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Mar 17th 2016 at 11:00:12 PM •••

Is it possible for a female character to temporarily end up as a damsel-in-distress but still be as capable and compelling as her male counterpart(s) so long as she goes right back to being her badass/strong-willed self (or maybe even undergo character development afterwards in which she grows as into an even greater heroine) once her stint as a damsel is over, or does said damsel moment diminish/dispel her "capable/compelling female character" status in one fell swoop?

Edited by Chirpa43
Oct 30th 2011 at 12:15:48 PM •••

Is there a reason why this trope is called "Distressed Damsel", when the near-universal name for the trop outside of TV Tropes is "Damsel in Distress"? (The Other Wiki even has a page for it under that name: [1]

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Jun 18th 2012 at 1:01:20 PM •••

I was thinking the same thing.

Seriously, I thought this was a different trope when I first saw it because the phrase "Damsel in Distress" is so prevalent.

Sep 23rd 2011 at 6:28:49 PM •••

I know the Distressed Damsel is a stereotype, but how come every time someone writes one, they're accused of being sexist? I'm not making a statement about the gender, I just have a female in danger who is not in a position to free herself, 'cause that really is physically possible.

And besides, I'm a girl.

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Sep 23rd 2011 at 6:41:23 PM •••

I agree with you. Just because there is a situation where the girl cannot deal with the situation and gets caught doesn't mean that its a bad thing. It means that they realistically couldn't handle the situation. It also doesn't mean that the girl is weak because she got captured either. And that also goes with gentle and feminine girls, who can also be just as awesome.

Feb 28th 2013 at 7:37:16 AM •••

Bit late here, but I think the problem is less that a specific use of the trope is necessarily bad, it's that it gets used all the time. Just look at the amount of examples for Damsel in Distress compared to, say, Distressed Dude. It's perfectly possible that using it makes sense in the context of the story and doesn't say much about the strength of that specific character, but at the same time it's also contributing to the larger trend that women are there to be saved. And that's when it's done well.

May 18th 2013 at 12:37:16 AM •••

Just do it the way you think fits best, after all tropes are not bad is a big motto here, if it calls for it or is in the idea, why should you go out of your way to change it and not make the story as good as it would had been, and no, I'm sorry but it's downright stupid to try and say that all uses, regardless of context contribute to the same result.

Jul 15th 2014 at 8:47:44 PM •••

Exactly. and it actually is very sexist to both sexes by shaming women who need help for failing to be perfect and not needing help and basically saying men are wrong to help women, like they're not good enough to.

but to Aurabolt, maybe I just need to play video games more where this trope seems more normal but honestly the Damsel out of Distress and Badass Damsel or women just in general NOT being damsels at all seem far more common. I would actually like female damsels to be more accepted and not condemned or mocked. Nobody can save themselves all the time and the women who always do in stuff like Shrek (though it was hilarious there) or in action movies are pretty unrealistic. Damsels feel very human to me.

Sep 15th 2014 at 3:50:02 PM •••

snowviolet, God bless you!

I mean, seeing an Action Girl freeing herself with plenty of karate and kung-fu is refreshing, but there's no shame in not being able to bust yourself out. What people who mock this trope forget is: 1) Average people don't have extensive knowledge of martial arts and self-defense training, and 2) In the real world, deriding someone in this situation as weak is called victim-blaming, which is wrong.

Also, I agree that women who can't always save themselves feel more realistic to me. I don't mind if she can fight, but seeing someone who can always Roundhouse Kick their way out of anything (even a loaded machine gun and a Soviet soldier and his Angry Guard Dog that is more likely a small bear), and have her Useless Boyfriend show up once the fight is over just to ask "What happened?", it becomes ridiculous.

Edited by
Sep 3rd 2011 at 11:22:32 PM •••

Can this be split? Sometimes a Distressed Damsel physically isn't in danger. However, it still garners the motivation for her friends to rescue her, because maybe her psyche is in danger or sorts. She can be active outside, not really restrained, but people look to save her after all, even if she thinks she doesn't need saving. Maybe... Psychologically Distressed?

Edited by ChrisX
Apr 2nd 2011 at 6:10:32 PM •••

I think that it would be cool if there were links on the main page to the Trope Co entries for things like Distressed Damsel and other tropes that they specialize in. So would anybody object if I wrote something like "Now available from Trope Co!" at the bottom of the description?

Aug 22nd 2010 at 12:40:45 PM •••

Is there a specific subtrope for when the damsel is a princess? I got a little lost among the similar tropes, so I'm not sure.

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