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"2001 A.D. - The world as you know it is no more. A deadly virus has wiped out 99% of the female population and the few surviving women are now worshipped as QueenLords. You are Griffin Spade, warrior and Battlelord in a post-apocalyptic future. With only the BattleTanx at your command, you must save mankind from extinction! Fight your way across the wasteland that was once America and rescue the QueenLords from roving gangs of mercenaries and thugs."
From the box of Battle Tanx.

The world has just been rocked by a near-Gendercide. Nearly the entire male or female population has been killed by The Virus or something similar. Alternatively, a particular people would be a One-Gender Race were it not for the occasional exception of a male/female being born. Occasionally it won't be a scarcity individuals from one gender so much as a scarcity of fertile individuals, which for most intents and purposes amounts to much the same thing (see also Only You Can Repopulate My Race). Though it does make it harder to tell which individuals are reproductively useful.

When any of these happen, the rarity of the surviving gender will leave them to one of at least two fates.

  1. The rare gender will attain high status (perhaps even virtual godhood) and wield great political power because they're the only ones with the "wherewithal" to keep the species viable.
  2. The rare gender will lose all status (perhaps even virtual slavery) because they're extremely valuable breeding stock that has to be possessed and protected if you want to keep the species going.

Note that the former is more likely in limited-fertility scenarios and a Lady Land or No Woman's Land is almost inevitable in the latter. And let's not forget the Double Standard Rape (Female on Male) factor.

While there are other possibilities and variations between these two extremes these are the two most commonly encountered.


Rare Gender Worshipped

Anime & Manga

  • A large part of the plot of Nagasarete Airantou is that Ikuto is the only male on the whole island. Making him the only one who can help repopulate it. The end of the anime has an inversion: The men from Airantou had drifted to another nearby island, creating the exact opposite situation when Ikuto's sister washed up there. We see her, and she describes a situation that is almost identical to what Ikuto went through, just as a girl on an island of guys instead, where the men on the other island are all treating her respectfully wheras many of the females with Ikuto have various levels of intent to claim him as their own.
  • The central theme of the manga Ooku is about a feudal Japan ravaged by a mysterious disease affecting only men, that cause them to die off. The remaining men are treated as rare objects, and the Imperial court is run by an Empress and her harem of suitors.

Film

  • One of the basic assumptions in the film Children of Men is that people have suddenly become infertile, and no one is sure why. When a woman who is not only fertile, but actually pregnant, is found she's fought over like she was the last slice of pizza at a frathouse poker game.

