Wouldn't Hit a Girl

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Scott: "I don't hit girls."

Roxie: "You're just a pussy, Pilgrim!"

On average, men have greater upper body strength than women. Because most people don't actually understand concepts like "average" very well, in a lot of people's minds this turns into "any given man is always much, much stronger than any given woman." And since a true hero never uses his strength against the weak, and all women are supposedly weak compared to him, it follows that a hero must never use physical violence against any woman, ever.

When applied to ordinary bar fights, schoolyard throwdowns, duels of honor and so on, the trope is well-meaning if also rather sexist (against both men and women, albeit in different ways). However, when characters keep invoking it in situations where their female opponent poses a really serious threat that might only be preventable by violence, it quickly becomes absurd. The cynical might point out that, rather than being motivated by pure nobility of spirit, this philosophy functions as a convenient way for the male character to avoid the humiliation of being beaten by a woman; if he refuses to fight against women, there's no way for a woman to ever prove she could defeat him at his full strength.

Since ideas about gender roles are in flux these days and tend to vary widely, modern media can be highly inconsistent about whether this trope is portrayed as a good or bad thing. If a villain refuses to fight a heroic Action Girl on these grounds, it's a toss-up whether this will be portrayed as a sign that he has at least a warped sense of honor after all, or as profoundly insulting. Of course, the villain might be not sure of his chances and the refusal to fight might be just a trick. If a hero can't bring himself to strike a villainess, it either means that he's a chivalrous guy with strong values, or that an old-fashioned, patronizing attitude toward women is one of his few character flaws. Occasionally you'll even see both at once, particularly in heroic cases; the character's reluctance to hit women may be portrayed as a sympathetic flaw – stupid and sexist, but ultimately born out of an admirable desire to behave ethically and avoid being a bully.

Action heroes (or villains) who invoke this trope even though they face female opponents find various ways to get around it. At minimum, they'll make a quip along the lines of “I normally hate hitting women, but in this case I'll make an exception” or "I don't hit ladies, but you're no lady" before they start to strike back. They might try to find creative ways to defeat her nonviolently, perhaps through trickery; they might try to minimize the necessary violence by using grapples or pressure point attacks rather than actual blows; or they might get off on a technicality by doing something that indirectly results in physical harm to the female opponent without actually striking or firing a weapon against her. In supernatural settings, the problem may be resolved by the male character temporarily turning into a woman, voluntarily or not, thus freeing him from a gentleman's obligations toward the fairer sex. Probably the most common solution, however, is for the male character to simply defer to a female ally who faces no such moral dilemma.

Due to Media Watchdogs, this trope is often quietly applied without being explicitly invoked, especially in cartoons and other media aimed at children. This is often noticeable even when actually feeling obligated by the trope would seem completely out of character, or when the overall message of the work seems to undermine the whole “women are weak and need protection” idea that forms the justification for the trope. Sure, the work never says or really even implies that the female characters' combat skills are in any way different from their male counterparts', but somehow by pure coincidence the token female team member is always the one who ends up fighting the female villains.

Sometimes the reason is pure PR: Even if a guy is justified and doesn't mind hitting a girl, chances are he will be seen as a thug if he does. Truth in Television, many a man defending himself in real life has been attacked by bystanders, mobs and even the police upon being seen hitting a girl, context be damned.

Often a form of Heroic Vow. May be a form of Innocent Bigotry when it's portrayed as sexist, but the male character genuinely had no idea that some people would see it that way. Compare Would Not Shoot a Civilian, which encompasses this in settings where women are not combatants. See also Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil. A Wife-Basher Basher lives out this trope with righteous fury.

Remember, aversions go under Would Hit a Girl.

Examples of Wouldn't Hit a Girl include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Maken-ki! The main character has this philosophy. He also feels that women shouldn't even fight amongst themselves for any reason.
  • Used brilliantly in the Hellsing manga and OVA. After assisting Integra in a fight against Nazi vampires, some Iscariot members insist on her coming along as their prisoner. She refuses to do so, and, baffled about what to do, they propose knocking her out or tying her up. Integra points out that attempting this would be unfair because they outnumber her, and implies that there would be something thuggish and perverse about them attempting it because she's a woman. Anderson agrees, and instead the group settles on escorting her wherever she wants to go.
  • Ranma ½ has the titular character, who Fanon usually considers averse to fighting women no matter what the cause is. In canon, not so much; while there are one or two times he expresses the sentiment that he doesn't particularly like to fight girls, it mostly seems to be fans reading too much into the fact that Akane and his unwanted girlfriends can all give him the "total beatdown" version of the Armor-Piercing Slap despite being inferior martial artists. Compared to him. Perhaps fuelled by heresay about a comment Ranma makes to Akane the first time in the series that the two of them are sentenced to Standing in the Hall, where he mildly suggests that the reason Akane always beats Kuno is because when a guy is fighting a girl he likes, he might decide to let her win. The reality is that Ranma is quite willing to fight women, will leap into battle with them without thinking, and only fights them on a relatively "low level" because:
    1. They are invariably less powerful than he is (barring Cologne, Kiima, Herb before The Reveal, and Rouge in her Ashura form).
    2. He usually has to face them in goofy Martial Arts and Crafts challenges where he can't use his best attacks.
    3. He normally only fights at his best and/or most brutal when against the nastiest or most annoying opponents, such as Happosai and Herb.
    4. There is a shown cultural stigma against fighting girls, which he knows about (shown in multiple arcs, such as the arc with Miss Hinako).
    • Even the "turn into a girl to be able to fight a girl" thing gets played with; though one anime episode has him lampshade this type of thinking, he usually does it either because he has to in order to fight in the first place (competing in Martial Arts Rhythmic Gymnastics or Cheerleading, for example) or because the fight was started specifically because of his being in female form (first fight against Shampoo, or the manga version of the Martial Arts Tea Ceremony where he was abducted because he appeared to be a strong female martial artist). He even daydreams of bitchslapping Akane into shutting up and listening to him when he plans out how to explain being caught naked in the tub with Shampoo in the manga. Most tellingly, before The Reveal about Herb's true gender, Ranma was perfectly willing to go all-out with devastating attacks by ambushing a naked woman in the bath—and Herb barely had time to block and divert a kick that pulverized a boulder. So yeah, if you prove you're a threat, and you prove you can take it, Ranma will fight back with everything he's got, regardless of age, gender, or size.
    • That said, the general attitude that guys shouldn't hit girls does seem to have some place in the background of the series. Akane tries to stop Ryoga from fighting back against Ukyo, who is attacking him for attacking Ranma, by yelling out that she's really a girl, clearly expecting Ryoga to back off at that. Pantyhose Taro's revelation that he Would Hit a Girl is used to emphasize just what a ruthless person he is and confirm his nature as a villain.
  • Guilty Crown: Dan Eagleman is disgusted when Segai points a gun at Haruka Ouma. Even when hindered by the cancerous crystals caused by the Apocalypse Virus, he throws himself at Segai and punches him in the face, giving Haruka a chance to escape.
  • Inuyasha Jakotsu, the flamboyantly gay villain with a crush on Inuyasha, was originally supposed to be female. The author changed him to male because she didn't want Inuyasha to kill a girl. The numerous minor female villains always either transform into monster form(Looking at you Mistress Centipede) during the fight or are dispatched by the female cast, like when Kagome killed Yura of the Hair by destroying the red skull that was her true form. Similarly, the two major female villains (Kagura and Kanna) get hit by the heroes' combined weapons only a handful of times despite being introduced very early in the series, and being dispatched very late in the storyline. In the end Kagura is murdered by Naraku for betraying him, and Kanna is killed by taking the damage from the monster she was controlling while the heroes were pleading with her to not die for Naraku. Both deaths are treated as an example of what an abomination that Naraku was.
    • Against Abi, Inuyasha remarks that he doesn't like fighting women, but she's so evil he'll make an exception. However, Naraku "gave" Abi a trident (made from his bones) that creates a defensive barrier. Eventually, it is Naraku who kills both Abi and her mother.
    • While Kagome did land the final blow, Inu Yasha had no qualms cutting off Yura of the Hair's limbs and shoving his hand clear through her chest; it just turned out that that wasn't her real body and so all that damage only slightly annoyed her.
      • At that particular point in time, though, Inuyasha was a lot rougher and more violent towards everyone than he would be in later chapters/episodes, as he was still stuck in his "I have no friends and all the world is an enemy in waiting" mindset from the life he lived and his "betrayal" by Kikyo.
    • There was one episode of the Inuyasha anime in which Kagura was brutalized by Koga, and I mean fist to face, knee to stomach fighting. I mean, she had killed hundreds of his friends so what did you expect? But in the end she utterly destroyed him in that fight, and he only got out alive because of Inuyasha and his friends interfering.
    • This actually gets played for laughs in the second Non-Serial Movie. Inuyasha has had one sleeve of his firerat fur kimono torn off as an item to break the seal binding Kaguya. After reuniting with Sango and Miroku, Sango asks why he's dressed so funny as he isn't normally such a slob. Inuyasha promptly belts Miroku over the head, who points out in dismay he hadn't said or done anything offensive and asks why Inuyasha hit him for Sango's insult. Inuyasha refuses to answer with anything more than "I felt like it".
  • Yu Yu Hakusho Kuwabara is revealed to have "don't fight girls" as part of his personal moral code. He even refuses to fight the demon Miyuki during the Rescue Yukina arc, despite the fact that she is both deliberately challenging him and quite offended by this attitude. Yusuke, meanwhile, promptly steps up and reveals that he has no problems with fighting girls, declaring that he doesn't understand what the problem is with refusing to fight somebody who wants to fight you just because they're a different sex and proceeding to brutally finish her off. In the unedited dub, after beating her senseless, Kuwabara starts to protest Yusuke's actions in outrage, for which Yusuke reluctantly explains that Miyuki isn't a woman at all. She's a female-dressed Transsexualism (presumably male to female, though comments made could be taken as making her to be a female to male) with breasts and male sexual organs, leading to the following amusing quote:

Yusuke: The family jewels have not been stolen.

