Stay in the Kitchen

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Hammond: But you know, I should really be the one going.
Dr. Sattler: Why?
Hammond: Well, because you're a... I'm a...
Dr. Sattler: We can discuss 'sexism in survival situations' when I get back.

A form of Lawful Stupid, where a character insists that girls should be protected, not involved in the fight — that they should just Stay In The Kitchen! Never mind if the girl might be far more capable than the guy in question, they're girls, and that's what counts!

Usually, when this trope is invoked, this character isn't treated sympathetically for his opinion. He may get himself killed when his "protection" does more harm than good, get An Aesop from seeing the girls fight (if it's a one-episode affair), or have the women he's holding back label him as The Load and decide that they should Just Eat Gilligan. Occasionally, the chivalry will be played as sweet and more or less well-intentioned, but still comes off as misguided.

This attitude is prevalent in the real world, for reasons ranging from cultural bias against females to males having higher upper-body strength on average (whether or not this is grounds for treating all women differently is... debatable). Or perhaps people subconsciously believe that men are simply more expendable. The US army, for example, avoids putting female combat personnel in aggressive combat scenarios, and didn't allow women soldiers in combat zones at all until the 1990s. Whether or not this is justifiable is also debated.

When it comes to cultural bias, things are less pretty and there is no chivalry involved, especially if this stance comes from male fans judging female characters. Apart from the usual projection of one's own (bad) experience with women, male fans who use this trope contend that a woman just can't be as Badass as a man, just can't achieve anything by herself and that women fighting each other looks too titillating and ridiculous to actually be taken seriously. In short, women's only acceptable behavior according to such fans is Extreme Doormat else their impact on the story will always be negative.

Even with the plethora of Anime and Manga series with physically strong female leads, this trope is still seen in Japan, as old gender roles still linger. In the west, the prevalence of more conservative, old-fashioned social mores keep the amount of strong females low, although that is changing. The prevalence of the Girl Show Ghetto also has its influences.

It should be noted that "Stay In The Kitchen" is a Non-Indicative Name; the trope deals not with demands that women cook, but with incidents where men (in their misguided chivalry) attempt to protect women from danger by insisting that they stay uninvolved or only involve themselves on the periphery (and in doing so, act on the tacit assumption that women cannot protect themselves or fight competently). This has obvious sexist implications for women, but it also has sexist implications for men; specifically that loss of male life is less tragic than loss of female life. The name is also non-indicative in that it has nothing to do with "If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen" — in fact, it's really the opposite of that ("Women can't stand the heat, so they should stay in the kitchen").

Often a form of Innocent Bigotry—the character who wants women to Stay In The Kitchen frequently means well and may be genuinely unaware that some women might find the idea insulting. Compare No Guy Wants an Amazon, Wouldn't Hit a Girl, Acceptable Feminine Goals, and You Go, Girl!. Contrast Men Are the Expendable Gender and Girl-Powered. The inverse of this trope, more or less, is Real Women Don't Wear Dresses.

Examples of Stay in the Kitchen include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Fate/stay night, overcoming these tendencies, at least toward Saber, is a significant portion of Shirou Emiya's Character Development.
  • Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle by Syaoran of all people. Chunyan is left behind with Sakura, despite both having extremely powerful latent magic in a land where the three heroes have virtually none. Chunyan then gets this not once, but twice, the second time from Sakura herself.
    • Somewhat subverted, as Syaoran wasn't leaving them behind because they were girls. Sakura has had no experience in fighting or using her magic offensively or at all. Besides that, she's also kind of out of it as she had only retrieved two feathers at this time. Kurogane puts it best when he says, "You never know when she's rowing the boat or asleep at the oar."
  • Saikano, where the girl in question is a Person of Mass Destruction. This cannot end well. To be fair, she wants to stay in the kitchen as well, due to the whole Painful Transformation thing. Though if anything, the problem is exactly the opposite in this series: Chise is a normal schoolgirl forced to become a weapon of mass destruction against her will - arguably just as bad.
  • FBI agent Raye Penber chides his fiancee (who used to be an agent as well) for getting too interested in his case in Death Note. She had left her job prior to the series, as the couple had apparently decided she should become a housewife after their marriage... but she was also clearly the better agent of the two, and Penber would soon regret not listening to her.
    • To say the least. In a book that detailed a previous case she was involved in, she was so good she impressed L. Which makes her couple chapter appearance all the more annoying.
    • This is thankfully removed in the live action movie adaptation, where Naomi warns him to be careful and not be reckless, and he merely playfully teases her about sounding hypocritical, as she used to go on dangerous missions with L a lot, but otherwise he doesn't seem to object to her interest in the case. Word of God is that she was Too Cool to Live- that she was "an obstacle that Light couldn't overcome at that time"- and was therefore grief-stricken with absolutely no luck.
  • In the original Mazinger Z TV series, Kouji Kabuto makes such comments in a semi-regular basis, mostly as (rather bad) jokes. Too bad for him that his girlfriend Sayaka is a hot-tempered Tsundere who won't have any of that, so she usually bitches him out or downright beats the shit out of him. And thankfully, it's taken out of newer continuities. The Irony of it is he iis a pretty good cook and he is quite proud of it.
    • Great Mazinger: During Venus A first battle he got in the way of Action Girl Jun hono several times. In one of them he stated "Girls must not fight". The ironic -and frustrating- part is he intervened right when Jun was gaining the upper hand, and because him, she was unable to defeat the Warrior Beast.
    • UFO Robo Grendizer: In the Gosaku Ota manga, when Kouji flew to make First Contact with the Vegans, Dr. Umon, Daisuke and Hikaru were watching it through a screen in the Laboratory. When the saucers tried to shoot Kouji down, Daisuke started yelling in pain. Hikaru offered to carry him to a bed, but Dr. Umon screamed: “You stay out of this, woman!”. In his defence, he was –understandably, given the circumstances- nervous and stressed, and he did not want she found out Daisuke’s secret, so maybe he would not say that in a normal situation, but still… At least he never said anything like that in the Go Nagai manga and the anime series.
  • The Jovian colonists in Martian Successor Nadesico have an all-male military, and while few of their women are shown it's heavily implied they follow this trope. The reason is because they based their society around Gekiganger 3, an old-school anime where the only major female character was The Chick.
    • In what could be considered a hilarious inversion of this trope, male lead Akito really, really wants to Stay in the Kitchen himself. And for his love interests to stay the hell out of it.
  • In Ouran High School Host Club, the beach episode has Tamaki lecture Haruhi about not trying to take on guys who are obviously stronger than her after a pitiful fight against bullies. She spurns his advice, but Kyouya jumps her in the infamous bedroom scene to prove to her that sometimes guys really are capable of physical harm. Of course, he won't do anything to her and she knows it, but the point is effectively (if uncomfortably) made. Tamaki is also dealing with a bruised ego because Haruhi seems to be completely independent without a way for him to take care of her as he'd like to; he's not so much "vindicated" as shown that she is like everyone else, and happens to be scared of thunder.
  • Inverted in Mahou Sensei Negima, as Asuna seems to have trouble seeing Negi as anything other the sweet little brother she has to protect. Even after getting taken down in a few seconds by him in a sparring match, she still worries about him far too much. Early on Negi sort of had this attitude toward his students, although it's less sexism and more the fact that he believes it's his fault that they're in dangerous situations to begin with, which makes it his responsibility to protect them.

Eishun: Is this what you call a night out?!!

  • One of the more off-putting moments in Fist of the North Star comes in a conversation between Rei and his lover Mamiya. Rei orders Mamiya to stay out of battle, as that isn't a woman's purpose. Her response is that she's gone through enough trouble that she isn't a woman anymore. The counterargument from Rei? He shreds her clothes, and when she covers herself in shock, he asks why she's doing that if she isn't a woman. Rei was hardly intending on laying a hand on her and the context of the scene has to do with Mamiya worrying about being useless in a fight, and after this, she becomes genuinely useful in battle itself, rarely needing help except when greatly outnumbered or fighting an opponent who is completely exotic—and this is a woman without Ken or Rei's ridiculous training and martial arts style.
  • Guts from Berserk gives this speech to pre-Eclipse Casca once. At the time, she was having her period which got her to faint from exhaustion and got both of them to fall off a cliff as he tried to rescue her. Right after, he berates her by saying that a woman has nothing to do in war since it only took her PMS-ing to become incapacitated and that women's weaker and less enduring body was unsuitable for warfare. Casca being who she is, it doesn't work. Their ensuing Back-to-Back Badasses moment further proves him wrong and gets him to view her as a potential lover.
  • Simplar, in the S-Cry-ed manga Akira Mijyou leader of La Résistance gets something the same with her lover Hannish Lightning, despite the fact we have seen her take down dozens of HOLY solders and save the main character. Lightning then gets his ass kicked by a woman, and has to be saved by Mijyou.
  • Not a straight example, as it was more 'let's all kill Ban!' than 'life threatening fight,' but GetBackers still has a funny example:

Kazuki: Stay out of this, Himiko-san! You are a woman, after all!
Himiko: What do you mean 'after all,' you cross-dresser?!

