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Wouldn't Hit a Girl
aka: Would Not Hit A Girl

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Blue Beetle: I'm no fan of hitting girls.
Supergirl: Heh, you'd be lucky to tickle me.
Blue Beetle: Yup, I kinda would be.
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On average, men have greater upper body strength than women. Because most people don't actually understand concepts like "average" very well, in a lot of people's minds this turns into "any given man is always much, much stronger than any given woman." Since a true hero never uses his strength against the weak, and all women are supposedly weak compared to him, it follows that a hero must never use physical violence against any woman, ever.

When applied to ordinary bar fights, schoolyard throwdowns, duels of honor and so on, the trope is well-meaning if sexist (against both men and women, albeit in different ways). However, when characters keep invoking it in situations where their female opponent poses a serious threat that might only be preventable by violence, it quickly becomes absurd. Of course, it might be that, rather than being motivated by pure nobility of spirit, this philosophy functions as a convenient way for the male character to avoid the humiliation of being beaten by a woman; if he refuses to fight against women, there's no way for a woman to ever prove she could defeat him at his full strength.

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Since ideas about gender roles are in flux and tend to vary widely, modern media can be highly inconsistent about whether this trope is portrayed as a good or bad thing. If a villain refuses to fight a heroic Action Girl on these grounds, it's a toss-up whether this will be portrayed as a sign that he has at least a warped sense of honor after all, or as profoundly insulting. If a hero can't bring himself to strike a villainess, it either means that he's a chivalrous guy or has a dated, patronizing attitude toward women as one of his few character flaws. Occasionally you'll even see both at once, particularly in heroic cases; the character's reluctance to hit women may be portrayed as a sympathetic flaw; stupid and sexist, but ultimately born out of an admirable desire to behave ethically and avoid being a bully.

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Action heroes (or villains) who invoke this trope even though they face female opponents find various ways to get around it. At minimum, they'll make a quip along the lines of "I don't hit ladies, but you're no lady" before they start to fight back. They might try to find creative ways to defeat her nonviolently, perhaps through trickery; they might try to minimize the necessary violence by using grapples or pressure point attacks rather than actual blows, or tearing off their clothes; or they might get off on a technicality by doing something that indirectly results in physical harm to the female opponent without actually striking or firing a weapon against her. In supernatural settings, the problem may be resolved by the male character temporarily turning into a woman (or the enemy into a man), voluntarily or not, thus freeing him from a gentleman's obligations toward the fairer sex. Alternatively, the woman may become a One-Winged Angel so the man isn't even fighting a human, much less a woman, anymore; think Maleficent's transformation into a dragon at the end of Sleeping Beauty. In team stories, this often leads to the Designated Girl Fight, where female members of heroic teams always seem to end up being the ones who take on the female villains.

Due to Media Watchdogs, this trope is often quietly applied without being explicitly invoked, especially in cartoons and other media aimed at children (like in the Sleeping Beauty example mentioned above). This is often noticeable even when feeling obligated by the trope would seem completely out of character, or when the overall message of the work seems to undermine the whole "women are weak and need protection" idea that forms the justification for the trope. Sure, the work never says or implies that the female characters' combat skills are in any way different from their male counterparts', but somehow by pure coincidence the token female team member is always the one who ends up fighting the female villains. Even if Designated Girl Fight is averted and male combatants do fight female opponents without restraint, the former will often seem incapable of actually landing a solid blow on the latter, for one reason or another.

Sometimes the reason is pure PR: even if a guy is justified and doesn't mind hitting a girl, chances are he will be seen as a thug if he does. This is Truth in Television, as many a man defending himself in real life has been attacked by bystanders, mobs, and even the police upon being seen hitting a girl, context be damned.

Often a form of Heroic Vow. May be a form of Innocent Bigotry when it's portrayed as sexist, but the male character genuinely had no idea that some people would see it that way. Compare Would Not Shoot a Civilian, which encompasses this in settings where women are not combatants. See also Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil. A Wife-Basher Basher lives out this trope with righteous fury. Contrast Get A Hold Of Yourself Man, the one situation where he can hit a girl.

Remember, aversions and subversions go under Would Hit a Girl.


Examples:

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  • This was spoofed mercilessly in an ad for the Super Nintendo game The Combatribes. Remember, cyborgs ain't ladies! The arcade version doesn't have that little "cyborg" plot element, but the final boss is still the same woman. One can only imagine the scolding if the author of the article ever catches wind of that.

    Anime & Manga 
  • A variation occurs in Ai no Shintairiku. Sara doesn't hit a female bully because she is assigned male at birth and thus it "wouldn't be fair". She then says that she'll have to wait until she's a "real girl".
  • In Bakuman。, when Miyoshi demands that Mashiro and Takagi let her into their office, Takagi reluctantly decides to answer the door, saying that she would beat him up later. He says that he would fight back and win, but can't because she's a girl, and Mashiro doubts this statement (besides, as we know, she can beat them both up like nobody's business).
  • Berserk:
    • Guts has this at least twice with Casca, which is ironic, since when he first meets her, he only hesitates for a moment when he discovers that she's a woman, but still attacks and nearly kills her. Years later, Guts has picked up a sense of chivalry, as when Casca attacks again, Guts claims that "If you weren't a woman, I'd happily punch you back", causing Casca to cry softly and say that being born a woman wasn't her choice, which quickly cools Guts's anger. The third time Casca attacks him, Guts doesn't retaliate at all. Justified in the sense that Guts is deeply in love with her at that point. Post-Eclipse Guts averts this being completely willingly to cut down demonic females, but he hasn't actually fought any human women besides Casca.
    • Azan, one of the very few knights who hold up a code of chivalry, expresses his disgust when Guts captures Farnese, regarding men who held women captive as "barbarians".
  • Bleach:
    • Aramaki feels guilty about knocking Orihime out when she tries to bite him in order to go back and assist Uryu. Mayuri suggests that part of the "honor of the Quincy" involves protecting women — even enemies — after Uryu protests his mistreating his female lieutenant and "daughter", Nemu.
    • Tsukishima orders his minion Shishigawara to assault Orihime. When he learns that his target is a girl, Shishigawara is unsure of what to do, not to mention gushing over how cute she is. He decides to break his moral code and attack her because he fears his master's wrath, but Tsukishima suddenly Flash Steps up and cuts Orihime down with his sword, much to Shishigawara's horror.
  • In Brave10, while most characters Would Hit a Girl, Kakei, not being a ninja but a pretty old-fashioned samurai, won't fight women. That doesn't prevent women from fighting him, as seen in his fights with Okatsu and Kaio.
  • Change 123:
    • Played with. Most characters in this manga don't have a problem hitting girls, including a biker gang that Hibiki must confront to save her Non-Action Guy Love Interest. After the other Split Personality, Fujiko, takes care of the underlings, Hibiki confronts the leader and puts him in the hospital for a few weeks. Much later, the gang leader's girlfriend asks them to beat up this annoying girl she ran into... who happens to be Hibiki. The entire gang spontaneously decides that they don't hit women.
    • Aizawa plays this trope straight. Although he is a "Yankee" Delinquent who fights very ungentlemanly against guys, he is unwilling to hit a girl, even if a girl (usually unintentionally) offends him. The only exception is when he deals with the tomboyish Ginga, whose fighting skills are on par with his.
  • Daily Lives of High School Boys:
    • In High School Boys and the Cultural Festival, the Student Council President says this near the end of his fight with Ringo-chan. But it's obvious that he's just not that good at fighting.
    • Played straight in the High School Girls are Funky skit Resentment: Facing Yanagi and Ikushima's attacks, Karasawa doesn't in fact hit any of them a bit — the closest to this he does is to turn 180 degrees so that Yanagi kicks Ikushima's butt instead. The entire thing is, instead, ended by him showing his scar.
    • Subverted in High School Boys and Seniority. Motoharu doesn't hit his sister's classmates that are bullying him... not because they're girls, but because they're senior to him.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, because of his self-proclaimed status as a gentleman, Zenitsu says that he won't harm girls, not even throw tea on them, despite it being part of the focus and agility training in his first stay at the Butterfly Manor. However, this gets him no applause from Aoi and the other girls, as they overheard Zenitsu's colorful rant about women, their curves, and how he longs for even catching a glimpse of them. Against demons, on the other hand, Zenitsu doesn't play the gentleman card. If it's a human-devouring monster, Zenitsu won't care if it is female, he will go for the kill.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Master Roshi's training to Goku and Krillin in Dragon Ball explicitly forbids hurting women, as Roshi quickly admonishes Goku when he knocks out bad-Launch, despite the justification of her shooting at them with a goddamn Uzi.
    • Yamcha in the early series can't fight beautiful women or even be around them for long due to his shyness. He is even nearly killed by a female henchman in Curse of the Blood Rubies because of this.
    • Goku is rarely seen fighting women at all. Even when he's fighting Chi-Chi in the Piccolo Jr. arc, he just knocks her out of the ring with an air-pressure punch without actually hitting her. The only time Goku actually does hurt Chi-Chi is an accident: he gives her a friendly pat on the shoulder, which sends her flying through a wall due to his strength. Goku is very apologetic and helps Gohan put bandages on her. In Dragon Ball Super, however, Goku fights multiple female characters, Caulifla and Kale for example.
    • In the first Martial Arts Tournament featured, Ran-Fan's entire strategy revolves around this and stripping.
    • In the Dragon Ball Z movie, Dragon Ball Z: Super Android 13!, when Chi-Chi hits Krillin with a shopping bag and kicks him, Krillin only tries to run away from her and makes no effort to fight back.
    • Gohan is also like this, as he outright refuses to hurt his crush Videl during the Great Saiyanman saga, which pisses her off, and she even claims that she was looking forward to facing him in the Tournament, but she never got the chance. In the games, Videl often tells Gohan not to "go easy" in their pre-fight dialogue.
    • In Dragon Ball Z: Bojack Unbound, Gohan doesn't kill the female henchman Zangya like the rest of the villain team. Instead, Bojack kills Zangya himself by shooting a blast through her to get the jump on Gohan.
  • Durarara!!:
    • Subverted: Izaya isn't one for hitting girls. That's why he makes it a hobby of his to stomp on their cellphones instead.
    • Shizuo, on the other hand, is a straight example, with rather tragic reasons for why: Through the majority of his adolescence, Shizuo tended to develop one-sided crushes on girls and women that inevitably ended with him trying to protect or save them... and accidentally hospitalizing most of them in the process. The consequences drilled the idea of "hurting girls is bad" so deep into his head (at the cost of any sort of self-esteem he might have) that even his Hair-Trigger Temper can't stand against it.
    • Chikage Rokujo has a very strict code about hurting women and refuses to let anyone get away with doing so. In fact, his code is so strict that the only reason he ever shows mercy to men is that he's worried that the women who care for them will be upset if he hurts them too bad.
  • Eyeshield 21: The Deimon Devil Bats go up against the Teikoku Alexanders, whose quarterback is female. Hiruma senses misplaced chivalrous intent in his team and cuts the problem off at the knees by making up a story to them about Karin, the female quarterback — her name's really Karinrou and she's a man, so you'd better go all out on her. It works but doesn't help much (Karin is really good at avoiding sacks).
  • Fist of the North Star: Of all types of lowlife Kenshiro had to face, he never has to or will fight a woman who isn't the helpless wastelander type. The sole exception is Patra, who assists slaver Dragon by casting spells; Kenshiro merely blinds her with two orbs, and she falls off a cliff on her own.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Greed refuses to fight Izumi, saying that "I don't fight women, it's not my style." This doesn't stop him from making the side of his face as hard as diamond when Izumi tries to punch him, causing her to break several of her fingers.
  • Chutora follows this in Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin. In the anime, when he finds out that he was fighting a female (Cross), he refuses to fight her anymore. In the manga, when he finds this out, he beats the crap out of the other dogs.
  • Guilty Crown: Dan Eagleman is disgusted when Segai points a gun at Haruka Ouma. Even when hindered by the cancerous crystals caused by the Apocalypse Virus, he throws himself at Segai and punches him in the face, giving Haruka a chance to escape.
  • In the Hellsing manga and OVA, after assisting Integra in a fight against Nazi vampires, some Iscariot members insist on her coming along as their prisoner. She refuses to do so, and, baffled about what to do, they propose knocking her out or tying her up. Integra points out that attempting this would be unfair because they outnumber her, and implies that there would be something thuggish and perverse about them attempting it because she's a woman. Anderson agrees, and instead the group settles on escorting her wherever she wants to go.
  • When Hime-chan from Himechan No Ribon asks Daichi to hit her (because she hit him earlier and she feels guilty), he refuses to hit a girl. So she grabs his fist and punches herself with it.
  • Inuyasha Inuyasha generally won't kill human-looking girls, with Kagome usually doing the deed. Jakotsu, the flamboyantly gay villain with a crush on Inuyasha, was actually originally supposed to be female. The author changed him to male because she didn't want Inuyasha to kill a human-looking girl. Monstrous-looking females like a centipede woman or floating heads seem fair game to kill though.

    There's an exception in a battle early on, as Inuyasha cuts off the hand of the Youkai, Yura of the Hair, who looks like a young girl. That said, it's still Kagome that actually kills her. Another exception is against Abi, Inuyasha remarks that he doesn't like fighting women, but she's so evil that he'll make an exception. However, Naraku "gave" Abi a trident (made from his bones) that creates a defensive barrier. Eventually, it is Naraku who kills both Abi and her mother.

