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"You know Amy, any time someone calls attention to the breaking of gender roles, it ultimately undermines the concept of gender equality by implying that this is an exception and not the status quo. [everyone stares at Knuckles in silence] What? Just because I'm a meathead doesn't mean I'm not a feminist."
Knuckles, Sonic Boom, "Eggman's Anti-Gravity Ray"

A girl participates in an athletic competition to show that girls can be as good at it as the boys are. She then makes good by:

  1. Outplaying/Outsmarting her male counterparts in an athletic competition
  2. Joining another team, and winning a game for her team

Sometimes this happens in retaliation to being called "just a girl". Nine times out of ten, the girl is treated as a hero (with the "being carried on the other athletes' shoulders" treatment) upon winning the game.

Note that this may require pulling a Sweet Polly Oliver.

This is frequently an instance of a Jackie Robinson Story. Compare the "Gender-Normative Parent" Plot in that they both subvert gender norms, but whereas that trope centers on the same-sex parent's disapproval, the parents' input in this case is not as vital, and they tend to range from supportive to neutral. If a parent does have a problem with it, it's usually the father.

Sub-trope of Passionate Sports Girl and Prejudice Aesop. Also a sub-trope of Showing Up Chauvinists; non-sports examples should go there. Compare Mars and Venus Gender Contrast and Girls vs. Boys Plot. Not to be confused with One of the Boys, where a girl hangs out with boys in general.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • It could be said that the anime series Princess Nine is based on this concept, with nine female athletes banding together to form their own baseball team.
  • Taishō Baseball Girls may be even more so, since it deals with an all-girl baseball team in 1920s Japan.
  • Aki finding her need-for-speed and becoming a Riding Duelist in Story Arc 3 of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds. When getting her license, misogynists try to sabotage her test because she is both her woman and she is the only one who passed through the preliminary tests. Not only Aki manages to handle the situation and won her Riding Duel (against Ushio), Jack beats the crap out of the guys.
    • The main reason why she wanted to become a D-Wheeler is after witnessing Yusei's duel with Sherry from very near, realizing that a Riding Duel is much more intense and "intimate" than Ground Duels. Considering Riding Duels are dominated by men, Sherry being able to defeat whole teams by herself in the WRGP is even more impressive, especially if you consider that the WRGP cannot be done with auto-pilots.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, Rio beats an entire boy's soccer team by herself.
  • The ending of Girl Got Game definitely counts, complete with the whole manga being about the protagonist pulling a Sweet Polly Oliver.
  • Minako Aino from Sailor Moon repeatedly finds herself in this kind of situation by accident in her solo series, both in video games and as an athlete.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena: Subverted and deconstructed through the show's subtext. Utena herself seems to play this plot line straight (teenage girl who plays sports better than the boys, takes the masculine role of "Duelist" and explicitly wants to be a "Prince"). However, from the start she's already counted among Ohtori Academy's "elite" students (a fact that she ignores at every turn) and her flaunting of gender roles further cements her role as "special". Contrasted with the more "ordinary" Wakaba and how dismissively she's treated during her brief stint in the sun, Utena's role defiance is merely the exception that proves the rule.

    Films — Animated 
  • Discussed in Atlantis: The Lost Empire. In a conversation with Milo, Audrey mentions that her father wanted two sons: one to follow him into the mechanic trade and the other to become a middleweight pro boxing champion. Instead, he got two daughters. Audrey's the mechanic, and when Milo asks about her sister, Audrey replies that "she's 24-and-0 with a shot at the title next month."
  • Deconstructed In Brave, princess Merida holds an archery tournament between three clans to see who is worthy of having her hand in marriage. Only one succeeds in hitting the bullseye, but Merida isn't impressed. She hits all three bullseyes easily, including splitting the arrow that hit the bullseye down the middle. Hilarity Ensues and reality between her and Queen Elinor; Merida broke tradition, embarrassed the three clans, and almost provoked a civil war because she didn't choose a husband.
  • Ratatouille: Colette was willing to go through hell to get a job in a male-dominated gourmet kitchen.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • This is the outcome in the film Little Giants. Becky's dad was pissed that she wasn't chosen for the town's football team because she was girl and so he started his own team and challenged the official team.
  • In Shaolin Soccer, Mui shows up at the end of the championship game in a Big Damn Heroes moment to counteract the Evil Team with her Tai-chi skills.
  • She's the Man, the modern re-imagining of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, centers around this trope. The girl's soccer team is cut, the girls are denied the chance to try out for the guys' team because "girls can't beat boys," so Amanda Bynes transfers schools in drag and Hilarity Ensues. In the finale, she proves herself by making a game-winning kick for her team while playing as her actual gender after it's been revealed.
  • In Thor, it's implied that Lady Sif had to pull one in order to be taken seriously as a warrior.
    Thor: And who proved wrong all who scoffed at the idea that a young maiden could be one of the fiercest warriors this realm has ever known?
    Sif: I did.
    Thor: ...true, but I supported you!
  • In Float Like A Butterfly, Frances beats local bully Eamann in a makeshift boxing match.
  • Belle from Knockout knocked out a boy in her first sparring match at age nine, though she also ended up with a black eye.
  • Girlfight: Diana gets to compete against male opponents in her weight class due to a new equity program, beating them both. She only loses one in her four bouts.
  • Prey: Naru is treated contemptuously by the male Comanche hunters/warriors (aside from her brother, who's indulgent of her to a point), putting her down as a potential hunter and warrior. Over the film however she proves herself equally adept using weapons, a superior tracker and over all a much smarter combatant, as Naru studies everything the Predator does carefully, unlike the rest who are more prone to foolish frontal assaults which get them killed. This allows her to kill it when everyone else fails.