Literature

  • Female children are rare among the Discworld's Nac Mac Feegle. These girls become Keldas, leaders of Nac Mac Feegle clans. The fact they're a lot smarter (and saner) than most of the men helps too.
    • Also, in Interesting Times, Rincewind was nearly taken in by a tribe of woman warriors who lost their menfolk to a very specific plague. Then he's summoned back to Ankh-Morpork by wizards.
  • Robert Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. Due to the Moon having a very low women:men ratio, the women are completely in charge when it comes to sex, and any man who attacks a woman will find himself Thrown Out the Airlock. When some Earth troops rape and kill a prostitute, the Lunar colony uses it as a pretext to start The War of Earthly Aggression early.
  • Through a good portion of Inheritance Cycle, Saphira angsts about being the last living female dragon in Alagasia, thus the duty, she feels, falls to her to repopulate the world with the two remaining eggs that are still under control by the Evil Empire. later when it is found that there is another living dragon, she quickly responds to the urge to ensure the continuation of her species, which is not reciprocated. She hatched around a year ago. Counts, in this troper's opinion, because there are plural males, just unhatched. Oh, and Glaedr receives VIP status for having a pulse.
  • On the Honor Harrington planets of Grayson and Masada, women outnumber men three-to-one, but it's the men who are in charge. This is largely due to a religious beliefs that held women were incapable of bearing serious responsibility in men's areas. Graysons, at least, had become fairly chivalrous about this in recent years, whereas the Masadans were full-on He Man Woman Haters.
  • In Dragonriders of Pern, the golden "queen" dragons are both the rarest dragons and the only fertile ones. Queen dragons make up about five percent of the entire dragon population, while greens (the smallest and lowest-ranking) are about half the population.
    • Interestingly, greens are also female, and are only sterile because (like the males) they are fed firestone to allow them to breathe flame. Brief scenes involving a young gold dragon seem to suggest that if they were to withhold firestone from a green (either from hatching, possibly allowing them only a small ration thereof; or from a mature green) they may produce viable fertilised clutches. This does produce mild Fridge Logic moments with the primary plot point from the first novel, but they may be Handwaved or justified by assuming that greens only produce green eggs.
      • Green firelizards are fertile and it's said that green clutches produce smaller, weaker hatchlings than gold clutches. Also, only golds produce another gold, one per clutch or less. When you need dragons to keep your planet from being devoured by Thread, you want big, strong dragons with stamina, thus from golds and not greens.
  • In Wen Spencer's A Brothers Price male children are a lot rarer then female children which results in a society with reversed traditional gender roles and arranged polygamous marriage between a man and multiple women (usually sisters), and by multiple think anywhere from 5 to 30.
    • Also a literal Gender Rarity Value, a "Brother's Price" is how much a family gets for selling their brother. Usually it's just a swap for another family's brother or a straight sale to a family for cash. The male ends up marrying all the women in the new family. However there is also the option of selling him to a "Crib" aka whorehouse, where he'll spend the rest of his life drugged to the eyeballs on fantasy world viagra impregnating women who can't afford to buy a husband.
  • In Frank Herbert's The White Plague, a geneticist is driven mad when his wife and twin daughters are killed by an IRA bomb, so he takes revenge on the world by creating a disease which is carried by men but fatal to women. By the end of the book, a new set of customs is revolving about the status of women, with an odd combination of worship and slavery. (Basically, society expects that the women will have multiple children by multiple men, but the women can choose whom they want to procreate with so long as they aren't exclusive. Spinsterhood is not an option for a human race that came close to extinction.)
  • Explicitly invoked in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga. When advanced reproductive technology comes to patriarchal Barayar most people naturally use it to favor boys but motherless, sisterless (but not brotherless, and that's a very important point) Drou Koudelka uses it to make sure all four of her children are girls. Her husband Commodore Koudelka later admits he was only amenable to this plan after he was convinced that gender rarity value would make his daughters very hot commodities in the future. And sure enough the four sisters of "Team Koudelka" all end romantically attached to rising stars in the military, commerce, government and the sciences.

Live Action TV

 Princess Diana: But all the girls will want that task.

Video Games

  • The Gerudo in The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time have only one male child every one hundred years. One male child, Ganondorf, becomes their king. This doesn't go well.
  • The Battle Tanx games on Nintendo 64 and PlayStation had a plague wipe out 99% of the female population. The remainder were dubbed QueenLords and the remaining men fight over them with tanks.
  • In Mass Effect, the krogan were hit by a Depopulation Bomb that causes 99.9% of births to be stillborn (amazingly, this actually stabilizes the krogan birthrate). As a result, females who can reliably bring larger litters to term are considered extremely valuable, and to prevent themselves from becoming pawns of the tribes, women have segregated themselves into single-sex clans. One planet is mentioned to have once been the main base of a notorious female krogan warlord, who was one of the last women around who could reliably bear living offspring - and who parlayed that into a position of enormous power, gathering a literal armada of male krogan to her banner.
    • Also the salarians. The race is 90% male, but they rarely wield political power. The females wield the highest ranks through being clan matriarchs. This is subverted for the salarians, however, because the females closely regulate the gender of their children, enforcing the 90/10 ratio.
      • There's a logical reason for their doing so, as well. Salarians are "haplo-diploid oviparous" reproducers. Basically, females lay eggs frequently (at least once a year, if not more), even without any sexual contact; unfertilised eggs hatch as males, fertilised eggs hatch as females. This is balanced by a 40-year lifespan, but the salarian colonies still tend to require careful self-regulation to avoid overpopulation.
  • Non Plot Point examples, many Pokémon have low chances for one gender. Before Ditto became accessible in Generation 3, people would Save Scum for female starters (as Gender Equals Breed, without a Ditto you need a female to get more)
    • Only a female Combee can evolve into Vespiquen. 87.5% of wild Combees are male.
  • The Fallout series' Vault 69 had with in 999 women and one man. The women fought and killed each other over the sole male. There is also Vault 68, with 999 men and one woman, but what happened within it is unknown.
    • Penny Arcade parodied these examples with Vault 43: 20 men, 10 women, and one panther. Presumably the panther helped even out the gender ratio a bit- or made things worse.
  • In World of Warcraft, female dwarf characters are rather rarely played. While they aren't really "worshipped" in any way, they happen to be treated as sort of an oddity/rarity by some players[1]], and sometimes have to be actively sought for, more so than female characters of other races (e.g. for the achievement, which requires a player to put a set of rabbit ears on female character of every race, level 18 or higher.