    The trope gets played for laughs in The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass. Inuyasha has had one sleeve of his firerat fur kimono torn off as an item to break the seal binding Kaguya. After reuniting with Sango and Miroku, Sango asks why he's dressed so funny, as he isn't normally such a slob. Inuyasha promptly belts Miroku over the head, who points out in dismay that he hadn't said or done anything offensive and asks why Inuyasha hit him for Sango's insult. Inuyasha refuses to answer with anything more than "I felt like it."
  • While Jackals doesn't skimp on violence and doesn't care if women are on the receiving end, resident evil bitch and Big Bad Lee Meilang shamelessly exploits her sex to prevent any Y-chromosomed opponent from being violent to her, even though she seriously deserves to get her manipulative little ass kicked.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple:
    • The title character refuses to hit a girl, saying that it's not something a gentleman would do. This becomes a problem twice, once with Miu, whom he trains with (but is told that if he does not try to fight back, then it just hurts both of their chances of getting stronger), and with Kisara, who hates it when people don't fight her because she's a girl. Later in the series, when faced with this situation, Kenichi learns to compensate by using Jujutsu. Possessing many grappling-style techniques, it allows Kenichi to disable female opponents without striking them and with minimal violence.
    • YAMI member Akira "God Fist" Hongo proves to be fairly chivalrous as well. When Shigure (alongside Apachai) attacks him, he brushes both of them off without actually striking back, saying in the process that he's not interested in fighting women (while in Apachai's case, it's because he's hurt from an earlier fight).
      Shigure: He treated me... as a woman. [light blush]
  • Played with in Kidou Senshi Gundam San by Amuro. At first, he hesitates to shoot down a Zaku because he assumes that the pilot is a girl. As soon as he sees the incredibly vulgar kill count markers on the Zaku's head, he becomes sure that the pilot is a man and shoots him guilt-free.
  • Kongoh Bancho: Partially averted, as the protagonist Akira Kongoh has no problem fighting a girl, but he often either underestimates them or intentionally holds back because of their gender. However, in both cases shown, it's proven to be a rather bad idea, and he doesn't actually win until he goes all out.
  • Maken-ki!: The main character Takeru has this philosophy. He also feels that women shouldn't even fight amongst themselves for any reason. Justified by the fact that he developed this complex because of the tragic death of his mother. Other characters, however, repeatedly warn him that he has to get over this. Arguably full-out deconstructed when someone asks him what he would do if he saw a girl beating up another girl (a very real possibility at his school), and he can't come up with an answer. "Unless you're saying it's all right for girls to beat up girls?"
  • My Hero Academia: During the battle tournament event of the U.A. Sports Festival, a school event that is not gender-segregated, some interesting and varying battle tactics were developed: Male Denki Kaminari attempts to electrocute female Ibara Shiozaki with his Quirk, but she quickly averts this with her Quirk, Vines; female Mina Ashido pretty much creams male Yuga Aoyama, ending with an uppercut; male Tokoyami concentrates his Dark Shadow on female Momo Yaoyurozou's shield; female Mei Hatsume tricks male Tenya into using one of her support items to constrain him, but makes herself lose, letting him win anyways; and male Katsuki Bakugo injures female Ochaco Uraraka with his explosions, even though the audience believes that he is being too rough on her. All in all, most of the male against female battles aren't too violent on each other.
  • Surprisingly, Arika invokes this trope in My-Otome Zwei. After Yukino offers herself as a hostage in order to convince some terrorists to let the passengers of a hijacked bus go, she asks them to do the same for Arika, only to be told that they're keeping her since she's one of Nagi's greatest enemies. When Yukino warns them that Windbloom will become their enemy if any harm comes to Arika, one of them is prepared to hit her, but Arika intercedes, telling them that her grandmother said that men who hit women are terrible people. The terrorist reluctantly stops himself.
  • Naruto:
    • Shikamaru is faced with this moral issue several times, as he doesn't like to hit women, but also feels a man can't lose to a woman. When facing Tayuya, he does say that it's "against his code" to strike a lady but notes that Tayuya doesn't count as one (it helps that she's gone One-Winged Angel and doesn't look very feminine anymore).
    • There is one girl whom Naruto subconsciously and consciously never hits: his future wife Hinata.
      • In the Invasion of Pain arc, when he's Forced to Watch Pain stab Hinata, he instantly activates his six-tailed state for the first time ever, mercilessly attacks Pain with everything he has, transforms to his eight-tailed state, and almost releases the Nine-Tails. Throughout that fight against Pain, Naruto manages to not harm Hinata any further or even come close to killing her, even though he's in his six-tailed and eight-tailed states and his seal is a lot weaker. Naruto even becomes very worried that he might have killed Hinata when he was under the control of the Nine-Tails, and he cries in relief when he learns that he didn't.
      • In the canon movie The Last: Naruto the Movie, Toneri forces the brainwashed Hinata to attack Naruto, thinking that Naruto wouldn't be able to fight back because of his love for her. This is true to an extent: Naruto doesn't even try to attack Hinata; he ends up dodging her attacks instead. However, once he realizes that she's been hypnotized by Toneri, Naruto frees Hinata from the mind-control without harming her.
  • Natsuki Crisis: Subverted/parodied. Natsuki's fellow karate club members claim that this is the reason they won't practice against her... but it's obvious that the real reason is that she can kick their butts, and they're too scared.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Kotarou does not like having to hit girls. After Kaede utterly kicks his butt due to his refusal to hit her, everybody (Kaede included) treats his dislike of hitting girlsnote  as a stupid idea that he needs to get over in order to be a better fighter. This particularly hurts him since 95% of the cast is female. Including at least half the villains. He gets over it later.
  • One Piece:
    • Sanji chivalrously refuses to fight women, or in one case, Mr. 2 Bon Clay taking the form of a woman (Nami) note , even if it means his death. A fan once asked the author to expand on the scene where Sanji is beaten because he can't hurt a female assassin. Oda admitted that he didn't want to write the scene since it's a real-life problem men go through, but specified that Sanji is physically unable to bring himself to hit a woman, which hurts his pride. For Sanji, it's justified due to being raised in this trope; his father and brothers abused him all throughout his childhood, whilst his mother and sister were the only ones who showed him love and kindness, and his beloved Parental Substitute, fearsome Chef of Iron "Red Leg" Zeff, is adamant that it's unmanly to hit women. Mind you, Sanji may be implementing Zeff's beliefs more intently than Zeff intended, in no small part because he remembers Zeff threatening to castrate him if he ever learned of Sanji hitting a girl. He's also often set against men who actively hurt and abuse women like Absalom and Niji (his brother).

      Sanji is severely beaten (by CP9's Kalifa) as a result of this despite being far stronger than her. Nami is quick to point out that chivalry isn't worth dying for and that there was no shame in running away if he was unwilling to fight Kalifa, but Sanji claims that he just couldn't. Seeing how torn he is over it, Nami calls him idiot, but then goes and avenges him by fighting Kalifa herself, Nami even says she does like his commitment to his ethics.

      Sanji does point a gun at Nico Robin on one occasion, but admits that it was a reflex to protect Vivi. He's also willing to block and counter blows from women, e.g Kalifa, Arbell (filler), and even goddamn Yonko Big Mom. The only time where Sanji, or at least a part of him, attacks a woman is in Thriller Bark, where his shadow is put in the zombie penguin Inuppe by Gecko Moria. At first, Inuppe is unwilling to hurt Nami and protects her. However, Sanji's shadow soon forgets itself and mercilessly kicks down Robin when fighting her, to the shock of Chopper, who had been counting on using Sanji's chivalry to beat his shadow. It's quite brutal and jarring.

      This trait is delightfully played with in the Land of Wano arc. Sanji is lured into a trap by Black Maria making it seem like an innocent woman is about to be sexually assaulted, but it's actually her minions. Sanji is captured, but puts Black Maria's male Mooks through hell but ultimately is beaten by Black Maria herself, who is amazed by his strength but is delighted to have a punching bag who won't hit back. She then makes Sanji call for Robin's help, but she and her rabble honestly think that Sanji will just tank the beating rather than humiliate himself. However, Sanji shows his Character Development and actually cries for help, at which point Robin swoops in and smacks Black Maria down, allowing Sanji to escape. Robin even thanks Sanji for trusting her strength.

      His moral code is played with in various video games:
      • In One Piece: Grand Battle, if you play as Sanji vs. any female character, his dialog will change. He'll still fight like normal, but he'll say things like "I'm so sorry!", "Oh no! What have I done!", and "Someone else is controlling my legs!"
      • In One Piece: Pirate Warriors, Sanji can't even damage female characters, and all attempts to attack them are bounced off as if they had a permanent invisible barrier, exclusive to Sanji. The game will give a big warning across the screen if there are going to be any female fighters in the level to confirm if you really want to continue after selecting Sanji as your character. You can still beat the opponent by building up team gauge on the mooks and having your partner come in to fight.
      • In One Piece: Burning Blood, Sanji has the special attack "I won't kick a woman, even if it means my death!", which causes all of his attacks (including his special and ultimate moves) to comically change into hearts and causes his health meter's portrait and the face on character model to change to his "heart eyes" face when he's fighting female characters. Unlike the Pirate Warriors series, he can still attack female characters, and the "hearts" he produces can cause minor damage to female opponents.
    • Zoro may or may not be like this. Tashigi thinks that this trope is in action when Zoro doesn't kill her after their fight, but doesn't seem to understand that due to her resemblance to his childhood friend, doing so would probably would have caused him to have a Freak Out of epic proportions. In chapter 687, she claims that Zoro was holding back on fighting Monet because he held a dismissive attitude towards women. This is left vague, as Zoro does say that there are some things he doesn't like to cut and if he can avoid it he will, but he doesn't let that stop him from cutting Monet in half when the latter is about to bite off Tashigi's shoulder. On the other hand, Zoro was perfectly capable of bypassing Monet's Nigh-Invulnerability and killing her outright, but deliberately chose not to, instead splitting her in a way that she could pull herself back together from. When Monet tries attacking him again, Tashigi has to deliver the finishing blow, though Zoro claims that he would have done it himself had it come to that.

      Ironically for Zoro, due to his refusal to fight Marine Swordswoman Tashigi because she looks pretty much identical to the girl he kept trying to beat when he was young before she died, he gets accused of being sexist about swordswomen whenever he goes out of his way to avoid fighting Tashigi. Zoro really disapproves of just attacking innocent women for the hell of it. He flips his lid when Eneru fries Robin just for speaking out of turn because "she's a woman", and gets even more pissed when Eneru responds that he doesn't care.

      Even when fighting women who can fight back, he has a tendency to use the minimum force needed to beat them, like Ain and Naomi in movies and filler, whom he knocked out instead of slashing them down like he does with his male opponents. Zoro doesn't like fighting women, but he will if has to. The only female he does and will ever fight seriously is Kuina, whom he fights savagely and without hesitation before she dies.
    • Usopp, unlike Sanji and Zoro, fights quite a few women and has no real qualms about hurting them, though given his pathetic physical strength, it's not like he's holding anything back when Nami and Ms. Valentine (the first women he fights) kick his ass effortlessly. However, Usopp has some Combat Pragmatism and has defeated female opponents without physically hurting them: He defeats Miss Merry Christmas by having her partner Mr. 4 take her out, he defeats Perona with some fake cockroaches and a fake giant hammer, and he defeats Sugar by making a scary face that makes her faint. The only time he actually attacks a woman is in the non-canon One Piece Film: Gold, where he takes out Baccarat with his slingshot Kuro Kabuto after turning her luck powers against her.
    • "Red Leg" Zeff believes firmly in two things: That a man should strive to be manly, and that it is the height of unmanliness to hurt a woman. He even proclaims that not hitting women is "the iron-clad rule of this universe since the time of dinosaurs".
  • Photon is trapped in a transparent cell with a Brainwashed and Crazy Keyne, who proceeds to pummel the stuffing out of him. Despite having a staff and a Megaton Punch, Photon does nothing by way of defense except cry "Keyne!" repeatedly. It becomes an "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight in close quarters, with Photon left battered and bleeding.
  • The Prince of Tennis:
    • A Tachibana gets slapped and berated for attempting to defend Sakuno Ryuzaki from a bully. Cue to Takeshi Momoshiro telling off the bully and throwing the guy to the ground.
    • In his backstory, a young Nanjiroh Echizen was extremely upset when he found out that Rinko Takeuchi, the girl he fancied (in a rather sui-generis way, had been physically abused by her tennis coach (and for extra Kick the Dog points, she took a beating to protect a little child whom he had been mistreating) and settled things with a tennis match in which he completely crushed him.
  • Ranma ½ zigzags the trope. Eponymous character Ranma Saotome has expressed that he doesn't particularly like to fight girls in terms that nod to the reality that guys who hit girls are seen as scumbags, which invokes this trope and plays it straight. Subverted in that he will still fight women without hesitation. Then double-subverted in that he vastly prefers to do so whilst using his own Gender Bender female form (so he doesn't look so bad), and he also demonstrates a tendency to go for less violent means of subduing female foes.
  • Saint Seiya:
    • Apart from having the Bronze Saints refuse to consider even pointing a finger against Saori aka Athena (though this is more for her being their Goddess and a non-combatant), Seiya also refuses to fight the female Silver Saint Ophicus Shaina most of the time. When she specifically seeks him out and tries to force him to fight, he specifically tells her that he won't fight her because she's a girl, prompting Shaina to go into a Motive Rant to explain why she wants to fight him.
    • Inverted with Ikki in the Hades arc. He slaps Pandora in the face, saying that unlike Seiya and the other main character saints, he doesn't care about the fact that she's a woman. If it's evil, gender doesn't matter, he'll exterminate without remorse.
  • Sekirei mostly avoids this, since almost all combatants are female. However, one odd example occurs during an Involuntary Battle to the Death, when Master Swordsman Mutsu remains on the defensive against opponents that have already terminated several of his comrades. When asked why he doesn't draw and fight them seriously, he explains that he doesn't like to cut down women. It may be somewhat justified in that they're essentially his younger sisters, with it previously having been established that the Single Numbers tend to have a Big Brother Instinct when it comes to the other Sekirei. Even so, it's somewhat jarring due to the life-or-death situation.
  • In The Seven Deadly Sins, Howzer heavily dislikes having to fight women, so he uses his Blow You Away abilities to knock them away without having to physically hit them.
  • Slam Dunk: During the fight in the Shohoku gym, one of Mitsui's gangster friends (from before his Heel–Face Turn) slaps Ayako and throws her to the floor when she tells Rukawa not to fight. Ryota Miyagi, who's in love with Ayako, goes absolutely apeshit and kicks the guy to the floor and punches him until he's unconscious, all the while screaming that women should never be hit.
  • Soul Hunter: When Taikoubou decides to fight the enemy spy Tou Sengyoku himself to make up for the fact that he didn't directly take part in any of the recent fights despite being The Hero (he was present, but acted as The Strategist), Suupuushan say that it's terrible because that means that he is going to fight a girl. Downplayed in that Suupuushan had no problem with Taikoubou fighting against Kijin early in the manga, but shows concern in this case because the spy is mostly harmless. Kou Hiko refuses to help Taikoubou in a later fight against her, this time helped by her father and a giant gerbil-like animal, because he doesn't want to fight a girl.
  • In Tokyo Revengers, Takemichi befriends Mikey, the leader of the Tokyo Manji gang only for Mikey to cause a scene pulling him out of school to hang out. His girlfriend Hinata slaps Mikey, blaming him for Takemichi's injuries, and The Dragon Ryuguji threatens them both. After Takemichi stands up to them, Mikey reassures him that they'd never hit a girl and Ryuguji commends him for his bravery.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Judai Yukai in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. As he tells Tania, he never hits girls. (He's fine with the soul battle she enacts with her magical Amazoness Arena card, however.)
    • A weird example happens in the manga version of Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL during Yuma's duel with the Numbers Hunter Princess Cologne. When Cologne summons her ace monster, Number 22: Zombiestein (a huge, hulking, ugly, undead beast), it seems unstoppable, ripping through Yuma's monsters and all of his defenses. However, when Yuma uses an effect that summons Gagaga Girl, Zombiestein not only refuses to attack her, he seems to fall in love, offering her a bouquet of flowers. Sadly, Gagaga Girl rejects his affections, but he still refuses to attack, and that gives Yuma the opening he needs to summon Utopia and defeat Zombiestein, along with Cologne.
  • YuYu Hakusho: Kuwabara is revealed to have "don't fight girls" as part of his personal moral code. He even refuses to fight the demon Miyuki during the Rescue Yukina arc, despite the fact that she is both deliberately challenging him and quite offended by this attitude. Yusuke, meanwhile, promptly steps up and reveals that he has no problems with fighting girls, declaring that he doesn't understand what the problem is with refusing to fight somebody who wants to fight you just because they're a different sex and proceeding to brutally finish her off. In the unedited dub, after beating her senseless, Kuwabara starts to protest Yusuke's actions in outrage, for which Yusuke reluctantly explains that Miyuki isn't a woman at all. She's transgender (presumably male to female, though comments made could be taken as her being a female to male) with Fake Boobs and male sexual organs, leading to the following amusing quote:
    Yusuke: The family jewels have not been stolen.
Yusuke explains that he opened the fight by groping Miyuki on both the chest and crotch, the latter because something didn't quite feel right about the breasts. When Kuwabara asks if this means that Yusuke would have taken it easier if Miyuki had really been a girl, Yusuke refuses to answer. When Miyuki herself claims that Yusuke was actually extra rough because of her true nature, Yusuke batters her unconscious and insists that he treated her exactly the way he would have treated any of his opponents, male, female, or in-between. In essence, the scene manages to play the trope straight, avert it, and then subvert it in rapid succession.