  • Angela Nicely: In “Girls United!”, Angela wants to join the soccer/football team, but it’s only boys, so Miss Darling (who also plays it) assembles a girls’ team, consisting of Angela and her female classmates.
  • Children's book example: in Gordon Korman's ''The Zucchini Warriors'', schoolgirl Cathy Burton disguises herself as a boy to lead MacDonald Hall's thoroughly inept football team to victory.
  • The backstory of Kirsty from Johnny Maxwell Trilogy is filled with this.
  • In Margaret George's book Helen of Troy, Helen pulled this off in a local race when she was younger. Unfortunately, the mother of one of the losers tried to kill her for it.
  • The main subplot of Naked Came the Florida Man (by Tim Dorsey) is Academic Athlete Chris, who has always been a faster runner than her male classmates but hasn't gotten much respect for it, joining her school's football team with the help of Team Dad Coach Calhoun.
  • The Ellen Bailey poem "The New Kid" describes a "new kid" who joins a neighborhood pickup baseball team and is instantly distinguished by skill and good sportsmanship, taking them to the championship and hitting a game-winning home run, and then reveals that the new kid is a girl.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Small Wonder, where Joanie, Harriet and Vickie go camping with the guys and prove superior in pitching tents, fishing and cooking - even at the end, it rains on the guys' camp and not the ladies who are five feet away.
  • Punky Brewster, with radio-controlled model cars.
  • The Brady Bunch, "The Liberation of Marcia Brady." Marcia says in a news interview that girls can do anything boys can. She joins the Frontier Scouts to prove it. Peter retaliates by joining the Sunflower Girls. While Marcia holds her own with the boys, Peter is humiliated. This was a recurring theme in the show. Any time the boys and girls had a contest, the girls would win.
  • M*A*S*H had a bowling episode in which Margaret Houlihan tried for half the episode to tell Potter she would be a valuable asset to the team, but female team members were so far from his thoughts that when she said she wanted to help, he assigned her the task of seducing the major player for the opposition. Of course, once she ends up on the team proper, she pulls her weight, and the 4077th wins the bet.
  • American Ninja Warrior has Kacy Catanzaro, who, despite being five feet tall, was able to complete the course in Dallas. She said she felt that other women had the potential and just needed someone to show them that it could be done.
  • Degrassi Junior High, "The Great Race." The girls' swim team challenges the boys' soccer team to a swimming match. The boys secretly know the girls' team is better, but they think they can win — because the girls' star swimmer is morbidly afraid of letting boys see her in a bathing suit and because they allow champion swimmer Snake to join the team, even though he's awful at soccer.
  • Lizzie McGuire plays with the trope in an episode. Lizzie tries out playing football with the boys and discovers she enjoys it. Uniquely the guys have no problem with her playing, once she shows how good she is at it. The conflict instead comes from the other girls who mock her for being "one of the boys". Lizzie then learns An Aesop that it's possible to be a Girly Girl and enjoy roughing it up. Their Brawn Hilda of a coach reveals that she likes to sew her own dresses and go line dancing on weekends.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Dee took part in the football try outs in one episode just to prove that she was more athletic than Mac and Dennis who were also competing. Despite the fact that she had a "spine made of glass", she made it farther than any of the other guys, but only because they were completely out of shape. At the end of the episode, she injures her foot just kicking the football.
  • In the Renford Rejects Robin is turned down for the school football team purely because she is a girl and the PE teacher Basil Stoker thinks it is a man's game. In the first season finale Robin is instrumental in helping the Rejects stay in the league by winning their last game of the season against the school team, the Razors.
  • In the Wishbone episode, "Bone Of Arc" Samantha joins the boys' soccer team and her team mates love her for it.
  • In the Degrassi: The Next Generation episode, "Fight The Power" a few girls really look up to Jane for joining the football team. At the same time, she ends up being violently bullied by the rest of the team, the cheerleaders, and even the principal.
  • The second season of Jossys Giants introduced the players' girlfriends, many of whom were footballers themselves and beat the eponymous Giants in a friendly.
  • The first episode of Life with Boys is all about Tess's quest to join the wrestling team.
  • Briefly played with in an episode of Malcolm in the Middle: Reese joined in a wrestling team and had to fight a girl.
  • One episode of the NBC cop drama Life featured a suspect who had hidden important files on the hard drive of his Xbox. The only way to access the files was to reach "Level 10" of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (the errors of this requirement earned it the top spot in this Cracked article). The leads get a stereotypical (male) nerd to play the game, but he proves unable to get past level two. At this point, a crowd has gathered to watch him try. Main character Charlie Crews suddenly notices a young woman among the group who is moving her fingers as if she is pressing buttons. He walks over, brings her out of the crowd, and has the current player give her the controller; true to this trope, she manages to successfully complete the game and unlock the files.
  • Invoked on an episode of Scrubs. Turk doesn't pick the only female in the group of candidates to be his assistant, which Elliot decides is sexist, so she gets Carla (Turk's wife) to deny him sex to punish him.
    • Subverted when it's revealed that Turk's decision had nothing to do with sexism, his choice was based on the candidate's use of a three-colored pen to sign his name (stupid but not sexist). Once Turk's choice turns down the job (he never actually wanted the position, he just wanted to use his three-colored pen), Turk has no problem giving the position to the female intern. Turk also proves to Elliot that the female intern was purposefully invoking this trope to get Elliot to support her.
  • Parodied in "Big Time Jobs," an episode of Big Time Rush. Carlos takes the position of Gustavo's production assistant, and is forced to deal with an espresso machine named C.A.L. (a parody of a certain famous A.I.) that eventually becomes sentient and attempts to take over the world by flooding it with foam. Kelly, Gustavo's assistant manager, tells Carlos that he'll have to deal with the problem on his own—until C.A.L. starts spouting sexist rhetoric ("WOMEN ARE WEAK"). She then takes a baseball bat to the machine.
  • Subtly deconstructed in Parks and Recreation. A few years before the show, Pawnee's boy scout group refused to include a girl, so Leslie started her own group called the Pawnee Goddesses in order to prove that girls can be good outdoorsmen too. However in practice she ends up reinforcing the very stereotypes she's claiming to be opposing, having her group never do any actual wilderness activities and instead having them laze about, doing stereotypically feminine things like "puppy parties" or pillow fights. She also tries to keep boys out of the club just like the boy scout group did to girls, which the girls in her troop call her out on. When she does let boys in, they only join because in her club they get to screw around and play instead of doing work. When she makes Ron acknowledge that "GIRLS CAN DO IT TOO" it comes off less like an empowering victory and more like a somber, Kick the Dog moment where she makes Ron feel like crap, and Leslie is visibly unhappy about it afterwards.
