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The Unfair Sex

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"Women now have choices. That can be married, not married, have a job, not have a job, be married with children, unmarried with children. Men have the same choice we've always had: work, or prison."

A special kind of Double Standard that completely screws around with a show's internal logic. A male character is portrayed performing an act that seems evil and unfair in a relationship, like say, looking at another woman. Meanwhile, a female character can perpetrate the exact same actions but not receive any sort of penalty or negative dividends for it. As such, the end result of this is usually both that male sexuality (and the expressions thereof) are presented as inherently "wrong", "dirty" and "ugly", and that any problems that arise in a heterosexual relationship are automatically the man's fault.

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This most commonly appears in long-running series. Shorter works rarely deal with the characters long enough for the disconnect to be very obvious. This is also highly abstract in execution. Expect the target of the discontent to be a guy or girl of the week.

For a look at affairs in general, see Good Adultery, Bad Adultery. Interestingly, the more involved named characters a work has in any given adultery plot, the closer the Sympathetic Adulterer ratio between men and women reaches 1:1. I'm a Man; I Can't Help It overrides this trope, but only with sympathetic male characters. The Inverted Trope of My Girl Is Not a Slut, for the post-Women's Lib era.

Overlaps with Females Are More Innocent, Women Are Wiser, The Mistress, and Never My Fault.

Note: This only relates to the double standard against men in relationships. If anything relates to abuse, please see Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male. Furthermore, no real life examples, please.

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Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • In a State Farm commercial featuring a boyfriend and girlfriend, the girlfriend uses the genie-like powers of the State Farm jingle to make her boyfriend more attractive. When the boyfriend immediately does the exact same thing to her, she's absolutely furious at him. In this case, it's possible that this one was meant to be played for laughs.
  • One Allstate commercial has a husband and wife playing Rock, Paper, Scissors for their Allstate Safe Driving Bonus Check. He wins and says "Rock beats Scissors." She then takes the check from his hand and smugly replies, "Wife beats Rock". Unlike the State Farm commercial, it was not played for laughs.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Ranma ½
    • Akane, Shampoo, Ukyo, and even Kodachi are incredibly quick to administer violent "justice" upon Ranma whenever they think he's interested in another girl. But past the manga's turning point, when Ranma sincerely believed that Akane loved the newcomer Shinnosuke, he took his grievances up with the new guy and was incredibly polite and submissive towards Akane, only screaming his frustration when he was alone in the forest. Even in instances when Akane deliberately tries to make Ranma jealous or tries to get back at him by treating Ryoga to a date, he only ever snarks at her or merely sabotages the other guy's attempts.
    • There's even a lampshading of this very early in the series: Akane walks in on Ranma while he's getting out of the bath, and both are naked, although Akane at least has a towel. Her immediate reaction is valid: she thinks he might be a pervert in their bathtub and is understandably mad. But after explanations are made, she insists he's a pervert because he saw her naked (something he didn't intend nor initiate, and he was immediately contrite about all the trouble). When he points out the unfairness of this double-standard, since she walked in on him and had a much longer look at him (and very pointedly looked him up and down while he held her gaze), she responds with "It's different for girls!" Later that evening, female Ranma accidentally walks in on Akane, and actually cowers away from her in expectation of her reaction. And she's right to do so, because Akane promptly calls Ranma a pervert and savagely slaps her across the face. When Ranma brings this up to his father, Genma waves it aside as it just meaning Akane has "spunk" which "makes a fiancee even more cute". Ranma, understandably, results by dryly proclaiming he does not find Akane cute, taking a brief moment to glower at the unrepentent girl nearby.
  • In another Rumiko Takahashi work, Maison Ikkoku, Kyoko's reluctance to choose between perpetual ronin Godai and suave, well-off tennis instructor Mitaka drives a large amount of the plot, and it becomes Godai and Mitaka's responsibility to win her over. However, this doesn't stop Kyoko from criticizing Godai over his own inability to tell the truth to his not-quite-girlfriend Kozue, and formalize a relationship with Kyoko herself. The manga agrees with her point of view. Becomes more apparent in episode 12 where Godai and Kozue go on their first date, when Kyoko learns of this as she runs into Godai and Kozue in the middle of their date she fumes in jealously at Godai for dating a cute girl that is younger than her. Keep in mind that is occurring while Kyoko was already having a date with Mitaka before she saw Godai with Kozue (and Kyoko's date with Mitaka is largely the reason why Godai was dating Kozue at the time). Now, it must be mentioned that while Kyoko is genuinely uncertain about which one of Godai and Mitaka she wants, Godai knows for sure that he prefers Kyoko over Kozue and still doesn't break up with Kozue.
  • And in another Rumiko Takahashi work, she used it frequently in InuYasha as well. Whenever the titular character showed any sort of interest in his old flame Kikyo, not only would he later be subjected to physical punishment by a jealous Kagome, he'd also get chastised by his companions for making Kagome feel bad. Yet, somehow when he shows jealously over Miroku trying to charm Kagome, before he met Sango, and Koga flirting with Kagome, not only does he still get physically punished by Kagome, he still gets criticized by the others for acting stupid.
  • Love Hina:
    • At the very beginning of the story, the girls try their best to drive Keitaro away from the Hinata Inn. However, he still has a hard time winning them over (except for Shinobu and, arguably, Kaolla); Naru, for example, kicked him once when she dropped into his room and found Kaolla lying over him - in fact, he was trying to stop her from messing his room, but she kept on running up and down.
    • Another example is when Naru frequently beats Keitaro up when he enters her room as she is changing her clothes. Once, however, she had dropped in while he was changing clothes. Still, she beat him up. This was rather badly hand waved by saying that at this point, it's a reflex.
    • Perhaps the most unfair example would have to be that whenever Keitaro walks into the girls baths (always accidentally) he is punched right into the sky no questions asked, but when Naru suddenly walked in on Keitaro bathing and jumped into his bathtub, Keitaro could do nothing. Afterwards her clothes became see-through and she decided that it was somehow his fault and punched him for her stupidity.
  • Seitokai no Ichizon
    • The main character Ken frequently refers to the girls they're his harem, that they'll end falling for him and fantasizes with them. Naturally, they punish him for that. So far it's normal, perhaps a bit more focused on this than your average Harem Series but not too bad. However, one episode has Mafuyu reveal herself as a Yaoi Fangirl who writes Slash of Ken and a fictional brother of him. Naturally Ken complains, and not only he gets punished for that, Mafuyu's sister Minatsu makes him write slash of himself with said brother. When two minutes later he writes a story where they're his harem, he still gets treated as a pervert, and nobody even points out it's the same thing Mafuyu does.
    • In addition, Ken spends half an episode with his eyes covered by a mask that tazes him if he tries to remove it... so he can't see the girls in their swimsuits (In fear of what? At worst he would say pervy comments, but nothing beyond the usual. It's not like they can't kick his ass, they do it on a daily basis anyway), and once the mask breaks by sheer luck, they lock him on a closet and leave him there overnight. Basically, they treat him like if he was a super-pervert of sorts who would, well, do really bad things to them if let unguarded even one second, even though he's more of a generic pervert at worst and he genuinely cares for them. However, and now comes the "unfair" part: Chizuru acts MUCH worse towards Kurimu, but the attitude of Mafuyu and Minatsu is... stares and lifted eyebrows, but that's it. Definitely she doesn't gets treated to half the crap Ken is put through, for no apparent reason at all, even though she is more dangerous and they're aware of that.
  • In general, this happens way too often on most Harem Series, where the guy will get treated as a pervert even when he's completely innocent (or simply get mistreated for anything period), but girls doing the same thing or worse results in... nothing at best, the guy being punished anyway at worst. A notable exception is the Tenchi Muyo! multiverse, where the guy is usually a genuine Nice Guy and the girls are less temperamental towards him (though the same can't be said towards each other at times).
  • In Dragon Ball, Bulma openly flirted with other men (all of whom are also hot bastards). Yet it's her ex-boyfriend Yamcha who had to beg for her forgiveness if he looked at another woman. She even pulled a gun on him in Dragon Ball Origins despite her earlier flirting with the evil Colonel Silver.
  • This is subverted in Futari Ecchi with the relationship between Rika and Yamada. Both of them cheat on each other (having, as the Japanese say it, "sex friends" on the side), both of them are angry when finding out that the other one cheated, both of them, especially Rika, are viewed as hypocritical because of this, and both of them are quarrelsome. However, they do occasionally have a Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other scene, although Rika is presented as Closer to Earth, and thus slightly more positive.
  • Averted in GE - Good Ending, where you get called out if you really screw up, regardless of your gender, and you're expected to work to deal with the consequences of your actions.
  • A rather low-key example of this is during the Cowboy Bebop episode, "Ganymede Elegy" where Jet Black visits his ex-girlfriend Elisa. When they were dating, she walked out on him without saying a word. She just leaves a letter with the words "Goodbye" and a broken stopwatch. Jet tries to get her to reveal why she left. He explains that he doesn't blame her for leaving him, he just wants to know why. Elisa just dodges the question altogether once again leaving him with no closure. It isn't until her current boyfriend has a bounty put on him and Jet chases them down that she tells him why. The reason: Jet made all the right decisions in their relationship and she couldn't stand it because "she wanted to make her own decisions". So she basically left over a inferiority complex and didn't bother to talk to him, one of the most reasonable people in the Solar System, about it. She wound up proving how right Jet was by 1) borrowing money from a loanshark resulting in getting said bounty on her current boyfriend and 2) going on the run which likely would've gotten them both killed.
  • Your and My Secret: After their "Freaky Friday" Flip, Nanako is quite insistent that Akira not do anything "perverted" with her "Maiden's body", despite not particularly wanting it back and being equally insistent on doing anything she wants with his.
  • Played for Laughs in Legend of Galactic Heroes, when Attenborough mentions to Julian about the exploits of resident Casanovas Schönkopf and Poplin but refuses to reveal the identities of the women involved, claiming that "men have no human rights".
  • Happens in Sorcerer Hunters sometimes when Tira and Chocolat Misu catch another woman hitting on Carrot.
  • High School DXD somewhat surprisingly averts this, at least where Issei's pervertedness is concerned. Generally, when the girls get angry at Issei he actually was doing something that deserved it, and the girls do not automatically assume that any compromising incident is Issei's fault, probably because they're all at least somewhat perverted themselves and have been the aggressor in such situations at least once. In fact, the one time it looks to be played straight, when Rias walks in on Xenovia and Issei in a compromising position, one where Xenovia is clearly the aggressor and Issei isn't exactly comfortable. She coldly blames him for it and turns and leaves. However, this is not treated as justified by the story and is treated as Rias being unfair, and she later apologizes to Issei for doing so.
  • Netsuzou Trap rakes Fujiwara over the coals for such things as cheating on Hotaru and being physically abusive towards her. Meanwhile, Hotaru's history of having a constant steady stream of boyfriends and then cheating on them or dumping them when she grows tired of them, which started long before she ever met Fujiwara, is portrayed much more sympathetically, even though she's pretty much been just as adulterous and abusive (although emotional in this case) as he has. Yuma is an even more extreme example; despite the fact that she's cheating on someone who definitely doesn't deserve it and doesn't even realize it, the story basically gives her a free pass. In fact, when Fujiwara finally tells Takeda that Yuma has been cheating on him, with photo evidence, because she wouldn't do it herself, he takes her side and punches Fujiwara out for daring to tell him about it!
  • My Teen Romantic Comedy Snafu: Hachiman is generally portrayed as a antisocial Jerkass and he and his methods of solving problems are considered wrong In-Universe, which isn't entirely untrue. Yukino, however, despite possessing many of the same character flaws as him, is usually viewed as right even when doing the same things Hachiman did.
  • Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Ginko calls Yaichi names like "trash", "scum", "pervert", "pedophile" and kicks him around on a daily basis, as well as acting like she has the right to know every detail about his personal life (and usually taking out her anger violently on him when he doesn't want to tell her). When Yaichi calls her a "hindrance" once, while he's in the middle of a Freak Out! over a tournament where his title and salary for the rest of the year will be decided no less, it's treated as an unbelievably callous thing to do and he has to prostrate himself before her at the end of the arc to regain her forgiveness. It's topped off with an extra dose of What an Idiot! because Ginko is also a professional shogi player just like Yaichi; she knows full well what kind of Serious Business tournaments are and that when a high-level player is trying to focus on one, it's not a good idea to go flirt with them.
  • Real Girl makes use of this trope to a frustrating degree, so much so that some fans have dubbed Hikari Tsutsui an "honorary Kouji Seo manga protagonist":
    • Iroha is allowed to constantly angst about her past and self-confidence, and whenever she does her friends and boyfriend tell her it's not her fault. But when Hikari angsts about his low self-confidence, wondering why anyone would ever want to date him because he's that much of a loser, Iroha gets angry at him for apparently suggesting she's only using him or something, and everyone else treats him as the bad guy.
    • At the beginning of the story, Iroha's Jerkass ex-boyfriend slapping her for cheating on him is presented as so wrong that Hikari steps in to defend her (and gets his ass kicked in the process). However, no one says a word about Iroha hitting her best friend's crush (not even boyfriend) and his friend with her heavy backpack, unprovoked, for talking bad about her best friend. Apart from a brief Lampshade Hanging, no one ever calls Iroha on just up and bludgeoning two people in the middle of a crowded school.
    • When Hikari makes a (female) friend over a shared hobby, Iroha is presented as being completely justified in confronting him about cheating on her (which he's not doing); her best friend even suggests that she would be a bad girlfriend if she didn't get irrationally jealous of him. Later on, when Hikari wants to know from Iroha why someone claiming to be her brother just beat him up for not being "worthy of her", she angrily tells him to keep his nose out of her personal life, and he never pursues it further. Ironic, since she had no problem sticking her nose in his.