Webcomics

  • Laura of Collar 6 came from such a place. The island of Sybion has several thousand women, and about fifty men. Religious texts decree the men are descended from gods and are to be worshiped as such. Upon coming of age, women become part of a man's harem with the ultimate intent to bear a male child.

Western Animation

  • Not as extreme as the other examples, but in Galaxy High there are far fewer women attending than men. When Aimee arrives she instantly becomes popular and gets an admirer while Doyle is ignored, despite both being new and unusual students.
  • In one episode of Futurama, Professor Farnsworth creates a time machine that can go forward in time. The Professor, Bender, and Fry go forward in time through several different periods. Eventually they reach one where the Earth is populated by gorgeous young women. The women explain that men are very rare in their society, so even old and stupid ones are treated like kings.

Rare Gender Enslaved

Live Action TV

  • An episode of Sliders had the Sliders land on a world where the bulk of the male population was killed in biological war. The result is that remaining men are kept in facilities with the intent of using them to breed future generations. This goes to ridiculous extent that the two world superpowers (based on male population count): US and Australia, constantly steal each other's males. Men are rated on a number of "encounters" per month. A particular stud is famous for having the average count in the 200s, and a man is forcibly separated from his wife and placed in a repopulation facility. And she's not allowed to even see him, much less sleep with him, because she's not attractive enough for their eugenics program. Apparently, even with the absence of men women are still obsessed with beauty, although that could just be an artifact of a male-dominated culture. One wonders if this culture doesn't have any form of artificial insemination.
    • The professor actually says that they definitely don't use any form of technology to improve the fertility process. Exactly why isn't explained.
  • Obligatory Star Trek Example: In Enterprise, there's an episode with a species who have 3 genders. The "cogenitors" are treated in a manner not befitting pet hamsters- They aren't even given names, let alone education or freedom. (the cogenitors make up less than 3 percent of the population, setting themselves into this trope nicely)

Literature

  • The Rainbow Cadenza has men outnumbering women seven to one, and women are drafted into prostitution for three years.
  • Selonians in the Star Wars Expanded Universe were ruled by the sterile females of the species. Males and fertile females were kept on the homeworld for breeding.
  • The Olympians in Jack Chalker's Well World series are an offshoot of humanity deliberately engineered to fulfill The Dragon's harem fantasies which combine inbred female loyalty and subservience imperatives with nigh-irresistable male sexual prowess and a low male birth rate to reduce future competition. Then he gets killed. 200 years later it's the males who are kept in communally owned harems because after his death the women immediately decided that the best way to protect, coddle, and serve their rare and precious male children was to keep them in guarded creches and raise them to be little more than gigalos and sperm donors.
  • Speaking of Olympians, in Greek Mythology, The mythological all-woman warrior tribe,Amazons are said to have kept in contact with an all-male tribe called the Gargareans, who they'd come in contact with to have kidnap, rape, and murder so they can have offspring, then chuck the male kids back to the tribe and take all of the female children born. As you can see, Amazons were extremely nice people.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Luke is the first "male witch" the Dathomiri have seen. He is immediately enslaved.

Manga

  • Men in Ooku: the Inner Chambers land on this side of the line. When rather more than 75% of men die before adulthood from the endemic Redface Pox the survivors are protected from danger and excessivly strenuous activity wherever possible (women have taken over everything from farming to fishing to smithing). However men seem to have also been crowded out of leadership roles (too stressful and all that) and few think anything about pimping out boys as young as fourteen to women seeking children.

Web Original

  • In Nation States, the country Lovable Weirdos has no men naturally. Men are bought from the nation of Des-Bal as slaves and used only for breeding purposes with next to no rights.

Video Games

  • With one exception involving Time Travel, players only ever see female Mithra in Final Fantasy XI. This isn't because there aren't males, but because males are believed to be rare and, because of this, something of a commodity and seemingly worshiped.
  • In Meet and fuck: Star Mission, males have declined "due to a succession of wars". Males are kept in cryostasis untill The Federation needs a few sperm samples, thawed, thrown a sandwich and a vial. Once the samples are collected, they get stuck back in the freezer and shipped to another colony.

Real Life

  • Boys are born slightly more often than girls but are slightly less likely to survive to adulthood, for reasons that anyone who has ever seen Jackass would probably understand, and the fact that men are more likely to inherit certain genetic diseases like hemophilia due to only having one X chromosome. The differences (on the order of 1% either way, depending upon culture) are far too small to constitute rarity.