  • The premise of the Nickelodeon series Bella and the Bulldogs revolves around this: when cheerleader Bella Dawson displays a powerful throwing arm, the football coach invites her to play quarterback for the team.
  • Subtly deconstructed in Last Man Standing. Eve is asked by her high school's football coach to become the team's kicker after he sees her kicking skills at a contest. Rather than doing it just to show up the boys, she accepts because she thinks it will be fun. After she does well in a few games, everyone keeps praising her for being the only girl in the league and tells her how inspirational it is for women everywhere. However, Eve hates being singled out by the press and would rather have people not make a big deal of it and treat her just like the other players. It's also worth mentioning that there is never any mention of her teammates being sexist towards her. While the girls thought her boyfriend was mad about her joining and showing him up, it turns he likes having her on the team and do well and was mad about something else entirely. Eventually the pressure of representing women gets to her and her performance suffers as a result.
  • Amberle Elessedil in The Shannara Chronicles (but not in the original book, where no aspect of this sequence appears), who realised there Ain't No Rule that a girl can't enter the blindfolded obstacle course that decides the Chosen of the Ellcrys.
  • Pitch features this trope as its main premise, centering on the MLB's first female player.
  • Quarterback Princess centers upon Tami Maida, who signed up for the boys' football team because a girls' team didn't exist. Despite concerned parents raising doubts, the principal points out that Title IX law forbids discrimination based on gender. Tami proves to be both more elusive and more accurate than the starting QB, and earns so much respect from her teammates that they help finance her evening at the school prom.
  • Season 3 of Young Sheldon has Missy ask her dad to show her how to play baseball because she wanted to impress a boy she liked, only for the boy to not be interested in her. She continues playing ball with George just for the sake of it, until she decides that she wants to join the school baseball team. The coach doesn't want a girl on the team, but lets her try out when Meemaw rips him a new one (and impresses the coach so much that he asks Connie out). Missy ends up getting on the team and standing up for herself to anyone who dares to mock her for it. Missy's actual skill as a player though is mixed, she's a great pitcher, but a terrible batter since she never learned to bat.
  • Played for Laughs in Season 2 of The Boys (2019). The Vought publicity machine hypes up the superhero pairing of Stormfront, Starlight and Queen Maeve with the slogan "Girls Get It Done". This becomes a Brick Joke in the season finale when Stormfront is getting curb-stomped by Starlight, Maeve, and Kimiko while the men watch from the sidelines because they don't have superpowers.
    Frenchie: Girls do get it done!
  • "St. Gilligan and the Dragon," an early episode of Gilligan's Island sees Ginger and Mary Ann go "on strike" from doing all of the domestic chores for the castaways until the guys build them their own hut, which they've been promising to do since the Minnow crashed; Mrs. Howell joins their crusade when she points out that Thurston has also been putting off constructing a hut for just the two of them. The Professor grabs the Jerkass Ball and declares that they don't have time, and furthermore that men are naturally better leaders than women. Ginger, Mary Ann, and Mrs. Howell then team up to establish a camp of their own and succeed, while the guys prove hopelessly unable to manage things without the women to help them.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • While Lou Thesz was traveling around, beating other world champion claimants to establish the National Wrestling Alliance, Mildred Burke went with him and herself defeated 200 men to establish the NWA Women's division.
  • The Fabulous Moolah became the first woman to wrestle at Madison Square Garden, which had previously outlawed women's wrestling (although it's been claimed that Titi Paris is responsible for getting the ban on women's wrestling in New York lifted, and Moolah, with the help of Vince McMahon Sr., simply swooped in and took the credit).
  • Both Madusa Miceli, Daffney Unger and Jacqueline won the Cruiserweight Title, the former two in WCW and the latter in WWE. Jacqueline also won her second WWE Women's Championship from a man (don't ask).
  • Chyna became the first woman to hold the Intercontinental Championship. She would go on to hold it three times (the second one was a co-champ thing with Chris Jericho).
  • In TNA there's been Awesome Kong(put Cute Kip on a stretcher among other things), ODB(who trained Cody Deaner) and Hamada...(who lost to Eric Young? She was at least offered a spot on World Elite). Before being picked up by TNA, Kong was in a middle of a campaign to get a NWA World Heavyweight Title shot, a campaign that saw her pin Tyler Black.
  • CHIKARA is becoming a great source of this. Female wrestlers are successful against male wrestlers often enough that individual examples don't need to be added, but there have been a few highlights.
    • "The Queen of Wrestling" Sara Del Rey pinned her former BDK stablemate Tim Donst to win the Torneo Cibernetico at Cibernetico: The Animated Series November 12, 2011, making her the first and so far only woman to do so. Earlier in the match, she had eliminated the BDK's monster Tursas.
    • Heidi Lovelace becoming the first woman to win Chikara's Young Lion's cup in 2015, taking out two members of Colony Xtreme Force on the way, who still hadn't moved passed their misogyny.
    • In December 2015, Princess Kimberlee became the first woman to hold the Chikara Grand Championship - that's the promotion's top title, by the way - pinning Hallowicked to do so.
  • When Anarchy Championship Wrestling started it's "American Joshi" division, one of the goals was to remind people a woman's division could be portrayed as equal to a men's heavyweight, which hadn't been done in the USA since the 1940s. First title holder Portia Perez went on to win the Heavyweight Title Belt during the 2011 Lone Star Classic, though she lost it in the semi finals due to interference from Robert Evans.
  • After being involved in a six person tag team match for All Japan in Taiwan involving Bushi and Último Dragón against Black Bushi and Dark Dragon, Makoto and Cheerleader Melissa had a one on one rematch without their male partners billed as the first women's match in the country.
  • Domina defeated Perfecto Bundy and Sebastian Joestar in a three way dance to become International Heavyweight Champion of the Chile based Xplosion Nacional de Lucha Libre in December of 2016.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Part of the backstory of the Pathfinder Iconic Character Amiri of the Six Bears. She grew up a woman in a very patriarchal tribal society, and began competing with the men to prove herself from a young age. She would challenge young men to fights and joining the hunters on hunts, always aiming to do better than the best man could do. Rather than the usual outcome, Amiri instead became a subject of mockery not only by her own tribe, but by all neighboring tribes as well for putting up with her. After her tribe attempted to kill her in an Uriah Gambit, Amiri abandoned her home to become a Barbarian Hero instead.