    Comedy 
  • One Canadian stand-up comic has a bit he does where he announces that under no circumstances should a man hit a woman. But there should be women whom a man could hire who could hit a woman...
  • Played straight by Chris Rock in Bigger and Blacker, but not because of any particular moral exceptions for women, but because he doesn't think it's right to hit anybody. However, this is with the caveat that nobody should expect to be "above an ass-whooping".

    Comic Books 
  • In Asterix and the Secret Weapon, the villain attempts to use this trope to defeat the invincible-yet-honourable Gauls — by employing a whole centuria of women to fight them. The Gauls respond by transforming their village into a giant mall. The "trap" succeeds flawlessly.
  • The Avengers:
    • In the '70s, the team fought against the Lion King, an African deity who wanted to capture the Black Panther. He defeated all the other Avengers, but refused to fight against the Black Widow: instead, he summoned a pair of common lions to deal with her. The Widow pointed out that she was glad that she did not belong to the tribe of such a sexist god.
    • The Black Panther is guilty of this himself during The Korvac Saga, refusing to seize Korvac's lover Carina because "it would not be honorable." Yellowjacket has no such reservations.
    • In Avengers #1.1, The Wasp knocks out The Enchantress while saying that the male Avengers would be too scared of seeming sexist to hit a female villain.
  • The Cavalier from Batman prides himself on being a man of the highest moral fibre; not only does he refuse to harm women, but upon seeing a woman in peril he will help Batman save her, and he has several times interrupted one of his own crimes to help an old woman with her luggage. He finally pulled a Heel–Face Turn when Leslie Thompkins saved his life and he became the defender of her clinic, which was deep in gang territory.
  • Ex Machina: In the second issue, we see a flashback to when Hundred first met Angotti while he was still The Great Machine. She attacks him, trying to subdue and arrest him, and when he doesn't understand, she explains the damage he causes, citing a recent incident in which a female officer was injured. He's guilty over the accident but seems moreso after finding out that he hurt a woman.
  • In an early issue of Justice League International, Ten of the Royal Flush Gang expresses the hope that Booster Gold has this philosophy. Unfortunately for her, Booster is from a point in the future where all sexist double standards have long since been abolished, including this one, so...
  • One of Don Rosa's sketches for Chapter 8 of The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck shows Scrooge displaying this attitude toward Goldie, leaving a young Elvira Duck (Grandma Duck) to take her on. Fortunately, in the actual story, Scrooge's and Goldie's relationship ultimately averts this trope in The Prisoner of White Agony Creek, albeit while using a Sexy Discre-, uh, Gory Discretion Shot... well, both, actually.
  • This is parodied in the Mad Adventures of Captain Klutz short story "Chicken Soup". The eponymous hero admits that his superhero code prohibits him from hitting the elderly female villain turning everyone into zombies — but it doesn't say anything about not shooting her!
  • New Avengers: After Victoria Hand has pissed off the Avengers thanks to her actions nearly resulting in Mockingbird's death, we get this lovely dialogue:
    Wolverine: If there's one thing I hate, it's hittin' a dame.
    [cue Mockingbird, who has recently gained super strength, decking Hand without warning]
    Mockingbird: Fortunately, I have no such issue.
  • Played straight, but for laughs in the non-canon Planetary/Batman crossover comic. Several versions of Batman are encountered, including the Adam West one, who uses "Bat-Female-Villain-Repellent" on Jakita. The other versions have much less trouble hitting her.
  • Preacher: Inverted, in that Jesse's ultimate justification for Cassidy's long-overdue "The Reason You Suck" Speech and subsequent No-Holds-Barred Beatdown is that Cassidy has hit a woman and therefore deserves no further mercy.
  • The Punisher: Prior to Garth Ennis, Frank had a habit of going easier on women than men. He once laments that he doesn't know why, given all the evil women he's met. They usually try to kill him despite his mercy, making it a moot point.
  • In the first Robin Miniseries, King Snake claims that it just won't do for him to kill a woman when he has the (female) leader of the Ghost Dragons punished by his Dragon, but it's just part of the persona he's building to make the Ghost Dragons obey him, as he later describes in gleeful detail the way he murdered Clyde Rawlins's screaming wife as he beats Clyde to death.
  • Scott Pilgrim: The eponymous character is called out by his own girlfriend as being a pussy for not hitting girls. She ends up grabbing him by the arm and hitting the girls who were attacking them with his fist, because "you've got to learn how to hit a girl, Scott."
  • Shazam!: There have been times when Mary Marvel has been invaluable in this situation.
    • In a 1970s comic, the Marvel Family storms Hell itself. They fight various mythological monsters there; when they run into Lamia, neither Billy nor Freddy dare hit her, despite her being a half-snake monster. Luckily, they brought Mary along. Pow!
    • In a variant situation, the otherwise nigh-omnipotent villain Oggar is more than willing to attack a female opponent, but his magic cannot directly harm female targets. Even forcibly moving them without causing injury with it will not work, apparently because that is also interpreted as harm. Considering Oggar can otherwise kill a male target at a word, Mary Marvel is the only one who can believably stop him on Earth-S.
  • In a Radioactive Man story in The Simpsons where Eczema has taken the Superior Squadron and Gloria Grand prisoner, Radioactive Man refuses to go after Eczema because he hasn't finished beating up a minion... and also he isn't allowed to hit girls. Gloria ultimately takes out Eczema.
  • Sin City: Played straight in the comic book and film; Marv has some (albeit very few) moral lines in the sand, which he crosses only with extreme reluctance — hitting a woman is one of them. In fact, he despises that so much that other people hitting women is his Berserk Button, particularly in regards to Nancy Callahan, his favorite among the strippers at Kadie's. He crosses this line on only two occasions in the series: to spare his companion Wendy, Goldie's twin sister, from having to watch him torture Goldie's killer Kevin to death, and executing a female slave trader who was planning to sell a girl who Marv was trying to find and bring back to her mother into sexual slavery.
  • The first time Spider-Man encountered a female villain, he said that he couldn't hit a girl. He gets over some of it at some point. However, in Ultimate Spider-Man's Black Cat arc, he's still reluctant to fight with either Black Cat or Elektra.
  • J.A.K.E., the GI Robot from Star-Spangled War Stories, freezes up when faced with an enemy robot that looks like a woman. It turns out that his programming doesn't recognize women as hostiles, as it was never expected that he would face one. Incapable of firing on her, he eventually brings her down indirectly — by leading her on a chase through a minefield.
  • It's fortunate for Metropolis that most of Superman's opponents are male, since whenever he fights a woman, he gets slapped around a lot because he can't be shown striking her, even when she's clearly powerful enough to take one of his punches. He'll restrain her or attack her in an indirect fashion (like pouring water on Livewire), or a female superhero will step in (often after he's been dropped) and beat the villainess up for him.
  • Wonder Woman (2006): In volume 3 #20, Diana ticks off Beowulf, and he attacks her. After she punches him in the face, Beowulf apologizes and says that he doesn't fight women. Then they see Grendel's worshippers approaching, and Diana asks him if he ever fights beside women. Cue the pair readying themselves for battle.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Dick Tracy, when the female villain Quiver has threatened to blow up an airliner, Tracy ends up having to sock her in the jaw before she can hit the button. Afterward, he looks embarrassed and tells the stewardess he doesn't normally go around hitting women. The stewardess quips, "That's alright, Detective Tracy. Haven't you heard of equal rights?"
  • The notoriously grumpy protagonist of The Outbursts of Everett True is willing to punch just about everyone except women. He isn't above giving a woman a good chewing-out, but overall, one of his more consistent Berserk Buttons is treating women like lessers, whether as simply as leering at them or as horribly as beating them. Indeed, his wife seems to be the only person who can keep him in check.
  • Comes up now and then in Peanuts, usually with Lucy exploiting it so that she can bully the boys with impunity:
    • In a strip from the late 1950s, Linus takes Lucy on in a backyard boxing match but takes two hard lefts before he knows it. Stunned, Linus begins to get serious, and then Lucy lowers her gloves and says "You wouldn't hit a girl, would you?". Linus, saying "Huh?", then lowers his gloves, upon which Lucy rips a left hook to Linus's jaw to knock him out.
    • There is also a Sunday strip where Violet is annoying Linus, and she taunts him about not being able to hit a girl. Linus then wants to throw something at her, but Charlie Brown chides Linus about how he is not allowed to hurt girls, to which Linus decides to slug Charlie Brown instead.
    • In one strip, Charlie Brown actually does hit Lucy (not very hard) and he feels immensely guilty about it. He goes to Lucy's psychiatric booth and explains what happened as though he's talking to a completely different person. She slugs him and he declares that "I don't feel guilty anymore! Psychiatry has cured me!"
  • Popeye pretty much lives by this trope. So whenever he has to deal with his nemesis, the Sea Hag, he usually lets a spinach-fueled Olive handle the fighting. However, in the original Thimble Theater comic strip, he feels conflicted about hitting the Sea Hag at first, but then decides that it's okay because her mean nature makes her "no lady."
  • Scary Gary: Downplayed with Leopold. With his ethical and moral standards being next to nonexistent, the only reason he has a higher kill count for men than women is that when it comes to the latter, he prefers dating to dismemberment.

    Fan Works 
  • Anger Management: Discussed when Liam is surprised that Lincoln hit one of his sisters, since he didn't strike him as the type to hit girls.
  • Doing It Right This Time: Sakura pokes fun at her brother without fear of retaliation because he would not hit a girl.
  • In God Save the Esteem, a riot breaks out in the wake of Daria revealing to the media how extensive the byes and grade fixing at Lawndale High was, with many of those exposed targeting Daria for retaliation. In the midst of the riot, Robert (a football player who was one of the ones revealed as part of the grade fixing) rushes to defend Daria from his fellow jocks on the grounds that, no matter what she's done to the team or him personally, he will not tolerate men hitting women.
  • Well, they wouldn't hit anyone, mostly, being Actual Pacifists, but the four definitely have a few pertinent moments in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World:
    • When Paul gets hammered a couple of times by the superstrong warrior woman Lielya, he refuses to even try to hit her back, though this is partially because he's afraid of what he might do to anyone he hits.
    • When Ringo and John are divesting some mine-robbers of their stuff, they don't take anything from the one woman in the group, in part out of "gallantry to a pretty woman."