Other

Anime and Manga

  • Played both ways in One Piece. The "Isle of Women", Amazon Lily, forbids men to step upon it on pain of death. This works so well that only the oldest woman on the island could even identify a man when she saw one, since all the women who leave the island for supplies and what not and know what males look like are just coming back to the island. However, once Luffy befriends Boa Hancock and gains her permission to be on the island, the women can't get enough of him and are eager to just touch him before he leaves.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho: Rare gender expelled with extreme prejudice. Hiei, the only male ever born to the Koorime, is thrown off the their floating island shortly after his birth. He was, apparently, conceived through his mother's interactions with a fire demon, rather than the usual immaculate conception.

Comic Books

  • I'm sure Y: The Last Man has both extremes of this trope mentioned, if not explored. The hero's journey is largely motivated by his desire not to become a slave subject to variation 2. The final epilogue implies that the baby boy born to the astronaut and cosmonaut grew up to become the ruler of Russia, making future Russia variation 1.

Fan Fiction

  • A House fanfiction series in which there are absolutely no females and Blue Eyed men are capable of becoming pregnant. With this all blue-eyed men (House himsself included) are rounded up in government sweeps, enslaved, shoved in a procession-line style facility and forced into sex with multiple Breeders and not allowed to see their children, in order to repopulate the world with females. a twist at the end of the first installation reveals that the reason why the proud mummies aren't allowed to see their offspring is that there are absolutely no female babies being born and the government don't want the secret released.

Film

  • From the Star Wars universe, the Gamorreans, best known as the Orc-like guards at Jabba's palace, exist to fight. The males do, anyway, which is why at least five boars are born for every sow, to make up for losses due to fighting.
    • In the Expanded Universe, Cereans have a gross imbalance between males and females and a low birthrate. Ki Adi Mundi is a polygamist as a result and is one of the few Jedi given official sanction to marry.
  • Hell Comes To Frogtown -- Roddy Piper plays the most fertile man on Earth in a future where fertility is scarce. While valuable, he is forced into a government mission to rescue -- and impregnate -- a treasured group of fertile women.

Literature

  • A partial example with Elena in Women of the Otherworld who is the only known female werewolf. Partial because female werewolves aren't necessary to propagate the species, because Gender Equals Breed when werewolves mate with humans, but she's still treated as a novelty and many werewolves wish they could have her with them. But the pack she's with treats her as an individual.
  • F.M. Busby's The Breeds Of Man posits a limited fertility future where an HIV cure Gone Horribly Wrong effectively prevents women from being impregnated twice by the same man because their souped-up immune systems develop immunity after the first "infection" that effectively excludes any future impregnation by any man with the same blood type. Many draconian solutions running to both ends of the Gender Rarity Value spectrum are discussed but none are actually implemented. Meanwhile, women who want more children just take the practical route and start sleeping around.
  • Masters of the Fist, a collection of short stories by Edward P. Hughes: in the aftermath of World War III, all the men in a certain Irish village have gone sterile, except for a British Army sergeant who salvaged a Challenger tank and used it to defend the place from brigands. A council of village elders therefore decrees the sergeant to now be the village's "lord,"[2] who must deflower every girl of the village just before her wedding. He isn't very happy about it, especially since one of the council, the schoolteacher, is the only woman he really wanted ... but he's not allowed to marry her, because he has to be the village's stud. He's also rather squicked when the process has gone on long enough that most or all of the girls these days are his daughters.
  • French post-Apocalypse novel Malevil plays quite a bit with this trope.
    • The worshiped variety at Malevil castle. Miette is flat out told that she will not be the property of six men and is given free reign to choose a husband. In response, she Takes a Third Option and starts a Polyamory relationship. Everyone treats her with the utmost kindness and respect, except La Menou. Her sister Catie and Angès are treated the same when they arrive later.
    • Averted at La Roque village. As a number of women have survived as well, both sexes go about their business as relatively "normal".
    • The enslaved variety comes to rule La Roque after Vilmain's army captures the city. Fulbert barely kept his men from being rapists, it's a reward for Vilmain's veteran troops.

Live Action TV

Tabletop Games

  • In Warhammer Fantasy Battles only one tenth of all dwarfs are born female. Dwarf holds are ruled over by kings and women hold little political power but are still highly respected in their society. Women may marry more then one man in which case they are encouraged to marry brothers.

