may have been a contributing factor to the existence of this trope.
  • Missing White Woman Syndrome: Women and girls are given more media coverage when they go missing than men and boys, especially if said women and girls are white, young, upper-to-middle class, able-bodied, or a combination.
  • Neutral Female: Women are not obligated to help a man even if he is in a life or death situation. Instead they will usually stand and look worried while the man is fighting for his (and possibly her) life, even if they are perfectly capable of assisting.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Showing that any character can die by killing off an important one. Not always an example of this trope.
  • The Smurfette Principle: The sole female character in a group otherwise consisting of males.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: The sexist belief that women should only do housework and shouldn't be allowed to do the jobs men can do.
  • The Unfair Sex: When a man does something inappropriate in a relationship (e.g. adultery) it's seen as bad, but when a woman does it, it's seen as OK.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: A man draws the line at inflicting violence on females.
  • Vasquez Always Dies: Female characters who display traits more commonly associated with men are more likely to be killed off.

A show where Anyone Can Die may or may not be an aversion, depending on how the deaths are depicted.

This mentality is noticeable throughout human history and can be considered the root of a great many sexist gender roles, as indicated by the related tropes above. But that’s all we will say about it, so no real life examples, as this page is solely about this trope's useage in fiction. noreallife



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Another manages rather oddly to both subvert and play this straight. It's subverted in that, in a class with roughly equivalent male and female ratios, only a handful of onscreen deaths are male, and by the end of the series (the novel as well; the manga subverts this slightly) only one of the main female characters is still alive (in fairness, she's functionally the only female character in the novel, so this isn't hard). It's subverted in that, when male deaths do occur, their repercussions are generally downplayed or flat-out not brought up: the first major onscreen death is a girl, which leads to one of the main conflicts in the final episode; a male student's death midway through is implied to have caused a Sanity Slippage for a female student, but this is never outright stated, while her own death is the main thing that sets the two main groups at odds. In a series which features two rather gruesome and bloody throat injuries and dismemberment by boat motor, the only Gory Discretion Shot is also reserved for one girl, who bloodlessly (but still painfully) is strangled to death.
  • Attack on Titan averts this pretty much across the board. The military sees men and women serving together in all capacities, and being slaughtered in roughly equal numbers. Whether their death is played as tragic or not depends less on gender, and more on that particular character or the senselessness of their death. Among the Trainees killed at Trost, Marco's death is the only one played as a tragedy while the girls killed are mere Red Shirts never mentioned again. Civilians can be of either gender, and there doesn't seem to be any sort of "Women and Children first" standard in play.
  • Baccano!: The only female character to even get noticeably injured in the bloody events aboard the Flying Pussyfoot is Rachel — and we never actually see her injury, only the gunshot and her subsequently bandaged leg.
  • Black Lagoon has precisely zero female mooks, which isn't too surprising since it's basically a Stealth Parody of action movies that plays many of the genre's tropes to the hilt. However, it's notable that there also aren't that many female antagonists despite being a World of Action Girls, and fewer still actually die. Female characters will threaten and battle each other violently but, so far, none of them have ever killed another woman onscreen.
  • Bleach: Earlier on, there's a limited example of the lack of anonymous women in the Soul Society arc. At the beginning, Soul Reapers are generally being used as Mooks, and all such are male, as opposed to the leading cadre which includes a handful of females. Once the named characters have been shown enough that we can start sympathetically viewing Soul Reapers as a group, we start seeing Academy flashbacks in which a reasonable proportion of the anonymous Soul Reapers are female, and proceed from there, making it clear this trope is the Raison d'être.
    • This is especially apparent in the Arrancar and Hueco Mundo Arcs, in which only two female arrancars in the manga die, one of whom is revived. In contrast, over 20 named male arrancars are permanently killed in the manga.
  • Invoked and Played for Laughs in Chainsaw Man where the protagonist Denji is a Chivalrous Pervert who will go out of his way to save women and children, but doesn't care too much about male civilians.
    Asa: Steal that motorcycle! Please!
    Denji: Don't be stupid! I can't steal that, you thief! A woman's ridin' it!
    Asa: Steal that guy's then!
    Denji: Beat it! *wham*
  • Averted in Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! thanks to all the non-lethal combat.
  • Elfen Lied: Plays this completely straight. On the one hand, many women die horribly. On the other hand, the characters very directly responsible for most of the death are girls, whom we are still expected to feel sympathetic for even after they slaughter dozens of people, innocent or not. And when a scientist shoots a rampaging disclonius, we are expected to see him as a heartless bastard. Also, most of the women killed off get a slow-motion sequence to go with it, while the guys get their heads torn off with brutal swiftness.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: A similar thing to Naruto (below) happens, just replace ninja with soldiers. Thankfully, it is a bit more justified and lenient about it: it's set in a 1920s setting, so female soldiers would be uncommon (they still are, for reasons of this trope), and even then, many characters that are male get lingering shots and it's shown with Mustang that to him, his men are not expendable, his friends are not mooks merely sent to die. I.E an example of a lingering shot on a dead male character (Colonel Maes Hughes).
  • Gintama tends to zigzag this trope and mixes it with Females Are More Innocent: on one hand, you have the Night King arc where the presence of an Amazon Brigade warranted a high female death toll; on the other hand, this was the only time this would occur and, after that arc, you would be hard-pressed to see a woman die brutally. In addition, there aren't many villainesses in the series and neither one was ever killed for what she did... unlike male villains who are almost always dealt with permanently.
  • Naruto mixes this with Men Are Generic, Women Are Special. You would be hard-pressed to find a random ninja that was female. Pretty much any female in the series is important in some way, and outside of flashbacks (where women tend to die much more often, and even then they are still rarely generic), important [good] characters very rarely die, and if someone does die, they are likely male. This becomes really noticeable when the ninja world unites to take on Madara and a shot of the united army is shown. If there are random female ninja there, they are buried under the males. So when the ninja casualties start happening, only men tend to die.
  • Najica Blitz Tactics: Played straight at first. From as early as Episode 3, male villains often get killed as their comeuppance, but female villains and soldiers, of which there are plenty, are often only "knocked out". The death of Elith's master, who is female, in Episode 9 serves as the Wham Episode.
  • Noir: The two main characters are female assassins who mow down the male mooks.
  • One Piece tends to follow its Shonen brethren in this issue, in that women are often seen in combat roles, but only in positions of authority (the show has been accused of The Smurfette Principle, but women are numerous enough generally to dodge that) and never in the faceless pirate/marine hordes that serve as cannon fodder. The closest comes in with Amazon Lily, where, by the island's nature, women had to serve as mooks. Civilians, meanwhile, tend to be a realistically even mix.
  • In Ōoku: The Inner Chambers, the trope is completely inverted. A plague reduces the male population to one-fifth of the total. Men thus become very valuable, especially for their seed, and are kept out of harm's way and carefully bartered.
  • Saint Seiya: Despite the high death count, all the female Saints — Marin, Shaina, and June — manage to survive while all but the five main bronze boys die.
  • Sky Girls: Mentioned but never expanded upon. It was stated that nearly 90% of the male population aged 20-30 was wiped out in the first war with the WORMS. Among the surviving humans actually seen, however, there appear to be just as many young adult men as women.
  • Strike Witches: Men are pretty much Cannon Fodder for the Neuroi, on the other hand, the show treats all deaths as equally tragic, even Minna's boyfriend was given a well-rounded backstory which is more than can be said for a lot of male deaths in such stories. Witches are the only ones who can seriously harm Neuroi, conventional weapons are fairly effective but not nearly as much. Obviously the military brass are not too happy that the women are getting all the military glory while the men are sent back in body bags or soup cans, on the other hand, it's not expanded upon exactly how much male combatants are actually involved in direct combat and as such it seems that most men are limited mostly to support roles while the Witches do all the heavy lifting. Most instances where men actually do fight seem more accidental than intentional. The fact that there are no non-Witch women serving on the front-lines is on the other hand justified by simple reality and explained in-universe. The brass originally didn't want girls on the battlefield just like in real life which is why they were almost all male but had to conscript teenage magical girls because nothing else was effective. Despite this, there do appear to be non-Witch women serving on battleships but even their roles are not elaborated upon. If there's any reason women aren't being hired as cannon fodder it's because the brass doesn't want women killed unless absolutely necessary.

  • Lampshaded by Jason Manford in his 2011 stand-up show. He references the trope by name without quite decrying it.
    Jason Manford: In the house, when there's a noise downstairs, who's checking that noise out? That's dad, isn't it? A hundred percent of the time, that's dad. You could be married to a ninja, you're still the first one down the stairs. Why is this, is it because you're stronger or braver or better at fighting than your wife? No. It's because out the two of you, you're more expendable. It's not nice to hear, dads, I understand. The family will be upset but they'll crack on.
  • Bill Burr had a similar stand-up bit, where he (jokingly) pointed out that while double standards like the wage gap certainly exist, nobody ever seems especially bothered by the fact that mens' lives tend to be less prioritized than womens' in a crisis.
    Bill Burr: You hear a bump in the night, I have to check it out... (mimes being stabbed) "Yes, honey, he does have a knife!" Anytime there's a hostage situation who do they negotiate for first? "At least let the women and children go!" What about me?! Bullets hurt me too!

    Comic Books 
  • Conan the Barbarian: One comic has Conan finding out just how many of the men he is presently dealing with (most of whom need killing) have had carnal knowledge of his current concubine. She responds with a quiet dignity, "it's not easy being a woman in a man's world." Conan then bluntly subverts the trope by countering, "You should try being a man in it."
  • Justice League of America: When the Justice League moved to Detroit they introduced a group of new superheroes that had an equal number of males and females. However, after the new additions proved to be unpopular, DC decided to get rid of them by killing off the men (Vibe and Steel) and having the women (Vixen and Gypsy) leave the team. The only reason for having only the men killed appears to be this trope.
  • Powers: In a letter column for Brian Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming's series, in response to the first several story arcs, a female reader wrote in to ask why Bendis felt the need to kill so many women in his Powers stories. Bendis's reply was that, looking back over the stories the reader mentioned, three women had been brutally killed, but so had something like forty men.
  • Revival: Between the quarantine, the concentration camp, and the military operation there are a lot of soldier injuries and deaths on-panel. Every one of them is male except for Big Tina, who is established as a villain. Civilian deaths include females.
  • Spider-Man: The death of Spider-Man's girlfriend Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #121 caused a huge outcry among fans (so big in fact, that Marvel brought Gwen back as a clone less than two years later to assuage them), her death is still seen as a deep injustice by a number of diehard fans, and many see it as the comic book Trope Maker of Stuffed into the Fridge. Before her death, four supporting characters had been killed off in-story really without causing a ripple among readers, all men of various ages: Uncle Ben, Bennett Brant (Betty's brother, caught in the crossfire to provide a reason for her to hate Spider-Man), Frederick Foswell (Daily Bugle reporter) and George Stacy (Gwen's father, died trying to save people's lives to provide an obstacle to her romance with Peter Parker). In later years The Death of Jean DeWolff, the second female supporting character to be killed off, caused another major stir. The deaths of various male supporting characters — Professor Miles Warren, Nathan Lubensky (Aunt May's fiancé), Ned Leeds (one of Peter's oldest Bugle colleagues), and even Harry Osborn (Peter Parker's oldest and best friend of the male persuasion) — not so much. Harry Osborn who, as it turned out, could not well be replaced in his role in the cast, but that was fourteen years after his death. Even Aunt May (whose apparent death in Amazing Spider-Man #400 was widely seen as a satisfying ending to a fulfilled life) was brought back to the living more quickly. And while only Uncle Ben is referenced in-story nearly as often as Gwen Stacy, quite a few of the dead male characters are all but forgotten both by the writers and the fans.
  • Y: The Last Man:
    • Two male astronauts who survived the Gendercide by being in orbit when it happened die ensuring the survival of their female crewmate after a fiery re-entry, because she was pregnant with a baby that could have belonged to either of them. Their deaths are shrugged off by the characters with a sort of "What idiots but hey a baby!" reaction.
    • Also, male corpses are pictured in an advanced state of decomposition as well as piled on each other and loaded into a garbage truck. Female corpses, on the other hand, are handled with a lot more discretion. This is probably because there are just so many bodies that they can't deal with them all like they should, and the woman who Yorrick sees loading men in a dump truck does go out of her way to see every man gets a proper funeral at the end of her one-shot and states how disgraceful it was to the men.
      • However, Yorick is shown mostly being disgusted by male corpses, even if those corpses are those of his loved ones. In comparison, having to defend himself with fatal force against a woman trying to kill him is portrayed as so traumatizing it causes his mind to start shutting down, as opposed to the death of every other man on Earth.
      • And while the comic tries the Author's Saving Throw of saying that males will (eventually) get an (offscreen) funeral, every on-page portrayal of dealing with them shows the corpses being thrown in piles in trucks or for burning, emphasizing that their deaths are purely treated as the impetus for starting the story, a plot hook. Virtually every female death in the series is treated with at least some form of dignity, up to and including a massive state funeral.

    Fan Works 
  • Surprisingly present in Team Four Star's Dragon Ball Z Abridged: Cell's absorption of the male Android 17 is shown in its entirety and played for laughs, with 17 complaining about how "not cool" a death it is the entire time, while Cell's absorption of the female Android 18 is played as tragic, using dialogue that equates it with rape, and happens off-screen. Of course, being Team Four Star, they immediately subvert it with an alternate scene where Krillin accidentally blows 18's head clean off her shoulders with a bomb.