    Video Games 
  • Dragalia Lost has Vanessa who's quite the subscriber of this trope.
    I love a strong woman. Half of me's like, "You go, sister!" and half is like, "Yeah, I could take her."
  • In Dragon Quest IV, Alena is the princess and expected by her father to act like a princess. She, on the other hand, wants to be an adventurer and prove that she can do more than look pretty in a dress. So, she instead breaks out of the castle, travels across the country, and roundly proves that she is more than capable of kicking ass and taking names by winning the battle tournament in Endor.
  • Seung Mina of the Soul Series. She runs away from home twice to search for Soul Edge, the first time to join her older brother figure Hwang on his search for the weapon, and the second time partly to prove herself and partly to get away from one of her father's clingy moronic students. Both times, Hwang indignantly drags her back home. Her father isn't too pleased by his daughter's rebellious, adventurous streak, but by II he's pretty much given up on trying to keep her at home figuring that she'll just set off on another journey again... which she does, although this time it's to warn Yunseong about Soul Edge and it's true nature before it's too late.
  • Many of Sully's supports in Fire Emblem: Awakening revolve around her experiencing this trope (or attempting to avert it), though it's through combat prowess and training, not sports.

    Western Animation 
  • Quite a few eps of Rocket Power, with Reggie Rocket as the girl. For instance, "Major Scrummage", where she scores the winning points in a game of rugby. Justified, since she's the oldest by two years and the only one who has reached puberty.
  • Phineas and Ferb has an Olympics-type match between...well, Buford, the bully, who press-gangs Baljeet, and Isabella, who gets Candace to help her. The girls win.
    • Of course the girls and boys would have tied, if Buford hadn't cheated at the end.
    • Buford seems to retain an unwillingness to back down against girls in other episodes, too, such as "Let's Take a Quiz" and "Brain Drain." We never find out who wins the former, while Isabella beats him again in the latter.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Lisa On Ice": Lisa becomes the star goalie of a hockey team, leading to the inevitable showdown with Bart, who plays for another team, although Bart is actually in conflict with Lisa due to Homer's favoritism rather than actual chauvinism. They eventually realize their relationship is more important and make peace without deciding a winner.
    • "Bart Star" subverts this: Lisa boldly declares her intent to join her brother Bart on his football team, but becomes reluctant when coach Ned Flanders welcomes her with open arms, mentioning the four other girls on the team, who are also welcoming. Lisa tries to salvage her mold-breaking intentions by decrying the footballs for being made of animal parts, but learns that they're synthetic, with the profits donated to charity. Unable to cope with not being on the moral high(er) road, she runs off sobbing.
  • Inverted in the South Park episode "Cartman's Silly Hate Crime 2000," where we're supposed to root for the boys in the sled race while it's the girls who act snotty and superior. Though their secret weapon (Cartman's massive extra weight) gets arrested for a hate crime, they wind up winning in the end, and the most annoying girl is implied to be eaten by a bear. Yay!
  • In the Clone High episode "Homecoming: Shot in the D'Arc". Joan of Arc disguises as a boy by putting on a cap, t-shirt, and mustache, and calling herself "John D'Arc" so she can play for the boy's basketball team, since they don't allow girls or animals. When her disguise is blown, Abe gives a speech on letting Joan take the last shot. She then hits a free-throw to score the school's first point against their competition, and win a bet principal Scudworth had made against their rival's principal... and then the team treats the Abe Lincoln clone as a hero for his speech, leaving Joan feeling completely betrayed.
  • In Gormiti: The Lords of Nature Return, Toby's boasting about being better at judo are summarily shot down by Jessica beating him by one point at the school tournament. She was quite smug about it, too...
  • The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan: Anne Chan gets several little moments like this, usually in response to Alan or Tom claiming she can't surf, climb trees or follow a crook as well as them because she's a girl. They're Played for Laughs.
  • Subverted in an episode of What's New, Scooby-Doo? where the culprit turns out be a girl who was sabotaging the skateboarding tournament. She claims she was rejected because she's a girl (even though there is another girl there), but it turns out she was rejected because she genuinely sucks.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: Billy wouldn't allow Mandy in his baseball team because she's a girl. Trying to teach him a lesson, she disguised herself as a boy named "Manfred" by donning a baseball cap. That'll prove to Billy girls can play sports as soon as he sees through her Clark Kenting. (That means never.) Not to mention that the team constantly beating his is entirely composed of girls. Billy is basically just an idiot.
  • Sofia the First: One episode featured a race where first and second prizes were places at Royal Prep's derby Racing team. Sofia entered the race despite being told that sport was for Princes and not for Princesses.
  • Parodied in the Sonic Boom episode "Eggman's Anti-Gravity Ray". During a game of soccer, Amy prepares to make a penalty kick, and starts boasting in third-person narration about proving that females can be just as good as males at sports, when Knuckles makes a surprisingly-insightful comment on this trope.
    Knuckles: You know, Amy, any time someone calls attention to the breaking of gender roles, it ultimately undermines the concept of gender equality by implying that this is an exception and not the status quo. (realizes everyone is starring at him in Stunned Silence) What? Just because I'm a meathead doesn't mean I'm not a feminist.
  • Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum: The Billie Jean King episode shows Billie Jean working hard at playing tennis and eventually beating Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes, proving to the whole world that girls and boys can do the same things.

