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Men Are Tough

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Nazis, damsels, beasts and savages. Just another day in the life of the Y-chromosome.

"The greatest joy for a man is to defeat his enemies, to drive them before him, to take from them all they possess, to see those they love in tears, to ride their horses, and to hold their wives and daughters in his arms."
— Unknown, but often attributed to Genghis Khan

An Omnipresent Super-Trope and Brother Trope to Women Are Delicate. It can be assumed to exist in every form of media unless otherwise stated. For a number of reasons, fiction tends to treat men as the stronger, hardier, more reliable, and more resilient of the two genders. In most forms of human society, the assumption is that women are the more delicate of the sexes and are more suited for nurturing than the more aggressive roles undertaken by males of the species. This creates the assumption that every man is a natural badass or should be. This may be because Most Writers Are Male, or the implication that Men Act, Women Are.

This Stereotype has two forms:

  1. Unilateral: Men are naturally tough, strong, competent, capable, aggressive, stubborn, blunt, or dominant.
  2. Bilateral: Men are stronger, tougher, or more blunt, dominant or aggressive than women and/or inferior men. In this form, even if a man shows more passive, submissive, or weaker qualities, he either shows less of them than his female peers, there is a weaker man to juxtapose with him (unless he is the weaker man), or he compensates for it in some other area.

Regardless, a man being in a dominant, physical role is seen as natural while a woman in the same role is treated as exceptional. Even if a woman does take on a physical role, there still exist tropes which portray her as less tough than her male counterparts such as Guys Smash, Girls Shoot; Male Might, Female Finesse; She-Fu; or Waif-Fu.

However, the Double Standard has a negative effect for men, too. Men are often treated as the expendable gender or the only ones capable of being abusive. Further, because the toughness bar is raised for men, a Non-Action Guy will be more harshly criticized than a female counterpart. He will also have to take greater risks and perfom more physical forms of combat. In Guys Smash, Girls Shoot, he'd better be the one smashing even if he's more skilled at shooting.


Further, men are often portrayed as not being capable of anything BUT physical force to make their points. Often despite the target audience being themselves male, guys are portrayed as dumb, childlike, blunt instruments who can't do anything right if it involves becoming "domesticated". When that happens, a former badass will turn into a Jaded Washout, and possibly a Fat Slob. His only means of domestic problem-solving will involve Percussive Maintenance or Tim Taylor Technology with marginal degrees of success. When it comes to their own children, domesticated men will often be bumbling wrecks, over-compensating in aggression, or completely disinterested altogether. In short, these domesticated men are portrayed as having something "wrong" with them, due to being removed from fields of violence, power, or non-domestic achievement. In the event that a man is not acting like the in-charge, tough guy he should be, the only things that can cure him are Tough Love or Percussive Therapy (especially if the percussion is on HIM).

Also, please keep in mind that the word chosen to represent this trope was "tough". In addition to physical force or power, "tough" also means resilient, stubborn, slow to change, dense, and inflexible, which are also ways men are stereotyped. We intentionally chose a polysemic word for this trope because Tropes Are Flexible, and like all stereotypes, this one has changed (and will change) a LOT as people attempt to use it or downplay it.

No Examples Please. This should be an index of tropes, and nothing else.