    Comic Books 
  • Writer Geoff Johns reinvented the Green Lantern Corps so that now there are seven Corps, each representing a different emotion. The Violet Corps represents love. All of its members are female. It's especially notable because every single other corps are fully integrated regardless of race or gender. When asked why, Johns just said, "most men are not worthy". Let's hope he meant that the all-female Zamaronsnote  didn't consider men worthy. Since the Sapphires run on every kind of love, people like crazy stalkers can (and one was possessed by Predator, the embodiment of love) become sort of Sapphires, if not official members.
    • Considering Guy Gardner, of all people, has worn a Sapphire ring it would seem that it's more a prerogative of the Zamarons than the rings. Other male wearers include Krona with his Guardian "hack" of the corps' rings and Kyle, thanks to Said doing the same in his favor. That the latter of these two has fully learned to harness love like any female Star Sapphire only illustrates the arbitrariness of this recruitment policy.
    • To further enforce the trope, the Predator, the stalker entity is male. The only male being associated with the violet light is a stalker. The stalker tendencies of the female Star Sapphires are justified with the retcon that Star Sapphire power source had a design flaw that overwhelmed the psyche of the bearer.
    • Another is that the closer you are to the edge of the Emotional Spectrum, the more said emotion drives or even overwhelms the person. As such, the Violet Corps of Love are driven pretty nuts by love (in the same way the Red Corps are driven insane by anger.)
  • X-Men
    • Cyclops cheats on his wife Jean Grey with Emma Frost in his mind (though that was actually Emma telepathically messing with his mind) and he's seen as a cruel cheat. But nobody mentions that earlier, Jean had lusted for and even made out with Wolverine, as well as previously lusting after Gambit and Fantomex. In fact, prior to finding out about the 'affair', she actually propositions Wolverine, only for him to turn her down out of loyalty to Cyclops (ironically, after years of trying to get her out of her pants with no respect for Cyke's feelings in the matter).
    • Years earlier at the beginning of The Dark Phoenix Saga, Jean is subjected to similar manipulation at the hands of Mastermind (Jason Wyngarde) and is seen as a completely innocent victim. Scott wasn't so lucky. Mastermind, in that case, was treated with the same scorn a rapist would get and Jean treats him to a Fate Worse than Death for his manipulations. Here, Emma is not only forgiven by both Jean and Cyclops, but Jean actually encourages Scott to date her as she dies, using telepathy to basically Mind Rape him past the stages of grief. In the end, Jean is dead and as such immune to criticism, Emma is dating Cyclops, and Cyclops is left hated by a big portion of the fanbase and the X-Men in-universe, including his daughter.
    • Then of course, there's Cyclops' 'jealousy issues'. Whenever Wolverine was putting the moves on Jean, Cyclops would warn him to stay away and Jean would call him out for being so petty and jealous. One time this was flipped, with Psylocke trying to do the same to Cyclops, Jean also got jealous, but didn't get treated as an obsessive yandere the same way Cyclops does. Though, it was, at least, inverted with the lusters: Psylocke later apologized to Jean, explaining her actions as a result of still recovering from being merged with a psychic assassin.
  • Ninja High School has a character named Sammi, a Chinese food delivery female forced to dress like a male due to the stupidity of her father making a bet with his friends to have a son (its a long story), a secret only a few close friends of Sammi's know about. In one of the stories, she runs afoul of the local cheerleaders who are very feminist and one of the girls takes a liking to Sammi (again due to looking like a boy). Sammi tries to let the girl down gently that she isn't interested. But this only offends her friends since they think Sammi figures she's not good enough, to the point they nearly kill Sammi over it. Said girl isn't a saint either, practically trying to force Sammi to be her boyfriend. At the end, when Sammi finally reveals her secret to the girl, said girl gets angry (for her VERY psychotic mistake) and hits Sammi with a mallet for the embarrassment. Granted its played for laughs but their unreasonable mentally through the whole thing was completely deplorable and the fact they only backed off just because Sammi was a girl only made it worse.
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    Film 
  • Happens in dozens of Lifetime Movies. The man cheats? His fault for not keeping his libido in check! The woman cheats? His fault for not being attentive enough!
  • In This Means War!, the female love interest gets upset that her two male love interests have not been upfront that they knew each other and lied about their jobs (to hide that they're CIA agents). At the point you start dating two people simultaneously, honesty in a relationship is not a realistic expectation. This definitely isn't the only example of hypocrisy in the movie (e.g. the male love interests complaining when they try to sabotage each other, even though they're both guilty), so it's possible that this is a subtle subversion.
  • In Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, the Casanova protagonist Connor Mead is portrayed as needing a lesson in respecting women. The problem is, not only is he given a sympathetic backstory (a childhood crush hurt his feelings, and he turned into a player to avoid such pain again), but they show the bridesmaids pretty much engaging in the same bed-hopping behavior (even competing to bed the protagonist) with no negative consequences. There is even a scene where it is discovered that one of them slept with the groom (Connor's brother). When Connor makes the logical arguments that 1) this was years before his brother even met his fiance and 2) they were comforting the bridesmaid, when she was the one he slept with and she didn't tell the bride either, he is treated as scum and even his own brother tells him off for it.
  • The Hangover is a subversion in this case with the character Stu and his eventually ex-girlfriend by movies end. Melissa is depicted as being that type of "feminist" who mistakes equality for all genders as meaning supremacy for the feminine as she's been described as assaulting her boyfriend, cheating on him and then getting angry with him at the prospect of him watching strippers. 'Again' thankfully it's a subversion, because at the end Stu grows a spine, calls her out on previously described b.s. and sends her packing.
  • Particularly blatant in Zerophilia, with the main character and his love interest being revealed to both switch genders when they get horny / have sex you'd think the trope would be subverted, but no it's played perfectly straight: Luke gets blamed for pretty much everything that goes wrong in the relationship while Michelle playing mind games by flirting with him as two different people while he was trying to deal with a difficult change in his life and stay faithful to her girl half is completely glossed over. Also Keenan being bothered by his girlfriend saying she'd sleep with his best friend is presented as him being close-minded, but his somewhat insensitive comments later on are a big deal that cause a breakup. The happy ending is earned by both guys eventually groveling sufficiently for forgiveness.
  • Played straight in Crazy Stupid Love - Emily cheats on Cal and then asks for a divorce, and she's treated with sympathy. Cal starts sleeping with other women after they separate (again, initiated by Emily)? He's a cad and needs to ask for forgiveness.
  • A bit downplayed in American Dreamer. Cathy, while under Easy Amnesia, does sleep with another guy, but her husband isn't a cad, just a controlling jerk.
  • In The Kids Are All Right, Jules and Paul (the sperm donor for Jules and her lesbian partner Nic) have an affair. When it's discovered, they're both blasted by Nic and their children, but Jules is eventually forgiven by everyone. Paul on the other hand is treated like dirt and shunned by everyone, including Jules, who acts downright disgusted and angry that he genuinely wants to be with her. It's obvious why Nic and the kids would forgive Jules, who they've known longer, but Paul doesn't deserve to have all the blame dumped on him.
  • Up in the Air: After Ryan shows up at Alex's doorstep and finds out she's married with children, she's the one who calls to confront and accuse him of potentially ruining her family even though she was the cheating wife who never informed her lover about her situation.
  • Kate & Leopold: Kate and Stuart have equally sharp tongues and are both mistrustful and scathing towards each other, and it's clear the reason they're an ex-couple is because the both of them simply couldn't get along in a relationship. Yet we're supposed to regard Stuart as the bad guy, or at least the fool, and Kate as The Woobie. E.g.,:
    Kate: I can't believe I gave you the best years of my life.
    Stuart: Those were your best?
    [Kate looks like she's about to cry. Director expects audience's sympathy to be with Kate. Audience mostly wonders why Stuart ever put up with her.]
  • Played with in Love Actually. One of the characters is Happily Married but finds himself increasingly tempted to have an affair with his attractive secretary. It's unclear whether he actually does or not, but his wife is understandably hurt when she finds out about his wandering eye. However the man, while still presented as in the wrong, is still shown to be somewhat sympathetic and is basically a decent person who just makes a foolish mistake; they're both just two mostly good people who get embroiled in a difficult situation. His secretary, on the other hand, is depicted as scheming and manipulative in leading on a married man. Subverted when another character learns that his girlfriend has been sleeping with his brother behind his back; he's decent and sympathetic, she's not.
  • Notably averted in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Sarah cheating on Peter is portrayed in a negative light, and it gets even worse when you find out that she's been cheating on him for over a year before the breakup. When Sarah's new boyfriend reveals that he's been cheating on her she realizes just how awful it was of her to cheat on Peter, and she begs him to take her back. He doesn't.
  • The original, Raimi-helmed Spider-Man Trilogy films became guilty of this in the third film. Peter kisses another woman as an improvised bit for a show as part of a "Spider-Man appreciation fair", resulting in later, when Peter's attempting to propose, MJ calling him on it, forgetting the fact that she's an actress who does romantic plays, who should know what a stage kiss is. However, since it's "their kiss" (i.e., him hanging upside down), she believes he was wrong to do it with someone else... despite the fact she did the same thing with John Jameson in the previous film. Then, there's the fact that, in the second film, she rubbed her engagement to John Jameson in Peter's face because she was angry at him for missing her play. In the third film, when he rubs in the fact he's now on a date with the woman he stage-kissed after she broke up with him, he's presented as being an asshole as further evidence of the symbiote influencing his actions.
  • Zig-Zagging Trope in In a World....... Moe's clumsy attempt to sleep with an attractive neighbor is Played for Laughs with shades of I'm a Man; I Can't Help It. His wife Dani's adultery is Played for Drama and she herself feels very guilty about it, although some characters dismiss it as not a big deal.
  • French Stewart’s Love Stinks is a parody of this as no one both in and out of universe are expected to see the Chelsea Turner as in the right with Seth Winnick’s (French Stewart) lawyer saying the only reason she would win her lawsuit is because of her gender and his station. This is played straight with Bill Bellamy’s character’s wife who despite knowing full well that her friend had manipulated Seth into moving in with him, that she was the one who broke up with him, and that their relationship was no where near the point of marriage felt that she was in the right in suing Seth for Palimony. Made even more ludicrous due to the fact that she was offended that Bellamy referred to her as a hooker despite the fact that one of the reasons she stated that Chelsea deserved the money was because she gave up her body.
  • Mostly averted in One Hour with You (1932). Colette probably wouldn't have given in to Adolph if she hadn't already realized André was up to something, but André's straying is presented as mainly the consequence of Mitzi's aggressive and persistent pursuit. In the end, both Colette and André admit their indiscretions and forgive each other with virtually no angst.
  • A Zig-Zagging Trope in True Lies. CIA agent Harry Tasker's partner (ironically, a man himself) tries to pin the blame for his wife's infidelity on Harry, saying "Helen's a flesh-and-blood woman and you're never there." Despite this, they both decide to punish Helen in an extremely sadistic way, justifying it by rationalizing that they're just testing her loyalty - but then, of course, they're the ones who look like jerks, in-universe as well as out. And bear in mind that this subplot had almost nothing to do with the rest of the movie (and, in fact, would be a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment but for the fact that it takes up a good chunk of running time and is referenced again at the film's end), and could easily have been taken out!
  • In Big Daddy, the Wrong Genre Savvy Vanessa falls back on this, insisting that Sonny is to blame for her secret affair because she wanted to marry him (he was much less enthused) and he was not behaving responsibly enough to prove himself a desirable husband and father, and that he should have seen it coming (in effect, that his not catching on that she had lied to him only proves how stupid he is). Ultimately subverted when Sonny learns his lesson about responsible family life (not that he deserved what happened to him in the first place), while Vanessa is publicly exposed as an extremely foolish woman.
  • Played with - but ultimately played straight - in the Woody Allen comedy Scenes From a Mall. The two halves of a wealthy L.A. couple cheat on each other, and reveal this to each other at roughly the same time. Interestingly, the film offers an "anthropological" justification for the both of them, via of a self-help book (written by the wife, who is a psychologist) that human beings have much longer lifespans than they did in ancient times and can no longer be satisfied by a single sexual partner. However, when the man learns of the woman's infidelity, he just gives her the silent treatment; when the woman learns of his own, she's apoplectic, and throws a screaming tantrum right in the middle of the mall food court. And the man (nearly) exposes himself as a real heel by trying to punch his wife in the mouth at the film's climax, only to misfire and sock the street mime who's been following them around (and who, of course, is an Acceptable Target).
  • In the movie Prime, after much bickering, the female half of the couple suggests that they take a break and see other people. When they reconcile a few months later, she flips out upon hearing that he slept with someone else. Despite the fact that she explicitly stated that it was okay if they see other people and that she herself dated someone else, she's furious with him and he ends up having to apologize.
  • Played disastrously straight in the documentary Dear Zachary. This was apparently the rationale behind the decision of the Canadian court systems to allow Shirley Turner to retain unsupervised visitation rights of her son (the titular Zachary) after she murdered the boy's father in the US. They were more concerned with protecting her "parental rights" than whether or not she'd try to harm Zachary.
  • Gender Inverted in The Room where the film seems to make out that the affair is all Lisa's fault, even though Mark was having it just as much as she was (to be fair, Mark at least feels a pang of guilt about what's going on. But that's not enough to dissuade him until Johnny commits suicide).