  • Shikamaru Nara of Naruto displays these tendencies at the beginning of the series, only bothering to fight in the final round of the Chuunin exams against Temari because Naruto literally shoved him into the arena with an encouraging slap to the back, and ends up forfeiting the match even thought he knows he could win. Temari later has to rescue him from yet another girl. He drops the attitude when Shippuden starts and seems to respect women more now. The implication is that he's actually afraid of women because of his parents. Ironically this has led to the fandom belief he will marry a girl like his mother.
  • In the Sailor Moon anime, Jadeite (in the Japanese version) makes a sexist remark directed at Sailors Moon, Mercury, and Mars, that girls are useless and can only run, scream, and cry. They make a rather Anvilicious speech about showing him what women can do and proceed to run him over with several airplanes that he had originally sent after them. He survives, though afterwards Queen Beryl puts him in Eternal Sleep for failing yet again to dispatch the trio.
    • Also a Hoist by His Own Petard moment for Beryl as well, since he was about to reveal their names, and they could have been attacked while depowered.
  • Orihime of Bleach falls into this on occasion. Despite having immense Reality Warper powers, everybody except for Rukia and Chad is convinced that she should stay out of fights because she's not suited for battle. Which is true on one hand as she has a naturally gentle disposition and hates hurting even her enemies, but on the other hand she's very good at defense when properly motivated (the strength of her powers depend on her willpower and state of mind). However, the one time she decided to interfere a fight and saved Ichigo's life, Ichigo told her "Thank you, but never do this again." Not that she listens, since in the X-Cution arc, Chad is more convinced than ever that Orihime needs to fight alongside him and Ichigo, so he brings her to the X-Cution HQ fully knowing that others would object.
  • In Letter Bee, Lag Seeing is initially unwilling to have Niche as his dingo partner, claiming that it's too dangerous for a girl her age, even if 1) having a dingo is necessary to take the exam and Lag has no alternatives in sight, 2) she fights well against the armor bugs, 3) he's only 12 himself while she is really two hundred years old and only looks like a child because she didn't experience the tremor of emotion that her sister did. He drops the attitude at the end of the arc in which he first expresses it, after recognizing that he couldn't have managed without her help.
  • Ranma ½'s eponymous character has this attitude towards his fiancee Akane, but only towards Akane --he has no problem with more skilled/more powerful Action Girls like Shampoo or Ukyou joining him on dangerous missions or training trips. Whether this is because he feels she would just get in his way (as he claims, vociferously) or because her relatively lower abilities (compared to the rest of the cast) make him sincerely worried about her is up for debate.
    • While more frequent in the Anime, The manga plays down this trope sometimes, leaving Ranma frustrated enough with Akane to try and leave her to her own devices against the Dojo destroyer, until his worry eventually makes him eat his words and come back to save her.
  • Surprisingly, Katekyo Hitman Reborn's portrayal of women is quite often this (especially weird considering that the series' target audience has changed to become women). Kyoko, Haru, and I-Pin are shown to mainly just stay in the kitchen cooking and cleaning and doing the laundry for the men while the men go off to train and fight. And just when they get sick and tired of being lied to, and refuse to Stay in the Kitchen until the men at least tell them where they are, they get convinced by Bianchi and start feeling guilty that the men are completely incapable of taking care of their own health and food needs, and eventually reach the conclusion that they'll give up and go back to the kitchen (and if it weren't for Tsuna deciding to tell them anyways, they would've just continued on the same way as always).
    • Can't forget Tsuna's mom who is rarely seen outside of the kitchen. Chrome too doesn't seem to be very strong despite being a guardian...Arguably, since the primary fanbase is women, they all want to see the cute boys act slashy with each other rather than the girl.
  • Gundam Wing has Wufei who, thanks to the combination of a strict, traditional Chinese upbringing and a Freudian Excuse (his wife got killed in battle), is dismissive of female soldiers. It should be noted, however, that this tends to get exaggerated in the fandom, and he does grow out of it relatively early on.
    • Yazan and his comments of not liking to see women on the battlefield for some unknown reason. This gets REALLY exaggerated in EU non-canon non-bandai games like Gundam Musou or SRW. All his in-battle quotes vs female pilots involve referring to them as schoolmarms, nurses, homemakers, or other such female-centric professions. Even against the heavy hitters like Haman, Puru Two, Roux, and Lunamaria, once beaten he derisively dismisses them and will occasionally quote the trope title at them. No Freudian Excuse though, he's just a hilariously over-the-top chauvanistic bully. Ah, if only Yazan could be in the same SRW as Gauron and Gates.
  • In the Sorcerer Hunters manga, Gateau takes this stance with his younger sister, Eclair, telling her that girls are cuter when they're being protected; this is more than a little jarring, considering that Eclair is (and has always been) the more talented and stronger of the two. On some occasions she tries to accompany the team on missions, but Gateau refuses to allow it every time, even going as far as slapping her to make his point. Nobody comments on this, even though every woman in the manga is an Action Girl (with the possible exception of Salad). His attitude would be justified by the fact that she was kidnapped by series' main villain when they were younger, but the reason he kidnapped her and left him to die was because she was the stronger sibling and he wanted her to fight for his cause. Which she later did, willingly.
    • On top of that, he had this attitude long before she ever went missing; a flashback shows him bringing her home after she beat the crap out of a guy who called her weak. He tells her she went too far and that if she doesn't act more feminine, no one will want to marry her. When she says it's too much trouble to depend on someone else and that she wants to be strong to protect her loved ones, he laughs at her.
  • Gender flipped in the Yozakura Quartet manga. As Hime and Kyousuke are trying to convince Akina to stay out of the fight, Hime tells Akina to quite literally stay in the kitchen, saying cooking and cleaning are more like him.
  • Fumio's boss tells Kenta that he personally thinks mothers should stay at home in the first volume of Chibi Vampire.
  • Following his Face Heel Turn and coming out of nowhere in a series with no shortage of prominent and very capable female characters, Justin tells Marie that although they're both Death Scythes hers is only "a woman's power" and therefore weaker. She quickly proves him wrong on that assumption by punching him into the air. Stein reasons that she might need his assistance on the basis that, unlike Marie, Justin became a Death Scythe without a meister but doesn't mention her sex at all.
  • Subverted with Nanami from Katanagatari. Her father refused to teach her Kyotoryuu and decided to make Shichika the next head of the Yasuri clan - not because she was a woman, and not because she was an Ill Girl, but because she was too powerful for him to properly train. Not that it mattered - she mastered Kyotoryuu anyway by simply watching her father train her brother.
  • Brave Series, full stop. While the guys have awesome adventures with their Humongous Mecha (who are also all men), girls are either The Chick or their mother. Only time we had a female Brave was in Gao Gai Gar Final, which was an OVA for an older crowd.
  • The protagonist of Nagasarete Airantou, Ikuto, ends up cast away on an inescapable paradise island inhabited only by women. He refuses to adapt to circumstance and insists that it's the man's job to protect the women from the island's dangers, despite being significantly outnumbered and less strong, competent, and knowledgeable about the island than anyone else. As a result he's constantly putting his own life in danger and consequently jeopardizing the colony's long-term survival prospects. Amusingly, he constantly gets the shit beaten out of him for this attitude. He can't seem to get over it, though, despite repeatedly being thrown all the way across the island because he took a blow for a girl.
  • Taken to nightmarish extremes in Shitsurakuen, in which the female students are "owned and protected" by the male students, have no rights whatsoever and are utterly miserable and downtrodden as a result.
  • In One Piece, one Marine officer suggests that Tsuru stay out of the battle with Whitebeard's forces. She indignantly responds that he's in no position to order her around and there's nowhere safe for her to go, and later is shown hanging some of Whitebeard's men out to dry like laundry. Literally. Messing with Tsuru is a mistake.
    • This is a questionable example, though, considering there were a number of other female marines present, and one of the more powerful Warlords fighting on their side was also a woman. It seems more likely that the comment towards Tsuru is due more to either age(The only other Marines we see there who might match her in that regard are Garp and Sengoku, who are both Living Legends.) or some importance to the Marines.

Comic Books

  • This is one of the main character flaws of Jesse Custer in Preacher, and a large source of friction between him and his capable, gun-toting girlfriend. To be fair, this started when he saw her get shot in the head. She got better. It's portrayed more because he loves her, not because she's a girl.
    • Herr Starr subverts the trope hard in the beginning, when he exhorts German Special Forces to always shoot female terrorists first, because any woman who gets picked for that kind of work in the sexist, male-dominated world of international terrorism will always be far tougher, stronger and more fanatical than her male counterparts. Interestingly he doesn't seem to be the only one...check out who dies first in those 80's terrorism movies! (The only exceptions are Knife Nut terrorists. They stick around to challenge the hero right before they get to the Big Bad, if they aren't the Big Bad themselves.)
  • In the graphic novel Bone, Fone Bone tries to allocate chores as: Thorn (the girl) does dishes, Fone Bone chops wood. Because, after all, chopping wood is a "manly" job. Unfortunately, he's not tall enough or heavy enough to even get the axe out of the chopping block, and as he's hanging from it, realizing this:

Thorn: What sort of manly activity is that?
Fone Bone: Chin-ups! Go do th' dishes!

