In many works, especially involving a male and female as prominent characters, one character will grab the other's wrist in such a way that the character's dominance is expressed to the audience. Inversely the grabbed character appears weaker by comparison, or less powerful.
Some characters, usually male, assert possessiveness, whether intentional or not, by grabbing the wrists or arms of another character. Even when the characters' genders are the same, or reversed, the effect still remains.
Values Dissonance may cause this trope to be seen as offensive to some, but waved off, consequence-free, and even used in a romantic context in another region. This most often occurs in works where the culture of origin is patriarchal where gender roles are more prominent or even enforced.
See also Headlock of Dominance in which it applies to fights being dominated by a character who's got others in a headlock.
- The Feelings We All Must Endure: Sachi's boyfriend grabs her by the wrist quite painfully to end an argument. This is one of the first indications that their relationship is not as cloud-free as Sachi wants her friends to believe. Her boyfriend later turns out to be a majorly insecure control freak who ends up cheating on her as she gradually slips from under his control.
- In Natsume's Book of Friends, Nishimura grabs an uninterested Natsume by the wrist to forcibly drag him along as Nishimura talks about his crush on the new transfer student.
- In the X23 series, after Julian forcefully kisses Laura, he grabs her arm when she turns to leave. Laura is not impressed by the act, and her dialogue becomes noticeably angrier afterwards. note
- Batman grabbed Catwoman's both wrists to get her hands off him during their first meeting way back in 1940.
- In Batgirl Year One, Barbara Gordon breaks into Justice Society of America's HQ and leaves a letter asking Black Canary an appointment. When Wildcat shows up instead, Batgirl tries to run off, but Wildcat grabs her arm and asks an explanation.
- Examples from Superman stories:
- In Krypton No More, Superman grabs Supergirl's arm when she is smashing his Fortress' trophies to make a point, but he relents when she asks him point-blank if he is threatening her.
- In "Breaking the Chain", Power Boy grabs Supergirl's wrist when she wants to go out alone. Power Boy backs off when she glares at him, but this is one of the first clues of his possessive, abusive nature.
- Superman's Return to Krypton: When a crook tries to kidnap Martha Kent, he grabs her wrists with the intent of dragging her around.
- In Legion of Super-Heroes storyline The Great Darkness Saga, Wildfire grabs Dawnstar's arm twice during a battle to keep her away from the danger. Dawnstar objects to this treatment, loudly.
- It happens in X-Men story Devils Diary when Magneto informs the Brotherhood he's going to raid an army base as they watch over their headquarters, and Wanda asks for instructions in case that he is captured. Magneto immediately grabs her arm, and he only lets her go after stating coldly he will not be captured.
- In Archie Comics story Maybe the Last Archie Story, Jason Blossom wants to talk to Betty Cooper, who is absolutely not in the mood for his antics. Jason grabs Betty by the upper arm when she is walking around him, and she instantly knocks him down.
Betty started to step around Jason. He grabbed her by the upper arm, trying to halt her.
A couple of seconds later, Jason found himself flat on his back on the front lawn. "Don't ever try that again," said Betty. "Ever."
- In Madea's Family Reunion, Carlos does this to Lisa at one event the two attend.
- In Sheena, Vic & Sheena are on the run from some bad guys, and Vic pulls Sheena by the wrist to keep her going. Note that Sheena is Queen of the Jungle and Vic is an urban reporter, yet he still has to grab her to keep her running.
- Matilda The Trunchbull grabs Miss Honey by the wrist at one point and even threatens to break her arm.
- Korean Dramas feature wrist grabs frequently, so much so that some people have gone so far as to document their occurrences and categorize them by type (there's even a triple wrist grab):
- Taekyung in You Are Beautiful has a penchant for grabbing characters' wrists, especially Go Mi Nam's. Sometimes it's to stop her from leaving, and others to drag her somewhere.◊
- In Boys Over Flowers Goo Joon Pyo is prone to wrist-grabbing Geum Jan Di. And the other way around when Jan Di gets angry.
- In Heartstrings Lee Shin tends to grab Lee Gyu-won's wrists when he wants to talk to her in private or pull her away. On the other end, Gyu Won grabs his wrist to get him to stay, although this is often from behind.
- This appears several times in the Ellery Queen television series, which is set in 1947 New York City:
- In the pilot episode, Ellery enlists the aid of a financier's secretary to catch a thief. In order to show her how the drugstore delivery man fixed her door to allow him to re-enter her apartment, Ellery takes her by the wrist and leads her into the hallway outside of her apartment and lets the door close behind them. She thinks they're locked out, and he demonstrates they aren't.
- In "The Adventure of Colonel Nivin's Memoirs", a female publicity agent arrives at a private club to meet with her client (the author of the titular memoirs) and discovers his corpse. Just then, she hears a door close and turns to follow the person she thinks in there when she is seized by the wrist by the "Indian" orderly who thinks she is responsible for the colonel's death.
- In "The Adventure of the Blunt Instrument", rival publishers who were formerly husband and wife have an argument over business (an author has a contract with him that's about to expire and she's been making offers to woo the author into switching to her publishing house). As the quarrel escalates, the man grabs the woman's wrist and she pulls her arm away and twists it out of his grasp.
- One episode of New Tricks combines this with a "Eureka!" Moment and has the criminal of the week give himself away by grabbing Sandra's wrist as she tries to walk away from him. He tries to play it off as just an emotional moment, but it gets the team thinking along a new line of inquiry that unravels the guy's plan.
- In RWBY for the trope picture Red is grabbing Qrow to let her go through with the plan.