    Films — Animation 
  • Brave: Nobody seems to notice that the triplets about to be turned into bears forever as Queen Elinor is about to meet the same fate. It's partly justified given the story's focus.
    • Speaking of which, Queen Elinor, as a cursed black bear herself, has managed to outlive a fellow cursed black bear named Mor'du, who was once a powerful human prince whose ultimate demise sets him free (spiritually speaking) from his savagery throughout the remainder of his own life.
  • Frozen: After Prince Hans Westergaard revealed his true colors right in front of Anna and leaves her to die from a literally frozen heart, and later deceived Elsa into thinking that her younger sister is dead, he then tried to kill Elsa herself with a sword just so that he could take the throne of Arendelle all to himself, only for it to be thwarted when Anna sacrificed herself for her older sibling, albeit with the cost of her own life. Thankfully, Anna herself got revived from being literally frozen because "an act of true love can thaw a frozen heart" (which refers to Anna's own sacrifice for her sister Elsa), while Hans would later get his just desserts via imprisonment.
  • The Hunchback Of Notre Dame: Judge Claude Frollo tried to kill Esmeralda not just because she's a Romani (or more derogatorily, a "gypsy"), but also because his lust for her overwhelms him, thinking that it's her fault that he was in that state. Fortunately for her, she survived from him because his own life was then taken away from him thanks to his own constant sinning (in which a broken gargoyle is technically caused by his own passionate wrath).
  • The Incredibles: Both Mirage and Evelyn Deavor/Screenslaver, as villainesses themselves, have managed to live further than Syndrome ever did throughout their respective apperarances.
  • Mulan: The destruction of the village and loss of life is conveyed with an Empathy Doll Shot that is said to have belonged to a little girl.
  • Shrek the Third: Rapunzel, who was revealed to be Prince Charming's girlfriend and fellow conspirator that betrayed the other princesses and Queen Lillian, managed to evade the potential danger she could've faced during the climax, something that Charming himself had encountered, especially in his eventual defeat.
  • Tangled has a sacrificial example. Flynn Rider/Eugene Fitzherbert, who was fatally stabbed by Mother Gothel, cuts Rapunzel's magical long blonde hair (in which she's also revealed to be a natural brunette) in order to save the latter from the former's abusive parenting, mainly for her overreliance of that hair's healing factor that stems from a magical flower that deages her. Thankfully for both of them, this was only short-lived since Rapunzel still has a bit of that flower's powers inside of her, which she unexpectedly used to resurrect Eugene through her tears.
  • Toy Story: Among the film series' primary toy villains, Gabby Gabby is, by far, the most sympathetic among them, as opposed to both Stinky Pete and Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear (or "Lotso"), which is why her own fate has been treated a lot more tamely compared to those from the other two Big Bad toys before her. Although in supplementary material, Stinky Pete does get his own happy ending, even though he was already more sympathetic than Lotso.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: King Candy tells to the titular character a reason as to why Vanellope Von Schweetz cannot race in Sugar Race, stating that her glitching powers would affect the game's status, in which it would be plugged out from Litwak's Arcade and might cost her own life with it since she could not fully get out of that game, as well. This all turns out to be a lie, especially after it's revealed that "King Candy" is really the infamous video game character Turbo (who inspired the concept of "going Turbo") in disguise. Ironically enough, his own life got lost while still inside that game. Vanellope, on the other hand, was not only spared, but is also revealed to be the true star of Sugar Rash once she crossed the finish line from her actual game of origin, resulting in her coding being restored after it was maliciously hijacked by Turbo himself.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 247°F features 2 women and a man trapped in the sauna. One of the women does nothing until the end, where she completely loses it and screws them all over. The other woman is just a complete bitch to everyone in the sauna and often suggests the exact opposite of what they should be doing. The man acts rationally and is often the sole voice of reason. Both women live. The man dies. But you probably guessed that without reading this spoiler, considering the page thiso entry is on.
  • In 2012, three out of five of the male main characters die. One out of three of the female main characters die. The women are routinely shielded from bad news by the men. During the climactic scene where the stowaways have to fix the mechanical problem, they created by stowing away illegally, only the male protagonist and his son attempt to fix it. Despite the fact that the female protagonist is just as responsible and, presumably, as an adult stronger and more competent than her ten-year-old son.
  • In Alexander Nevsky, most of the women stay home while the men go out to fight. There is at least one female soldier who is allowed to fight (without anyone trying to stop her), but she gets declared as the bravest soldier on the battlefield at the end of the film.
  • Inverted in Avatar. The death that serves as the movie's first Gut Punch is that of a male, Neytiri's father. The movie likewise kills off two developed females in the final battle, with only one significant male death. The rest of the male protagonists survive.
  • In Batman Begins, Ducard mocks Bruce's father for not defeating his murderer, protecting himself and Bruce's mother, and saving Bruce from emotional trauma and orphanhood. The possibility that Bruce's mother could have done anything whatsoever to protect herself, her husband and her child, let alone that she should have, is never even suggested. This despite the fact that the murderer had a gun and none of the Waynes were armed, so Martha probably stood about as much of a chance of defeating him as her larger and presumably stronger husband did. For the record, Bruce himself doesn't blame his father for failing not to die, but is mentioned as having strong survivors' guilt. Ducard, again, doesn't raise an eyebrow at hearing Bruce blame himself for what happened and his need to make up for it, despite the fact that Bruce was eight-years-old at the time.
  • In Batman Returns, Catwoman was the only one of the movie's three primary villains (with the other ones being the Penguin and Max Shreck) to survive, albeit with the cost of her eight previous lives.
  • In the French film Baise-Moi, two women abandon their morals after a savage sexual assault (where a group of men rape them). In an act of revenge, the women go on a wild lark littered with sexual escapades and murder. Although a few women do get murdered in the film, the movie has an excessive amount of violence towards men with little to no regard as the men are written off as pigs. In a sequence at a bar/brothel, the women choose to kill many of the patrons participating in sexual acts in the back. After the massacre, the camera pans around the room only slowing down on two of the female victims while clearly passing over the dead male victims with no consideration. Even during the attack, all the men are killed in graphic detail on-screen while the few women get discretion shots.
  • When Grendel attacks the hall in Beowulf, he targets all men, except for one woman whose death was far less explicit (as it was implied but not seen) than that of her male companions. The hall was filled at the time with revelers of both genders. Possibly justified as the women there would be civilians (and thus likely to run for their lives) while the men were the king's soldiers (who would thus stay and fight and die). Plus, well, he's implied to be kind of a Momma's Boy.
  • The Big Boss: The hero had plenty of friends in his foster family, and his love interest is the only woman present. Guess who is the Sole Survivor of the family when the Big Bad sends his mooks to massacre the entire household.
  • The villain's army in Black Butterfly has hordes and hordes of male mooks, and a dozen female warriors who serves as his Praetorian Guard. In the climax, male mooks dies in droves, killed en-masse by the heroes, while the female bodyguards are shown fighting in the background, none which are killed onscreen. After the Black Butterfly had killed the main villain, in the aftermath the remaining villains are reported to be captured alive — and thoese presumably includes those female guards.
  • Braveheart spends one scene on William Wallace's grief over the deaths of his father and brother, but the death of his wife is the Emotional Torque that drives the rest of the film.
  • Bumblebee: Dropkick and Shatter's first encounter on earth is a bickering couple. They quickly dispose of the man, which highly amuses Dropkick. It doesn't amuse him enough to kill the woman as well though.
  • Burke & Hare (based on the real life Burke and Hare murders) tries to make its main characters sympathetic. Consequently, they almost exclusively murder (young) men (some of whom are asshole victims). In contrast, the real life murders were almost exclusively women (the exceptions being an elderly man, a mentally disabled man, and a blind child).
  • Present in three of the four stories in A Christmas Horror Story. Most egregious is the first, where the sole female member of a student documentary team ends up as the Final Girl, while her two male classmates perish. In the second, the two deaths are both men - the family's father and the owner of the enchancted property. The third story also features a final girl, although every other female character also dies and the final girl turns into a male spirit at the end. The fourth averts this via Anyone Can Die as the only major female character is killed and a male mall employee winds up being the sole survivor of a massacre, even though the male lead (who turns out to be the bad guy after hallucinating himself as the hero) also dies.
  • Almost every secondary character dies over the course of Clash of the Titans (2010), but the death of Io is a much bigger deal to Perseus; later Zeus brings her back to life, but everyone else stays dead. This was due to Executive Meddling since Io was meant to stay dead and Perseus would have ended up with Andromeda with Io and Perseus's relationship being more brother/sister. The studio disagreed. This was also inverted with the death of Andromeda's mother, which got swept under the rug as quickly as any faceless mook. Several of the male characters who died in the fight against Medusa were given far more import. The sequel Wrath of the Titans has Ares massacring Andromeda's army. He kills about five male soldiers with no fanfare. But when he stabs the lone female, it's presented as a Moral Event Horizon.
  • Child's Play 3 is the only film in the franchise with no female fatalities. Somewhat justified, as most of the action takes place at a military school with only one girl, Kristen. Chucky does threaten to kill her, only manages to shoot her in the leg.
  • The Core: Of the Virgil's crew, two out of six survive, including the only female crewmember. Granted, when the other pilot is the first one to die, she becomes the least expendable for other reasons, but it's hard not to think of this trope when she's the only one left out of Drawing Straws for a Suicide Mission.
  • Cyclone (1978): Several uncredited women-including one little girl-die in the plane crash, but after that scene, only one female character-an injured passenger from the plane-dies, in contrast to almost twenty men besides the plane crash fatalities.
  • The Dark Knight:
    • Batman chooses to save love interest Rachel Dawes instead of Harvey Dent and Dent yells at his rescuers that they should rescue her (then again, he is in love with Rachel). Rachel ends up dying and Harvey continues to live, though he dies at the end of the film anyways.
    • The only corrupt cop on Maroni's payroll to have a sympathetic motive for being on the take is the female Ramirez, where the corrupt male cops are treated as spineless cowards. Ramirez is also the only one to face Two-Face's coin-flip judgement and live.
  • Deadpool (2016): Colossus takes the time to rescue Angel Dust rather than allow her to be blown up in the final explosion. While this fits with his chivalrous and heroic personality, he noticeably leaves all of the male henchmen behind to die. Lampshaded earlier by Deadpool himself during a montage of him killing henchmen. He struggles with the question of whether or not to kill a pair of female criminals after heartlessly murdering a ton of male ones, wondering aloud if it's more or less sexist to spare them. The film's shot to imply he decided to kill them (cocking his gun just as the scene ends) but for such a gory film, the deaths are never shown onscreen.
  • This is lampshaded in Death Race. All of Machinegun Joe's navigators somehow keep dying during every race, so he's the only racer with male navigators so as not to unnerve viewers. Also played straight in the movie itself, where we see many explicit deaths of the male racers, while (most of) the deaths of the female navigators are either offscreen or implied. By contrast, the original Death Race 2000 featured the deaths of most of the female drivers and navigators and running down women was worth 10 points more than men in all age categories.
  • In Doctor Strange (2016), antagonist Kaecilius is accompanied by a group of Mooks known as the Zealots, who consist of nine male members and two female members. All of the male members are killed before the final battle, while both female members survive, albeit experiencing a Fate Worse than Death.
  • The first death in Eaten Alive is female. It is also the only female death in the film out of 5. Of the 4 characters who meet the villain and survive, all are female.
  • Frozen (2010) features 2 men and a woman trapped on a ski-lift. Guess which one lives? The woman does nothing but cry the entire movie and survives based on luck. The men, who try to make useful contributions, are both killed.
  • Get Out (2017) features a climax with a lot of deaths. The entire Armitage family are wiped out, but Chris gives Missy a relatively tame death compared to her husband and brother. Note that Missy was no less evil than them, arguably even more so, as she was the one who Mind Raped Chris - and gets a Gory Discretion Shot. Chris ultimately doesn't go through with strangling Rose in the end scene, preferring to just leave her bleeding out.
  • Golden Swallow had an onscreen death toll of roughly 250 people (including a child!) and all of them are male. The titular Supporting Protagonist and the Hooker with a Heart of Gold supporting character survives. Of all the named characters, with the exception of one, as long as its a male with more than two lines of dialogue, they'll be dead before the credits.
  • The 1990 film version of The Handmaid's Tale begins with a short scene, not in the booknote  where Offred, her husband and daughter attempt to flee Gilead. As border security orders them to stop, Offred's husband runs out of the frame in an attempt to distract them while Offred and her daughter try to get away. The point of the scene is to explain how Offred has been forced into Handmaidhood, but the husband's behavior is extremely irrational given the situation and serves only to get him written out of the plot.
  • In The Happening, almost all onscreen deaths are male and often gruesome. Women get injured — or pick up guns — but do not die onscreen and not nearly in the same numbers. The one woman who dies gruesomely (off-screen) is established as unlikable prior to her death. Since this is about a neurotoxin released by plants in populated areas, the difference in the film's treatment of male vs. female death is particularly unjustifiable, except explicitly as an instance of this trope.
  • In He's Out There, there are three female characters and two male characters other than the killer who show up at the lake house. All three women survive and both men die.
  • Herbie: Fully Loaded: During the final race, the snobbish racer Trip Murphy absolutely has no shame if the life of Maggie Peyton is significantly affected by a car crash he's willing to commit. Thankfully, this backfired on him, and that it's HIMSELF who was affected by such type of calamity he recklessly caused.
  • The Hills Have Eyes 2, the sequel to the remake, has some unnamed woman die at the beginning, and both the female characters in the movie survive while only one out of the males does.
  • The 2007 film Hitman plays this straight with no women being killed throughout the entire film. There are sequences that deliberately spare female characters including several deleted scenes, one of which where after killing all the male henchmen and executing his target, Agent 47 leaves the room but as he does it is revealed that all the women in the room safely survived the carnage.
  • The original I Spit on Your Grave is a Rape and Revenge film, in which a young woman is the victim of a gang rape and she hunts down and kills all four men who did it for revenge. The poster tagline says that "no jury in America would ever convict her", and Jennifer's revenge is presented as cathartic and justified. A story involving a man hunting down and killing multiple evil women would have a very hard time presenting it the same way.
  • In The Immortals, the surviving male thieves works together to ensure that Gina, the sole woman on the crew, escapes by sending her out disguised as a hostage. That she is pregnant is a driving factor for them.
  • In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Dr. Elsa Schneider, an Austrian art historian and Nazi member, managed to survive further than her boss Wallter Donovan, who got killed off sooner during the climax after drinking from the wrong cup, thinking it was the Holy Grail. Unfortunately for her, due to her greed and limited adventuring skills, she also lost her own life from trying to focus more on the actual Holy Grail than her safety.
  • The main reason there are no female giants in Jack the Giant Slayer or the fact Isabelle is pretty much the only female as the director didn't want any women killed in the film.
  • James Bond showed far more emotion over having to kill Elektra King in The World Is Not Enough than he did killing Alec Trevelyan in Goldeneye. Both betrayed him and were revealed as the Big Bad, but he'd only know King for a few days and Alec was someone he'd considered a close friend and previously he'd spent a decade feeling responsible when he thought he'd been killed on a mission.
  • Up until the fourth film of the Jurassic Park franchise, no human female characters were killed and the first death (Zara) was also the only human female to die in the film. Much of this stems from an absence of human female characters in the franchise, with the fourth film being the first to have more than two in danger. This is also invoked in the first film when Ellie is disgusted by Hammond implying he should put himself in danger instead of her simply because he's a man, despite also being an old man who needs a cane to walk.
  • Killer Fish plays this incredibly straight. All the women survive. Even the ones who go into the piranha-strewn lake.
  • The villains of Killers on Wheels are a ruthless gang of biker hooligans whose members consist of both male and females. But in the climax when the lead biker sends all his underlings to kill the protagonist, only for the whole team including the leader to die horribly and graphically in the process, all the bikers who dies are males. It could be justified by the biker punks' treatment towards their female members; for most of the film the lady bikers are depicted as play-girls and whores, instead of an actual attack force.
  • King Kong (2005) has this trope in spades. Ann Darrow, the beauty to the beast, is the only major female character and survives the film relatively unscathed. On the other hand, numerous male crew members (seventeen by the film's count) die in the attempt to save her - including the only two non-white cast members. Of the natives killed in the initial clash, only a man is shown shot to death. Kong does accost several women in New York trying to find Ann, but none of them are explicitly shown to have been killed or even seriously injured. Though the male deaths are treated sympathetically, the comparatively brutal and gory nature of them makes this trope seem especially egregious.
  • During the siege of Helms Deep in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and King Theoden draft every male that looks to be eight years old and up to shore up their defenses, while the women, girls, and any boy too young to fight are told to flee into the mountains if Saruman's army breaks through. We only see a couple of pre-pubescent boys throw rocks from high up on the castle walls, but the implications are hard to ignore considering the Uruk-hai's use of volley fire from their powerful crossbows. This is done in the movie, as in the book, to emphasize how desperate the situation is: without doing this there will soon be no Rohirrim, and without the Rohirrim there is no hope of victory over Sauron. Though the setup in the book makes slightly more sense, since the noncombatants are in the mountains before the fight begins. The logic in doing this, but not drafting Éowyn is that someone with knowledge of fighting needs to see to the defenses of the survivors: because Aragorn refuses to let the Rohirric culture die, just because the men have. This plays into the decision on Theoden's part to support Gondor later in the story.
    Gimli: Some of these men have seen too many winters.
    Legolas: Or too few.
  • An in-universe example in Mad Max: Fury Road, as the War Boys as a whole are taught from a young age that not only are they expendable, but that death in battle is the only way to reach Valhalla.
  • Manhunter: Will Graham's half-cocked plan at the end once he knows the killer's identity gets two policemen killed in order to rescue the final victim. The framing following the encounter shows the film lets us know it was more important to rescue Reba than to wait for backup.
  • Mother's Day (the 2010 film, not the 1980 flick it is loosely based on) has seven male characters and nine female ones. Six of the seven men die while only three of the women do - and all three women who die are presented as someway 'unsympathetic' (one is an adulteress who has been sleeping with the heroine's husband and the other two are spoilt and obnoxious rich girls and very minor characters to boot). The men who die bite it regardless of whether they are presented as sympathetic or not, and the only surviving male character, a member of the antagonistic family in question, spends most of the film out of action in a near death state.
  • Operation Crossbow: The only surviving German test pilot for the rockets is a woman (although she is a Historical Domain Character) and a female member or La Résistance survives despite getting a very harsh Shoot the Dog moment. However, the most fleshed out female character, the ex-wife of one of the scientists the team is impersonating, does die as a result of the Shoot the Dog moment. Conversely, every prominent male character who isn't a Historical Domain Character dies.
  • Planet Terror kills off nearly every male character of consequence while having all the female characters but one survive.
  • Every Predator film has the party of main characters getting gruesomely killed off except for two people: the main character and the party's sole female, how convenient! It's averted (regarding minor characters, at least) during the subway massacre in Predator 2 where it kills male and female commuters alike. Also averted if you count Alien vs. Predator and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, but then again, most don't.
  • An early version of the screenplay for The Professional provides a very clear example of this trope. The Big Bad Norman Stansfield demonstrates his status as the Big Bad of the film by coldbloodedly massacring Mathilda Lando's family, including her father, mother, teenage sister, and infant brother. The sympathetic Leon Montana and his protégé adhere to a "no women, no children" creed; gunning down random men in a park for target practice is just fine. This got toned down in the production to having Mathilda shoot just one man in the park with a paint pellet, and asking to "use real bullets next time", but the fact that the original idea was even considered is telling. Additionally, countless male mooks are massacred, together with a SWAT team (who were only doing their jobs, albeit for a corrupt boss), and Leon's contracted targets who were never depicted doing anything unsympathetic.
  • No females died in Push. There were two female villains, and neither died. They were specifically scripted to not have done anything too bad that they can cross the Moral Event Horizon. They at least didn't kill anyone, but merely get in the way of the heroes. One pulled a gun and was about to kill someone but was stopped just in time to avoid facing Karma. Conversely, all the male villains, including mooks died, regardless of whether they killed anyone or not.
  • While most of the characters survive their encounter with the killer crocodile in Rogue, those who don't are all male and the only female character to become trapped in the crocodile's jaws ends up surviving.
  • While the Saw franchise is not limited to gender when it comes to its various victims, not just those who have encountered the many traps of the Jigsaw persona, so far, more than half of them are male than female (and ironically enough, this technically includes John Kramer, the original Jigsaw, who, despite slowly losing his life to cancer, was completely killed off by Jeff Denlon in the third film).
  • Scream 4 has two instances for this trope:
    • Charlie Walker revealed himself to Kirby Reed as a Ghostface killer via stabbing her twice and expecting her to die. Ironically, he also got a two-stab treatment, as well, but it's instead given to him by Jill Roberts, a fellow Ghostface killer and his accomplice, and his is much more severe than Kirby's. To further cement the irony of Charlie's last attack, Kirby was later confirmed to have survived from her injuries in the next two Scream films.
    • After Jill's revelation as one of the Ghostface killers once she stabbed her cousin Sidney at the stomach, the former then completely kills both Trevor and Charlie, and later attacks her cousin once more, expecting her publicly renowned relative to die. All of this was done so that Jill herself could be seen as a Sole Survivor to the public (since she's envious about Sidney being that kind of person). However, later after that set-up, it's revealed that it's not just her who survived from it, but also her cousin Sidney, causing the killer to go all berserk at the height of the movie's climax.
  • In the 1972 made-for-tv disaster movie, Short Walk To Daylight, nine characters, five men and four women are introduced in a subway car before a big earthquake hits, leaving them trapped underground. The unnamed train conductor dies from injuries after being buried in rubble. Later on, as the remaining eight try finding a way out, a junkie starts acting wild and irrational due to going through withdrawal after he and his girlfriend have separated from the others to go their own way and ends up throwing himself on the subway's third rail and dying of electrocution. Afterwards, the tunnels are being flooded and the survivors must cross the huge leak by shimming along a set of pipes, and the train's motorman (the only character who didn't know how to swim) is the last to cross but falls in the water when the pipes break, where he drowns and is swept away. After one more obstacle, the rest of the survivors finally find an exit, with three out of five men dying, and all four women surviving.
  • Seemingly played straight in, uh, She Shoots Straight. Inspector Huang, the husband of the heroine Mina, has five sisters, and is the only member of the family to die halfway into the film, as a Sacrificial Lion to prove the villains as a threat (don't mourn him though — this douchebag made his wife pregnant without her consent by poking holes in a condom and slapped his own sister for raising her voice on him). And in the film's later Roaring Rampage of Revenge, as Mina and Huang's sister, Ling, teams up to take on the gangsters responsible for his demise, they pretty much killed all the male mooks including the gang leader, but The Dragon, who is the sole female of the gang, ends up captured and arrested by Mina, and still alive at the end of the film.
  • In The Spirit many male characters are killed off with their deaths often played for black comedy. All female characters whether good or bad are allowed to survive the film.
  • Splice is a very blatant perpetrator of this trope. Every major character except the females die. Dren is only killed after her Gender Bender.
  • In the original Star Wars trilogy none of the Rebel pilots or grunts are female, at least until Leia insists on going on the mission to Endor. This is particularly striking in the first film when the Rebel pilots flying against the Death Star are all male, even though the idea of women combat pilots is now widely accepted both in real life and the Star Wars Expanded Universe (such as the X-Wing Series). The special editions did add in a brief shot of a female X-Wing pilot checking in prior to the Death Star attack, but since she was apparently added just for the sake of Lucas proving he wasn't a sexist, she's never shown thereafter; certainly she isn't shown dying in an explosion like most of the X-Wing pilots that aren't Luke.
  • Thor: Ragnarok has every male member of Thor's Asgardian team get slaughtered (most completely offhandedly) by Hela. The sole female member is not only absent (allowing her to avoid being killed) but is simply never mentioned, to avoid any questions of why she didn't turn up to help, albeit because her actress was unavailable. Also neither Hela nor Valkyrie, the only female main characters, even take a single injury in the course of the film (barring Hela's final death by bloodless vaporization); the same definitely could not be said for the male characters.
  • In Titanic (1997), there are dozens of male corpses floating around in the water, but the lingering shot is on a woman with her young baby. True to the event, many men are shown choosing to give their spots on the lifeboats to women and children. The trope is even lampshaded by Molly Brown who chides the other women for leaving their men behind to save themselves.
  • The Towering Inferno: Far more men die onscreen than women. Several firefighters, all men, sacrifice their lives in the process. This trope is invoked with "women and children first", and even Roger Simmons waits for the last woman to be saved before demanding to go next. It's downplayed a bit, though. No one is safe from the fire and presumably a lot more women die than shown. We do actually see some significant female characters get killed in terrifying ways.
  • Although most of the characters in Train to Busan are killed - male and female - all of the major male characters die by the end, while the only survivors are a little girl and a pregnant woman. The film foreshadows this when the woman's husband notes to the girl's father that men are forced to make sacrifices and both ultimately give up their lives to save their family members.
  • In Tremors, the Graboids kill several people, but their only female victim is Megan. Her death is probably the least gory because instead of being eaten, she is Buried Alive and suffocates offscreen. Afterwards, there are no more women killed until the fifth movie.
  • There's only one female victim in Uncle Sam, and her death is completely offscreen. She's also never named and has about one minute of screen time.
  • Vertical Limit: Three climbers are trapped on a mountain. A six-member Dwindling Party attempts to rescue them. Both groups include one woman. Out of these nine people, only the women and one other rescuer make it back alive. The end result is that four men give their lives so that one woman can be rescued.
  • The Wolfman (2010) is a big offender; dozens of men are killed and messily dismembered on-screen while the very few female deaths are merely implied. Or, in the case of Lawrence's mother played for maximum tragedy and horror as against the mindless violence the male victims go through.