  • Elfquest: Shortly after the "barbaric" Wolfrider elves settle into the home of the more civilized Sun Folk elves, the two tribes learn of an approaching stampede of dumb but powerful horse-like Zwoots. The Sun Folk plan to hide in the caves until the stampede is over, but the Wolfriders decide to turn the stampede so that it avoids damaging the village. When Leetah spots petite Dewshine heading out to join the other Wolfriders, she objects:

Leetah: But it is not a maiden's place to --
Dewshine: What? Why not?
Leetah can't come up with a good answer.
Dewshine: Don't you know your own mind about anything?

  • In Fantastic Four, Reed Richards was like this with Sue for a while after their son Franklin was born. He would insist that she stay behind on more dangerous missions, on the grounds that she was "the mother of my child". This didn't last long (Sue put her foot down), and it was specific to Sue—he had no problem with the female Crystal or Medusa taking her place on such occasions.
  • The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, Chapter 5 "The Laird of Castle McDuck:" Scrooge is called home to help his family protect their ancestral castle from their rivals, the Whiskervilles. He arrives just as his Fiery Redhead sister Hortense is singlehandedly sending the would-be intruders running for their lives. Cue his father, with no commentary on the idiocy of this plan, telling his uncle to take the women home for their safety... including Hortense! Most likely a combination of Deliberate Values Dissonance and Rule of Funny.
  • In Asterix and Son, Impedimenta is told to 'get back to your pots and pans, woman'. She promptly smashes the offending Roman over the head with a pan.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes has a couple of notorious '60s stories in which Brainiac 5 tries to tell Saturn Girl that the mission of the day is "too dangerous for a girl." The first time she goes along with it; the second time she insists on taking her chances along with everybody else, and the subject never comes up again.
  • In her earliest stories, Carol Danvers got this treatment from J. Jonah Jameson, who, as her boss, was something of a strawman misogynist.
  • This was the motivation for the "Dumpster Killer(s)" who Batman dealt with in several issues from the 1980's. They felt that feminism was making women act above their station in life, so they killed and mutilated them to send them a message. Or they were just jerks.
  • A Superman comic called "Mrs. Superman" features Lois Lane going into a coma and dreaming that she is married to Superman. The real Superman, in the hospital room watching her sleep, makes a suggestion that she left her job to marry him and was replaced by Lulu Lyons, whom Clark invented to make her jealous and wake up from the dream.

Fan Works

  • Avatar: The Abridged Series: Said almost word for word by Master Pakku to Katara (in a hilarious Scottish accent) "Now either learn to heal, or get in the kitchen and MAKE SOME BABIES!"
    • Later, as she obviously wants to be involved in the fighting, he explains that in RPG conventions, girls are always healers, so he tells her to "Get in the back row and cast some bloody cure spells!"" She doesn't take that kindly.
  • An accusation once leveled at Undocumented Features is that, regardless of their status in their canon series, women are almost always pushed into secondary roles while the men do all the fighting. "Justice and Mercy", in particular, is notorious for opening with Kei and Eiko being practically '50s sitcom wives. With the very large number of female protagonists who go out and kick ass in the Future Imperfect era, this criticism seems no longer quite as accurate, though.


  • This happens in 70s martial arts/blaxploitation flick Black Belt Jones, when the title character is called for help during a dinner date and love interest Sydney asks to go with him. He refuses, suggesting that she should stay and "do the dishes" instead. Sydney responds by picking up a revolver, and "doing the dishes" with hot lead, convincing Jones to let her help.
  • Played straight in, of all things, Plan 9 from Outer Space. A woman alien berates us Earthlings for our evil, and is pushed aside by her husband, who tells her that there are roles for women and roles for men.
  • Turns up in The Film of the Book of Jurassic Park, as per the page quote, especially Hammond is an 80 year old fragile old man, while Ellie is a young, fit woman who lives in the Montana Bad Lands digging up Dinosaur bones. This is also a case of Hammond having a bit of Values Dissonance than being an asshole, at least in the movie.
  • Subverted Trope with Mina Harker from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen film. Even while everyone on the team knew that she was an immortal vampire she was not allowed to hunt Mr. Hyde because Allan Quartermain told her that she was a woman (or the film-makers wanted to show how Badass Sean Connery was. Fortunately, everyone forgot this trope from Venice and on. Well, everyone except for Tom Sawyer, but he was overconfident in himself.
    • Mina was also clearly disgusted at being left behind during the fight with Mr. Hyde, mockingly repeating Quatermain's words "It's far too dangerous for a woman, even one such as yourself!"
  • Inverted in the classic 1954 monster movie Them! The military gasses the nest of giant killer ants; the next stage is for someone to go down into the nest and confirm they're all dead. This is universally recognized as a very bad idea, yet Hot Scientist Dr. Pat Medford argues firmly and convincingly that she has to go down into the nest as she can't give the two male leads "a crash course in entomology".
  • Clash of the Titans: Perseus has decided to travel to the Stygian Witches to obtain information so he can save Princess Andromeda.

Andromeda: We will ride with you as far as their shrine.
Perseus: It is a perilous journey. Too perilous for a princess.
Andromeda: You are not yet my lord and husband. In the queen's absence, it is I who command. Herald?
Herald: Your Highness.
Andromeda: Inform the queen we are riding as escort to Prince Perseus.

  • In Robot Monster, Ro-Man wants to see the daughter of the family to negotiate. She's actually tied up to prevent her from leaving.
  • In Airplane II: The Sequel, Elaine's fiance is adamant that Elaine is going to give up her stewardess career after their wedding and start making babies instead, despite her own wishes. This is of course the first hint that we're not supposed to like him.


