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"People will wait to call the EMS because the EMS providers will insist on interrupting the game to get information. Grandpa will be just fine for another hour and a half because (and I quote) 'those neurosurgeons can just turn him back on, you know, like in that movie?'"
A medic trying to remain sane.

Fiction is not reality, but fiction frequently portrays things that are harmful or even fatal in reality as if they're positive, comedic, awesome, or helpful. People believe these tropes are realistic, but none of them are.

Even though most real people don't believe fiction is a reliable source of information, people usually don't remember whether they learned something from reality or fiction; they "just know" something that may be dangerously (or hilariously) incorrect. These tropes are unrealistic, but they are so ubiquitous and so often played straight that many people believe Reality Is Unrealistic instead and act out these tropes. People may believe in these tropes even more when the depiction is an exaggerated Played for Drama (so gritty and realistic!) or Played for Laughs (consequences are funny!). People acting out these tropes in reality can endanger, harm, or kill others or themselves. The result may well be a Darwin Award.


May overlap with Things We Have Learnt from Media and Things Are More Effective in Hollywood. Contrast with Truth in Television which depicts things from reality in realistic ways including positives and negatives. When a harmful thing is presented in a positive, comedic, awesome, or helpful way, but the depiction acknowledges it is harmful in reality or warns against doing it, that's Do Not Do This Cool Thing or Do Not Try This at Home. Presenting a bad thing as bad and telling you it's bad and bad people do this bad thing is And That's Terrible. The existence of people who dispute these tropes doesn't mean they are not trying to kill us. Realizing you believe in any of these tropes may result in TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life .

This is an index. It has descriptions of why the tropes fit here; examples are on the respective trope pages. This index is not for every kind of harmful thing depicted in fiction, especially when the depiction acknowledges that the harmful thing is harmful.


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Actions, not-so-serious, otherwise just-for-fun

    Action scenes and stunts gone wrong 
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Although a few people have successfully pulled this off in real life, most such attempts are unsuccessful, and people have gotten stuck in vents or burned by hot metal when attempting this. And since you are bouncing around in a hollow metal box, it's quite loud, negating this strategy's supposed stealth value.
  • Couldn't Find a Lighter: Fire spreads incredibly quickly and is often dangerously hot outside the flame itself.
  • Explosion Propulsion: Explosions do make things ahead of them go very fast. But they also destroy things, like body parts, onlookers, or even the very thing that you're trying to propel.
  • Great Balls of Fire!: Pyrotechnic displays may make bands look flashy, but weak enforcement of fire safety codes has helped them cause nightclub fires that have killed hundreds.
  • I Love Nuclear Power: Exposure to high-frequency waves of electromagnetic energy (i.e. gamma rays) cannot give you superpowers. Instead, you may likely suffer a painful death by cancer, radiation poisoning, or burn wounds (if injured by a nuclear explosion). The only noticeable mutations it can cause are horrific defects and disabilities to unborn fetuses.
  • Improvised Zipline: Real ziplines take a while to construct and require specific, strong materials so they don't break. The cords are designed to support the weight of an elephant or two for a reason. Further, as MythBusters demonstrated, a cord has to be strong and slippery to function as a zipline; otherwise you can't slide at all.
  • Military Maverick: Sometimes excusable especially under extreme circumstances, but regularly doing this is a good way to attract punishments, ranging from mild to severe. Just see the many examples throughout history- too many to list here- where their maverick-like ways eventually landed them into hot water.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: Real Life explosions kill and injure. If people aren't killed or injured in one, it is solely due to luck. If nothing else, your ears can suffer permanent damage with burst eardrums being one of the most common explosion effects. The blast wave of an explosion does most of the damage and it is why someone who looks "fine" can actually have fatal internal injuries.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: It's not, all right. It's the sudden stop at the end, regardless of where you land or how (if) you break the fall. Hitting water can tear off limbs.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Explosions, overpressure, and debris move faster than you can run, and the shockwave travels faster and farther than visible effects of the explosion. There may not even be a fireball.
  • Soft Glass: Normal glass can be far harder than one would think and, when it breaks, it does so with nasty sharp edges that will hurt you. Any film or television studio worth their salt uses the classic "sugar glass" so that actors doing stunt work don't get seriously injured.
  • Soft Water: Compared to dry ground, water is softer (thanks again, MythBusters), but it will still be lethal from a significant height, resulting in similar crush injuries. Also, if you cannot swim, you will drown after a hard fall into water, whereas a fall onto solid ground leaves open the chance of rescue if you survive the initial impact.
  • Super Window Jump: Again, no matter how fast you jump through it, it can still cut you. If you punch a window and it breaks, you are lucky if you aren't bleeding... or if it shatters. If you absolutely have to break a window to escape danger, throwing a heavy object at it or kicking it with the steel toe of a protective boot is a better option.
  • Trash Landing: Glass and sharp objects are commonly found in garbage bins. Safer than concrete or glass, but only should be attempted, as the page says, if the alternative is hard concrete. On the other hand, the manure bin/pile variant, while disgusting, is actually a good idea — loose dry manure IS a soft surface (loose liquid manure, however, has all the attributes of fictional quicksand).
  • Variable Terminal Velocity: All things fall at the same speed, regardless of mass, weight, or other factors save for air resistance. Don't jump after someone who's fallen off a ledge hoping to save their life, not even if you've got a parachute. You won't catch up. (The only case where it might possibly work is a high-altitude airplane jump — emphasis on high-altitude — but that presents its own problems and is definitely not safe.)

    Comedy so you can die laughing 
  • Amusing Injuries: Real life doesn't work like a slapstick comedy. Injuries can be permanent, and if appropriately severe get you charged with assault or attempted murder.
  • British Royal Guards: As that page will clearly tell you, mocking the guys who are dressed funny carrying assault rifles with fixed bayonets, will get you in a lot more trouble in real life than it will in fiction.
  • Cheek Copy: It involves sitting on fragile glass, with fragile body parts right near machinery and electrical wires. It's not worth the joke. Not to mention, a lot of pre-digital photocopiers can burn skin, making sitting down quite uncomfortable for a while.
  • Farts on Fire: You can incur severe burns on your anus and genitals doing this.
  • Laxative Prank: This is, in fact, a criminal offense in most jurisdictions, and a particularly dangerous one as the victim can become dangerously dehydrated, have a dangerous drug interaction, or even experience a Ruptured Appendix or a bowel rupture. For these reasons, it is considered a very serious assault which can carry a lengthy prison sentence. This goes for other substances (such as eyedrops) that are known for causing a laxative effect.
  • Mooning: The resulting charges can range from public indecency to second-degree sexual assault, especially if children are nearby, and there's nothing like being on a registered sex offender list.
  • Nose Shove: Pushing things up your nose or into your ears is not advisable because of risk of injury.
  • Oven Logic: Cranking up the heat on the oven could cause the food to burn...or your home to burn. It may also result in food that's overcooked, or that is cooked on the outside but still raw on the inside. That last option can lead to food poisoning.

