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Playing With / The Unfair Sex

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Basic Trope: When a woman does something wrong, it's okay. When a man does something wrong, it's just plain wrong.

  • Straight: Alice cheats on her husband Bob with Charles, while Bob cheats with Diane. Alice's cheating is just portrayed as a "moment of weakness", while Bob is made to look like a vile scumbag.
  • Exaggerated:
  • Downplayed: Alice and Bob cheat on each other. Bob lets her off on it but Alice is absolutely furious. Later Alice's friends call her out on cheating on him, stating that he forgave her because he loves her, and that while he might act like only he did wrong for her, she was just as immoral as he was.
  • Justified:
    • As a man, Bob is expected to be more emotionally-resilient than Alice, a woman. Consequently, in the eyes of others, he should be better able to cope with the betrayal than Alice.
    • Alice has a relatively sympathetic reason for her cheating, while Bob just wanted an easy lay.
  • Inverted:
    • Bob and Alice both refuse to so much as look at a member of the respective opposite sex. Everyone praises Alice for being faithful, but not Bob, even though he put the same amount of effort in.
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    • Alice sleeps with Charles as part of a Scarpia Ultimatum while Bob just wants an easy lay from Diane. Their cheating is portrayed as equally wrong.
  • Gender Inverted: Bob's affair is portrayed sympathetically. Alice's affair isn't.
  • Subverted:
    • It seems like Bob's about to be in the doghouse - but wait, it turns out he's got a pretty sympathetic reason as well.
    • Alice has caught Bob having sex with another woman. Bob tries to justify it, and refuses to talk about it further or get counseling, which angers Alice. Then she finds out that he was only letting her believe he was cheating on her because he didn't want to admit the truth, which is that the other woman raped him.
    • The worst thing that happens to Bob is... being scolded for not hanging a tie on the door. Turns out Alice and Bob aren't the kind of wife and husband to let that whole "sacred loyalty" thing that most couples treat as gospel in the way of the unfathomably tremendous mutual love and trust they already have for each other.
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    • The story at first seems to treat Alice as sympathetic for cheating on Bob "because he was boring" and for cutting his hand off for daring to complain ... but then Bob files for divorce, the judge gives Alice a long explanation of everything that's wrong with her, and Alice doesn't get to keep a single penny. To twist the knife, the judge terminates all of Alice's parental rights on the basis that she's a toxic influence on her and Bob's children.
  • Double Subverted:
  • Parodied: Alice holds a ball, and is seen as only doing what she had to in that situation. Bob holds the ball, and gets beaten up by Alice's family and forced to leave town.
  • Zig Zagged: Bob had a pretty sympathetic reason too - but he just made it up. Then it turns out Alice was making her excuse up as well... because she was raped.
  • Averted: Bob and Alice are both equally shamed for their respective adultery.
  • Enforced: "That scene where the wife got bitched out for cheating didn't test well with the females in the crowd, and we know they'll be buying most of the tickets. Change it to where she's portrayed sympathetically."
  • Lampshaded: "How come with Alice it's always my fault?" "Because you're the guy, Bob".
  • Invoked: Alice desires to have an affair with Charles, but feels guilt (or frustration) because Bob is faithful to her. So she hires Diane to seduce Bob, knowing that if she is successful Alice can both have her affair and blame the relationship being ruined on Bob's infidelity.
  • Exploited: Alice cheats on Bob with impunity, knowing that if she ever gets caught, she can just use the old "I was just momentarily weak" excuse and she'll get off scot-free.
  • Defied:
    • Bob finds out and divorces her, getting a huge alimony, the kids, the house, the car, the dog, and the wedding china because he's the wronged party.
    • Alice lets Bob know she refuses to give him grief for being attracted towards an Ms. Fanservice actress in a movie they're watching, even though Bob is otherwise entirely loyal to her as she is to him; Alice herself has more than few images of the movie's own Mr. Fanservice saved on her phone, and complaining to Bob about it would only make her a Hypocrite.
  • Deconstructed: Bob is never able to live down his affair with Diane, and he is subsequently kicked out of his house and loses his wife. Alice takes this as carte blanche to have as many affairs as she wants with no retribution.
  • Reconstructed:
  • Plotted A Good Waste: After years of this, a subplot becomes Bob's seemingly building anger at how lopsided this treatment is, and it seems to be building up to Alice getting told off because of it. At the last moment Bob chickens out, and realizes that because he's that kind of person is why Alice can blame him.
  • Played For Laughs:
    • Alice's judgments are so out of order not even Bob takes them seriously, and both his and Alice's friends will make up stories so he doesn't have to go through Alice's increasingly absurd punishments.
    • Alice's hypocrisy can be seen from space and is so transparent that, again, it's not taken seriously.
    • Alice comes up with every excuse in the book as to why it's all Bob's fault. None of them work because they're either blatantly untrue or just make no sense.
  • Played For Drama: Bob's life married to Alice is one indignity after another, even getting blamed by Alice for something she did because he "failed to prevent it" or "didn't try hard enough." Eventually Bob can't take it anymore and ends up hospitalized.

Back to The Unfair Sex, because you’re a man and I’m a woman so it’s your fault.
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