  • In the Wheel of Time series, Rand repeatedly goes out of his way to avoid getting any women killed—even his Amazon bodyguard and the evil sorceresses trying to kill him. Of course, Rand is rapidly going out of his mind, and knows that this is stupid behavior and all it does is annoy said bodyguards and his three girlfriends but he can't make himself stop it. Likely a result both of upbringing and having killed his wife in his last incarnation. The aforementioned Amazon Bodyguards at one point threaten to commit mass suicide if he doesn't let them go into battle with him. Another time, when he does manage to sneak off without them, they then come in when he's canoodling with his girlfriend and beat him up as punishment.
    • Nynaeve and Elayne go on numerous adventures together and constantly grumble about the men wanting them to stay out of danger. However, they do have a point since they are under trained apprentices with no combat skills and get kidnapped often.
  • Action Girl Brienne from A Song of Ice and Fire is frequently reminded by minor characters that "a woman's war is in the birthing bed," even though she'd really have no problem mopping the floor with all of them. It's very worth pointing out the society of Westeros is incredibly sexist, being based on medieval Europe, and Lord Randyll Tarly is not only against women being anything but wives and mothers he is also against noblemen being anything other than warriors. His merciless and brutal attempts to 'make a man' out of his book loving, song singing, home and hearth inclined son Samwell are wonderful evidence. Lord Tarly takes gender roles very seriously...
  • In the Star Trek novel Ishmael by Barbara Hambly, a ST/Here Come The Brides crossover—an amnesiac Spock is taken in by Aaron Stemple. At one point two characters have gone missing in the rainy Seattle woods and Spock suggests Biddy Cloom lend a hand in the search. "But she's a woman!" says Stemple. "What has her gender to do with her ability to locate missing persons?" asks Spock.
  • In Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files, Harry has a chauvinistic sort of chivalry about him that firmly believes women shouldn't be in trouble, or hit, or anything like that. Subverted in that he recognizes that it's a limitation and that as often as not the people gunning for him are women themselves, it's just one he has to be really under pressure to start working around. Also subverted in that every woman he knows that's an ally is a straight Badass, and the one he teams with most consistently is Karrin Murphy, who is a Badass, but also a Badass Normal, who only after several books came to understand the limitations of the 'normal' part. She loathes it, but she understands it. And never let it be said Harry doesn't respect the hell out of her.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, everybody tries to keep Éowyn away from the battlefield, and King Theoden wants her to stay in Meduseld and rule Rohan in his absence, thereby giving her another "man's job" instead. Of course, Éowyn disguises herself and goes to battle anyway (though it's never made clear who she deputized to stay and rule Rohan). And while she's at it, she brings Merry with her, when he has also been excluded from the troops on account of being too short. And, of course, she and Merry kill the Witch King of Angmar, a.k.a the guy who killed King Theoden. Who, we should point out, is thousands of years old and mighty enough to give Gandalf serious pause, and there's a prophecy claiming that no man can kill him. Isn't irony great?
  • Spenser and Susan Silverman in the Spenser series often discuss this, with Spenser often doing his best to protect Susan. It annoys the hell out of her, but since he's an ex-cop and private detective and she's a psychiatrist she grudginly defers to his judgments on matters that could get them both killed.
  • H. Beam Piper's Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen does this with Rylla, who has been raised as a boy owing to her father's inability to produce a son. When she breaks her leg leading an otherwise successful cavalry charge, Kalvan tries to get her nurses to pretend that her limb hasn't healed so she'll hopefully miss the rest of the fighting. Fortunately for him, she figures out what he had been doing and leads a small squad of cavalry who happen to arrive in the right place to capture an enemy commander who had been attempting to flee the battlefield. In a twist, Kalvan knows entirely well that his wife is one of the better fighters around. He also knows that she's very reckless of her personal safety and that the dynasty cannot survive both of them dying in the same battle. Later on, when she finally learns to be a little more careful, he raises fewer objections to her leaving the castle.
  • In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Susan and Lucy Pevensie are advised not to be in battle as they are given their weapons because "Battles are ugly when women fight" (the movies left this line out). By The Horse and His Boy, however, which also introduces the Rebellious Princess Aravis, the grown-up Lucy has already made her way to the military as an archer, as Corin tells Shasta that she fights "as well as" a boy. Susan has decided to stay aside, but according to Corin it's because fighting just doesn't suit her sensitive personality ("Queen Susan is more like an ordinary grown-up lady. She doesn't like going to war, despite being an excellent archer"). Lucy becomes known as "The Valiant" and Susan as "The Gentle," making their involvement in combat a matter of personality, not societal rules. Jill is portrayed quite well when it's her turn to go out on adventures in The Silver Chair and The Last Battle.
  • Star Wars: Luke Skywalker is very protective of his wife, Mara Jade. And it annoys the Hell out of her.
    • Tenel Ka goes through this with Jacen Solo. But she's less snide about it than Mara is.
  • Harry Potter has the bizarre case is Tonks. Once she becomes a mother, Lupin and others are mostly concerned with keeping her safe. She's a fully-trained Auror, and probably the second best fighter left in the order. Once she shows up, though, she heads to the front lines immediately.
    • Harry even notes this in Deathly Hallows, when Lupin offers to join the group on their quest and adds that Tonks is staying with her mother. Harry thinks this is odd and that Tonks would be more likely to want to join in on the action as well.
      • But of course, this is right before she finds out Tonks is pregnant. When Tonks shows up to fight later in the book, it's after her son has already been born.
  • Discworld:
    • The entire nation of Borogravia is like this in Monstrous Regiment, although it's suggested it's less out of a feeling women should be protected, and more out of a feeling women shouldn't be allowed to do anything, or they might get ideas, and the whole thing is enforced more by old women than men, who prefer not to even think about it.
    • Parodied in Jingo, where Nobby complains that he's being expected to do the cooking, just because he's a woman. This is despite the fact that 1) He's not 2) Nobody expected him to do the cooking, he just started doing it and 3) there is an actual woman present who everyone is very clear "doesn't do cookery". She's Sergeant Angua, so no-one's going to suggest she can't fight...
    • Also in Jingo, parodied when Carrot says that the D'regs have a particular view of women fighting, and Jabbar, the D'reg Wise Man says: "Yes - we expect them to be good at it."
    • Lancre, despite being a very rural and generally "backward" place, has a reputation for producing very tough women who can handle themselves well. Of course the presence of witches has a lot to do with it. Invoked in Carpe Jugulum when a (not local) priest demands to know why the townspeople have no problem with Granny Weatherwax going out to face monsters alone. They respond "Why should we care what happens to monsters?"
    • Brutally subverted in Men at Arms, where the Watch is forced to get some new, "minority" recruits. They get a dwarf, a troll, and a werewolf. Vimes in particular is unhappy about this (he doesn't like weverwolves), and so the others keep trying to explain that Angua's been taken on as a "minority recruit" because she's a "w--" and then looking horribly embarrassed and having Angua herself call their attitudes old-fashioned. At one point, Colon even says that "The Watch is a job for men." All of this sets up this trope magnificently. It then turns out her status as a female has nothing to do with their misgivings, and if anything, they're worried she'll be a little too good at fighting for comfort.
  • The Kzin of Known Space are what happens when a bronze culture gets genetic engineering. The Men are warriors and all violent. The women are modified into being non-sentient.
  • Played for laughs in The Alphabet of Manliness, especially in the Obedience section.
  • Despite what they're famous for, this is the real point of John Norman's Gor books. Definitely meant as an example of the "sweet and well intentioned" variety but since every single woman enjoys being enslaved it just feels creepy.
    • At least in some of the early books it was more even-handed, discussing that all women want BOTH freedom and slavery in different amounts at different times, and the same being true for men. It Got Worse.
  • The well-intentioned but misguided variety shows up in Dracula, where the males think it's best if Mina is shielded from knowledge of their plans to kill the villain. Of course, this enforced ignorance means she's a sitting duck for the very man they wanted to protect her from. After their actions lead to Dracula attacking her, they quickly change their philosophy.
  • Exists to a lesser degree in the Antares novels - female spacers are a rarity on Alta. It is explained as a cultural holdover from when they needed to populate their world, women were expected to produce many children, and therefore avoided dangerous occupations. That said, nobody voices any objections to female spacers, especially when they need to expand their navy to defend against the Ryall.
  • Able Team. This backfires badly on team leader Carl Lyons when he deliberately leaves behind his Action Girlfriend, DEA agent Flor Trujillo, as they're about to bust a convoy of drug smugglers. The smugglers start shooting at them with an RPG-7 and Flor, who's commandeered a helicopter to catch up with them, flies right into it.
  • This was why Toulac, a career soldier, had to retire from the army in the Shadowleague trilogy by Maggie Furey.
  • In Eragon, the eponymous character desperately wants Arya to be evacuated with the children when Urgals attack, although not out of chauvinism but because he doesn't want her to get hurt. She doesn't listen, and she continuously shows over the series that she is a formidable (and superhuman) fighter and eventual Love Interest of the title character.
  • This is the twist ending to The Stepford Wives. It is revealed that the men of Stepford are quite happy to murder their wives, just to replace them with gorgeous robots that have no outside hobbies or interests and live only to cook and clean and care for their husbands. The result is that after roughly six months, the women seem to turn perpetually happy and talk about how they're giving up photography or whatever because they just weren't very good at it anyway and now they're too busy.
  • Wulfgar in R. A. Salvatore's Forgotten Realms novels (you know, the ones with Drizzt Do'Urden) starts getting entirely irrational ideas like this when he's to be getting married to Catti-Brie, even though he knows she's an Action Girl already. If he'd only admitted it made no sense and seen it was just his dumb culture keeping hold of his subconscious, but no...
  • In the Adrian Mole series, Adrian behaves this way with his first girlfriend Pandora, wanting to marry her straight out of school and for her not to work outside the home. Pandora, being promiscuous and The Ace, laughs him down.
  • In The Inverted World, Helward's wife Victoria complains that the Guild system encourages this kind of attitude: women aren't allowed to become Guild members and are expected to devote all their time to producing children. The root of the problem is actually the skewed gender ratio of births in the City: the live birth of females is so rare that, even with mandatory marriage at a young age, it is becoming difficult to keep the population up.
  • In Harry Harrison's "Star Smashers Of The Galaxy Rangers", it's invoked, subverted, averted, reverted, and generally twisted into pretzel-shapes.
  • A variant in the Star Trek: Voyager Relaunch novels. Tillum Drafar has the view that mothers should not be working outside the home. Among his people, biological necessity compels women with young children to dedicate their time entirely to the infant. When confronted with B'Elanna Torres, who balances her work with her motherhood, he implies she is a poor mother for doing so and initially treats her dismissively. B'Elanna, once she understands the reason for his prejudice, manages to challenge it in a non-confrontational but effective manner.
  • In Death: Commander Skinner explicitly states this attitude to Eve Dallas in Interlude In Death. She quickly demonstrates that she just does not fit in his view of the world.
  • Oddly, Esme in Twilight. Rosalie and Alice are formidable fighters always in the thick of conflict, but there is never any question of whether or not Esme will take part. In fact, it is stated at one point that Esme is not a fighter. Presumably this is related to her role as "mother" in the family (and her conscious decision to refrain from violence), but it's still pretty strange since she must be just as strong and capable as any other vampire and they could always use the help.
  • In The Cat Ate My Gymsuit, Marcy's father expresses this attitude toward her and her mother.

Father says that girl children should be born at the age of eighteen and married off immediately.

  • Invoked by Septimus in Syren where he tells Jenna to stay with Milo Banda rather than follow him into the Ice Tunnels, as her survival is critical for the safety of the Castle.
  • In Animorphs, Andalite society has traditionally only allowed males to be warriors. Though to be fair, females generally become scientists or artists, who are also held in high regard. By the main events of the series there are apparently a few female cadets in the Andalite military.
    • When Visser Four creates an alternate timeline on Earth with America as a fascist dictatorship, one of the changes is that Rachel is not part of the Animorphs anymore. In a rather funny scene:

Rachel: Why wasn't I even in the group?
Drode: You? A violent-prone sociopath like you, Rachel? (laughs) You were in a reeducation camp. This world has little room for bold, aggressive females. You were being taught your place.
Rachel: Say what? My what?

  • Played With in Everworld--David and the other guys often try to convince April to stay out of the fighting (even against Hel, whose powers mainly affect men). She always refuses and acts offended, but in her narration is ashamed to admit that she really, really wants to take those offers.
  • In the Belisarius Series, Lady Sanga (wife of one of the greatest warriors in India and mother of another), spends most of her time cooking in the kitchen. In a way this is a subversion. She pretty much has her husband wrapped around her finger (in a nice way of course) and if she wanted to get involved in war and politics she would and she shows herself handy enough at it when forced to. She simply likes sensible things like being a mother and a cook. Also she has no need to be a cook, being one of the bluest of blue bloods and fully capable of hiring. She just cooks as a hobby.