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    Played Straight 
  • Accidental Pornomancer: As this trope involves Questionable Consent, it is usually male because it's less unfortunate that way.
  • Action Dad: A badass who isn't slowed down by fatherhood.
  • All Abusers Are Male: It's assumed that women are far too meek, innocent or wise to use abuse (whether physical or emotional) against men, while men are far too tough or level-headed to be susceptible to abuse. Not true.
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: No matter how strong she is, she always wants a stronger man.
  • Badass Baritone: A deeper voice makes a man sound more powerful.
  • Bald Head of Toughness: Most examples are of men in order to reinforce the idea that men are tough.
  • Barbaric Bully: Big, butch, and uncivilized bully that typically uses violence as his first response to everything. Almost Always Male and usually Wouldn't Hit a Girl, because that would look weak.
  • Beard of Barbarism: Rugged, unkempt beards are often used to symbolize wild, untamed barbarian brutes.
  • Beast and Beauty: A savage, beastly male character contrasted with a beautiful and feminine female one.
  • Bed Full of Women: A stock visual to demonstrate a character's manliness, virile nature and sexual aptitude by having a number of women in his bed, with the implication that he managed to have sex with (and often satisfy) all of them.
  • Behind Every Great Man: A great man has a woman behind him to assist his greatness.
  • Best Her to Bed Her: She's strong and he has to be stronger to win her.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: The "biggest" man is always the most talented lover. Implies that the size of a phallus is a measurement of sexual prowess.
  • Boyfriend Bluff: A man pretends to be a girl's boyfriend to protect her from predators.
  • Bros Before Hoes: Men are more reliable friends, so looking out for each other is paramount.
  • The Bro Code: Men can deal with anything other than getting involved in each others' love lives.
  • The Casanova: Getting the ladies is his passion and mission.
  • Carpet of Virility: A hairy chest is a sign of a man's potency, power, and fertility (justified inasmuch as the testosterone surge which comes with puberty drives these changes also).
  • Compete for the Maiden's Hand: Two or more suitors engage in some sort of contest to win a noble, royal or otherwise important woman as their prize.
  • Cultured Badass: Whereas a man is both sophisticated and able to kick ass. In some ways, considered the apex of what an ideal man should be.
  • Dad the Veteran: Dad fought in the war.
  • Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Child raising is domestic and so men suck at it. They're more likely to be Walking the Earth For Great Justice or some other more active pursuit.
  • A Day in Her Apron: A guy struggles to do womanly chores around the house.
  • Declaration of Protection: A man vowing to protect a woman.
  • Decoy Damsel: A woman pretends to be a Damsel in Distress to trap the hero.
  • Disappeared Dad: Dad is never around. He's either dead or has better things to do (in his opinion).
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Men are tougher, so they're expected to take abuse.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: A Man Is Always Eager, so raping one is often seen as impossible because they'd never turn down the chance to get laid. Not true.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male: Male-on-male rape is often either seen as funny or something deserved.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: A man instinctively acts to protect a woman, even a complete stranger.
  • Dumb Muscle: Fiction demands that the stronger a man is, the dumber he must be as a Necessary Drawback.
  • Dynamic Akimbo: A manly pose, done by placing hands on hips and puffing out the chest.
  • Elite Man–Courtesan Romance: A wealthy or powerful man romances a sex-worker, typically because he can afford her or she desires a better life which he can provide.
  • Engagement Challenge: A set of rules, tests or tasks that one must meet in order to prove worthy of a spouse as their prize. The prize is usually a woman, and the challenge is either imposed by her parents, gender customs or some group other than the woman herself. Part of the drama involved is that her feelings are irrelevant—she will be forced to both reject a suitor she loves if they fail, and to accept one she hates if they succeed. Can be gender-inverted, but not commonly.
  • Extra Y, Extra Violent: A Y chromosome is supposedly linked to aggression, so an extra one leads to extra aggression (naturally, women are exempt).