    Literature 
  • Justified in A Brother's Price: Men are expected to remain chaste until marriage, while women having homosexual relationships before marriage is seen as no big deal. Considering the fact that this is all due to fear of [STD]s, and heterosexual sex is much more likely to transmit diseases than lesbian sex, this makes sense. (As men have Gender Rarity Value, male homosexuality is never mentioned, so it is not known what people think about it.) Averted by Corelle Whistler, whose answer to the rumour that her crush Balin Brindle has sex with his own mothers (strictly speaking aunts, but socially, they're his mothers), is that, that way, at least they know he's fertile. She's either pretty relaxed about that chastity thing, or very into him. Or maybe she just doesn't believe the rumour.
  • Paul Nathanson examines the double standards affecting the portrayal of men in pop culture and pop culture criticism at length in his non-fiction book Spreading Misandry: The Teaching of Contempt for Men In Popular Culture.
  • A Zig-Zagging Trope in The Wheel of Time. For the first few books of their marriage, Faile internally complains about her husband Perrin not magically knowing and abiding by the relationship mores of her home country that she never deigns to explain to him, never considering that maybe she should adjust to his culture, especially considering that that's where they live and there are no shortage of female role models to teach her how things are done there, whereas Perrin is stumbling around in the dark when she expects him to treat her according to her culture's customs. After the fans were well and truly sick of this aspect of her character, she suddenly realizes how unfair this is and arranges a touching romantic gesture to show him that she's willing to meet him halfway. She promptly forgets all about this in the next book.
  • Intentionally invoked in The Belgariad, as the main characters engage in a long running exchange of witty banter over the "fairness" of which gender gets to do which things, complete with an informal scoring system for particularly telling jibes.
  • In one of the Warhammer books about Malus Darkblade (Bloodstorm, to be precise), Malus mentioned in passing that a druchii woman could have as many lovers as she wished, while a male druchii was expected to be faithful. This example is especially notable due to the context - Malus's half-sister had discovered that her lover, Bruglir, was cheating on her. She got so angry that she literally became a living saint of the god of murder himself - and the first two times she appears, she was in the middle of her harem and having an orgy, respectively. Psychologically justified in that the overlord of the Druchii is the Witch King Malekith, who has a major Oedipus complex with his mother Morathi, who used to head up the largest Slaaneshi cult in the elf world. Malekith was born, and reached prominence, by his mother screwing the king of the elves. In short the entire kingdom of Nagaroth is built on the back of matriarchy, or rather the matriarch's penchant for being on her back. Other instances include only females are allowed to use magic, baby boys are rounded up for mass sacrifice one night a year, with the few survivors becoming assassins who are by game mechanic unable to lead their female counterparts. Strange how the evil elf races are always this trope in spades.
  • Subverted in Last Night at Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger: throughout the novel, as Brooke and Julian's marriage falls apart, Brooke seems to constantly put the blame on how much Julian's career takes him away from home and otherwise causes him to neglect her. All while she insists on putting her career first by continuing to work sixty hours a week at two jobs, income from which they don't need anymore now that Julian's first album has gone platinum within its first week out. The subversion comes from the fact that she admits as much at the end when they reconcile, acknowledging that she's guilty of the same thing.
  • In one of The Princess Diaries books, Mia's friend Tina is dumped by text message by her boyfriend after she fails to return his calls, leading to her friends calling him a sexist pig. Granted, he broke up with her in an obnoxious way, but nobody calls her out for being rude enough to ignore his phone calls. She is indirectly called out to this, as Mia's mother says during a conversation that it is just plain rude to not return somebody's calls.
  • The Anita Blake series practically runs on this trope after Narcissus in Chains. The main character has about 8 official lovers and sleeps with many other men during the course of each book, yet, except Richard who's treated as the resident Jerkass, none of her main lovers are allowed to even look at another person, and she has dumped some lovers for being unfaithful. The author tries to justify with Magical Addiction to sex.
  • Some people say that Their Eyes Were Watching God has this trope written all over it. However, because while Janie did leave her first husband with another man and then condemned her second husband while he was on his deathbed, the narrative makes it clear that she was an extremely naive, too-romantic-for-her-own-good girl whose hasty decision to run off with Joe Starks was probably not the best of decisions considering that Joe Starks turns out to be an insanely possessive Jerk Ass who tried to emotionally control her as a submissive housewife, which also most likely indicates that her "The Reason You Suck" Speech to him wasn't entirely unjustified. Plus, she never acted "bitchy" toward Tea Cake who mostly treated her like an equal (not even when she thought that he had left her or when he slapped her after she was set up on a date with another man), and the very fact that Tea Cake was shown to be a fairly decent and sweet husband should be a good indication that this book wasn't aimed at painting the entire male gender as abusive jerks. Any Unfortunate Implications here probably fall under Men Are the Expendable Gender or Her Heart Will Go On better than this one.
  • In The House of Night series, Zoey initially was slightly hesitant about having a relationship with Erik because he had previously dated Aphrodite. This is after (A) she walked in on Aphrodite all but raping Erik (trying to force a blowjob on him while he repeatedly asked her to stop) and (B) it was made pretty obvious that Aphrodite and her friends made use of Erik and other boys in such a way. Zoey does hook up with Erik...and dives into a relationship with a teacher at the school, while rekindling a relationship with her human boyfriend. At the end of Chosen, we're apparently supposed to think Erik's such a mean guy for not being so kind and understanding that Zoey had sex with said teacher and just had "We share a bond" as an excuse.
  • Averted in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. After Ron found out that Hermione might have kissed a guy who asked her out two years prior while she was single and getting told that his overbearing watchdog tendencies about his sister were due to his own inexperience with girls, he gets into an extremely shallow relationship with basically the first girl to give him the time of day, largely out of spite. He is portrayed as insensitive and, giving how publicly he flaunts the relationship, pretty hypocritical, and quickly gets his own comeuppance by means of his “girlfriend” being utterly insufferable. Hermione attempts to retaliate by asking out the Jerk Jock who had been eyeing her for most of the book… only for the plan to implode immediately since she genuinely can’t stand the guy. Harry, and by extension the narrator, are quick to point out that they’re both idiots, though he’s slightly more overtly critical of Hermione, possibly owing to the fact that Ron was being an impulsive idiot who didn’t think things through, whereas Hermione was being consciously and deliberately petty.
    Narrator: "Harry was left to ponder in silence the depths to which girls would sink to get revenge."
    • In-universe, there's a milder case of this: girls can go into the boys' bedroom without problem, but there's a charm on the stairs to the girls' bedroom that turns it into a slide if a boy tries to enter. Hermione Handwaves the rule as being old fashioned, though she doesn't seem nearly as incensed by the Double Standard as she does about, say, House Elf Equal Rights.
  • The Notebooks of Lazarus Long by Robert A. Heinlein: From his "ingredients for a happy marriage":
    In a family argument, if it turns out you are right—apologize at once!