Live-Action TV

  • Doctor Who, due to being a Long Runner, has its share of this in its earlier episodes. Subverted when the woman laughs it off and moves on despite this. Double Subverted when she then gets kidnapped and needs to get rescued.
  • Inspector Sledge Hammer! doesn't approve of his partner being a woman, which at one point leads to the following exchange:

Doreau: What, you think all women should be barefoot and pregnant?
Hammer: No, I encourage women to wear shoes.

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer played with this particular trope often, mostly because the Action Girl protagonist bore a really strong resemblance to a very soft, slender, feminine teenage girl. Typically, however, it is played for humor.

Riley: I'm taking you home. Come on.
Buffy: Oh, did you ever think maybe I'm gonna take you home, huh? What? You think that boys can take care of themselves and girls need help?
Riley: Yeah.
Buffy: That is so Teutonic.

    • Merely suggesting this is a good way to get Buffy to punch you in the face.
  • Averted hilariously in NCIS. Gibbs orders Ziva to remain behind while the men go and pursue a serial killer who has a woman tied up somewhere. A female park ranger says to her sympathetically "I hate it when men try and protect you coz you're female." Ziva said, "Oh, he's not trying to protect me. He's worried I'll kill [the guy] before he tells us where the girl is." And it was a good thing too, since it turned out the man they were chasing wasn't the real killer.
  • Artie Kendall, the ghost of an old-fashioned lounge singer who occasionally appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, always sung three wildly offensive songs. His "song for the ladies" would always consist entirely of this trope. For example:

Oh, women should be forced to stay indoors
And never fed until they've done their chores
But men should all roam free
To commit adultery
With an endless string of sleazy German whores

  • Used among the villains of Power Rangers RPM. A general thought lost in the war on humanity reappears, and spends most of his introduction being condescending towards Dark Action Girl Tenaya 7. Although it did have equally as much to do with the fact she looked, and was programmed to think, feel, and act like a human.
    • Power Rangers has had a few of these in it's history. In a lot of cases, the Pink Ranger will be the one helping the innocent bystanders get to safety while the others are defeating the actual monster. This was subverted when Super Sentai was brought over from Japan however, since they turned one of the male rangers into a female. This left one of the women in the fight while the other was helping victims. In general, the American Power Rangers franchise tries to promote more active female combatants where possible.
    • This was completely subverted in Mirai Sentai Timeranger, in which the Pink Ranger was the leader of the team, though the always male Red Ranger was the actual field commander (despite far less experience). This carried over into its American equivalent, Power Rangers Time Force.
      • This is actually somewhat justified. The Pink Ranger is a policewoman, and was 'not' her team's leader—she wouldn't have been trained as one, and the Red Ranger always follows her lead, indicating that it's just a single talent he has that she doesn't. Also, the Pink Ranger lost her fiance in a brutal murder and is shown as being traumatized by this. Having the Red Ranger as backup can count as a 'safety measure'.
    • Sentai has had other female team leaders with Ninja White and Geki Yellow, although in both cases the male Red Ranger was still the main character.
    • Samurai Sentai Shinkenger toyed with this in the role of the Red Ranger. For most of the series, Takeru is the Shinken Red, thus maintaining the Always Male role. However, near the series conclusion, it is revelaed that Kaoru, a girl, is the true 18th head of the Shiba house and the real Shinken Red. She finally takes the position for herself, becoming the franchise's first Red Ranger...for a grand total of five episodes at the end of the series. She relinquishes her position back to Takeru by adopting him as her son and successor, thus making him the 19th head of the Shiba house. It's explicitly stated this is more because the team was loyal to Takeru first and worked better with him than with Kaoru. In the epilog she's told to marry - which she flatly refuses to do. She also takes up the Shinken Red banner again in some of the subsequent crossovers afterwards. It's up in the air how Power Rangers Samurai will handle this arc, though as a woman has been cast to play a similar character, it's expected this trope will appear again.
  • I Love Lucy usually revolves around Lucy's desire to circumvent her husband's wishes and get into show business because Ricky "wants a wife who's just a wife."
  • Non-Super Sentai Tokusatsu has women staying away from the Transformation Trinket. Those that kept women from the trinkets managed to do well...leading to Unfortunate Implications.
    • An example would be Kamen Rider; most entries in the franchise have the women away from belts and so far, these series were very well received. The others? Not so much.
    • A Running Gag in the fandom was that every female Kamen Rider was doomed to a very quick death, though there are exceptions.
      • Kamen Rider Decade's second movie, where Kamen Rider Kiva-la actually survived the movie she was featured in.
      • Kiva has two women who temporarily use Rider powers; one dies off-camera, apparently nothing to do with being a Rider, while the other (her daughter) survives the whole series. Hibiki had a female villain who made it most of the way through the series.
      • Faiz had a few girls use Rider powers, some of whom survived the show, but Faiz just liked killing people regardless of gender.
      • A particularly odd example is Kamen Rider Den-O, where female lead Hana is a Badass, take-no-crap Action Girl—and yet for some reason she has to enlist the help of klutzy, luckless Non-Action Guy Ryotaro to become Den-O, rather than taking up the belt herself. There may be a justification in that Den-O is next to powerless without a contracted Imagin and at the start of the series Hana despises Imagin so much that there's no way she'd partner up with one.
  • The X-Files episode "2shy" features a local detective who has this way of thinking towards Scully. Never mind that she's an FBI agent. With a medical degree. And a gun, which she can handle quite well.
  • Melinda Culea left The A-Team because the show's producers refused to give her character a more active role. It is still unclear whether she quit, or was fired. When her character was "replaced" by Tawnia Baker, it became something of a running joke that Tawnia wanted to get involved in the action and really be a part of the Team, but either through her own ineptitude or the Team's machinations to keep the woman out of the way, she rarely got much accomplished. According to Tawnia's actress, Marla Heasley, George Peppard told her twice that no one wanted her on the show except the network. In later years, Dirk Benedict would also comment that a woman had no place on The A-Team.
  • Speaking of Dirk Benedict, witness his infamous rant about the new Battlestar Galactica:

Women are from Venus. Men are from Mars. Hamlet does not scan as Hamletta. Nor does Han Solo as Han Sally. Faceman is not the same as Facewoman. Nor does a Stardoe a Starbuck make. Men hand out cigars. Women 'hand out' babies. And thus the world, for thousands of years, has gone round.

    • Subsequently, the remake of Battlestar Galactica saw far more commercial and critical success than the original did, with the female Starbuck often praised as a well-developed character.
  • On The Cosby Show, Sondra's boyfriend Elvin acts rather sexist towards Claire. She quickly puts him in his place.
  • Completely inverted in Charmed. Even before he loses his powers and becomes mortal Leo was nearly always left out of the fight while the sisters went up against demons alone, despite being actually invincible. Phoebe tries to do this to Cole when he loses his powers. This being Cole, it doesn't work.
  • In Only Fools and Horses, this is a source of conflict between Rodney and Cassandra; early in their marriage Rodney is annoyed to find that Cassandra wants to devote time to her career, rather than staying at home as he'd planned. They eventually resolve their differences.
  • Played straight to the point of lampshading with Saturday Night Live 's Herb Welch, a senile, bumbling, elderly reporter incapable of covering a story or carrying out an interview. In one skit, a female anchor asks him a question. When Herb pointedly ignores her and is admonished for this by the male anchor, Herb snaps, "Well, she can go back to her kitchen." In another skit, this time he responds by sarcastically asking if she's finished cleaning her living room.
  • Adam-12: When a female officer rides patrol with Malloy, Wells never stops complaining about it.
  • CSI: NY seems to have this with Russ, who'd rather Jo be a stay at home mom than have her career, that's why they divorced.

Newspaper Comics

  • In Blondie, Dagwood at first objected furiously to Blondie starting her own catering business, as he was opposed to her working; he changed his mind quickly once she told him her predicted profit margin and realized he could help inspect what she made for her inventory.

Professional Wrestling

  • Because of this mentality, the WWE rules as they currently stand indicate that any male wrestler who even attempts to attack a female wrestler during a fight is disqualified. Naturally, no such rule exists in reverse, nor does this prevent women and men from being in an altercation where the man isn't allowed to fight back, or he's an asshole.
    • This gets even more creepy in the video games, the later versions of which have gone to extreme lengths to enforce this. The prime example? Not only is the instant-DQ rule in Mixed Tag matches strictly enforced, but they are the only type of match in the game that cannot be set as no-disqualifications. Additionally, certain Create A Storyline scenes are gender-restricted, including any scene that shows violence between a male and a female.
  • Several female wrestlers throughout the history of the WWE, such as Chyna or Beth Phoenix, have attempted to fight this attitude, which is pervasive in both the company and the fanbase. Success was rare, but it did exist.

Tabletop Games

  • Traveller: In the Sword Worlds most woman do this except for the more eccentric ones. The Sword Worlds are a blatantly patriarchal society though not as extreme as some in this regard. To be fair to the Sword Worlder's this custom is theoretically softened by the fact that Hearthfires are a sacred archetype among Sword Worlders and tending them is the job of the womanfolk. This potentially gives every Sword Worlder woman a nominal semi-priestly status.
    • Among Aslan is a possible inversion. The women ideally do every job except those which have to do with war, politics, and tending a ranch. This is because Aslan quite literally believe that A Real Man Is a Killer.
    • K'kree are both more simplistic in their philosophy of the proper treatment of woman and more extreme than either Sword Worlders or Aslan. The only purpose of females among them is simply to adore the males.
    • Baseline Imperial Culture from which most PCs will come is theoretically indifferent to gender roles both legally and socially. However non-starfaring Imperial citizens from self-governing planets (usually NPCs) will naturally be more inclined to their world's culture then the generic interstellar one and local culture can vary. If appropriate this discrepancy can be demonstrated in the GURPS version by giving a PC "Intolerance (uppity women) as a disadvantage.