    Driving under the influence of tropes 
  • Blind Driving: Not being able to see the road in front of you makes you a hazard to yourself, your passengers, and everyone around you. Do not put your hands over the eyes of the driver for ANY reason. It's not a joke, and it could get you both killed.
  • Brake Angrily: Suddenly braking at full power will cause problems for you and your vehicle, especially if you're on a motorcycle — you'll lock the front wheel and go down like a bag of rocks. Has the potential of being just as dangerous on a bicycle, where - thanks to the light weight of the vehicle and the complete lack of electronic help - it's very easy to "endo", or flip the bike completely and smash face-first into asphalt (and then, if you're particularly unlucky, have the bike drop back down onto you). In a car, slamming on the brakes without warning is a huge cause of rear-end crashes as the driver(s) behind you may not have time to stop or avoid you.
  • Driver Faces Passenger: If you must talk while driving a vehicle, eye contact is totally unnecessary. Any form of distracted driving in which you're not focused on the road will likely cause a serious car crash.
  • Drunk Driver: You might laugh at such videos on YouTube, but a real person, or people, got fucked up when it happened, either driver, passenger(s), other drivers, or all of the above, not to mention you could cause significant property damage or even kill someone if you get behind the wheel while intoxicated. In some countries, this is a criminal offense, so even if you don't cause any damage, you risk losing your driver's license or even going to jail if caught.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: In real life, it is extremely rare for a car to explode following an accident, or even to catch fire at all; the exploding Pinto was a problem with design of the rear axle and unique to that model. Because of this trope, people have refused to use seatbelts out of fear that they will get stuck in an exploding car, and injured persons have been dragged out of vehicles after accidents with no actual risk of fire, leading to severe injuries and fatalities that could have been avoided. The trope is truth for race cars and some supercars with modified fuel systems, but even then, wearing the seatbelt and safety gear keeps you conscious so you can use the fire extinguisher or escape before the fire gets to you.
  • Motorcycle Jousting: This is a very good way to unbalance your bike, often leading to a loss of control and subsequent crash.
  • Outside Ride: Being on the outside of a moving car or train is likely to result in injury or death. Being on the outside of a moving aircraft is certain death, unless you're a professional barnstormer or skydiving instructor (and carry a parachute). Either way, it's not something you should be trying on a whim. There is one notable aversion of this trope and it is skydiving instructors and photographers. They really do climb outside the plane and hang there before they jump. But they have training for it and they carry parachutes.
  • Racing the Train: The "try to beat the train" variant is, for obvious reasons, not advised. Your body or car versus a train is the equivalent of an elephant smashing a beer can.
  • Ramp Jump: Trying this stunt with an ordinary car will almost always cause a crash with the same effect as a head-on collision because the nose of the car hits the ground first, and if it doesn't the car's still likely to be trashed. Motorcycles tend to skid or flip on the landing.
  • Underside Ride: Even more likely to result in death or injury than Outside Ride above — being run over by the car or other cars or torn up on the road and/or things on the car. Also, a lot of the guts of an engine — any engine — are extremely hot.

    Emergency mismanagement and rescue disservices 
  • Bridal Carry: Unless there is no other alternative for removing someone from danger, do not carry someone like this, especially if the accident/situation could have injured their neck or spine and/or if they have preexisting neck or spinal injuries, because the victim's neck is not supported at all, and the spine beyond the neck is only partially supported. (The fireman's carry is usually preferred.)
  • Convulsive Seizures: While this trope is Truth in Television, it is also akin to the Hollywood Heart Attack for heart attacks. Not every seizure will present this way.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: CPR can help save lives, but it can cause problems if done incorrectly, and takes time and effort. It can also result in injuries such as broken ribs. It's also no substitute for emergency services.
  • Destruction Equals Off-Switch: With almost anything involving unknown or unexploded chemicals or gases, destruction may render the device or situation more dangerous or unstable than just leaving it alone until people qualified in safe cleanup/shutoff procedures can arrive. Meth labs are notorious for this — if you ever see one, don't try to clean it up. Radioactive sources are often far more dangerous when destroyed or damaged, since the shielding on most is the best safeguard to a fatal release.
  • Finger-Suck Healing: In reality, sucking on someone else's cut is unsafe; while saliva actually contains growth factors and anti-septic compounds which are beneficial, your mouth is also full of microorganisms which could contaminate the cut, and there is a risk of contracting blood-borne diseases. Sucking on your own wounds is a lot safer, if less sensual.
  • Hard Head: All head injuries should be treated immediately, even if the patient looks "fine". Brain hemorrhaging could be occurring. The brain has no nerve endings, so it cannot sense its own injuries. Only the membrane surrounding it does.
  • Harmless Electrocution: Getting electrically shocked can give you any kind of serious, life-threatening injuries; from painful burns, to permanent disabilities, to outright death.
  • Harmless Freezing: Unless you're a North American wood frog or a similar creature, being frozen solid by sub-zero temperatures will kill you. No, you will not be frozen into a long, deep sleep, nor can you survive long enough to wake up a thousand years later.
  • Heroic Fire Rescue: Don't do it if you're not a firefighter. Firefighters have experience with fire conditions, protective gear, training — and even they sometimes die or get seriously injured rescuing people from fires.
  • Hollywood Drowning: Drowning victims in real life may not be able to scream for help, due to the panic response kicking in. They tend to die even when other people are nearby because those people do not look for the right signs. Common signs in actually drowning people include holding themselves upright in the water and trying to "push up" from it with their arms, difficulty holding their mouth above the water, and an inability to answer if addressed verbally.
  • Hollywood Fire: It's not the fire that usually kills, it's the smoke. Also, fire creates incredibly hot temperatures within seconds (and not just within the flame itself), and within one to two minutes something can be fully engulfed, unlike in the movies.
  • Hollywood Heart Attack: The Hollywood portrayal of a heart attack has caused many people to misinterpret or outright ignore the symptoms for them in real life. This is especially true for women, because their symptoms are very different from those of men.
  • Instant Emergency Response: In most moderate-sized cities, fire and police response is around four to five minutes with EMS being around six. In major urban areas add a few more minutes. In sparse rural areas and/or during a busy night or disaster, times of 20 minutes to an hour even for immediate situations are not unknown. The only time instant emergency response happens is due to luck. It is why learning at least basic first aid is a very good idea no matter where you are, and why it's always a good idea to call for help sooner than later (e.g. it's better to have the police on their way while the burglar is trying the door handles than when they've smashed the window and are inside, and better to have the fire department on the way when you first smell smoke/burning rather than when the room is about to be fully engulfed in flames). It's also one of the more contentious issues in the gun control debate.
  • Meatgrinder Surgery: Performing operations (major or minor) without proper equipment, training, and sterile conditions can be deadly.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Injuries that don't involve vital organs and are left untreated can still result in death from blood loss, infection, or permanent debilitation, and they leave permanent scarring. This is doubly true of gunshot wounds.
  • Over-the-Shoulder Carry: Unless there is absolutely no alternative, do not carry someone like this if the accident/situation could have possibly injured their neck or spine, or if they have preexisting neck/spinal injuries. It will cause more damage to their neck and/or back. See Bridal Carry above for another way not to ever carry people with neck or spine injuries.
  • Roadside Surgery: Unless you are a medically trained professional — and even then it's dubious — no amount of Grey's Anatomy watching can give you the skills to perform surgery anywhere, let alone outside of a hospital. Call. An. Ambulance.
  • Safety Gear Is Cowardly: It is always a good idea to wear safety gear, even if it looks "useless". The people that don't will get severely injured or even killed because they were not taking the important steps to prevent a possible death.
  • Self-Surgery: Performing any sort of surgery on yourself without proper tools or sterile conditions, or adequate medical knowledge, can end badly. It's best to leave this to the professionals, unless you're in a truly desperate situation (and even then).
  • Shot to the Heart: If your friend is going into shock, do not, under any circumstances, stab them in the heart with a giant needle.
  • Suck Out the Poison: Trying to suck the venom out of a snakebite wound is highly ineffective in almost every case, and will often increase the victim's risk of infection and the first-aider's risk of poisoning.
  • Telepathic Sprinklers: This trope discourages people from having fire sprinklers installed in their homes, in spite of growing evidence that sprinklers are very effective at saving lives and limiting property damage from both fire and water. A residential fire sprinkler features a plug held in by a small ampoule or fusible link that fails if heated, thus freeing the plug and allowing water to flow. Deluge systems activated by fire alarms are normally only found in industrial settings and other places where the risk of fire is exceptionally great.
  • We Have to Get the Bullet Out!: In the USA, this trope killed President Garfield when the wound from his assassin's bullet festered after his doctors went digging for the bullet with unsterilized hands and instruments; had they left it where it was, he might very well have recovered note . With few exceptions, it's generally safer to leave a bullet in the body for trained surgeons (with sterilized hands and instruments) to remove rather than pull it out yourself, since removing a bullet can open a wound further and lead to bleeding out (as well as cause other problems covered by Annoying Arrows above).
  • Worst Aid: If all you know about first aid is what you've seen on TV, you are not the best person to administer it.

