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Get Help Now! A damsel in distress is a young woman in danger. The term often refers to a stock character in fiction who is rescued by a male hero. Chained to a rock, the princess Andromeda is spared from a sea monster by the heroic Perseus an example of a damsel in distress from ancient Greek legend. The trope became particularly popular in chivalric medieval romances. The specific phrase damsel in distress emerges in English in the 17th and 18th centuries.
As the example from Don Quixote suggests, damsel in distresswhile indeed used in earnest, is also often a conceit to expose the follies of men.
Incelebrated British humorist P. Wodehouse wrote a novel called A Damsel in Distress. In it, an American composer believes he is rescuing a noblewoman only to discover she truly loves someone else. The novel was adapted as a musical film inwith music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin. Damsel in distress is commonly used in discussions of the trope in literature and media, including classic films like King Kong to the Super Mario video game franchise.
The phrase is familiar enough in popular lexicon to be used in casual speech and writing, too. In an essay on moral character, Irish polymath and activist Sophie Bryant argued that damsel in distress stories require females to be incompetent, creating a dearth of literary role models for women.
Well over a century later infeminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian released a series of YouTube videos explaining how the damsel in distress idea casts women as victims, citing many examples in contemporary popular media. As a widespread narrative device, the damsel in distress is often played upon.
In this vein, damsel in distress also been duly gender-flipped: Dude in distress or distressed dude have been proposed as names for the male counterpart to the damsel in distress.
This is not meant to be a formal definition of damsel in distress like most terms we define on Dictionary. Redefine your inbox with Dictionary. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Examples Origin Usage. Pop Culture dictionary damsel in distress [dam-z uh l in dih- stres ] What does damsel in distress mean? What's hot. Where does damsel in distress come from? Examples of damsel in distress She zip-lined right in there and kissed him like he was some kind of damsel in distress. Some Niggas be having Superman Syndrome. Every line of dialogue is delivered as stoically as possible—except, of course, for the lines allotted to the one female character in the entire affair, who immediately falls into bed with Nick and, despite protesting that she can take care of herself, is quickly threatened with rape by other characters and turned into a damsel in distress.
Popular now. Who uses damsel in distress? Note This is not meant to be a formal definition of damsel in distress like most terms we define on Dictionary.Looking for my damsel in distress
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Damsel in Distress