    Films — Animation 
  • Batman: Under the Red Hood: Black Mask goes off on a tangent and punches all of his lieutenants, except Ms. Li, despite the fact that she's a bit of a Deadpan Snarker towards him (emphasis on deadpan).
  • In The Book of Life, Xibalba only puts Maria in a trance when going about his plan. He doesn't lift one finger against his wife, to avoid implications. He also doesn't yell or strike back at Carmen for slapping him three times.
  • In Ice Age: Continental Drift, Diego has this attitude when Shira goes up against him. It takes all of two seconds for her to pin him to the ground.
  • At the end of the fourth Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf film, Wolffy appears in front of the gate to Goat Village with Wolnie and Wilie to help him destroy the gate with a cannon, since he is badly hurt and in a wheelchair from the events of the movie. Weslie and the other goats don't know what to do, since Wolnie is a woman and Wilie is a child. However, Wolffy isn't actually hurt and was just pretending so that he could use Wolnie and Wilie to help him capture the goats.
  • At the start of Superman: Red Son, Svetlana punches a bully who was chasing after her friend Somishka. The bully runs off because he won't hit a girl back.
  • The trailer for Wonder Woman (2009) has WW saying "It's not polite to hit a lady." Some fans found it rather odd that she would say this, considering her native culture is a Proud Warrior Race. However, the line was deliberately taken out of context.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: While Vanellope is a major headache for Ralph at first, he is extremely hesitant in punching her, so he just hits a jawbreaker to release his anger. Although that's probably more Wouldn't Hurt a Child in this case.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Lampshaded humourously in 22 Jump Street during Schmidst's confrontation against Mercedes in the climax, although it is more random punching than an actual fight.
    Schmidst: I'm not gonna fight a girl. So just stop.
    Opponent: Shouldn't matter. If you thought of me as a person instead of a woman, you would hit me and not feel bad about it!
  • Batman Returns: When Batman and Catwoman are fighting for the first time, she pummels him and he refuses to counterattack — for a moment. When finally he does punch her out, she whimpers, "How could you? I'm a woman!" Immediately contrite, Batman moves to help her up... and she knocks him off the rooftop. "As I was saying, I'm a woman, and can't be taken for granted!" In later encounters, Batman has learnt his lesson and does hit her.
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: Hypnotized somnambulist Cesare has no trouble stabbing two men to death, but he draws the line when asked to kill a woman. He kidnaps her instead.
  • The Enforcer (1951): Zigzagged. When Professional Killer Duke finds out that Nina is his latest target, he's perturbed, saying he's never killed a woman before, but is still willing to go through with the hit until they fall in love while he's getting close to her for the planned hit. Duke and Nina try to go on the run, but Duke's gang catch them and force Duke to kill Nina after all.
  • Fighter: The sensei orders one of the members of the Action Girl lead's new kung fu club to fight her. He protests that he doesn't fight women. The sensei tells him to fight everyone, or leave.
  • Force 10 from Navarone: A variation appears when The Mole tells Harrison Ford and Robert Shaw they have to hit her to make their escape from Those Wacky Nazis look genuine. They both balk but finally comply. Then she berates them for not hitting her hard enough.
  • Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai plays with this trope. Louie, despite being a mobster, won't take any action against a female traffic cop who pulled him over for speeding, even though she's needlessly holding him up from attempting to get his dying friend Vinny to the hospital. Vinny, however (who is also a mobster), doesn't even hesitate to shoot her. When a horrified Louie calls him on it, Vinny responds by saying that he's just treating her like he would any other cop.
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra:
    • Storm Shadow... but not Zartan!
      Storm Shadow: For you [...] I make an exception.
    • Heavy Duty doesn't say that he wouldn't, just that he would prefer not to.
      Heavy Duty: Don't make me shoot a woman.
  • The most tense scene in The Guns of Navarone involves the protagonists arguing over whether they should shoot a female Double Agent. Just as their leader is about to do so and David Niven's character rushes to stop him, the other female member of the team shoots The Mole dead.
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Snape happily beats Harry and Ron's heads like drums whenever they get distracted from their study by chatting. However, as fans have pointed out, he doesn't do the same to Hermione, even though she's talking as well.
  • Invoked Trope in The Highwaymen. Frank Hamer notes that police trying to stop Bobbie and Clyde are reluctant to fire on them because they might hit Bonnie, giving the Outlaw Couple a momentary advantage in a shoot-out they don't hesitate to exploit. When Hamer launches his own ambush, he and the other officers don't hesitate to give both outlaws a Multiple Gunshot Death.
  • In Bruges: Ray knocks out a woman who took a swing at him with a bottle. He justifies this to the female lead by explaining that he would never normally hit a woman, but since she came at him with a deadly weapon, he felt okay taking her out in self defence.
  • The James Bond movies provide a meta-example of this trope. It's not that he's unwilling to kill a woman, but the writers avoid putting him in that position in the first place.
    • The majority of Bond's female villains are killed by some manner that doesn't solely involve him, such as dancing with Fiona Vulpe and using her as a bulletshield when her henchmen try to shoot him, or May Day's Heroic Sacrifice following her Heel–Face Turn. Others are killed by the Big Bad for failure or by the Bond Girl. It's not until GoldenEye in 1995 that Bond directly kills a woman for the first time.
    • Bond is accused of this (at least if the girl is beautiful) by his superiors in The Living Daylights after he alters a plan to cover a defection by shooting the rifle out of a female KGB sniper's hands instead of shooting the sniper, but counters that it isn't killing women he has a problem with, it's civilians. He could see from the way she was holding the rifle that the woman wasn't trained in its use and so couldn't be a professional sniper.
  • In Mortal Kombat: The Movie, Liu Kang never directly hits Kitana in his match with her, defeating her with throws instead.
  • The Numbers Station: Emerson is Reassigned to Antarctica because he could murder a man who had witnessed a CIA assassination, but could not bring himself to murder the man's teenage daughter as well.
  • Popcorn: When Cheryl tries to break up a fight between Mark and Joy's new boyfriend, the boyfriend refuses to show Mark any mercy but says he won't hit a girl. Cheryl asks if he means that, then proceeds to deck him once she's sure he won't retaliate.
  • In The Professional, Leon has a "No women, no kids" policy as a hitman.
  • In Romeo Must Die, Han is attacked by a female assailant, but can't bring himself to hit her because he was raised in an environment that frowns on such things. His love interest, Trish, chastises him for it, telling him that he's not in China and shouldn't let himself get knocked around because of gender. So he fights back by holding her and manipulating her arms and legs so that she's technically the one beating up the attacker. This scene likewise inspired the famous dance between the pair in Aaliyah's music video for "Try Again".
  • Rush Hour 2: Played with. As Carter (Chris Tucker) has to fight Zhang Ziyi's character, he says "I'm gonna pretend you're a man. A very beautiful man with a great body that I'd like to take to the movies." Granted, he has to resort to trickery to beat her, since she outclasses him in hand-to-hand combat by a mile, so he doesn't directly hit her anyway.
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World features a scene where Scott must fight Ramona's fourth evil ex, Roxanne Richter. Scott protests, saying that he doesn't want to hit girls. "They're soft." Instead, Ramona manipulates his limbs so she's the one actually fighting. Ultimately, Scott must fight his own battles, and he manages to defeat Roxanne without hitting her by touching her erogenous zone behind her knee. Scott's chivalry stands in contrast to Todd and Gideon, who very pointedly Would Hit a Girl.
  • Small Faces: Deconstructed; the Ambiguously Gay friend of the protagonist is cornered by a gaggle of women who start pushing him around trying to get a reaction. A mob of Violent Glaswegians happen to see this, and despite his not having raised a finger to the girls, they dish out a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown that puts the friend in intensive care.
  • Small Soldiers: Chip Hazard references the trope, but he's very selective about how he applies it. His statement is in reference to a bunch of Barbie dolls he and his fellow toys roboticized. He really has no problem killing human women if necessary.
  • In Superman II, Ursa says, "What? You'd hit a woman?" to get Superman to hesitate. Lois Lane also hits Ursa in the same film, the last time much more effectively as Ursa has been depowered along with the other Kryptonians.
  • In Thunderbirds, Parker says that he won't hit a woman when confronted with The Hood's female sidekick. Luckily, Tin Tin is there to do it for him.

    Literature 
  • Baccano! Drugs & Dominoes features a humorous scene in which the Gandor brothers, a Power Trio of Neighbourhood-Friendly Gangsters, try to figure out a way to punish a waitress from one of their speakeasies for breaking one of their family's rules. They can't just pardon her, but they have very strong opinions on the subject of violence against women: "Raising a hand against a woman is the worst!" The final solution is to force on her a (rather nice) Traumatic Haircut, at which point Claire wonders how they can even bother calling themselves Mafia.
  • This backfires in Black Sunday. Major Kabakov is sent to kill a terrorist leader but doesn't kill Dahlia, assuming that she's just his lover. Turns out she's a terrorist as well and is now more motivated than ever to carry out her mission. Kabakov doesn't find this out until he plays a tape recording that he confiscated from the terrorists' personal effects, on which Dahlia is justifying the suicide attack she's planning to carry out.
  • In Dark Shores there is Servius, Marcus's friend and second-in-command. Although he is a legionnaire and built like an ox, he would never allow a girl or a woman to get hurt in his presence, as he grew up with six sisters.
  • Discworld:
    • Lobsang Ludd from the novel Thief of Time meets three humanly disguised auditors. He beats two of them, but he can't beat up the third one. Why? Obviously, for no other reason than that the auditor has dressed itself as a woman. Luckily, Susan Sto-Helit takes it out.
    • Banjo, a brutish but childlike thug from Hogfather, has deep objections to hitting girls because of his monstrously domineering mother's rules.
    • The Librarian usually gets aggressive when he's called a monkey, but when Ginger does it in Moving Pictures, he just pats her hand. He also just wags a finger at Agnes in Maskerade, to which another character says, "He likes you. He doesn't usually go in for warnings." As his usual reaction to being called the m-word is taking people by the feet and ramming them head-first into the ground, doing that to a woman who wears skirts would be indecent. He's usually merciful with everyone who didn't know better.
    • Sergeant Jackrum from Monstrous Regiment is perfectly willing to cold-cock a woman when it's a brothel-keeper who's tried to drug and rob a drunken old sergeant. Not actually an aversion though, since Jackrum is a woman too.
  • The Affably Evil villain in Dragon Bones seems unwilling to hit a Proper Lady, as the lady of the manor he has taken over is mostly unharmed, and not in chains, while her husband is. However, the villain apparently has no problem with violence against women who are not ladies.
  • In the early books of The Dresden Files, Harry is absurdly chivalrous. He knows it, and considers it a weakness (he's definitely met his fair share of evil women), but can't seem to do anything about it. He has been able to make himself attack women in very extreme circumstances, but it requires him being pushed right to the wall before he can overcome his chivalrous reflex enough to even defend himself properly from a female attacker. He's able to make an exception if the female is fae or demon, but it's easy for him to forget.
  • The Faerie Queene (by Edmund Spenser, published first in three books in 1590): While a pervert torturing a helpless Damsel in Distress for his own sadistic pleasure is despicable, a knight refusing to fight a Dark Action Girl Amazon queen who's trying to kill him is just stupid, as Artegall, the Knight of Justice with a strict code against fighting women, learns the hard way. Good thing his girlfriend comes to his rescue.
  • The book Friday The 13th: Church of the Divine Psychopath has Captain Hobb, the leader of the strike team sent out to kill Jason, getting into a fight with a female member of the group named Samantha, who hates his guts and wants to take over the operation. While at first reluctant to fight back, Hobb says "screw it" after getting hit really hard one too many times and knocks Sam out with the combination of a Breast Attack and knee to the face.
  • In The Goblin Emperor, Maia's cousin Setheris regularly beat him up as a child. When they travel to court and Maia shows Hesero, Setheris's wife, his scars, she's shocked — he never raised a hand against her, and she had no idea he could be so abusive.
  • The protagonist of "The Gutting of Couffignal", a Continental Op story by Dashiell Hammett, twists his ankle during the events of the story, so he has to take a crutch from a crippled boy to continue working. When he finally exposes the Femme Fatale behind events, she calmly walks for the door, because he can't run after her and she assumes that he wouldn't shoot a woman just to stop her.
    And I put a bullet in the calf of her leg. She sat down—plump! Utter surprise stretched her white face. It was too soon for pain. I had never shot a woman before. I felt queer about it.

