FANDOM


WikEd fancyquotesQuotesBug-silkHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extensionPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifierAnalysisPhoto linkImage LinksHaiku-wide-iconHaikuLaconic

So you have an Action Girl. She rocks. There's only one problem: she's also the only female in the main cast, and you don't have a Non-Action Guy or other similar balancing factor to counterbalance this. Where are you going to get your Designated Victim for the team to save every episode? What's an executive to do? Completely replace her tough image and capabilities with something more fitting to the Distressed Damsel you need, someone who tends to Stay in the Kitchen or not do anything rather than go out and fight, whether by punching people alongside the others or analyzing the scenario and figuring out a solution so she can help others punch people.

Chickification differs from Faux Action Girl. The latter is just about a so-called Action Girl who never lives up to her reputation once the plot hits the fan, but more often than not she still goes out to fight. Chickification involves a genuine Action Girl who was Badass at one point, but was derailed into a weak and helpless (or at least significantly less Badass) character, without any In-Universe justification for such a change. The lack of in-universe justification is key to this trope. If the Action Girl is changed as the result of physical and/or emotional trauma, that's just character development.

This trope is not about any Action Girl who shows those icky and bad 'female' emotions. Remember, being The Chick is not automatically a bad thing.

The term "chickification" itself was invented by, of all people, Rush Limbaugh and is used to describe the devaluation of both masculinity and femininity in an effort to create an androgynous society.

May involve the Standard Female Grab Area.

The inverse of this trope is Xenafication (where the girl becomes a super Action Girl... without any Character Development), and to more general extent Took a Level In Badass, although that's not limited to female characters. Also see Adrenaline Makeover, where The Chick gradually gets out of her shell and develops physically, emotionally and mentally. This trope can be a result of meeting a more interesting boyfriend; for someone who is One of the Boys, it can represent a phase of a Coming of Age Story.

If this is done to a male character in a Slash Fic, it may be part of Wimpification.

Although it is distressingly easy to imagine combining it with this trope, turning a male character into a female is a separate trope: see Gender Bender and Mandys Law of Anime Gender Bending.

Be warned, this page is a lightning rod for people to start complaining about fandoms you don't like, so make sure to give specific explanations when referring to certain fandom activities.

Not to be confused with that guy. You know, him. Also compare and contrast Girliness Upgrade, in which the girl becomes more feminine but doesn't lose her backbone. (There's zero overlap between the tropes, as an FYI.) If the girl used to be an active character but now is just there it has become Men Act, Women Are.

Examples of Chickification include:


Anime and Manga

Comic Books

  • Most of the female X-Men were temporarily hit hard by this when Chris Claremont left for the first time.
    • Storm was relegated to background scenery and occasional artillery when the romantic/heartbreak subplot got dumped.
    • Psylocke was mostly just Worfed, but it's worth noting that the villain who eventually gutted her was someone she'd previously defeated even before she'd learned martial arts.
    • Rogue, despite being strong enough to bench-press tanks and capable of outflying almost any weapons she cannot laugh off, was repeatedly pummeled by far less formidable foes, and at least once screamed for help from a boyfriend that was barely a step above Badass Normal. Her psychological fortitude went down the tubes to boot.
  • Inverted in the French Space Opera comic series Valerian and Laureline, where Laureline starts out as mostly tagging along with Valerian but becomes a more active, heroic character as the story arc goes on. There was actually a period in which Valerian would lose his competence to give room for the now active Laureline to the take the initiative.
  • Black Canary is still capable, but not in her own book. While Birds of Prey and Justice League of America which she is the leader of both feature her kicking ass, Green Arrow/Black Canary treats her as a perpetual Damsel in Distress for Green Arrow to rescue.
  • Similarly, the Wasp's intelligence, combat effectiveness, level-headedness, and leadership abilities seem to vary inversely with the degree to which the writer plays up her relationship with her ex-husband Henry Pym. After a few years as more or less The Load, they apparently gave up and stuffed her in the fridge so Hank could have more guilt.
  • Parodied a couple of times, and Lampshaded at other times (but by no means averted) in the Prince Valiant stories where competent, resourceful girls deliberately make themselves out to be less so in order to be more appealing to the men.
  • After being depicted as a reckless, fiery Badass Damsel throughout the 1940s, Lois Lane was chickified into a useless Damsel Scrappy who constantly needed saving and couldn't handle anything on her own in the Silver Age. Even attempts at improving her character during the Bronze Age fell flat, with her Earth-2 counterpart Lois Kent far outstripping her in badassery. Fortunately, the Post-Crisis reboot of the Superman mythos restored her Golden Age persona, with an added side order of army brat and combat training.
  • Princess Sally Acorn of Sonic the Hedgehog was hit with this hard after King Acorn took control of the kingdom again, and didn't really come out of it until Ian Flynn took over writing duties.

