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Bythehair poortohru.jpg

A close cousin to the Standard Female Grab Area where if whoever it is can't grab ahold of the woman's wrist or upper arm, they'll just grab onto her hair instead. Obviously a lot more realistic than a wrist being the weak point as anyone who has had their hair pulled can vouch for how painful it is. While this typically happens to women with long hair, it can happen with short hair as well. The hair just needs to be long enough to pull. Although it is mostly a female trope, it can happen to men with long hair as well though examples are rare.

It can be played both for comedy and seriously, depending on the nature of the scuffle. It will normally happen in a Cat Fight and in that case it will be played up as arousing for male onlookers. If it's happening to a mean girl then it might cause a Hairstyle Malfunction if she's wearing extensions. If the girl happens to be badass then expect her to overcome this problem, sometimes by cutting the hair off at the point where it's being held. See also Life or Limb Decision and Giving Them the Strip.

For the record, while hair pulling is painful, the commonality of the "dragging her around by the hair" bit in film and television is because it's fairly easy to stage and relatively painless. Notice that when the man grabs her by the hair, she immediately grabs onto his wrists. Usually at this point, the puller lets go of the hair, and instead drags the woman around by the arms instead. All the kicking and screaming? She's usually digging her heels into the ground for leverage and trying to help him by making herself lurch ahead.

Examples of By the Hair include:

Anime and Manga

  • Pictured above: In episode 26 of the first Fruits Basket anime Hatori, Yuki, Shigure and Tohru go face Akito after Tohru gets Kyou to reverse his transformation into a beast.. Akito asks them what have they come for, but only Tohru answers; then he calmly walks up to Tohru... suddenly loses it on her and Tohru finds herself grabbed like this and even dragged around. Even when he refuses to release her despite Yuki and Shigure's attempts, Tohru refuses to stay down.
    • In the manga and second anime, Rin's abusive father did this to her in the past.
    • In the second anime, the scene where Akito snaps on Kana and Hatori when they ask her for permission to marry and then blinds Hatori in one eye includes an additional sequence where Akito does this to Kana.
    • In the manga, after catching Rin trying to steal her precious lacquered box that belonged to her late dad, Akito grabs her like this. Anbd cuts her hair off.
  • In Bleach, Loly does this to Orihime when she and Menoly are bullying her and beating her up.
  • In Naruto during the Chuunin Exams, Sakura Haruno had to fend off a competing team of Sound ninja who came to fight an incapacitated Sasuke; Naruto had been knocked unconscious as well, so she had to do it all alone. One of the ninjas, a girl named Kin, grabbed Sakura by her long pink hair and ridiculed her for spending more time keeping it clean and pretty than training her skills. Sakura went Plucky Girl and cut it with her kunai, allowing her to escape Kin's grasp, and emerged with a short pixie-ish hairstyle that she kept from then on.
  • Fairy Tail: When Lucy is captured by Phantom Lord, Gajeel yanks on her hair to make her scream, thus alerting the Fairy Tail guild members that she was their hostage.
  • In GoLion, when Prince Sincline's plan to use Princess Amue as bait to capture her brother Alor fails thanks to the GoLion pilots AND she keeps defying him despite still being his prisoner, he first punches her, then grabs her long blond hair and pulls on it while forcibly dragging her on the ground towards a spot in Castle Galra where he'll have her executed. This particular scene was cut from Lion Voltron, save for a very brief sequence "shot" from far away which can be easily "seen" as Lotor simply dragging Romelle over the ground by the arm.
  • In Kannazuki no Miko, a flashback has Himeko being grabbed like this by her abusive uncle and caretaker.
  • In Inuyasha, when Tsubaki tells Kikyou that she'll kill the title character, Kikyou goes Violently Protective Girlfriend and first pins her sleeve to a nearby wall with two arrows, then walks up to Tsubaki and does this to her while saying she'll kill Tsubaki if she harms Inuyasha. It's especially notorious because by that point Kikyou is somewhat more emotionally stable than right after her revival, but this time one can see her getting visibly angry.
  • In episode 21 of Black Lagoon, one of Chaka's Mooks briefly does this to Yukio when she tries to escape from them after they rebel against her leadership. Then he punches her and does it again.
    • Chaka himself does this to Yukio while using her as a Human Shield.
  • In Revolutionary Girl Utena, Wakaba does it to Utena during their Black Rose Duel.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, at the end of the Final Selection arc, Genya Shinazugawa loses his temper over not adquiring his nichirin blade right after surviving and grabs a little girl named Kanata Ubuyashiki, one of the overseers, like this. Tanjirou grabs Genya's arm and tells him he'll break it if he doesn't let go; when Genya refuses to back off, Tanjirou does obligue and Genya has to let Kanata free. It's said that after his Character Development, Genya personally apologized to Kanata for abusing her like that and she eagerly forgave him.