    Real Life 
  • The famous "Battle of the Sexes", a 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, had this as its overarching narrative. Riggs, who had been a tennis champion in the 1940s, believed that the female game in The '70s was inferior to the male game and that, even at 55, he could beat any female tennis player. To prove his point, he challenged Margaret Court, then the number-one-ranked female player in the world, and comprehensively defeated her in two sets before extending his challenge to all female tennis players. King, who had been the number-one-ranked female player the previous year, took him up on the challenge. Riggs and King each respectively played up the image of a Straw Misogynist and a Straw Feminist in order to build heat; Riggs entered the tennis court in a rickshaw drawn by scantily-clad female models, while King was in turn carried in on a litter by four shirtless muscle men in an homage to Cleopatra, and when they met, Riggs gifted King a giant Sugar Daddy lollipop and wore an accompanying jacket (because he was about to make her his bitch) while King returned the favor with a squealing piglet (for the chauvinist pig). Unlike his match with Court, things did not go Riggs' way the second time around, with King dominating him in three sets in such a Curb-Stomp Battle that some have speculated that Riggs threw the match in order to pay off gambling debts to The Mafia. The match, later dramatized in the film Battle of the Sexes, was a Genre Turning Point for women's tennis, as its credibility as a legitimate sport was assured going forward.
  • Violette Morris, a French athlete and later Nazi collaborator, was an avid competitor during the 1910s to late 1920s. Among her many, many sporting accomplishments were being selected for the French national water polo team (there was no women's team at that time) and winning the national heavyweight boxing championship in 1923 as the only female competitor in a field of men.