    Magazines 
  • Cosmopolitan magazine and others like it run on this. Some examples:
    • This article offers some signs that the reader should note to tell whether their partner is cheating. They range from more-or-less reasonable to being rather paranoid, but all could have potentially innocuous explanations outside of infidelity. Take note, however, that number five on this particular list is "he becomes suspicious of you". While it is Truth in Television that one of the signs of being in an abusive or unhealthy relationship is irrational jealousy (and there exists a human tendency to be quick to spot one's own flaws in other people, justifiably or not), the author apparently doesn't notice the double standard of suggesting that a man being suspicious of his partner's fidelity is itself suspicious in a list which is practically encouraging women to suspiciously micro-observe their male partner's behaviour for signs of infidelity.
    • This article offers some suggestions for punishing a man whom the reader suspects has been unfaithful (and note that the article is called "10 Things to Do if You Think Your Man Is Cheating", and none of the suggestions is "make absolutely sure first"). They include stealing his property, painful 'practical jokes' (including poisoning him with laxatives), public humiliation and, in the case of number ten, a good old fashioned Groin Attack. The lesson being, adultery bad (when the man does it), but assault, abuse and theft a-ok (when the woman does it). The article also begins with a leader about a prominent male celebrity who has recently been in the news for adultery, which says something along the lines of "we don't know the full story, but one thing's for sure; his wife's a frigging angel". However, the identity of the celebrity changes depending on which matter of celebrity adultery is most timely; at one point it was Tiger Woods, another Arnold Schwarzenegger, and so forth. Not only is the automatic assumption that, the man's adultery aside, the woman is an innocent at no fault in the relationship, but in only changing the the celebrity and wife in question the further assumption is made that every relationship is the same and the man is always at fault.
    • A really interesting element of it is the contradictions involved. One article said that both being more affectionate and less affectionate (more because he's guilty, less because he's "busy") are signs he's cheating (both of which had the aforementioned abuse and assault as his "punishment."). It seems increasingly likely that if all the innumerable "signs he's cheating" lists were combined into one, there would literally be nothing a man can do that isn't a sign of infidelity.
      • And another list includes "if your man is happy, he's cheating". It seems he can only be happy if he's with someone other than you, because apparently you make him miserable. And if you listen to the advice of Cosmo, it's no surprise he's miserable.
    • And, of course, it's fine for a women to sleep with her ex-boyfriend's best friend, just to screw with said ex.note  Along with hacking into his Facebook profile, defacing his car with a sticker, ruining his next date, stealing his remotes, make him think he got you pregnant, and burning your names (inside a big heart) onto his lawn.
      Commenter: Or you could just grow up and not handle things like a child. Jesus, Cosmo, what's wrong with you?