Fanfiction

  • The reduction of strong and capable female characters to wilting flowers and hysterical banshees is so disgustingly common it has its own page. Suffice it to say, fans are often even worse than the canon writers they decry for pulling this trope.

Film - Animated

  • Mulan got this in all the film's spinoff stories, when in canon she was a Tomboy with a Girly Streak. (She didn't hate her girly makeover from the start in itself, she was more nervous because of the circumstances) At least she's still tough in crossovers.
    • The same is already happening in the merchandising for Brave (although Mérida is at least allowed to use a bow and arrows.)

Film - Live-Action

  • Mina Harker in the many film adaptations of Dracula, but most drastically in the Bela Lugosi version, which she spends most of weeping hysterically.
    • This is Zig-Zagged in Bram Stokers Dracula. Though physically inactive and still rather waifish, she is the one understands Dracula's story the most completely and provides the resolution.
  • Gone Baby Gone shamelessly Chickifies Angie, who was much tougher in the novel.
  • Jane in Johnny Mnemonic isn't exactly weak, but she's not nearly as hard-assed as her counterpart Molly in the original story.
  • Katara spends most of the film adaptation of The Last Airbender looking like she's about to cry. It's instructive to compare the different versions of her fight with Zuko--in the original, she almost wins, whereas in the movie, he defeats her easily.
  • Greg Rucka, the author of Whiteout, complained about Carrie Stetko being made weaker in the film adaptation so as to prop up the male characters. "At least they got rid of the scene in the script where she - a U.S. Marshall - hears someone following her and runs away. What's she gonna do, call the cops?"
  • Jean Grey in the X-Men film series suffers from a special case of this. The Phoenix storyline is major Never Live It Down material for her, so she got some major movements of power-spiking leading up to her Phoenix debut... but the rest of the time, she suffers as mentioned down in Western Animation. So she spends movie one as love interest and gets beaten by the Toad. The. Freaking. Toad. Movie two, she uses her powers in ways that would be perfectly unremarkable in the comics when nothing remotely Phoenix-y is going on, and everyone's amazed and a bit scared. [1] Movie three, she ascends into full Phoenix mode... and does nothing but be the MacGuffin of the story, sought after by the male leads (Wolverine to save her, and Magneto to make her his Dragon -- a role in which she basically just stands around.) Even the final rampage adds little to the actual plot and only exists so Wolverine can angst about having to Shoot the Dog. (To be fair, the third movie had another problem to contend with.)
  • An odd variant happens with Mystique in X-men: First Class. Fans familiar with the character in the original trilogy (which First Class establishes loose continuity with) will probably find it jarring that she goes from being The Dragon to Magneto and a Dark Action Girl to being an awkward if Adorkable girl. Given that the movie is a prequel and that there are certain scenes (for example, Mystique bench pressing an impressive amount of weight), it's likely it's being set up for future badassery.
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra featured Courtney "Cover Girl" Krieger, who in comic-continuity is a former high-fashion model who enlisted and became a missile-tank driver. Who is fond of doing all the upkeep and repair work on her own tank. In the movie, she's Hawk's Girl Friday. This is a Justified Trope though, as its explained in the prequel novel that sometime prior to then, she was critically injured during a mission and is no longer physically capable of serving combat duty.
  • Wendy Torrance in the 1980 film version of The Shining, big time. In the books, she's mostly cool-headed with a quiet inner strength, and even when she loves Jack with all her heart she doesn't take his shit lying down, especially when their son Danny gets hurt by his actions. She's willing to put her own life in danger to protect Danny from anyone, even a fully crazed, homicidal Jack who's been overtaken by the Overlook's malevolent spirit. In the film, she's a wailing, screaming, fainting Hysterical Woman who defends Jack's every action...when Jack himself is far more of a psycho in this version than he was in the books! Needless to say, many were relieved when the miniseries restored Wendy's strength.