    • Yusuke explains that he opened the fight by groping Miyuki on both the chest and crotch, the latter because something didn't quite feel right about the breasts. When Kuwabara asks if this means that Yusuke would have taken it easier if Miyuki had really been a girl, Yusuke refuses to answer. When Miyuki herself claims that Yusuke was actually extra rough because of her true nature, Yusuke batters her unconscious and insists he treated her exactly the way he would have treated any of his opponents, male, female or in-between.
    • In essence, the scene manages to play the trope straight, avert it, and then subvert it in rapid succession.
  • One Piece Sanji chivalrously refuses to fight women, or in one case a Shapeshifter taking the form of a woman (Nami, although that was partially because he couldn't stop swooning over how cute "she" was) even if it means his death, and was once severely beaten as a result, with Nami being sure to let him know how stupid he's being. He does point a gun at Nico Robin on one occasion, but admits that it was a reflex to protect Vivi.
    • A fan once asked to author to expand on the scene where Sanji is beaten because he can't hurt a female assassin. The author admitted that he didn't want to write the scene, but specified that Sanji is physically unable to bring himself to hit a woman, which hurts his pride.
    • Sanji actually has to continually trick Mr 2 Bon Clay into touching his face with his left hand to keep the opponent from averting Sanji's attack because he takes Nami's form. Even mid-kick.
    • Notable occurrence in Usopp's fight with Perona. Usopp never actually hit Perona, instead using his various tricks and gadgets to frighten her into unconsciousness. Well, he did hit her with an inflatable hammer, but it didn't actually hurt her.
      • He tried to hurt her though at the start of the fight. Then, till the very end, she was not even tangible.
    • In Robin's flashback, she witnesses Spandine roughly tossing her mother Olvia to the ground, and thinks that it is a cruel thing to do to a woman. Which is nothing compared to what his son Spandam does to her later on; Robin takes such a terrible beating from him that Rob Lucci is disgusted.
    • Tashigi thought this trope was in action when Zoro didn't kill her after their fight, but doesn't seem to understand that due to her resemblance to his childhood friend, doing so would probably would have caused him to have a Freak-Out of epic proportion.
    • Played with, if not subverted, in Impel Down when Emperio Ivankov uses his hormone-based powers to turn himself female before facing the prison's top female officer.
      • Can't be a subversion because the only way to deal with female enemies if you Wouldn't Hit a Girl is with a Cat Fight, so by changing himself into a woman to fight Sadi-chan, he's crossing into a whole different trope.
    • Luffy himself has no such qualms, as Alvida, Ms. Valentine's Day and especially Hancock's sisters Marigold and Sandersonia found out. Though due to the sisters' Scaled Up Devil Fruits, What Measure Is a Non-Human? possibly kicks in.
      • Luffy also punched Vivi.
  • Dragon Ball In the first Martial Arts Tournament featured, Ran-Fan's entire strategy revolves around this. That, and stripping.
  • Elfen Lied Completely inverted with Bandou, who proves himself an asshole by immediately back-handing a random female secretary for approaching him from behind, calling her a "stupid bitch" afterwards. In fact the only opponents that the man ever has in the series are girls (albeit super-powered girls). He even lampshades it at one point, telling a girl that he is assaulting that he really doesn't give a crap whether she's a little girl or not.
    • The manga introduces a character that is more abusive and cruel towards women than even Bandou, far surpassing the boundaries of sexual predator. Luckily though he ends up getting decapitated by Lucy when he offers to protect her.
  • In the manga History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi, the title character refuses to hit a girl, saying that it's not something a gentleman would do. This becomes a problem twice, once with Miu who he trains with (but is told that if he does not try to fight back then it just hurts both of their chances of getting stronger) and with Kisara who HATES it when people don't fight her because she's a girl.
    • Later in the series, when faced with this situation, Kenichi learns to compensate by using Jujutsu. Possessing many grappling-style techniques, it allows Kenichi to disable female opponents without striking them and with minimal violence.
      • And then he has an opponent that's a little girl who is far, far better at him with Jujutsu and he'd have a real tough time fighting even if she wasn't a girl. The fight is completely avoided when his friends distract her with a birthday party and make her forget the scheduled duel, meaning she lost her 'turn' to fight him.
    • YAMI member Akira "God Fist" Hongo proves to be fairly chivalrous as well. When Shigure (alongside Apachai) attacks him, he brushes both of them off without actually striking back, saying in the process that he's not interested in fighting women (while in Apachai's case, it's because he's hurt from an earlier fight).

Shigure: He treated me...as a woman. (light blush)

