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That Alice! She seems Too Dumb to Live. She picks up the Distress Ball and, like a true Damsel Scrappy, scores on her own team with it. And worse, she Looks Like She Is Enjoying It...

Well, in this case, she actually is.

While this character may look like a Damsel Scrappy at first glance, she's actually Obfuscating Stupidity. Whether she's pulling a Wounded Gazelle Gambit, playing Gambit Roulette, or just into this sort of thing, she doesn't get captured because she's weak, she gets captured because she wants to. She may even have the skills to get out of the scrape she's in herself if she wanted to. If this is the case, expect her to say Let's Get Dangerous at some point.

If she's getting captured because she's into it, she may be a case of Best Her to Bed Her. Expect her not to have much regard for Safe, Sane, and Consensual.

Compare I Surrender, Suckers, and Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?. Compare and contrast Decoy Damsel, which is a villainous variation on this trope.

Examples of Deliberately Distressed Damsel include:

Anime & Manga

  • Happened in Mobile Fighter G Gundam, with Tomboy Princess Maria Louise of France playing this role. It backfires SPECTACULARLY.
  • Rukia Kuchiki in the Soul Society arc in Bleach. In this case, however, it's because she's suicidal, and wants to die to atone for killing her sub-captain and first (unrequited) love in self defence after he was possessed by a hollow. The fact circumstances have prevented her from regaining the power she lost in the first episode don't help.
    • Orihime later tries to pull this in the Hueco Mundo arc, trying to act like she has joined the Arrancar to get an opportunity to reject the Hogyoku with her powers.
  • In the first episode of Busou Renkin, Tokiko leaves herself wide open, leading Kazuki to think she is just an Innocent Bystander. Nope. sh'e an Alchemist Warrior, and she was leading the Monster of the Week into a trap.
  • Surprisingly, Elizabeth Middleford from Black Butler. She's hated by a significant chunk of the fandom who see her as an annoying, genki Disposable Fiance, but it turns out she acts the way she does because she was afraid that Ciel would see her as "uncute." (Fridge Brilliance, actually, considering how women were expected to act back then.) She's really a Little Miss Badass.
    • OTOH, it could also be a deconstruction. Unlike most girls that fit this trope, Elizabeth does this for the sake of her beloved, and not because she simply likes being rescued. It also shows that Lizzie actually had to sacrifice a few things in order to maintain Ciel's pride; i.e., keeping her badassery at bay caused her emotional pain since she was deeply scared of being rejected if it ever came out, and not to mention there's the Values Dissonance coming from Victorian Britain.
  • Eiko from Hajimete no Aku tries this trope out to gain fame and fortune. She just ends up scaring off the people who put her in distress on accident.
  • It's implied in the Fatal Fury OAV's that Mai's Chickification is actually this. It's supported by her once off-handedly saying that she wants Andy's attention and to see him squirm after he ignores her one too many times, and especially by how she is able to VERY easily defeat Panni, the local Dark Action Girl, after Terry and Joe are incapacitated so she and Andy are forced to fight on their own to protect Sulia.

Comic Books


  • In Murder on the Leviathan, Renata Kleber gets into trouble on purpose in hopes of starting a Rescue Romance with the handsome protagonist, who seems to uphold chivalric values.
  • In Twilight, Bella thinks that she can psychically connect with her ex-boyfriend Edward if she gets an adrenaline rush, and purposefully puts herself in near-death situations to bring them on.
    • One of the parodies of it, New Moan, has Heffa (the parody of Bella) hoping Teddy (Edward) and Joe (Jacob) will fight over her, and tries to edge them into doing so.
  • In The Light Fantastic, Cohen the Barbarian, Rincewind, and Twoflower interrupt a druidic sacrifice, in the process rescuing the maiden who was about to be sacrificed. Said maiden is extremely indignant about the rescue, protesting that if it weren't for them rescuing her she would be "having tea with the Moon Goddess by now" and that they'd just caused "eight years of staying in on Sunday nights" to go "down the drain".

Video Games

  • A common interpretation for Princess Peach.
  • Alicia pulls this one off in Solatorobo. She even goes so far as to hire the Sky Pirates to kidnap her, all in the hopes that Waffle will come rescue her. Unfortunately for her, Red gets there before her intended man and Hilarity Ensues.
  • Played with in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Though Zelda herself certainly doesn't choose to be kidnapped, it's later revealed that her plight was part of a plan set in motion by her previous incarnation. In her past life as the goddess Hylia, she predicted that putting her human self in danger would be a surefire way to spur Link into action.

Visual Novels

Web Comics

 Grace:"[discussing why a video game princess keeps getting kidnapped] Oh, it's like foreplay to her. She's kind of evil that way."

Western Animation


  • A very mild version of this is when a woman will drop her handkerchief in hopes that the man in question will pick it up and return it to her, which I've Seen A Million Times.
    • Played with in Monkey Business, where a woman drops a handkerchief in front of Zeppo, who pockets it and then drops one for her to pick up.
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