Literature

  • The Encyclopedia Brown books actually inverted this, turning Genius Bruiser Sally Kimball into Dumb Muscle.
  • Adaptations of The Phantom of the Opera tend to turn Christine from a stubborn, outspoken girl who's arguably a bit of a jerk into a passive ingenue. The musical version in particular makes her more like the original novel's Decoy Protagonist than like her original self.
  • At the start of Universums öde by George Johansson, Amalthea is introduced as Len's equal. However, in the third book, she and Len have barely landed on New Earth when she is attacked by a predator bird and develops a phobia of violence that means that she has to Stay In The Hut while Len does the hunting.
  • Viola of Stationery Voyagers becomes a blubbering mess when she finally realizes the gravity of what's happened to her and her family, and her combat abilities consequently suffer.

Live Action TV

  • American Gothic. This happened to Gail Emory. At the start of the show, while not exactly an Action Girl, she was certainly a female Determinator who, as an Intrepid Reporter, was determined to find out the truth of her parents' deaths and bring their murderer to justice. But as soon as she learned her parents were not the paragons of virtue she thought them to be, her Belated Backstory was dropped and she seemed to flounder about with nothing to do. By the end of the series, she's morphed almost completely into a Distressed Damsel, having to rely on Buck himself for protection, and in her last scene is left in a hospital bed, crying piteously over the baby she's lost--even though she didn't want it in the first place, seeing as it was the son of Satan (as depicted graphically via ultrasound--or maybe not). At least some of this may be due to Executive Meddling in order to pair up the major male and female leads, or a result of the show being Screwed by the Network so that Shaun Cassidy had to wrap everything up far too quickly and nonsensically. But some surely isn't.
  • Days of Our Lives Stephanie Johnson is one of the most blatant cases. When the character first returned to the show as an adult she was played by redhead Shayna Rose and appeared as a tough girl race car driver. After Rose was fired, the character was recast with brunette former beauty queen Shelley Hennig as a rather uninteresting fashion plate character with little or no real character.
  • Kamen Rider Double Saeko went from stoic villainess to Clingy Jealous Girl as soon as her love interest Isaka appeared on the scene, with bonus Unnecessary Makeover to boot. Some would also argue that Akiko underwent this after her Last-Minute Hookup with Terui.
  • Merlin's Guinevere in the BBC version. She kicks some serious ass for the first season, teaching Merlin how to put Arthur's armour on properly, going into battle to defend Ealdor, facing her own execution bravely; but the moment Arthur notices in season two that he might just fancy her, she gets kidnapped and can do nothing but trip over her own feet and foul up two attempts to rescue her.
  • Power Rangers Both of Tommy's girlfriends. Kimberly single-handedly defeated monsters such as the Terror Toad and the Snizard, and Kat(herine) was instrumental in nearly bringing down the Rangers themselves while under Rita's spell. When they started dating Tommy, it seemed that not one episode could go by without one of them screaming "TOMMY!" at the top of their lungs. (On the other hand, given how often Tommy wound up in need of rescue...).
  • Robin Hood Happened to both Marian and Djaq to some extent. Marian is shown to be a capable fighter throughout most of the show, but towards the end of season two she is hit in the face with the Distress Ball and ends up as the Distressed Damsel on numerous occasions. In her final appearance, just before Gisborne stabs her to death the writers ensure that our intrepid heroine is denied the opportunity to wield a sword in her defense of the king, and she's reduced to simply flailing her arms around. Djaq kicks ass right to the end, but many were put off by her abrupt declarations of love for Will Scarlett, and the fact that she spent the rest of the finale behaving like a gooey-eyed teenager before opting to stay in the Holy Land to raise pigeons with him.
  • Sanctuary has an unusual male version of this, not surprising, since the show likes to genderflip tropes. Will starts out as a Badass Bookworm and ends up the Designated Victim. Strangely, only slightly less annoying than the usual way around.
  • Cheers did it to Ms. Rebecca Howe who went from cold, efficient manager in her first appearances to blundering, gold digging crybaby by the end of the series.