    Health, medicine, and other lies about your body 
  • And a Diet Coke: Aside from just being plain rude - there are a number of reasons someone might order a diet or lower fat version of something, and "trendy" health foods often become such because of actual medical benefits to certain people - it can also lead to amateur comedians slipping customers "unhealthy" substitutes, which is potentially quite dangerous if the order in question is because of allergies or other medical reasons. Diabetics and people with dairy allergies or gluten intolerance frequently report being hospitalized by such "pranks", with the restaurateur/waiter surprised to find out that not only was their customer not kidding, they're now looking at a lawsuit and criminal charges.
  • Ass Shove: Do not shove anything up your own or someone else's butt without some knowledge of human anorectal anatomy and what's safe and not safe. Specifically dangerous is the use of objects without a flared base (which works as a "stop" to keep the object partially outside the body and retrievable). Also, performing this trope on someone without their consent is rape.note 
  • Big Eater: To put it simply, overeating all the time, unless you might have a Hyperactive Metabolism or are doing certain bodybuilding regimens under the supervision of a nutritionist, doctor, or licensed personal trainer, is hazardous for your health. Weight gain to the point of obesity is a major cause of multiple serious illnesses that can prematurely end one's life. There's a reason why the Real Life examples were removed from that page.
  • Easy Sex Change: In real life, gender reassignment is not an easy process at all. A person wishing to go through this has to attend therapy 3x (or more) per week, and be evaluated by the therapist and doctors to make sure that a) they're serious about this and b) they won't have any regrets. (Reversing it is possible, but is extremely difficult.) They also have to live and present as that gender for a certain amount of time. Then maybe they can get hormones...and if all goes well with that, then maybe they can have surgery. The hormones can cause drastic changes in a person's mood and physiology...and depending on where they live, the cost for all this is 100% on the patient. (Even if they are dysphoric to the point of attempting suicide without it.)
  • Exposed to the Elements: Dressing in too little clothes for harshly cold weather can easily give you frostbite or hypothermia.
  • Extreme Omnivore: If you eat something not meant for human consumption, you'll feel sick at best.
  • Healing Herb: As with All-Natural Snake Oil, not all herbs are beneficial; even herbs with known medicinal properties cause side effects, some worse than others. Even if effective, the plant's active ingredient may interact with other drugs you are taking. Two plants of the same species may have wildly differing amounts of the active ingredient depending on the conditions they grew in, so precise dosage is not possible without lab equipment. And that's if you can ID a plant correctly in the first place, which is a non-trivial task for an amateur, and may not be possible without access to certain equipment (a good magnifying glass, at the very least), or without access to certain organs of the plant (like the reproductive organs or the root). Identifying plants in the nonflowering stage based on vegetative signs is always harder than based on flowers. Do your research.
  • Hidden Buxom: Media most commonly depicts characters binding their chests with bandages. Though this was Truth in Television for most of history, it's heavily discouraged as better binding methods (which are still risky in their own right) have become more available. Binding with bandages comes with long-term risk of rib, breast, and lung injury.
  • Instant Sedation: A drug that has a powerful enough effect on the nervous system to cause instant loss of consciousness is also likely to kill its victim. Conversely, a drug that is safe enough to use will not take effect instantly — the target will remain conscious long enough to be very, very annoyed with you.
  • Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: Just because you see that a study was performed, doesn't mean that the study is accurate or unbiased. Look for other studies that back up this data, especially if you're using this information to make a major decision.
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: Real plastic surgery requires extensive and painful recovery time not shown in the media. Also, you'll still look like you (albeit with something slightly different) after a single operation. Someone going under the knife, then a few hours later removing their bandages and looking completely different only happens in soap operas.
  • Never Wake Up a Sleepwalker: The idea that causing a sleepwalker to suddenly wake up will give them a heart attack is completely untrue. Sure, they're in for quite a surprise, but it won't cause any sort of physical injury. You'd do well to snap them out of their sleep, especially if they are about to do something that can cause actual harm to themselves and/or others.
  • No Medication for Me: Going off your meds unless recommended and supervised by your doctor isn't advised, especially if you're mentally ill, or have certain physical illnesses (such as insulin-dependent diabetes or HIV/AIDS) where there is no cure as of this date and the medication is keeping you alive. If it's a burden to use properly or its side effects suck, there may be alternatives or other workarounds which you may learn if you talk to your doctor. In addition, withdrawal symptoms for many drugs can be potentially lethal.
  • Now That's Using Your Teeth!: Your poor dentist/orthodontist will be thinking "Who Would Be Stupid Enough?" if you try to utilize your teeth for even (im)practical uses, such as opening bottles.
  • One Dose Fits All: Anaesthesiology is so complex because anaesthesiologists have to take numerous factors into account when administering anaesthetics, including a person's sex, mass, build, constitution etc. (not to mention their species: a tranquilliser meant for humans will affect a dog quite differently). A dose of a sedative that safely knocks one person out could easily kill if administered to a person with a different build, etc. This likewise applies to other kinds of drugs, including medicines — a dosage of a medicine that cures one person's ailments could cause drastic side effects if administered to someone of a different build, mass or constitution.
  • Pull the I.V.: Done wrong, it's an invitation to bacterial infection, sepsis, and traumatic bleeding. Let the nurse/doctor/trained person do it.
  • Radiograph of Doom: While some conditions can be diagnosed just by looking at an imaging study like an X-Ray or MRI, most serious conditions require many different tests, such as a tissue biopsy in the case of cancer. Moreover, contrary to what this trope can suggest, lab results and imaging studies (MRIs, CT scans, etc.) do not always find something abnormal. If they do find something abnormal, it's not always a cause for concern. And even if it is something to worry about, it's not a guaranteed death sentence. After all, fiction is governed primarily by the Rule of Drama, not life's realities.
  • Science Is Wrong, Science Is Bad, Science Is Useless: Unless you want to be scammed, or risk your life with quackery, it is important to trust those who study science, and take their advice seriously.
  • Smoking Is Cool, Smoking Is Glamorous: The portrayal of smoking (along with too anvilicious anti-smoking messages, which run directly into becoming these tropes by turning tobacco into Forbidden Fruit) as cool or beautiful have the unfortunate tendency to encourage young people to smoke and therefore take on all of the risks to life and health that tobacco smoking poses.
  • Spice Rack Panacea: Assuming that the natural substance even has any appreciable effect on humans in the first place, it's likely that you'd have to consume enormous amounts just to get those health/beauty/longevity/etc. benefits, or cure your disease. And they may not be free of side-effects, or might interact with other medications or herbal supplements. Always talk to your doctor, and tell them about any supplements you take. And don't use them as a substitute for tried-and-true (i.e. regulated by the FDA/EMA/equivalent) conventional medicine unless directed by a doctor.
  • Steel Ear Drums: Sufficiently loud noises will damage your hearing, possibly permanently. There is a reason that musicians, including singers, wear ear protection when they rehearse. This is also why many hard rock or heavy metal singers, who often cannot wear effective ear protection when performing live, often have the highest rates of hearing impairment (up to and including ruptured eardrums) as a career-related injury. This extends to audiences as well. Most people you see at close proximity in a concert all wear ear protection. And of course, gunshots and explosions are much louder in reality than fiction, so it is not uncommon for soldiers and the like to develop hearing loss or deafness.