  • A little girl is looking at her dad's sword, hung over the fireplace. She asks her mum what it's for, and Mum replies "That's what makes men strong and powerful, so they fight wars." The daughter says "They believe that?" Mum says "Yes. That's why they're expendable."

  • In The Brothers Grimm version of Sleeping Beauty, it is mentioned that countless princes died trying to rescue the princess...from sleeping. Made even more stupid by the fact that she was already promised to awaken after one hundred years passed.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Chessmen of Mars, Ghek uses mind control to stop the Kangaroo Court, but must maintain eye contact; he tells Turan that they will kill Tara, and Turan overcomes his reluctance to leave Ghek to carry Tara off. Afterward, he apologizes and says if they had been three men, they could have all stayed and fought, but he could not leave her in danger.
  • The original novelization of Star Wars has a mention of men and women pilots kissing goodbye to each other before the attack on the Death Star. There are no female Imperials ever seen, although the Expanded Universe retconned this, saying the Empire was sexist. All of Jabba's thugs in Return of the Jedi are also men. In the prequel trilogy, all of the pod racers (one of whom dies in the race) and Naboo soldiers and guards in the first movie are male, plus all of the clone troopers in the second and third are male. In the case of the clone troopers, this is because they are all cloned from the same man. Revenge of the Sith subverts this trope, though, and shows both male and female Jedi being massacred when the clone troopers carry out Order 66. The fact that there are only male villains, but male and female Jedi, plays to the trope though.
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • Rand goes to considerable effort to remember every woman who died for him (including the one who died because he wouldn't fight back against the evil sorceress trying to kill them all). He also goes out of his way to avoid putting women in danger, which upsets his Amazonian bodyguards immensely. He once goes into a Heroic BSoD after a woman who tried to steal his throne and betray him commits suicide. It's not really clear where this behavior comes from, as no other male character displays this kind of hyper-chivalristic attitude and the women of Two Rivers aren't exactly delicate flowers.
    • The trope also plays out in the city of Ebou Dar, where men give women a knife on their wedding day. To quote the other wiki, "By custom, the wife is to stab the husband with this knife if he should ever displease her."
  • Starship Troopers plays this straight. There are female pilots, but all of the infantry who fight in battle are male. The movie and its first direct-to-video sequel, however, avert this and include female infantry, many of whom are killed in battle. However, the second direct-to-video sequel surprisingly played this straight. Seven people are stranded on a planet — five men and two women — and only the women survive. Also, pretty much everyone else killed in the movie was male.
  • Although inverted (once) near the end of book three, most of The Black Jewels Trilogy lives and dies (pun intended) by this trope.
  • Scott Adams lampshades this in his blog turned book "Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain", saying that the reason that the military is composed mainly of men is because their deaths aren't as much of a tragedy; if it were children, people with special needs, or other groups of people, there would be no war because it would be too tragic.
  • In Redwall, the villain hordes, while not exclusively male, have many more males than females. The hordes are usually wiped out. The male heroes/goodbeasts also have a higher rate of death or injury than the females do.
  • Dr. Warren Farrell examines this trope (which he calls "male disposability") in The Myth of Male Power, which is about the ways the system that feminists often call "patriarchy" serves to harm men as well as women. Adam Jones wrote Effacing the Male: Gender, Misrepresentation, and Exclusion in the Kosovo War, which examines the way this trope applies to discussions about victims of war. There are, of course, feminists who agree with this reading of the situation and those that don't.
  • Robert A. Heinlein has Lazarus Long defend it full bore:
    All societies are based on rules to protect pregnant women and young children. All else is surplusage, excrescence, adornment, luxury, or folly, which can — and must — be dumped in emergency to preserve this prime function. As racial survival is the only universal morality, no other basic is possible. Attempts to formulate a "perfect society" on any foundation other than "Women and children first!" is not only witless, it is automatically genocidal. Nevertheless, starry-eyed idealists (all of them male) have tried endlessly — and no doubt will keep on trying.
  • Reversed in the world of A Brother's Price, simply due to the sheer paucity of men. Someone who kills a man is therefore instantly seen as a monster; meanwhile, the deaths of criminal women and female marines alike are only remarked on in passing. There is a single case of a family where only the fifteen-year-old brother survived, and that was because spies for the enemy abducted him before the enemy killed every single other family member. This is in the backstory, and the narrative is not clear on whether the enemy would have killed the brother, or instead considered him neutral and arranged a suitable marriage for him.
  • This is very subtle, but present still in The Host (2008). Almost all of those who die are male, and they get killed off before we really get a chance to know them much.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • An iPad app breaks down the series and tracks the deaths throughout the books. Overall, there have been 1,528 male deaths, 26 female deaths, and 207 children killed. The male deaths take up 85% of the deaths in the series whereas the females only take up 2% (children take up 13%). The series has many battles in it, but it takes full advantage of killing as many men as possible while keeping the females very clearly out of harm's way.
    • Early on in the first book one instance introduces the recurring character Osha, a wildling who is found running through the woods with a gang of other wildlings when they come across a young Stark. They try and steal his horse but are interrupted by the young Stark's brother. He and his partner kill all the wildlings except Osha, but in an aversion, there was another woman with them who was killed (unceremoniously) by Grey Wind the direwolf along with the three men (one of whom has more focus and is the only one besides Osha named). Played straighter in the TV-Series adaptation, where Osha is the only woman and there are two men who die.
  • In The First Law, Inquisitor Glokta ruthlessly interrogates, tortures, exiles, and/or orders the death of numerous people throughout the books. The first time he shows mercy is also the first time they show him interrogating a woman. Even he can't explain why he spares her.
  • In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Father Christmas provides Susan and Lucy with weapons (a bow and arrows for Susan, a dagger for Lucy) but warns them that they are to be used only as a last resort because "battles are ugly when women fight". Their brother Peter gets a sword and shield and no such warning against using them proactively, presumably because it's somehow less "ugly" when it's men doing the fighting and dying. Or in this case, a boy doing the fighing and dying—though older than his sisters, Peter is only thirteen.
  • In the sci-fi short story The Cold Equations the male protagonist highlights how if it had been a male stowaway on board he'd have promptly tossed him out an airlock without a second thought no matter how young and how much life he had ahead of him, but because it's a teenage girl he promptly agonizes over the tragic loss and about her future she'll never have and wastes a fair amount of time struggling with things before killing her.
  • Literally the case on Lyrane II in Second Stage Lensmen, where the males exist only for the purpose of procreation, and when they have sired enough children they are killed via mind-blast. It is implied that the males have zero intelligence. They are stated to be physically much smaller and weaker than persons (all of whom are biological females), and extremely violent.
  • In Shadow of the Conqueror, characters who are meant to be in the right, such as Ahrek, treat killing a woman under a given set of circumstances as a much bigger deal than if she'd been a man. It might be worth mentioning that the author is Mormon.
  • In How Not to Summon a Demon Lord, male antagonists are usually evil due to arrogance (sometimes to the point of believing themselves actual gods), greed, or a desire for power. They all wind up dead by the end of their arcs. Female antagonists, on the other hand, end up being evil because it's their duty to follow someone or they've been driven to misanthropy due to cruel treatment by other people and end up being redeemed and surviving as friends of the protagonists.
  • Harvest Home: A strange example where both this and Men Are Better Than Women apply. All of the women, including the protagonist's wife, are sex-crazed, murderous, and absolutely willing to kill their husbands and other men just so that they can be impregnated during Harvest Home. However, due to being (at least in theory) a secret matriarchy, women's lives are much more highly prized (and also because, being weaker than men, women comply with the rituals). The only woman to die is stated to have committed suicide, and one was murdered by only years before the main story. However, the ritual of Harvest Home has the killing of the Corn King in its premise, and they also murder several male rebels, and maim at least two of their own husbands to leave them unable to see or talk.
  • The Pale Horse: The character Ariadne Oliver (considered by many to be a self-insert of author Agatha Christie) pretty much just comes out and says this directly. In her case, she's talking specifically about how audiences will react to the death of a male character versus the death of a female character. From the tone and presentation of the remark, one gets the impression that Christie is lampooning this particular mindset.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A movie or TV show is much more likely to get its rating pegged up a notch for violence if it is directed against women. For example, the content advisory for The Sopranos warns: "Very strong brutal violence, sometimes even directed at women."

  • 24:
    • In Day 6, CTU is attacked (again) by a group of Chinese mercenaries who take everyone hostage and ask for the person in charge to step forward. This is a woman, but her love interest steps up and claims to be the boss, and is promptly shot. When the lead captor finds out that the woman is in charge, he tells her to stand up, asks her about it... and then tells her to sit back down.
    • Out of the numerous characters Jack has killed from mooks to major characters, only 4 have been female.
    • Out of every main cast member to get killed on the show past and present, 11 have been malenote , while 7 have been femalenote . Though it's worth noting that until Day 6, the male ratio was actually smaller than the female ratio.
  • Babylon 5:
    • In an episode, Ivanova futilely tries to prevent one ship from firing on another by crying out, "There are women and children on board!" This is an especially weird example since Ivanova herself is a woman and never hesitates to put herself in danger even if it's something a male character could take care of. Either she was trying to play on the shooters' sexism, or she somehow forgot that "women and children" is not a synonym for "civilians" despite being a woman and a soldier herself.
    • Na'Toth, a female Narn and a warrior, has done the same thing. This is even more strange than the Ivanova example since one would assume the Narn don't carry the same cultural baggage we Humans do, and wouldn't necessarily consider women to be more helpless than men by default. Narn women all seem to be tough as their men, with no indication of sexist norms in their culture.
  • In the beginning scenes of the pilot episode of Caprica, a man is shot dead by a woman who fires multiple bullets into his chest while laughing. There is a later scene of a woman being stabbed, complete with a Gory Discretion Shot; this scene causes the protagonist's double to suffer traumatic stress, fail her mission, is later discussed in detail and becomes an emotional pivot point for the plot and characterization of the society.
  • Charmed:
    • Overall, the sisters are determined to protect any innocent in danger from demons, and both male and female victims are treated with equal sympathy. However, Asshole Victims tend to be male, such as the human that Phoebe arranges to be killed by demons in "Hyde School Reunion".
    • Exploited in one episode, where Billie accidentally gets turned into a Straw Feminist who wants to commit Gendercide. A demon looking to take advantage of the power is advised to lure Billie out by attacking an innocent, and is told it has to be a woman.
  • An early episode of Criminal Minds, "Natural Born Killer", had a mob hitman/serial killer who enjoyed killing men, but is noted by the profilers to dislike killing women, only doing it when it's necessary in the course of business. This is justified when it's revealed that the killer had an extremely abusive father but a mother who, while also a victim of the abuse, tried to protect her son.
  • Dexter does not frequently kill female criminals. Women who die on the show are usually the target of the villains, to show they are more evil than Dexter.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The only characters to survive "The Caves of Androzani" are female.
    • In "Dalek", large numbers of male redshirts are electrocuted on screen. By contrast, a female officer gets a discretion shot.
    • In "Tooth and Claw", the only victims of the alien werewolf were male.
    • Inverted in "42". Only two male crewmembers survive — the only female to survive is Martha.
    • Inverted once again in "Voyage of the Damned". All of the survivors were male.
    • In "Journey's End", when the Doctor's soul is revealed, he flashbacks through all the secondary characters whose deaths he was indirectly responsible for. Although a good number of men have died throughout the series, apparently only the women are noteworthy as they comprise a vast majority of the deaths he regrets.
    • In the 2010 and 2011 series, Rory is used for this. Repeatedly.
    • Since the 2005 reboot, it's been common to portray Unit as having a primarily female hig-command, likely to counter earlier portrayals of that organization as universally male. This got to the point where no men were present at all in the Unit nerve center, while nearly all of their uniformed field operatives, the ones routinely killed by the menace of the week, were male.
  • Generation Kill: The main characters are passing a series of corpses lining the road. One of the characters points out a particularly mutilated corpse and says, with glee, "Dude, look at that guy!" Another character says "That's not a guy", and a horrified silence descends as they realize it's a young woman.
  • On Lost several male members of the others are killed by the survivors but are quickly forgotten about, however after a minor female other named Colleen Pickett is killed by Sun we see the others give her a big funeral. Of course Col death would have some lasting consequences considering that her husband Danny Pickett was the Jailer of Kate and Sawyer.
  • In the Mayday episode "Behind Closed Doors" McDonnald Douglas's DC-10s have a faulty door latch that causes Turkish Airlines Flight 981 to crash. Everyone aboard is killed, including men. You'd never know that from the show's final montage however because it only includes shots of female passengers.
  • In the Merlin episode "Excalibur" the Big Bad is extorting food from the peasants and punches a woman who tries to stop him. A man runs out to save her and is shot with a crossbow. The camera lingers on the woman, and another man is shown coming to her aid and holding her; the man shot with the crossbow is apparently irrelevant as he isn't seen again nor is it shown that anyone comes to his aid. It's obvious that the audience is expected to worry more about a woman getting punched then a man being shot in the chest with a crossbow.
  • Parodied in a Monty Python's Flying Circus skit: A ship is sinking and the captain is announcing "Abandon Ship, women and children first!" cut to the bridge, where the Captain and crew are busily disguising themselves as women and children. It's made even more comical when they run out of dresses and school uniforms and start using other costumes ending in a debate over whether Eric Idle's costume represents a Flemish merchant or the "complete realization of the ideal Renaissance man."
  • Once Upon a Time: Few female characters die during the show.
    • So far, Cinderella's fairy godmother and Maleficent. Although the show plays this trope straight in that far more men die, and all the mooks cut down are male, there's an emotional subversion in that neither of the female deaths is counted as particularly heinous, whereas some male deaths are hugely emotional and serve as Start of Darkness or other important moments for the female mains.
    • The series gets much more equal later on with Mila (who's death is a major motivating factor for another character), Cora, Zelena, Ingrid, in the backstory, Helga and Cruella. Though it does also bring Maleficent and Zelena back. Cora (the first major female character to die), possibly tying into the biological existence of this trope, is well past childbearing age too.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): Played to its horrific extreme in "Lithia." The show opens with a male soldier, seemingly the Sole Survivor of the male gender, entering an all-female village, without warning or fanfare, and collapsing from exposure to the elements. Note that just moments before his arrival, the girls' teacher was sharing stories with a room full of small children that could easily fit with the most radical of Taliban doctrine if the genders were reversed. After the entire episode shows just how badly things could go in that kind of environment, the ending goes and shows that there are other men, all in cryostasis, and the narrator basically proclaims that humanity doesn't really need the male gender, aside from being a Glorified Sperm Donor. Of course, if the other men mentioned were re-introduced into society like he was, it's a small wonder the attempts were horrific failures.
  • Primeval was an egregious user of this trope. All deaths in the first series were male; while this is understandable in the case of special ops all the civilians killed were also male. Later the show became marginally more egalitarian in terms of victims.
  • In The Silent Sea, all and only the female characters – Dr. Song, Dr. Hong, and Luna – survive to the end.
  • Star Trek generally plays this straight, despite the fact that men and women are supposed to be equal.
    • In Star Trek: The Original Series, dozens of male redshirts were killed, but only one female redshirt was (among women, it was more likely to be the Girl of the Week or one of the medical/sciences personnel).
    • In "By Any Other Name", an alien turns two of Kirk's crew members — a man and a woman — into identical little stones. It crushes one of them and turns the other safely back into a human, just to show that it can kill or spare at its whim. The fact that it's the man who was spared is turned into a shocking reveal, and Kirk does a little Heroic BSoD
    • In "The Maquis", a Deep Space Nine two-parter, the Maquis are shown to be about equally male and female in the first part, but in the second part, when Captain Sisko and crew raid a Maquis base and shoot several Maquis in a firefight, there are no female Maquis.
    • Star Trek (2009): Almost all of the Romulans, the villains, were male, with only a single barely visible Romulan female bridge officer played by Lucia Rijker. Starfleet, the heroes, were somewhat more equal (though the vast majority of Starfleet characters actually shown doing dangerous, action-y things were male as well).
    • Star Trek Into Darkness continues this tradition in the reboot series, with the Enterprise crew continuing to have plenty of female crewmembers while the crew of the antagonistic USS Vengeance is inexplicably all-male despite both ships being part of Starfleet, with the only thing setting them apart is a single throwaway line about the crew of the latter apparently being "private security." (Though it should be noted that many Enterprise crewmembers die in battle with no regards to gender)
    • Star Trek Beyond finally explicitly averts this on both sides, albeit to a very limited degree: The Big Bad has a grand total of two minions, but one of them is female and she's the first to die before her comrade and boss having the crashed Enterprise's saucer section fall on top of her, no less.
  • Supernatural:
    • In "Exile on Main St.", Dean is attacked by three Djinn, two male one female. He beats one to death, his grandfather stabs another and a third they trap in a sack. Guess which one was female.
    • There's also the season 1 episode "Nightmare", wherein a young psychic kills his father and uncle, and would have killed the stepmother if not for Sam.
    • There is also the hunter Gordon, who it seems every time he pops up tells a tale of how he killed/tortured a monstrous or possessed woman, just to show how terrible a person he is. Even though, as noted below, the brothers do the same thing.
    • The ratio of deaths is roughly 2:1 (male:female) throughout the series (as of S6, total of 227 male deaths to 116 female deaths). See for more details.
    • Far more men (or about double) are killed quickly to set the scene for any given episode, but Supernatural subverts this with recurring female characters. Mary, Ellen, and Jo all sacrifice themselves (rather pointlessly) to support Sam and Dean's endeavors, Pamela is killed while helping them, as is Charlie, and Ruby is obviously set to defend them with her life, whatever her reasons may be. None of these really fit the Women in Refrigerators trope either, because with the exception of Mary (and Charlie, whose death does cause some tension between the boys for Sam's getting her involved in what she was doing at the time), Sam and Dean feel bad for like two minutes and then move on.
  • The Walking Dead (2010):
    • One scene has most of the female cast sitting by a lake doing the laundry, complaining about the "division of labor" in the survivor's camp. With the exception of Andrea, however, they are all willing to allow the men to do the far more dangerous job of protecting the camp from the Walkers. When Rick suggests traveling back to Atlanta to retrieve a bag full of guns, the group that goes is all male, to use one of many examples from the show.
    • In Season 7, Negan says that he has no problem killing men, but tries to avoid killing women if he can. It's never made clear if this is just a personal or pragmatic preference on his part, although it could be a mix of both. Young children appear to fall into this category as well.