Video Games

  • It's never mentioned in the games, but there were times in other media where Mega Man objects to his sister Roll going into battle. In the first episode of the '90s cartoon he has this attitude, but accepts Roll's help. In the 3 part OVA "Upon a Star" Mega Man objects to Roll helping him when she meets him in one of Dr. Wily's fortresses, even wearing her own armor. The OVA example plays the hell out of the trope: it implies Roll has better stealth skills since she got there first, but Mega Man says it's because things will get harder from there, but when Roll tries to stop an artificial typhoon made by Dr. Wily with their only time machine she gets it destroyed and herself injured; Roll later accepts her brother's request to stay out of the battle.
  • Godot, in the third game in the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series, spends most of the game hating Phoenix for not protecting Mia, with whom Godot had been in love, never mind that she was stronger and more capable than Phoenix was at that point, and there probably wasn't much that Phoenix could have done about the situation. In the end, he forgives Phoenix—not because he realizes that the woman in question was responsible for her own life, but because he realizes that he was angry at himself the whole time for not being able to protect her, and was trying to blame Phoenix to avoid admitting that, and the entire thing could have been avoided if Godot had just let Pearl and Maya in on the plan to begin with, thus making sure Dahlia was never channeled to begin with. His opinion of most of the younger Fey line seems to be fairly low.
    • A more blatant example would be him telling Franziska to go away during the investigation, his justification being that "This is men's work." Note that no one else in the series thinks that law or detective work is "men's work". Yet nobody will ever call out Godot on this, likely due to Values Dissonance between Japan and the rest of the world.
  • Cloud of Final Fantasy VII spent most of Disc 1 falling into these speeches, though Aerith unfailingly objected.

Cloud: You gotta be kidding. Why do you want to put yourself in danger again?
Aerith: I'm used to it.
Cloud: Used to it!? ......Well, don't know... getting help from a girl...
Aerith: A girl!! What do you mean by that!? You expect me to just sit by and listen, after hearing you say something like that!? (to Elmyra) Mom! I'm taking Cloud to Sector 7. I'll be back in a while.

    • If Aerith hadn't gone with Cloud, she couldn't have saved the World at the very end of the game, and then everybody would have died.
    • Strangely, he never talks to Tifa like this. Although it could have something to do with the fact that Tifa has a black belt in martial arts, is a licensed outdoor survival guide, AND a key member of a high-profile eco-terrorist group, whereas Aerith sold flowers and didn't seem to have any real fighting experience. Also, Tifa punches tanks with her fist. And at one point while he's lecturing Aerith, she even calls him out about his double-standard between her and Tifa - "So it's alright for Tifa to be in danger?", to which he weakly responds, "No, I don't want Tifa in...". Mind you, Tifa, who made Cloud promise to protect her if she was ever in trouble and has fixated upon this idea, seems to want to be protected more than Aerith, who makes Cloud her bodyguard but otherwise acts autonomously (at one point even telling Cloud "Don't tell me to go home.")
  • In Final Fantasy IV, Cecil insists that Rydia and Rosa not accompany the party back to the Moon after defeating the Giant of Bab-il, because it's too dangerous. Both of them stow away in the Big Whale's cargo hold and insist upon going along anyway. One wonders how he was planning to survive without taking the team's only dedicated healer and spell caster. He apparently thinks of it as a suicide mission and doesn't want to see two people he cares deeply for die, but there's a very small chance of it being a suicide mission if he took the two most powerful spellcasters on the planet instead of ditching them. Edge, meanwhile, is a bit more misogynistic about leaving Rydia behind.
    • Earlier in the same game, the king of Fabul insists that Rydia and Rosa stay behind to care for the wounded while the men go off to defend the castle. Ostensibly, this is because they were the only ones present with healing magic and they would be needed elsewhere. As the men fail at protecting the castle alone, one would think Cecil would later remember the value of keeping the two of them close in the battle party.
    • Interestingly, based upon game mechanics, some players feel better putting Rydia to the front as opposed to Edge, as most of his abilities aside from straight attacking aren't affected by row, while Rydia's whips and rods need all the help they can get. (and you can just swap them for spell-heavy fights.) So Edge goes in the back and hurls everything while Rydia goes in front and plays cackling dominatrix. Since money is no factor by the end as with most RPGs, Edge can have as much improvised weaponry as he wishes.
  • In Final Fantasy XII it is revealed that the Viera invert this trope. To date, none of the Ivalice games have depicted a male Viera.
  • In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, around Chapter 10 (Eirika's path), if you rescue Innes The Archer with his Pegasus Knight sister Tana, Innes almost immediately tells her to "stop playing soldier and go home". This is explained later in their supports as being a part of Innes' Big Brother Instinct: he thinks Tana is too innocent and inexperienced (and she has just finished her Peg Knight training), therefore he wants to spare her from the horrors of war but handles it so bad that Tana resents him. Innes' attitude is similar with Lady of War Eirika, and slightly towards White Mage L'Arachel, especially in their support conversations—he refuses to let a woman guard him even when injured or exhausted. Nobody reacts well to this attitude - Innes is often portrayed as overly arrogant or narrow-minded.
    • This doesn't come up as much in his supports with the Pegasus Knight Vanessa, whom he often praises for her skill and her maturity. As much, Innes says that she was Just a Kid when they met, but she's grown up into a great knight and suggests that they are unstoppable as a team. This might have something to do with Vanessa's lifelong status as a Pegasus Knight in his charge - Pegasus Knights are always female (because Pegasi don't trust men enough to fly on them) and are expected to guard his entire family.
  • In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, Ike constantly keeps Mist and Elincia off the battlefield, and was able to do so with Mist until Chapter 9 (or so) and Elincia until near the end. In the case of both, it's a concern over their level of combat experience and Ike expresses a similar concern for Rolf, a boy Mist's age. Elincia's retainers, which include a female Swordmaster, express more concern than Ike and it's somewhat justified as she is a higher profile target. The numerous women that serve in the army are never objected to.
    • In Radiant Dawn, Ike still tries to get Mist to stay behind, but at least respects that she can pull her own weight in the mercenary group as a warrior-cleric (with a bit of subterfuge in Chapter 3-1, helping Lethe and Lyre drug the guards and sneak the Greil Mercenaries in the fort). He doesn't have this attitude with Elincia any longer; besides, purely statwise, it was at that point when she could have kicked Ike's ass in combat.
    • Also in Radiant Dawn, you can try to have the Black Knight "rescue" Micaiah from safety, most notably in Chapter 1-9. She will refuse and tell him she is confident she doesn't need his protection—just his ass-kicking. Given that no unit in this chapter can harm the Black Knight and your goal is to protect Micaiah (the only other unit in the chapter) it's just something to prevent an easy instant win.
    • Mia/Largo supports involve Large Ham Largo mentioning this to Genki Girl Mia, Hilarity Ensues. This trope is apparently why Mia is so obsessed with her sword play.
  • Sora did this with Kairi in Kingdom Hearts, claiming coming with him to the final world was "too dangerous" and that she "would kinda be in his way". Thankfully in Kingdom Hearts II Kairi gets to participate in the final world and even fight the Heartless with a keyblade given to her by Riku. Justified in the first game in that Kairi was unarmed, had no combat experience, and no way of defending herself. At worst, the scene was misplaced, as it would have fit better in regards to going to End of the World than Hollow Bastion (where all the other unarmed, lacking in combat experience Princesses of Heart are just fine hanging out at). By the second game, she'd had a year to become more athletic... plus access to a weapon of her own. Sora also regularly tells armed men to leave the battlefield, a notable (and particularly funny) example being Shang in Land of Dragons.
    • This does get awkward in the Port Royal stage. Though Sora does tell Will to leave early on, it's rather strange that he would tell Elizabeth to do the same later in the stage when she actually played an active role in combat in the portion of the movie the game is covering. He also doesn't brush off Will.
    • Despite the ending of the last numbered title, in the secret ending for Birth By Sleep, Kairi has to stay behind while Sora and Riku leave again for the Mark of Mastery exam. At least this time there's still the justification that someone has to stay behind and keep the island safe.
  • A somewhat darker variant in Mass Effect 2, where a Batarian hiring mercenaries tells female Shepard to go to the stripper quarters. This is one of the rare times the main character's gender is mentioned in the plot (aside from the romance arcs), as the rest of the time, the experience of being a female soldier is never discussed despite female soldiers in the real world still being a minority.
    • The Krogan segregate their females and leave them to child raising, though this is actually a result of their severe population loss requiring them to keep women and children protected to ensure survival of the species. It's suggested in the past that Krogan females were not originally restricted in this way until after the deployment of the genophage made females capable of viable pregnancies such a rarity.
    • The series presents a unique version of this with the Salarians. As they are amphibious haplo-diploid egg layers, females are created by fertilizing eggs. Social customs restrict only a fraction of these to be fertilized, creating a race that is roughly 90% male. Females thus hold all political power and rarely leave their homeworld, while males fill all other positions of power in Salarian society (such as military and academics). A case where women are relegated to a single role...but that role is the one that determines how everything works. The game's also mention that women of the race are highly respected.
  • In One Piece: Unlimited Adventure, shortly before the final battle, Sanji tells Nami and Robin to stay back. Nami, however, insists that she and Robin are strong, too, and Robin notes that "it would be impossible to travel with such super-human people otherwise."
  • In Lufia II, Maxim pulls this several times on Tia and Selan. The first few times, the girls tell him where to shove it. The results are different - Selan never needs help, being a mighty general and extremely talented. Tia, however, needs a fair amount of rescuing, but the plot makes sure to note that this is because she's a shopkeeper with no real desire to fight except to keep close to Maxim. When Maxim marries at the end of the first act of the game, Tia returns to her shop as she has no more reason to fight.
    • In the run-up to what everyone believes will be the Final Battle, Maxim actually tells the girls why he wants them out of the fight: they're the only ones who can coordinate an urgent evacuation effort. It works.
    • Then, after Maxim and Selan marry and have a child, it's time to fight again. Maxim tries this, but Selan won't have it.
  • Matheld, a female character from Mount & Blade makes it clear that if she is treated like some sort of housewife on the battlefield, she will break the character's neck. She gets along well with the team's warrior poet though. Being a former Viking helps too.
  • In [[Star Ocean: The Last Hope]], Edge does this to Reimi and Lymle when they land on 50's Earth, telling them to stay on the ship while the men go explore. Of course the ship gets raided, Reimi is kidnapped (Lymle escapes), and thus follows a rescue quest to get her back. What did he learn from this? To keep her with him so it's easier to protect her, naturally.
  • In Romancing SaGa, Lord Rupolph of Isthmus Keep has two children: Diana and Albert. Diana is repeatedly stated to be the better fighter, consistently besting her little brother in training and serving as a soldier, yet her father treats her strength as lamentable and begs her to act more ladylike. Despite his misgivings, however, it's implied that Prince Neidhart chose her as his bride because she's capable of taking care of herself. She also manages to survive the inevitable fall of the keep, unlike her parents.
  • Possible unintentional use in Dead or Alive 4. In his pre-fight cinematic, Ryu Hyabusa finds Kasumi about to face her evil clone Alpha 152. He does a "Stand back, I'll handle this!" and moves forward to protect her. Made unintentionally hilarious by how difficult the boss is. Presumably, Kasumi is just offscreen facepalming.
    • Depending on the character you're playing. As Ryu, he says it's because it's his duty. As Kasumi, she has to do it, as it's her clone.
  • Sten from Dragon Age: Origins has a very comprehensive list of the professions of women (priests, shopkeepers, farmers), as the qunari believe these are the jobs meant for them - choice has no factor in it. Note that this also applies to men (laborers, soldiers, officers). If you're using a female Player Character, he says that either she isn't a woman or isn't a warrior. The former seems more likely to him.