    Law and disorder: chung chung! 
  • A Fool for a Client: Representing yourself in a legal case is almost always a bad idea, because you most likely don't know the ins-and-outs of the law, or may be relying on Courtroom Antics which won't do you any favors. Even if you are a lawyer, you might not be the right kind of lawyer to deal with this particular legal aspect and it's hard to present a case without a certain level of detachment (even a lawyer who firmly believes in their client's innocence isn't in the dock themselves). There's a reason why (at least in the US) if you can't afford a lawyer, one will be provided to you by the state and courts.
  • Courtroom Antic: Can easily get a lawyer reprimanded or disbarred, and may even put the defendant in even more hot water.
  • Fingertip Drug Analysis: Don't taste the mysterious substance if you don't want to get poisoned or burned by an acid or base.
  • Free-Range Children: Kids going off on adventures unsupervised can be dangerous, even deadly, for those kids. These days, it can also lead to charges in some jurisdictions of Parental Neglect or Parental Abandonment.
  • Just Between You and Me: No criminal will ever waste their time gloating about their success and plans to you due to a combination of guilt and fear of getting caught. When they threaten to shoot you, they WILL do so unless you stay put, ignoring any reasoning from the victims of the crime.
  • Must State If You're a Cop: Police officers have the legal right to lie about their identities if it helps with their job. This isn't entrapment, either: entrapment is if a police officer has you commit a crime that you would have been unlikely to have done had the cop not approached you. The fact that you were pushing drugs/sex/illegal contraband/etc. has nothing to do with the job title of the person you're selling it to. Plus, sting operations would be impossible if they could be busted by asking a single question. That being said, cops are in no hurry to dispel the urban legend that they "have to" say they're a police officer when asked; letting the legend live helps criminals feel more at ease when they ask "are you a cop?" since the cop can answer "no" and ease the tension.
  • Only Bad Guys Call Their Lawyers: Always call a lawyer if you're accused of anything with consequences above a citation. If you are ever placed under arrest, you need a lawyer, and sometimes one is a good idea even if you're not arrested but are being questioned or even if you're only a witness. As has been noted in many places online, talking to the police without a lawyer unless you are a victim (and sometimes even then) is a very bad idea. On a related note, if your country allows silence as a right, invoke and use that right until/unless your lawyer advises you otherwise. If you are involved in a lengthy interrogation without a lawyer, demand one and don't answer questions if possible. Regardless of whether or not you are dealing with a corrupt or incompetent cop, the reason the Miranda Warnings says "anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law" is because anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Saying "I'm sorry" because you accidentally bumped somebody with your elbow in the interrogation room can be construed as a confession for the larger event, and it will be mentioned as such.
  • Police Are Useless: Unless you're certain that every cop in your city is corrupt and untrustworthy, if a situation already involves violence or threats of it, or the loss of property that could be used in a later crime (such as a firearm, computer, phone, or identification documents), call the fucking cops.
  • Sarcastic Confession: Not only is this incredibly rude and disrespectful, the authorities are tasked with taking everything you say seriously, whether or not it was sarcastic.
  • Vigilante Man: Trying to punish criminals by acting outside the law is still very much a crime in and of itself. Not to mention that because morality is such a subjective concept, using extreme measures like (potentially lethal) violence can wind up being very disproportionate to whatever the (real or perceived) offense was in the first place. Worst of all is the possibility of a completely innocent person being harmed as a result of merely being falsely accused of committing a serious crime (racist lynchings in American history are just one kind of horrifying example of how vigilantism can go wrong).

    Mother Nature will murder you 
  • Abandoned Pet in a Box: Abandoning pets in a box is considered neglectful in real life and is sometimes illegal. Often times, the puppy or kitten also won't end up taken or won't get taken quickly enough. They're vulnerable to weather, predators, or just walking out of the box and getting hurt or lost. There's also the chance they'll be adopted by someone who picked them up on a whim and isn't ready for (or can't handle) a pet.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Closely related to the trope below. Obviously, most animals do not behave like dogs or canines, let alone like a docile puppy. Even a wild wolf acts much differently from a domestic dog, and tend to be more aggressive to boot.
  • All Animals Are Domesticated: Even truly domesticated animals can be dangerous if approached in the wrong way, and wild as well as stray animals should be left alone. Also see Cool Pet way down below.
  • Androcles' Lion: Unless you are fully prepared and know exactly what you're doing, a distressed wild animal will likely perceive you as a threat and attack you, even if you're trying to help it.
  • Bambification: Deer are among the most dangerous animals of the forest. They gore with their antlers, break bones by kicking, and can become blindly aggressive during mating season.
  • Beary Friendly, Beary Funny: Needless to say, Bears Are Bad News is often more Truth in Television. Bears are incredibly dangerous animals that will brutally maim and kill any humans who do anything to make them angry (or occasionally, if the bear just feels hungry enough to try taking humans as food). Bear cubs may look cute and cuddly, but Mama Bear isn't, and she will savagely attack whoever gets too close to her kids. Even Pandas, who are largely herbivorous and not quite as aggressive as other species, are still very capable of badly mauling people.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Being near a heat source can be just as dangerous as being in it. A flashpoint is where an object instantly catches fire when the air is at a certain temperature.
  • Cool, Clear Water: The water in that lake or mountain stream may be clear, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's potable. It may contain lethal chemicals, uncannily dangerous microorganisms, or be boiling hot — in fact, those things may be why the water is clear. This is especially true in areas like the high mountains in the Midwestern USA where cyanide was used in gold mining; there are pools, ponds and even small lakes where there is no life at all due to their high levels of cyanide.
  • Cool Pet: Keeping a pet bear, tiger, cobra, ape, etc., is often (not always) an extreme strain for both owner and pet, and exceedingly dangerous. Wild animals should not be in the private possession of individuals who do not understand that these creatures are incapable of ever being safely "domesticated".
  • Cow Tipping: Cows are more than capable of holding their own against humans trying to push or pull them over. They can also defend themselves with their horns or hooves, possibly lethally.
  • Do Not Touch the Funnel Cloud: The visible part of the tornado is merely the center. The tornado proper is a large, circular area of rotating, high-speed winds that can easily blow you away (or blow something heavy into you). Thunderstorms severe enough to spawn tornadoes can also bring other hazards, specifically lightning, large hail, and enough rain to cause flash floods.
  • Friendly, Playful Dolphin: The dolphin, much like the human, is known to engage in physical violence for sport, as opposed to merely food or self-defense. Gang rape is common among their pods, too. Furthermore, dolphins are inherently wild animals; it is possible to teach them to be friendly and playful, but there have been many instances in which captive dolphins have actually killed or, at the very least, severely injured humans, including their own trainers. Finally, bottlenose dolphins can weigh more than 1400 pounds (635 kg), and hold their breath far longer than humans can, so even when dolphins are being friendly, they can be extremely dangerous.
  • From Stray to Pet: Stray animals are at risk of carrying diseases and may have become sufficiently feral to be physically dangerous to humans.
  • Herbivores Are Friendly: Most creatures are territorial, and many prey animals possess deadly defensive mechanisms so that they can protect themselves from predators. While carnivores can certainly be scary for a lot of good reasons, the most dangerous animals in the world are in fact herbivores.
  • Parrot Pet Position: Don't do this with bigger birds like falcons unless you want to have your eye gouged out. Other times, some animals are just too heavy to remain on your shoulder.
  • A Pet into the Wild: The life of a stray animal is not pleasant. It's even worse for ex-pets who become strays. They have a high chance of dying due to their ignorance and lack of survival skills. That's assuming that they don't live in an environment completely unsuitable for them and die due to the weather, or other similar complications.
  • Raised In Captivity: Releasing captive wild animals is risky to both the animal and humans, even when done correctly. Many animals lack the survival instincts and die within a year of being released. The animal may also be unafraid of people, which puts it at risk of roaming around human areas or attacking humans.
  • Rearing Horse: This is the most dangerous vice known to equestrianism, and anyone in doubt as to whether they're qualified to ride a horse that does this is most certainly not so qualified. A rearing horse is a horse very likely to go over backwards, breaking its bones and its rider's. Don't attempt it on a motorcycle, either.
  • Silly Simian: When it comes to non-human primates, juveniles might be harmless, but Maniac Monkeys is very much Truth in Television for adults. Fully-grown monkeys and apes are territorial, aggressive, unpredictable and much stronger than the average adult human. This combination makes these animals very dangerous. Additionally, monkeys and apes can pass on diseases to humans. These are the two main reasons that many countries ban them as pets.
  • Swans A-Swimming: Despite their graceful appearance, Feathered Fiend is definitely Truth in Television for swans. They are large, strong birds that can cripple humans.
  • Vegetarian Carnivore: No, your cat cannot eat a strictly vegan diet. All felids are obligate carnivores, meaning they physically require certain amino acids in their diet which cannot be obtained from plants. If felids would be able to consume plants, such would be a documented part of their diets. If you can't bear the thought of letting your pet break your personal rules for its own survival, then either buy an animal that doesn't eat meat, or just don't get a pet at all.