    Music 
  • Even men buy into this. At the end of R. Kelly's video for "When a Woman's Fed Up," a caption reads, "There is no such thing as a no-good woman, only women made that way by a no-good man."
  • Beyoncé's "If I Were a Boy". Really interesting is that while she has plenty of songs about no good, lying, cheap, using, cheating men, but in "Jumpin' Jumpin'", she pretty much says "go out and party with men not your boyfriends because they are well off" and that "your boyfriends should just accept it". At least the men get similar advice, which actually means that all the similar songs decrying men for doing so are even further hypocrisy. And lets not even get into Diva.
  • TLC's hit single "No Scrubs" contains a litany of reasons to reject a man (first and foremost among them being if he cannot afford his own vehicle, forcing him to "[hang] out the side of his best friend's ride"). "No Scrubs" was followed up with "Unpretty," which is all about how men make women feel bad about themselves for petty and shallow reasons. The ironing is delicious. A rap group called Sporty Thievz made a One-Hit Wonder called "No Pigeons". They pointed out the shallow lyrics of "No Scrubs" and gave examples of how it would look if men acted the same way towards women.
  • Rihanna's 2006 song "Unfaithful". Rihanna is cheating on her boyfriend with another man, and feels bad because her boyfriend is aware of and hurt by the affair. Yet she doesn't break it off with either of them, despite her claim that she feels like a murderer for betraying her beau. Contrast with her 2008 "Take a Bow," which is all about the woman refusing to accept excuses or apologies for the man's philandering. One line from the chorus pretty much sums it up:
    "Don't tell me you're sorry 'cause you're not,"
  • "White Liar" by Miranda Lambert falls into this. The whole song is about the POV character calling out her no-good cheatin' boyfriend for fooling around on her. It all seems like righteous indignation until the end - when she reveals, "Here's a bombshell just for you/ Turns out I've been lying too." It's not a totally straight example, since in the final repeat of the chorus she more or less calls herself out on this by using the same harsh words on herself as her boyfriend ("I'm a white liar / Slips off my tongue like turpentine").
  • Country music in general tends to run on this. We were supposed to cheer for Carrie Underwood in "Before he Cheats" when she destroys her boyfriend's car. Same thing with Miranda in "Kerosene" when she sets her boyfriend's house on fire. Miranda tends to be the worst offender simply since she doesn't seem to have as many love songs to balance out her "jilted ex" songs. She's done at least three: "Kerosene," "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," and "White Liar."
  • "Before He Cheats" qualifies because the narrator of the song never actually says definitively that he's cheating. She says he's probably cheating, meaning that her actions are done on an assumption. He's probably in the bar, hiding from her in a place filled with witnesses.
  • Averted with many of Amy Winehouse's songs such as "You Know I'm No Good" and "I Heard Love Is Blind" which were about her having affairs behind her spouse's back, but NEVER portrayed her in a good or sympathetic light at all. In fact the whole point of both songs was to show how destructive Amy was to herself and everyone around her. Kind of summed up with the line "I told you I was trouble you know that I'm no good"
    • "Tears Dry On Their Own" on the other hand is about Winehouse being the other women and it portrays her in a more sympathetic light than "You Know I'm No Good" or "I Heard Love Is Blind", however it does not place any of the blame on the man she was having the affair with at all or portray him in a negative way either. "Tears Dry on Their Own" puts the blame of their affair and Winehouse's reasons for feeling miserable about it afterwards solely on her " I don't know why I got so attached. Its my responsibility, you don't owe nothing to me".
  • Shakira's "Don't Bother" is a woman talking to her boyfriend, presumably in his absence, about the affair she knows he's having, and how she would do anything to keep him, and passive-aggressively saying that she'll be fine. "She Wolf" is Shakira bragging about how her beau is not keeping her satisfied, and how she goes out (or plans to go out) and sleeps with hot dudes, possibly to spite him. And she's going to tell him about it.
  • Back in 2001, Blu Cantrell released "Hit 'Em Up Style." When she finds her boyfriend cheating, she maxes all his credit cards, sold everything he owned, and brags that she completely ruined his life. Although, even she admits she doesn't like the song.
  • Refreshingly averted by Taylor Swift, who seems to blame the boy (e.g. "Picture to Burn"), the other girl (e.g. "Better than Revenge"), or herself (e.g. "Back to December") according to the situation.
  • Shania Twain's "Any Man Of Mine" can basically be summed up like this: "I can and will cut your balls off if I want to, but you better treat me like a queen."
  • This trope is averted with "Close My Eyes Forever", a duet by Ozzy Osbourne and Lita Ford. The lyrics concern a woman who has been unfaithful to her man, and she begs him to forgive her for her infidelity. The man, however, feels that he cannot trust her anymore and tells her to "close your eyes for me" (i.e. forget about him).

    Newspaper Comics 
  • A rare Gender Flip occured in For Better or for Worse: when Creator's Pet Anthony was emotionally unfaithful to his wife Therese, readers were supposed to be perfectly okay with it because the other woman was Elizabeth, one of the Pattersons. This didn't work out so well... not simply because of the prevalence of this, but due to the massive Moral Dissonance, and Anthony being a detestable Creator's Pet.
  • Subverted in Doonesbury, when JJ left Mike for scruffy bad boy Zeke, she was portrayed the entire time as a fool for doing so, for both her reasoning (She felt she had to "seize the moment" to achieve happiness) and for her taste (Zeke has never been portrayed as other than a dumb slacker). On the other hand, played pretty darn straight by Joanie, JJ's mother, who (back in the 1970s) breaks her husband's nose, abandons her kid, and is lauded as a liberated woman.
  • Averted with Andy and Roger in FoxTrot: while Andy is infinitely more competent than Bumbling Dad Roger, on the rare occasions when she is at fault, she gets called out on it. Played straight, however, with their son Peter and his girlfriend Denise. Half their story arcs revolve around some misunderstanding that could have been cleared up with a single sentence, and Peter is always portrayed as having been at fault. What makes it especially jarring is that the situation is always crafted in a way that leads the reader to draw the same conclusions as Peter - up until he's made out to be a complete idiot for interpreting the situation the same way the audience did.

    Theater 
  • In Dreamgirls, Lorrell has an affair with Jimmy Early, who's married. Throughout the entire play/movie, he is made out to be a total sleaze for treating her badly and sleeping with two (possibly more) women at the same time. However, Lorrell is shown in a strictly sympathetic light, despite the fact that she's knowingly and willfully engaging in a long-term affair with a married man.
  • "La Belle Héléne" (a parody of Helen's abduction by Paris) has a (very catchy) number in which it is patiently explained to Menelaus that a husband who comes home early and without warning his wife has only himself to blame if he catches her being unfaithful, and that a wise and caring man takes great care to turn a blind eye to such things to save his marriage note . His own brother Agammemnon is among the people telling him this, particularly ironic if you're aware of his fate.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the later time periods of Pendragon, the concept of courtly love arises, which considers this not just normal but desirable behaviour. A lady should make outrageous demands of her suitor and expect him to carry them out with no reward but the faintest expressions of favour, because how else is he going to prove how absolute his love for her is?
    • However, Queen Guenever might take this a little too far even by those standards, especially since she's frequently jealous of any attention Lancelot pays to other women while of course she herself is Happily Married the whole time she's sleeping with Lancelot on the side. The Great Pendragon Campaign sums up their relationship the best:
      Guenever calls him a liar and accuses him of being false to her again, just like before (with Elaine, of course); Lancelot is too meek to mention that he was bewitched at the time and it was 26 years ago... And didn't he just prove he was the best knight in Christendom?