Professional Wrestling

  • Chyna, although hers was more enforced from above. She came in as a bodyguard (not valet, bodyguard) to Triple H. She then went on to feuding with the male wrestlers, had absolutely no interest in the Women's Championship, and was the first woman to hold a man's wrestling title (not counting the Hardcore Title, but that's another story). Towards the end, after she ended up the hypotenuse in the Chyna/Triple H/Stephanie McMahon triangle, she was pushed back into the Women's Division.
  • Natalya suffered from this. She debuted as a powerful heel and was put into contention for the new Divas' Championship but was quickly dropped from that and eventually became a manager for the Hart Dynasty where the most she usually did was slap her guys' opponents a little. This got reversed when they brought in The Usos to feud with them who had a woman as their valet. When they split, Natalya became a prominent part of the women's division and even won the title.
  • Inverted with Jacqueline Moore. She was introduced as Marc Mero's valet and, although winning the reinstated Women's Championship, was booked rather weakly and lumped together with the non-wrestler divas such as Terri and Sable. Fast forward about a year and she gets to show off the full extent of her wrestling ability, even competing in intergender matches and winning the male Cruiserweight title from Chavo Guerrero.
  • It could be said that this is consistently happening to WWE's entire women's division ever since Trish Stratus and Lita retired. Upon leaving WWE for the second time, Gail Kim has claimed, among other things, that WWE wants the division to be more "girly" and have barred the Divas from things like punching and kicking.
    • Barring them from kicking and punching? Then what else are they gonna do!?
      • These "rules" would change week to week, actually. But the chickification of this once great women's division is painfully obvious.
    • Painfully obvious in the segment that had the entire locker room confront COO Triple H for an unsafe working environment. Beth Phoenix spoke for the Divas and what did she say "we're girls". So forget that she's gone toe-to-toe with the men and any attempt by most of the roster to do anything to her would land them in a full body cast, at the end of the day she's just a girl apparently.
  • Thanks to the PG rating whenever the Divas are involved in intergender storylines with the men, the most they can do is cower in fear like a Distressed Damsel. Eve Torres is actually a blue belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu but is a quivering pile of nerves when Kane's music hits. Similarly, Aksana was a Badass in FCW but was reduced to a blubbering mess at the thought of Kane.
    • Although that's probably a bad example because this is Kane we're talking about, who even main eventers like John Cena or Randy Orton acknowledge as a legitimate threat whether he's a heel or a face. And that's without the fact that Kane's character is basically a slasher movie serial killer (replacing murder with assault, of course) and has a tendency to pop out of anywhere.