Real Life

  • China. Males currently outnumber females about 117 to 100 in the upcoming generations. Mostly due to female babies being aborted due to a combination of China's one child policy and the fact that most families want a male heir to carry on their family name. In some rural regions, families feel they need male offspring just to "get by", and that "girl babies don't count." Where abortion is not available, newborn girls are sometimes simply killed. Also averted in that the rarer female gender doesn't seem to be gaining much status, and their lower status in society is the reason for why male children are preferred, rather than a consequence of their rareness, so it's a vicious cycle that's slowly being broken. The Chinese are slowly waking up to the fact that a huge number of their sons aren't going to be able to marry, and are going to have to pay huge sums even when they do find a fiancee (in Chinese society, the groom's family pays for the wedding), and as a result the birth rate of daughters is going up.
    • Other countries suffering from "missing women" are India, Pakistan, and Iran. This is all because of sex-selective abortion and lower value of females. Even in American, despite an equal opportunity culture, the Chinese-American gender rate is unnaturally skewed. But It is getting better in India, Korea and other Asian countries, where awareness campaigns have made it "modern and acceptable" to consider girls as worthwhile as boys. South Korea's birth rate is back at normal. In India, having 70/100 ratio in some villages have made the women more valuable and men are now paying the women to marry. Plus, rich men grab up women first, making them more valuable and having to search beyond your village for a wife has done wonders for ethnic relations. There have also been worrying instances where women have been treated as merchandise in rural India; extremely valuable, but with no power to make their own decisions, as well as situations where men share their wives with less fortunate friends regardless of the wife's consent.
      • In Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, the male/female gender ratio is about 2 to 1, creating a serious gender imbalance. This time, it's because these countries have large amounts of almost universally male foreign migrant workers.
  • Women in technical studies often go through a form of this. They are usually not treated differently by their peers and teachers, but are accused of being so anyway.
  • While their number have been increasing in the past years, Female Nerds always are a huge hit among their male counterpart.
  • Biologists analyze the behaviors and actions of species in terms of "genetic fitness", which is basically the proportion of an individual's genes in the next generation. Whenever the ratio of a given sex goes down relative to the other, it becomes more advantageous (in terms of fitness) to have offspring of that sex, so that sex is temporarily more valuable. In the long run, this causes nearly all sexually reproducing species to have an equal ratio of males to females, even for species whose males spend most of their lives alone and thus (it would appear) don't contribute much to the group's welfare. The mothers in some species have developed means to determine the offspring's sex in response to apparent conditions.
  • As of 2011, there's mounting concern in America that the relative absence of men from higher education and the disparate impact of unemployment on male-dominated fields in the wake of the recession have left many college-educated women without opportunities to meet and have relationships with their educational and social peers. 57% of American college students are female and some colleges are quietly engaging in affirmative action benefiting men in order to avoid a skewed sex ratio that would be seen as hurting the reputation and perceived social life of college campuses. One-fifth of working-age males are currently not participating in the workforce. These trends have been seen as causing an ongoing re-evaluation of traditional marriage and relationship norms and skewing the balance of power in dating towards men, at least according to this much-discussed article.
    • Curiously, the traditional college-educated man had no problem with a non-college-educated wife. Part of this is thanks to chauvinism, but it also suggests a Double Standard and perhaps that women have higher standards than men, at least for educational background. There is no shortage of men, but a shortage of acceptable men. But why is this? Is it because men are expected to be more capable, or at least not less capable? If so, isn't that still entrenched patriarchy? This is still being researched and debated.
    • It can also be attributed to females, despite their gains in education, still make 77 cents to a man's dollar, will live longer than men on average, have a much smaller window of opportunity to have children, and are still expected to be the ones giving up or backpedaling on their careers to be caretakers to their kids, aging parents, and (if applicable) spouses.
  • Russia has a gender ratio of 86 men to 100 women, due to a higher male death rate from various public health problems (including widespread alcoholism). This has led some people to advocate the legalization of polygamy.

Webcomics

  • The two warring factions in the Girls Love Space Opera Angels 2200 appear to have chosen opposite versions of this trope following the male Gendercide: The Colonials appear to have opted for version one with males in command positions while the Terrans appear to have opted for version two since none of their males have ever appeared at all, which is not surprising, considering the Terrans created the Gendercide plague in the first place. One Terran pilot claims that her father didn't die in the plague: he abandoned his family to become a playboy afterwards

Western Animation

  • In Futurama episode "Amazon Women In The Mood", Fry and Zapp Brannigan are captured by giant women, and sentenced to death by constantly having sex with them.

Notes

  1. [[AC:For some examples, you can see [http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/4078908222?page=2#28 this forum thread in the game's forums
  2. pretending that it's just because he's the guy with the tank
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