Why are female fighters almost always portrayed as "kick chicks"?



In real life, female fighters who fight in the UFC, as well as in action movies, know how to punch, but in fighting games, female fighters are often stereotyped as fighting predominately with kicks, or they do punch, but their punches are weak in comparison to their kicks; TV Tropes calls this trope a “kick chick.” The trope codifier is Chun-Li, who debuted in Street Fighter II, the original female fighter. Since then, many female fighters have followed in her footsteps, but by kicking almost all the time, they are promoting the negative stereotype that women don’t know how to punch. Chun-Li practices kung fu and tai chi, and I’m sure that those martial arts are not all kicking; they definitely have punches in them. And one Street Fighter character, Elena from Street Fighter III, takes it to the extreme by never, ever using her fists; she doesn’t punch at all! Her fighting style is capoeira, which has a lot of kicks, but still. And Juri is another example of a kick chick; she practices taekwondo, but again, to be fair, that martial art consists of predominately kicks (though it does have at least a few punches). The only female fighters who should be kick chicks are those who practice taekwondo and ninjutsu, since ninjas apparently also tend to kick more often than they punch as well. Everyone else should punch more often than they kick. And I would also like to see a female fighter who practices boxing, and uses only punches.

Why are female fighters in fictional fighting games often portrayed as kick chicks who don’t know how to punch?

Moved: Why are female fighters almost always portrayed as "kick chicks"?

That’s a design illusion made to make them look someway on equal level to males, as theyr (female) legs can compete in power with (males) arms

Same reason fiction tend to give them an invented speed/agility superiority to compete with males strenght/toughness

VG sometimes try to do “arms females” and very large majority of times end up like crap

I do actually like Capcom approach for tough girls though, char like Makoto, Mika and Laura work very well imho.

Specially with little touch of chara design they put here and there… example Mika is the one that most rely on straight strenght, and they never fail to show that despite it being “super” she still need all her efforts to complete her launches.
Nice touches were added on ASF too

Mostly because Capcom know where to stop with the bullshit while creating a “performance lore” for theyr cast, and tend to motivate theyr design choices explaining (with story or even just by design) why they got man-like strenght, wich give a greater meaning to that achievement

I remember a good read from a SF2 designer explaining how both Chun and Cammy concept was built on NOT negate female weakness anime style, but about develop a method of fighting that allow to fight males at strenght/power/weight/size disadvantage

Is still a -very generous- fiction, but at least it start with a good character design premise instead skinny fucks and little anime gurls throwing peoples with one hand like nothing because bad tastes nerds find it cool


Female physiology makes it very hard to design someone around upper body strength in the way characters like Zangief or Boxer are. It’s hard to convincingly add mass to a woman’s biceps/pecs without making them look silly.

In addition, legs/feet are one of the more … “marketable” parts of the female form while still fairly practical as combat appendages. This is most prominent with Chun and Cammy.


Makes the female fighters look elegant in combat as well. As if performing a dance, rather than being brutish and straightforward about it. It’s also a very nice distinction, design-wise. Makes for fun variety in characters’ fighting styles.

It’s a stereotype, but it works. It exposes the strengths of each gender in ways for the most part unique to them. And allows for interesting characters, when the stereotype is broken.


When I think of the SF5 females, i see Chun which is the epitome of kick chick as you are saying.

Then you got Cammy which is not really about kicks or punches, she uses both about equally. Maybe more kicks cuz of her specials but her style is not solely based on them. You got Laura and Mika who is more into throws and strength so not really kick oriented. You got Kolin which have doesn’t really have kicks special moves while her fighting is about rapid punches (stabs ) and counters. Ibuki is about using kunais, Ki and general ninja trickery. Karin is about… I don’t know what she is about but her attacks are punches and kicks too without anyone looking completely dominant over the other.

The only really kick chick in SF5 is Juri and that makes perfect sense, she is based on taekwondo so ofcourse she will be based around kicks.

In other games, usually there are super powers involved or weaponry. There is this games called Injustice 2 where one of the chicks french kisses her opponent as a command grab. Isn’t that elegant huh, now as hot as that is, i would prefer them to kick over resorting to stuff like that.


I love Ibuki’s kicks. Bonsho kick and s.MK all day.


Kicking hurts more. also longer reach. ever get kicked in the face before? Pr the crown jewels? It hurts. Women know what’s up.


I don’t think st.MK technically qualify as a kick. That is a knee to the gut.


Girls are smart and they know that legs have longer reach and hurt more, males instead are stupid and they flail their tiny arms trying to hit stuff only to get kicked in the nuts like they deserve. Not that girls don’t know how to punch, they just recognize it as the less strategically worth skill and keep it as second resort.
Girls >>> Guys, don’t forget it!

More seriously though, it probably comes down to the fact that female characters are generally designed to be at least reasonably pleasant-looking, and a pleasant looking woman is not going to be bulky and have trunks for arms. She may end up being pretty athletic but nowhere near as physically imposing as male characters are allowed to get (because male beauty has different standards and male characters are also allowed to be ugly and weird-looking far more often than female ones). In conclusion you end up with designs for female characters that don’t look very strong in the upper body section and so it makes more sense to give them either good kicks, high agility or fantastical stuff that has nothing to do with martial arts.

Designs like Zarya from Overwatch are the exception. There’s not a counterpart to her in Street Fighter, and honestly right now I can’t think of a design like her in fighting games in general.


I prefer my women to be athletic anyway. Best body type.


3S Chun Li didn’t really give a shit about kicks other than cr.mk, and her HP is one of the most amazingly enjoyable hits to land in any fighting game

really though it’s probably as much a matter of character variety as anything, people are used to the “punchy guy” being a man and so they make a couple of those and then when they move on to other archetypes and adding females that base is already covered.

if we ever get P5 Arena maybe we’ll get Makoto beating the shit out of people with her fist weapons


This isn’t really about SF5, so I’m moving it out of the SF5 forum and over to FGD where it kinda belongs if anywhere.


DOA5LR female fighters have strong punches besides kicks, and they aren’t big (though Rachel is an exception)

Tia from Breakers Revenge has very strong punches too


think the whole kick stereotype is exaggerated. even Chun Li’s beautiful, sharp and fierce punches can be devastating and cause dizzies, especially in SF2. and her arms are strong enough to throw the strongest wrestler.


cos legs are sexy




Seems like there are enough non-kickchick female fighting game characters for this not even be worth discussing. It’s just not an issue in the genre, despite Chun Li being such an obvious example.




Case in point, Holly Holms roundhouse to Ronda Rousey during their fight.


Let’s not get carried away here martial arts all mix kicks and punches for a reason, while kicks pack more power they have a lot of drawbacks when you use them full power like a longer windup and leaving you very open and easier to be put off balance, while in the case of less powerful fast kicks they tend to be less effective than punches because of their area of impact, take a basic low kick from Muay Thai and its derivates (shooting, kick boxing etc.) it is basically a jab but with a kick except is going to hit a shin while a jab can hit you right in the face relatively safely get hit by 100 low kicks in the shins and you’ll walk funny, get hit by 100 jabs in the face and you’re fucking done for


Is this really true? In GG you could make the argument for Millia as her punches are hair moves, but the rest of the cast tends to either punch or use weapons. Well, Jack-o maybe as well if you’re generous.

In SF it’s basically just the three you mentioned. Ibuki uses her hands just as often, Laura grapples, Sakura is a shot, etc.