Women Depicted as Deferential to Men

Table Of Contents

Explanation of Conservative Trope

When men and women interact with each other on screen, more often the woman acts deferential to the man letting him take control of situations. There are many repeated cliches where this is treated as a normal way for women to act.

Conservative Trope Examples

  • Isabel Lahiri (Catherine Zeta Jones) is manipulated into committing a crime forcing her to flee and lose her career as a talented and successful Interpol investigator so that her thief father can see her again without being arrested and thief ex-husband, Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), can get back together with her. And in the final scene, you see she is indeed back with Rusty although she probably didn't have much choice between that or jail.
  • Bridget Jones The Edge of Reason (2004) | Women Acting Normally to Sexist Behavior
    'Uncle' Geoffrey (James Faulkner) tells Bridget (Renée Zellweger) he prefers "what's underneath" her clothes after a relative complimented her jumper and then firmly squeezes Bridget's (Renée Zellweger) buttocks.
  • Bridget Joness Diary (2001) | Women Let Men Treat Them Poorly
    Daniel (Hugh Grant) patronizingly tells Bridget (Renée Zellweger) to "just slow down. It started on Tuesday and now it's Thursday. It's not exactly a long-term relationship, is it?" after she expresses concern about what the rest of the office will think of their relationship.
  • Bridget Joness Diary (2001) | Women Acting Normally to Sexist Behavior
    A male home shopping show host who works with Bridget's (Renée Zellweger) mother yells "ouch!" at his stylist and then tells her to "be careful you ham-fisted c*nt!" after she accidentally poked him with a piece of equipment.
  • Tomcats (2001)
    Steve (Horatio Sans) is depicted as uncouth and much less attractive than Tricia (Jaime Pressly), but they are the second couple to get married in the movie by an Elvis impersonator at a Las Vegas wedding for only $250. She agreed to not have her dream wedding so he could open his own dental practice which they invested all their money into.
    Staff Aside
    Jaimie Pressley has appeared on the cover of Shape, Playboy, FHM & Maxim whereas Horatio Sans has not appeared on comparable magazines with men on the cover unlike fellow co-star Jerry O'Connell. And, more often than not women are deferential and help out men achieve their career goals rather than the other way around.
  • Kyle gives golf lessons to a woman he's dating who is depicted a ditsy and overly subservient. Michael joins him in the golf cart desperate for his help, and so she is forced to walk the course while they drive. She is not very good and acts and talks very ditsy-like. When her golf club goes flying on a failed swing attempt she says, "That's ok. Keep it. I've got more in the bag" not realizing every club is important and needed. Her next swing she falls over and Kyle, not paying attention, runs over her with his golf cart. She yells out, "I'm ok" and continues to let him treat her badly. She struggles to carry her bag to catch up to them while they ignore her and continue driving. They stop and she crashes into the cart and falls on her back. Undeterred, she continues to try to catch up as they ignore her and continue driving until the scene ends. But, that's not all, the end credits scene she's back for more laughs! And they show her on the same golf course losing her balance and falling down a hill into a pond while calling out to Kyle.
    Staff Aside
    Would they show a heterosexual man acting ditsy struggling with a sport while a woman mistreats him for laughs?
    Additional Tropes: Women Acting Ditsy
  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987) | Women Let Men Treat Them Poorly
    Gus's son Owen picks up Neal (Steve Martin) and Del (John Candy) for a ride to the train station in Wichita. The guys pick up a heavy trunk to load in Owen's truck, but he stops them and barks for his petite wife to get her "lazy behind out here and put that in back!" all by herself. The guys initially protest, but Owen insists she do it and says "She don't mind. She's short and skinny, but she's strong. Her first baby - come out sideways. She didn't scream or nothin."
    Staff Aside
    This scene is obviously played for laughs, but it also feeds into the idea that women are subservient to men and must do what they're told.