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: A father who forbids their child from following their whimsical or idealistic dreams, instead demanding that they remain practical and either take up the family business, find practical work, or both.
  • Father's Quest: A father has to rescue his child from being kidnapped. And usually do it as the man he is.
  • Favors for the Sexy: Men will do anything to get laid.
  • Females Are More Innocent: Women are incapable of doing anything wrong or harmful unless influenced by a man because of his aggressiveness or violent nature affecting her.
  • Female Angel, Male Demon: Angels are beautiful, kind, and merciful, and thus women. Demons are hideous, cruel, and aggressive, and thus men.
  • Female Feline, Male Mutt: Women are the delicate and graceful cats while men are the tougher and lumbering dogs.
  • Fire Is Masculine: Fire represents passion, destruction, aggression and violence, and thus is associated with men, in contrast to Water Is Womanly.
  • Girls Stare at Scenery, Boys Stare at Girls: A visual shot that is often shorthand for A Man Is Always Eager and All Women Are Prudes. She has her mind on other things, but he has his mind on her.
  • Glorified Sperm Donor: He hit it and quit it. This serves the purpose of demonstrating how desirable his "tough genes" are without any implications of domestication.
  • Good Ol' Boy: An old-fashioned, conservative male. May fully embrace and defend gender roles.
  • Grease Monkey: Mechanical work is often seen as "men's" expertise.
  • Grumpy Old Man: The way fiction would tell it, men get more antagonistic as they grow older.
  • Guys Are Slobs: Guys have no manners because they are tough instead of delicate.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Men are physically more capable, so their method of fighting is melee, while women use magic or projectiles.
  • Heir Club for Men: In which boys are the only worthy heirs, while girls don't count and are often expendable.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: A man who hates women and may use his toughness to do them harm.
  • He Will Not Cry, So I Cry for Him: A tough character (usually male) will not cry, so another character (possibly a woman or more sensitive man) cries for him.
  • Heroic Build: Male superheroes are muscular and impressive while females are fit, dexterous and buxom.
  • Hero's Muse: The hero goes off on a journey and is inspired by a woman.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: Women are more likely than men to make a Heel–Face Turn because of their innate innocence.
  • Hollywood Action Hero: Almost always male to reinforce the trope of the manly-man action star.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: A big and tough man is contrasted with a small and more delicate woman.
  • Honey Trap: A woman uses her feminine delicacy (real or feigned) to seduce or endear a man for sinister purposes. It works because this isn't the sort of fighting a tough manly man excels at.
  • Hunk: A man who is sexy because of his masculinity.
  • Husky Russkie: Russian men are often portrayed as husky, hairy, manly men.
  • I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: In which men can only think with their pants, so women naturally control them.
  • I Have Your Wife: A woman is kidnapped to motivate a man (it can be inverted, but that is far less common). At least in modern Western culture it's the one person he's publicly sworn to give a damn about above all others, so his foe's choice is well made (or sometimes not, as the case may be).
  • I'm a Man; I Can't Help It: In which A Man Is Always Eager, and should be excused for any dumb decision.
  • I Want to Be a Real Man: A man who lacks any of the any stereotypical "manly" traits wants them in order to become a "real man".
  • Jerk Jock: The athletic bully, under the impression that athletically dominant men are also assholes. Usually paired with the Alpha Bitch.
  • Jock Dad, Nerd Son: An athletic or competitive dad has an academic or geeky son as a Foil.
  • Kavorka Man: Horrible looks do not impede him from getting around.
  • Kid A Nova: A seductive boy.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: An elegant or saintly knight comes to a lady's aid.
  • The Lady's Favor: The favor of a special or noble lady is carried by a man during a difficult task.
  • Lady and Knight: A noble or special woman has a stalwart knight to accompany and defend her.
  • Leg Cling: A Stock Pose in which a powerful man stands in a dominant fashion while a woman (usually under-dressed) clings to his leg in submissive, helpless fashion.