  • This trope is the subject of the song "Men" by Loudon Wainwright III:
Have pity on the general, the king and the captain
They know they're expendable; after all, they're men

    Music Videos 
  • Miserable: The ending of the video seems to take a great amount of glee showing the Giant Woman Pam/Vallery eating the all-male band. With lots of shots of each terrified man begging for his life before showing Pam/Val eat him entirely on screen with no cutting away or Gory Discretion Shot for any of them. And by the end, not only is every single man dead, but the Giant Woman gets off scott free, suffering no repercussions for what she did. It's hard to imagine an all-female band getting eaten one by one would ever end with all of them killed off, or be portrayed in such a cavalier way.

  • In the 1930s Flash Gordon radio serial, Flash is forced to chose one of the people he loves to be sacrificed. The men draw lots to decide which of them will be sacrificed, but Flash immediately exempts Dale Arden from the choice because "as a woman, she must live".

  • In Dino Attack RPG, the overwhelming majority of anonymous Red Shirts are male, and the only known female Red Shirt was merely wounded, not explicitly killed like her male peers. The only women who are killed, such as Amanda Claw, are major characters whose deaths bring great emotional impact and serve to motivate the survivors to fight even harder to defeat the enemy.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Clue VCR Mystery Game, the characters are shocked and horrified to learn that Prof. Plum had killed his wife, but they barely even blink at the fact that Mrs. Peacock had murdered several husbands. It was also implied that Col. Mustard had shot his brother, Reggie, and Mrs. White had poisoned Mr. Boddy, and again, neither of these provoked anything close to the revulsion shown toward Prof. Plum.
  • Tabletop RPG sourcebook: GURPS Lensman includes an interesting analysis of the phenomenon in the section "Women and Lenses", pp. 9-10.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • While the background material hints that there are just as many females as there are males in the Imperial Guard Army (others state that it's more 90-10, and/or mixed-gender regiments are the exception rather than the rule), most of the Imperial Guard Models are all male, with few to no female variants throughout the years. Other races tend to have one set of "female" traits for every 3 "male" traits (breastplates mostly). One whole regiment of Imperial Guard is made up solely of males as well, the aptly named Vostroyan Firstborne (made of firstborn sons). Space Marines may be this at a glance, due to genetics basically making female space marines in fluff impossible, but are largely balanced because each new initiate marine is still infinitely more valuable than 10k imperial guard women and that their Distaff Counterpart, the Sisters of Battle, are all female.
    • Also averted with the Eldar and the Dark Eldar. Where females are quite common, just wearing battle armor so it's less noticeable.

    Video Games 
  • Played with a bit, but generally averted, in the Ace Attorney series, where all victims (even Asshole Victims) are treated with at least a degree of sympathy and their murderers (even sympathetic ones) are not pardoned for their crimes, regardless of gender.
    • The first five games contain twenty-three cases and only five female murder victims: Cindy Stone, Mia Fey, Valerie Hawthorne, Elise Deuxnim AKA Misty Fey, and Cece Yew (who only was a murder victim in the backstory of the case). Three of these women are treated to far more grief than the typical murder victim. However, of the three who are given more compassion, two of them were genuinely sympathetic and plot-important characters, and the other was an innocent who was killed because she happened to possess evidence that would have brought down an international smuggling ring. Cece's role as the tragic "innocent victim" is by no means unique, nor limited to her gender; in case 3-1, for example, Doug Swallow was murdered by Dahlia Hawthorne because he tried to warn Phoenix Wright that she was stealing poison from the science lab. He is treated just as sympathetically by the game as Cece. Additionally, the discrepancy between the numbers of male and female deaths can be attributed to Truth in Television, where men are three times more likely to be the victims of murder than women.
    • It is also important to note that all male victims who are not Asshole Victims are treated to the same amount of sympathy as female non-Asshole Victims, and female murderers whose victims were male (i.e. Dahlia Hawthorne to Doug Swallow and Terry Fawles, with attempts on Diego Armando and Phoenix Wright) are not given any leniency because of their sex (the aforementioned character is arguably the evilest and most unforgivable villain in the series). Male victims are also never shamed or made out to look incompetent.
    • In regards to the gruesomeness of the victims' deaths, gender doesn't seem to factor in, and females are murdered just as ruthlessly as males: Cindy and Mia are bashed on their heads by statues onscreen, Valerie and Elise are stabbed in the back, Cece is stabbed, Candice Arme is hit in the head with a heavy bomb, Constance Courte is stabbed with an awl, and Metis Cykes is impaled by a katana; the sheer gruesomeness of the last one's death scene may have been a contributing factor to the game's M rating.
    • In one case in particular, a male character is blamed by another for not protecting one of the women who died, despite the fact that he's a Non-Action Guy, was a young rookie at the time, and she was his far more capable and experienced Mentor. However, the character blaming him (Godot/Diego Armando) is revealed to be the boyfriend of the deceased who is projecting his own self-loathing for being unable to protect his girlfriend (despite the fact that he had been in a coma during her death and was thus physically unable to do anything to prevent it) onto Phoenix Wright, who was technically, by Godot's reasoning (i.e. he was alive and conscious), in a position to have stopped it. It is neither of their faults that the victim died, and the game makes it quite clear that Godot is sorely misguided — by having the victim herself, a channeled Mia Fey point it out to him, thus saving him from himself. It's also worth noting that Godot is a character with established sexist tendencies, hence his belief that men need to protect women at all costs.
    • Investigations 2 gives us two female attempted murderers (Katherine Hall and Jill Crane) who, while incredibly sympathetic characters whose would-be victims are themselves unrepentant murderers, are not pardoned for their crimes. Once she's found out, Katherine acknowledges that her actions were inexcusable and gracefully accepts her punishment. Furthermore, while there is only one female murder victim (Crane), the male non-Asshole Victims Rooke and Cameron are treated very sympathetically.
    • Dual Destinies evens out the playing field. Including the DLC case, there are three male victims (Rex Kyubi, Clay Terran, and Jack Shipley) and three female victims (Candice Arme, Constance Courte, and Metis Cykes), and all are treated sympathetically. Debatably, the real Bobby Fulbright, murdered a year prior to the events of the game, might also count as one of the victims, adding another to the male side; however, his case is not tried in court within the game and is only mentioned briefly, never explored.
  • In the Assassin's Creed series, the in the present day Desmond only ever kills male guards and Templars, with the exception of killing Lucy Stillman through the apple; through Juno's command. Her death is treated with much concern and grief on Desmond's part. And in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Ezio only ever assassinates 3 female Templars across both games. Assassin's Creed Syndicate, however, averts this to hell and back. See below.
  • Borderlands:
    • Every human enemy in the first game is male. It isn't until the 4th and final expansion pack that you end up fighting a very small handful of female assassins. Borderlands 2 continues with this, with the only female characters you fight in the entire game being the Sheriff of Lynchwood, Laney White, Motor Mamma, and the Sorcerer's Daughter.
    • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! continues this, even having the main enemy force be led by a female leader despite her being, apparently, the only woman in her unit. The Bandit-like Scavs are all male too.
    • Borderlands 3, however, very much averts this, with the reveal trailer prominently featuring several female psychos as normal enemies.
  • Both Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 feature missions where random civilians can be seen running around during shootouts with various enemies. Despite these operations taking place in heavily populated areas, the only time women are present is in the Modern Warfare 2 mission "No Russian", where the player is directed to participate in a terrorist attack. Hungarian Resistance fighters who assist the player during Modern Warfare 3 are all exclusively male, despite seemingly able-bodied female civilians also being present during most encounters. Female mooks wouldn't appear within the franchise until Call of Duty: Black Ops III though by then they are simply present, and not treated as overly remarkable.
  • In the Dynasty Warriors franchise and all of it spinoffs, the nameless numerous foot soldiers are almost always male. The only female enemies would be unique NPCS, or one of the playable characters being controlled by an AI.
    • In all of the One Piece spinoff games, they even skip over the Amazon Lily arc, where the mook enemies would be canonically female.
  • Fallout: New Vegas averts this trope for the most part, even to the point where the main villainous faction Caesar's Legion playing it straight is treated in-universe as one of the many reasons why it's so bad. Which makes it all the more odd in the one instance in the game where it's played unironically straight: The backstory of the Bitter Springs Massacre, where the Great Khan noncombatants accidentally killed by the NCR Army are often described as "women and children" in an obvious attempt to make the incident seem even more tragic, yet it falls flat when the Khans have many female fighters that players can personally kill should they choose to take on the faction.
    • New Vegas later completely does away with the "women and children" mentality in the Honest Hearts DLC, where all of the tribes have both men and women participating in fighting and hunting, including the antagonistic White Legs that the player routinely fights against, and the noncombatants evacuated before the start of the story are referred to as "children, elderly and the sick" rather than "women and children." Most notably, one Guest-Star Party Member is a Sorrows tribe midwife who lost her husband to the White Legs during said evacuation and fights alongside the player, and if the player helps her overcome her grief, the DLC ends with her taking a Non-Action Guy as a new husband who stays close to home with their childen on her insistence.
  • It also bizarrely comes up in a singular instance in Fallout 3, where Reilly of Reilly's Rangers mentions Talon Company killing a town with "women and children" as why she thinks they give mercenaries a bad name. This is despite the fact that Reilly herself is a woman who is the highly capable leader of a mercenary team (that even has another woman in it), Talon Company having female mercenaries among their ranks, and the Capital Wasteland in general having plenty of fighting women of all stripes, many of whom will die at the player's hands over the course of the game.
  • In the Fire Emblem series, 99% of generic mooks are male, and any female enemy is either recruitable or a plot-critical antagonist. Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War and Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 are the only games to have common female mooks outside of classes that are exclusive to females (pegasus knights and troubadours), even with occasional female mooks sprinkled among the enemy forces, they were still vastly outnumbered by their male comrades. The subsequent Fire Emblem games would end up dropping the concept of liberal use of female mooks altogether. Similarly the concept of minor female bosses was only seen in Genealogy of the Holy War before vanishing for good, until decades later in Fire Emblem Engage.
  • Despite being a major, multi-million dollar defense contractor, Armacham Technology Corporation in First Encounter Assault Recon somehow managed to only employ one woman at its Fairport offices in the original game, who just happens to be the daughter of one of the company's chief scientists (the most recurring Board Member is also a woman, but she's also unseen until the sequel). When REPLICA forces storm the building, numerous office workers are slaughtered at random, and at one point the player can find soldiers dumping bodies into an elevator shaft: somehow, there are no women among them. The sequel manages to subvert this to some degree: ATC Black Ops mercenaries slaughter their way through the fake Armacham hospital indiscriminate of men and women, but the Remnants, zombified former Fairport residents corrupted by Alma are exclusively male in both the second and third games. The random favela residents running around in the unnamed South American shantytown in the third game's opening also manage to be exclusively male, as are all corpses, and all enemies in all three games.
  • The developers of For Honor said in an interview that their game should be inclusive by having both male and female playable characters. This is what they did with the heroes, though the weaker soldiers and captains are all exclusively male. That said if the soldiers speak your language (that is, they are friendly in multiplayer or are of the same faction as yours during the campaign), their mid-battle chatter will use both male and female voices despite the models being exclusively male.
  • Gears of War: The first two games and the novelizations play this straight with the military. Only men do the fighting. All fertile women are expected to reproduce to replenish war losses, while non-fertile women serve in support roles. The third game, however, subverts this. The women fight alongside the men. This is because humanity is down to its last throes and needs every available body to fight. The prequel also averts this.
  • Meta example between two games: God of War: Ascension was met with accusations of misogyny by feminist groups after players received the trophy "Bros Before Hos"note , (which occurs after Kratos seemingly kills a single female enemy), despite the fact that the two events were not directly related.note  The Tomb Raider reboot released soon after, gave players the 'Widowmaker' trophy for killing many male enemies, and received no such controversy, despite the fact that the two were explicitly related.
  • Grand Theft Auto allows the player to kill men and women at their own leisure as far as pedestrians are concerned. However, there are no female antagonists at all except for Catalina in Grand Theft Auto III, though her motives for betraying the player character is greed and nothing more.
  • In Half-Life, all of the Red Shirt scientists and security guards Gordon Freeman encounters in the game are male. Writer Mark Laidlaw joked that all of them stayed home that day because they knew something was wrong, but the real reason is that they wanted to include female scientists, including a sequence where one would betray Gordon, but the system simply couldn't support it. The Fan Remake Black Mesa adds some female scientists, but all of the Headcrab Zombies and guards are still male.
  • In Half-Life 2 the Combine Overwatch and Civil Protection units who make up the majority of the enemies the player will kill in the game are humans who are either voluntarily collaborating with the Combine or are being forced to do so and seem to be exclusively male, or at least have male character models. Then again, Combine soldiers are so heavily armored/augmented and even conceal their real voices with voice modulators, so females should be completely indistinguishable from males to the player, making creating a separate model for them pointless. The overly feminine Combine Assassin may have been cut from the game for this very reason. However, no explanation is given as to why Headcrab Zombies are also exclusively male.
  • In Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier, we meet the Aeropans in the beginning and see both men and women (no kids, though) wandering around the city. Once it's revealed that the Aeropans are bad guys, not only do they all become identical Mooks, but they all become male. Although, under all that heavy armor, it is very hard to be sure.
  • L.A. Noire has it to where you can gun down dozens of men, but a woman that shoots you you simply knock out. There is even a side mission where a woman and her two male accomplices are robbing a vault. You gun down both the males but if you gun down the woman you have to restart the mission.
  • Zig-Zagging Trope in The Last of Us. You will fight female Infected, but any non-Infected enemy you encounter will be exclusively male (the exception being a single female who the player can kill in contrast to the dozens of men). However, the Boston Militia is co-ed, and Tommy's group has plenty of armed female members. Whether it's a case of time constraints, In-Universe sexism, or simply a desire to save money by not hiring female voice actors for the mook dialogue, is hard to say, considering that while there are most definitely women in the group of enemies you face during Winter, they seem to have more domestic responsibilities. Also subverted in relation to the main characters: Joel is horrifically wounded and neutralized during the ending of Fall and most of Winter, and since the Laconic for the trope describes itself as "Male suffering is less meaningful than female suffering"...
    • Shortly after arriving in Pittsburgh, you can hear two men talking about a woman that tried to fight them off. They considered recruiting her, but they realized that recruiting a woman who already killed some of their own probably wouldn't be a smart idea.
    • In multiplayer, teams will usually consist of three men and one woman, as you can customize what items your character wears, but their model is randomly assigned each game. It is possible, though rarer, to get a team with two women and two men or even three women and one man.
  • The Legend of Zelda in the exceedingly rare times, Link faces human enemies in the series, they're always males in face obscuring armor. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time would introduce female thieves that you had to sneak by in their fortress and you also had to fight some of them to free their prisoners. However, beating the guards causes them to just run away instead of dying. The Wicked Witches in the same game are killed, however. This May be What Measure Is a Non-Human? however, as several enemies, and boss monsters are identified as female. In the rare times, Link faces human guards with their faces exposed, as in The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games, they also run away.
    • Ocarina of Time also has a subversion...of sorts, in that all of the mooks wearing face obscuring armour actually are women. However, this is never actually disclosed to the player (or Link), requring some unintended camera manipulation to see through the helmets, so it's hard to judge how intentional a subversion it is, or if it's even canon to begin with. One possible explanation is that it was intended to be revealed, but was obscured precisely because of this trope.
  • Most of the zombies you encounter in half the games in the Resident Evil series are male. This is averted in the second and third games, as well as the Outbreak spin-offs since the T-Virus escaped in a midwestern city. In the original game and Code: Veronica, the virus infected an isolated laboratory without any listed female personnel and an isolated South American prison complex that either had no female prisoners at all, or stored them on a part of the island that you never visit during gameplay. That being said, female characters are far more likely to survive than their male counterparts, even when the men are far more skilled; of STARS Bravo team, Rebecca Chambers is the squad's rookie and least competent member, yet also the only survivor, and the only woman. In fact, it wouldn't be until Code Veronica that a named female character with actual dialogue would be killed (Ada's death had been implied in Resident Evil 2 but that same implication was undone by the end of the game), and the female character in question also manages to be a villain. It wouldn't be until Resident Evil 6 that named female heroes would be killed, and to date, no canon ending involves a female player character not surviving.
  • While the Luminoth in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes avert this trope as noted in Numerical Aversions below, the Galactic Federation Marine Corps in the same game appear to play this trope almost entirely straight; of the many Marine corpses Samus encounters, only one is confirmed female, with her log entry voicing complaints that she's relegated to noncombat comms duty despite being a better shot than over half of her squadmates, and is heavily implied to be the only woman in the entire squad of dozens of marines. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is marginally better by having female crewmembers aboard Federation ships during battles, but they're still greatly outnumbered by men and all of the marines that Samus speaks to have male voices. And then there's Metroid: Other M, where there are no women in Adam's squad, and the flashbacks to Samus's time in the Federation military show that she's the only woman under Adam's command and outright states that she gets treated differently because of her gender. As a whole, the Metroid franchise implies that the Galactic Federation and humanity in general has something of a Stay in the Kitchen attitude, which is rather unexpected for a futuristic civilization. What makes this even more jarring is that the few advanced alien races seen like the aforementioned Luminoth and the Reptilicus from Prime 3 seem to follow Gender Is No Object.
  • In the erotic tower defense browser game Millenium War Aigis, the player can sacrifice their units to provide experience to strengthen others. Male units are worth three times as many experience points when used for this function than females of the same rarity are, incentivizing the player to sacrifice the men over the women. This trope is furthered by units of the two lowest rarities being exclusively male and units of the two highest rarities being overwhelmingly female; as Power Equals Rarity is in full effect, male units are more or less tailor made to be sacrificed to strengthen the females.
  • Operation: Matriarchy zig-zags the trope. The backstory involves an alien viral outbreak that sees all the women of a space colony infected and turned to alien bio-weapons, while all the men are killed or converted to machines in the sidelines. But as a result, a good chunk of the game's onscreen enemies (over 60% of them) you spend the levels shooting left and right are blatantly women.
  • For a long time, PAYDAY: The Heist and PAYDAY 2 had no female police officers or playable female robbers, so all the violence was directed towards males only. Sometime during the sequel, five playable female characters were added and female FBI agents were added as enemies, though the latter only appear for one level. The Biker DLC adds a heist where you fight a gang of bikers that are composed of both men and women. The gang member that holds the keycard in day 2 is a female that wears a mask like the players, has a ton of health, and wields a light machine gun, a weapon that is only seen on Skulldozers (Death Wish difficulty) and the Commisar.
  • In Red Dead Redemption 2, the player is tasked with tracking down five well-known gunslingers: four men and one woman. All four of the male gunslingers will be hostile towards Arthur, leaving him no choice but to duel and kill them. On the other hand, the sole female gunslinger (Black Belle) is friendly towards Arthur, allowing him to help her and ultimately settle the matter without a duel.
  • Female fighters cannot be killed in Samurai Shodown 3 and 4.
  • Shinrai: Broken Beyond Despair has seven females and three males in the primary cast, thus meaning that the death toll is likely to be disproportionately male. By the end of the night, two males and one female are dead, although it's possible to save one of the males if you make the right choices.
  • Super Mario Bros. didn't have female antagonists or mooks for a while until Super Mario Bros. 3 introduced Wendy O. Koopa as a boss character. Wendy remained the resident token female enemy for the majority of the series, though the RPG spin offs would put female antagonists more in the spotlight. Admittedly it's hard to tell the gender of most Mario enemies to begin with.
  • Super Smash Bros for Wii U has an event match that plays the trope straight. You'll face off against Marth, Peach, and Zelda and you win by defeating Marth. Knocking out Peach or Zelda is an instant failure and the two princesses will always crowd around Marth to make your job that much harder.
  • Averted in Syndicate Wars, the sequel to Syndicate: While the Unguided and the Church of the New Epoch include plenty of female fighters, Eurocorp agents and guards, as well as the Police, are universally male, barring one or two renegade female Eurocorp agents.
  • Tomb Raider (2013) starts out with eight named characters, four white men, one white woman, one Eurasian woman, one black woman, and one Maori guy. Half of these characters die before the game ends, and no, you do not get points for guessing which half. Also, all enemies are men, and the vast majority of them white (there is one black guy as well as a small number of undead Samurai). However, all the villains have actually been browbeaten into serving the malevolent spirit of a female Japanese Empress who wants to transfer her spirit into the body of her descendant for likely malicious reasons, making this an interesting case of the Greater-Scope Villain decreeing men as the expendable gender as she needs a female sacrifice to continue living.
  • Tomb Raider has female villains, but they are quite rare and only appear as boss characters that advance the plot (Natla in Tomb Raider/Anniversary/Underworld, Sophia Leigh in Tomb Raider III, Kristina Boaz in Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness, and Amanda in Tomb Raider Legend/Underworld). All other enemies in the series are men that either advance the plot or serve as nothing more than mooks for Lara to shoot. Compared to the female villains in the series that have somewhat complex motives for their goals (reshape the world in their own image, revenge, etc.), the male villains tend to go for more simple goals, such as taking over the world or gaining power.
  • Near the end of the first episode of Telltale Games game The Walking Dead (Telltale), the player has to choose between two characters to save from the zombies. They also track player choices. 75% of players chose to save Carly over Doug. Something of a cheat by the developers though: she's the only one with a gun, and the scene is laid out to look like she could save Doug better than the player character can if you toss her a fresh clip, but if you try to save him she will definitely be overrun while you're fighting in close quarters. One of the dialog choices immediately after even lets you state this was your intent.
    • Inverted in Episode 4: the player has to make a choice between helping Christa or Omid on to the moving train. Omid obviously needs your help more than Christa due to his injured leg, and even though he manages to get on board even if you help Christa she chews you out for helping her instead of him.
  • This behavior is encouraged in one of the missions in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, called Ravages of the Plague. There you pass through a village that is about to be sacked by bandits. Only one female villager appears there, and she is also the only named villager there — her name is Splendora. It doesn't matter how many male villagers get killed by bandits, but if Splendora survives, she gives you a potion.
  • In Watch_Dogs, Aiden Pierce can accidentally run over men and women while driving, and several female characters are important to the plot, including over a dozen anonymous missing/kidnapped young women who are being auctioned off to the highest bidder, and Clara Lille, whose death is important to the story. But all the high and low ranking antagonists that Aiden is encouraged to knock out or gun down are men. The Chicago P.D., which will chase Aiden if the occasion calls for it, the only women within its ranks are helicopter pilots, whose signals Aiden can jam, but not bring down. Even the criminals that Aiden has to knockout for additional money or karma points are men.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • The game uses female mooks on par with male mooks, but quests often use this trope straight. For example, in quest named "Illidari Freedom", we need to rescue some demon hunters from jail. Three male demon hunters die - one from wounds, one from starvation, one succumbs to his inner demon and is killed by us. The only female demon hunter walks from her cell like nothing happened.
    • This comes into play with the Pantheon of Death in Shadowlands, which has two female and two male members. While the women, Archon Kyrestia of Bastion and the Winter Queen of Ardenweald, are alive and well and play a major role in their zones, the Primus of Maldraxxus is missing and presumed dead, while Sire Denathrius of Revendreth is working with the Big Bad and is the final boss of the first raid of the expansion.
  • Throughout both The World Ends with You games, you can count the number of female Players you fight on one finger: Shiki Misaki. Every other female attacked in the games is a Reaper, and they are always fought in Noise form if they have one*. Male opponents, Player and Reaper alike, are of no shortage, and the Reapers are often fought both in humanoid and Noise forms. The same goes for the mooks working for the opposing teams in NEO. Explanations on this front are left to the imagination, sadly.
  • X-COM plays the trope in many ways, but straight is not one of them.
    • XCOM: Enemy Unknown can reach complete inversion levels. For reasons known only to the developers, the entire base staff of engineers, technicians, workers, and scientists aside from one personnote  is male. You can recruit as many female soldiers as you want, however, and stat-wise they're no different from the boys. You even get an achievement for sending an all-female squad on a mission, creating a situation where all the men essentially Stay in the Kitchen while the women fight and die to protect them, and this being XCOM, somebody is going to die. That also extends to terror missions, where the sex of the civilians that are killed or saved doesn't matter one bit and women are equally as common as men.
    • XCOM 2 goes even further. You can get female scientists and engineers for the Avenger, but the prequel's rules for the barracks composition and civilians in Retaliation missions is exactly the same. Also in the DLCs, the one female major character (Lily Shen) is shown to be a perfectly capable soldier, while her male counterpart in the Science department (Dr. Tygan) is a Non-Action Guy.
  • Zoo Tycoon bakes this into the game mechanics. Only male guests can get attacked by animals or drown. Women and child guests will never be attacked and if they're stuck swimming in water long enough, they'll teleport to the nearest land. If you fill your entire zoo with water, they'll just swim forever.