Sten: I don't understand. You look like a woman.

    • He'll also mention that women are administrators. Everything, and I do mean everything, about the qunari is run by one.
    • Arl Howe's rant towards a human noble Grey Warden late in the game is extra-dismissive if said heavily armed warrior or rogue who slaughtered her way through his guards is a woman, laughing at her acting like a man. Note that outside of the Qunari, female soldiers are extremely common, so this is just more of him being a jerk than an accepted attitude.
    • In Awakening you encounter a male Qunari named Armas who has rejected the Qun by choosing to make his living as a merchant. He outright calls the Qun a lie if you ask him about his unorthodox career choice.
  • Averted with the female marines and SPARTANs in the Halo franchise. Of course, the series takes place in the 26th century; societal views will have likely changed a great deal from today. Not to mention the whole business with the species-threatening war against technologically-superior genocidal aliens strong enough to physically rip a man apart, necessitating every able body available to buy time and stem the tide of invasion.
  • Pokémon Black and White's Bianca (one of two friendly rivals) is told to stay behind in several high-risk incidences throughout the game, despite being fairly capable (if somewhat easy to defeat) as a Pokémon trainer. Of course, the trope is averted just as well if you choose the female player character at the beginning.
  • Jak X has Samos telling his daughter Keira that "a woman's place is in the garage fixing cars!" This is in response to her wanting to get out into the Vehicular Combat action, and is partially justified as he doesn't want to lose his little girl. Regardless, he's lucky he didn't say that while Ashelin was within earshot.
  • Elsa von Speilburg received this treatment a lot. When she managed to learn sword fighting by watching the castle guard training, the swordsmaster refused to formally train her because she was a girl. When the hero finally reaches her, she (now the Brigand Leader thanks to being Brainwashed and Crazy) is so skilled she can kill him in one blow... and right after being rescued, her asshole of a brother tries to keep her from being a warrior. By the time QFG5 begins, she has already proven herself a hero in her own right, and spends most of the game in second or first place in the Rites of Rulership. And yet, everyone still thinks she's incapable of fighting (despite being the best fighter in the series), is incapable of ruling a kingdom (despite running a massively successful bandit gang), and should just leave the contest to the men (despite two dying very quickly, one being a Frankenstein's Monster, and the last in it for other reasons).
  • Face from Battle Fantasia has this attitude toward Princess Olivia. Even though she's actually quite capable of taking care of herself, he insists that women should stay as far away from fighting as possible.
  • Ward in The Orion Conspiracy is explicitly stated to be sexist, so he would obviously feel this way toward women.
  • In Fable III, several of the gnome insults towards a female Hero are along these lines. It's a joy to shoot them after that. In a more literal example, if you marry your childhood friend/lover of either gender, they can always be found in your home's kitchen.
  • Pretty much the whole point of Lost in Blue. Upon meeting the female lead, the male lead steps on her glasses, thus confining her to a cave and making her responsible for cooking, cleaning, and handicrafts. She also can't do anything outside the cave by herself and is likely to starve to death no matter how much food and water you leave for her.
  • Justified in Dragon Quest V, your wife forces herself on your travel while she's carrying your unborn babies up until you reach the castle of Gotha, where she ends up collasping and has to stay there. Unfortunately, you won't get her to fight with you again anytime soon. Then again, you can invoke it by putting her in the castle along with Madchan for the rest of the time she rejoins.
  • The female Gender Role Doll advertized in The Lost and Damned enforces this among other gender-specific tropes.

Visual Novels

  • Shirou of Fate/stay night has shades of this, which are unfortunately severely Flanderized via Memetic Mutation, especially among his Hatedom. In the Fate route (the first route of the game, on which The Anime of the Game is mostly based), he expresses such sentiments toward Saber, whom he knows to be exponentially more powerful and combat-capable than he is. However, she is also his Love Interest in that route, and he explicitly falls in Love At First Sight with her, which unsurprisingly leads to a desire to protect her. Furthermore, except for the fire ten years ago, there is no Flash Back Shirou has more often in that route than that of Saber cleaved nearly in half by Berserker, implying that both events inflicted a similar level of trauma upon him. (The trauma that injury inflicts upon her is not negligible either; she spends most of the rest of that route slowly recovering from it, with the barest dregs of her power). Finally, the only way to survive the final battle is for Shirou to place complete trust in Saber, to the extent of returning her sheath to her, which deprives him of the Healing Factor that has kept him alive through most of the route. In a different route, when Saber kicks ass and takes names rather than suffering a near-fatal wound, Shirou expresses so much faith in Saber's abilities that she herself is surprised. It probably also doesn't help that Mirror Moon's English translation of the game frequently has him referring to "girls," even though the spoken dialogue of Realta Nua clearly has him saying "onna," or "women."

Web Comics

Susan: Maybe you just can't imagine a girl being stronger than a boy.
Sarah: Nanase, Ellen, Grace, and my boyfriend literally turns into a girl to get stronger.
Susan: Yes, yes, I realized it was stupid as soon as I said it.

Web Original

  • Tasakeru: Zero does the sweet-and-misguided version of this to Hanami, ostensibly because his Samurai training has drilled the concept of chivalry into him since birth, and also because he really does care about Hanami.
  • Mans1ay3r's Gamer Poop series has a few jokes about this, most notably the sketch from Oblivion with a scam artist.

Woman: Women...girls...back to our kitchens! [Women leave]
Guard: Well, you got all of them back to cooking and cleaning!

Western Animation

  • Portrayed semi-sympathetically while being deconstructed in The Incredibles, just before the final battle with the Omnidroid—Mr. Incredible's reason isn't that he thinks his wife can't fight, but that he isn't strong enough... to lose her or the kids again (as he thought they'd been killed earlier in the film). And of course, Violet and Helen still fight anyway.
  • Hudson in Gargoyles tried to pull this. Once. Doesn't work well.
  • One Aladdin episode had the Sultan tell Jasmine it was too dangerous and she should stay behind. Never mind that she'd already taken a level in badass between the movie and the series, and that there was a semiphenomenal, nearly cosmic genie around. She responds to this by, of course, disguising herself as one of the guards and saving Aladdin.
    • A later episode had Sultan upset because Aladdin was telling him to stay behind from rescuing Jasmine because he was too old. Double Standard much, Sultan?
  • Parodied in a Justice League episode in which the team ended up stuck in a reality based on a comic book from the fifties. It therefore wasn't considered at all awkward for the only female member of the 50's-esque team to suggest to Hawkgirl that they go get cookies while the "men" talked out the whole dangerous supervillain issue. Flash is amused. Hawkgirl... isn't.