    Relationship fumbles and unsexy sex 
  • But We Used a Condom!: Although even the best birth control does have a failure rate, it's usually much less than is presented in fiction where the characters Can't Get Away with Nuthin'. To overemphasize the failure rate of condoms and other forms of birth control, may result in viewers getting the wrong Aesop: namely, that there's no point in using protection since they're just going to get pregnant and/or get an STD anyway. (When, of course, there is.)
  • Common Hollywood Sex Traits: Real sex isn't always sexy, and sometimes the people involved are having Anatomically Impossible Sex. Porn relies heavily on film-editing and camera tricks. Attempting to replicate it in the home can lead to injuries, pain, and even infections.
  • Erotic Asphyxiation: Risky, for obvious reasons. Even partners or professional "workers" trained in such still carries a risk of, well, dying. Damage to arteries or the cervical spine are other risks that, while they might not kill you, may induce a (sometimes delayed) stroke or leave you with chronic pain or paralysis.
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: This won't do any good if they just aren't interested. Generally speaking, most people perceive these kinds of gestures as desperate or creepy, and it could land you in legal trouble for harassment and/or disturbing the peace if you go too far with it. If performed for someone you aren't in a relationship with, you can make them feel unsafe or put on the spot, and come across as a Stalker with a Crush. Even if you are in a relationship with the target of the gesture, make sure they would appreciate something like that before you do it.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Public sex is not a good idea. Other than being arrested for public indecency, there are other dangers, such as bathroom germs, attacks from wild animals, and injury.
  • Office Romance: Entering into a relationship with a coworker is not a good idea. Some companies have policies specifically against this, meaning that one or both parties involved can get fired. There's also an ethical concern, particularly in cases where one party in the relationship is a higher rank than other; this can lead to Questionable Consent, or to Nepotism. (Or, the appearance of such, even if it is Not What It Looks Like.) It also leads to drama and distractions in the workplace, and makes things incredibly awkward if the relationship goes sour. (And if it has to be a Secret Relationship, carrying one of those on gets exhausting.)
  • STD Immunity: You don't have it. Always use a fresh new condom if you aren't with a monogamous partner. Disease transmission can also occur through open sores and other skin lesions, plus saliva (but rarely AIDS). Immunity is very rare and practically impossible to be immune to more than one.
  • Trojan Gauntlet: The trope, while humorous, can leave viewers with the idea that getting condoms in Real Life is a difficult, embarrassing experience — which couldn't be further from the truth if it tried to be, anytime after The '80s or so in most of the modern world. At the time of this writing, getting condoms anywhere but in the most religiously conservative societies is very simple, and there are even places that have them for free.

    Self-offense and weapons of self-destruction 
  • Aerosol Flamethrower: Runs a danger of overheating the canister, causing an explosion. At best, if it happens, you'll be burned. You might also get hit with shrapnel.
  • Almost Lethal Weapons: It's extremely hard to inflict minor wounds on someone with a lethal weapon. Note that tasers, tear gas / pepper spray, and bean-bag shot are explicitly marketed as "less-lethal" and not "non-lethal", since using them improperly or under the wrong conditions can make them very much lethal. Tasers specifically can kill with a shot to or nearby the heart, just like any electric shock to the heart. Or you get tased, fall down, and hit your head on something and die. Many electric-shock injuries are of this "indirect" kind; your defective power drill doesn't do you fatal damage, but when the shock causes you to leap off the ladder you're standing on...
  • Annoying Arrows: Contrary to the popular depiction as useless annoyances, real-life arrows are actually quite deadly. They can tear vital organs and muscles and even cause uncontrolled bleeding, whether or not the victim yanks them out. Furthermore, an arrow wound is more likely to become infected than a gunshot wound because arrowheads contain bacteria that are not killed in the process of firing. There is a reason that crossbowmen and archers were hated in medieval Europe.
  • As Lethal as It Needs to Be: Weapons in Real Life are generally biased toward lethality, and the skills needed to not kill someone with a generally lethal weapon are beyond most people, especially in the heat of the moment. Guns are never this trope in real life.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: If you have the reflexes to block a blade, you also have the reflexes to dodge it. Do the latter and avoid losing a good chunk of your hand.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: Improbable Aiming Skills only exist in fiction, meaning that attempting to do this will very likely miss completely or even shoot an innocent bystander. After all, there is a good reason that drawing firearms is the immediate equivalent of using lethal force, and even law officers only draw under extreme circumstances.
  • Booze Flamethrower: Slightly less dangerous than the Aerosol Flamethrower above, but don't do this unless you're a trained performer. If you don't blow hard enough, don't duck fast enough, or don't blow it out the right way, you are getting a mouth full of fire. Also, the tissues of the mouth absorb, so enough practice with booze will make you drunk — but using methanol at all will painfully kill you, and using gasoline or kerosene will irritate your mouth and throat and raise your risk of cancer of both, with the risk increasing the more you do it. Also, accidentally inhaling flammable oils causes chemical pneumonia that is often fatal without immediate medical attention, and can cause severe chronic breathing difficulties even with it.
  • Brandishment Bluff: For the same reasons as Weapon for Intimidation below, pretending one has a weapon sometimes works in Real Life self-defense but can actually make things much worse — especially if one accidentally encounters or is reported to law enforcement or if the criminal is actually armed and recognizes you really aren't.
  • Bullet Catch: If you attempt to do this, you'll only succeed in getting a bullethole through your hand.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Human bodies are heavy, pliable, and not great at blocking supersonic metal. This is especially true for armor-piercing and high-caliber rounds.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Bulletproof vests spread out the impact so that bullets can't punch through and embed themselves in your body. That's all. You will still get hurt: a bruise at best; broken ribs and internal injuries at worst. Nor are they proof against bladed weapons and multiple shots, especially in the same place. Paradoxically, a vest or other armor can make you less safe in a firefight, making you more willing to take risks out of a sense of invulnerability.
  • Can-Crushing Cranium: Slamming an object (or someone else's skull) into your skull is never a good idea.
  • Chainsaw Good: Rule of Cool aside, chainsaws are susceptible to kickback and chain snappage when used on material harder than wood, all of which will likely cause more harm to the user than the target.
  • Choke Holds: Will most likely cause brain damage from asphyxiation, can kill, and can cause lasting damage to neck arteries or the cervical spine. You also need to be rather big and strong to pull this off effectively. Don't Try This at Home.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: The wooden door, fence, interior wall, car body, or even concrete bricks you're hiding behind can't stop a bullet. Particularly thick walls might stop one, but nobody will only fire once at a wall behind which they're suspecting their target lies. Engine blocks can stop bullets fairly effectively, but they're smaller than you are and, again, the shooter is likely to keep sending hot lead your way. Such protections should in all cases be considered as only capable of slightly decreasing your attacker's chance to hit you: if you manage to survive one shot because you hid behind a wall, thank your lucky stars and run like hell.
  • Dodge the Bullet: The average speed of a bullet is around 2,500 feet per second; nobody is physically capable of moving faster than that, and no superhuman reflexes will save you from a supersonic projectile if you're close enough within its range.