    Video Games 
  • Tales of Legendia does this with its main plot between Senel and Shirley. Senel is clearly holding a torch for Shirley's older sister, Stella, despite the fact that Stella is long dead. When Shirley tries to tell Senel that she loves him, Senel rejects her, saying he has to "stay with Stella." This makes Shirley finally accept her role as an Apocalypse Maiden called the Merines, who will flood the entire planet in seawater and kill every humanoid that isn't a Ferines, who can breathe underwater. The majority of the Playable Characters say that Senel is the one who screwed up, and treat Shirley sympathetically, even if they do tacitly acknowledge that she's overreacting. Sure, Senel is being rather stubborn himself in still latching onto someone who died a long time ago, but Shirley gets woobiefied with the party going out of their way to avoid having to kill her, while Senel is consistently berated for his rejection.
  • Dragon Age: Origins (specifically, Leliana's romance) plays this for laughs.
    Leliana: [after giving a heartfelt declaration of her feelings for the Warden and being told they're reciprocated] You made me say all those thing, why couldn't you have said them first?! Oh, how very awkward!
    Warden: But I thought you said you were comfortable around me?
    Leliana: Well yes but...don't question me! I am a woman and I reserve the right to be inconsistent.
  • Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening unfortunately plays this straight. One side quest features a dying Grey Warden, Keenan, who asks the player to deliver a message and his wedding ring to his wife, Nida. When you find her it’s revealed Nida's having an affair with another man. She justifies herself by saying that she never wanted her husband to be a Grey Warden and that “love can only take you so far,” while the game provides no option for the player to call her out on her infidelity. She always gets the last word in. It's as if the game automatically assumes the player sympathizes with the adulterous wife rather than her dying husband who, with his last breath, wanted to give her closure.
  • Dragon Age II plays it far more straight with a side quest involving a man whose wife has left him. Not only was she unfaithful, she was apparently quite open about it and throwing it in her husband's face. While the husband is definitely a complete jerk, there's absolutely no option to at least acknowledge that what the woman was doing was wrong... every dialogue option involves shaming, scolding, or mocking him.
  • Utawarerumono: Sopok tends to take this view. Eruruw, too, to a lesser extent. Karura forcing herself on Hakuoro under threat of injury? That's totally his fault. And as Eruruw is the lead heroine as is treated sympathetically in this regard and Sopok's "men are things to be tamed and girls need to be catered to" attitude is treated as a voice of wisdom, you can kinda say that the work in general takes this view.
  • In Mass Effect 3 if previously romanced, male Shepard calls out Ashley on this attitude, noting that if he chose to romance someone else in the second game, it was only because Ashley made her feelings abundantly clear on Horizon that they were over.
  • In Fire Emblem Awakening, if you pair Chrom with a female avatar, in their B Support he walks in on her naked. It's his fault. In their A Support, she walks in on him naked. It's still his fault. To be fair, though, she does apologize and admit she was wrong to freak out at him afterwards.
  • In the 24/7 mode of Smackdown vs Raw 2008, you are given the opportunity to spend the night with a member of the female roster who is already in a relationship. Even if you choose not to, you are lambasted throughout this particular portion of the game as a homewrecker. The female in question however is not criticised at all for her actions and even takes the time to say that you deserve your punishment for saying no to her. note 

    Webcomics 
  • In Questionable Content, this is one of the main problems with Dora and Marten's relationship. She repeatedly accuses him of attempting infidelity, at one point giving him the third degree because he intentionally didn't mention that a girl had asked him out - despite that he immediately turned the girl down, and despite that Dora's workplace routinely has to deal with customers asking the staff out and she doesn't think that is mentionworthy. She also blows up on him for getting a haircut without consulting her on it, but when she gets one and he says he preferred her old look, she dismisses him. She also goes digging through his porn folder just to sate her curiosity when he explicitly asks her not to, yet expects him to respect her own boundaries. However, she has been called out on this behavior, repeatedly and the last example is the catalyst for their relationship to breakdown; Marten, not unreasonably, flips his shit when he discovers her violating his privacy, and when they break up Dora is informed in no uncertain terms that she ruined a good thing for stupid reasons and needs help.
  • Something*Positive features this fairly often, but it's spelled out best here.
    Aubrey: Like it or not, it's your fault she put you in a situation where you could only hurt her feelings or suffer through sex with her. It's how women are, and even when we're wrong, you're the one who's wrong.
    • It's still strongly averted when it comes to the question of infidelity - no matter their sex, and no matter their rationalizations, the cheater is in the wrong. It's the one area where even Aubrey would drop that kind of reasoning, and probably threaten anyone she caught using it. Otherwise, Aubrey and Peejee will use it on Davan because their friendships are based on giving each other hell, and Aubrey will pull it out on other women and then chastise them for failing to measure up.
  • One occurrence pops up during the wedding arc of Better Days. Both the bachelor party and the bachelorette party hire strippers. When the girls find out, they are outraged and treat it essentially as the groom "cheating" on the bride. They don't see anything wrong or hypocritical about their own party choices, since they're convinced that all male strippers are gay. (Exactly how does that justify lusting after them?) Eventually one of the male strippers call everyone out on their stupidity, explain the facts and force them to make peace.

    Web Original 
  • This Cracked article demonstrates how magazines like Cosmopolitan can take this trope to extremes. However innocuous his actions or behavior may be, the reader is encouraged to treat their partner with utmost suspicion and respond with over-the-top, vicious, humiliating and even abusive reactions. It also deconstructs them, by presenting them from the point of view of a man whose girlfriend subscribes to these attitudes — she comes across as a temperamental, unstable and paranoid psychotic.
  • Inverted on Literotica, where stories about cheating usually get the heaviest criticism from readers of the same gender as the person being cheated upon. Most of the site's users are male, so stories where women cheat on men often score two points lower than similar stories where men cheat on women. (And it goes even lower if they cheat on a white man with a black man...)
  • Gears of War Versus Marriage is a video depicting a man playing Gears of War's Horde Mode online. His wife asks him to find some information about their friends' wedding so they can use their airline miles to buy tickets before they expire. He responds in a distracted manner, and she leaves, only to return and confront him under the reasonable assumption he was ignoring her. He then cuts her off by providing the information she asked for, in detail, since he's playing the match with the groom in question. Well and truly shut down, the wife has no response other than "Okay, you win this one.."
    • This trope kicks in not with the video, but with the response to it around the Internet; the husband is apparently still in the wrong for "being rude" and "ignoring" his wife (when he didn't) and not telling her that he was talking to "Mike" right then. He ignores her, he's wrong. If he accidentally makes her think he ignored her, he's wrong. Any response short of "Yes, honey, I'll get it done right away" or "I'm playing with Mike right now, I'll ask him" is unacceptable. What's more, the alleged rudeness is apparently more important than whether he actually ignored his wife.
  • Things I need to tell my teenaged daughters about boys. The entire piece is misandrist, but one bit in particular stands out. The list says that men are boring and their heads are "full of landmines and useless whining," and that the teenaged girl in question shouldn't bother trying to get into a man's head for at least ten years, and says that men don't have genuine interest in girls for another 10 on top of that. Then it denigrates men for not allegedly being interested in what women are thinking and being self-centered. Also, young men are "frequently ill equipped to handle the emotions that arise from having sex." Nothing about young women, who can often be just as irrational.
  • A recurring theme on the 'Social Justice Sally' meme, several examples of which — according to Sally (and the 'social justice warriors' she parodies), at least — suggest that anything, no matter how innocuous or excusable, immediately becomes reprehensible if said, thought or done by a straight white man, and anything, no matter how reprehensible, immediately becomes not only excusable but moral (as in, you are a horrible person if you don't do it) if it is being said, thought or done to a straight white man.