Hawkgirl: One word and you'll be the the Fastest Man Alive with a limp.

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Women in the northern water tribe are expected to use their bending for healing purposes only, and leave the combat to men. In fact, a big plot point in the Northern Tribe episodes is to have Katara making them realize that this attitude is harmful - specially in regards to Master Pakku, possibly the most powerful Waterbender alive in that moment.
    • Additionally, Pakku himself gets some karmic retribution, as he realizes that his chauvinism cost him the love of his life: Kanna, Katara and Sokka's grandmother and his Runaway Bride, who fled to the Southern Water Tribe (literally the opposite pole of the world) to escape the strict gender rules. Since Pakku did genuinely love Kanna, and one of the reasons he was so bitter against women was her rejection of him, this counts doubly and is vital to his Character Development and acceptance of Katara. And in the Grand Finale, Pakku gets Kanna's forgiveness and they tie the knot. Awwwww.
    • The Southern Water Tribe is more progressive in it's attitudes towards women, since female waterbenders are seen fighting in flashbacks, but Sokka plays it straight at first, then gets character development after meeting Suki. The next time he meets her, he now has a overly-protective attitude, since his last girlfriend turned into the moon. As it turns out, the only reason she came along in the first place was because she had the same attitude towards him. D'awww...
    • The Fire Nation averts this, since women are at every level of authority - you see female Yu Yan Archers, female guards, and no one is gonna tell Princess Azula, Ty Lee, or Mai to stay behind unless they want to be chi-blocked into paralysis, skewered, or roasted. The only exception was in the finale, when Azula was told to stay home by her father, but that was more due to her father seeing both of his children as rather disposable and not her gender. She didn't take it well.
    • The heroes have quite a lot of trouble convincing Toph's parents to let her help them save the world, because even though she's unambiguously an excessively powerful Little Miss Badass, her parents refuse to see her as anything but a helpless blind girl who has to be protected. She eventually just sneaks away to join the "Gaang."
  • Used in an episode of Batman Beyond, where a man tells his wife to literally "Get back in the kitchen!" It's rather out of place in a Drug Aesop episode. See here for the scene. And yes, it has gone under Memetic Mutation.
  • Played with in The Simpsons episode "She Used To Be My Girl". At a conference for women, Homer tells Marge to stay there whilst he goes to rescue Lisa, whereupon he's booed by the women. He then says that he'll stay there, and Marge can go and rescue Lisa, to which he's booed at again. Homer then asks the women what they want (and both he and Marge end up going).

Mr. Burns: We all know what you think.

  • Used against Chowder by Gorgonzola in a baseball-like game. And he really would prefer to go back.
  • The Powerpuff Girls had exactly 2 episodes in its entire six season run about sexism. One was a Take That at Straw Feminism, but the other involved the girls meeting this trope when they tried to join a Justice League Expy. A lot of Freudian innuendo ensued.
  • In Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Gaston makes it quite clear that his dream marriage with Belle includes her having "six or seven" sons with him, massaging his feet, and no reading. This is taken one step further in his song in the musical ("Me"), in which he sings that woman "occasionally" serve a purpose in marriage, specifically "extending the family tree". He's clearly portrayed as a villain because of this.
  • This is the entire driving force behind Mulan. First, Mulan is considered a complete screw-up because she fails at her session with the matchmaker and thus seems unlikely to be married. Then she is nearly killed for disguising herself as a boy and fighting in the army. She wins the respect of everyone by the film's end and the sequel has her serving as a warrior for the Emperor again, this time openly as a woman.
  • Played for one-off jokes in The Amazing Chan and The Chan Clan. Anne the tomboy has to put up with "just a girl" comments from her brothers now and then, but it's clear they're just busting her chops and at the end of the day think of her as their equal.
  • Master Fnog in Futurama refused to send Leela, his best student, to the Junior Karate Championships, instead sending the two students she defeated in the qualifiers, because he claimed she did not have the Will of the Warrior - which according to him, only men can possess. Later, Leela encounters him during Bender's final bout in the Ultimate Robot Fighting League as the trainer of a new star, Destructor. She eventually uncovers Fnog was cheating and even though he still taunts her for being a woman, she gets to beat the crap out of him.
    • Also shows up in the episode where Leela meets a surviving man of her species, who seems nice at first but acts increasingly sexist towards her. It turns out he wants women to stay at home because if they wandered too far from their mansions, they might discover the other mansions containing the other women he's seduced.
  • Touched in an episode of Batman: The Animated Series where Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy team up, and grumble about the lack of respect they get from males. At one point they briefly get the upper hand on Batman and ask him if he is bothered by being beaten by "mere girls".

"Man or woman, a sick mind is capable of anything."
"A very enlightened statement, Batman. We'll carve it on your headstone."

  • Self-inflicted variation in The Penguins of Madagascar: a faulty DNA test convinces Skipper he's actually female, and so he intentionally starts acting in a way he considers feminine, e.g. by wearing a pink bow, refusing to get into "dangerous" situations, and (horror of horrors) asking for directions.
  • A variation of this occurs in Ben 10: Ultimate Alien after Kevin's Heel Face Turn. After Kevin suffers With Great Power Comes Great Insanity, Ben insists that he's too far gone and it's time to Shoot the Dog. Gwen continues argue they should find another way with Ben, and later Max, both state that she should just stay out of the way.
    • More because Gwen is Kevin's girlfriend then anything else, she would try and stop them.
  • Happened in the Mega Man cartoon in regards to Roll, though only in early episodes. Presumably Mega Man realized she was pretty capable after all.
  • This is Cotton Hill's from King of the Hill general attitude toward women, he gets called out on it several times especially from Peggy, especially during the episode where Bobby started imitating him.
  • The Biker Mice From Mars occasionally treat Charlene like this—even though she's not burdened with an ego as massive as they are.
  • Inverted in Ed, Edd n Eddy: the Kanker Sisters view the Eds (and men in general) as weak and more fit for housework.
  • American Dad: "Stan of Arabia: Part 1" has Stan sing a musical number about how he wants Francine to adhere more to this trope.

Stan: I want to be greeted with a massage and a martini, the way Master was by his Jeannie!

Real Life

  • What female forumgoer hasn't come across this line at least once, either used ironically as an intentionally out-dated insult, by a not-very-subtle Troll, or, on occasion, as an actual sincere put-down.
  • The aforementioned American policy of not putting female military personnel in aggressive combat situations. This is very, very slowly changing - women now serve on US Navy submarines, and despite technically being in a support role, more women see open combat in Iraq and Afghanistan as a matter of course. There have been studies put forward to suggest that male soldiers will go out of their way to protect women and put themselves in greater danger. Similarly, for some time, it was suggested that women could not fly in combat missions as they would be more likely to black out in increased g-forces (in fact, women are less likely to experience this). Despite changing attitudes worldwide, there is actually a non-profit organization, the Center for Military Readiness, that openly advocates against the inclusion of women in the US military, seeing them as physically unfit. The same organization fought and eventually lost the battle to oppose homosexuals for similar reasons.
  • This is still largely practiced in sports - men and women's sports are segregated by sex, with the men's team considered the "real" sport. This can be seen in the case of Mina Johnson, a student of Southampton Academy that is also a JV starting defensive tackle. While the school had no problems letting her play, she chose to sit out a game against a rival academy that threatened to forfeit if they had to play against her. To further extend this trope, the treatment of Johnson led to her team wearing pink socks and armbands as a show of unity for her and trouncing the opposing team 60-0.
    • The case of Ms. Johnson is hardly a refutation of this trope, as there is a huge difference between the size and strength differential between junior varsity (usually 12–14 years old, for non-U.S. readers) *boys and girls* and fully adult men and women. While there are many, many sports in which women can compete against men, there is a reason why there are no women in the National Football League of American football; and, for that matter, why there are no female players in World Cup football (soccer, for U.S. readers).
  • In Brazil, the most common phrase for this attitude is "Go back to the washboard!" (even though with the advent of washing machines, hardly anyone does manual laundry).
    • "Go back to piloting stoves!" is arguably more popular, especially when driving since the stereotype that "All women Drive Like Crazy" is still strong there.
  • Similar to the above military examples, in Greece conscription is mandatory. For men. Women who want a career in the Army can join a military school (and not waste about a year of their life).
    • Is the same in Colombia.
    • And Cyprus (which is not part of Greece).
  • Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn famously told a female colleague: "Woman, go cook". It wasn't meant as a friendly joke.
  • Curiously, where actual cooking is involved, only domestic cooking is considered feminine. In professional cooking, women are still expected to Stay in the Kitchen—or rather, stay in the other kitchen. This kitchen is a man's world, since allegedly "Only a man can be a chef. A cooking woman is merely a cook."
    • And on 'Iron Chef America, only one of the chefs is a woman (Cat Cora.)
  • Ghost, from True Capitalist, invokes this trope whenever a woman disagrees with him.
  • The Chinese character (安) (also used in Japanese) for "safe and secure" represents a woman inside a house.
  • Sadly, many of the conservative sects of mainstream religions still advocate this.