  • Naruto Shikamaru is faced with this moral issue several times, though he's fine with doing it if he has to (he even tried to strangle Tayuya). Although Temari says "that it's just an act."
    • He does say that it's "against his code" to strike a lady, but notes that Tayuya doesn't count as one (it helps that she'd gone One-Winged Angel and didn't look very feminine anymore.)
    • In fact, everyone else, good or bad, avoids this.
    • Especially early in the series there's a tendency for Cat Fight to ensue whenever groups including women clash—probably the origin of the two-boys-one-girl convention, so that Kishimoto always had a girl to make any given girl fight, although as the world has become more entrenched and popular there has been a retreat from this tendency. For example, Akastuki only had Konan, and she never directly engaged the protagonists.
    • Also, since they are ninja, even at the start any case where they used girl-hitting to establish bad character had some other nastiness trope in play, too—for example when Neji handed Hinata her ass, it was brutally unfair, a betrayal, and dereliction of duty, and would still have been had she been a boy of comparable skill.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima Kotarou does not like having to hit girls. The series also subverts it, in that after Kaede utterly kicks his butt due to his refusal to hit her, everybody (Kaede included) treats his dislike of hitting girls as a stupid idea that he needs to get over in order to be a better fighter. This particularly hurts him since 95% of the cast is female. Including at least half the villains. Although, he seems to be getting over it lately, at least when defending girls from other girls. At one point he kicks Tsukuyomi in the face.
  • Natsuki Crisis Subverted/parodied. Natsuki's fellow karate club members claim that this is the reason they won't practice against her... but it's obvious that the real reason is that she can kick their butts, and they're too scared.
  • Flame of Recca The normally extremely proud Mikagami fakes an injury (or rather, exaggerates a very mild one), to get out of facing a female opponent.
    • If it was the fight against the Ura Uruha, then they didn't have any female members. I can't remember why he sat out that fight, but he didn't really show any problems fighting the all-female team in the previous fight (even almost killing Neon, if not for Recca gaining a new power).
  • Saint Seiya Apart of having the Bronze Saints consider an horrible crime to even point a finger against Saori aka Athena (though this is more for her being their Goddess and a non-combatant), Seiya refused to fight the female Silver Saint Ophicus Shaina often. When she specifically sought after him and tried to force him to fight, he specifically told her he wouldn't fight her because she was a girl, prompting Shaina to go into a Motive Rant to explain why she wanted to fight him. Also... When she attempted an Heroic Sacrifice to save him from Leo Aiolia, a part of feeling horribly guilty for Shaina's self-sacrifice, Seiya also was pissed off because Aiolia lifted a hand * against a female* . And the same happened with Saori tried a Batman Gambit to win Aiolia's favor, by letting him strike her with his most powerful technique: Seiya caught Aiolia's projectile with his hands, then told him "You wanted to hit a defenseless female? What the Hell, Hero??!"
    • Ironically, one of the filler episodes of the anime has Seiya kill a female warrior by attacking her while she's lying on the ground with her back turned to him.
      • And his Sexy Mentor was a girl, Aquila Marin. He seems quite confident on her skills, too.
    • Made even worse in Shaina's case: Motive Rant aside, she's not just a Silver Saint (while Seiya and the rest of the Five-Man Band are merely Bronzes,) she the second most powerful Silver Saint of all, widelu recognized as the most powerful female Saint, given a position of great authority within the Sanctuary and granted the right to mentor students of her own. Having a lowly, cocksure, and younger Bronze newbie say he won't fight her "because she's a girl" is the ultimate affront to her honor as a Saint of Athena.
      • Then again, Seiya had already defeated so many Silver Saints the fact he's Bronze shouldn't be an issue. Why, that season's Big Bad was already calling for Gold Saints.
  • Slam Dunk During the fight in the Shohoku gym one of Mitsui's gangster friends (from before his Heel Face Turn) slaps Ayako and throws her to the floor when she tells Rukawa not to fight. Ryota Miyagi, who's in love with Ayako, goes absolutely apeshit, kicks the guy to the floor * and* punches him until he's unconscious, all the while screaming that women should never be hit.
  • The Prince of Tennis An Tachibana gets slapped and berated for attempting to defend Sakuno Ryuzaki from a bully. Cue to Takeshi Momoshiro telling the bully one of the quotes above and throwing the guy to the ground.
  • Basilisk Brutal and bloody subversion. Saemon Kisaragi of the Koga Ten says it's not in him to hit or kill women... right after he kills Hotarubi of the Iga Ten by cutting off both of her hands and stabbing her in the chest, then letting her fall down a cliff.
    • In fact, out of all the Basilisk girls, only two aren't horribly killed by male fighters in the middle of the bloody feud between Igas and Kogas. One is killed by a fellow Action Girl, the other is Driven to Suicide.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Greed refuses to fight Izumi, saying "I don't fight women, it's not my style." This doesn't stop him from making the side of his face as hard as diamond when Izumi tries to punch him, causing her to break several of her fingers.
  • Eyeshield 21 The Deimon Devil Bats go up against the Teikoku Alexanders, whose quarterback is female. Hiruma senses misplaced chivalrous intent in his team and cuts the problem off at the knees by making up a story to them about Karin, the female quarterback—her name's really Karinrou and she's a man, so you'd better go all out on her. It works.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX There's a rather curious variation where the one refusing to duel against Asuka Tenjouin was... another woman. Sure, Taniya is a buff and scarred Hot Amazon, but she's still a female yet says she doesn't duel against other females.
    • Then again, given she was dueling in part to find a husband... though if they had duelled anyway... it would've been HOT.
      • Even worse, when Taniya activated a card that made images of the duelists strike each other and Jaden thought he'd fight her for real and tried to invoke the trope, she didn't take it for an insult.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya Subverted in the second season (and the second novel), during the production of the Brigade-movie. Haruhi did her worst Kick the Dog act to Mikuru and then said to Kyon's face that it was okay for her to do such things. Kyon went ballistic on her... but then Koizumi stopped his punch. After that event, Koizumi also remarked that he "always thought [Kyon was] a calm person", and Kyon notes that it was not in him to be violent,
    • One of the most well-known (if not THE most) Haruhi hentai doujins involves Kyon, after watching Haruhi performing even MORE heinous acts to Mikuru, not only goes through with punching her, but he then proceeds to beat the crap out of her when she fights back, and culminates the beating by showing her the same kind of humiliation Mikuru went through. His method of choice? Well, it's Hentai, so take a guess.
  • Bleach: Aramaki feels guilty about knocking Orihime out when she tries to bite him in order to go back and assist Uryu. Mayuri suggests that part of the "honor of the Quincy" involves protecting women- even enemies- after Uryu protests his mistreating his female lieutenant and "daughter," Nemu.
    • Lampshaded and then averted by Renji. Jackie asks him if he's not attacking her just because she's a woman, but Renji calmly says it's not about gender but about him not being willing to attack first. Considering both his Curb Stomp Battle and "The Reason You Suck" Speech against her...
    • During his training with Uruhara, Ichigo shows a lot of reluctance to spar with Ururu, which overlaps with Wouldn't Hurt a Child because Ururu looks like a young girl. He quickly changes his mind when he finds out she's a lot stronger than she looks.
  • When Hime-chan from Himechan no Ribon asked Daichi to hit her (because she hit him earlier and she felt guilty) he refused to hit a girl. So she grabbed his fist and punched herself with it.
  • Death Note Mostly played straight with Light - he has no qualms whatsoever about killing women (at times brutally) with the Note, but he never physically harms them in person.
    • Only because it's too risky to be justified. He considers using physical force against Naomi Misora, for instance, but decides against it because it would be too likely for him to be seen doing so, or for him to make a mistake and let her escape, and that would really ruin his reputation as a model citizen. (It wouldn't have worked anyway: Misora was an expert martial artist... but Light didn't know that.)
  • Kongoh Bancho Partially averted, where the protagonist Akira Kongoh has no problem fighting a girl, but often either underestimates them or intentionally holds back because of their gender. Although in both cases shown so far it's proven to be a rather bad idea, and he doesn't actually win until he goes all out.
  • Durarara!! Subverted: Izaya isn't one for hitting girls—That's why he makes it a hobby of his to stomp on their cellphones instead.
  • Change 123 Played with. Most characters in this manga don't have a problem hitting girls, including a biker gang that Hibiki must confront to save her Non-Action Guy Love Interest. After the other Split Personality, Fujiko, takes care of the underlings, Hibiki confronts the leader and puts him in the hospital for a few weeks. Much later, the gang leader's girlfriend asks them to beat up this annoying girl she ran into... who happens to be Hibiki. The entire gang spontaneously decides they don't hit women.
    • Aizawa plays this trope straight. Although he is a "Yankee" Delinquent who fights very ungentlemanly against guys, he is unwilling to hit a girl, even if a girl (usually unintentionally) offenses him. The only exception is when he deals with the tomboyish Ginga, whose fighting skills are, however, on par with his.
  • In Bakuman。, when Miyoshi demands that Mashiro and Takagi let her into their office, Takagi reluctantly decides to answer the door, saying that she would beat him up later. He says that he would fight back and win, but can't because she's a girl, and Mashiro doubts this statement.
  • Surprisingly, Arika invokes this trope in Mai-Otome Zwei. After Yukino offers herself as a hostage in order to convince the terrorists to let the passengers of the hijacked bus go, she asks them to do the same for Arika, only to be told that they're keeping her since she's one of Nagi's greatest enemies. When Yukino warns them that Windbloom will become their enemy if any harm comes to Arika, one of them is prepared to hit her, but Arika intercedes, telling them that her grandmother said that men who hit women are terrible people. The terrorist reluctantly stops himself.
  • Of all types of lowlife Kenshiro had to face, he never had to or would fight a woman who isn't the helpless wastelander type.
  • Daily Lives of High School Boys:
    • In High School Boys and the Cultural Festival, Student Council President says this near the end of his fight with Ringo-chan. But it's obvious that he's just not that good at fighting.
    • Played straight in the High School Girls are Funky skit Resentment: Facing Yanagi and Ikushima's attacks, Karasawa didn't in fact hit any of them a bit—the closest to this he did was to turn 180 degrees so that Yanagi kicked Ikushima's butt instead. The entire thing was, instead, ended by him showing his scar.
    • Subverted in High School Boys and Seniority, Motoharu didn't hit his sister's classmates that are bullying him...not because they're girls, but because they're senior to him.
  • Even though Guts from Berserk averts this when it comes to VERY LETHAL female apostles, he fiddles with this trope at best. You see, Guts isn't exactly the poster child of a Knight in Shining Armor and has done a BIG share of morally questionable actions, but he's still too decent of a guy to sink to level of battering women and girls just because. At most, he'll just hurt their feelings, traumatize them, threaten them, or hold them hostage, and in those instances, that was back when Guts was almost a Villain Protagonist before he found his light again. A good example would be with his own future Love Interest, Casca. When they were stranded in the rain after a battle and Casca feel ill (which was induced by her fighting during her period), Guts had to save her life by taking off their clothes and warming her. Casca, who didn't like Guts back then, didn't take too kindly to this gesture the next morning and attacked him. In his aggravation, Guts began to yell at her and told her that had she been a man, he would have dislocated her jaw. Guts said a bunch more pretty hurtful things to Casca - which resulted in her crying and him feeling sorry for doing so - but it was most likely because he was hurt that he always tried to get on Casca's good side but she never approved of him, so he just popped.
  • In the My-HiME manga, this is averted when Yuuichi tries a Get a Hold of Yourself, Man! punch on a brainwashed and insane Shiho, but this only makes things worse.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Sin City Played straight in the comic book and film; Marv has some (albeit a very few) moral lines in the sand, which he crosses only with extreme reluctance - hitting a woman is one of them. He crosses this line on only two occasions in the series: to spare his companion Wendy, Goldie's twin sister, from having to watch him torture Goldie's killer Kevin to death, and executing a female slave trader who was planning to sell a girl who Marv was trying to find and bring back to her mother into sexual slavery.
    • Marv also takes this trope one step further, as other people hitting women is his Berserk Button, particularly in regards to Nancy Callahan, his favorite among the strippers at Kadie's. He mentions an episode from his past when some frat boy asshole roughed up Nancy, and Marv "straightened him out but good," implying that the other guy didn't survive the beatdown.
  • Superman: Subverted (sort of; there's not "hitting"...) early in the John Byrne reboot: Superman faces a gang which includes a violent, glasses-wearing, heavily armed female member spouting revolutionary phrases. She tries the double-powered "You wouldn't hit a lady with glasses, would you?". Superman gently removes her glasses and flicks his finger on her forehead, knocking her cold. He then says, "A lady? No, but then I've never met a lady who carries dynamite under her coat."
    • And yet after that, Superman backslides into being bound by this trope. Fortunately for Metropolis, most of his opponents are male because, when he fights a woman, he gets slapped around a lot because he can't be shown striking her, even when she's clearly powerful enough to take one of his punches. He'll restrain her or attack her in an indirect fashion (like pouring water on Livewire), or a female superhero will step in (often after he's been dropped) and beat the villainess up for him.
  • In Asterix and the Secret Weapon The villain attempts to use this trope to defeat the invincible-yet-honourable Gauls - by employing a whole centuria of women to fight them. The gauls respond by transforming their village into a giant mall. The "trap" succeeds flawlessly; Unfortunate Implications ahoy, though one can also attribute their lack of military discipline (evidenced in their first on-page appearance) to a rushed training.
  • In the 70's, the Avengers fought against the "Lion king", an African deity who wanted to capture the Black Panther. He defeated all the other Avengers, but refused to fight against the Black Widow: instead, he summoned a pair of common lions to deal with her. The Widow pointed that she was glad that she did not belong to the tribe of such a machist god.
  • Scott Pilgrim The titular character is called out by his own girlfriend as being a pussy for not hitting girls. She ends up grabbing him by the arm and hitting the girls who were attacking them with his fist, because "you've got to learn how to hit a girl, Scott."
  • Wonder Woman volume 3 #20, Diana ticks off Beowulf, and he attacks her. After she punches him in the face, Beowulf apologises and says he doesn't fight women. Then they see Grendel's worshippers approaching, and Diana asks him if he ever fights beside women. Cue the pair readying themselves for battle.
    • Which is odd, because in the original Legends, one of the monsters Beowulf kills is Grendel's mother.
      • ...who was less a woman, and more a man eating monster who just happened to be female.
    • Green Lantern When Kyle Rayner went on a Hero Quest (asking established heroes questions on being a hero), one of Wonder Woman's lessons to him was "never underestimate a woman." (The comic opens with Kyle beating Wonder Woman in a staged fight.)
  • The first time Spider-Man encountered a female villain, he said that he couldn't hit a girl. Few of his villains even today are female.
    • He gets over this later. In Secret Wars especially when he takes on Titania (who was about kill She Hulk) and throws her through a wall.
    • He had definitely gotten over this by the videogame based on the third movie; not only can you pummel Shriek, there are also Apocalypse Gang Grenadiers, who are female, and there's nothing stopping you from catching them in a web line and slamming them at high speed into the pavement.