Sometimes, the girl or her team doesn't quite pull off a win, but the girl has still proven herself anyway:

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Captain Tsubasa, softball player from Okinawa Maki Akamine helps Kojiro Hyuga develop new training techniques. However, when it's time for her big softball game, she loses, and Hyuga gives her her spirits back with a hug under the rain. Maki doesn't give up, continues training, and later she's chosen for the national softball team.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Bad News Bears they lost the baseball game. But Amanda (played by Tatum O'Neal) was definitely a kick-ass pitcher. It's something of a Downplayed Trope, however, in that she has to be talked into playing, her acceptance on the team is a very minor source of conflict at most (as the team's equal-opportunity bigot, Tanner, is the only one to have issue, and she quickly puts him in his place), and one of her conditions for joining the team is that Coach Buttermaker pays for her designer clothes and ballet classes

    Live-Action TV 
  • A brief clip from 30 Rock shows that Liz sued her high school for the right to play football, despite the fact that she was absolutely abysmal. It's heavily implied she did it just so she could be a feminist crusader rather than because she wanted to play the game.
  • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide parodied this, with Cookie trying out for cheerleading, and getting laughed off because he's a boy. He sues them, and gets a tryout, leading to this quote, summing up the tryout.
    Claire Sawyer (Future Lawyer): You can't be denied because you're a boy. You can, however, be denied because you stink.
  • In Zoey 101:
    • The very first episode feature a girls vs boys Basketball game in which the girls lose by only one basket. By the end of the game however, the entire school was cheering the girls on.
    • Subverted in the episode where Zoey joins the male's wrestling team. All of her male opponents choose to forfeit rather than wrestle her, because if they won, they would look like a jerk for beating up a girl; but if they lost, they would look like a wimp for losing to a girl. It turns out that the coach only let Zoey join the team for this exact reason, so that he could save his best wrestler for the final match of the tournament. His plan ends up failing when Zoey goes up against a Jerk Jock with no hangups about fighting a girl, and he wipes the floor with her.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Chyna was the first woman to enter the Royal Rumble and compete in the King of the Ring tournament. She didn't win either of them but it was still pretty groundbreaking.
    • Beth Phoenix also entered the Royal Rumble and eliminated the Great Khali but was quickly eliminated by CM Punk. It was still very impressive.
    • Nia Jax entered both the women and men's Royal Rumble matches in 2019. And the men made quick work of her and threw her out of the ring (but not without Nia showing them she wasn't going down without a fight)
  • Women in WWE who have competed in competitive intergender matches (which weren't squashes) aside from the two mentioned above: Molly Holly, Trish Stratus, Lita, Ivory, Jacqueline Moore, Victoria and Mickie James.
  • Miscellaneous examples:
  • Tessa Blanchard main-evented Slammiversary 2019 vs. Sami Callahan in a critically-acclaimed match which saw her lose but got Callahan's respect and also comparisons to Chyna as well.