  • Let Her Grow Up, Dear: A father exerts some sort of control over his daughter's life, because he doesn't want to trust her to make her own decisions. Often, the mother calls him out on this.
  • Lineage Comes from the Father: A child's inheritance (whether material or genetic) comes from their father or his side of the family, rather than the mother's.
  • Loved I Not Honor More: An aversion of the Wet Blanket Wife trope, where a hero has to go do something awesome or dangerous, and she has to Stay in the Kitchen. They accept, however, that the awesome and dangerous things he does are exactly what makes him the good man that she loves.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: An important character tells another important character that he's his dad.
  • Luke, I Might Be Your Father: An important character tells another character that it's possible that he's his dad.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: An important character is told by someone else that he's his father.
  • Macho Camp: Over-the-top, exaggerated manliness. Often portrayed as a gay stereotype.
  • Macho Masochism: When a man resorts to hurting himself just to prove he's tough.
  • Male Might, Female Finesse: Guys are more likely to be huge and muscle-bound for straight-forward smashing while girls are more likely to be quicker on their feet and utilizing skill in their fighting. This contrast underscores how delicate the latter are; less able to endure a hit but less likely to be hit and also the thoughtfulness and care in their actions.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: He's grounded, but boring. She's flighty, whimsical and Closer to Earth, and is on a mission to spice up his life.
  • A Man Is Always Eager: Ready for sex any day, any night, during tidal wave, in the midst of a plague of locusts, etc.
  • Manly Facial Hair: Facial hair makes a man appear tough and masculine.
  • Manly Gay: An aversion of Camp Gay. These men are manly and love men.
  • Marital Rape License: A trope of outdated morality, where a husband has a legal right and/or expectation to have sex with an unwilling wife, even if it means violently forcing her to. Sometimes gender-inverted, but that version is not as common.
  • Masculine Lines, Feminine Curves: Men are often drawn with rigid straight lines to demonstrate strength, while women are drawn with delicate, flexible curves.
  • Masculinity Tropes: A list of tropes in which masculinity is associated with being a badass.
  • Meal Ticket: A successful or wealthy person (usually a man) who provides for their less-successful (and usually female) significant other.
  • Men Act, Women Are: Men accomplish everything within the setting; women are either scenery or support.
  • Men Are Better Than Women: Women are ineffectual, dumb and weak, while men are just better at everything because they're physically tougher and mentally stronger.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Because men are tougher and "generic", they take the hits for the delicate, valuable women.
  • Men Are Generic, Women Are Special: A man in a fictional role needs some other trait to prove himself worthy of being in that role in some way. For women, merely being female itself is treated as special.
  • Men Are Strong, Women Are Pretty: In which men are expected to demonstrate their toughness, while women are expected to demonstrate gentleness and delicateness in the form of beauty.
  • Men Are Uncultured: Since men are "tougher" and more suited for action and violence, they don't know the first thing about civility.
  • Men Can't Keep House: Guys don't know the first thing about keeping a domicile.
  • Men Don't Cry: Only in the harshest of situations is crying acceptable.
  • Men Get Old, Women Get Replaced: Female characters either stay forever young and/or beautiful, or they're removed from an active role in the story. Male characters stay involved even after they've grown old.
  • Men Like Dogs, Women Like Cats: Men like dogs because they're rowdy and often used for work, while women like cats because they're delicate and graceful.
  • Men Use Violence, Women Use Communication: Men struggle to solve any problem without violence, while women use savvy and communication.
  • Messy Male, Fancy Female: Men (or male characters) are portrayed as unkempt or dirty to showcase their ruggedness or lack of domestication. Female characters are portrayed as clean and well-kept to showcase their beauty or lack of ruggedness.
  • Monster Brother, Cutie Sister: Men are tough, but they're tougher when they have a cute little sister to protect from other men.