  • Captain America (comics) Used and subverted in an issue. Going up against Anaconda, a rare female villain who is muscular, does not possess the Most Common Superpower, and genuinely enjoys a fistfight, Cap pulled a punch "in deference to her womanhood", then decided not to make that mistake again. He then realized that she could shrug off punches that "could shatter bone", and had to resort to his shield. As said in the comments for the entry, "Dude, it's Captain America. He believes in freedom, justice, civil liberties, gay rights, gender equality and yeah, that means punching men and women without discriminating."
    • Used again in another comic. A supervillain and a supervillainess have escaped from prison. Long story short, Cap hits her with his elbow hard enough to knock her out briefly while saying "Sorry, lady!"
  • Captain Marvel In a 1970s comic, the Marvel Family storms Hell itself. They fight various mythological monsters there; when they run into Lamia, neither Billy nor Freddy dare hit her, despite her being a half-snake monster. Luckily the brought Mary Marvel along. * Pow*
  • The Punisher—for a while. Prior to Garth Ennis, Frank had a habit of going easier on women than men. He once laments that he doesn't know why, given all the evil women he's met. They usually try to kill him despite his mercy, making it a moot point.
    • Both subverted and played straight in a fairly recent Punisher Christmas Special (2005, I think), wherein a hitwoman is hired by the wives of New York mafiosos killed by the Punisher. She has a decoy gun down civilians at Times Square on New Years Eve to draw Frank out, then they engage in brutal fight. Frank wins, and the hitwoman reveals she has a bizarre Stalker with a Crush attitude towards Castle. She reveals her employers, Frank apparently kills her by tossing her out a window, and then confronts the wives. The lead one pulls a gun and is killed, while the others plead with Castle, who agrees to let them go, as long as they leave the country after donating money to the victims of the Times Square massacre.
  • Played straight, but for laughs in the non-canon Planetary/Batman crossover comic. Several versions of Batman are encountered, including the Adam West one, who uses "Bat-Female-Villain-Repellent" on Jakita. The other versions have much less trouble hitting her.
  • "The Mad Adventures of Captain Klutz" by Don Martin. Parodied in the short story "Chicken Soup", the titular hero bemoans the fact his superhero code prohibits him from hitting the evil woman villain turning everyone into zombies - but it doesn't say anything about not SHOOTING her!
  • Batman villain the Cavalier prides himself on being a man of the highest moral fibre; not only does he refuse to harm women, but upon seeing a woman in peril he will help Batman save her, and has several times interrupted one of his own crimes to help an old woman with her luggage.
  • What Could Have Been by Don Rosa. Sketches for Chapter 8 of The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck show scrooge displaying this attitude toward Goldie, leaving a young Elvira Duck (Grandma Duck) to take her on. Fortunately, in the actual story, Scrooge's and Goldie's relationship ultimately averts this trope in The Prisoner of White Agony Creek, albeit while using a Sexy Discre-, uh, Gory Discretion Shot... well, both, actually.
  • Ex Machina In the second issue, we see a flashback to when Hundred first met Angotti while he was still The Great Machine. She attacks him, trying to subdue and arrest him, and when he doesn't understand she explains the damage he causes, citing a recent incident in which a female officer was injured. He's guilty over the accident, but seems moreso after finding out he hurt a woman.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man Early on, we are introduced to two entirely original super villainesses (the Spider Man universe has always been a tad short on female villains), a mother-daughter pair called The Bombshells, mutants with the ability to make things explode as long as they stay in close proximity to each other. Spidey shows no reluctance when it comes to delivering a flying kick to the mother's face.
  • The Thing explains his predicament in a Let's You and Him Fight with the X-Men.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Small Soldiers Chip Hazard references the trope, but he's very selective about how he applies it. His statement is in reference to a bunch of Barbie dolls he and his fellow toys roboticized. He really has no problem killing human women if necessary.
  • Batman Returns When Batman and Catwoman are fighting for the first time, she pummels him and he refuses to counterattack - for a moment. When finally he does punch her out, she whimpers, "How could you? I'm a woman!" Immediately contrite, Batman moves to help her up... and she knocks him off the rooftop. "As I was saying, I'm a woman, and can't be taken for granted!" In later encounters, Batman has learnt his lesson and does hit her.
  • Romeo Must Die Jet Li's character is attacked by a female assailant, and fights back by holding his love interest Aaliyah and manipulating her arms and legs so that she's technically the one beating up on the attacker. This scene inspired the famous dance between the pair in Aaliyah's music video for "Try Again".
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World features a scene where Scott must fight Ramona's fourth evil ex, Roxanne Richter. Scott protests, saying he doesn't want to hit girls. "They're soft." Instead, Ramona manipulates his limbs so she's the one actually fighting. Ultimately Scott must fight his own battles, but he manages to defeat Roxanne without hitting her by touching her erogenous zone behind her knee. Scott's chivalry stands in contrast to the final villain Gideon, who very pointedly Would Hit a Girl.
    • Actually, it was the other way around - Ramona manipulated Scott's hands, although Scott delivers the final hit. Additionally, while Gideon decidedly is willing to hit a girl, the issue first arises with the third evil ex, Todd. Quite a big deal is made about this event, as it is the last straw that Scott is willing to put up with and ultimately is the catalyst for that particular fight.
  • Kung Fu Hustle A woman, whose husband/gangboss was just killed by the Big Bad rival gang, pleads the rival gangboss not to kill her. He tells her that he doesn't hurt women. She thanks him and starts to walk away...and then the gang boss takes a shotgun and kills her with a single shot. Yup, he didn't hurt her, he killed her.
  • In Bruges Ray knocks out a woman who took a swing at him with a bottle. He justifies this to the female lead by explaining he would never normally hit a woman but since she came at him with a deadly weapon, he felt ok taking her out in self defence.
  • Rush Hour 2 Played with. As Carter (Chris Tucker) has to fight Zhang Ziyi's character, he says "I'm gonna pretend you a man. A very beautiful man with a great body that I'd like to take to the movies."
  • Fighter, a Danish film, the sensei orders one of the members of the Action Girl lead's new kung fu club to fight her. He protests that he doesn't fight women. The sensei tells him to fight everyone, or leave.
  • XXX: State of the Union Almost averted. Darius had no problem punching or incapacitating Charlie, but seems cannot bring himself finish her off. His superior must do this for him, saying "I told you you should kill that bitch".
  • Ghost Dog: The Way of The Samurai plays with this trope. Louie, despite being a mobster, won't take any action against a female traffic cop who pulled him over for speeding, even though she's needlessly holding him up from attempting to get his dying friend Vinny to the hospital. Vinny, however, (who is also a mobster) doesn't even hesitate to shoot her. When a horrified Louie calls him on it, Vinny responds by saying that he's just treating her like he would any other cop.
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly averts this trope in order to show how evil The Bad is. However, according to an interview with the actor in question (Lee Van Cleef), he refused to actually hit her, so they had to use his stunt man for that scene.
  • Time Cop, Van Damme's character Max, confronts a female double agent who attacks him. Initially he doesn't fight back and tells her "I don't want to fight a woman." The woman has no qualms with hitting a man, so she gets some free attacks on him without retaliation. Max then subverts the trope when he says "I changed my mind," and punches her back.
  • Force 10 From Navarone A variation appears when the Reverse Mole tells Harrison Ford and Robert Shaw they have to hit her to make their escape from Those Wacky Nazis look genuine. They both balk, but finally comply. Then she berates them for not hitting her hard enough.
  • True Romance An early example of a full aversion, in which a hitman repeatedly punches the female protagonist full-on in the face—hard enough to knock her down.
  • Small Faces A Glasgow gang movie Deconstructed; the Ambiguously Gay friend of the protagonist is cornered by a gaggle of women who start pushing him around trying to get a reaction. A mob of Violent Glaswegians happen to see this, and despite his not having raised a finger to the girls, they dish out a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown that puts him in intensive care.
  • Godzilla: Final Wars, Gordon receives the whole "You wouldn't hit a girl, would you?" routine; only to pause, smile, ball a fist, and reply "Yeah."
      • No, you're right he slaps her, she said this after she was fighting him, making this more of a Finishing Move.
  • Sudden Death features a brutal fight to the death between Jean-Claude Van Damme 's character and a female assassin, which ends with the villain being simultaneously strangled and boiled alive. This trope is averted somewhat by the fact that the assassin spends the entire fight dressed in a giant penguin costume.
  • In the Thunderbirds live action movie Parker says he won't hit a woman when confronted with The Hood's female sidekick. Luckily Tin Tin is there to do it for him.
  • In Superman II, Ursa says, "What? You'd hit a woman?" to get Superman to hesitate.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Played to the hilt in The Wheel of Time series. Although many of the women of Randland wield more political power than men, and are frequently seen physically abusing men, most cultures are extremely protective of women, causing many men to refuse to harm a woman for any reason. Many women, however, protest this behavior.
    • Rand al'Thor is the most prominent example. He refuses to harm a woman even if she's an immortal agent of Ultimate Evil and trying to kill him using legendary magical powers. He also goes out of his way to avoid putting women in danger, which upsets his Amazonian bodyguards immensely. In fact, Rand has memorized the name or identifying characteristic of every woman who died because of him or while in his service. He once goes into a Heroic BSOD after a woman who tried to steal his throne and betray him commits suicide. The 12th book suggests that his behavior is the result of his growing insanity, which magnifies his chivalrous upbringing.
    • Mat Cauthon also develops a case after ordering the death of a woman in Crossroads of Twilight. He will, however, spank women who try to boss him around too much, even Aes Sedai. Luckily for Mat, his betrothed does not share his hang-ups.
    • In the nation of Altara, women wear knives around their necks to slash up their husbands when angered. The husbands are expected to accept this treatment without resistance, to the point of death.
  • The Dresden Files, book version. Harry is almost absurdly chivalrous. He knows it, and considers it a weakness (he's definitely met his fair share of evil women), but can't seem to do anything about it. He has been able to make himself attack women in very extreme circumstances, but it requires him being pushed right to the wall before he can overcome his chivalrous reflex enough to even defend himself properly from a female attacker.
    • So, so averted in the later books, though. Vampires of either sex are fair game, for starters.
      • It's actually played straight due to What Measure Is a Non-Human?. Harry still has a problem attacking White Court Vampires, especially females, because they are living humans who happen to be bound to a demon. However, he doesn't consider other Vampire Courts human at all, which makes them fair game.
  • The Faerie Queene (by Edmund Spenser, published first in three books in 1590): While a pervert torturing a helpless Damsel in Distress for his own sadistic pleasure is despicable, a knight refusing to fight a Dark Action Girl Amazon queen who's trying to kill him is just stupid, as Artegall, the Knight of Justice with a strict code against fighting women, learns the hard way. Good thing his girlfriend comes to his rescue.
  • In More Adventures of the Great Brain, the kids all taunt a 12-year old girl named Dottie, who dresses like a boy and has never been to school before. Ringleader Sammy gets a little too close, so she punches him in the nose. He says he'd fight back if she weren't a girl, but she tells him to go ahead. Sammy ends up eating dirt, and once she learns to fit in, Dottie becomes a celebrity among the other girls for beating up a bigger boy in a "fair and square fight."
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Paladin of Souls, Arhys kills seven enemy sorcerers before being defeated by the eighth. Ista tells the others that the last sorcerer was probably a young and beautiful woman, and Arhys couldn't overcome his chivalry in time to win the fight. His brother remarks sadly that it is an appropriate death for him.
  • Harry Potter generally averts this as the majority of duels are done with wands instead of fists. Notable is from the fifth book where Harry wants to outright kill Bellatrix and is able to knock her off her feet for a moment. However from the same book there is a DA session where Michael Corner appears unwilling to try and disarm Ginny though she is his girlfriend. Interestingly, this is subtly presented as evidence of his jerkassery, rather than chivalry.
  • Subverted in A World Gone Mad. Jerkass Anti-Hero Griffin, when confronted by teen Action Girl Tanya, raises his hands and tells her "I'd never hit a girl." He then promptly whips out his gun and shoots her in the head while she's occupied preparing to give him a "you sexist idiot" speech.
    • He later tries to pull the exact same move on Kyra, but she's quick enough and smart enough to dive for cover before he can clear his holster.
  • Played completely straight in another of David Weber's book series, the Hell's Gate series where both empires have big, big issues with harming women.
  • Lobsang Ludd from the Discworld novel Thief of Time met 3 humanly disguised auditors. He beat two of them, but he couldn't beat up the third one. Why? Obviously, for no other reason than that the auditor had dressed itself as a woman. Lucky Susan Sto-Helit took it out.
    • Banjo, a brutish but childlike thug from Hogfather, had deep objections to hitting girls because of his monstrously domineering mother's rules.
    • The Librarian usually gets aggressive, when he's called a monkey, but when Ginger does it in Moving Pictures, he just pats her hand.
      • He also just wags a finger at Agnes in Maskerade, to which another character says "He likes you. He doesn't usually go in for warnings."
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Traitor General, when the resistance member Sabbatine Cirk baits and snipes at the members of Gaunt's team, it is Ana Curth who finally slugs her.
  • In Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain novel The Traitor's Hand, the colonel of the Tallarn regiment refuses to participate in an interregimental competition of unarmed combat because the women in the Vallahan regiment would participate, which is "unseemly." Whereupon their regimental champion was "promptly and informally challenged" by a female Vallahan.
    • oh and he gets in trouble - not because she's female but because she's higher in rank.
  • The book Friday the 13th: Church of the Divine Psychopath has Captain Hobb, the leader of the strike team sent out to kill Jason, getting into a fight with a female member of the group named Samantha, who hates his guts and wants to take over the operation. While at first reluctant to fight back, Hobb says "screw it" after getting hit really hard one too many times and knocks Sam out with the combination of a Boob Attack and knee to the face.
  • Baccano! Drugs & Dominoes features a humorous scene in which the Gandor brothers, a Power Trio of Neighbourhood Friendly Gangsters, try to figure out a way to punish a waitress from one of their speakeasies for breaking one of their family's rules. They can't just pardon her, but they have very strong opinions on the subject of violence against women: "Raising a hand against a woman is the worst!" The final solution is to force on her a (rather nice) Traumatic Haircut, at which point Claire wonders how they can even bother calling themselves Mafia.
  • In several books in Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar setting, there is a sword named Need that cannot be used against a woman, even if its bearer will die if they can't defend themselves. Needless to say, this can cause problems. The reasons for this are different than the usual justification - Need's bearers are usually women themselves. The sword was forged specifically for the purpose of stopping violence against women.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's A Princess of Mars, this is the rule among the Green Martians. However, Tars Tarkas warns a murderess:

He may not kill you, Sarkoja, it is not our custom, but there is nothing to prevent him tying one end of a strap about your neck and the other end to a wild throat, merely to test your fitness to survive and help perpetuate our race.

    • The Red Martians are even more so. In Thuvia, Maid of Mars, when Nutus tells his son Astok that they must hide his guilt in the kidnapping of Thuvia, and suggests that killing her would be best, even his weak and wicked son is horrified.

Cruel to their enemies are the men of Mars; but the word "enemies" is commonly interpreted to mean men only. Assassination runs riot in the great Barsoomian cities; yet to murder a woman is a crime so unthinkable that even the most hardened of the paid assassins would shrink from you in horror should you suggest such a thing to him.

  • The Survivalist series by Jerry Ahern. Sarah Rourke takes a Soviet officer hostage and forces him to release members of La Résistance. She later discovers that he'd been carrying a concealed pistol all the time, but had been unable to bring himself to shoot her.
  • In the short story "The Living Daylights" James Bond shoots a rifle out of the hands of a female Soviet sniper rather than kill her, endangering the defector he was covering. Given that no-one would believe that these days, it was changed in the movie to Bond noticing the sniper was an obvious amateur and realising something was wrong.
  • This trope is mocked in Gerald Morris' series The Squire's Tales. In one book, Sir Gawain finds out that his younger brother (Gareth, I think?) informed a potential (male) opponent that he would "never raise a sword against the skirts of womanhood." The other guy showed up in a skirt, and the poor, dumb brother let him win. Gawain is very disgusted with him.
    • Has to be Gareth. Agrivaine is a boor and Gaheris is a pragmatist. And Mordred isn't in this continuity.
    • Variations on this trope come up a couple of times. The Princess, the Crone, and the Dungcart Knight, an adaptation of Chretien De Troyes' The Knight of the Cart, features a girl with a sword, who has to cope both with the fact that she's about eleven and that she's female in terms of getting taken seriously. Although people not taking her seriously is the only reason she survives the book, given all she ever gets trained to do is quickdraw.
  • The Sisters of the Light attempt to invoke this with Richard in the Sword of Truth book, Stone of Tears. He promptly tells them off for how stupid that idea is.
  • Played straight in Never Let Me Go. Tommy is horrified when he accidentally whacks Kathy across the face. Later, when he apologizes to her, he states that he'd "never hit a girl".
  • In Monster Blood III , Evan and Andy can't stop laughing after drinking a formula they were given. When Conan thinks they are laughing at him, he beats up Evan. Since he doesn't hit girls, he sticks Andy on a tree branch.
  • It's Madeline Bassett's good fortune that Bertie Wooster is too much of a proper Englishman to knock some understanding into her in Right Ho, Jeeves.

The exquisite code of politeness of the Woosters prevented me clipping her one on the ear-hole, but I would have given a shilling to be able to do it.

  • Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: Harry Wong in Lethal Justice apparently has this attitude towards Yoko Akia when they spar against each other. She non-hesitatingly kicks his ass, but she is still willing to have a relationship with him anyway!


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Star Trek plays this straight a lot. Which is weird, since the Federation (especially from the TNG era on) is generally portrayed as a liberal utopia free from all gender prejudice.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine In the episode Dax, Dr Bashir follows Dax to her quarters and sees her being kidnapped by a Terrible Trio. After punching their leader, one of the other two goes for him. He is about to punch when the hood comes down and he sees it's a woman. Needless to say, the poor guy got his ass handed to him.
      • Later in the same episode, Sisko (who knew the Dax symbiont's previous host, Curzon Dax), gets really frustrated with Jadzia's unwillingness to stand up for herself at her hearing. "Dammit, if you were still a man!"
    • Another Deep Space 9 episode Paradise Lost Odo breaks Captain Sisko out of jail in Starfleet Headquarters. There are two guards in the room where the cell is located: one male, one female. He first punches the male guard, then does a sort of Vulcan neck pinch on the female guard.
    • The Original Series episode Charlie X, plays this straight, with Captain Kirk telling the titular character "There's no right way to hit a woman." In the episode "Turnabout Intruder" an ex-lover of Kirk's, while in Kirk's body, hit Kirk, who was in her body. This shocked the crew and provoked suspicion, as Kirk would never do such a thing...except in Star Trek VI when he did.
  • Spoofed in an episode of Get Smart:

Evil Female Agent: You wouldn't hit a lady, would you?
Agent 13: Well, no.
Evil Female Agent: Good. (At which point she hauls off and decks him.)

  • Subverted in an episode of Angel ("Sanctuary"), where Buffy punches Angel and he punches her back, and Buffy reacts like a helpless woman... until Angel points out she could kick his ass if she wanted and she did slug him first, so the protestation is just empty air.
    • Buffy the Vampire Slayer Subverted in an episode ("Ted"), where Buffy comes upon Ted having just read her diary. She waits and lets Ted physically hit her, before smiling and remarking that she was so glad he hit her so she would have an excuse to pummel him.
  • Maurice "Boscoe" Boscorelli of Third Watch never hit a woman. In his case it was a result of growing up watching his mothers abusive relationships.
  • MacGyver In the episode, "Phoenix Under Siege," Mac Gyver has a fight with a female bomber. Well, not exactly. She does all the hitting, he doesn't even try to hit her and she eventually plummets to her death after missing during an attempted flying kick. By going out through the window.
  • Both played straight and subverted in a single episode of Highlander the Series. An immortal former lover of Duncan's, (a Psycho Ex-Girlfriend sort) with a penchant for trying to ruin his life (or the lives of people around him) including by murdering potential Love Interests shows up. When they duel, Duncan disarms her but cannot bring himself to kill her. At that point Methos, a friend of Duncan's and a 5,000 year old Anti-Hero immortal with no qualms about saying I Did What I Had to Do steps in, introduces himself to her as a man born long before the age of chivalry, challenges her to a fight and beheads her in about 30 seconds.
  • Batman the 1960s series. The villains' girlfriends never got involved in the fights, Batgirl never got hit, and in one especially goofy moment, the villain uses a gang of schoolgirls to capture Robin, knowing that he's 'too much of a gentleman' to hit a woman.
    • Revealing exception: In "The Entrancing Dr. Cassandra," Batgirl actually takes several punches... all from invisible opponents.
  • Lois and Clark (a.k.a. The New Adventures of Superman) In one episode a female villain yells at Superman "You can't hit a lady can you?". She is then, however, promptly hit on the head by one of her male victims. The lady in question had just acquired Superman's powers and was just as strong and tough as him.
  • Ashes to Ashes Taken more or less as a given—while the two male leads of Life On Mars could and did knock each other around as a regular means of conflict resolution, for Gene to raise a hand to his new female opposite number would be Crossing The Line. Not that they actually fight any less often, you understand—he's just forced to resort to verbal baiting and blatant sexual harassment.
    • It's probably a side-effect of this trope that leads to Gene's sidekicks being astonished when she hits him with a fist, instead of with an open hand.
      • Actually, it's a Crowning Moment of Awesome / Crowning Moment of Funny for Alex. Gene calls her, among other things, a bitch, and first, she slaps him. He patronizingly asks her "you feel better now?". She uppercuts him, knocking him back, and grins, quipping "no, better now".
  • S Club 7 in L.A. (aka L.A.7) in the episode "Fall Out," after Jo and Bradley were fighting, Tina is shocked that Bradley had hit a girl, while Jon is more concerned that Jo had half killed Bradley.
  • Walker, Texas Ranger rarely features female villains presumably for this reason. The few times they do appear in the show, another way around it is generally found, such as the female ranger they introduced in a Very Special Episode showing up to stop her.
    • In the episode "Forgotten People", a nursing home is run by a sinister group experimenting on Alzheimer's patients. The group is headed up by a woman, and at the end of the episode, after Walker and company beat up the Mooks and the villain's sidekick, the villain herself has to be punched out by an old woman introduced in this episode, who had previously masqueraded as a Cloudcuckoolander.
    • Apparently averted at least once... because Conan used that clip on his show, acting shocked after it was over.
    • The exact opposite of this trope, however, was regularly used with the villains, who frequently batter women in many episodes, always without fear of the consequences. (Children and elderly people have also been known to be hit and injured by the bad guys in episodes.)
  • Firefly Given a speech about 'shooting girls' Mal gives in the pilot, you'd think that this is alive and well in the Old West In Space. Right up to the end of 'Our Mrs Reynolds', when he corners would-be ship thief and title character Saffron. He asks her what her real name is in a moment that seems full of emotional tension. She pauses, starts to speak ... and he slugs her. Then again, this is well after she poisoned him and left him and his crew to die, so he's probably feeling a mite justified. The brawl at the start of 'The Train Job' suggests that this doesn't apply anyway. (And seeing what usually happens to people who so much as threaten Mal's crew, let alone put them in actual danger, Saffron really got off lightly.)
  • Subverted in The Wild Wild West: The second (In Color!) Animated Credits Opening changed a scene of Jim West incapacitating a female assassin with a kiss to incapacitating her with a right cross. That's right: Woman-punching was specially added for the new-and-improved credits sequence. Though given he shot all other opponents, it's still a step down on violence: James West wouldn't shoot a girl.
  • Played with in Chuck:

Enormous bully: I don't fight girls.
Anna: Neither do I (proceeds to hand out a beatdown).