  • The ballet Play Ball! is about an exhibition game between male and female minor-league baseball teams. The game is stopped by rain, and mutual respect runs rampant.

    Video Games 
  • Not sports but definitely a physical competition: in the Soulcalibur game series, Seung Mina's entire motivation for seeking the Soul Edge is to find it before her father's star pupil Hwang can. She hopes this will prove she's as valuable in a fight as any guy. (According to the official storyline, neither of them ever get close. In Hwang's SC 2 ending, though, Mina still gets a not-so-small reward by saving his life after his battle with Inferno and having Hwang openly thank her and acknowledge her strength.)
  • In Madden NFL 2012, McDonald's contest winner Hope Bromley appears in the free agent pool, the series' first female player. She's ranked 65 overallnote 

  • Brian Clevinger's How I Killed Your Master has Fang Lin, most accomplished disciple of the Tiger Knuckle martial arts style, and all-around Ace. In her introduction, she wipes the floor with some goons who have Liu Wong at their mercy, and in a flashback she handles Wong himself (an accomplished martial artist in his own right) without breaking a sweatnote .

    Western Animation 
  • Doug: The school baseball team rejects Patty from the school team just for being a girl, she forms her own team, with some other rejects and girls. In a game against the school team, Doug represents the game-winning run for Patty's team after finally getting a hit...but what do you know, Roger makes the game-winning catch from her at-bat and wins for the school. Patty then decides to turn down the school coach's offer to let her join the school team.
  • The Proud Family, the one where Penny plays on the school football team, single-handedly turns the homecoming game from a blowout loss into a game they have a chance to win...and drops the ball on the final play.
  • Inverted and parodied mercilessly on Futurama. Leela is offered the chance to be the first female professional Blernsball player in history—but only because her single eye makes her lack depth perception and thus inevitably bean whoever's up to bat against her pitching. Notably, when the Blernsball talent scout approaches Leela to sign her on, he politely and repeatedly makes it clear that's she awful and he will only be hiring her as a publicity stunt, which defies the chauvinism usually associated with this trope. Later, a genuinely-talented female Blernsball player named Jackie Anderson calls Leela out for the damage she's doing to women's attempts to play by reinforcing negative stereotypes; when the women face off in a final game, Jackie wins, but assures Leela that she ended up being a role model encouraging girls to prove that they don't suck as much as she does.
    • Leela's Arcturan Kung-Fu master insists he would automatically win in a fight against Leela because "Girls lack the will of the warrior".
  • In the Adventures of the Gummi Bears episode, "Girls Knight Out," Princess Calla joins a competition in disguise in a contest of who would be her Royal Protector to prevent being shackled with one, which includes a surprise challenge by her own father in disguise. Eventually, after winning, she comes clean to her father the King and he notes that he was deeply impressed by her fighting skills and publicly announced that she needed no bodyguard after all.
  • Baby Looney Tunes has a few moments of this.
    • In "Tea and Basketball", Baby Lola Bunny wants to play basketball with Bugs, Daffy, and Taz but is ignored because she's a girl. Meanwhile, Sylvester wants to join Melissa and Petunia's tea party, but is shunned because he's a boy. Reluctantly, Lola joins the girls with their tea party and Sylvester plays basketball with the boys. Sylvester then fakes an injury, so Lola can take his place. The moment Lola is put in, she easily scores, proving girls can play basketball as well as boys. At the same time, Sylvester proves to Melissa and Petunia that boys can play tea party perfectly well.
    • In "Bend It Like Petunia", Floyd teaches the kids soccer, but Daffy insists that girls can't play soccer as well as boys and spends most of the episode mocking Lola, Melissa, and Petunia. He ends up eating his words when Petunia scores a goal, while he was the goalie, tying their game, and forcing Daffy to admit that girls can play soccer as well as boys.