  • Complete aversion on all points in Dead Winter— a sympathetic male character is seen sniping a female extra, whose death gets just one panel, and you see blood spatter from the exit wound.
  • Another aversion on all counts is Digger. The hyena Digger comes to name Ed is an exile who killed his wife, because it was the only way to protect his child. Having been driven half-mad by the death of her first child at birth (which, while common to hyenas, she thought she was exempt from, since Ed was a surviving firstborn and therefore a living good luck charm), she began to beat first Ed, and then their daughter, at which point Ed realized his wife was never going to get better; so he killed her, in her sleep, to keep her from doing their daughter lasting harm, and then peaceably accepted exile because he knew that what he had done was technically unforgivable (technically because most of the tribe knew the circumstances and felt he should be forgiven, but his in-laws, lead by his wife's sister, insisted upon exile if not the death sentence). It's worth noting that Digger's hyenas are an aversion in a more general sense as well, because, being based on real hyenas, the gender roles as we know them are reversed (males are smaller and physically weaker than females, and tend to be the noncoms while women are hunters and warriors).
  • Averted in Sarilho, in which both sides of the conflict employ people of all genders, and these seem to be discarded with similar amounts of flair.
  • In xkcd, one of the characters is playing a game where he gets the life history of the people he's shooting in an FPS. The caption indicates he starts feeling guilty when one of them turns out to be a woman. Then he starts feeling guilty that he didn't feel guilty for the dozens of other guys he just shot.
  • In The Order of the Stick, when Haley, Belkar, and Celia are under attack by the Greysky City Thieves' Guild, this is played straight in the nameless mooks. There are a few women, and elves, but men dominate by a ratio of more than 5:1 and they are killed without sympathy (although Haley does mention most of the guild are jerks). Most notable when Belkar and the Cleric of Loki fight their way through a massive crowd of thieves, and all of the men are slaughtered while the lone woman gets kissed. It's inverted later after the mooks are dead, because the lone female named character, Crystal, is treated without any sympathy or redeeming features, while the level-headed and male Hank comes up with a plan to end all of the bloodshed.
  • Inverted in Xenospora. The matriarchal society of Praxis Prime measures losses by male deaths.

    Web Original 
  • In the essay Survival Horror and the Female Protagonist, it is theorized that this trope is why female protagonists are so common in the genre.
    Female protagonists of modern horror in general push the boundaries in terms of defining ‘the feminine’ and add a certain emotional touch to the genre that a male protagonist often fails to provide...
  • The Mary Sue faces this criticism for their condemning of comics and videogames where female characters are put in harm's way, yet seldom showing outrage when the same happens to a male character. Case in point, The Killing Joke is considered misogynistic filth due to the treatment of Barbara Gordon, while no mention is made of James Gordon's kidnapping and torture in the same book, and Jason Todd's ordeal in A Death in the Family,
  • A tacit example on This Very Wiki: the page image for Missing White Woman Syndrome (originally from Cracked) attacks the titular syndrome by noting in a parodic manner that black "girls" who go missing don't receive the same attention and sympathy; no mention is made of "male" humans of any race despite it being perfectly possible to make the same point that way. Apparently, saying that Missing White Woman Syndrome is bad by pointing out the lack of sympathy afforded to victimized men just wouldn't tug the same heartstrings.
  • The Bully's Pulpit article by David Graeber muses on the various reasons behind this trope in the context of real life war, violence and domination.

    Web Videos 
  • Discussed in Vampire Reviews' episode on Underworld: Awakening. Protagonist Selene is shown killing normal humans for the first time, and the movie clearly does not expect this to make her less sympathetic. Maven notes that all of her victims were male, and wonders if the filmmakers would have played a female character's death in the same way.
  • Emily Cousens discusses the Unfortunate Implications of this trope in a CBC interview.
  • At the end of every video of The Kill Count, the number of kills is divided by gender (male, female, and unrecognizable corpses/unspecified offscreen deaths). If the pie chart is skewed in one direction (usually with more male deaths per this trope), it will be commented upon. The show's host James A. Janisse has discussed this further in the Dead Meat podcast with his fiancé Chelsea, noting in the Final Girl episode that, while any character in a horror movie is in danger, male victims tend to run up the body count but women tend to get the slower and more graphic deaths. He cites Saw 3D as an example, where, while the body count was skewed more than two-to-one towards men even discounting Hoffman's Bolivian Army Ending at the end, the Golden Chainsaw award for "coolest kill" went to a female character, Jill, who gets her jaw ripped off by the reverse bear trap, and his personal pick for the most horrifying death in the film was that of another woman, Joyce, who is slowly burned alive in front of her husband Bobby despite doing nothing to deserve it and being killed only to punish Bobby for lying about his experiences with Jigsaw.

    Western Animation 
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): Such topic was even subtly invoked in the episode "Equal Fights", indirectly by Femme Fatale, where she mentions to the girls that there are less female villains in the show than male ones, which means that such comeuppance for participating in villainy is more frequent on the show's male villains (which obviously includes both Mojo Jojo and HIM).
  • Superjail! on [adult swim] makes a habit of killing male prisoners in the most graphically disturbing ways possible. One episode it depicted a woman getting shot and slumping over to suggest the chaos had gone too far. Considering this was interspersed between images of men being decapitated and graphically disemboweled, it was a particularly jarring and perhaps intentional invocation of this trope.
  • Some mild but significant examples in Avatar: The Last Airbender. In the episode "Zuko Alone", we learn that the soldiers lord their power "mostly over women and kids", this small dialogue serving both to damn the soldiers in the audience's eyes as well as gain more sympathy for Zuko and forgive him nearly killing the guy with firebending towards the end. Also, in the Grand Finale, Zuko agrees to an Agni Kai with Azula so "no one else has to get hurt", implying Katara being hurt is worse than him losing and possibly dying (this despite knowing firsthand how competent she is). Both these examples are particularly interesting as he comes from a surprisingly liberal country.
  • Spoofed in an episode of The Simpsons. Homer and Marge find that Lisa went with Marge's reporter friend to a feminism convention and go to find her, only to learn that she and the reporter went to an erupting volcano instead. Homer says "I'll go save Lisa; you stay here!" and the feminists boo at the perceived Stay in the Kitchen. So Homer says "Okay, you go; I'll stay here", and gets more boos for putting her in danger. Exasperated, he asks "What do women want?!"
  • In The Venture Brothers, OSI strictly forbids the killing of women among its agents as a way to maintain a moral high ground. Brock really doesn't understand this and asks his mentor Hunter if any loopholes exist. The only one we hear is that a vampire is undead and thus not technically alive in the first place, so he could totally kill a female vampire if he wanted. Years later, Brock is sent to kill a rogue Hunter only to find that he's undergone sexual reassignment surgery and as such is off-limits.
  • In the original Under the Hood comic, Black Mask's assistant Mr. Li is killed by Jason Todd. In the film adaptation, Batman: Under the Red Hood, Mr. Li becomes Ms. Li, who ends up Bound and Gagged by The Joker, but outside of having gasoline poured on her and narrowly avoiding being publicly burned alive (alongside Black Mask and the rest of their gang), is otherwise unharmed.