    • And averted entirely with Casey, who has no qualms about taking down a female assassin barehanded.
    • They seemed to have fun with this one in the latest episode, Chuck and Sarah are handcuffed together and fighting off mooks, a female mook runs up to Chuck and he backs off, saying this line. Sarah swings back and knocks her out "I can."
  • Burn Notice is an interesting case study. In the episode "Broken Rules", Fiona and Michael get into a fight. While Michael hits back, he apologizes when he lands blows and is clearly being entirely defensive in his approach. The potential for a masculinist critical analysis of that scene is huge.
    • Well, there's also the complicating factor that Michael and Fiona are in love with each other. Though Fiona's psychotic nature could be a factor in her overriding it.
    • There's an interesting scene in "Friends Like These" when Michael, worried about Fiona (who is unknowingly with an assassin), channels his fear for her into a slap, maintaining the cover in a Kick the Dog moment for him. Interestingly enough, she's pissed and he apologizes profusely, despite previous episodes depicting them as having no problem hitting each other, and treating violence as foreplay.
    • While Michael has issues hitting Fiona, Thomas O'Neill clearly doesn't. When he kidnaps Fiona in "Long Way Back", he punches her multiple times in the face.
    • In the episode "Friends and Enemies" Sam tries to warn a biker chick to quit hitting him and doesn't fight back at first, but he finally gets sick of getting beaten and clocks her right across the face.
  • Doctor Who. In "Robot" the female Mad Scientist says The Brigadier won't shoot a woman when he threatens to do just that (seeing as she's about to destroy the world by nuclear holocaust this is frankly hard to believe). Sarah Jane Smith then grabs the Brigadier's pistol and says that she has no problem doing so. The Mad Scientist promptly surrenders.
  • Kamen Rider Comes up from time to time in the old generation shows. The very first could fight women, but he had some issues with it. Fast forward to Decade, and we have a female Rider being summoned to fight off Kamen Rider Black, since he's 'too honorable to hit a woman'.
    • And Heisei Riders have absolutely no qualms about beating women kaijin up.
  • Dollhouse. In Man on the Street, Echo is sent to assassinate FBI agent Paul Ballard. They get into a brutal fight during which Echo feigns to be helpless girl causing him to hesitate. Echo then sucker punches him.
      • Though this may actually have nothing to do with the "female" part of this, because he has absolutely no problem hitting her at other times. Or anyone else.
    • In the series penultimate episode "The Hollow Men", In a weird case of Gender Bender, Echo fights an evil copy of Rossum co-founder Clyde Randolph, who is now imprinted in the female body of Whiskey/Dr. Saunders. He states beforehand that this is the first time he can hit a girl without feeling guilty.
    • Topher also knocks out Bennett when he discovers she's trying to kill (rather than retrieve) Echo. It came out amusingly awkward, given that a.) she's a girl, b.) she's one-armed, c.) she's his Love Interest and d.) he's Topher. (She repays the favor in another episode, notably.)
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys One episode had Hera send a female Terminator Expy called the Enforcer to kill Hercules. Hercules shouts in despair that he can't fight a woman, but when he feels how hard she can punch, he goes, "Maybe I should be more open-minded" and fights for real, ultimately winning. I don't think he has a problem fighting women for the rest of the series.
  • Smallville Clark Kent doesn't normally have a problem fighting women, but he hesitated when fighting Faora, because she was in Lois Lane's body. Ouch.
    • However, especially in the early episodes, it's notable how many times he gets weakened by conveniently placed kryptonite and gets his ass handed to him by a female villain who then gets conveniently defeated by happenstance, whilst he's allowed to throw around male villains who are a lot weaker than him. Perhaps the most obvious example is the Tina Greer episodes, where she has to morph into a male form before Clark's "allowed" to fight her.
    • Averted somewhat when a Kandorian woman brings blue Kryptonite (which takes away Clark's powers but doesn't cause him pain like the green variety) with her and tries to kill him. Clark defends himself quite handily, even though he hasn't had the military combat training his opponent had.
  • Malcolm in the Middle In one episode Reese is terrorized by a four-year-old girl who loves to bite him, but when he can't bring himself to hit her, he concocts a Zany Scheme to run her and her family out of town.
  • The A-Team Face would never, ever hit a girl, but he once punched a girl in the jaw on accident because he mistook her for one of the villain's Mooks. He felt bad about it.
  • House Not spoken outright, but in "After Hours" Chase goes to considerable lengths to warn Thirteen that he's going to move her out of the way when she refuses to allow him to take her stab victim, parolee friend to the hospital (even though she'll die if he doesn't). When she still refuses, he moves her out of the way without hurting her, prompting her to attack him. After several very weak looking punches and one that looked like it might have hurt, Chase easily overpowers her (with a distinct look of Oh Crap on her face as he does) and she ends up on the floor. Later in the episode, she's putting ice on her neck and he apologises for having hurt her - even though she nearly killed her friend and assaulted him in the process.
  • In Community episode English as a Second Language after Annie sabotages the study group, Troy voices his frustration with this rule.

Troy: Someone make her a dude so I can punch her!

  • Played with in an episode of Roseanne, when Dan is trying to explain to DJ why he got arrested for beating up Jackie's abusive boyfriend:

Dan: ...So what I did was sorta okay, because the worst thing you can do is hit a woman.
DJ: How come it's not okay to hit girls but it's okay to hit guys?
Dan: Well you see Deej...here's the deal: it's not okay to beat up anybody, it's never okay to beat up women, but sometimes it's less not-okay to beat up somebody who -beats up somebody you love.
DJ: What if a woman beats up somebody you love?
Dan: Hey! Are you at all interested in knowing where babies come from?

  • A thug in the Lewis episode "Old School Ties": "He said he wanted me to give a student a slapping; he never said it was a woman. I mean, I'll give anyone a slapping, but never a woman."
  • In Leverage episode "The Two Live Crew Job," Eliot's Evil Counterpart is an Israeli woman.

Raquel:You wouldn't hit a girl, would you?

Eliot:[in Hebrew]:Not unless she hits me first
—She punches him- Eliot:That counts [fighting commences]

Mary (pleading to be let out of an assignment involving an 8-year-old witness): Stan, I suck with kids.
Marshall: So? You suck with grown ups, too.
Mary punches Marshall;Marshall punches Mary back
Mary: I can't believe you'd hit a girl!
Marshall: You're no girl.

  • Another amusing subversion occurs in Stargate Atlantis when Vala punches Daniel then exclaims "You hit me!" when he returns the favor. He exasperatedly points out "You hit me!"


Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • Subverted in an early Peanuts strip, where Charlie Brown is fed up with Lucy, and shouts at her. She challenges him to a fighting match, but he declines. Linus says that Charlie Brown should've slugged Lucy. Schroeder explains that Charlie Brown "would never think of hitting a girl, so he deliberately humiliated himself to hold on to his high moral standards". Charlie Brown responds that he was just afraid that she would beat him up.
    • In another Peanuts strip from the late 1950s, Linus takes Lucy on in a backyard boxing match but takes two hard lefts before he knows it. Stunned, Linus begins to get serious and then Lucy lowers her gloves and says "You wouldn't hit a girl, would you?" while Linus, saying "Huh?" then lowers his gloves upon which Lucy rips a left hook to Linus' jaw to knock him out.
      • Then again, this is Lucy....
      • There is also a sunday strip where Violet is annoying Linus, and she taunts about not being able to hit a girl. Linus then wants to throw something at her, but Charlie Brown chides Linus about how he is not allowed to hurt girls, to where Linus decides to slug Charlie Brown instead.
  • In Dick Tracy, when the female villain Quiver has threatened to blow up an airliner, Tracy ends up having to sock her in the jaw before she can hit the button. Afterward, he looks embarrassed, and tells the stewardess he doesn't normally go around hitting women. The stewardess quips, "That's alright, Detective Tracy. Haven't you heard of equal rights?"


Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • A longtime trope in Professional Wrestling (at least among faces), averted when Triple H (then Hunter Hearst Helmsley) hired a female bodyguard (Chyna), who was more muscular than most of the men on the roster. She established her position early on by beating up Bret Hart in one of her first appearances, without giving him a chance to hit her back. Then they went up against Stone Cold Steve Austin, who had no such qualms, and thus made it OK for men to get physical with her (and occasionally, other women). She would go on to regularly wrestle men and win the Intercontinental title.
    • Often times if a heel has a female manager or girlfriend, they'll use her as a human shield when being chased by a face with a steel chair, because they know the face would never hit a woman.
    • Amusingly enough, however, in Canadian broadcasts of WWE programming they will cut away from a woman being hit by a man (however justified it might be storywise) even today... women can beat women up with no problems. Thus leading to ridiculous situations where a group of female heels can mercilessly pummel a female Face, but let a man come to her rescue and it's edit time.
    • And it's not a dead trope in the States, either. Spike TV (the 'Men's Network') apparently dislikes showing men striking women, even when it's a horrible heel. Or when it's a replay of something that happened during a pay-per-view. Showing a 275 lb monster heel legitimately (though lightly) concussing a smaller female is alright if said monster is female herself. Yes, 275 (although I might be off by a kilo or two).
      • TNA, whose programming is currently carried on Spike, frequently lampshades this; it's often mentioned that Spike has promised dire consequences for any man who hits a woman on Impact, and the female heels often use this to taunt and bait the male faces.
        • Part of it may be that Spike also airs the program in Canada.
  • Hilariously averted on an episode of WWE Raw where Santino Marella, Beth Phoenix, JBL, and Randy Orton are all arguing before Batista comes out and challenges Santino, JBL, and Randy to a fight at the same time. He then apologizes and tells Beth Phoenix he'd gladly kick her ass too. After Santino comes at Batista and gets dropped, Beth slaps him and gets slammed on top of Santino.
    • This might be considered one of those "Chyna exemption" moments, because Phoenix is in incredible shape, certainly by WWE standards. (Her nickname is "The Glamazon"—the glamorous Amazon.)
    • Also as much a part due to her training and background. Unlike even the most athletic of her contemporaries who may be at best, fitness models, dancers, or gymnasts, Beth Phoenix has a background in collegiate wrestling. As a result, it's something of a truth in television that she's generally tougher than the other women. On the flip side, it also means her matches tend to be fairly lopsided since a dancer or model isn't likely to be willing to actually engage in any real wrestling beyond basic bumps.
  • ECW blatantly averting this would have to have been one of the reasons it became so infamous in the 90s. The biggest example would be the Pitbulls putting Francine through a table with a Superbomb. And the crowd went nuts for it!
  • In many promotions, this can lead to confusing rules in Intergender Tag Team matches, where if one male participant tags in his female partner, his opponent has to do the same, thus raising the question of why tag rules are even in place and preventing the workers from building up proper tag team psychology in the match.
    • There are occasional true intergender matches, where men can fight women, but they're rare and usually handled badly.
    • This was completely averted in an outstanding match few American viewers got to see - Daniel Bryan and Gail Kim versus Tyson Kidd and Melina on WWE Superstars where the four of them threw the usual rules of intergender matches out of the window. Bryan and Kim especially used a number of double team moves on both opponents.
  • On the other hand, in recent years it became common for some male wrestlers to rough up obviously weak or non-wrestler women just to show what Bastards, Badasses and/or Jerkasses they are. Usually the assailant will be a heel. Once, just to be a dick, Armando Alejandro Estrada got his wrestler Umaga booked to fight the tiny Maria Kanellis. (Maria lost.) Then Charlie Haas and Viscera got into a feud over who would date ring announcer Lilian Garcia: after Haas raked Viscera's eyes, the giant, temporarily blinded, grabbed Garcia apparently mistaking her for Haas (absurd, Haas weighed twice as much) and Samoan Dropped her, nearly breaking her neck. At first Viscera appeared to feel chagrin of the My God, What Have I Done? variety, but then both he and Haas laughed and explained that they'd set it up as a "hilarious" joke at Garcia's expense. But one incident with particularly Unfortunate Implications had Stone Cold Steve Austin (a face at the time) hit Stacy Keibler (also a face) in a skit that was supposed to be funny. Austin kicked Keibler in the stomach and then knocked her out because she had declined his offer of a beer! (There are some things you just can't do, and beating up a woman half your size for comedy is one of them.) Keibler later was the victim of a similar assault (an RKO) from then-boyfriend Randy Orton, but that was meant to show that the face Orton was turning heel.
  • During the WWF's kayfabe era, this trope's most frequent use centered on Miss Elizabeth, the valet of Randy Savage. During Savage's heel run in 1985-1987, particularly when he was wrestling Hulk Hogan, Savage would pull Elizabeth in front of him, using her as a shield while he had a chance to regroup; Hogan would simply pick Elizabeth and gently move her out of the way, giving Savage ample opportunity to blindside Hogan. Also during Savage's heel run, he came close several times to striking Elizabeth himself (usually when he perceived her to be paying too much attention to an opponent, not opening the ropes or folding his robe correctly or some other minor misdeed) but always stopped short of actually striking her. Apparently, Savage (and the WWF) agreed that they wanted him to be a heel, but not such an outwardly despicable one.
The rule of "never touch Elizabeth" began to be thrown out when Savage turned face at the end of the summer 1987, and while the heels never struck or punched her, Elizabeth was shoved and grabbed by both the wrist and ankle on many occassions, by such dastardly heels as The Honky Tonk Man, Andre the Giant, the Big Bossman and Akeem. Savage's other opponents during his face run -- Butch Reed, "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, Haku, Bad News Brown and Dino Bravo -- were satisfied with simply trash-talking Elizabeth. During Savage's second face run starting in 1991, Jake "the Snake" Roberts completely threw out the trope by slapping Elizabeth across the face during a memorable match.
  • This was averted in the Attitude Era and Ruthless Aggression Era in a few intergender tag matches where men and women on