    "You ought to have known I'd do it!" My voice sounded harsh and savage and like a stranger's in my ears. "Didn't I steal a crutch from a cripple?"
  • Harry Potter:
    • Harry has this problem in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when facing Cho Chang in Quidditch, much to the ire of his coach.
      Oliver Wood: HARRY, THIS NO TIME TO BE A GENTLEMAN — KNOCK HER OFF HER BROOM IF YOU HAVE TO!!!
    • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: There is a Dumbledore's Army session where Michael Corner appears unwilling to try and disarm Ginny even though she is his girlfriend. Ginny has none of it and disarms him first.
  • Played completely straight in David Weber's Hell's Gate series, where both empires have big, big issues with harming women.
  • In several books in Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar series, there is a sword named Need that cannot be used against a woman, even if its bearer will die if they can't defend themselves. Needless to say, this can cause problems. The reasons for this are different than the usual justification — Need's bearers are usually women themselves. The sword was forged specifically for the purpose of stopping violence against women.
  • In The High Ground by Melinda Snodgrass, Arturo actually does this as a calculated move. The Emperor has permitted his daughter and heir Mercedes to enlist in the titular military academy, which has historically admitted only men. Arturo knows that refusing to fight her will escalate criticism of the decision, thereby weakening the emperor and Mercedes politically.
  • In Jeeves and Wooster, it's Madeline Bassett's good fortune that Bertie Wooster is too much of a proper Englishman to knock some understanding into her in "Right Ho, Jeeves".
    The exquisite code of politeness of the Woosters prevented me clipping her one on the ear-hole, but I would have given a shilling to be able to do it.
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs's John Carter of Mars:
    • In A Princess of Mars, this is the rule among the Green Martians. However, Tars Tarkas warns a murderess:
      He may not kill you, Sarkoja, it is not our custom, but there is nothing to prevent him tying one end of a strap about your neck and the other end to a wild thoat, merely to test your fitness to survive and help perpetuate our race.
      They also gender-invert the trope; women are expected to refrain from attacking men.
    • The Red Martians are even more so. In Thuvia, Maid of Mars, when Nutus tells his son Astok that they must hide his guilt in the kidnapping of Thuvia, and suggests that killing her would be best, even his weak and wicked son is horrified.
      Cruel to their enemies are the men of Mars; but the word "enemies" is commonly interpreted to mean men only. Assassination runs riot in the great Barsoomian cities; yet to murder a woman is a crime so unthinkable that even the most hardened of the paid assassins would shrink from you in horror should you suggest such a thing to him.
  • Harry Wong in Lethal Justice by Fern Michaels apparently has this attitude towards Yoko Akia when they spar against each other. She immediately kicks his ass, but she is still willing to have a relationship with him anyway.
  • In the short story "The Living Daylights", James Bond shoots a rifle out of the hands of a female Soviet sniper rather than kill her, endangering the defector he's covering. Given that no-one would believe that these days, it was changed in the movie adaptation to Bond noticing that the sniper is an obvious amateur and realising that something is wrong.
  • A Mage's Power: Despite working with (and for) Action Girls, Eric has trouble attacking one during the New Scepter Competition's tournament. He overcomes this inhibition when she throws a lightning spell at him.
  • General Jinjur takes advantage of this philosophy to conquer the Emerald City in The Marvelous Land of Oz. Sure, it helps that the entirety of the opposing army is one man who never even loads his gun, but she didn't know all that at the time.
    Jinjur: What man would oppose a girl, or dare to harm her?
  • In Monster Blood III, Evan and Andy can't stop laughing after drinking a formula they were given. When Conan thinks they are laughing at him, he beats up Evan. Since he doesn't hit girls, he sticks Andy on a tree branch.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress this is the attitude of the men on the moon due to the scarcity of women. Woe to you if you do, 'cause "Judge" Lynch would be on your case in a heartbeat and you'd have severe breathing difficulties.
  • In More Adventures of the Great Brain, the kids all taunt a 12-year old girl named Dottie, who dresses like a boy and has never been to school before. Ringleader Sammy gets a little too close, so she punches him in the nose. He says he'd fight back if she weren't a girl, but she tells him to go ahead. Sammy ends up eating dirt, and once she learns to fit in, Dottie becomes a celebrity among the other girls for beating up a bigger boy in a "fair and square fight."
  • Played straight in Never Let Me Go. Tommy is horrified when he accidentally whacks Kathy across the face. Later, when he apologizes to her, he states that he'd "never hit a girl".
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Paladin of Souls, Arhys kills seven enemy sorcerers before being defeated by the eighth. Ista tells the others that the last sorcerer was probably a young and beautiful woman, and Arhys couldn't overcome his chivalry in time to win the fight. His brother remarks sadly that it is an appropriate death for him.
  • In The Silver Chair, Prince Rilian expresses relief that the Emerald Witch turned into a snake before their fight, as "it would not have suited well either with my heart or with my honour to have slain a woman." But he doesn't say that he wouldn't have done it if necessary — after all, this is the woman who murdered his mother, enslaved him, and was about to invade Narnia.
  • The Squire's Tales series:
    • This trope is mocked in one book. Sir Gawain finds out that his younger brother informed a potential (male) opponent that he would "never raise a sword against the skirts of womanhood." The other guy showed up in a skirt, and the poor, dumb brother let him win. Gawain is very disgusted with him.
    • Variations on this trope come up a couple of times. The Princess, the Crone, and the Dung Cart Knight, an adaptation of Chrétien de Troyes's The Knight of the Cart, features a girl with a sword who has to cope both with the fact that she's about eleven and that she's female in terms of getting taken seriously. Although people not taking her seriously is the only reason she survives the book, given that all she ever gets trained to do is quickdraw.
  • In The Survivalist series by Jerry Ahern, Sarah Rourke takes a Soviet officer hostage and forces him to release members of La Résistance. She later discovers that he was carrying a concealed pistol the whole time, but had been unable to bring himself to shoot her. Later, they encounter each other again at a roadblock, but he lets her through rather than arrest her.
  • The Sisters of the Light attempt to invoke this with Richard in the Sword of Truth book Stone of Tears. He promptly tells them off for how stupid that idea is.
  • In Poul Anderson's To Build a World, Sevigny's threat to hurt Maura doesn't convince her — he lightly agrees and declares that he will fight any rescuers she manages to summon.
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Traitor General, when the resistance member Sabbatine Cirk baits and snipes at the members of Gaunt's team, it is Ana Curth who finally slugs her.
  • In Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain novel The Traitor's Hand, the colonel of the Tallarn regiment refuses to participate in an interregimental competition of unarmed combat because the women in the Vallahan regiment would participate, which is "unseemly." Whereupon their regimental champion is "promptly and informally challenged" by a female Vallahan.
  • Played to the hilt in The Wheel of Time series.
    • Although many of the women of Randland wield more political power than men and are frequently seen physically abusing men, most cultures are extremely protective of women, causing many men to refuse to harm a woman for any reason. Many women, however, protest this behavior.
    • Rand al'Thor is the most prominent example. He refuses to harm a woman even if she's an immortal agent of Ultimate Evil and trying to kill him using legendary magical powers. He also goes out of his way to avoid putting women in danger, which upsets his Amazonian bodyguards immensely. In fact, Rand has memorized the name or identifying characteristic of every woman who died because of him or while in his service. He once goes into a Heroic BSoD after a woman who tried to steal his throne and betray him commits suicide. The Gathering Storm suggests that his behavior is the result of his growing insanity, which magnifies his chivalrous upbringing.
    • Mat Cauthon also develops a case after ordering the death of a woman in Crossroads of Twilight. He will, however, spank women who try to boss him around too much, even Aes Sedai. Luckily for Mat, his betrothed does not share his hang-ups.
    • In the nation of Altara, women wear knives around their necks to slash up their husbands when angered. The husbands are expected to accept this treatment without resistance, to the point of death.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ashes to Ashes (2008): Taken more or less as a given — while the two male leads of Life On Mars could and did knock each other around as a regular means of conflict resolution, for Gene to raise a hand to his new female opposite number would be crossing the line. Not that they actually fight any less often, you understand — he's just forced to resort to verbal baiting and blatant sexual harassment.
  • The A-Team: Face would never, ever hit a girl, but he once punches a girl in the jaw on accident because he mistakes her for one of the villain's Mooks. He feels bad about it.
  • Batman: The villains' girlfriends never get involved in the fights, Batgirl never gets hit, and in one especially goofy moment, the villain uses a gang of schoolgirls to capture Robin, knowing that he's "too much of a gentleman" to hit a woman. Revealing exception: In "The Entrancing Dr. Cassandra", Batgirl actually takes several punches... all from invisible opponents.
  • When discussing Lydia, Mike in Breaking Bad regrets carrying out this trope and even calls it sexism, stating that he wouldn't have given her the same mercy had she been male and points out that she is just as dangerous, if not more, as most male criminals he has run across. Jesse then immediately takes up where he left off, which Mike also points out.
  • Burn Notice is an interesting case study:
    • In the episode "Broken Rules", Fiona and Michael get into a fight. While Michael hits back, he apologizes when he lands blows and is clearly being entirely defensive in his approach. There's also the complicating factor that Michael and Fiona are in love with each other.
    • There's an interesting scene in "Friends Like These" when Michael, worried about Fiona (who is unknowingly with an assassin), channels his fear for her into a slap, maintaining the cover in a Kick the Dog moment for him. Interestingly enough, she's pissed and he apologizes profusely, despite previous episodes depicting them as having no problem hitting each other, and treating violence as foreplay.
    • In the episode "Friends and Enemies", Sam tries to warn a biker chick to quit hitting him and doesn't fight back at first, but he finally gets sick of getting beaten and clocks her right across the face.
  • Chuck:
    • Played with:
      Enormous bully: I don't fight girls.
      Anna: Neither do I. [proceeds to hand out a beatdown]
    • Lampshaded in "Chuck Versus the Honeymooners": While Chuck and Sarah are handcuffed together and fighting off mooks, a female mook runs up to Chuck and he backs off, saying this line. Sarah swings back and knocks her out. "I can."
  • In The City Hunter, Yun Sung runs into this trope when he has to fight a target's female bodyguard. He manages to improvise his tie into a noose and take her out without hitting her.
  • In the Community episode "English as a Second Language" after Annie sabotages the study group, Troy voices his frustration with this rule.
    Troy: Someone make her a dude so I can punch her!
  • In the song "Horny Angry Tango" from the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend episode "Oh, Nathanel, It's On!", a Belligerent Sexual Tension-driven Rebecca slaps Nathaniel while they dance. He sings that he can't slap her back because she's a lady, which she acknowledges is a double standard, and then they agree together that it's still probably for the best.
  • Doctor Who: In "Robot", a female Mad Scientist says that The Brigadier won't shoot a woman when he threatens to do just that (seeing as she's about to destroy the world by nuclear holocaust, this is frankly hard to believe). Sarah Jane Smith then grabs the Brigadier's pistol and says that she has no problem doing so. The Mad Scientist promptly surrenders.
  • Dollhouse:
    • In "Man on the Street", Echo is sent to assassinate FBI agent Paul Ballard. They get into a brutal fight, during which Echo feigns being a helpless girl, causing Ballard to hesitate. Echo then sucker punches him. Oddly, Ballard has absolutely no problem hitting her at other times. Or anyone else.
    • In the series penultimate episode "The Hollow Men", in a weird case of Gender Bender, Echo fights an evil copy of Rossum co-founder Clyde Randolph, who is now imprinted in the female body of Whiskey/Dr. Saunders. He states beforehand that this is the first time he can hit a girl without feeling guilty.
    • Topher knocks out Bennett when he discovers that she's trying to kill (rather than retrieve) Echo. It's played as amusingly awkward, given that a) she's a girl, b) she's one-armed, c) she's his Love Interest, and d) he's Topher. (She repays the favor in another episode, notably.)
  • Firefly: Given the speech about "shooting girls" that Mal gives in "Serenity", you'd think that this is alive and well in the Old West In Space. Right up to the end of "Our Mrs. Reynolds", when he corners would-be ship thief and title character Saffron. He asks her what her real name is in a moment that seems full of emotional tension. She pauses, starts to speak... and he slugs her. Then again, this is well after she poisoned him and left him and his crew to die, so he's probably feeling a mite justified. The brawl at the start of "The Train Job" suggests that this doesn't apply anyway. (And seeing what usually happens to people who so much as threaten Mal's crew, let alone put them in actual danger, Saffron really got off lightly.)
  • A French Village: Blanchon, the Milice leader, will shoot innocent civilians, but not women. He says that it's a matter of principle as a gentleman.
  • Game of Thrones: Jon Snow wouldn't kill one, at least. That's quite a lot by the standards of the show. It's a combination of this and "Wouldn't Kill a Prisoner", perhaps with a touch of "Wow, That Chick's Hot".
  • Spoofed in an episode of Get Smart:
    Evil Female Agent: You wouldn't hit a lady, would you?
    Agent 13: Well, no.
    Evil Female Agent: Good. [at which point she hauls off and decks him]
  • Hannah Montana: Stated when Robby Ray makes Miley and Jackson wrestle in fat Sumo Wrestler suits.
    Jackson: I'm not gonna fight a girl!
    Miley: Good. Then this should be fun. [proceeds to beat up Jackson]
  • In the Henry Danger episode "Let's Make A Steal", the villains unleash three henchwomen onto the heroes. Kid Danger says that they can't hit girls and Captain Man agrees, so they decide to hold back while fighting them. But when it turns out that the girls are actually men, Captain Man points out, "That means we can hit them as hard and as often as we like".
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys: One episode has Hera send a female Terminator Expy called the Enforcer to kill Hercules. Hercules shouts in despair that he can't fight a woman, but when he feels how hard she can punch, he decides that "Maybe I should be more open-minded" and fights for real, ultimately winning. He doesn't appear to have a problem fighting women for the rest of the series.
  • Both played straight and averted in a single episode of Highlander. An immortal former lover of Duncan's (a Psycho Ex-Girlfriend sort) with a penchant for trying to ruin his life (or the lives of people around him), including by murdering potential Love Interests, shows up. When they duel, Duncan disarms her but cannot bring himself to kill her. At that point Methos, a friend of Duncan's and a 5,000-year-old Anti-Hero immortal with no qualms about saying I Did What I Had to Do, steps in, introduces himself to her as a man born long before the age of chivalry, challenges her to a fight, and beheads her in about thirty seconds.
  • House: Not spoken outright, but in "After Hours", Chase goes to considerable lengths to warn Thirteen that he's going to move her out of the way when she refuses to allow him to take her stab victim, parolee friend to the hospital (even though she'll die if he doesn't). When she still refuses, he moves her out of the way without hurting her, prompting her to attack him. After several very weak-looking punches and one that looks like it might actually have hurt, Chase easily overpowers her (with a distinct look of Oh, Crap! on her face as he does) and she ends up on the floor. Later in the episode, she's putting ice on her neck and he apologises for having hurt her — even though she nearly killed her friend and assaulted him in the process.
  • Julius Caesar (2003): When the dictator Sulla comes face to face with the young Caesar (the son-in-law of one of his enemies), he wants Caesar to divorce his wife and go in exile on pain of execution. Caesar questions his sincerity and worries about his wife's well-being, but Sulla claims that he leaves women to their health. Indeed, we never see him harm a woman or order such action.
  • Comes up from time to time in the old-generation Kamen Rider shows:
    • The very first can fight women, but he has some issues with it.
    • Fast forward to Decade, and there's a female Rider being summoned to fight off Kamen Rider BLACK since he's "too honorable to hit a woman".
  • In the LA 7 episode "Fall Out", Jo and Bradley have a fight. Jo comes home with a small bruise on her arm, Bradley enters mummified in bandages. Tina is shocked that Bradley hit a girl, while Jon is more concerned that Jo nearly killed Bradley.
  • In the Leverage episode "The Two Live Crew Job", Eliot's Evil Counterpart is an Israeli woman.
    Raquel: You wouldn't hit a girl, would you?
    Eliot: [in Hebrew] Not unless she hits me first.
    [she punches him]
    Eliot: That counts. [fighting commences]
  • A thug in the Lewis episode "Old School Ties": "He said he wanted me to give a student a slapping; he never said it was a woman. I mean, I'll give anyone a slapping, but never a woman."
  • Lois & Clark (a.k.a. The New Adventures of Superman): In one episode, a female villain yells at Superman, "You can't hit a lady, can you?" She is then, however, promptly hit on the head by one of her male victims. The lady in question has just acquired Superman's powers and is just as strong and tough as him.
  • MacGyver: In the episode "Phoenix Under Siege", Mac has a fight with a female bomber. Well, not exactly. She does all the hitting while he doesn't even try to hit her, and she eventually plummets to her death after missing during an attempted flying kick. By going out through the window.
  • Malcolm in the Middle: In one episode, Reese is terrorized by a four-year-old girl who loves to bite him, but when he can't bring himself to hit her, he concocts a Zany Scheme to run her and her family out of town.
    • Francis goes by this philosophy. When he's forced to get into a fistfight with Lavernia, he refuses to fight back, even as he's getting pummeled into a bloody pulp... at least until Lavernia makes the mistake of taunting him by telling him to go back to his mommy so she can make him some hot chocolate, at which point Francis punches her hard enough to knock out one of her teeth and then all bets are off.
    Francis: "For your information my mother is a Control Freak! She would never make me chocolate!"
  • Merlin: Arthur, in stark contrast to his father. When he catches Gwen with Lancelot, he tries his damnedest to kill Lancelot right there, but when he gets angry and grabs Gwen later on, he immediately lets her go and apologizes.
  • In My Name Is Earl, Earl is this way. In fact, in the episode "The Professor", he recalls a time when he was a kid and he punched a boy for correcting him in a spelling bee. In the next spelling bee, a girl corrected him, and he punched a boy next to him.
  • On Nickelodeon's Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, the all-wise janitor, Gordy, sums it up best:
    Gordy: You see, Ned, fighting a girl is a lose-lose situation.
    Ned: What do you mean?
    Gordy: Well, if you lose, [starts laughing] then you got beat up by a girl!
    Ned: But what if I win?
    Gordy: [sounds horrified] Then, you just beat up a girl. Jerk!
    Although he then recommends that Ned just flip her.
  • In one episode of NUMB3RS, Nikki and Colby go to arrest a prison escapee's girlfriend — a rather large and strong woman. She gets the upper hand on Colby rather quickly, and he's not helped in the slightest by his small-town-values reluctance to hit back. Nikki, whose life experience is somewhat different, finds the whole thing hilarious.
    Colby: A little help here?
    Nikki: Punch her!
    Colby: [indignantly] She's a girl!
    Nikki: "Girl" must mean something different in Idaho.
  • The Outpost: Tobin refuses at first when Talon challenges him to a fight, as she's a woman. Once she starts hitting him though, he swings at her but misses every time since he's fairly drunk.
  • Pandora: Sarika says to Ralen when she's caught that he won't hit her, being a woman, and he agrees that it's true, but adds that his wife has no such compunction (who promptly decks her).
  • Quark: Quark goes to knock out a Gorgon guard, only to stop when the guard turns out to be female. The guard, of course, has no qualm about slugging Quark, but fortunately Quark's Bridge Bunnies have no qualms about knocking her out in turn.
  • Played with in an episode of Roseanne, when Dan is trying to explain to DJ why he got arrested for beating up Jackie's abusive boyfriend:
    Dan: ...So what I did was sorta okay, because the worst thing you can do is hit a woman.
    DJ: How come it's not okay to hit girls but it's okay to hit guys?
    Dan: Well, you see, Deej... Here's the deal: It's not okay to beat up anybody, it's never okay to beat up women, but sometimes it's less not-okay to beat up somebody who beats up somebody you love.
    DJ: What if a woman beats up somebody you love?
    Dan: Hey! Are you at all interested in knowing where babies come from?
  • In the second episode of Sinbad, Anwar and Rina are pitted in a fight to the death. In the hopes that she might be able to live (at least a bit longer), Rina goes all out and actually attempts to kill him. Anwar meanwhile protests to jeers of "Fight back!" with an indignant "She's a woman!" It makes a bit more sense due to the fact that he's a gangly, rich-boy scholar, whilst she's a hardened, if tiny, street thief.
  • Smallville:
    • In the early episodes, it's notable how many times Clark gets weakened by conveniently placed kryptonite and gets his ass handed to him by a female villain who then gets conveniently defeated by happenstance, whilst he's allowed to throw around male villains who are a lot weaker than him.
    • In Tina Greer episodes, she has to morph into a male form before Clark's "allowed" to fight her.
    • Clark Kent hesitates when fighting Faora because she's in Lois Lane's body. Ouch.
  • Star Trek plays this straight a lot. Which is weird, since the Federation (especially from the TNG era on) is generally portrayed as a liberal utopia free from all gender prejudice.
    • Star Trek: The Original Series:
      • The episode "Charlie X" plays this straight, with Captain Kirk telling the titular character that "There's no right way to hit a woman."
      • In the episode "Turnabout Intruder", an ex-lover of Kirk's, while in his body, hits Kirk, who is in her body. This shocks the crew and provokes suspicion, as Kirk would never do such a thing... except in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country when he does.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
      • In the episode "Dax", Dr. Bashir follows Dax to her quarters and sees her being kidnapped by a Terrible Trio. After he punches their leader, one of the other two goes for him. He is about to punch when the hood comes down and he sees that it's a woman. Needless to say, the poor guy gets his ass handed to him. Later in the same episode, Sisko (who knew the Dax symbiont's previous host, Curzon Dax) gets really frustrated with Jadzia's unwillingness to stand up for herself at her hearing. "Dammit, if you were still a man!"
      • In the episode "Paradise Lost", Odo breaks Captain Sisko out of jail in Starfleet Headquarters. There are two guards in the room where the cell is located: one male, one female. He first punches the male guard, then does a sort of Vulcan neck pinch on the female guard.
      • Played with in an episode where Jadzia and Worf spar in the holosuite.
      Dax: I hope you're not going easy on me because I'm a woman. If it makes things any easier, think of me as a man. I've been one several times.
  • The Suite Life of Zack & Cody: Zack doesn't bring himself to fight girls due to being The Casanova.
  • S.W.A.T. (2017): In "Never Again", Hondo is disturbed to learn that the robber he killed is a woman. It stems from his upbringing, as he'd been taught to protect women. Deacon reassures him that she was an armed suspect firing on them, and he did the right thing.
  • Maurice "Boscoe" Boscorelli of Third Watch never hits a woman. In his case, it's a result of growing up watching his mother's abusive relationships.
  • During one segment on The View, the hosts discussed a news story that involved a certain male celebrity who had been captured on video knocking his girlfriend to the ground after the woman herself punched the man in the head. Almost all of the hosts expressed shock and disgust that he would do that. Whoopi Goldberg, on the other hand, blamed the woman for her own beatdown, saying, "Any time it's appropriate for a man to hit another man, it's appropriate for him to hit a woman," and continuing that "self-defense" is an appropriate time for a man to start swinging.
  • Walker, Texas Ranger rarely features female villains, presumably for this reason. The few times they do appear in the show, another way around it is generally found, such as the female ranger they introduced in a Very Special Episode showing up to stop her. In the episode "Forgotten People", a nursing home is run by a sinister group experimenting on Alzheimer's patients. The group is headed by a woman, and at the end of the episode, after Walker and company beat up the Mooks and the villain's sidekick, the villain herself has to be punched out by an old woman introduced in this episode, who had previously masqueraded as a Cloudcuckoolander.