  • Most Gamers Are Male: Men are the usual demographic when one thinks of "gamers", owing partly to their competitive nature, physical demands, and violent and/or sexual content.
  • Mother Nature, Father Science: Nature is thought of as maternal and emotional, while science is thought of as paternal and cold.
  • Mountain Man: A rugged man of the wilderness.
  • My Dad Can Beat Up Your Dad: Two children (often both boys, not surprisingly) measure each other up by how tough their dads are.
  • No Fathers Allowed: Fathers don't need to be involved in the upbringing of their children.
  • No Guy Wants to Be Chased: Men are supposed to pursue sex from women, not the other way around.
  • No True Scotsman: There are the traits Stereotypical of the "Real Man". Those who lack these traits are rejected.
  • No Woman's Land: Every place outside of the main setting treats women deplorably, so it's the protagonist's job (mostly male) to save them.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: The pinnacle of a man of service; a man who is both adept in military and societal affairs.
  • Old-School Chivalry: The old-fashioned (perhaps seen as outdated) practice of a gentleman looking after the well-being of a lady.
  • Overprotective Dad: The usual attitude of fathers towards their daughters is fierce and over-reacting aggression towards anyone who as much as appears to be getting friendly with her.
  • Pale Females, Dark Males: Men are shaded darker to demonstrate greater power/threat.
  • Parenting the Husband: A woman struggles to keep after her child-like husband.
  • The Patriarch: The powerful, stern head of a family or clan.
  • Pec Flex: Moving pec muscles used to demonstrate physical power.
  • Perma-Stubble: An unkempt look used to show ruggedness, but not to the extend of a full-on beard.
  • Pervert Dad: All Men Are Perverts. Becoming a father does not stop it.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: A subtrope of Pink Means Feminine, where boys are color-coded blue and girls pink because pink is considered "childish" or "disrespectful".
  • Pink Is for Sissies: When Pink Means Feminine, guys will avoid the color, and be mocked if they can't.
  • The Pornomancer: He can go from zero to bed in sixty seconds.
  • Porn Stache: A bushy mustache worn by authoritarian men in The '70s and The '80s. It was associated with manliness and so was used a lot in porn, whereupon it thus became associated with porn.
  • Raging Stiffie: If a man is over-excited, over-eager, or high on hormones/adrenaline, his penis will be erect at all times to indicate that he's ready for sex.
  • Rated M for Manly: A plot which oozes masculinity, in the form of violence, badassery and sexual conquest.
  • Real Men Can Hunt: Real men kill things (proving their strength and dominance) that don't want to die.
  • Real Men Hate Affection: Real men only care about logic, competition, and strength, with no use for softer emotions.
  • Real Men Eat Meat: Real men eat dead animals, either for protein, or to become the dominant predator.
  • Real Men Get Shot: Real men take a bullet to prove their bravery. They survive and prove their toughness.
  • Real Men Have Short Hair: Men keep their hair short, neat and practical, unlike the long, elaborate and delicate hairstyles women have.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: A real man can take life and suffer few repercussions.
  • Real Men Hate Sugar: Real men do not eat sweet or pleasant foods, to prove their toughness.
  • Real Men Take It Black: Real men take their coffee without milk or sugar because these things weaken the flavor and this shows how tough they are.
  • Remarried to the Mistress: A husband with an extramarital lover simply replaces his dead wife with the other woman. Beyond sometimes treating women as interchangeable, this sort of practice is often more acceptable than the inverse, since women often aren't allowed to remarry, fewer have a choice of whom to marry, and woman taking lovers is usually seen as the greatest of insults.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: A man is the more resilient and stoic partner; the woman is energetic and flighty.
  • Seme: The "man" in a Yaoi relationship is usually dominant, powerful, successful, and controlling.
  • Slave Galley: The inverse of Mandatory Motherhood. When a man is enslaved to put his power to use. Can apply to women, but is much less frequent.
  • Standard '50s Father: The wise, employed, masculine father of an ideal 1950s setting.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: A woman is barred from action and expected to stay on the sidelines.
  • Stout Strength: Muscle and girth going hand-in-hand to demonstrate power.