separate teams would get in some offence against their opposite gender. The likes of Lita, Jacqueline, Molly Holly, Ivory and later Trish Stratus would have no objections to taking a few hits from the men.

    • Bubba Ray Dudley completely averted this in a tag match in late 2002 where he dished out body slams and clotheslines to Victoria with no hesitation along with both her male partners.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Bully allows you to hit girls, but your alert bar goes to maximum and prefects spawn out of nowhere to attack you. Justified, since it's a Western game, after all. This has a side-effect of turning Zoe who doesn't appear until very late in the game and fills the conspicuously-empty Bully clique girl's slot into a Faux Action Girl, because although she's stated to a formidable fighter and really likes to fight, you can't fight her; the girl-type AI has them run away if struck.
  • The Final Fantasy series. Every character is willing to hit a girl, but there are a few exceptions;
    • Final Fantasy VII Cloud can be taken as this, when Elena confronts you about allegedly doing in her boss, you can either dodge her punch or letting her clean your clock, leaving her to wonder why you just let it happen.
    • Final Fantasy VIII Raijin. During the three boss fights with him, he will refuse to attack if there are only female characters left standing in the player's party, claiming "I don't hit girls, ya know?" His partner Fujin is female and has no such reservations.
    • Final Fantasy IX Zidane has an ability called 'Protect Girls', in which he will take the damage for the female characters in your party, and in Dissidia Final Fantasy says when up against Terra 'A girl? This'll be tricky...', though this doesn't affect his gameplay. He also once picks fighting a man over fighting a woman in the storyline. In his own game he has no compunctions about fighting and killing the Alexandrian soldiers when they're invading Cleyra or trying to stop him from rescuing Dagger.
      • As proven with General Beatrix and Lani, he will fight women without a problem, and in some cases flirt with them too.
    • During a particular boss battle, the boss will refuse to attack Princess Garnet. However, he has a good reason - he was sent to kidnap her. If Garnet is the last party member alive, the boss will attempt to put her to sleep, and that counts as being defeated. So while she won't be attacked, she doesn't have to die for you to still lose.
      • In a later boss battle with this character, however, takes place while the character in question is... not well. He will still not hit Garnet/Dagger, but, should all other party members be incapacitated, it will proceed to attack itself. Apparently, when constructing magical death machines, chivalry comes bofore sanity.
  • The Guilty Gear series. Ky Kiske has the traditional chivalrous aversion towards fighting women all-out, as evidenced by his post-fight quote against Millia Rage. If she ends up beating him, she also notes that he held back. This attitude probably ends up being more counterproductive than not, especially considering his run-ins with hair-trigger powerhouses like Baiken and Jam Cloudberry.
  • Puzzle Quest Optional party member Princess Serephine makes use of this trope as her support ability, improving the player's battle skill against good opponents that "wouldn't strike a lady." Which invokes a nice bit of Fridge Logic when you're playing as a female.
  • No More Heroes During the first half of the game, Travis Touchdown has no problem with beating on his female opponents with his beam katana during the ranking match battles but chokes when it comes time to actually kill them. He gets called out on this by Holly Summers, the sixth ranking assassin, before she eats one of her own grenades to spare Travis the experience of dispatching her. After this, Travis never shows any hesitation in finishing the job in subsequent fights against female assassins. Helps that the female combatants he encounters happen to be completely psychotic to some extent or another.
  • Super Robot Wars Z Kei Katsuragi of Orguss gets a bonus to damage against men, and a penalty against women.
    • He's a womanizer extraordinaire. In Setsuko's route, he asks her to a date not 5 seconds after dispatching some grunts during their first meeting. During a truly hilarious crossover scene from King Gainer, he professes his desire to date every single woman in the world.
    • Played straight and subverted with Leven/Raven (ugh...transliterations). Subverted in that he's feigning his fear of women. In reality, he hates all women besides his boss. This is displayed in-game by having his Leadership skill change from +damage on men and -damage on women change to +damage on women.
  • Princess Waltz Partway into Visual Novel game, the incredibly dim Arata finally realises Chris is a girl in disguise, and finds himself unable to compete with her to his full potential. Chris finds this incredibly insulting, and later asks Arata to return a punch she gave him earlier to prove hes treating her no different from before. Arata manages to weasel out of it by explaining that he cant hit a friend hes not angry with, leaving the question unanswered.
  • The Sims added different slap animations depending on who a particular sim was slapping. If a sim slaps a sim of their same gender, it will be a full-force hit in the face, but if they slap a sim of the opposite gender it will be a light formal "British Officer" slap.
  • Sonic Adventure Series 2 Mostly averted and referenced. Following Knuckles' fight with Rouge, she shames him for attacking a lady (despite her trying to kick, electrocute and at one point even strangle him). She's forced to eat her words when he saves her from dying seconds on.
  • Freedom Force When you first encounter the Ice Queen enemy, Minuteman says "I can't hit a woman!". The Ice Queen replies "Good darling, as I'll happily hit you!" Naturally, you can kick her ass without restraint.
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum two female villains, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, appear. Even though Poison Ivy is the second-last boss in the game, you don't actually get to fight either hand to hand despite having pummeled, dropped, tossed, hung, and concussed in various amusing ways a horde of (male) mooks. Although, you see Batman tossing Harley into the protection of the pit, driving her to semi-unconsciousness, and then throwing her inside the prison cell like she was just a strap doll.
    • This is still the trope played straight though as if it were any other boss in the game, the act of fighting Harley and trapping her would be a boss fight instead of a cutscene.
    • In the sequel, Batman: Arkham City, she charges at Batman again and this time you get to take the controls. Once again, she proves that she is absolutely not a match for him. Averted later when Batman is given female assassins to fight. When you fight Poison Ivy, you can throw batarangs that look like they are hitting her between the legs and causing her to scream like she is having the mother of all orgasms.
  • The Batman games.
  • The Adventures of Batman & Robin made by Konami and released on the SNES in 1994. In Poison Ivy's level Batman has to fight his way through female mooks, and the game is designed in such a way as to not allow him to beat them up, only incapacitate them with some sort of gas. On the other hand, in Konami's previous Batman game for the SNES (Batman Returns, 1993), Batman treats the female knife-throwers just like everyone else. Both games were made by the same team.
  • In Fire Emblem Path of Radiance, a conversation between Largo and Mia involves Largo not wanting to spar with a woman. Mia's response doesn't end well for him.
  • Sakura Wars The first game has a fairly bizarre example in the form of Miroku. She invades the Flower Division's base and begins wreaking havoc, ultimately confronting them in her spirit armor. The protagonists soundly kick her ass. Afterwards, however, she makes a dramatic teleporting escape... only to die seconds later when some rocks randomly fall on her head for no apparent reason. One can only assume the game was taking an extremely roundabout method of not hitting a girl.
  • Final Fight This trope is a big part of the reason why Poison, the punk girl, was retconned into not actually being a girl.
    • To explain, Poison (and her orange-haired palate swap Roxy) were originally just women. Then, the SNES version of Final Fight 2 took them out and replaced them with two male characters, Sid and Billy. That was when all the nonsense about Poison being transgendered started.
    • And then the creator finally told Poison's true identity. And the Fandom Rejoiced. Kinda... Atleast not for some people.
  • The Godfather In the second game your crew has no objections to wantonly murdering anyone who so much as looks at you funny but if you attack a female npc they twiddle their thumbs on the sidelines.
  • In Mafia II attacking male pedestrians will engage you in a bout of fistycuffmanship but female pedestrians can only be shoved and sent fleeing in terror. If you run after them they remain immune to attack, nor can they be kicked whilst they cower, huddled in a ball.
  • Played with and discussed in Mega Man Zero: Zero Would Hit a Girl, but in his first fight against Leviathan she accuses him of this when she isn't immediately killed by his final strike. She adds that she told him not to show mercy, making it rude of him to invoke this trope. He remains silent throughout, so we never find out whether this trope is actually in effect.[1]
  • Ganondorf, King Of Evil in the Zelda series, has an interesting tendency to ignore the princess Zelda when she takes part in the final battle, and take minimal steps to restrain her even though she is occasionally instrumental to Link's victory. In The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker, although he does give her a heavy backhand, he goes out of his way (even sheathing his swords) to avoid seriously harming Zelda, while she's actively trying to kill him.
  • In Fallout 2, if your Chosen One is female, Enclave patrols will occasionally express their displeasure about having to kill a woman. Doesn't stop them from tearing her a new one with their hi-tech weapons though.
  • In BlazBlue, this is one of the nicer traits of Ragna the Bloodedge. Granted, he won't hold back if a woman attacks him or tries to apprehend him, but he states several times that he doesn't enjoy fighting them, and when he does defeat them, he is usually quite sympathetic and regretful.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

Crushestro: I do not crush the skulls of women. Never. It's policy.
Torg: So how do we deal with the sister?
Crushestro: We will simply have to locate a professional grade wood chipper.
Torg: Ouch. Is that policy too?
Crushestro: Ever since my re-divorce? Yes!