    The exact opposite of this trope, however, is regularly used with the villains, who frequently batter women in many episodes, always without fear of the consequences. (Children and elderly people have also been known to be hit and injured by the bad guys in episodes.)
  • Wonder Woman: Executive Meddling caused a strange occurrence of the trope in a show where a stunningly gorgeous woman is also by far the best fighter (every episode) and stronger than elephants and tanks ("Baroness Von Gunther" and "Anschluss 77", respectively). The producers in the middle 1970's were worried about the visual of a woman being punched by a man on prime time television. Accordingly, they made Wonder Woman so strong and so overwhelming that her opponents could rarely even swing — let alone hit her — before she overpowered them.
  • Zero Zero Zero: When a member of his 'Ndrangheta clan asks Don Minu for permission to kill a woman who witnessed a gangland execution, the Don firmly states that women and children are off-limits. He advises the gangster to simply tell all the neighborhood to ignore her claims of witnessing a murder. This doesn't sit well with the younger gangsters, who don't share his scruples.
  • In Zoey 101, when Zoey joins the wrestling team (or rather, is forced to by the coach), she becomes disappointed when during the tournament, all of the male competitors would rather forfeit than wrestle her since she is a girl. It's later revealed that the coach only wanted Zoey on the team because he knew that all of her opponents would react this way, so he would be able to switch his top student in for the final match without tiring him out.
    Wrestling Student: If I win, people will say I beat up a girl and I'll look like a jerk. If I lose, everyone will say I got beat by a girl and rip on me for the rest of my life. Either way, I lose.

    Politics 
  • A metaphorical example: Gruen Nation commented that in the leadup to the 2010 Australian Election, the Coalition seemed unwilling to run ads attacking Prime Minister Julia Gillard herself, as opposed to the Labor Party (albeit probably more because they were worried about how the public would react than any moral qualms on their own part). It was only near the end of the campaign, as things got increasingly frenetic, that ads attacking Julia Gillard appeared.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • The reason why intergender boxing/MMA fights aren't promoted. Some women in MMA and boxing have a problem with this, arguing that however unlikely they'd be to actually beat most male opponents, competing in the same leagues would give women's MMA a better chance of being taken seriously and making more money.
  • A longtime trope in Professional Wrestling, (at least among faces). Often times if a heel has a female manager or girlfriend, they'll use her as a human shield when being chased by a face with a steel chair, because they know the face would never hit a woman. Even when the trope is averted, in Canadian broadcasts of WWE programming they will cut away from a woman being hit by a man (however justified it might be storywise) even today... but women can beat women up with no problems. Thus leading to ridiculous situations where a group of female heels can mercilessly pummel a female face, but let a man come to her rescue and it's edit time.

    And it's not a dead trope in the States, either. Spike TV (the "Men's Network") apparently dislikes showing men striking women, even when it's a horrible heel. Or when it's a replay of something that happened during a pay-per-view. Showing a 275 lb monster heel legitimately (though lightly) concussing a smaller female is alright if the monster is female herself. TNA, whose programming is currently carried on Spike, frequently lampshades this; it's often mentioned that Spike has promised dire consequences for any man who hits a woman on Impact, and the female heels often use this to taunt and bait the male faces. Part of it may be that Spike also airs the program in Canada.
  • In many promotions, this can lead to confusing rules in Intergender Tag Team matches, where if one male participant tags in his female partner, his opponent (with very few exceptions) has to do the same, thus raising the question of why tag rules are even in place and preventing the workers from building up proper tag team psychology in the match.
  • Thunder and Lighting, La Artilleria Pesada, who had taken out the large majority of the WWC locker room by themselves, put their hands on Killer Kat after she confronted them, but couldn't bring themselves to actually hurt her. So they threw her to Sweet Nancy instead.
  • In an effort to prove she deserved an NWA World Heavyweight title shot after Billy Kidman got one, Amazing Kong demanded that Tyler Black give her God's last gift, in order to prove that she could "kick out of anything." Black refused. This also caused friction between Jimmy Jacobs with Black and Joey Matthews when they took issue with him using a railroad spike on his ex, Lacey.
  • London and Kendrick found themselves at a severe disadvantage against the Moonwalk Thrillers at the Pure Wrestling Association's Quest of the Cup 7, as they were very apprehensive about using their usual offense or even some go-to wrestling moves on Courtney Rush and Jody D'milo, who had no issue busting out high-impact moves on them and were only slightly apprehensive about chopping and kicking the crap out of them.
  • Stephanie McMahon abuses this trope to high heaven to get cheap shots at male wrestlers, knowing even the ones that don't snivel before the co-manager of RAW wouldn't have the gall to strike her back. She goaded The Rock with this after slapping him hard at WrestleMania and labelled him powerless. The Rock agreed with hernote . What she didn't expect, however, was for him to bring in UFC Female Champion Ronda Rousey to even the odds...
  • Hard as it is to believe, this is one of the lines Jim Cornette and The Midnight Express actually tried not to cross if they could help it, and it was hard not to with all the females fans out for their blood just as much as the male ones.
  • Normally John Morrison won't hit girls. He will do all sorts of other heinous things, but only stoops to hitting girls when Melina commands it.
  • In Seth Rollins and Baron Corbin's 2019 feud, Corbin eventually gets Lacey Evans to back him up. Rollins consistently refuses to hit her, even when she attacks him, so his girlfriend Becky Lynch evens the odds. Mind, Corbin doesn't hesitate to attack Lynch.
  • During the WWF's kayfabe era, this trope's most frequent use centered on Miss Elizabeth, the valet of Randy Savage. During Savage's heel run in 1985-1987, particularly when he was wrestling Hulk Hogan, he would use her for the human shield tactic mentioned above. He also came close several times to striking her (usually when he perceived her to be paying too much attention to an opponent, not opening the ropes or folding his robe correctly, or some other minor misdeed) but always stopped short of actually striking her. Apparently, Savage (and the WWF) agreed that they wanted him to be a heel, but not such an outwardly despicable one.
  • Al Snow says he won't fight women, though he does this out of fear rather than chivalry. See, women can have kids, a kind of toughness he can never match.

    Theatre 
  • In the short play "Hamlette", when Hamlette is called Prince of Denmark, she responds with "Princess!"
    Laertes: Princess? I can't fight a girl!
    Hamlette: [brandishes sword] Then it's gonna be a short fight.