  • Draw Sword, Draw Blood: Entirely fictional. Even among samurai, Gurkhas, and Sikhs, weapons have to be drawn all the time for maintenance and practice, and cutting yourself intentionally was a good way to get a potentially lethal infection. There's also a theory that the Gurkhas started telling tourists this to get them to quit asking them if they could see their kukris (though there are also reports of them cutting themselves to impress outsiders).
  • Finger in a Barrel: If you try this, the only barrier is psychological. If the gun fires, your finger (at the very least) will be destroyed, while the shooter and their gun will be unharmed.
  • Firing in the Air a Lot: Whatever goes up must eventually come down. There have been several reported incidents of bullets fired into the air that landed on someone a fair distance away, injuring or killing them; the tragic injuries and deaths from celebratory "happy fire" in liberated Kuwait shortly after the Gulf War, for instance.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Bottles are indeed very effective weapons in a fight. However, breaking a bottle is more likely than not to injure the person trying to make a sharp weapon out of it. The bottles used in TV and movies are made of sugar glass, which breaks easily (and in a manner less dangerous to the one breaking it); real life bottles are not. Also, if you swing or throw the unbroken bottle hard enough to break it on your target's head or face, chances are you will have to answer for homicide charges in court; the victim's skull will almost certainly crack sooner than the bottle. Before you go playing the drama queen and breaking a bottle against a bar or counter in hopes of scaring off an adversary, think twice about potentially escalating the conflict this way and whether you should even be in a fight at all (and see Weapon for Intimidation below).
  • Groin Attack: The staple of most comedy films is a man amusingly taking a shot to the groin from an angry spouse, a high fall, a ball, a bat or a thousand other different things with no injuries other than clutching himself in pain for a bit before recovering completely. In real life, even moderate injuries to the testicles can cause permanent damage that may result in the removal of the testicle or sterility. It is also in no way the instant off button for a fight that movies often make it out to be, especially when adrenaline is taken into account. Hitting your opponent in the groin in a fight runs the risk of merely pissing off your attacker as opposed to defeating him.
  • Gun Twirling: One of the few things you can do with a gun that violates every rule of gun safety, including treating guns as if they are loaded, knowing what could be hit other than the target, keeping one's finger off the trigger until aiming at the target, and never pointing a gun at anyone or anything without the intention to shoot. Attempts at doing this in real life have led to negligent discharge of the firearm(s) in question.
  • Hollywood Silencer: If you're thinking to pull some kind of quiet assassination with one (which is already pretty dangerous, evil, and stupid), think again. Apart from a few very carefully crafted military-grade silencers, most silencers are more accurately termed "suppressors" as their purpose is to lower the volume of gunshots in order to prevent hearing loss. (See also Steel Ear Drums below.) Other than a few Stupid Crooks, real-life criminals generally don't even bother using suppressors on their weapons, as they tend only to make the weapons shorter-ranged and less effective at killing the target. The only people actually likely to find civilian-grade and homemade "silencers" useful are people using their guns for self-defense.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bomb: Terrorist bombs (as opposed to say, dynamite used legally in mining and construction) and military land mines are usually engineered to not be obvious, because their effectiveness and fatality relies upon their not being detected until they explode. Nor do they generally tick. Odd smells, strange wires, and objects that are out of place or suspicious are far more likely to be a bomb. In the case of mines/minefields, if they are unmarked (and there are a variety of markings — it is a very good idea to look these up before going to a possibly mined area), watch out for dead animals, damaged vehicles, avoided areas, and wires or suspicious ground formations. See also Time Bomb.
  • Juggling Loaded Guns: Guns are not toys. Always treat the presence of firearms seriously, otherwise deadly things may happen.
  • Law of Inverse Recoil: If you don't account for recoil, you WILL lose control of your gun and shoot off-target — maybe even someone. The heavier caliber guns can also hit you in the face. And, as the MythBusters proved, you should NOT adjust your grip by putting your thumb next to the cylinder of the revolver. That will break or cut off your thumb and give you severe burns.
  • Little Useless Gun: Any gun can injure or kill, regardless of size and/or caliber. There's a small amount of truth that a small-caliber gun from a longer distance is less deadly, but if a shotgun to the face has a 100% chance of death, a spy pistol from twenty paces won't lower those odds to less than about 95%. There have been cases of people being shot with small-caliber pistols, brushing it off because it didn't inflict as much pain as a larger bullet, and dying from undetected internal damage.
  • Lodged-Blade Recycling: If you are ever stabbed, do not pull out the blade yourself as it is possibly the only thing keeping you from bleeding out and dying on the spot.
  • Missing Backblast: Firing a rocket launcher or a recoil-less rifle in an enclosed space will kill the person firing it and those around them.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Absolutely not, no. Fighting a man/woman twice your size will not end well for you. Compare also to tropes such as Waif-Fu and She-Fu, where we have 5.5 ft, 90 pound women effortlessly kicking around 6ft, 200 pound men as if they have no mass. And yes, whilst there are ways to level the playing field, thinking that your self-defense course has suddenly made you Weak, but Skilled is spectacularly dangerous.
  • One-Man Army: There's a reason why most military organizations emphasize teamwork, and why police call for backup. Many Real Life one-man armies had help, and almost always got wounded or killed. Having just one person engaged in combat against several opponents is hardly (if ever) a fair fight; "strength in numbers" is a very real thing for a reason.
  • Pants-Positive Safety: Carrying a loaded firearm in anything but a holster specified for that firearm can get you or others shot.
  • Pin-Pulling Teeth: The pin on a grenade is meant to stay in place until released in a very specific way. You are far more likely to pull your teeth out than to pull out the pin if you do this.
  • Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: If you're asked to do this (by anyone other than a law enforcement officer, obviously), they probably just want to shoot you.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: By default, guns are designed to kill. If you don't know how to handle one, don't.
  • Tap on the Head: A blow to the head is more likely to kill or lead to long term injury than temporary unconsciousness. At best, you'll get a concussion.
  • Time Bomb: Real Life bombs are camouflaged and seldom, if ever, include a visible timer. Television bombs include a countdown to add tension, and often include blinking lights to let the audience, and the heroes, know that it is a bomb they are looking at. See also Incredibly Obvious Bomb.
  • Unorthodox Holstering: This is a very good way to unintentionally injure yourself: you could easily shoot yourself this way, and the tip of a recently fired gun is hot, which means you could get burned.
  • Use Your Head: This quite often leads to head injuries which, in turn, can be fatal.
  • Weapon for Intimidation: Sometimes this does work in Real Life, but most of the time it makes things much worse. You should only threaten someone if your life is at risk and you are willing to face the consequences of following through on your threat. If you carry around a weapon just to threaten people, you are a moron and absolutely deserve any adverse consequences you may receive. Moreover, in jurisdictions where permits are required for certain weapons, issuing authorities may wisely refuse to grant you one if they think that you just want to show off the weapon as a means of throwing your weight around.
  • William Telling: Shooting a bullet or arrow into an object on someone's head risks missing and killing them with a headshot. William S. Burroughs actually killed his wife doing the trick with a drinking glass (even more hazardous because the glass would likely shatter...)