Video Games

  • Altered Beast A meta-example: In Greek Mythology, Athena is the goddess of wisdom and war. Here, she is Chickified into a standard Damsel in Distress.
  • Knights of the Old Republic Inverted: Bastila spends most of Taris in an enemy prison, but once you rescue her she becomes an actual Action Girl.
  • Odin Sphere Likely as a reference to the above example and general Valkyrie lore, the Valkyries fear this trope. Disobedient Valkyries are punished by being placed into slumber and given away to a man who will be their husband upon awakening, whereas Valkyries who are no longer able to fight are forcefully stripped of their status and married to men, where they must be obedient wives for the rest of their lives. An early Valkyrie NPC in Gwendolyn's story is facing this fate and terrified, whereas Gwendolyn herself suffers the slumbering sort as a punishment early in her story. The rest of her story has her struggling against her growing feelings for Oswald and her new role as a non-warrior. The game later reveals that Odin only used magic to make Gwendolyn sleep and not to manipulate her emotions. No one actually tells Gwendolyn this, probably because they looked at how hostile she was to Oswald and figured she must already know she wasn't enthralled. She never seems to realize that her feelings for Oswald were always genuinely her own. Ultimately, she decides it doesn't matter if they're fake or not, because Oswald is the first person in her life to treat her like a human being as opposed to her selfish, cold-hearted father. As for fighting, she seems to have little trouble with that and even rescues her husband herself from a dragon, a fire elemental king, and the queen of the dead. Clearly this trope just can't stick to her.
  • Super Robot Wars Unfortunately, this seems to hit Lamia Loveless. She debuts as a protagonist from SRW Advance, is a highly competent Action Robot Lady of War, gets into the OG series in the second installment while retaining her fighting abilities and greatly contributes to the story through battles to battles. Then OG Gaiden comes in, then the plot requires her to get captured, 'killed off', Brainwashed and Crazy and needs to be saved. Thankfully, right after the rescue, she can get back in action and kick ass again, but that depends if the player wants to put her in or not. And combined with the fact that after her rescue, she practically has no more mandatory appearances (no longer required for any specific maps), it is possible that without Gameplay and Story Segregation, she may be relegated into the sidelines, no longer doing significant things (unimportant it may be) to reverse her Chickification. However, there's still OG 3 on the looms, so we'll see if Lamia can reverse her Chickification there.
  • World of Warcraft has done this to Jaina Proudmoore. In Warcraft III and its expansion, she was one of few people who listened to the Prophet's Cassandra Truth and led people across the sea to escape the Burning Legion. She even helped kill her own father when she decided there was no other way to secure a peace between the Alliance and the Horde. In World of Warcraft, her role until Patch 3.3 was limited to cheering up orphans, and in Patch 3.3 she decided to see if her ex-boyfriend the Evil Overlord was redeemable. Good luck with that.
    • She suffers from this very badly in the Arthas novel, too, where aside from setting a couple of granaries on fire, she mostly wibbles about said ex-boyfriend, when she's not making out with him.
    • Tyrande Whisperwind has suffered from this as well, not just in WoW but in most of the Warcraft novels since. Even in Cataclysm, where most faction leaders have gotten at least one badass moment, if not multiple ones, so far all she has done amounts to staying in Darnassus and telling players about how Malfurion, her love, has returned and will fix everything.
    • While Sylvanas has generally been more at risk of Jumping Off the Slippery Slope, there was an especially ridiculous example in the Sunwell Trilogy manga, when she became a Distressed Damsel at the hands of a heretofore unheard of male Villain Sue in the Ghostlands. Bear in mind that the Ghostlands are the southern half of what's left of Eversong Forest, which Sylvanas would have been intimately familiar with as bloody Ranger-General of Quel'thalas.
  • X-Change Alternative, a Dating Sim gave an interesting variation on this trope when Badass delinquent Kaoru gets himself changed into a girl and suddenly becomes completely useless in a fight, even against other girls. In his defense, the rather large breasts and substantial difference in weight would leave anyone a bit uncoordinated. By the end of the game, however, she gets used to it and takes down an entire gang (to which she earlier couldn't even hurt one member) in an Unstoppable Rage.
  • Terra Branford in Dissidia Final Fantasy. The mind control, the need for rescue and protection, the timidity about using her powers. These things all happened at least once in her original game, Final Fantasy VI, but weren't the be-all end-all of her character, and she was ultimately strong, capable and knew what she wanted. They also destroyed her Mama Bear qualities by having her protector be a boy over a head shorter than her.
  • In Summon Night: Swordcraft Story, a large part of Sanary's character is centered around her desire to avoid this fate due to one of her role models falling deathly ill and requiring her lover to look after her. She does wind up falling into this, needing to be rescued twice 3 times if you count "possessed by a berserk spirit" and is forced into a maid outfit during the first. [[More Than Mind Control. An odd contrast is found in Pratty["Yuri Genre|X]]Razzy's path, where Pratty notes to Razzy that a girl doesn't need to look or act feminine to be beautiful.
  • Astrid in the Fire Emblem Tellius duology is a minor example. She's always been shy and ladylike, but in Path of Radiance she was determined to carve her own path in life, politely correcting Ike in her recruitment chapter when he told her to stay where it was safe and reassuring him that she could fight. In Radiant Dawn, while she can still fight her personality's been reduced to fawning over Makalov like a lovesick puppy. That said, she's a very minor character after the Crimea arc and her generic supports still reflect her desire to protect people and do her best, so she's not as extreme an example as others. It's mostly the base conversations that give this impression.