  • The Bellflower Bunnies: In episode "Refried Donuts", Violet (Pirouette) claims she wants to become a firefighter when she grows up, but her brothers, especially Mistletoe, immediately laugh at her and say that she can't be a firefighter because she's a girl. Their Aunt Zinnia comes to Violet's defense and scold the boys, telling them that girls can do things as well as boys. Unfortunately, the bunnies' father, Papa Bramble, don't help things any by agreeing with his sons. However, later in the episode, when Papa Bramble is too frightened to climb high on the rooftop to hang up lights, Aunt Zinnia climbs it and, despite also being afraid, successfully hangs the lights, making Papa Bramble take back what he said earlier and admit girls and boys can do the same thing, much to Mistletoe's dismay. Then, near the end of the episode, the family's house is on fire, and Mistletoe goes in to try to help the firefighters save their home, but gets lost in the smoke. Violet bravely rushes in to find him, but also gets trapped inside. A firefighter comes in and saves both the children and, to Mistletoe's shock (as well as Violet's delight), the firefighter was a female. After being scolded by their father and aunt and trying on some firefighter helmets, Mistletoe reconciles with his sister by proudly admitting the helmet looks just as good on girls as they do boys.
  • In The Biskitts episode "The Princess and the Plea," a princess Biskitt is captured by the evil King Max. The male Biskitts (Waggs, Bump, Shiner, Downer, Scat, and Mooch) set off to rescue her and leave behind the female Biskitts (Sweets, Lady, and Wiggle) because they feel that saving princesses is "guys' work." The girls, suspecting something wrong, follow anyway. The boys wind up getting captured and imprisoned along with the princess, but fortunately the girls arrive in time to save them and help them escape.
  • In Hurricanes episode "Deep Cover", several players from the Hispaniola Hurricanes suffered injuries that prevented them from joining their uninjured teammates in a soccer game against the Garkos Gorgons. The Hispanola Hurricanes' owner, Amanda Carey, decided to join them but had to pull a Sweet Polly Oliver because the World Soccer League had a rule against girls being part of the team. The only chauvinist character in the story was Hurricanes Coach Jock Stone. The Hurricanes won 3-2, Jock learned a lesson, but Amanda was too honest to accept a victory like that and told the truth to the League, despite knowing the Gorgons would be declared winners.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: Billy and Irwin made a racing team and wouldn't allow Mandy in because she was a girl so she started her own team with Grim, who was rejected from Billy and Irwin's for being a skeleton. Pud'n won.
  • Played with in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Katara's skill at waterbending did manage to impress Pakku, who believed that women shouldn't learn combat-bending, when she instigated a fight with him, but while she put up a good fight, he still crushed her since he has far more experience than her. He still refused to teach her afterwards until he learns that Katara's grandmother is actually his long-lost love, whom he drove away with his attitude. After he accepts Katara as a student and sees her progress, he chides all his other students for not keeping up.
  • On King of the Hill, Connie ends up trying out for the boys wrestling team after Peggy takes her on as her personal project. At first the coaches tell her that wrestling is a boy's sport, until Peggy and her parents bring up Title IX and threaten to sue. The team is forced to actually have tryouts (as opposed to letting everyone who shows up make the team) for the first time, and the coach gets revenge on Peggy by making Connie wrestle Peggy's son Bobby. The episode ends with Bobby and Connie putting on a theatrical wrestling show when the match comes to get around this.
    • It should be noted though that most of the conflict of this episode was actually a subversion of this trope. While Peggy's attempt to stick it to a pig-headed P.E. coach is what kicks the plot in motion, most of the actual conflict comes from the fact that Bobby ends up stuck in a no-win situation because of it. Not only does the couch start targeting him in revenge by forcing him into a match with Connie, but the show also makes a point that if he loses to Connie, he'll be mocked by his classmates for losing to a girl. If he does win against her, he'll be branded as a girl beater and further shunned by them. Ultimately, it was Bobby and Connie working together that allowed them to figure a way out of it with their reputation intact.
  • In SheZow, Guy Hamdon changes into SheZow whenever he says this trope by name when he's not SheZow.
  • In Alvin and the Chipmunks, Eleanor wants to join Alvin's soccer team. The other boys don't see anything wrong with it, but Alvin refuses to let her join, which causes his team to lose the next game. She eventually proves herself to him by beating him in a one-on-one game.
  • The Powerpuff Girls try to join a club of exclusively male superheroes. In spite of proving themselves worthy in each test, they are denied entry simply because they're girls. It's when the heroes are overcome by a more-than-worthy villain and the Powerpuffs defeat him that the heroes ask to join them.
  • Sea Princesses: In "The Big Game", Maurico, the Urchin Prince, is looking to form a team in the Flubberball Little League. Ester is the best player around but Maurico refuses to have a girl in his team. Ester plans to form her own team for the League.