Numerical Aversions

    Anime & Manga 
  • The Magical Girl genre tends to have most villains female, either Monsters of the Week, Quirky Miniboss Squad, or both. Especially noticeable in Sailor Moon, where the [MOTWs] are 99% female and end up destroyed (the only male monsters who can't be defeated by being healed are in the Supers season, and even there they're barely a 1% of the monsters used).
  • Attack on Titan averts this in more ways than one. The Titans aren't picky about the gender of those they eat and if they get hold of a woman, she is devoured just as messily as a man would be.
  • Berserk is a notable aversion and yet a variation. While men are technically more shown dying than women due to most battles happening on a battlefield (it's a Medieval era drama), if the battle takes place anywhere else or if we're talking about executions, evil-aligned astral beings attacking villages or Apostles rampaging, women are just as likely to die and the author makes it a point to show it to us clearly and on-panel.
  • Code Geass R2 has female Knightmare pilots dying, including an entire all-female unit.
  • The hostage situation at the beginning of the second season Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex sees both men and women from the Chinese embassy held at gunpoint. Similarly, the availability of gynoids means a lot of artificial women are killed on screen through gunfights or other brutal exchanges.
    • Additionally, given her status as Section 9's lone female member, Major Kusanagi is the only one who gets her head splattered, though her actual brain was remotely controlling her body at the end of the first season. By the second season, however, she's joined an actual, permanent fatality, with one of the rookies'.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam, particularly in the Universal Century series, does a good job of keeping significant male and female death rate about the same, contributing to director Yoshiyuki Tomino's reputation. Of particular note is Mobile Suit Victory Gundam's infamous all-female Shrike Team, that dies off one by one from the moment they're introduced.
    • It's important to note that while this trope is frequently averted with regards to the main characters (which often have a relatively decent male-to-female ratio on the front lines, making aversions unavoidable) Gundam usually plays it straight otherwise. The vast majority of anonymous extras killed off, be they redshirts or mooks, are male. Most female deaths are from the main cast and are thus significant and/or tragic. This is a rather bizarre phenomenon when one thinks about it: with there being women in the main cast as members of the Federation/Zeon/Alliance/ZAFT/etc. it would seem that those organizations have no problem allowing women to serve, but when pretty much all the background mobile suit pilots, grunts, and officers are men.
    • In the Earth Alliance warships and bases. When GENESIS wipes out the Earth Alliance lunar bases you see women explode alongside men, and female wounded/dead pilots. Also see in Gundam Seed Destiny when the Earth Alliance smashes rebels in western Eurasia plenty of females are killed. Also, see the CYCLOPS system, destroying JOSH-A. You see females go plop there, and the wounded seen in the aftermath of the attack. Also the massacre at Panama's mass driver.
  • Shakugan no Shana likes to show a typical cross-section of society being frozen in time and eaten by monsters, with no distinction made or fanfare placed on any non-main character regardless of gender, age, or social status. (In other words, men, women, and children all die onscreen, and men and women die at roughly equal frequencies.)
  • In Freezing, battles with Novas require the involvement of Pandoras and Limiters, who are always female and male respectively. Battles with the Nova always involve insanely high mortality rates for both genders and the death of a Limiter is typically as horrific and emotionally scarring as the death of a Pandora.
  • In Claymore there are the yoma, man-eating monsters that disguise themselves as humans. And it is mentioned at the beginning of the story that yoma does not make any difference in the genders when they are hunting for humans.
    • However, every yoma killed in the course of the act is male. The manga explains that yoma develops because humans are attacked by a type of parasite that mutates their bodies and turns them into cannibals. So every yoma in the anime and manga Was Once a Man, at least everyone you see in the story.
    • On the other hand, all half-yoma warriors are female. In the first generation of the organization most warriors were male, but men can not handle yoma forces good. Thus, all warriors killed in the succeeding 77 generations, and during the time of the plot, are female.
    • In the anime you see more male Awakened Beings than female, so more male of them are killed. In the manga, on the other hand, there are approximately equal numbers of male and female Awakened Beings, or even slightly more female of them, who are killed.
    • The only arc in which far more men are killed than women is the one in which a band of robbers ravages the warriorness Teresa.
  • The manga series Zekkyou Gakkyuu has only girls as the main protagonists. Many stories have a brutal ending, in this way killing girls far more often than boys.

    Comic Books 
  • In The Walking Dead comic, no one is safe from dying. Men die, women die, kids die, everyone dies. In fact, the only characters from the start of the comic still alive are Andrea, Rick (who's missing an arm), and his son Carl (and the left side of Carl's face is disfigured and left eye missing cause he got shot in the face).
  • Thoroughly averted in Saga, where women are shown serving in the militaries of both Wreath and Landfall without problem. Being a woman doesn't make you any safer than the rest of the cast, and many female characters have been killed off over its run, some of them quite gruesomely.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer show the "Slayer Organization", which consists almost exclusively of women, because only girls can become slayers. During the plot of the comics, many of them are killed in combat. However, the demons they fight against are still more likely male.

    Films — Animation 
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire averts this to an almost ahistorical extent. Despite being set in 1914, the crew of the Ulysses clearly has a good number of women, note  and very few, if any besides the main characters, are seen to have escaped its destruction. Rourke's eulogy specifically mentions that the crew had "some of the finest men and women I've ever known." Rourke's Gas Mask Mooks in the climax are assumed to be all male, but they wear heavy, full-body coats and don't speak, so we can't say that for certain.
  • Antz averts this with the ant society in the film operating on Gender Is No Object, having both male and female ants as workers and soldiers, with the queen loyalist faction of the latter completely wiped out in the war with the termites early on in the movie. It should be noted that this film uses the Insect Gender-Bender as bug movies often do, and thus this trope isn't averted nearly as much as it should have been; realistically, the entire army (and the workers, and the main characters) should have been female.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The 14 Amazons has the Yang family's Home Guard unit, whose conscripts contain roughly equal amount of men and women, and during the big battle scenes there are plenty of women soldiers getting killed alongside their male counterparts. One notable scene at the end had the villainous Fifth Prince personally executing three captured female sergeants (via decapitations) and their onscreen deaths are pretty gory as well.
  • In ATM, two men and a woman are trapped in an ATM by a psychotic killer. One of the men lives.
  • The Evil Dead trilogy. Of the seven people killed in the first two movies, five of them are women. The Sole Survivor of the party is a man. Admittedly, a man who Took a Level in Badass, but still.
  • The Blade Trilogy, where female vampires get ashed in the background to no more note than the male vampires, though there are far more male vampires getting killed.
  • Inglourious Basterds: None of the female characters survive, whereas three important male characters do. Von Hammersmark's strangulation was at least as brutal as any of the male deaths.
  • In The Man with the Iron Fists the three main male characters all survive, while none of the female characters do.
  • Death Proof has a significantly higher body count for women.
  • The Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher Black Comedy Killers is amazingly egalitarian about killing off male and female bad guys. There are equal numbers of male and female bad guys and there is no difference at all in how (un)sympathetically they are depicted and how they are killed.
  • Death Race averts this numerically, but plays it straight in its use of Gory Discretion Shots for most female deaths. (Also, the rule seems to be applied in-universe to the death race itself — it's just that the race is so risky that female navigators are likely to get killed anyway.)
  • The Alien franchise has always been remarkably unbiased about the genders of its xenomorph victims. While the original plays the Final Girl trope straight (unless you count Jonesy, who is confirmed male), every subsequent film has either averted it or included at least one more male survivor. Multiple female characters are killed off in Aliens, and it ends with two male and two female survivors, as does Alien: Resurrection. There are only two female characters in Alien³ and both of them bite it. The only Space Marine that survives Aliens is a male, Hicks. And technically, the vast majority of the xenomorphs that get splattered are female, too.
  • In the theatrical cut of Justice League, a female hostage is heard having her neck broken by Steppenwolf, while none of the male hostages are shown to be harmed. This does not occur in the director's cut, indicating that the female voice over and neck-breaking sound were added during the reshoots. The body is also kept out of focus, making it difficult to determine if the hostage actually was female or even dead. Ironically, this makes the scene darker in the PG-13 theatrical version than the R-rated director's cut because no hostages were killed in the latter.
    • Both versions also have Steppenwolf leading an attack on the Amazons, which results in a high number of female causalties. The director's cut is more explicit - whereas the Amazons in the theatrical cut lock themselves in their temple with Steppenwolf in an attempt to trap him, the director's cut has the temple fall into the ocean after the Amazons lock themselves in, causing the deaths of those who stayed behind.
  • In Sanctum, the lead female character (Victoria) dies, with her dead body later seen.
  • The Shrine features two women and a man who travel to an isolated village. Only the man survives.
  • Starship Troopers featured both men and women being ripped apart by giant space bugs. One woman gets dragged down a burrow by her crushed legs, another is bisected by a closing emergency door, while another is impaled through the shoulder. The women suffer just as much as the men and Paul Verhoeven goes into excruciating detail with every kill, making it hard to really find standouts. The only notable female death given any attention is Dizzy (who was male in the novel), but even then, her death was no cleaner than any other in the film.
  • In Olympus Has Fallen, there's a couple of female terrorists during the initial attack on the White House. One of them uses a sniper rifle and you'd expect her to be the token Dark Action Girl among the bad guys. The main character just blows her head off and moves on.
  • The obscure science fiction movie Gog features a security agent investigating sabotage and murder at a secret underground laboratory. There are a number of brutal onscreen and offscreen killings by robots, lasers, radiation, getting frozen to absolute zero, etc. The ratio of male to female victims is about the same. (Quite unusual for a movie released back in 1954...).
  • In Deep Blue Sea, all three female characters are killed, while the two survivors are men. Originally, the female lead was also going to survive, but negative test audience reception to her character led to her sacrificing herself in the ending.
  • In Annihilation (2018), twice as many female as male characters are killed. The all-female Five-Man Band is completely killed off, Cass and Anya quite brutally, with the sole exception of Lena, the protagonist, in comparison to two male characters killed: Kane, who killed himself with a phosphorus grenade, and that guy in Kane's squad whose intestines had started to move. Although the team finds his mutated body later, we don't know how he actually died. The ending makes things even more confusing: although it's heavily implied that the Doppelganger pulled a Kill and Replace on Kane, the final shot suggests it may have done so on Lena as well.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier completely averts this. Female characters are seen to be shot, injured and (for background characters) killed as much as the men, most notably Black Widow and Agent 13. The movie also deserves props for having both gender as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and Hydra Mooks in the background (although in the latter's case all of the significant characters are men).
  • Warcraft has female warriors fighting alongside their male counterparts on both the Orc and human sides of the conflict, and they are killed off just as readily as the men during battle. Bonus points for the human Stormwind soldiers, who wear bulky, obscuring armor, so you won't even know they're female until they let out a death scream as they're being crushed by an Orc's hammer.
  • Of the surviving Avengers in Avengers: Endgame, two of them are dead by the movie's end, Black Widow and Iron Man.
  • Rogue One averts this across the board, the first of many deaths is Jyn Erso's mother less than three minutes into the film. We also see at least a couple of anonymous Rebel women pilots in the Battle of Scarif, and just about all of them get shot down, too. Not to mention all the women (and children) who were no doubt vaporized in the Death Star firing on Jedha. In fact, the only women who survive the movie are Mon Mothma and Princess Leia.
  • The Star Wars Sequel Trilogy is an even better aversion, where women are highly visible and numerous on both sides of the conflict. Especially The Last Jedi, which has both male and female Resistance pilots fighting and dying onscreen in great numbers as early as the opening battle, which even ends with a female bomber pilot performing a Heroic Sacrifice to win it. The First Order is a bit more ambiguous due to having Faceless Goons, but considering all the female naval personnel seen, and that the leader of the stormtroopers, Captain Phasma, is a woman, it's probably a safe bet that many of those First Order stormtroopers and pilots getting gunned down and shot down onscreen are women as well. In the first two movies all but one of the stormtroopers with speaking parts besides Phasma have male voicesnote , but it's unambiguously averted in The Rise of Skywalker, where numerous stormtroopers have female voices and get gunned down with no more fanfare than male stormtroopers.
  • Species shows us the female alien hybrid Sil. She kills approximately the same number of men and women as she seeks a human sexual partner for more alien hybrids. However, the sequel Species II shows the male alien hybrid Patrick Ross. In the course of the film, he is paired with several women, who are killed within a few hours of conception. During the film, four men are killed (the alien monster Patrick counted), but significantly more women.
  • Centurion averts this in a manner that's rather notable for a historical war drama. While the Romans accurately have no female soldiers, the Picts have warrior women, and while they're in the minority compared to the men none of the Romans hold back when fighting them, and in fact none of them survive the movie. The main antagonist Etain is a woman who exchanges some brutal blows with the main character and is ultimately stabbed to death, the Dark Action Girl Aeron gets killed via a gory Eye Scream, and an unnamed female Mook shot down on horseback is the first casualty of the final battle.

  • In Carnosaur a woman and her two children, a son Simon and daughter Fiona, get attacked by a dinosaur. Both Fiona and her mother are killed and Simon lives. The villain's henchmen later debate killing the boy because he saw the dinosaur and decide not to, with Simon's gender never entering their decision-making process. Males and females still die in essentially equal numbers but this incident of the brother surviving and the sister dying in a sibling pair is noteworthy as usually writers will seemingly choose the girl to spare and not the boy.
  • David Weber's Honor Harrington series completely subverts this. There is an abundance of female villains, including mooks. There are women serving in the navies, marines, and armies of Haven, Manticore, and every state except Grayson, plus there are female pirates, merchant crewmembers, thugs, and Havenite State Sec personnel. The women die as often as the men-which is very frequently, considering that it is a military sci-fi series. In-universe, the conservative Graysons are the only ones who play this straight, but they are gradually moving away from it.
    • For a long time in their history Graysons had to adopt this strategy as they were teetering on the brink of planetary extinction. They needed babies to survive which required lots of women having lots of babies. Due to a massively unequal sex ration between males and females, they practiced polygamy for the same purpose.
    • A major subversion occurs in "A Short Victorious War." Captain Helen Zilwicki is commanding cruiser escorting a Manticorian convoy that comes under attack by the Havenites. She orders the convoy to scatter and engages the Havenite fleet, destroying three ships and crippling one before her ship is destroyed. Her husband and four year-old daughter were on one of the ships in the convoy that managed to escape. Her daughter is confused and crying, but her now-widowed husband comforts their daughter, telling her "We're safe now. Mommy made it safe." Both of them become major characters later in the series.
  • In Percy Jackson and the Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus, male and female demigods are killed roughly equally. Likewise, the monsters killed by the heroes are about equally male and female.
    • The third book of the prequel series shows five demigods going to fight the titans. There are two boys and three girls, and two of the girls are killed, but none of the boys.
    • The Olympian goddess Artemis only takes girls as her hunters. And many of them are killed during the Sequel series.
  • Inheritance Cycle: Despite a fairly large body count and some intense torture on three of the prominent female characters, only glorified extras seem to be vulnerable to death during the series. The village of Carvahall loses a number of male villagers during the resistance, but only three old women die from cold in the mountains, off-screen and with passing mention of their names. The sole exception to this trope is the elven queen, killed during the final confrontation with the king's forces in the final book.

    Live-Action TV 
  • While 24 does play the trope straight in a few areas, female characters will still get killed as often as male characters, both supporting and minor. In addition, while there are more male terrorists and criminals than female ones, the male ones have a much higher chance of surviving: while a good number of male terrorists wind up only captured by the end of a season, even including a Big Bad or two, female terrorists will always die by the season's end with the only exception being Mandy.
  • Altered Carbon has never shied away from showing violent female deaths, including the female Big Bad of the first season, but a common criticism of Season 1 is that the majority of female deaths are gratuitous sexual violence in the form of the Disposable Woman and Disposable Sex Worker tropes, not to mention having mostly men as mooks, especially with CTAC Praetorians who are implied to be all-male. Season 2 rectifies this by not only pretty much eliminating depictions of sexual violence, but also by clearly having male and female redshirts and mooks, including soldiers, police and Quellist rebels, who are frequently fought and killed regardless of gender, with the explicitly all-male Yakuza being an outlier. Of particular note is Ivan Carrera's personal squad The Wedge, which has two women and is completely wiped out by the protagonists.
  • Angel, the spin-off series to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, differs in this respect from the main series. Even though the week's opponents are still almost always male, most human victims, especially in the first season, are female.
    • In the fourth season, a demon named "The Beast" appears, killing all employees of Wolfram & Hart. This demon makes no difference whether it is men or women he kills.
    • The series kills more female vampires than the main series. However, there are still generally more male vampires being killed.
    • Four main characters are killed in the course of the plot. Two of them are men and the other two are women. In addition, these women were the only two female members among the protagonists.
  • Boardwalk Empire, all of the gangsters who are killed off are necessarily male, but several prominent female characters have also been killed off. One minor recurring character got used as a Human Shield.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer is far more willing to kill off its major female characters than its male ones; Jenny, Kendra, Joyce, Tara, Buffy and Anya all die before the end of the final episode, whereas the only significant male good guy to die (and stay dead) is Jonathan. That said, the vast majority of the mostly-all-killed-off villains were male.

    On the other hand, it's hinted quite often, particularly by Spike in Seasons 2 and 3, that vampire feeding habits are very connected with sexuality. In other words, they kill whatever sort of person they used to be attracted to as humans (male heterosexual vampires would kill women, and so on). As a result, we could expect a relatively mixed vampire population. Nevertheless, the vast majority of the hordes of vampires Buffy kills are male. The female-male mook ratio is generally around 2:5.
  • Charmed (1998) featured its fair share of female villains and yes female Mooks, a few of which are killed off with no fanfare. The sisters themselves may count since they have each died many times, Phoebe taking the honours with nine deaths. Female innocents tended to get killed off a lot as well. Sometimes their deaths would come with emotional impact but so would deaths of some male innocents.
  • Heroes. Sylar has no problem killing people of all genders.
  • Hunters averts this by having female Nazis among the antagonists, from unimportant Mooks all the way up to the Big Bad herself (at least until it's revealed that she's Eva Braun and her husband Adolf Hitler is still alive as a Greater-Scope Villain), that are no less likely to be killed by the titular hunters than male Nazis. This reaches its height in the first season's climax, where the hunters destroy the factory that's a front for the Nazis' plan to commit genocide against American racial minorities by overheating vats of bioweapon-laced corn syrup, and both male and female Nazi factory personnel, including the female company CEO who tested the bioweapon on South American children, are shown getting horribly burned by the scalding hot syrup shortly before the factory blows up and kills them all. Very much Truth in Television, as the show is about escaped Nazis in America, and there were millions of women directly involved in the Third Reich and the Holocaust, many of whom didn't adhere to the Reich's official Stay in the Kitchen policies and most escaped justice after the war.
  • An early episode of Kamen Rider had Shocker kidnapping pet owners. The villainess of the episode made sure to note that the men would be spared for experimentation, implying that the unfortunate female captives would simply be killed and disposed of. And there were a lot of female pet owners shown lined up at Shocker's trap...
    • Otherwise, though, the show played this trope straight. The Monsters of the Week tended to be overwhelmingly male, and while there were shown to be many female Mooks, they rarely got involved in physical confrontations and were almost never killed.
  • Lost is often criticized by female fans for constantly killing off female characters. 7 of the 9 main female characters have died or are unaccounted for.
  • NCIS: According to the Wikipedia entry, ALL the regular/recurring good guys who have been killed off were female.
    • Except for Pacci, but he was in about three episodes and was promptly disemboweled... in season 1. That was in 2004. He was the only one.
    • Changed as of Season Eight as in "Swan Song" recurring character Mike Franks is Killed Off for Real, but that still does not go a long way towards evening the scales.
  • On an episode of Night Court when there is the threat of a hurricane hitting the courthouse Judge Stone tells the galley to evacuate in this order: "First the elderly and infirmed, then women, then able-bodied men!" Instead, everyone panics and rushes out at the same time.
  • Primeval began including more equality among its victims of the week from the third season onward. A museum curator is killed off with no fanfare in the premiere episode (though the show did take time to establish her as an Asshole Victim) and similar happens to a wedding planner in Season 4. Another Season 4 episode features dinosaurs loose in a school during Saturday detention. The lone girl is killed and, while the team are horrified (especially Jess), they prioritize rescuing the surviving boys instead.
  • Supernatural, anyone? Season 11 leaves only about four recurring female characters still alive (Lisa Braeden, Jody Mills, Linda Tran, and Amelia Richardson, for those curious).
  • The Witcher (2019) doesn't hesitate to show war deaths regardless of gender, with the Nilfgaardian Army slaughtering both male and female Cintran civilians and refugees in the first two episodes. And while it takes place in a medieval fantasy setting where all the soldier mooks are men, the Season 1 finale has members of both sexes from the Brotherhood of Sorcerers fighting in the Battle of Sodden Hill, and many female mages die in battle onscreen.