    Video Games 
  • The Adventures of Batman & Robin, made by Konami and released on the SNES in 1994. In Poison Ivy's level, Batman has to fight his way through female mooks, and the game is designed in such a way as to not allow him to beat them up, only incapacitate them with some sort of gas.
  • In Batman: Arkham Asylum, two female villains, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, appear. Even though Poison Ivy is the second-last boss in the game, you don't actually get to fight either hand-to-hand despite having pummeled, dropped, tossed, hung, and concussed in various amusing ways a horde of (male) mooks. While you do see Batman tossing Harley into the protection of the pit, driving her to semi-unconsciousness, and then throwing her inside the prison cell like she was just a strap doll, this is still the trope played straight, as if it were any other boss in the game, the act of fighting said person and trapping her would be a boss fight instead of a cutscene.
  • BlazBlue:
    • This is one of the nicer traits of Ragna the Bloodedge. Granted, he won't hold back if a woman attacks him or tries to apprehend him, but he states several times that he doesn't enjoy fighting them, and when he does defeat them, he is usually quite sympathetic and regretful.
    • Jin Kisaragi downplays this trope as well in the same manner. While he isn't afraid to bring violence to the ladies, he won't go out of his way to do it unless the girl in question is Noel Vermillion.
    • Tager seems to dislike attacking women too, but then he dislikes violence in general.
    • Kagura is an utter gentleman, refusing to retaliate even as Makoto wails into him — in fact, hitting women in front of him is his personal Berserk Button, and God help you if you press it.
  • Bully allows you to hit girls, but your alert bar goes to maximum and prefects spawn out of nowhere to attack you. Enforced, since it's a Western game, after all. This has a side-effect of turning Zoe into a Faux Action Girl, because although she's stated to a formidable fighter and really likes to fight, you can't fight her; the girl-type AI has them run away if struck.
  • Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin has enemies called Zacchino that refuse to attack any female character and instead fall to their knees and declare their love while offering a rose. Any male character that approaches gets a massive cutlass to the gut instead.
  • Mondo Oowada from Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc states early on that he can't hit women (even if that woman is burly MMA fighter Sakura). This seemingly makes him far less likely to have been Fujisaki's murderer... until you find out that Fujisaki doesn't quite count.
  • After Eustache is revealed to be a pirate rather than a monk in Dead In Vinland, he tells Kari that he's killed numerous men, but he's never killed a woman. Kari, a deadly Action Girl herself, is unimpressed and rather insulted, and incredulously asks if he'd still refuse to harm a woman who was charging him with an axe.
  • Taken Up to Eleven and subverted in Fairune. At the beginning of the game, all creatures refuse to hit the Player Character because she's a defenseless cute girl. Even if you bump into them, neither side suffers Collision Damage. However, the moment you pick up the sword, they attack with impunity.
  • Every character in the Final Fantasy series is willing to hit a girl, but there are a few exceptions:
    • Final Fantasy VII:
      • Cloud can be taken as this. When Elena confronts him about allegedly doing in her boss, you can either dodge her punch or let her clean your clock, leaving her to wonder why he just let it happen.
      • In the Final Fantasy VII Remake, Rude will avoid using his stronger attacks against your female party members Tifa and Aerith. He was ordered to bring Aerith in unharmed and appears to have a Villainous Crush on Tifa like in the original; Yuffie doesn't appear, so it's possible he'd be willing to get more violent with her.
    • Final Fantasy VIII: Raijin. During the three boss fights with him, he will refuse to attack if there are only female characters left standing in the player's party, claiming that "I don't hit girls, ya know?" His partner Fujin is female and has no such reservations.
    • During a particular boss battle in Final Fantasy IX, the boss will refuse to attack Princess Garnet. However, he has a good reason — he was sent to kidnap her. If Garnet is the last party member alive, the boss will attempt to put her to sleep, and that counts as being defeated. So while she won't be attacked, she doesn't have to die for you to still lose. A later boss battle with this character, however, takes place while the character in question is... not well. He will still not hit Garnet/Dagger, but, should all other party members be incapacitated, he will proceed to attack himself. Apparently, when constructing magical death machines, chivalry comes before sanity.
  • Final Fight: This trope is a big part of the reason why Poison, the punk girl, was retconned into not actually being a girl. To explain, Poison (and her orange-haired Palette Swap Roxy) were originally just women. Then, the SNES version of Final Fight 2 took them out and replaced them with two male characters, Sid and Billy. That was when all the nonsense about Poison being transgender started. And then the creator finally told Poison's true identity...
  • In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, a conversation between Largo and Mia involves Largo not wanting to spar with a woman. Mia's response doesn't end well for him.
  • Freedom Force: When you first encounter the Ice Queen enemy, Minuteman says "I can't hit a woman!". The Ice Queen replies "Good darling, as I'll happily hit you!" Naturally, you can kick her ass without restraint.
  • The Godfather: In the second game, your crew has no objections to wantonly murdering anyone who so much as looks at you funny, but if you attack a female NPC, they twiddle their thumbs on the sidelines.
  • Ky Kiske from Guilty Gear plays with this trope in that he's a really noble and courteous Knight in Shining Armor to his Action Girl opponents, as evidenced by his post-fight quote against Millia Rage. He has no problem with hitting I-no, however, who in all fairness is a) trying to kill him and b) a Card Carrying Jerkass of the highest caliber anyway. If she ends up beating him, she also notes that he held back. As a whole, this attitude probably ends up being more counterproductive than not, especially considering his run-ins with hair-trigger powerhouses like Baiken and Jam Cloudberry.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle/JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven, if the first JoJo Jonathan Joestar is paired against a female character, he will say things like "Stay back, this is dangerous!" or "Wait, please! I don't want to hurt a woman!". This is perfectly justified, as Jonathan was raised in Britain in the 1860s by his single father, who wanted him to grow up civil. Jonathan's chivalry isn't treated as a bad thing in the game either; even the series Action Girl Jolyne Kujo (who spent several years in women's prison) isn't insulted by his behavior and complements Jonathan, calling him a "proper English gentleman". Though it helps that he is Joylne's great, great, great grandfather.
  • Jump Force: Just like in his home series, Sanji refuses to fight any female oponent, which in-game means he's an absolute sitting duck when there's a female opponent, as all his attacks turn into hearts that cause no damage. To a minor degree Ryo Saeba turns into an Apologetic Attacker when he faces a female oponent, but his throw changes: he tries to cop a feel, only to get hit from a hammer thrown off-screen at him.
  • Kindergarten 2: When Carla calls Buggs fat in the mission "Opposites Attract", he replies that he'd push her down the stairs for it if she wasn't a girl. It apparently only applies to direct violence though, considering he has no problem using a magnet to decapitate Penny in the very same mission.
  • Ganondorf, King of Evil in The Legend of Zelda series, has an interesting tendency to ignore the princess Zelda when she takes part in the final battle, and take minimal steps to restrain her even though she is occasionally instrumental to Link's victory. In The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, although he does give her a heavy backhand, he goes out of his way (even sheathing his swords) to avoid seriously harming Zelda, while she's actively trying to kill him.
  • In the LEGO Adaptation Games, you cannot hurt the second player if she's female.
  • In Mafia II, attacking male pedestrians will engage Vito in a bout of fisticuffs, but female pedestrians can only be shoved and sent fleeing in terror. If Vito runs after them they remain immune to attack, and they can't be kicked whilst they cower huddled in a ball either.
  • In Mafia III, Lincoln can either punch or brutally shove male pedestrians to the ground, but will simply toss female pedestrians onto the ground gently or toss them by their neck. This is actually explained by John Donovan later in the game: During Lincoln's time in Vietnam, he came across an Asian hooker who wiped out many of his troop, but he refused to kill her and let the reinforcements handle her. This is also shown when Lincoln confronts Marcano capo Olivia Marcano. Rather than brutally executing her like the other Marcano capos, he leaves her for dead because to him, she's Not Worth Killing. Not that it stops Olivia from being brutally murdered by Giorgi later on.
  • Maniac Mansion Mania: In Episode 53, if you try to get Klaus to use brute force on a female character, he will refuse, saying that he does not beat women.
  • Though it's just flavor text, in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, if the Incredible Hulk and She-Hulk are facing each other, the Hulk will grouse that he doesn't like hitting girls. Considering She-Hulk is his cousin, Hulk probably wouldn't like hitting her in any case.
  • Played with and discussed in Mega Man Zero: Zero Would Hit a Girl, but in his first fight against Leviathan, she accuses him of this when she isn't immediately killed by his final strike. She adds that she told him not to show mercy, making it rude of him to invoke this trope. He remains silent throughout, so we never find out whether this trope is actually in effect. note 
  • No More Heroes:
    • During the first half of the game, Travis Touchdown has no problem with beating on his female opponents with his beam katana during the ranking match battles, but chokes when it's time to actually kill them. He gets called out on this by Holly Summers, the sixth-ranking assassin, before she eats one of her own grenades to spare Travis the experience of dispatching her. After this, Travis never shows any hesitation in finishing the job in subsequent fights against female assassins. Helps that the female combatants he encounters happen to be completely psychotic to some extent or another.
    • In the sequel, No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, Travis still has his willingness to kill female combatants from the last game. While he refuses to kill college-aged Kimmy Howell, he seems to cite her age more than her gender when he chooses to knock her out with a powerbomb instead of finishing her. However, killing Margaret Moonlight, and especially Alice Twilight, finally makes Travis get sick and tired of all of the Assassin games and declare his intention to destroy the UAA once he becomes number 1 again.
    • Come No More Heroes III, and Travis is back to being uncomfortable with killing women. The first woman he fights in the game, Kimmy Love, who is the above-mentioned Kimmy Howell all grown up and still seeking Travis' head, is the only one he kills. And as he readies himself for the finisher, he's very visibly upset and emphatically declares to Sylvia that this is the last time he kills a woman. Sure enough, when he fights Midori Midorikawa, the 5th-ranked assassin, he stops shy of killing her after much hesitance and some intervention from one Kamui Uehara.
  • Princess Waltz: Partway into the game, the incredibly dim Arata finally realises that Chris is a girl in disguise, and finds himself unable to compete with her to his full potential. Chris finds this incredibly insulting, and later asks Arata to return a punch she gave him earlier to prove that he's treating her no different from before. Arata manages to weasel out of it by explaining that he can't hit a friend he's not angry with, leaving the question unanswered.
  • Puzzle Quest: Optional party member Princess Serephine makes use of this trope as her support ability, improving the player's battle skill against good opponents that "wouldn't strike a lady." Which invokes a nice bit of Fridge Logic when you're playing as a female.
  • Done half-heartedly in Resident Evil 4 with Ashley, the game's Damsel in Distress. While the player is escorting her, the mooks do not directly hit her or handle her the same way they would Leon when she is in their proximity. Instead, they give her a nice Over-the-Shoulder Carry to the closest loading zone door unless Leon can get her off their grasp. In the small section where the player does play as Ashley, it is played quite literally in that they do not hit you; rather, they just grab you by the neck, giving you a nice Neck Lift until you are strangled to death while not striking you once. However, variations of enemies and even shield mooks do not hesitate to give her a nice beating until she dies. Ada gets no favors either.
  • Ride to Hell: Retribution: Jake kills tons of males throughout the game, but never at any point fights a girl. Brandy, the lone female among the villains, simply disappears after a certain point without any explanation, and thus is never fought.
  • In River City: Tokyo Rumble, Kunio learns that his rival Silver Lion has hired a tough female delinquent to help him take over Tokyo. Kunio declares that he doesn't like beating up girls, so he decides to make things fair by finding a girl of his own to take her out... the freakishly Huge Schoolgirl Misuzu, who is more than happy to give him a beating to test his worthiness.
  • Sakura Wars (1996) has a fairly bizarre example in the form of Miroku. She invades the Flower Division's base and begins wreaking havoc, ultimately confronting them in her spirit armor. The protagonists soundly kick her ass. Afterwards, however, she makes a dramatic teleporting escape... only to die seconds later when some rocks randomly fall on her head for no apparent reason. One can only assume that the game was taking an extremely roundabout method of not hitting a girl.
  • The Sims has different slap animations depending on whom a particular sim is slapping. If a sim slaps a sim of the same gender, it will be a full-force hit in the face, but if they slap a sim of the opposite gender, it will be a light, formal "British Officer" slap.
  • This applies to most of the enemies in Star Wars Chess. Leia being the only female character is never directly hit with physical enemies finding other ways to deal with her. Others grab her but do not directly hit her. Darth Vader appears to simply shake her unconscious and proceed to kidnap her. The only time she is "stricken" is by beams, and even then she doesn't show damage.
  • Street Fighter:
    • Dudley, as a Gentleman Boxer, exhibits these traits. In his win quote against Elena in Street Fighter III: New Generation he apologizes to her for his "violent behaviour". Subverted in later games where even though still being a gentleman, he states to the ladies won't hold back in the fight, though he still has some chivalrously habits as he suggests Poison and Elena should put more clothes on.
    • Rashid from Street Fighter V is a straight example. His bio states that he hates fighting women as well as children. It's shown twice in the story mode "A Shadow Falls": First, when facing Chun-Li, he apologizes before and after fighting her, and more dangerously for Rashid, when Juri challenges him, he states that he has no wish to fight her. Juri, mind you, is a huge Blood Knight and strongly dislikes being unsatisfied, so she tells Rashid that if he won't fight her seriously, "he can just die". Luckily, Kolin separates them before things get ugly.
  • Super Robot Wars Z: Kei Katsuragi of Orguss gets a bonus to damage against men, and a penalty against women. He's a womanizer extraordinaire. In Setsuko's route, he asks her to a date not five seconds after dispatching some grunts during their first meeting. During a truly hilarious crossover scene from King Gainer, he professes his desire to date every single woman in the world.
  • Team Fortress 2: Mann Co. CEO Saxton Hale is a Memetic Badass who (based on in-universe comic books) caused the extinction of Indonesian Berserker Sharks (and made them cry in the process), cut his way out of Primate Hell ("An ape will die on every page!" for 64 pages), and taught young girls self-defense against blood-thirsty wolves. But in Ring of Fired, it is shown that Hale does not want to fight Olivia, Gray Mann's young (and probably adoptive) daughter, and according to Mann Co. policy, anyone who can beat Hale in a fight can become the next CEO, leading to his resignation.
  • Yakuza establishes that male members of the Amon Clan are not allowed to fight women. They also invert it, however — female members of the Amon Clan are not allowed to fight men. When Noa Amon shows up in Yakuza 5, she has to target Kiryu's adoptive daughter Haruka because she's not permitted to go after Kiryu directly. In a meta example, series director Toshihiro Nagoshi stated in an interview with Red Bull France that the reason Kiryu has yet to appear in a fighting game (despite being a commonly requested guest character for the likes of Tekken and Super Smash Bros.) is that Nagoshi doesn't want to see him beating up women. It's such a core element of the character that when Kiryu is fought as a boss in Yakuza: Like a Dragon, he will not directly attack female party members (though he will counter-attack them and can still potentially hit them with some of his more wide-hitting attacks).

    Web Animation 
  • Sarge of Red vs. Blue, despite his usual willingness to shoot or hit anything Blue (or Grif). In Reconstruction, when the only blue soldier left in Blood Gulch is Sister, Sarge insists that he can't attack Sister because she's a woman, and thus they are locked in an "epic stalemate". During the "fight" against Tex, we get this little exchange.
    Grif: What do we do, Sarge?
    Sarge: I don't know. I've never hit a girl in my life!note 
    Simmons: Yeah, I noticed! Try harder!

