Damsel in distress

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Buttercup is a damsel in distress for most of The Princess Bride.

Damsel in distress is an extremely common trope in fiction where a female character is in danger and needs to be saved, almost always by a male character. This trope exists in some of humanity's oldest stories.

When I was younger I had a mild appreciation with this trope and found it to be romantic. However, after seeing it played out thousands of times, I'm completely sick of it. I don't have a problem with the damsel in distress trope in principle, but I find it troubling that it is so ubiquitous in fiction. When it comes to media, I much prefer strong female characters who can solve their own problems, however, I have to admit there are plenty of books, films, and video games that I like which use this trope. However, in most cases, I think the media could be made superior if they left out this trope.


These are works which feature a damsel in distress that are important to me. For the complete list, see the damsel in distress category.

Title Released Media Notes
Aladdin 1992-11-25 Film Princess Jasmine needs to be rescued by Aladdin multiple times in the film.
Final Fantasy VI 1994-04-02 Video Game Through the course of the story, every playable female character is kidnapped and needs rescuing, some multiple times.
Harry Potter series 1997-06-26 Fiction Despite clearly being the best equipped, Hermione find herself needing to be rescued in several of the books. As do many of the other female characters.
King's Quest series 1985-??-?? Video Game Most of the titles in the series include a damsel in distress.
The Legend of Zelda series 1987-08-22 Video Game Most of Zelda games require Link to rescue the kidnapped Princess Zelda.
Mario series 1981-07-09 Video Game Most of Mario games require the player to rescue a princess of some sort.
The Princess Bride 1973-??-?? Fiction Princess Buttercup is the damsel in distress archetype with no useful attributes but her beauty.


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