Attitudes and not-for-fun

    Serious Business tropes: harmful attitudes, gender roles, abuse, rape, how media makes you feel bad about yourself, etc. 
  • Actor/Role Confusion: This usually just leads to amusing incidents, but some actors have actually received death threats after playing a particularly despicable villain. Also, assuming an actor knows how to give medical assistance because they played a doctor on TV? Not if you want to ensure your health, you don't.
  • Adults Are Useless: Unless a young child's parents/guardians are unquestionably, extremely abusive and/or neglectful, they will most probably know better than their kids about how life works, advise and help them with problems, and protect them from danger. Also see Free-Range Children way down below.
  • Albinos Are Freaks: Stigma against albinism has been incredibly damaging in places such as medieval Europe and present-day Africa, where albinos have been harassed, attacked, or even murdered under the belief that they are witches. Also in Africa (specifically Tanzania, which has the highest rate of albinism in the world), body parts from albinistic humans are sold for use in magical rituals, and it's believed that sex with an albino woman will cure someone of HIV, leading to rape and subsequent HIV infection.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: It's one thing to stereotype members of a fictional species as all being completely evil, but this really does not apply to any real-life human racial/ethnic groups. Sincerely believing that certain types of people are more likely to be sinister than others just because of their ancestry, can and has led to plenty of racist massacres and genocides.
  • All Men Are Perverts, All Women Are Lustful: Makes it harder for men and women (respectively) to get help or support in the event of a rape, and is used by rapists/rape apologists to say that it's natural (i.e. that a man or woman has "needs," or can't help it), or that the victim was "asking for it" or provoking the rapist in some way.
  • Appeal to Force: Sometimes it does work, but as the parent trope to Brandishment Bluff and Weapon for Intimidation, it shares the same problems both have: namely, someone who is more heavily armed or outright suicidal (or otherwise not operating in a rational mental space) may take this as an invitation to seriously injure or kill you. Use of the Appeal to Force (even, perhaps especially by law enforcement or military forces) also often rapidly escalates a vaguely threatening or even nonviolent situation into a chaotic, violent one. Finally, the biggest problem with it is that once the threshold of the threat or use of violence has been crossed, it's far harder (if not nearly impossible) for both sides to back down from it.
  • Appeal to Nature: A form of the equivocation fallacy — conflating "happens on its own" natural with "consonant to a thing's nature, proper, fitting" natural. A lot of things that happen on their own are not consonant to the nature of the things they happen to (mostly because a thing that's been destroyed doesn't even have its nature anymore). And ultimately, nature is not always nice.
  • Appeal to Tradition: Just because you/your social group have "always done it this way", doesn't mean that that way is the best way, or even the only way. Nor does it mean that your way isn't harmful somehow.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Just because someone is attractive doesn't mean they're actually nice, or morally upstanding. Similarly, just because someone is Hollywood Homely doesn't mean that they're evil or lazy, or that they should be grateful for unwanted attention.
  • Boomerang Bigot: While it's certainly possible for prejudice towards a given group to come from a member of said group (a phenomenon known as internalised hatred), this can also lead to the assumption that all prejudice comes from this (e.g. "All homophobes are secretly gay") and take responsibility away from members of the majority group to be more accepting.
  • Broken Bird: Not everyone reacts to trauma (even the same trauma) in the same way. Some become depressed and withdrawn, some become angry and bitter, some are able to pretend that nothing is wrong, some just want to move on with their lives, etc.
  • Bury Your Gays: No one deserves to be killed for their sexual orientation, or for acting on it.
  • Consummation Counterfeit: A girl or woman who doesn't bleed (or fakes it, and gets caught) on her wedding night, in some places, can be subject to Honor-Related Abuse. Even though plenty of women don't bleed Their First Time, and the hymen is not a reliable (or even semi-reliable) indicator of virginity/lack thereof. Furthermore, it's a symptom of a societal idea that there are "good" (read: chaste) women to be protected and cherished, and "bad" (read: sexual) women to be shamed and disposed of.
  • Convicted by Public Opinion: Leads to people being harassed, losing their jobs and families, etc. before they've even been convicted, or even when they didn't do anything in the first place (i.e. they were falsely accused / wrongly convicted, or were only being questioned and not even charged with anything). And it can lead to extrajudicial violence (also see Vigilante Man way down below).
  • Corporal Punishment: It has recently been discovered that spanking children leads to a decrease in gray matter in the brain, as well as trauma, and that adults who were spanked as children have higher rates of Domestic Abuse (presumably because they learned from an early age that hitting someone is the way to get what you want, or that hitting someone is OK.)
  • Cure Your Gays: The idea that a sexual orientation or gender identity can be "cured" leads to harmful "conversion therapy" practices that lead to depression and suicide, or the idea that beating/raping/etc. someone for their sexuality will "fix" them.
  • Defiled Forever: The idea that sex makes one finished and no longer desirable even if not by choice makes it harder for people so treated to get help or support and leads to Domestic Abuse, bullying, Slut-Shaming, Victim-Blaming, and Honor-Related Abuse. Furthermore, it's a symptom of a societal idea that there are "good" (read: chaste) women to be protected and cherished, and "bad" (read: sexual) women to be shamed and disposed of.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: Sex workers of all kinds are humans, too, and they deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, whether they entered the trade willingly or not. And, with that in mind, they deserve freedom from violence as much as anyone.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Abuse is abuse, no matter who it involves. The same applies to Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male, Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male, and Double Standard: Rape, Female on Female.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: If you are doing this while depressed, please get help; there are unwanted health consequences to excessive drinking.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Treating addicts like they've crossed the Moral Event Horizon makes it harder for them to get the help they need. And many programs like DARE spread false or incomplete information. It also leads to people, many of whom are poor and/or minorities, being incarcerated for decades over non-violent drug-related offenses... and then they have a much harder time reintegrating into society.
  • Entitled to Have You: Can lead to violence, including sexual violence, from people who don't take the news that this isn't the case well. It also leads to stalking and harassment.
  • Evil Is Cool: Violent crime is absolutely not a cool thing to do in Real Life, and even nonviolent crimes such as theft/fraud can carry a risk of arrest or being caught, which could lead to violence. Most real-life violent criminals tend to act like Dirty Cowards by threatening to shoot someone unless they do what they say. That victim could probably be you, who probably just lost their most valuable possessions and at worst, was robbed blind by them, severely injured, or even has lost a very close person to criminal violence. Also, committing any type of crime, violent or not, places you at risk for arrest in most societies, and violent actions also risk the danger of violence in return from both police and from people defending their right to live or their possessions from you. Furthermore, alienating yourself from others and being stigmatized as untrustworthy/criminal puts you at a long-term risk of depression, regardless of whether or not you can consciously feel lonely.
  • Fille Fatale: Inappropriate sexual behavior in children and young adolescents, is usually a sign that somewhere along the way, the kid in question was sexually abused.
  • Forced Out of the Closet: "Outing" someone without their express permission, or to the wrong people, can have serious, sometimes deadly consequences for them, up to and including being killed for their sexuality, or disowned by their families. (Even if it turns out they were only Mistaken for Gay.) It's best to let people come out (or not) on their own terms, to people they feel safe and comfortable coming out to. (And if someone does trust you enough to share this sensitive information with you, it's your responsibility to keep that information to yourself, unless that person explicitly tells you it's OK to share that information.)
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Pretty much no one who makes the decision to abort makes that decision lightly. They don't do it because they're depraved, or irresponsible, but rather because they see it as the best or only way out of a no-win situation. (e.g. a birth control failure, rape or incest, problems that make it unlikely for the child to have a normal life or even live for long after birth, financial hardship, an abusive relationship, etc.) Furthermore, in places where this trope is in full effect, and abortion is highly restricted or not legal, it results in people determined to have one going to Back Alley Doctors or worse, doing it themselves at home. It also results in (or exacerbates) Honor-Related Abuse, Domestic Abuse, Teen Pregnancy, Parental Abandonment, and even people being imprisoned for having a miscarriage.
  • Good Victims, Bad Victims: Leads to Victim-Blaming, and makes it harder for people to get help and support.
  • Hard Work Fallacy: Leads to the mentality that misfortune can be prevented by doing X, Y, and Z...and blaming people for their misfortune, such as disease or poverty, that are just part of the human condition no matter how hard you work. It also leads to a narrative of a Lower-Class Lout mooching off hard-working people, which is used to justify reducing or doing away with safety-net programs that are there to help people who have fallen on hard times.
  • Hollywood Homely: Just because someone isn't conventionally-attractive doesn't mean they don't deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Besides, most of the images in magazines and such have been airbrushed and tweaked to achieve a certain ethereal and flawless look; even a lot of the people in the magazines don't look like the people in the magazines.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: Leads to a lot of people at perfectly healthy weights believing they are fat, which can trigger an eating disorder. Furthermore, shaming people for their weight doesn't motivate them to get to a healthy one; in fact, it tends to do the very opposite.
  • Hollywood Thin: Going on extreme diets, extreme workout regimens, or taking steroids and "supplements" to achieve a certain figure can be dangerous, even deadly. Furthermore, as mentioned under Hollywood Homely, even a lot of the people in the magazines don't look exactly like the people in the magazines, thanks to photo editing. Talk to your doctor before beginning any weight-loss or exercise program.
  • Homophobic Hate Crime: As if we need to restate: actual or perceived queerness is no good reason to harm someone.
  • Honor-Related Abuse: No one deserves abuse regardless of who they are, what they've done/not done, etc. This trope makes it harder for people so treated to get help or support, or for people who abuse their families and friends to face justice.