  • Into the Woods: The first act follows the logic of Grimms' fairy tales (albeit the gory, non-Bowdlerised versions), while the second act Anyone Can Die. This ranges from sympathetic characters making relatable mistakes (The Baker's wife getting distracted, Rapunzel panicking, Jack's mother mouthing off) to troubled anti-villains (The Witch disappearing, The Giantess going on a grief-stricken rampage) coming to tragic ends. Given the domestic focus of these fairy tales, a lot of these characters just happen to be women.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed Syndicate goes out of its way to avert this, with female Mooks fighting for the templars and rival gangs, in addition to female boss enemies and high-ranking templars. This is likely an Author's Saving Throw after Ubisoft made asses out of themselves trying to explain the absence of female Assassins in Assassin's Creed: Unity.
  • BioWare loves to avert this trope:
    • Mass Effect has plenty of female Mooks to go around. In the first game, female Mooks seemingly show up randomly and can be anything from snipers to soldiers to biotic commandos. Mass Effect 2 still has female enemies but they show up in specific roles, mostly commonly the heavy trooper class, but also as engineers and vanguards. This is likely because it's easier for the game designers to make a class of enemies one particular gender for programming reasons, although in one mission you go up against an all-female mercenary army that obviously has female characters fulfilling all roles. Finally, in Mass Effect 3, the only organic enemies you'll face (kind of) are the all-human Cerberus forces, which has two types of enemies that are always female: the Nemesis sniper class and the Phantom biotic class. And of course, allied female characters show up all over the place and are just as readily dispatched as the men by big-honking robots and machine gunners within the first half-hour of each game alone.
      • Several species in the Mass Effect universe play this straight, however, for entirely practical reasons. Krogan females stay on Tuchanka, their homeworld, and breed with male krogan rather than leave to become mercenaries, but this is because the krogan have been hit by a Sterility Plague that makes fertile females astronomically rare, so obviously they can't be thrown into the fray. The salarians also don't have any women in dangerous occupations, but this is because selective breeding habits make only 10% of the entire species female. As a result, the salarians are a matriarchy where the women are "stuck" leading the salarians.
    • Dragon Age absolutely averts this with female Mooks and characters running around in both the enemy and allied forces, even if they're numerically rarer than male enemies. Nonetheless, as far back as Dragon Age: Origins you could saw a female Mook's head off with your sword, and Dragon Age II included an Amazon Brigade street gang that you could potentially end up fighting. The Qunari don't let their women fight, but they're a largely offscreen presence in the games. The only outlier to this otherwise very clear cut aversion is a main mission in the first game where Redcliffe village is under attack by the undead and only the men of the town volunteer to join the militia and fight against them, while the women and children hide in the chantry.
  • In Bloodborne, of all the characters you can rescue in Yharnam, if you have progressed all of their quest lines, the Sole Survivor would be Narrowed Minded Man. And the rest of the women? Given the situation of Mars Needs Women brought by Oedon, how desperate you need the Umbilical Cord pillaged from the pregnants note , as well as killing the others for Caryll Rune note , and some dies on their own note , they are all dead.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops III is the first game in the series to have female combatants among the enemy forces.
  • Cytus II: The characters of the main cast who died by the end of the story are all female. Even the two guest characters Hatsune Miku and Kizuna AI did not manage to survive by the end of their respective story by either getting deleted for being an older version (Miku) or no longer having the technology and people to maintain their existence (Kizuna).
  • In Detroit: Become Human, female U.S. soldiers participate in a raid of the android safehouse alongside their male counterparts. Three of these female soldiers can be directly killed by the main characters with no fanfare. It should be noted that the female soldiers appear to share the same fully armored models as the male soldiers, and so the only way to tell the difference is through their voices.
  • Deus Ex: Invisible War was one of the first FPS's to completely avert this trope. The Order, SSC, the WTO military, and the Knights Templar all have an abundance of female combatants for the player to kill or knock out. Male Mooks still outnumber female ones, but not by a very wide margin. The only human enemy types that don't have female character models are the Arctic Templars and the Illuminati Elite Troopers. This may be the developers compensating for the lack of gender equality in the original Deus Ex, where the only female non-boss enemy is the occasional Woman In Black.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus shows female soldiers operating on the front-lines for both Deep Ground and the WRO, and while being less in number than their male counterparts, are picked off in cutscenes and gameplay. A sizable number of female Deep Ground troopers will be taken down by Vincent as you play through the game, with no way or attempt to avoid it.
    • In Final Fantasy VIII wide shots of SEED in combat we see as many women as men.
    • Final Fantasy X features the Crusaders, which is a military organization which has both male and female members. In one memorable sequence, they launch an offensive against Sin the result of which a massive amount of their members are annihilated. Women as well as men are shown being disintegrated, and the death that carries the most emotional weight out of all these for the player characters is that of a man.
    • Final Fantasy X-2 had pink-clad female goons fighting alongside green-clad male goons in the Leblanc Syndicate. Since the main characters (all women) have to go undercover in the Syndicate at one point, they would have stood out a bit more if there were no other females in that force.
  • While the lion's share of unnamed Mooks are male, in terms of named characters, Fire Emblem Fates inverts this. Due to in- and out-of-universe oddities with how the second generation characters are recruited, it's the father that needs to be present for the story to make sense, so most of the men the player recruits will only be permanently wounded rather than Killed Off for Real, whereas any non-plot-crucial female (that is, most of them) will buy the farm for real. Meanwhile, the Another Side, Another Story nature of the game means your enemies have the same fairly equal gender ration the player does, and they die in droves.
  • Fire Emblem Engage features a far more varied mix of male and female Mooks than most entries in the series, including Corrupted, although in practice this rarely affects gameplay.
  • God Hand also averts this. The only exception is in the first stage as all the enemies are men. Some of the hostages are women though and can be killed if not saved or "accidentally" killed by the player.
  • Jet Force Gemini very quietly averts this. The game's enemies are Insectoid Aliens whose gender isn't readily apparent, but multiplayer mode identifies the ant-like soldier drones that make up the lion's share of the Mooks as female. The larger termite-like Elite Mooks are identified as male, but they're a minority of the enemies encountered, making this an aversion of Men Are Generic, Women Are Special as well.
  • In The Last of Us only male human enemies are fought and killed as noted above. In The Last of Us Part II, there are about as many female mooks as there are male and Ellie can brutally kill anyone she meets regardless of gender.
  • A subversion or something in Left 4 Dead where the opening cinematic of the first game shows Zoey (a female) telling the rest (males) to go on while she holds off the tank (a big freaking zombie) and she almost dies. Yes, a young, attractive, female character almost heroically sacrificed herself. Then played straight by the second game, we see that Bill (a male) actually DID die defending the rest of the group, although he was the Cool Old Guy. The background of the story, however, hints that the females are much more susceptible to being infected than males, as males apparently possess the gene required to be immune to the virus and then become carriers. This is reflected by the fact that both teams of survivors only had one female in the group. However, you encounter roughly the same amount of females and male common infected in-game. Special Infected, however, are largely lopsided towards the male end of the spectrum, with 2 dedicated female Special Infected and around 5 male Special Infected, and 1 that has both a male and female version. This may be a subversion, however, as Mass Speculation thinks it may be due to certain hormones and chemicals that cause this, rather than it being lazy on the dev part (or both).
  • The Luminoth in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes has both their men and women being slaughtered by the Ing during the war before the start of the game. As you progress, the game isn't afraid of showing you many dead Luminoth peppered throughout every region and scanning some of them shows how both male and female Luminoth met their end.
  • Pokémon averts this among the titular mons. Among Pokémon, gender (or lack thereof) will not save you from a fight. The move Attract (which creates a failure chance on an opposite-gender Pokémon) can be learned as easily by males whose species can learn it as by the females. Further, the gender of human characters is completely irrelevant to any battle mechanic, with the only consideration being how good a trainer you are. The only difference is that characters will often have Pokémon matching their gender.
  • In Saints Row all the rival gangs are destroyed completely except for 2 important male characters Benjemin King and Donny while Tanya Winters and Lin, 2 of the only 3 important female gang members (Aisha never actually joined the Saints) both die by the end of the game.
    • Also averted numerically: enemies (whether gang members or police officers) are just as likely to be female as male (indeed, sometimes it seems most of the cops are female) and the game never makes a big deal out of it.
    • DLC for Saints Row: The Third allows boss and a female supporting character to kill literally dozens of Space Amazons with laser weapons. The whole thing is just the setting of a movie, but the weapons are all shown to be quite lethal and if boss is a woman herself, then the whole thing is a massive Action Girl Fight with no men even being seen. Still not convinced? There are two achievements for killing 35 Amazons with one of the ray guns and another for beating 7 to death with melee attacks! Saints Row may be a lot of things, but it does not discriminate against its characters.
      • The main game also had a mission called "Trojan Whores" where one of the Saints' cribs is attacked by an army of "hooker assassins" hired by the DeWinter sisters. By the end of the mission, all of them are dead and many lonely men are left without company for the evening.
  • While the mooks in Star Wars: Battle for Naboo are genderless droids for the majority of the game, the eleventh mission pits the player against Borvo the Hutt's private fleet of mercenary fighters, whose pilots have a roughly even male/female ratio. The kicker? The only indication of the pilots' genders is from the screams they make over the radio as you shoot them down, one by one...
    • On the good guys' side, there are also female pilots in the Royal Naboo Airforce who are just as in danger of getting shot down in-game as the males.
  • Among the crowds of people that try to kick your ass in Streets of Rage are a surprising amount of women.
  • Thief: The Dark Project had only male enemies, but its sequel went out of its way to avert this; nearly half of all guards, police, enemy zealot Mechanists or others were female.
  • Depending on the level you're playing, the TimeSplitters franchise pits the player against both male and female enemies. While a lot of environments, especially in Future Perfect, feature a pretty even split between genders (for example, you face both male and female security guards in the U-Genix levels), others have you exclusively fighting just one gender (you fight only male outlaws in the Wild West and an all-female hacker gang in NeoTokyo in TimeSplitters 2). This actually makes considerable sense since you spend every game jumping to different time periods; of course, your enemy set would vary.
  • Undertale has monsters and boss monsters in both genders and can be killed all in the same way if you choose to go for the violent route.
  • Warframe partially averts this. While the Corpus seem to deploy only men onto the battlefield (backed by a variety of cyborg and robot units), the Grineer have a number of female combatants- primarily either harpoon-throwing assassins or highly-armored heavy gunners. Given that the Grineer are a bunch of degenerate clones, most of whom are extremely violent and have a natural lifespan of less than a decade, it's possible that both of their genders have no actual role in reproduction and women are considered just as expendable as men. As for the Tenno... while the Warframes themselves have gender-specific physiques and are called "him" or "her" in their in-game descriptions, the fact that they are manufactured shells psionically-controlled by Operators may preclude them actually being able to reproduce.
    • Overall Zig-Zagged as on one hand, all Grineer women experience mandatory military service and are locked out of scientific and scholarly efforts, due to the stigma that such actions are considered beneath them. The Grineer as a society is a matriarchy, lead by twin queens, and although the women are required to serve, they are simultaneously given greater assistance through various augments, even when in lower rankings, while the men are generally left to fend for themselves.
  • Unlike the first game above, both Watch_Dogs 2 and Watch Dogs: Legion seems to go all the way out in averting this trope, which can be seen by the presence of rather sizable amounts of female Mooks within the ranks of almost all hostile law enforcements, PMCs and criminal gangs in the two games. All of which could be freely knocked out, beaten down or even gunned down by male playable characters including Marcus, Wrench or even Aiden himself and are generally treated in the same ways as their male counterparts. The aversion also extends to the main antagonists as well with Richard Malik being the only villains that couldn't be killed no matter the circumstances.
  • XCOM 2 is noteworthy even in comparison to other games in its franchise in that while XCOM has always been able to recruit female operatives and troops, XCOM 2 has them fighting on both sides of the conflict. ADVENT Coalition Peacekeepers can also be either male or female, which only becomes even more remarkable with the revelation that ADVENT's forces are essentially a clone army of artificially created alien/human hybrids, meaning ADVENT is deliberately manufacturing both male and female soldiers. More than that, the game even features a handful of female alien units, specifically the Vipers and the Berserkers.
  • Almost all of XIII has the player gunning down male soldiers/mercenaries/security guards etc. However, there's a select few levels in the last third of the game in which both male and female bodyguards are fought and killed without any hesitation by the protagonist. An innocent female lifeguard also suffers a particularly graphic death in the game's second level.

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue: Season 9 had female mooks mixed in among the dozens of male mooks getting mowed down.

  • A massive inversion occurs in Outsider with the elflike Loroi. Male Loroi are smaller and weaker than females and are only around 10% of the population, thus they have no real function in society besides highly protected breeding stock, with females holding absolute power and doing everything, including being warriors. And since the Loroi are a Proud Warrior Race currently involved in a brutal war against a rival alien empire, that inevitably means countless women fighting and dying while the men Stay in the Kitchen. Two space battles have taken place in the comic thus far and every single Loroi casualty was female. Beryl briefly lampshades this while reflecting on the differences between Loroi and humans. She believes that women being the expendable gender is the natural state for a warrior race and thus considers male warriors from other alien species to be a curious oddity, a sentiment shared by the entire Loroi race.

    Web Original 
  • A massive aversion occurs in Dead Ends. Most female characters who are introduced are killed off by the end of the chapter. In fact, by chapter 6 Foxy is the only female main character still alive.

    Western Animation 
  • Castlevania (2017):
    • In Season 1, Dracula wants to kill all humans. The show is all too eager to show the violent deaths of men, women, children or literal infants.
    • Played straight and justified in one scene of Season 2 where Dracula goes after a group of (all male) traders who "wronged" him. He wasn't targeting their wives and children, (who were already long gone by the time he found them), or any of the other inhabitants of the town for that matter, just them. However he isn't depicted as any less evil for sparing their families, just more petty. Imagine watching your entire village burn down and seeing the corpses of countless men, including your husband/father impaled on sticks just so you would see it.
    • Also averted during the battle in the penultimate episode of Season 2, where all of Dracula's surviving vampire soldiers and generals are killed by the heroes, male and female alike, although there are only two of the latter. Carmilla lampshades the lack of women in Dracula's court at one point.
  • The Legend of Korra makes sure that there are female mooks, from random robbers to villains' henchmen, in the background along with the male ones. While killing isn't particularly common due to this being a kids' show, they all get more or less the same beating.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power also averts this trope as much as possible within the limitations of a kids' show. The egalitarian Horde is presented as the epitome of Equal-Opportunity Evil, both in-universe and out, having plenty of female members in all ranks. Even its stormtrooper-esque armored Mooks have both male and female voices. The matriarchal Princess Alliance, meanwhile, averts this trope by default, and not just among the titular princesses. The Bright Moon Royal Guard appears to be composed entirely of women, for starters.
  • The Dragon Prince continues the trend of 21st century western fantasy cartoons averting this trope. The armies of the various human and elf kingdoms all have combatants of both sexes serving side by side, and plenty of nameless female Redshirts and Mooks are shown in group shots and battle scenes. While there is a severe limit on the level of violence and death that can be explicitly shown in this genre, it's still clear that female soldiers and assassins regularly fight and die alongside their (admittedly more common) male counterparts.
  • During the space battle in Wave Twisters, only a female Red Shirt is depicted having her starfighter explicitly destroyed, while a male pilot is shown to be quite adept at destroying the Mooks' fighters.

Gorn Aversions

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Lust suffers one of the more brutal deaths in the series as she is repeatedly burned alive onscreen by Roy Mustang. Compare her role in Fullmetal Alchemist (2003), where she is recast as a sympathetic villain and her death is used to destroy sympathy for Wrath.
  • One subplot in the original Mobile Suit Gundam is Char Aznable's hunt for revenge against the Zabi family. Three of the men die in explosions, one is shot in the head, but the worst is saved for last when the only woman, Kycelia Zabi, is decapitated by a bazooka. Through the glass window of a launching spacecraft in zero-gravity while floating amidst debris in a space-suit.
  • The anime Angel Cop features a female communist being shot to death. This isn't remarked upon as anything particularly noteworthy by the nearby police officer witnessing it other than an impressive display of marksmanship.
  • Berserk makes its second appearance here. In the Berserk-verse, no one is safe from a Cruel and Unusual Death at the hands of the Apostles; men, women, children, babies, pets... That is, if humans themselves don't take the job.
  • Gantz goes to great lengths to show the reader that yes, Anyone Can Die.
  • In Higurashi: When They Cry everyone dies horribly, often. It seems, however, that the women have the worst deaths.
    • That depends on your personal opinion of clawing oneself to death. Also, it should be noted that there are six female protagonists and one male.
  • In Freezing, deaths are brutal, bloody, horrifying and destructive for both male and females and battles with the Monster of the Week, the Novas, leaves fields and scores of ripped to pieces bodies of both males and females. A recent arc takes this Up to Eleven, showing both genders getting eaten alive slowly and painfully.
  • In Hellsing while the majority of vampires are male, the female share no less gruesome fates, arguably even more so.
  • In Goblin Slayer, adventurers of both genders are equally likely to be tortured and slaughtered by the goblins. Female deaths include burning a mage alive, raping a knight to death (and, in the novel, they also maim her until she no longer looks like a human being before killing her) and a goblin child brutally smashing an adventurer´s skull with a stone because she made the mistake of sparing him.
  • In Akame ga Kill!, you can see many male redshirts and mooks being killed. Also, almost all mission goals of the assassination group Night Raid are male. On the other hand, about a third of the villains are female, and nearly all of them are killed. Even among the heroes where there are significantly more women than men, they are killed equally.
  • In Brynhildr in the Darkness are all the mages you see, girls. And many of them are killed in the course of the plot. In contrast, there are comparatively few male victims. The only exception is the Arc, in which Valkyria breaks out, and immediately kills a special police unit made up exclusively of men. However, in the Arc before that, she has killed an almost as large group of female magicians.
  • The anime Parasyte shows parasites that take over human bodies, only to subsequently kill and eat other people. The parasites do not distinguish between the genders and eat both men and women. In fact, among the victims, whether they are parasites or humans, are about the same number of men as women (the parasites are actually sexless, they only take on different male and female bodies). In the course of the plot, the hero's mother is killed, while his father survives the attack. And the first victim killed at the beginning of the anime is a woman.
    • The real-life movie drives it even more to the extreme. A parasite kills fourteen girls at a school, but not a single boy.