Webcomics

  • Megagi la Skunk from Sonichu was original a spike-wearing mohawked skunk who really stood out from the other female characters, all of whom were shallow female stereotypes with no personality (this is likely due to the author not creating her, but stealing her from a friend). She was rapidly chickified over her next couple of appearances until she became a literal cheerleader and indistinguishable from the other females in the cast. This is considered to be evidence that the author isn't just unable to write characters with distinct personalities; he's actively against it.

Western Animation

  • Aeon Flux had this happen once, recoiling in terror from a man threatening to beat her with his wooden leg.
    • Played with in the episode "A Last Time for Everything". Aeon lets Trevor create a copy of her for his own amusement and then switches places with her so she can experience a comfortable domestic life with him while the new Aeon takes over her old life. She then allows the copy to kill her, both to make Trevor miserable and because she was driven to despair by no longer being true to herself. Taken together with the above example (who was her boyfriend at the time) it's possible that being more vulnerable and "feminine" around men she cares about is just another aspect of her character, and one that she's not particularly proud of at that.
  • American Dragon Jake Long In an interesting inversion, in the final episode (made at the exact same time by the exact same people), it is the hero Jake who gets KO'd by the Big Bad in the Grand Finale, and his Dark Action Girl girlfriend Rose who ends up saving the world.
  • DuckTales: The reason Mrs. Beakley was hired as the triplets' nanny was because she was the only one "tough enough" to handle the little terrors, and for the first few episodes, she lives up to the job: breaking characters out of prison, escaping giant penguin-eating walruses, chariot-racing Vikings... and by Duck Tales the Movie Treasure of The Lost Lamp, she's nothing more than a weeping fainting woman. Thankfully, the 2017 reboot avoids this.
  • Gargoyles One of the reasons the "Goliath Chronicles" season is so lambasted by the fandom (in addition to its Word of God Canon Dis Continuity) is that several of its female characters underwent the Badass Decay that had been scrupulously avoided in the first two seasons. A particularly dire example noted by series creator Greg Weisman on his blog, concerns Dark Action Girl Fox in the episode "Ransom", who becomes quite the weepy Neutral Female after her baby son is kidnapped, as opposed to a previous kidnap attempt (by Oberon, godlike king of The Fair Folk) where she calmly waiting in front of his crib with a laser gun.
  • Pepper Ann parodied this trope in an episode where a cartoon starring fictitious Comic Book heroine Tundra Woman turns her into a shopping-obsessed bimbo and her archenemy into her Shallow Love Interest boyfriend. Unfortunately, Pepper Ann's sister's protest campaign causes them to veer too far in the other direction.
  • The Powerpuff Girls also parodied this. While the girls starts remember stuff in a clip show, they remember that they once aged up to becoming teenagers. In this flashback they stop fighting and instead became shallow, boy-obsessed morons. This was a Take That from Craig McCracken to all the fanfiction writers.
    • Then again, Blossom and Bubbles are pretty girly in canon... and yet they're just as Badass as the tomboyish Buttercup.
  • In The Real Ghostbusters, Janine Melnitz underwent Chickification in the third season and onward to appease the Moral Guardians: a new voice actress who toned down her old Bronx accent, a softer appearance, and a less harsh personality. This was actually justified in the 5th season episode "Janine, You've Changed"; she had made a deal with a ghost to be made over to win Egon's affections, and the ghost had hidden the changes from the cast. Ironically, the series had also found excuses to send her into the field more and more often, even as this was going on.