  • Karmic Rape: No one deserves rape regardless of who they are, what they've done/not done, etc. This trope makes it harder for people so blamed for their own misfortune to get help or support.
  • Madonna–Whore Complex: The idea that there are "good" (read: chaste) women to be protected and cherished, and "bad" (read: sexual) women to be shamed and disposed of, leads to Honor-Related Abuse and Domestic Abuse.
  • Malicious Slander: Spreading nasty rumors about someone, or sharing their personal information without their consent, could lead to them being bullied, stalked, harassed, dumped, disowned, fired, or even killed, depending on what that information is. And if you are on the receiving end of gossip, get the facts before you pass it on and possibly ruin someone's life.
  • A Man Is Always Eager: The wide-spread and culturally ingrained idea that a man is unable to refuse sex can lead to male rape victims being accused of lying when they try to come forward and report their attack. Consequently, millions of affected males around the world find it difficult to get the assistance that they desperately need after such a life-changing and traumatic event. The likelihood of a sexually violated man gaining even a shred of sympathy decreases drastically if his attacker is a woman. On the flip side, this trope is also used by male rapists and rape-apologists to justify the crime under the excuse that it is just "natural" or "a man has needs" so as to downplay or outright excuse the crime.
  • Marital Rape License: The idea that it's not rape if it's your spouse. In actuality, it is, and this idea of it not counting as rape, or of raping your spouse being acceptable, or marriage equaling consent once-and-for-all, makes it harder for people so treated to get help and support, or for people who rape their husbands/wives to face justice. Also, it's usually a symptom of a larger pattern of Domestic Abuse.
  • Men Act, Women Are: The idea that women deserve punishment for not being "beautiful" or "delicate" or "passive" enough (including sexually), or that their actions/inactions reflect on the men in their lives (and thus those men need to punish or dispose of them to restore their good name) leads to Domestic Abuse, bullying, Slut-Shaming, and Honor-Related Abuse. It also puts pressure on men to act as leaders, even if they don't want to or aren't suited for it, and shames men for not doing so.
  • Men Are Strong, Women Are Pretty: Punishes both for not being "strong" enough, or not being "pretty" enough, and encourages going to extreme measures to achieve socially-accepted levels of "strong"/"pretty".
  • Might Makes Right: No, it does not. This is why Rape, Pillage, and Burn is, in modern times, a war crime.
  • Missing White Woman Syndrome: Makes it harder for kidnapping victims of color to be found and recovered, because fewer people know about the investigation. It also says that anyone not fitting the "ideal" image (white, female, conventionally-attractive, able-bodied, able-minded, neurotypical, young, and virginal (or at least chaste)), that they don't matter, or aren't important enough to be searched for, or that the world is "better off" without them.
  • Monster Fangirl: It's very stupid and dangerous to fall in love with an unrepentant, violent criminal, especially if they're sociopathic by nature. In real life, this is a mental disorder known as hybristophilia.
  • Motherhood Is Superior: Putting motherhood on such a high pedestal leads to a lot of women being shamed for not being the "perfect" mom, or choosing not to be moms (or not to be moms ''now''), and stigma against infertile women. It also hurts men, too, by undermining their contributions to the family or implying that they can't do it right.
  • "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization: Rape is rape, no matter whether the victim experiences any physical pleasure/orgasm or not.
  • Old Man Marrying a Child: Women (and men) who were married as children or teens report higher rates of Domestic Abuse, are more likely to remain in poverty (as their education and thus opportunity are disrupted), and are more likely to report Their First Time as unwanted or forced. They are also more likely to run into complications during pregnancy and childbirth, and less likely to have adequate care, and also more likely to have many closely-spaced pregnancies, which can lead to Death by Childbirth, injury, infertility, and disease. Not to mention, that the marriage is usually decided for the child or teen in question, and they have no ability to refuse or back out. (Either they don't know where they can turn for help, or have nowhere to turn, or have been threatened with death or disownment if they do.)
  • Pædo Hunt: While pedophilia is a legitimate concern in real life, the popular usage of this trope can prevent even well-intentioned adults, especially men, from assisting lost or distressed children, as they could be Mistaken for Pedophile, with tragic consequences. Finding male child workers is difficult because of presumptions about their reasons for volunteering as well as the fear of a complaint being taken to police, which results in a need for them to defend themselves. Even if the accused is found innocent, the reputation of an institution can get ruined. This problem is particularly true for mentor programs. Many of the boys in these programs need a proper male role-model, but there are very few men willing to mentor due to the same potential misunderstandings, and most of the organizations are reluctant to take the risk with those who do.
  • Prison Rape: Rape is rape, no matter who it happens to, or where. And no one deserves it, nor will it correct their behavior.
  • Rape and Switch: No, raping someone won't change their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Portraying rape as a Fate Worse than Death and the victims as being Defiled Forever makes helping them recover a lot more difficult.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Even discounting the Geneva Conventions banning such things, doing this can have many negative outcomes; your allies might not be willing to support someone who freely perpetrates atrocities to frequently helpless targets, while your opponents will fight back harder note  and/or gain propaganda value from your atrocities, which also potentially causes problems for your side.
  • Rape Portrayed as Redemption: Rape used to punish people for non-conformity, or for their sexuality, or in an attempt to "fix" them is cruel, and (rightly) outlawed the same as all other rape. It's also really not right; who gives anyone more right to decide what people should be like than themselves, and to think harming them is the way to do that is inhumane.
  • Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Shaming or harming women for conforming to traditional roles is just as bad as shaming or harming them for not conforming. Restricting a woman's choices is a manifestation of misogyny either way (even if it comes from other women).
  • Romanticized Abuse: There is nothing romantic about bullying or violence. If your partner physically or emotionally harms you, don't be afraid to leave and tell the appropriate authorities.
  • Sex Is Evil, and I Am Horny: In a setting where Sex Is Evil, someone may become angry with members of their preferred gender(s) for causing them to be physically attracted to them (thus causing them to fall from grace), leading to violence and abuse.
  • Side-Effects Include...: These types of commercials can give hope to people living with chronic conditions, that there are treatment options available. But it can also lead to Know-Nothing Know-It-Alls bullying their doctors into prescribing medications they don't need (leading to overdiagnosis and overtreatment), and it drives up the cost of medications for people who really need them. It also gives pharmaceutical companies more incentive to invest in direct-to-consumer marketing than in research and development of new and better treatments. If something doesn't feel right in your body or mind, talk to your doctor about your concerns, and let them (i.e. someone with a medical degree and training) recommend treatment options. (And if they dismiss it as "all in your head" or as solely a weight issue when it really isn't or might not be, find another doctor who will take your concerns seriously.)
  • Slut-Shaming: Can lead to bullying, Domestic Abuse, and Honor-Related Abuse.
  • Stalking Is Love: Stalking can easily result in threats, violence, or sexual assault, and is considered a crime in most of the world. Don't hesitate to call the cops if you feel uncomfortable.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Makes it harder for women to get a proper education, earn their own living in a proper environment, participate in politics, or protect themselves in combat, which can lead to abuse, death, disease, illiteracy, poverty, etc. It pressures on women to conform to the Acceptable Feminine Goals and Traits, even if they don't want to or aren't suited for it and shames women for not doing so. Furthermore, the belief in rigid gender roles is a symptom of a larger pattern of Domestic Abuse. Also in Afghanistan, this trope killed many people because female doctors and nurses are forced out under the Taliban's tyranny.
  • Stealing the Handicapped Spot: Genuinely disabled people (especially those who have an "invisible disability") often complain that well meaning/sanctimonious strangers accuse them of this (or worse, leave rude notes or vandalise their car), to the point that being wrongly accused of it is a fact of life of qualifying to use said parking spaces.
  • Therapy Is for the Weak: No, it's not. If you feel you need help, don't be scared to reach out. You Are Not Alone.
  • Too Smart for Strangers: While dangerous strangers do exist in real life, the majority of all abductions and sexual abuse is done by a person with whom the victim already has an established relationship, whether it be an acquaintance, a friend, an authority figure, or even a family relative, amongst other possibilities. In fact, most predators deliberately spend time getting to know their targets as well as their family so that exploiting everybody's trust becomes easier. In addition to being unhelpful, the Aesop "Don't talk to strangers" has resulted in some cases where kidnapped children actively hid from the people trying to find and rescue them.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: While filmmakers and TV producers who engage in this trope usually think they're being funny, most uses of this trope are at best misguided and misinformed and at worst openly mean-spirited and transphobic. Repeated instances of this trope, especially those wherein the freshly revealed "man in a dress" is a psychotic killer or other somesuch form of criminal, have demonstrably contributed to "Trans Panic", which has resulted in the beatings and often outright murders of thousands of trans women worldwide in just the last decade alone, a disproportionately high number of those being trans women of color. Furthermore, depictions of this trope have contributed to the depression many young trans kids feel at their family being unaccepting of them and the abuse they get from society, leading to transgender children having disproportionately high suicide and homelessness rates. Some of the more famous offenders of this trope include Ace Ventura and Sleepaway Camp. This trope still happens often, usually because of lazy writers going for the lowest common denominator, but increased awareness of and education about trans people and their issues IS beginning to see it happen less and less often.
  • Virgin Power: In some places, there is still the idea that sex with a virgin will cure someone of HIV or other STDs. Needless to say, STDs don't work that way... and this results in one more person being infected. Also, it isn't always consensual sex, either.
  • Virgin-Shaming: Leads to bullying, and to people taking extreme measures to get sex... or believing that they are entitled to it.
  • Women Are Delicate: Some people don't take the news that women aren't mysterious, ethereal, delicate beings very well...and some of those people resort to violence against women that don't conform to their image of how women should be.

Here's some comfort.