    Comic Books 
  • The Walking Dead shows no mercy to those who die in the comic, whether those doing the killing are zombies or humans.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Antichrist: Lars von Trier hates women.
  • Exploitation films are very fond of torturing women, usually in a sexually charged way - people care more. For example, look at schlock like The Body Shop.
  • The Midnight Meat Train's first onscreen death is a woman whose head is smashed in with a meat tenderizer. Later in the movie, it gets hard to tell if it's played straight or averted because the camera rarely settles on the victims long enough to tell their gender.
  • Women end up in unpleasant traps all the time in the Saw movies — most memorably, one woman ends up chopping her own arm off to escape a trap in Saw V.
    • Played straight in the first one, where the only victim to survive the (arguably much easier) puzzle is a woman.
    • Averted by Saw III, which has all the named female characters die. The final female death is also extremely violent: the lady gets her face blown off with shotgun shells.
    • Zig-zagged in Saw VI; the victims that do live are women, and the female victims that die either could not have been saved or only have themselves to blame for it.
    • Subverted by the first trap of Saw 3D. Two men have to fight and kill each other to save a girl. Who dies? The girl. They let her die because they realize she was playing them against each other for the umpteenth time.
  • Piranha 3D may be the ultimate gorn aversion: while the victims make up both genders the many, many, many women who become fish food (or sliced in half by falling cables or get scalped by motorboat engines...) almost certainly make up more of the gore onscreen than the male victims.
  • In Annihilation (2018), the two female characters that die are killed off in extremely brutal ways by the mutated bear, one by being mauled to death (although we don't see her actually killed, we get to see her mutilated body with her throat visibly ripped out) and another who gets her lower jaw ripped off. We also get to see the Humanoid, when it's taken Lena's form slowly burned to death by a phosphorus grenade.
  • Three female characters are killed by the unstable robots in Chopping Mall. The Rich Bitch of the group gets the goriest death; her head explodes after one shoots her in the head with its laser gun.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road makes extensive use of the Gory Discretion Shot (cutting to the aftermath, having them implied or panning away to show them from a distance) for both male and female deaths; however, all the exceptions but one are male and the Big Bad gets the most brutal death by far.
  • Gladiator's recreation of the Battle of Zama in the Colosseum features several female chariot-mounted archers on the Roman side of the battle, who are just as subject to gory deaths as everyone else in the arena: One of them is bisected by a chariot wheel-blade, while another has her throat sliced open by Maximus. Though some have criticized their inclusion as being historically inaccurate, female gladiators did indeed exist during the time period the movie takes place.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones's Anyone Can Die situation does indeed apply to the female characters, and some of them do die in gruesome ways. Notable cases include Septa Mordane (slaughtered offscreen but her severed head is left on display), Ros (used as archery target practice for Joffrey), Talisa Stark (stabbed repeatedly while pregnant), Catelyn Stark (throat slashed), Shae (strangled to death by her lover), Shireen Baratheon (burned at the stake as a sacrifice), Obara Sand (impaled on the prow of a ship), Nymeria Sand (strangled and then hung from her own whip), Osha (stabbed in the throat), Myranda (thrown to her death off the battlements, complete with out of focus shot of her blood splattering on the ground), Margaery Tyrell (blown up in a terrorist attack), Lyanna Mormont (crushed to death while killing a giant wight), Missandei (beheaded in a public execution), Cersei (crushed by falling bricks). Other females do die more modest deaths however.
  • Averted in The Punisher (2017). While Frank Castle himself is extremely gallant to women in general, he won't hesitate to punish villainous women just as ruthlessly as men. Season 2 even opens with an extremely brutal fight scene in a tavern bathroom between Frank and a hit squad consisting of two women and one man, and Frank doesn't pull any punches, nor does the camera pull away. While one of the women is taken out in a way that she could possibly have survived, it's certainly not for Frank's lack of trying.
  • Spartacus: Blood and Sand - once the series moved out of its gladiator ludus setting (where any deaths would logically be males, due to no female gladiators) female characters died just as often as the males. In the Season 1 finale, Lucretia is stabbed in the stomach by Crixus as revenge for her torture of Naevia with the intent to kill her and her unborn child. In the war against the Romans, Spartacus's forces include several Action Girls who are just as likely to die as the males. Laeta is in fact the only major female character to survive the series.
  • For Toku series in general after the above-mentioned Kamen Rider to the early 2000s. Although numerically the gender ratio for villains and Monster of the Week are still overwhelmingly male, female villains and monsters, even if they appear entirely in human form (with no secondary monstrous form), are blown up on regular basis just like their male counterparts.

    Video Games 
  • Postal is a very equal-opportunity game. You can eviscerate, explode, burn, etc. any random woman you find.
  • In Soldier of Fortune, you can blow up the Prometheus Squad female soldiers in one hit just like the rest of the male enemies.
  • Being a woman in Fallout will not save you from exploding into meat chunks after taking a .44 to the face. There is even a perk that male characters can get that lets them manipulate women through dialog and deal extra damage to them in combat. If he wanted to, a male player can put 100 skill points in unarmed and take a few perks that will let him beat every evil female slaver and raider he comes across to death with his bare hands. And it is absolutely the right thing to do.
  • Dead Space. Men, women, children, babies... these games WILL kill you horribly unless you are the protagonist, and sometimes EVEN THEN.
  • God of War: Kratos doesn't care about gender. If you're a female monster/God/Fury, he will eviscerate you all the same.
  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, the stand-alone expansion to Wolfenstein: The New Order, includes only three female enemies that you will kill (zombified Pippa, zombified Annette, and Helga von Schabbs), but they are just as brutally dispatched as the male enemies, which in this game means lots and lots of Ludicrous Gibs.
  • No More Heroes: In all games, the women are killed off every bit as brutally as the men, but they are still portrayed much more sympathetically than them. Travis is still reluctant to kill women, but a female assassin tells him that it must be done. All mooks are still male, though. No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, Travis jumps from 50th place to 25th place on the assassin rankings when he defeats the high school football star's giant fighting robot and it explodes with the athlete and his cheerleaders still inside of it. In No More Heroes III, he swears not to kill a woman again after having to do it to Kimmy Love (whom he had previously spared in the second game), though he's only able to keep his promise with one of the future female opponents.
  • During an early moment in Xenoblade Chronicles 1 we see a female civilian crushed to death, complete with limbs going limp, by a mechon. Probably one of the more brutal deaths in that game as well.

    Web Animation 
  • Happy Tree Friends doesn't really have a great number of female characters to begin with — there's only four out of a cast of 23; one of which wasn't even introduced until Season Three. Despite that, the girls experience the same bloody and horrific deaths as the boys do. Petunia specifically is the victim of what is considered one of the series' most brutal deaths.

    Western Animation 
  • ''Bring Me the Head of Charlie Brown'' is a Peanuts fan film made by animator Jim Reardon when he was an animation student. Virtually all of the cast, male and female, get brutally gunned down Peckinpah-style, but Lucy gets the worst of it by far...
  • Family Guy doesn't hesitate to show violent and graphic female deaths onscreen. For example, Peter blew out an Indian girl's head and Stewie's evil clone sliced a woman in half, among others.
  • In South Park, it's common to see women die or get killed in gruesome manners (equal as men) when the masses die in some episodes. Also, one episode shows Britney Spears shooting herself in the face onscreen and she didn't die. Well, not yet at least.

Thematic Aversions

    Anime & Manga 
  • Sonic X tends to avert this trope particularly in series three, where Molly and Cosmo both die. Cosmo's death is long, tragic and beautiful; Molly's not so much, perhaps because she's only in one episode while Cosmo is a character throughout the third series. Of course, if you watch the 4Kids English dubs you'll walk away thinking they were just Put On A Bus or something.

    Fan Works 
  • Xenophilia presents a version of Equestria where, on average, female ponies outnumber the males by four to one, and in Ponyville, eight to one. Thus, historically, stallions have been more valuable simply because there are barely enough of them to go around. This leads to an inversion of the typical sexism seen in Real Life, such as a social stigma against mares hitting stallions, old-fashioned ideas about stallions staying in the fields, and so on.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Great Wall, monsters besiege the Great Wall of China during the Song Dynasty. Among the defenders are an all-female unit with an extremely risky role: they jump off the wall, with ropes attached to metal rings around their waists, to attack the monsters at close range and then get pulled back up. One of these women is grabbed and pulled down by the monsters and her bloodstained metal ring, the only thing left, is pulled up and tossed onto a pile of similar rings.
  • The 2015 Russian film "Battalion" tells a very fictionalized story of the 1st Russian Women's Battalion of Death that averts, subverts, and plays straight this trope. After the fall of the Tsar, the new Russian government recruits female soldiers. The male soldiers who have been fighting on the front for three years are demoralized and in many cases refuse to fight. The generals and the new government leaders agree to recruit women and send them to the front lines, with the expectation that this will shame the soldiers and encourage them to fight. The women are sent to the front lines and find that the men have no interest in fighting because they believe the war will be over soon and they just want to go home. The women fight in three battles. In the final battle they end up getting trapped in their reserve trench and the male soldiers get convinced to aid them and charge into battle to rescue them. (In real life, the women overran all three German trenches, but had to withdraw when they didn't get any reinforcements.)
    • There are also numerical and gorn averions here. During the battle scenes, the Germans gas, shoot, choke, beat, and stab a lot of women. All of these deaths are depicted very graphically.

  • Harry Potter:
    • Snape attempts to get Voldemort to kill James Potter and his son Harry, but spare the mother, Lily, who he loves. However, Lily sacrifices her life for Harry instead. Dumbledore even gets Snape to admit that he acted as if Men Are the Expendable Gender:
      Dumbledore: If Lily means so much to you, surely Lord Voldemort will spare her? Could you not ask for mercy for the mother, in exchange for the son?
      Snape: I have- I have asked him—
      Dumbledore: You disgust me. [Snape seems to shrink a little] You do not care, then, about the deaths of her husband and child? They can die, as long as you have what you want?
    • Inverted with the death of Charity Burbage in the Villain Opening Scene of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The previous three books each featured the death of a sympathetic male character and all these deaths were treated with great weight. In contrast, Charity Burbage's death was essentially just a plot device to explain why the Muggle Studies position is open this year and she's barely mentioned for the rest of the book (and in the film, she's not mentioned again at all). Of course, she had never previously appeared in the series, although she was quickly established as a sympathetic character. It's also notable that Snape managed to not lose any sympathy points for allowing her to die as part of maintaining his cover.
  • In The Mortal Instruments men are more likely to be killed in combat. However, it is mentioned several times during the plot that, as an example in a major battle, several women are killed in combat. The humans who are killed by vicious vampires and werewolves, but that does not happen frequently, are about equally men and women.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The opening of one episode of Growing Pains has a subversion of the "husband goes to check out a strange noise in the night while the wife stays safely in the room" scenario, where both Jason and Maggie Seaver carefully investigate a potential robber while brandishing a hockey stick and ice skate respectively as makeshift weapons, which turns out to be their son Mike sneaking back into the house after staying out past curfew.

    Video Games 
  • Saints Row again. During the final mission of the Vice Kings arc Tanya Winters (female) is confronted by Johnny, King, and Playa (all male) and brutally shot several times before King sends her plunging out the window onto a parked car below, killing her. The entire death plays out as if she were just another male boss and no one even bothers to comment on it.
  • Assassin's Creed generally has fewer female enemies, but when they do die they both usually had it coming and aren't treated with any more weight than the other enemies who get a Final Speech. The only female villain who doesn't get treated like the rest is Lucrezia Borgia, partly because the historical one lived through the strife caused by her family only to suffer Death by Childbirth, and because it's clear that she is at best an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain who loses most of her drive to do ill once her brother and father are both dead.
    • Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood has Lia de Russo, an amoral smuggler who Ezio finds standing over the body of her latest kill and hunts down and kills without a second thought. The Hellequin Caha is also dispatched by a single crossbow bolt to the back of the head without any fanfare.
    • Assassin's Creed: Revelations Ezio kills Mirela Djuric and Lysistrata, one of whom is a Romani turncoat working for the Templars and the other an Ax-Crazy thespian who kills for fun and whose targeting of male victims indicates that she believes in this trope.
    • Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag also doesn't treat the deaths of Lucia Márquez and Jing Lang as being anything less than karma. For Lucia Márquez, it's because she intended to wipe out the Taino people including a woman who was very likely her own half-sister (not that either knew) as revenge for the (probably deserved) death of her father. And in Jing Lang's case, she and feigned a romantic relationship with Assassin in an attempt to get information of a treasure cache and played to both brothers' paranoia so that they killed one another.
  • The potential first blood of Peret em Heru: For the Prisoners is a 9-year old girl being pinned against a wall before bleeding out. Indeed, should an almost-Total Party Kill happen because of your choice, the last two standing are both men.

Characterization Aversions

    Anime & Manga 
  • Variation in Berserk, again.
    • Casca is considered less expendable than the rest of the Hawks during the Eclipse but not because she's female, but because she is in charge in the absence of Griffith.
    • More literally, during the Conviction's Arc, Nina's cowardly and indecisive behavior in the face of imminent danger, even though she wasn't a main character or anything. Her failure at being useful to the group she was tagging along with (which included a child, Isidro, and a retarded thus truly helpless woman, Casca) and trying to avoid putting herself on the line for everyone's welfare was met with unanimous disapproval.
  • The Legend of Mother Sarah is an aversion in that, even though it's a woman-centered story, it doesn't treat female death (which happens quite a lot) as something to be grieved over more than male death. If anything, women just get no special treatment for being women.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Semi-averted in The 14 Amazons, which revolves around a war between the loyalists of the Ming Dynasty and the invading Tangut army. The Ming loyalist, having lost most of their army, had their Home Guard comprised of conscripts of both genders, and in the inevitable battle plenty of female soldiers gets killed alongside the males. There's a notable scene where three female sergeants are graphically executed via decapitation as well.
  • In Munich, the Israeli assassins kill a Dutch woman who killed one of their co-workers. Although they retain audience sympathy or at least remain morally ambivalent, that assassination is also portrayed as more noteworthy than the assassinations of numerous male characters and the only assassination that was questioned in-movie, which is especially interesting as she is an amoral hitwoman working for pay and thus arguably morally worse than the ideologically motivated Black September members that make up the other victims.
  • In The Sting Hooker begins a relationship with a waitress who (unknown to him and the audience) is actually an assassin contracted by The Irish Mob to kill him. She is killed before she can do it by a bodyguard hired by Gondorff. The moment itself is shocking, but there is no angst or condemnation about it - she might as well have been a male hitman.
  • While From Paris with Love features a lot more in the way of the heroes killing male mooks, Wax has no trouble shooting and killing a female terrorist and isn't demonised for it. Reese is eventually forced to shoot his fiancee Caroline when she is threatening to trigger a suicide bomb and while he hesitates and it's obviously sad it's presented as absolutely the right thing to do.
  • Walter shoots, Phyllis in Double Indemnity, disgusted at her manipulation of him, shortly before dying himself. Despite the fact that he did all the actual killing and most of the cover-up, the film makes sure to depict Phyllis as a shady lady right from the beginning and thus make her look like an evil manipulator and Walter look like a helpless schmuck.
  • Red (2010) has two villainous female characters: a rocket launcher carrying hitwoman and Cooper's boss CIA agent Cynthia Wilkes who is eventually revealed to be The Dragon. Both are killed by male good guys without pause or comment regarding their gender.
  • While many modern action films have a Dark Action Girl (who may or may not be killed) Iron Man 3 is unusual in having plenty of female Mooks in the ranks of the villain's organization who get killed off with as little fanfare as their male counterparts.
  • In Django Unchained has a female bounty hunter getting shot without any more focus than the other male Mooks in the same scene, and Django shoots Laura Candi across the room without any hesitation. Should be no surprise coming from Quentin Tarantino.
  • The Dark Knight Rises: Miranda/Talia is the main villain and nobody sheds a tear for her when she dies.
  • Halo: Nightfall averts this. Once the Condor crashes and "lifeboat rules" are brought up when the protagonists realize only two people will be getting off the Alpha Shard alive, no one mentions making sure the two female soldiers on the team - Wisner and Macer - are the ones to go. Instead, they all agree to draw straws to decide who makes it out alive once their mission is complete. Or that how it would have gone if everyone didn't start to betray one another until it's only Locke, Aiken, and Macer who end up drawing straws in the end.
    • The straw drawing scene is more of a subversion than a clear cut aversion. During the final scene where Locke, Aiken, and Macer draw straws, Macer is initially left out of the drawing not because she's a woman, but because she's the youngest one in the group, and both Locke and Aiken have something of a Death Wish at this point. She demands being let in on it though, so she draws with Aiken and Locke and ends up getting to leave the Alpha Shard with Locke. Subverted again when it's revealed that Aiken rigged the drawing so that he would be the one to stay behind and ensure their survival.
    • Also, the first character to die after the Condor crash is Wisner, who is killed off in a rather gory way. Her death is mourned by the team, but not any more so than any of the other characters once they start dying and before everyone starts backstabbing each other.
  • The few female criminals in John Wick and John Wick: Chapter 2 are portrayed as being just as dangerous and bloodthirsty as their numerically much more common male counterparts. In John Wick: Chapter 2 John faces off against two female hitwomen whom he just as brutally dispatches as the other enemies in the film.

    Live-Action TV 

    Western Animation 
  • In the Justice League episode "Fury", this trope is actually noted upon by the Amazons, as Hippolyta notes firsthand that she didn't think it was important, only later realizing her mistake.