  • Straight Gay: A gay man who behaves like a straight man, and thus, would never be considered gay unless demonstrated or stated.
  • Supernatural-Proof Father: In a Haunted House setting, the father is usually the most "stable", sceptical, and rational member of the family—to the point of blatantly ignoring the supernatural events around him. Contrast the Haunted Heroine.
  • Talented Princess, Regular Guy: This trope tends to team up a talented "princess" with a male character who is meant to be an Audience Surrogate, due to his genericness.
  • Team Dad: The disciplinarian and strategist of a team, as opposed to the gentle and insightful Team Mom.
  • Tell Me About My Father!: Children want to know more about the Disappeared Dad. This is especially the case with sons, who typically see their father as The Paragon of masculinity and want to emulate him.
  • Testes Test: If anything bad has happened to him, a man will check to make sure his scrotum (the essence of his manhood) is still intact.
  • There Are No Girls on the Internet: Because of the wild, savage and blunt nature of the internet, women are thought to be a rarity.
  • The Three Faces of Adam: Men are categorized as symbols of power: either a hunter, a lord, or a wise prophet.
  • Tim Taylor Technology: A man thinks MORE POWER is the solution to everything.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: One side of this trope reinforces the "Women are Pretty" cliché by having an attractive woman contrast with her ugly husband. Another side of this trope implies that a rich, powerful or successful man can have any kind of woman he wants.
  • Understanding Boyfriend: A female character is freaking out or is very insecure about a perceived flaw that she has. However, once her Love Interest is made aware of it, he doesn't care and his acceptance is enough to put her at peace.
  • The Unfair Sex: Exceptions are made for women, under the assumption that it's safer or more fair for them, that wouldn't be made for men.
  • Wanted a Son Instead: A parent wanted their child to be a boy; a holdover from the Heir Club for Men...
  • War Is Glorious: In works where war is viewed positively, men are viewed as manly for joining the military and fighting for their country while men who remain as citizens are frowned upon.
  • Warrior Prince: A royal man who is also physically powerful.
  • Wet Blanket Wife: The Hero has awesome, or dangerous, things to do but his Love Interest pleads or nags him not to do it. Her reasons may be valid but they're not conducive to the plot.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Dad's gone, and the kids would like to know when he'll be back. He, naturally, has something big and important to do—raising kids is something for mom to do in the meantime.
  • White Male Lead: The most common protagonist template in Western media, as a consequence of men being considered the generic "default". It may also be a WASP. It falls under the "men are dominant" aspect of this trope because part of the dominant/centrist attitudes toward men comes from how normalized it is to see them as the center of a story or the person who drives a story. White Male Lead specifically does that, and has become so normalized that trying to get rid of it creates hostility and backlash.
  • Women Are Wiser: Men are merely blunt instruments, while women do all the thinking.
  • Win Her a Prize: A boy tries to win his date a prize to impress her with his charity, cleverness or ability.
  • Wife Husbandry: A much older man is involved in the raising/development of a young girl he plans to eventually take as a wife. It is widely ridiculed in most 21st century societies because of the inherent power imbalance and called an example of overbearing patriarchy.
  • Women Prefer Strong Men: The implication that women are always attracted to shows of power and dominance—especially physical force and musculature.
  • World of Muscle Men: A trope that almost always has a Double Standard where every man is heavily muscled but the same never applies to women.
  • World's Strongest Man: This trope taken Up to Eleven. While all men are tough, this one is the toughest of the lot!
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: A woman feigns injury or weakness to frame someone else (typically a man). As the page explains, "If you saw a wounded gazelle and a lion in a clearing, who would you believe?" Because men are tough and brutish, they are typically seen as the lion.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Because he's tough and she's delicate, a real man refuses to hit a woman, no matter the reason.