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Sarge of Red vs. Blue, despite his usual willingness to shoot or hit anything Blue (or Grif). In Reconstruction, when the blue soldiers of Blood Gulch consist of only Sister, Sarge insists that he can't attack Sister because she's a woman, and thus they are locked in an 'epic stalemate'.
  • In Epic Rap Battles of History, Ludwig Van Beethoven says this is why he won't smack Justin Bieber.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

The Boulder: The Boulder feels conflicted about fighting a young, blind girl.
Toph: Sounds to me like you're scared.
The Boulder: * Beat* The Boulder is over his conflicted feelings, and is now ready to bury you in a Rockalanche!

    • That said, what makes people feel bad about the idea of hitting Toph (before they realize she's an unstoppable badass) is primarily that (a) she's blind and (b) she's twelve years old and on the small side for her age. Gender comes way down on the list.
  • Batman: Under the Red Hood: Black Mask goes off on a tangent and punches all of his lieutenants, except Ms. Li, despite the fact that she's a bit of a Deadpan Snarker towards him (emphasis on deadpan).
  • Meanwhile, Batman: The Animated Series rarely showed Batman hitting the female villains even when he was forced to actually fight them. Notably, the episode "Two-Face", which featured one female villain in Thorne's henchwoman Candice, showed said henchwoman being taken out by Grace, Two-Face's untrained and unarmed fiancee. She shoved her face in a rose bush. Ouch. A later episode showed Robin actually fighting Candice.
  • Ben 10: Ben won't hit or fight a female criminal, except when she has been transformed into an alien cyborg by accident; after she is transformed she tries to use the "I'm just a girl" defense only to be kicked in the head by Gwen.
    • In addition, he also usually doesn't actively combat teenage villainess Charmcaster, leaving it to Gwen to defeat her (Well, Charmcaster is Gwen's arch-enemy, not Ben's, after all.)
  • Birdman: It turns out the titular hero refuses to harm women in "Empress of Evil," the one episode to feature a female villain. Fortunately, that's what non-injurious (and completely out-of-nowhere) "stun rays" are for.
  • The Cleveland Show: A female character in one episode was beating down all of the male characters in Cleveland's house causing Donna to ask him why no one is fighting back. When he responds with "She's a woman", Donna steps in and wins the fight, saving the day.
  • Danny Phantom which usually averts this has one exception. Girls and guys regularly get smacked around. Sam of the Token Trio is just as likely to take damage as her friends. Danny, being a hero, constantly battles both male and female villains without clause. That also includes Anti-Hero Valerie whom Danny only avoids hurting her enough that she won't, ya know, die.
  • Darkwing Duck: In one episode, DW and Gosalyn (in her identity as Quiverwing Quack) are facing the villainess Splatter Pheonix. Splatter taunts Darkwing, saying that his code of honor would never allow him to hit a woman. Darkwing sighs, and admits she's right.

Darkwing"Quiverwing -- you do it."

  • DuckTales: One episode has Gizmo Duck trying to get a robot to stop hitting him by disguising himself as a woman. When that doesn't work, he tries the same costume again, but with glasses. He still gets hit.
  • Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy: Ed mentions that he is forbidden to hit girls. His younger sister Sarah, who knows full well that he can lift houses with ease, endlessly exploits this. Ed is an endlessly cheerful Cloudcuckoolander, so she can get away with it. The one time he isn't, she's genuinely frightened.
  • The Fairly OddParents: An episode has Timmy and his grandfather transported to the world of classic cartoons. When Vicky tries to crash the party and complete her evil plan, Timmy can't hit her because in this era of cartoons, a man couldn't hit a woman. In response, Timmy merely wishes for his fairy godparents to turn Vicky into a man. Problem solved!
    • In another episode, when Mrs. Turner as Mighty Mom faces one of the Nega Chin's henchmen, he refuses to face her because he doesn't fight girls. She retorts with "I'm not a girl! I'm a soccer mom!" and hits him with soccer balls.
  • Fantastic Four: In one episode of the 90s animated series, the Thing says he can't hit a lady when he meets Malice. It doesn't take her long to convince him that she ain't no lady. Since Malice is Brainwashed and Crazy and has no compunctions about how she uses her forcefield powers she shuts Ben down real quick. (After this episode, you'll never say her powers suck again.)
  • Futurama lampshaded this in "Where No Fan Has Gone Before":

Shatner: There's no right way to hit a woman.
Leela: Then do it the wrong way!

  • Justice League: In a full on brawl between the Justice League and Gorilla Grodd's Society in one episode, Giganta, a woman the size of a several story building, causes Superman to pause by doing the "You wouldn't hit a lady, would you?" routine. So Wonder Woman announces that she would and promptly decks her.
    • Superman has hit women in his own series, so that probably wouldn't have worked for long anyway. When he tackled Livewire through a wall on Superman: The Animated Series, she incredulously goes, "At least we know you hit girls!"
    • Justice League heavily averts this in general though. Hawkgirl in particular tends to get beat up on quite a bit.
  • KaBlam!: Mr. Foot will NEVER hurt June (he'll hurt Henry enough to make him go to the ER however).
  • Phineas and Ferb: In the Freaky Friday Flip episode, Perry the Teenage Girl defeats his nemesis Dr. Doofenshmirtz even more easily than usual, because Doofenshmirtz can't hit a girl: "It's so, como se dice, awkward!"
    • For added points, he didn't even realize that he was (sort of) a girl, he thought it was a weird disguise.
  • Popeye has to fight Bluto and the Sea Hag, but he will not strike a woman, so he gives Olive Oyl some spinach; he dispatches Bluto and she takes care of the Sea Hag.
    • In the original Thimble Theater comic strip Popeye felt conflicted about hitting the Sea Hag at first, but then decided it was okay because her mean nature makes her "no lady."
  • Tom and Jerry: For some reason Tom will stop chasing Jerry if he disguises himself as a girl, presumably because of this trope.
  • In Transformers: Beast Wars even before he fell head-over-heels for her, Silverbolt's Ideal Hero personality prevented him from attacking Dark Action Girl / Femme Fatale Blackarachnia throughout the series. This fails to please anyone, as the other Maximals have no qualms over stomping her flat, and Blackarachnia herself is insulted by the idea that she's not a significant enough threat to fight.
  • In Transformers Animated, this version of Blackarachnia does take advantage of it. In "Along Came A Spider", she asks a gawping Bulkhead and Bumblebee "You wouldn't hurt a helpless femme-bot, would you?". Then she poisons them both. There's no Silverbolt in this series, so it looks like Optimus Prime is going to be the one she uses most..
    • Soundwave doesn't follow this trope, and with ignoring Wouldn't Hurt a Child too, attacks Sari with the power of rock, slamming her against a wall.
  • The Venture Bros: Brock Samson, the Made of Iron murder-happy bodyguard follows his mentor's rules to the letter—he never kills women (he will fight them, however, with gusto). Said mentor, on the run from the law years later, uses this to his advantage -- Brock hunts him down only to discover he's had a sex change, although he always wanted "big beautiful tits". It's purely out of his respect for him, as Brock seems to think the rule is silly, and tries to provide examples where killing a woman would be okay.
  • The trailer for the Wonder Woman animated movie has WW saying "It's not polite to hit a lady." Some fans found it rather odd that she would say this, considering her native culture is a Proud Warrior Race Guy. There's a good chance that line was deliberately taken out-of-context. (It was.)
  • Xiaolin Showdown had an episode where Clay refused to fight the villain Kattnappe, but this was resolved when he decided crushing her in a bear hug was okay, because, you know, he didn't hit her. Well, it is just a hold...
  • The Boondocks parodies this mercilessly in the episode where Tom and his wife have a fight and she kicks him out.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures had an episode where a villain who had been defeated by the J-team before created an anti-J-team made of evil counterparts of the heroes: a martial artist to face Jackie; a master thief to face Viper; a wrestler to face El Toro; and the world's strongest woman to face Tohru. When Tohru and his Evil Counterpart first met, Tohru didn't want to fight a woman so he tried (and failed) to make an adversary of one of the others. After it failed, all he did was dodging her attacks until he tricked her into running downstairs, which made her fall into a similar fashion to the one he did twice in one episode before his Heel Face Turn. (Well, she was indeed his evil counterpart).
  • Subverted on The Simpsons when Lisa has to deal with a bully and tries to hire Nelson, Jimbo, Kearney, and Dolph as bodyguards. They promptly decline as soon as they found out her bully is a girl, not because they don't believe in hitting girls, but because girls kick, bite, and scratch. And sometimes they fall in love.
  • Judge Mills Lane subverts it during his fight with Judge Judy in Celebrity Deathmatch. Although he does make it known that he doesn't hit women, he puts a blindfold on as a handicap and proceeds to fight her.


Other[edit | hide]

  • Commonly Truth in Television; many parents do teach their sons this rule. Men who break this taboo, even in self-defense against a woman who poses a credible threat, are treated with contempt in many cultures.
    • Fortunately, some parents are now realizing the danger of teaching this rule and are instead teaching their sons not to hit a girl UNLESS it's self-defense.
  • Spoofed mercilessly in this ad for the Super Nintendo game The Combatribes. Remember, cyborgs ain't ladies!
    • The arcade version doesn't have that little "cyborg" plot element, but the final boss is still the same woman. One can only imagine the scolding if the author of the article ever catches wind of that.
  • One Canadian stand-up comic has a bit he does where he announces that under no circumstances should a man hit a woman. But there should be women who a man could hire who could hit a woman...
  • Hilariously subverted by the comedian Titus:

Titus: "Now, I don't think a man should EVER hit a woman! ...Until the fifth time she's cracked him in the face."

  • In a real-life example, during the New York newsboys' strike of 1899, the striking newsboys used violence against scabs (i.e. boys selling papers in defiance of the strike) and against the delivery wagons that distributed the newspapers, but they never used violence against the women who owned and ran newsstands that sold the boycotted newspapers. Kid Blink, leader of the strike, said "A feller can't soak a lady."
  • The reason why intergender boxing/MMA fights aren't promoted. Professional Wrestling occasionally subverts it for entertainment value, such as Chyna's Intercontinental title reign.
    • Some women in MMA and boxing have a problem with this, arguing that however unlikely they'd be to actually beat most male opponents, competing in the same leagues would give women's MMA a better chance of being taken seriously and making more money.
  • A metaphorical example: Gruen Nation commented, that in the leadup to the 2010 Australian Election, the Coalition seemed unwilling to run ads attacking Prime Minister Julia Gillard herself, as opposed to the Labor Party (albeit probably more because they were worried about how the public would react than any moral qualms on their own part). It was only near the end of the campaign, as things got increasingly frenetic, that ads attacking Julia Gillard appeared.
  • This guy wouldn't wrestle with a girl.
    • Not altogether uncommon. To quote a teammate of mine from high school: "There's no good way to wrestle a girl. You don't want to lose to a girl and look like a wimp, but if you beat her, you just look like a bully."
  1. Since the male Guardians are not immediately killed either, it's unlikely.