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series Black Cat was awesomely awesome during the arc "Partners in Danger", which introduced her. She leaves near the end, but puts in one more guest appearance in which she's as cool as ever. Unfortunately, when she returns again for "Secret Wars", her role in the story is basically to fall off of things, scream and be caught by Captain America while Spidey looks on with jealousy. Maybe it was a Skrull impostor...
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003, Karai series receives this to a degree. In her first appearance, she defeated both Leonardo and Raphael, establishing herself as a formidable ninja to be reckoned with. After that, she became a punching bag for the turtles and never again defeated them in a fair fight. In her next appearance she lost to Leonardo after a short battle where he promptly disarmed her and knocked her down. Later on in the season three finale, she did stab Leonardo but only when the Shredder knocked him into her sword. Immediately after that, she's taken out by Raphael with two kicks. Come season four, Karai has undergone a makeover and became the new Shredder, establishing herself by invading the turtles' lair and defeating Splinter one-on-one... but gets knocked out by Donatello with one kick. Once Leonardo returns from his journey abroad, he faces off against Karai and defeats her soundly, even sparing her life when he could've slain her. In her final battle against the turtles over a mystical artifact which could be used to resurrect the Demon Shredder, Karai faces Leonardo and Michelangelo and is humiliated by them once more, with Michelangelo dodging all her attacks and the two turtles grabbing her and throwing her out of an elevator, causing her to crash-land in an embarrassing position. This isn't to say that Karai doesn't get her moments but against the four turtles, she became little more than a Jobber for them to show how advanced their skills were becoming.
  • X-Men: The Animated Series had a bad habit of doing this to Jean Grey. In the comics, she was one of the original X-Men, who even in The Sixties, could hold her own against formidable opponents. In the cartoon, however, she was the go-to girl if they needed a Distressed Damsel, playing the role of The Empath more than a contributing member.
    • Some other adaptations are worse due to the Never Live It Down status of the Dark Phoenix Saga. Writers seem to think that going Phoenix, going nuts and dying is all she ever did, and when she's not Phoenix, being Scott's girlfriend and the girl Logan wants as his Love Interest is about all there is to her.
  • Parodied with Steve Trevor, love interest of Wonder Woman in his appearance at Batman the Brave And The Bold: In all other incarnations (comics, animation, live action TV) he is a fairly proactive guy, in the Cold Opening of "Scorn of Star Sapphire", he is a secret agent so confident that Wonder Woman will come to her rescue that he doesn’t move a muscle to get out of a Death Trap, lets her do all the work and gushes in her presence. And this immortal line:

Steve Trevor: "Have to say, being a secret agent is a cinch when you have a super-powered girlfriend."

Real Life

  • In the examples depicting young girls, this is arguably a case of Truth in Television considering that it's not uncommon for a girl who was previously more interested in, for example, books or sports, to suddenly drop those independent interests in favor of being the type of girl she thinks boys want once puberty hits. Generally-speaking, girls experience a significant drop in self-esteem (much more so than boys do) from childhood to adolescence, and it's at this point when girls' tendency to outperform their male peers as children begins to reverse itself. This is common and documented enough that there are multiple popular and influential books devoted to the subject of examining or attempting to reverse this phenomenon.
  • Also true for a lot of transwomen, especially former athletes. The testosterone loss tends to result in significantly reduced muscle mass.
    • The psychological effects of estrogen have a role too (reduced aggression, greater tendency towards docility, etc). In most cases this is, however, the desired outcome.

Notes

  1. Okay, maybe holding back the full fury of Scott's Eye Beams with her TK was impressive even by her comic self's standards...
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.