    Aversions, Inversions, and Subversions 

Tropes in this section tend to showcase a man with both tough qualities and more delicate ones, or two or more characters with juxtaposing characteristics.
  • Action-Hero Babysitter: A man is cast in the nurturing role of caretaker, but using tough, badass skills to get the job done. It is typically Played for Laughs.
  • All Gays Are Promiscuous: The logic of this trope is that gay men are still men, and thus still only want sex, but "marriage" is only for straight couples. Thus, gay men (and sometimes women) have "free rein" to act as promiscuously as they dare.
  • All the Good Men Are Gay: A character or narrative insists that all or most straight men are lustful, aggressive, and filled with Testosterone Poisoning. Therefore, women can more easily find a compassionate, wise, and sensitive guy if he's gay and thus In Touch with His Feminine Side. The female character that feels this way might become a Fag Hag with lots of platonic gay friends, or she might attempt to "turn a good man straight".
  • Beard of Sorrow: A manly way of showing emotions, usually used to show that he's lost touch with society and let his appearance slide.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: A partnership between a huge guy (usually Dumb Muscle) and a smaller guy (usually the Brains).
  • Bromantic Foil: A raunchy, headstrong, and often perverted male friend or companion which makes another male (usually the protagonist) look well-adjusted or normal by comparison.
  • Casanova Wannabe: A man who believes he's a ladies man, but has substantial flaws in his approach.
  • Caught Coming Home Late: A husband sneaks home after doing some sort of activity his wife disapproves of and thinks he's gotten away with it until he hits the light switch and she's standing in wait. Simultaneously reinforces that husbands are untrustworthy/immature liars and cheats, and that wives are nagging shrews.
  • Compensating for Something: A man who lacks a stereotypical component of an ideal man (usually penis size) compensates for his lacking in some other stereotypical manner.
  • Cuckold: A man whose woman is having sex with another person(s). The "Bull" (her lover) is almost always another man because otherwise the effect is lessened. Her infidelity is played for the humiliation and emasculation of the cuckolded man, the sexual depravity of the wife, and to portray the Bulls as "superior" men. The scenario is used for the titillation of the audience. The cultural implication is that any man who fails to satisfy his wife, and "tame" her, is less of a man while the men that succeed are "real" men.
    • Netorare: A fan term for Japanese cuckold porn.
  • Droit du Seigneur: A new bride is forced to spend her honeymoon with a more powerful nobleman before she is "returned" to her new husband. Subtrope of Cuckold.
  • Emotional Bruiser: A badass who fights with his emotions on his sleeve. It's considered unusual for pragmatic, stoic and tough males.
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: A man who is both educated and adept in culture. He may be a Non-Action Guy, but he is also rational, stable, and elegant.
  • Give Geeks a Chance: A plot in which a geeky, unmanly guy has trouble gaining female companionship. Until he finds the one girl who is different, or otherwise proves that he is manly or successful enough to "deserve" a girl. Rarely gender-inverted.
  • Hot Guy, Ugly Wife: Considered a rare and ironic inversion to the Ugly Guy, Hot Wife trope; if a wife isn't sexually attractive, then her value as a mate is considered diminished.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: A man reminds everyone that he is not homosexual, because that would be "terrible".
  • I Was Beaten by a Girl: Being beaten by a girl is considered insulting for a tough guy.
  • Little Guy, Big Buddy: A small character (not necessarily a guy) is accompanied by a huge, powerful friend as a protector (usually a guy).
  • Loser Gets the Girl: Two men fight over a woman, but unexpectedly, the one that wins isn't the one that gets her. The trope still treats the woman as a "prize", with the subversion being that the dominant one isn't the one awarded.
  • Manly Tears: Men crying or showing tears. However, these men are usually not shown as emotionally broken or distraught, and only as a moment of "weakness" or irrationality.
  • Noble Male, Roguish Male: A contrast between a more socially-adept and proper man, and a rebellious, roguish outsider. The idea is to compare two models of masculinity.
  • Non-Action Snarker: A man who is not physically tough, but compensates for it with an abrasive or cynical attitude.
  • Papa Wolf: A man who fights to defend his younger charges or children. Usually the go-to portrayal for a fatherly role in an action setting.
  • Prince Charming: A dashing, handsome man who arrives to romance and/or rescue a waiting female.
  • Prince Charming Wannabe: He's not as dashing/handsome as he believes. The woman may scoff at his rescue.
  • Prince Charmless: A prince that has no tact, social skills, or charms whatsoever.
  • Real Men Cook: Manliness is paramount to being able to use fire to prepare food. Cooking is is usually associated with feminine traits, but in this case, the ability to master such a skill is considered manly. (For example: in fiction, maids and housewives can cook, but a Master Chef is usually male.)
  • Samus Is a Girl: A tough and badass character appears and, to everyone's shock, reveals that they are a girl.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Two men that contrast each other in regards to toughness.
  • Shirtless Captives: A male character is taken hostage and stripped from the waist up. An Always Male trope because topless women don't have the same impact.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: Parodies of manliness meant to draw laughs instead of awe.
  • Ukefication: A powerful or tough guy is assigned stereotypical Uke traits in order to ship him into a romantic relationship (usually with another man).
  • Would Hit a Girl: Hitting a female is considered reprehensible, no matter the reason, but not hitting a guy. This character would hit both.