    Western Animation 
  • It's truthfully easier to say that Seth MacFarlane just really likes this. In all three shows, the housewife is a hypocritical, promiscuous sociopath, yet has moral superiority over the Bumbling Dad 99.9% of the time. She is allowed to be just as flawed (maybe even more so) than her husband as long as it doesn't have any impact on the plot; only his flaws can cause conflict. More specifically:
    • The American Dad! episode "Stan Time" is a perfect example. Stan gets some pills from the CIA that let him function without sleep so that he can use the night as personal time, since his every waking hour is devoted to taking care of his family. When Francine finds out, she demands that Stan give her the pills as well so that they can spend the nighttime together, yet again robbing Stan of his "me time". When he attempts to put his foot down, Francine abandons the family to discover herself. The episode presents Stan as being in the wrong, and it's up to him to find Francine and apologize for being selfish and taking his loved ones for granted — all because he just wanted enough quiet time to read a book in peace.
    • Punctuated by Francine having almost the exact same Aesop in a later episode. However, while Francine learns to be appreciative of what she has, she is granted a fair compromise and some time to herself, something Stan does not.
    • Stan and Francine are often given similar Aesops. For example, both have had episodes where they check out the opposite sex and in both cases Stan is the one in the wrong. Even when it turns out that Francine is just an incredibly selfish lover Stan is still wrong for trying too hard. What makes it worse Francine is treated very sympathetically even though she was openly lusting after her daughter’s boyfriend to the point of putting her families lives in danger. While Stan who was merely utilizing the Male Gaze was villainized with everyone calling him out over looking at other woman when he has such a hot wife.
    • Perhaps the most ludicrous case of this is in "The Kidney Stays in the Picture", where Francine is revealed to have had an affair just a day before their marriage. Stan is still the bad guy, to the point the affair is depicted as being for the best, because it might have led to Hayley's birth.
    • Another exceptionally blatant case of this is "Pulling Double Booty", where we learn that Hayley enters an Unstoppable Rage if her boyfriend dumps her... despite having no hesitations doing the dumping herself. Just to hammer this in, when Francine panically tells Stan about Hayley breaking up with Jeff, he initially doesn't see the big deal, even noting that Hayley dumps him every other week, and only panics himself upon learning that Jeff did the dumping this time. Hayley is threatened with jail the next time she goes on a rampage, but the episode proceeds to treat any man interested in her as preemptively at fault for having the potential to dump her, never once attempting to address Hayley's temper.
    • Downplayed in "Shallow Vows". After Stan casually admits to marrying Francine only for her looks, Francine purposely lets herself go before they renew their wedding vows. Stan's inability to hide his repulsion sets them apart, so he gets his retinas removed. They get along much better until Stan points out that his blindness will require Francine to earn the income now, forcing Francine to admit that she married to have a provider. The ultimate message is that both of them are shallow... but Francine's shallowness only briefly comes up and is not portrayed in such a negative light as Stan's.
    • In "Bullocks to Stan", Hayley spends the whole episode switching between Bullock and Jeff, and dumping them in the most callous manner (as well as endangering Stan's career and the family's upbringing in the process). The Aesop is about Stan not treating her with enough respect.
    • Averted in "Choosy Wives Choose Smith", Stan gets jealous when Francine runs into a hunky ex-boyfriend and decides to test her. He fakes his death at sea, all while secretly at a CIA island resort watching her on hidden camera as the ex moves in to support the family in their time of need. Then Stan actually gets lost at sea when a typhoon strikes the island. When he finally gets back home he admits the whole thing to Francine...and she says that she knew it all along (his cameras weren't exactly "hidden") and was stringing her ex along to make Stan jealous. The ex-boyfriend, hearing all this, says that they're both terrible human beings and that they deserve each other before storming off.
    • In The Cleveland Show episode "Frapp Attack", Donna becomes jealous of Cleveland being friends with Tori, a female coworker. Later, after the music producer who is interested in the resulting "Frapp Attack" video begins flirting with Donna in Cleveland's absence, Cleveland tries to warn her only to have it dismissed it as harmless, falsely equivocating it with his relationship with Tori.
    • Reversed concerning his divorce with Loretta. Loretta is treated as a repulsive Jerkass for cheating on him with Quagmire, with him and the entire cast despising her. This is only punctuated by them having nonchalant conversations with Quagmire in nearly every episode concerning her, his actions being completely forgiven.note 
    • Lois Griffin from Family Guy is incredibly guilty of this. She frequently calls out Peter on his selfishness and lack of commitment, yet frequently displays selfish or nymphomaniacal behavior (especially as the show progresses). Only very recent episodes have actually pointed out she is a hypocrite.
    • In one episode, Lois forcefully and lustfully tongue kisses Richard Dawson, but later when Peter, who is under amnesia, is going to have sex with another woman, Lois is hurt and leaves him. Within less than a day, she is in Quagmire's bed. This is especially jarring with the sheer hypocrisy that she's conveying. She had no justification of kissing Dawson, other than just to say she did, but Peter actually did have a justification; he had amnesia and didn't even know who Lois was at the time. And let's reiterate that Lois forced herself on Richard's mouth while Peter's date showed no obvious signs of not consenting.
    • In a later episode, Lois is constantly barraged by Peter's insults regarding her age and declining sex appeal. Lois goes to Bonnie for help, and Bonnie actually admits she has had an affair with a man online and encouraged Lois to do the same since it's only a matter of "being in control of her sexuality." She makes out with Meg's boyfriend, and is caught by a very pissed off Meg and later Lois admits the affair to Peter and says that he drove her to it.
    • And another episode after that, Peter makes insensitive remarks about her age again, leading to Lois having a mid life crisis, degrading into a teenager and having a promiscuous lifestyle. She ditches Peter when he can't keep up and later tries to seduce Justin Bieber. Peter accuses Bieber and beats him up, while Lois blames it all on him, claiming all her actions (including an attempted affair) were just to make him happy. Peter accepts this and takes full blame again.
    • Bonnie's cheating and double standard nature is further explored in "Foreign Affairs" and "Internal Affairs." In the former, she makes another attempt (who knows how many times she's done this) to cheat on Joe, getting angry when Lois is rightfully disgusted by her intent and is only convinced to stop when Joe shows up. In the latter, she is cold and indifferent to him most of the episode, with Joe stating she's been like that recently. Her behavior drives Joe to cheat on her (helped by being reminded of her attempt to cheat on him in "Foreign Affairs" but thinking she actually did, a point screeched by Bonnie when Joe's affair is found out. Not that the fact she failed that time should really hold any weight, since she has outright stated she cheated on Joe at least once before) and she is outraged when she finds out.
    • After Peter gets shipwrecked for a long period of time, he returns to find Lois has married Brian. She is emotionally distant and condescending to Brian and refuses to be intimate with him. However, when Lois finally submits to lust and has an affair with Peter, Brian is made to feel bad for robbing her of a happy love life and lets her marry Peter again. As a final insult, she explains afterwards, in the most patronizing tone possible, that she was a day from actually having sex with Brian.
    • Lois raped Peter when he took up abstinence because she has "needs" and was "proving" Peter wrong about abstinence. This is somewhat mitigated in that Peter's reasons for abstinence were horribly misinformed (e.g. "If you have sex, your penis will fall off, and land in another dimension, populated entirely by dogs, who will eat it."), and Peter being Peter...
    • She did previously when she learns Tai Jitsu and becomes drunk with power. She abuses and rapes him, upon which she blames him for belittling her and not giving her a say in the household.note  Later on, after slugging Peter hard and then outright gloating about it, Peter finally snaps and slugs her back, upon which Lois immediately whines double standard. Peter, however, hands it back to her and both of them end beating each other into an equally bloody pulp. Peter negating Lois' attempt at a double standard also doubles as an awesome moment as well:
      Peter: You... you hit me...
      Lois: *smugly* That's right.
      Lois: You can't hit me, I'm a girl!
      Peter: Sometimes I wonder.
    • In "Partial Terms of Endearment", Lois becomes a surrogate mother, Peter is portrayed as completely selfish and ignorant for arguing with this (the same guy who is lectured over and over for ignoring their commitment and not giving Lois a say in anything). Later on, Lois changes her mind and decides to abort the baby, to which Peter changes his mind and insists she keep it. Once again it is strictly Peter who is portrayed as wrong. An episode of American Dad! used a similar plot, with Stan being portrayed as inconsiderate for complaining about Francine having a surrogate baby behind his back.
    • This treatment seems to run in the family. Her father, Carter, once cheated on his wife, Barbara; the episode was devoted to showing how tight and loving (in a twisted sense) their relationship was, and how unforgivable Carter's actions were, despite the fact Barbara had once left Carter for Ted Turner the moment he lost his fortune, had an affair with Jackie Gleason (that traumatized her son to insanity), and also was perfectly willing to have sex with Peter due to being unsatisfied sexually by Carter. The end of the episode stated Barbara did it so as to divorce Ted and get half his money and belongings so she and Carter could go back to being rich. And it's implied that Barbara has already had to deal with a lot of crap from Carter, such as having to renounce her Jewish heritage while dealing with him playing pranks on her because of it.
      • It happened again in "Carter and Tricia" where Carter becomes immediately smitten with Tricia Takenawa and dumps Babs off into a mental institution to have Tricia be his new playmate... but the episode ends with the family pondering Bab's resolution with Carter, and shrug it off as her simply being back in place when needed again.
    • Peter had been sexually harassed by his boss Angela. When he tells Lois, she says very bluntly, "A woman can't sexually harass a man." Later in the episode, Angela reveals that she was only sexually harassing Peter because she's too unattractive to get a man any other way, which suddenly and bizarrely makes her sympathetic.
    • The worst part is that Lois had the nerve to say Loretta's actions were "unforgivable". And yes, this was after she cheated on Peter with Bill Clinton.
    • Loretta herself also falls into this. Later in the episode, when Quagmire tries to seduce her to show Cleveland she was no good for him, she accused him of ruining her marriage with Cleveland, despite the fact that she had seduced him by taking advantage of his lack of self-control.
    • In a Valentine's Day episode, Stewie brings in all of Brian's previous dates to counsel him over his love life. They go through his numerous flaws, which eventually degrade into petty insults such as laughing at his small penis. When Brian is insulted, they claim he's overreacting to honest criticism. A snarky Brian backhands this by insulting them, leading them to all chase after him in a violent rage. (It should be noted that most of Brian's insults were restricted to childish name calling, the show did not allow him to call out their genuine hypocrisies such as Carolyn cheating on him or Tracy trying to dump their son onto him.)
    • In "Heartbreak Dog", Brian and Bonnie relate to each other's feelings of being trapped in their current life (Bonnie's in particular is about depression over being married to a cripple) and kiss. When Joe learns about it, he becomes antagonistic only to Brian. However, when Brian stages an intervention to stop Joe's vindictiveness, Peter, Lois, Quagmire and Cleveland all agree that while Brian did wrong Joe, Bonnie should be equally at fault.

