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In many cultures, impregnating a woman outside of wedlock is considered a grievous offense. It puts her in a very difficult position in more ways than one, and it is all too common for the father to skip out rather than remain behind to be a part of the baby's future. In this case the man accepts responsibility, indicating his intention to marry the girl and do his best to provide a stable environment for her and the child.

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You will very rarely see this played straight.

Common variants include meaning something completely different when offering to take responsibility, offering marriage for minor offenses like an Accidental Kiss, or simply the term coming up due to something unrelated, and being mistaken out of context.

When this is forced onto a character, it's a Shotgun Wedding. See Give the Baby a Father for when it isn't the biological father who "takes responsibility." The pregnancy may cause the couple to hasten their preexisting plans to get married.


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Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • On Axis Powers Hetalia, Italy hugs Japan and Japan treats it like a sexual act, demanding that Italy "Take responsibility".
  • In Bakemonogatari, the protagonist Koyomi Araragi visits his lesbian underclassman, Kanbaru Suruga, while she's lounging naked in her room. At first, she doesn't make an effort to change or cover herself, and Araragi (jokingly) offers to take responsibility for viewing her in this state by marrying her. She says that while his offer is very attractive, she doesn't want his Clingy Jealous Girlfriend to murder her.
  • Konosuba: Darkness claims to be pregnant with Kazuma's child in order to get out of an Arranged Marriage, and her father then treats Kazuma as his new son-in-law. Everyone ignores Kazuma when he points out that they're both still virgins, so there's no possible way she could be pregnant.
  • Silver Spoon
    • Due to Hachiken getting too friendly with the pigs who are going to be slaughtered for meat, they're getting too used to humans. One of the students, Yoshino, gets mad at him, and demand he make it up to her if she can't eat pork after this. Hachiken promises to "take responsibility"...which is the point when Tokiwa wanders by. The rumor that Hachiken got Yoshino pregnant spreads around the school, and of course those two only find out when they get dragged into the teacher's office, and everything is made clear.
      Hachiken: She was talking about a pig, you moron, a pig!
      Tokiwa: Huh? Hachiken, you got a pig pregnant?
      Yoshino: Hachiken, I think you can hit him now!
    • When Mikage tells her parents that she wants to get into an illustrious horse college despite her poor grades, Hachiken tells her family he'll take responsibility if she fails. While her mother and grandmother are ecstatic about the idea (and her father tries to throw a table at him), what he was trying to say is that he's planning to tutor her, so it will be his fault if she fails.

    Film 

  • Becomes a point of confusion in Dirty Dancing, when Dr. Houseman asks who's responsible for the pregnant girl (meaning "who knocked her up?"), and Johnny Castle says "I am" (meaning "I'm taking responsibility for helping her out").

    Literature 

  • Codex Alera: Discussed in ''First Lord's Fury, when Tavi discovers that Kitai is pregnant. He suggests that they could get married right now so their child won't be seen as a bastard, but they ultimately decide to wait and get properly married when the war is over.
  • The Kingdom and the Crown: While describing the events leading up to the birth of Jesus, Mary offhandedly mentions that Joseph marrying her after she was found with child was him basically admitting he was the one who got her pregnant in the first place.
  • When Fran of The Stand is impregnated by her boyfriend, his idea of "taking responsibility" is to offer to either marry her or pay for an abortion, her choice. She refuses both and decides to raise the baby herself, later accepting the help of new beau Stu Redman.
  • In A Yellow Raft In Blue Water, when Christine George tells Elgin Taylor that she's pregnant with his child after they have made love to each other in public at Tacoma State Park, Elgin decides that he's going to marry Christine so that the child wouldn't be without a father. In fact, he insists on marrying Christine when she tries to tell him that they don't need to be married for her to have his child.

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    Live Action TV 

  • Leverage: "The Lost Heir Job" deals with a millionaire who years before had had a relationship with a stripper who he had suddenly decided he wanted to marry one day, but his Amoral Attorney sent her away to prevent any threats to taking over his fortune. Nate correctly figures it meant she was pregnant, producing a legal heir, who is actually the girl heading the charity he was going to leave his fortune to when he died.
  • A frequent topic on Maury is the Daddy DNA Test. Often the man under investigation says that if he is the father he'll take on fatherly responsibilities - usually just before they announce that he is not the father.
  • The Nanny: Due to a Miss Conception Grace (who is about 7 years old) thinks she's pregnant, and her friend Willy who allegedly impregnated her makes plans to quit grade school and get a job to support them.
  • Riverdale: In season 1, it's revealed that Jason Blossom impregnated Polly Cooper. When he found out, he planned to elope with her, but was murdered before he could.

    Theatre 

  • Much Ado About Nothing: Shakespeare even used this. Claudio thinks that he's caused Hero to die of sadness after wrongly accusing her of betraying him with another man on the eve of their wedding. Hero's father Leonato says that he can make it right by marrying his niece Beatrice. Claudio agrees.

    Visual Novels 
  • In the first Paramedium game, the unnamed boy who got Mrs Clansey's daughter pregnant said that he'd be happy to come back and marry her. He never did, and the daughter's ghost is distraught about it. It's possible that the disapproving Mrs Clansey got rid of him — as she tries with Lance, whom she deliriously mistakes for him.

    Webcomics 

  • In Magience, Rune accidentally kisses Tilly, and immediately declares that she'll marry the girl to make up for it, to the latter's confusion. Funnily enough, despite them both being straight, they have some fun with it; when Rune gets kidnapped a few minutes later, Tilly helps gather a group of adventurers to find her, with her stated goal being to rescue her wife.
  • Defied in The Order of the Stick: upon being raised from the dead, Durkon immediately pops the question to the mother of his illegitimate child. The mother turns him down. Vehemently.

    Western Animation 

  • Bojack Horseman:
    • In the backstory, Princess Carolyn got pregnant as a teenager by the son of her mom's employer, and the boy agreed to marry her despite his well-off parents' reservations. Unfortunately, she suffered a miscarriage and the boyfriend's parents immediately cut her off.
    • A similar thing happened with BoJack's parents, with his heiress mother getting pregnant after a one-night-stand with his drifter father. This proved to be a huge mistake which torpedoed all of their plans and left them both deeply unhappy for life, seriously screwing up their son in the process.
  • On The Simpsons, Homer marries Marge when they find out she's pregnant with Bart. His father urged him to do so, but did not force them to get married, and neither did Marge's parents (who would, in fact, have preferred she marry literally anyone but Homer). They get married in a small wedding chapel across state lines (called "Shotgun Pete's), affiliated with a casino. Homer felt bad that he couldn't provide her with a nicer wedding, but Marge was happy to marry him.
    Marge: I'd be lying if I said this is how I pictured my wedding day as a little girl, but you're exactly how I'd pictured my husband.

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