    Played With 
Tropes in this section are tangentially related to this trope, in that they likely would not exist if this trope was not the default assumption. These tropes are typically "exceptions" to this trope—but with some sort of baggage that examines the negative consequences of men failing to be tough, or the benefits of measuring women that have the same capability of men. However, the relation has become woven with so many societal complexities that they cannot directly be considered subtropes or aversions.
  • All Women Are Doms, All Men Are Subs: Women are typically portrayed as dominatrices in fiction, because it's considered less uncomfortable than a man dominating a woman.
  • Badass Family: Similar to Battle Couple, but with every member of the family being just as awesome.
  • Battle Couple: In heterosexual relationships, having both a man and woman that are tough is treated as remarkable.
  • Bested at Bowling: A man thinks he'll do great at bowling, but his female friend outperforms him.
  • Brains and Brawn: When paired with Women Are Wiser, Men Are Tough becomes the brawn half of this trope. Also can be used in arguments in defense of brawn and against brains, as in "Reading books isn't manly. Real men are tough."
  • Bumbling Dad: A man is portrayed as incompetent at a domestic task like raising children.
  • Camp Gay: An effeminate man who is attracted to men.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: A Nice Guy who is interested in a female companionship, but is stuck in the Friend Zone.
  • Dominatrix: A woman dominates a man, but solely for the sexual fetish.
  • Effeminate Misogynistic Guy: A misogynist who hates women despite displaying the stereotypical characteristics of one. Perhaps to show that he can do it "better".
  • Eunuchs Are Evil: A man missing his genitalia who is portrayed as evil. The association can imply that those traits go hand-in-hand.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: No matter how evil he becomes, he still cares for the woman who nurtured him.
  • Fat Slob: A man who is uncultured, slovenly, and overweight.
  • Female Groin Invincibility: Females are immune to groin attacks; usually used as an "empowering" moment for a female character versus her male counterparts.
  • Fetishized Abuser: A man mistreats his fragile girlfriend (or a less sociopathic boyfriend), but it's played for the titillation of a female audience. Alternatively, an abusive, creepy, or violent woman is played for fetish.
  • Genius Bruiser: Defying the notion that strength or toughness equals stupidity. However, this trope would not exist if Dumb Muscle wasn't common as well. It's also possible have both Dumb Muscle and a Genius Bruiser in the same story.
  • Henpecked Husband: A husband who is nagged, abused, or derided by his wife. It implies that the man is weak-willed, and/or that his wife is irrational or bitter.
  • Jaded Washout: His glory days have passed long ago, and he cannot adjust to a new life.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Being a Casanova comes at odds with finding a One True Love. Again, it carries the connotations that a sexually-aggressive man is unused to more delicate or romantic feelings.
  • Lazy Husband: A man is portrayed as a do-nothing while his wife does all of the work both in home and out.
  • Literal Maneater: A cannibalistic or monstrous female character who lures unsuspecting men to her so that they'll become her dinner.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: Erectile dysfunction, impotency, or other inabilities to sexually perform is a mark of shame for a man.
  • Magical Girlfriend: A man who is normal or unremarkable meets a powerful supernatural woman. She may or may not become subservient to him.
  • Momma's Boy: A man who is either subservient or extremely protective of his mother.
  • My Beloved Smother: A son who is nagged, abused, or derided by his mother. It's implied that the man is weak-willed, and/or that his mother is irrational or bitter.
  • NEET: A college-aged male who is portrayed as a Butt-Monkey, due to being a do-nothing layabout with no ambitions.
  • Nerd Nanny: A bunch of nerdy guys who have No Social Skills are often accompanied by a beautiful, popular, decidedly non-geeky girl who would otherwise be considered "out of their league".
  • Power Hair: Feminine traits are seen as weak or undesirable in positions of power, so a woman in that position cuts her hair to be more masculine.
  • Rookie Male, Experienced Female: A male character (typically an Everyman Audience Surrogate) is new to the setting of the story opposite of his veteran female companion. But commonly, this leads her to become a Quickly-Demoted Woman.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: A man that screams like a vulnerable, terrified woman for comedic effect or contrast.
  • Sissy Villain: A villain who is campy, effeminate, and evil. The association can imply that those traits go hand-in-hand.
  • The Slacker: Men in a domestic or social setting are shown as do-nothing layabouts. It has become a more reoccurring trope in modern fiction, as the Everyman has gained popularity.
  • Speed Sex: A man who climaxes too fast during sex is lacking what it takes to be a satisfactory sex partner, possibly opening the door for her to cheat or leave him.
  • Straw Misogynist: An extreme misogynist that goes way over the top in bashing women or femininity. Used to push the point that misogyny is really, really bad, but lacks any sort of ambiguity.
  • Teeny Weenie: A man with a small penis is considered to be "less manly".
  • Tiny Schoolboy: A preteen or teenage boy who's shorter than all the other kids his age and is embarrassed about it. Since Tall, Dark, and Handsome is universally seen as attractive and manly, this character sticks out more and is an easy target of being teased and not being taken seriously by potential female partners.
  • Unlucky Everydude: An Everyman who does not know his way with women and generally incompetent in other areas. It's usually implying that this is the typical male condition. While it demonstrates a discomfort with women which is far from the idealized manly man, the "unlucky" portion also implies that this is a bad thing.
  • Unmanly Secret: A man who strives to be manly has a secret which reveals him to be In Touch with His Feminine Side.
  • Useless Boyfriend: A man does nothing to assist in day-to-day life with his far more pragmatic and forward-thinking girlfriend.

Please do not add examples to work pages, this merely defines the term.

Alternative Title(s): Men Are Tougher Than Women