Others

  • In The Boondocks episode "Tom, Sarah, and Usher", Sarah has a fangirl moment over meeting Usher, which Tom objects to (while somewhat jealous, he is also embarrassed by her behavior and her treatment of him during their anniversary dinner). In the car, when he brings this up, she becomes furious with him and asks to be let out of the car. Played for laughs with his daughter Jasmine, who actively encourages her father to stay away from home so Usher can be her new daddy.
  • In Danny Phantom, Danny follows his friend Sam around on a date with the new guy in town and eventually sees what he thinks is a passionate make out. When he brings this up to Sam, she blows up at him for following her on her date. Danny must make amends. However, earlier Sam had followed Danny around on a date with her rival, Valerie. They both had good reasons, since Danny was dating someone who wanted his ghost half's head on a spike, and Danny thought the new guy Sam was dating was a government agent, but only Sam's actions are treated as justified in the show. What makes this even worse is that this sort of thing happened before (Danny's sister, Jazz, got into a relationship with a ghost who was trying to have his girlfriend possess her). None of that matters to Sam, though.
  • Daria averts or even inverts this—Jane is ticked at both her boyfriend Tom and her best friend Daria when they kiss, but forgives Tom fairly quickly, accepting his apology and the fact that their relationship was on the rocks anyway. She is considerably more hurt by Daria's betrayal, though, which takes most of a TV movie to repair. Jane had spent some time afraid about some Unresolved Sexual Tension going on between Daria and Tom and had been acting rather neurotic about it. The episode where Daria and Tom kissed started off with Jane forcing Daria to help her dye her hair and then blew up when it turned into a disaster, yelling that Daria did it on purpose to steal Tom even though Daria repeatedly stated she wasn't any good at dying hair. After apologizing about her paranoia and moving past her suspicions, Jane got thrown through a loop when Daria admitted she kissed Tom after she stated she had no intentions of going after him. Jane's hurt came from fearing Daria was planning to steal Tom, assured she wasn't, and then told to her face that Daria made out with him the very day after they settled the matter.
  • Futurama:
    • Averted in the first episode, Fry's girlfriend, Michelle, cheats on him and throws him out. In "The Cyronic Woman", Michelle ends up in the 31st Century the same way that Fry did, and insists that she and Fry get frozen and thawed out in a future time she is more comfortable with. Even then, she still continues to treat Fry like dirt, and eventually leaves him again. Throughout, Fry is portrayed as a Dogged Nice Guy, while she is portrayed as selfish and unreasonable.
    • Parodied in "Why Must I Be A Crustacean In Love" where Fry helps Zoidberg woo a female of his own species. She ends up falling for Fry, after Leela accidentally tells her that Fry was behind Zoidberg's romantic gestures, and throws herself at him, even though Fry finds her repulsive because she's a lobster alien. When Zoidberg walks in on them he challenges Fry to a duel to the death, only for the her to ditch both of them for the King.
  • Very simply and frequently played in Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats, usually in shorts involving Riff Raff and Cleo. If Riff Raff was cheating on Cleo, Cleo would beat the sauce out of him until he saw the error of his ways. If Cleo were cheating on Riff Raff, Riff Raff would beat up 'the other man' to win her back.
  • Averted in Ice Age 2: The Meltdown. Manny fumbles on the whole "save the species" conversation with Ellie. When their conflicts put their lives in danger, Manny refuses to apologize, insisting that Ellie overreacted - and she admits he's right.
  • King of the Hill:
    • Played for Laughs when Bobby and Luanne (who are cousins) end up believing they're caught in an Accidental Marriage. After they both freak out for a couple of seconds, the first thing Luanne does is lay down some rules:
    "I get to date whoever I want, whenever I want. You can see Connie if you want, but not in public. No, wait. On second thought, you can't see Connie. Ever."
    • Averted when another episode had Nancy becoming quite jealous of Dale spending time with an attractive female exterminator, worrying that he might fall in love with her and that he'd be quite justified in doing so since she cheated on him for fourteen years and he never found out. When Nancy tells Dale not to spend so much time with the other exterminator, Dale points out that he never complained about all the time she spent with John Redcorn, although he's not aware of how much that hurts Nancy. It is worth pointing out that after he says this, Nancy realizes she's throwing stones in a glass house, and all but says that she deserves it if Dale cheats on her. Which he never does.
    • Played with in "I Remember Mono", Peggy finds out that Hank missed their first date not because he pulled some tendons in his back but because he had mono. She didn't care that Hank lied about kissing another woman. Instead, Peggy was angry because she no longer had a story to brag to her friends about. So for weeks, Peggy just stops taking care of herself and ends up looking like a homeless bum. Finally, Hank decides to give her what she wants and ends up repeating various movie type scenarios, like putting his coat over a puddle. One such antic causes him to throw his back out with Peggy leaving him there to wallow in his own stupidity. She later tells her friends and after seeing them sigh at how romantic that was she realizes she has something to brag about again.
  • The Proud Family: Oscar showing the slightest interest in another woman (even so far as being tongue-tied around Mariah Carey) is perfectly justified grounds for his wife to abuse him (sometimes physically, sometimes emotionally, sometimes taking his things, sometimes depriving him of things ranging from dinner to entrance into his own house), but said wife is allowed to run off with any handsome man she sees and expects Oscar to go along with it without question (to the point of when, in one of the few occasions he was able to get out an objection, she threw him across the room and basically said she was going to cheat on him with this random guy).
  • The Simpsons:
    • Inverted For Laughs in the episode "Dangerous Curves". When Homer and Marge learn that they both nearly had affairs on the same night five years ago, Marge gets mad at Homer for nearly cheating on her. He proceeds to call her out on her hypocrisy, and claims she's actually worse than he is, because she did the same thing despite starting out better.
    • In recent seasons Lisa has developed Straw Feminist tendencies that lead into this trope. Twice Bart has gotten into relationships where the girl was just as bad or even worse than him but the show and Lisa in particular always pointed out how Bart was in the wrong.
    • In "Beware My Cheating Bart," Jimbo’s girlfriend Shauna forces a physical relationship with Bart before he was ready both traumatizing and intriguing him. Behind Jimbo’s back she decides to date Bart and all throughout the episode complains about why they can’t go out more despite the danger Bart is in. In the end Lisa convinces her to break up with both of them and Bart is the only one who gets punished despite the fact that all of it was Shauna’s fault.
    • "Love is a Many-Splintered Thing" was arguably worse. Essentially the premise of the episode is a gamer boyfriend meme transposed into the context of someone young enough for it to be understandable. Bart's heartstrings are pulled once again when Mary Spuckler returns to Springfield, but his failure to pay her enough attention strains their relationship. However both Bart and Mary did the same thing. When Mary played her song Bart got bored and found something else to do. And when Bart invited her over to play video games she expressed complete disinterest and complains the whole time. Yet all the time it is Bart who is told he needs to treat her better with Lisa even pressuring him with "you'll never find someone better".
    • In “The War of Art” after all the men Luann dated, cheated on, and got engaged to while she and Kurt were separated she had the gall to get mad at him when she finds out he dated one woman.
    • In the episode 'Brake My Wife, Please', Marge ends up having to do all the driving for the family when Homer loses his license, leading to her getting stressed while Homer comes to enjoy walking. Then around the halfway point of the episode Marge (deliberately) hits Homer with the car, breaking his pelvis, and causes him further harm by dropping hot soup in his lap, and kicking his walking stick out from under him. This all stems from the stress of having to be the main driver, leading to her outright saying she hates Homer. And then suddenly Homer is the one at fault for all this, for not appreciating Marge enough. So ultimately he has to make amends with a grand romantic gesture, while Marge's domestic abuse is casually swept under the rug as if it never happened
  • Averted on Total Drama World TourCourtney's boyfriend Duncan and her friend Gwen kiss, but Courtney's wrath seems much greater for the latter than the former. Most of the D/C fanbase followed suit, but a notable minority wonders why Duncan should get a pass, especially since, unlike Gwen, he never seemed particularly sorry. He also went on to treat Courtney like dirt for the rest of the season, as if she was the one who had caused their breakup.
    • Earlier in the season, Geoff was checking out another girl and his girlfriend Bridgette smacked him with a surfboard and forced him to apologize. However, a few episodes later she wound up kissing Alejandro. To be fair, Geoff did not instantly forgive her and remained mad for an episode (which is a long time for Geoff), but he also never calls her out on her hypocrisy.
  • In Season 1 of Archer, Lana was upset when she found out that Cyril had cheated on her twice. However, she also cheated on him twice, once during a threesome with Skorpio and Archer and another when she had pity sex with Pam. In addition, it's heavily implied that she still had feelings for Archer.
  • In the Regular Show episode "Fries Night" Benson's girlfriend from the previous season, Pam, dumps him because she can't stand being in a long-distance relationship, even though as Benson points out he didn't know he was going to be sent into space, and Muscle Man and Hi Five Ghost's significant others are much more understanding and are willing to wait for them. However in the Grand Finale it's shown that she waited for him after all and they get married.


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