    Webcomics 
  • While most characters in El Goonish Shive don't have this attitude, Mr. Verres very much does, to the point where the only thing keeping him from delivering a much-deserved Dope Slap to Elliot is the fact that Elliot happens to be in female form at the time.
  • Justified in Fans! with Will Erixon: He fears becoming like his father, who beat his mother to death.
  • In a flashback arc of General Protection Fault, Fooker makes some sexist remarks to Ki disparaging her studying Computer Science, and gets beaten up as a result, being unable to fight back because of this trope.
  • Parodied in Girly in one strip. A giant chicken and a giant mallard are fighting, and Winter objects because...
    Winter: When men fight each other, that's fine. It's what men do. ...And catfights... Well, those are just hot. But when men fight women... it becomes "violence against women"! ...And that's just plain wrong!''
  • The modern Hero by Night wouldn't, which leads to I Was Beaten by a Girl. Because these days villainy is equal opportunity.
  • Used straight in Misfile when Emily slaps Ash and tells him that he can only hit back if he's willing to accept being a girl. Downplayed later when Ash picks a fight with Tom and he fights back (off-screen) until they're pulled apart. Naturally, the Double Standard ensures that Tom gets punished and Ash doesn't even though he started the fight, which both relieves him and annoys him to no end. While Ash does later lose his cool and hits a girl full-force in the face, he has a Freak Out about it afterwards.
  • Ozy and Millie plays with this trope in one strip. After Millie insults Jeremy, he says that he'd hit her for it if she wasn't a girl. She chews him out for it, demanding equal treatment. Convinced, Jeremy starts winding up to punch Millie, and she has a minor Oh, Crap! moment.
  • Quoth Peejee of Something*Positive: "All I'm saying is, if a guy is dick deep in me and I tell him to slap my ass, I expect him to slap my ass, not go on about how he was told real men don't hit women. Real men do what I tell them to do, dammit!"
  • The Villain Protagonist Hunter Ravenwood of Suicide for Hire claims that "I draw the line at the unwarranted violent abuse of the fairer sex." This does not stop him accepting female clients of the eponymous business, however, nor did it stop him from planning the most grotesque death yet for a female client. His plan involved, in Arcturus's words, "having metal hooks shoved up [her] ass to forcibly remove [her] innards". When Arcturus argued that this was too close to rape, Hunter amended the plan and shoved the hooks down her throat instead. Evidence suggests he tries not to think of the clients as people in the first place.

    Web Original 
  • Whateley Universe: Eclia in Normalland: Chapter 2: When Josie is made to fight Less Than Three ("an adorable little blonde kid in curls who was even shorter than I was, wearing a smart pair of goggles. She looked kind of like a Shirley Temple playing the part of Daniel-san in the Karate Kid movie."):
    Wait, I was supposed to hit this little kid? I can't hit a girl!

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad! has an odd example where Hayley and Roger are continually trying to outdo each other by creating alternate personae. Roger, pretending to be a hitman with the Armenian Mafia, "kills" one of Hayley's characters. She responds by pretending to be the matriarch of the Armenian Mafia and condemning Roger's character for killing a woman, which is apparently against their code of honor. It just gets weirder from there.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: By and large averted, but played with in-story (with Kayfabe, no less) in the episode "The Blind Bandit", though it's just one of three factors that make the character reluctant to fight her:
    The Boulder: The Boulder feels conflicted about fighting a young, blind girl.
    Toph: Sounds to me like you're scared.
    The Boulder: [beat] The Boulder is over his conflicted feelings, and is now ready to bury you in a Rockalanche!
What also makes people feel bad about the idea of hitting Toph (before they realize that she's an unstoppable badass) besides the fact that she's blind and a girl is that (1) she's twelve years old and (2) she's actually kind of small for her age.
  • Ben 10:
    • Ben won't hit or fight a female criminal, except when she has been transformed into an alien cyborg by accident; after she is transformed, she tries to use the "I'm just a girl" defense, only to be kicked in the head by Gwen.
    • He also usually doesn't actively combat teenage villainess Charmcaster, leaving it to Gwen to defeat her (Charmcaster does see Gwen as her arch-enemy).
  • Birdman: It turns out that the titular hero refuses to harm women in "Empress of Evil", the one episode to feature a female villain. Fortunately, that's what non-injurious (and completely out-of-nowhere) "stun rays" are for.
  • The Cleveland Show: A female character in one episode is beating down all of the male characters in Cleveland's house, causing Donna to ask him why no one is fighting back. When he responds with, "She's a woman", Donna steps in, and when she gets mulch shoved in her eyes, the other wives step in, saving the day.
  • Darkwing Duck: In one episode, DW and Gosalyn (in her identity as Quiverwing Quack) are facing the villainess Splatter Phoenix. Splatter taunts Darkwing, saying that his code of honor would never allow him to hit a woman. Darkwing sighs and admits that she's right.
    Darkwing: Quiverwing — you do it.
  • Snotlout from Dragons: Riders of Berk at least stops to check if it's Ruffnut or Tuffnut that he's about to hit.
    Snotlout: You're the guy, right?
    He also tells Astrid that she's lucky that he doesn't hit girls after she insults him.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy:
    • Ed mentions that he is forbidden to hit girls. His younger sister Sarah, who knows full well that he can lift houses with ease, endlessly exploits this. Ed is an endlessly cheerful Cloudcuckoolander, so she can get away with it. The one time he isn't, she's genuinely frightened.
    • Rolf also qualifies. In one scene, Sarah beats the crap out of him, and he refuses to strike back. In another scene, when Nazz punches him in the face, he makes no attempt to fight back.
  • The Fairly OddParents:
    • One episode has Timmy and his grandfather transported to the world of classic cartoons. When Vicky tries to crash the party and complete her evil plan, Timmy can't hit her because in this era of cartoons, a man couldn't hit a woman. In response, Timmy merely wishes for his fairy godparents to turn Vicky into a man. Problem solved!
    • In another episode, when Mrs. Turner as Mighty Mom faces one of the Nega Chin's henchmen, he refuses to face her because he doesn't fight girls. She retorts with "I'm not a girl! I'm a soccer mom!" and hits him with soccer balls.
  • Family Guy: In the episode "The D in Apartment 23", Chris and Meg fight their entire school. Meg is shown killing waves of male and female opponents, but only one of Chris's enemies is a girl. He does not kill her until the camera angle is switched to a more distant perspective. Presumably violence against women is more acceptable if it happens at a distance.
  • Fantastic Four: In one episode, the Thing says that he can't hit a lady when he meets Malice. It doesn't take her long to convince him that she ain't no lady. Since Malice is Brainwashed and Crazy and has no compunctions about how she uses her forcefield powers, she shuts Ben down real quick.
  • Futurama lampshades this in "Where No Fan Has Gone Before". Bear in mind, Leela is the person Shatner is about to fight:
    Shatner: There's no right way to hit a woman.
    Leela: Then do it the wrong way!
  • Heathcliff & the Catillac Cats: Invoked in the episode "Terrible Tammy", in which a female cat threatens to take over Heathcliff's territory. She takes full advantage of him, knowing that if he laid a finger on her, he would put his reputation on the line. His girlfriend, Sonja, discovers this, takes Tammy on, and tears her down, teaching her a very hard lesson in humility.
  • Harold Berman on Hey Arnold! apparently does not hit girls (though he does beat up boys sometimes, and Helga has no qualms about punching him). Wolfgang, on the other hand...
    Harold: If she wasn't a girl, I'd pound her!
  • Jackie Chan Adventures has an episode where a villain who has been defeated by the J-team before creates an anti-J-team made of evil counterparts of the heroes: a martial artist to face Jackie, a master thief to face Viper, a wrestler to face El Toro, and the world's strongest woman to face Tohru. When Tohru and his Evil Counterpart first met, Tohru doesn't want to fight a woman, so he tries (and fails) to make an adversary of one of the others. After that fails, all he does is dodge her attacks until he tricks her into running downstairs, which makes her fall into a similar fashion to the one he did twice in one episode before his Heel–Face Turn. (Well, she is indeed his evil counterpart.)
  • Justice League: In a full-on brawl between the Justice League and Gorilla Grodd's Society in one episode, Giganta, a woman who can grow to the size of a several-story building, causes Superman to pause by doing the "You wouldn't hit a lady, would you?" routine. So, Wonder Woman announces that she would and promptly decks her! (Superman does hit female villains, though, so it wouldn't have worked for long.) Amusingly enough, Giganta is a part of Wonder Woman's rogues gallery in other continuities.
  • KaBlam!: Mr. Foot will never hurt June (he'll hurt Henry enough to make him go to the ER, however).
  • The Loud House: The episode "One of the Boys" has Lincoln go into a parallel universe where his sisters are all brothers. But instead of having personalities as deep as their female counterparts, the Loud brothers are all essentially modified Lynn clones, being into Toilet Humor and roughhousing, even going so far as to dogpile their own father and collectively Dutch-oven Lincoln. However, they are very nice to their mother, and in the parallel universe where Lincoln is a girl, the Loud brothers are all nice to their sister personally.
  • Phineas and Ferb: In the "Freaky Friday" Flip episode, Perry the Teenage Girl defeats his nemesis Dr. Doofenshmirtz even more easily than usual, because Doofenshmirtz can't hit a girl: "It's so, como se dice, awkward!" For added points, he doesn't even realize that Perry is (sort of) a girl; he thinks it's a weird disguise.
  • Like in the original comic strip, Popeye from Popeye the Sailor absolutely refuses to hit women. In one episode, he has to fight the Sea Hag and her vulture, so he gives Olive Oyl some spinach; he dispatches the vulture and she takes care of the Sea Hag. In another, where the Sea Hag kidnaps Olive Oyl, Popeye comes close to hitting her, ordering her to let Olive go "before I forget yer a woman!" And sometimes, Popeye does give the Sea Hag a dose of corporal punishment... by giving her a spanking!
    Popeye: I know it's wrong to hits a lady, but nobody says you can't spanks one!
  • The Simpsons has a meta example: Word of God states that a gag was suggested where Homer strangles Lisa. The creative team were dead against the idea, despite having nothing against the Running Gag of Homer violently strangling his ten-year-old son.
  • On Steven Universe, Steven and/or Buck, apparently. In "Shirt Club", they hit Ronaldo, Sour Cream, and Lars with their shirt cannon, but when Jenny has a shirt later, she specifically mentions that it landed on the ground in front of her.
  • In Super Best Friends Forever, Solomon Grundy refuses to fight Supergirl, Batgirl, and Wonder Girl for this very reason. They try to persuade him otherwise, but he still refuses. Finally, they decide that even though he refuses to fight them, that doesn't mean they can't fight him and proceed to beat the crap out of him. Solomon Grundy is left to seriously reconsider his stance.
  • Tom and Jerry: For some reason, Tom will stop chasing Jerry if he disguises himself as a girl, presumably because of this trope.
  • Transformers:
    • In Beast Wars even before he falls head-over-heels for her, Silverbolt's Ideal Hero personality prevents him from attacking Dark Action Girl/Femme Fatale Blackarachnia throughout the series. This fails to please anyone, as the other Maximals have no qualms over stomping her flat, and Blackarachnia herself is insulted by the idea that she's not a significant enough threat to fight. At one point, Blackarachnia even shoots him at point-blank range, and he still refuses to hit her.
    • In Transformers Animated, this version of Blackarachnia does take advantage of it. In "Along Came A Spider", she asks a gawping Bulkhead and Bumblebee "You wouldn't hurt a helpless femme-bot, would you?". Then she poisons them both. There's no Silverbolt in this series, so it looks like Optimus Prime is going to be the one she uses most.
  • The Venture Bros.: Brock Samson, the Made of Iron murder-happy bodyguard, follows his mentor Hunter Gathers's rules to the letter: "no women, no kids." Gathers, on the run from the law years later, uses this to his advantage: he gets a sex change before Brock can catch up to him. Brock still seems to think the rule is silly.
  • Xiaolin Showdown: Early on in the first season, Clay refuses to fight the villainess Katnappe because she's a girl, only to get around it because a bear hug isn't fighting. Aside from another instance where he refuses to fight his sister (even then it's more about family than her gender), Clay has no problems sparring with Kimiko in a later episode, and then fighting Wuya when she gets her body back.

    Real Life 
  • Commonly Truth in Television; many parents do teach their sons this rule. Men who break this taboo, even in self-defense against a woman who poses a credible threat, are treated with contempt in many cultures.
  • During the New York newsboys' strike of 1899note , the striking newsboys used violence against scabs (i.e. boys selling papers in defiance of the strike) and against the delivery wagons that distributed the newspapers, but they never used violence against the women who owned and ran newsstands that sold the boycotted newspapers. Kid Blink, leader of the strike, said "A feller can't soak a lady."
  • Although Angel Eyes, the villain from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly has no problem with hitting girls, Lee Van Cleef, the actor portraying him, absolutely refused to, requiring the director to use a stunt man in the scene where it happens.
  • In 2011, wrestler Joel Northrup gave up his chance to win the Iowa wrestling championship because his religious beliefs prevented him from wrestling his female opponent.
  • Sex columnist Dan Savage has received a few letters from girls who like being knocked around in a Safe, Sane, and Consensual context, complaining that their menfolk took the not hitting girls message too much to heart and won't do it.
  • After a spat between NASCAR drivers Mike Skeen and Max Papis, Skeen's girlfriend angrily confronted Papis and slapped him so hard that she sprained his jaw such that he couldn't chew the next day. He remained stone-faced and walked away, saying "I never hit a lady". Skeen claims Papis had earlier come to their trailer and grabbed Skeen's girlfriend; Papis claims that she slapped him then, too, and he simply pushed her to the side to reach Skeen, not even knowing who she was.
  • A follow-up to the famous Milgram experiment, which tested to see if participants would be willing to give (fake) increasingly painful electrical shocks to complete strangers, checked to see how people responded to shocking those of the opposite gender. It turned out that men were much, much less willing to shock women than vice-versa.
  • This infamously bit actor Ken Gibbel in the ass when Linda Hamilton punished him for adhering to this trope during production of Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The injury the sadistic orderly Douglas suffers courtesy of a broom as Sarah Connor makes her escape from Pescadero? That really happened.
  • Implied with rapper Bow Wow. It was reported that he and another woman were arrested for a physical altercation. In the mug shots, there are scratch marks on Bow Wow's face, but none on the other woman's face.
  • This has been debated to be one of the reasons Sonya was one of the two least used characters in the first Mortal Kombat: Not only did the mostly male players prefer not to use the only woman, but the realistic and bloody fighting made them feel bad about beating her senseless.


Alternative Title(s): Would Not Hit A Girl

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