Comic Books

  • When Batman meets Batwoman for the first time post-Final Crisis, he warns her that having long hair is a liability in a fight, since any Mook could grab it. Batwoman tells him she'll take it under advisement, but the joke's on him since Kate is Genre Savvy enough to know this, and her long hair actually a wig that covers her real hair, which is much shorter, as well as helping disguise her identity. Later on someone actually does try to grab her by the hair and is quite surprised when they pull off her wig instead, giving her time to escape.

Fan Fiction

  • In the Hetalia doujin "Our House in the Big Snowfield", a teenaged Ukraine is trying to escape from bandits and they do this to her when they catch up with her. Her middle brother Russia shows up to save her, then kills them.


  • In The Tenth Kingdom when Virgina's hair is cursed to grow fifty feet long, the Huntsman drags her through the forest by it and even uses it to chain her up.
  • Matilda: On Matilda's first day at school the Trunchbull grabs a young girl by her pigtails and throws her over the fence. The girl learns her lesson and makes sure the Trunchbull never sees her with pigtails again.
  • In one Harry Potter film, Bellatrix grabs Harry like this after his face got hit by a spell from Hermione.


  • In Murder At Drumshee Colm apprehends Mahon and Ita by grabbing onto one of Ita's long plaits and holding a knife at her throat.
  • In Sisters... No Way! during an argument at the breakfast table, Aishling grabs Cindy by her hair to try and calm her down.
  • In The Last Battle the last Tirian sees of Jill Pole is a Calormene soldier dragging her away from the battle by her Girlish Pigtails. Until he finds out that she's okay and safe.
  • The Zombie Survival Guide warns men and women to cut their hair short to prevent this from happening.
  • On Gor a semi-standard way to control a slave girl without using chains is for the man to hold his hand at about waist-height, and the girl places her head there where he grabs her hair and basically pulls her about.
  • Robert Heinlein's Time Enough for Love.

 Lazarus Long: Not only does long hair need a lot of timewasting care, it gives your opponent something to grab in close combat and can obscure your view at a critical moment - either one can be fatal.

  • In the Vorkosigan Saga novel Cetaganda, a Cetagandan haut-lady is imprisoned by trapping her hair, which works because her culture has strong taboos around hair-cutting, so it's effectively a Life or Limb Decision.
  • In A Series of Unfortunate Events book "The Wide Window" the person who looks like neither a man nor a woman grabs Violet by her hair, swinging her over his shoulder. Strangely, little reference is made to how painful this must have been, and it doesn't seem to have damaged either her hair or her neck.

Live Action TV

  • In a BBC series that modernised fairytales, the episode of Rapunzel had the stepmother grabbing onto her daughter's long hair to stop her from leaving. The daughter grabs the scissors and hacks the ponytail off to escape.
  • The Ghost Whisperer episode "Last Execution" Melinda was washing her hair in the sink and a ghost caused it to get caught in the garbage disposal. Jim had to cut it to free her.
  • Karen in Coronation Street loved doing this whenever she got into Catfights with Tracy Barlow. The universe gave her some form of comeuppance when her long hair got caught in one of her sewing machines, forcing her to remove her extensions.
  • In the Scrubs episode "My Lucky Charm" Elliot and Carla get into a catfight that only ends when Elliot gets her watch caught in Carla's hair, restraining them both from moving.
  • Lifetime Movies love this one. If the movie involves an abusive husband (which they oft do), expect him to drag his wife, kicking and screaming, down the hallway, often to the bedroom.
  • Dynasty: Whenever Krystle and Alexis get into one of their fights, either of them will get hit with a hair pull.


Professional Wrestling

  • It's a common dirty heel tactic in women's wrestling for the heel to throw her opponent across the ring by her hair. Sometimes also happens for extra leverage in a submission hold (a common one in Diva's matches is to stand on their hair while they're on the ground, then pull them up by the arms; shoulder, neck and hair pain all in one shot.) Can sometimes happen to men as well if the hair is long enough.
  • It used to be a tactic in intergender tag matches for the man on the team to grab the woman by the hair and slam her down to the mat when she hit the ropes.
  • It's now so widely seen for the hair to be grabbed as leverage during a snapmare, it now has a technical name - "hair-mare".

Video Games

  • In the PSVita trailers for Street Fighter x Tekken, Lei Wulong and Christie Monteiro are trying to escape from a car that has fallen on a pile of scraps. Christie gets out first and holds on Lei's ponytail to try pulling him up and to safety - but before she can finish, Vega appears and grabs her by her ponytail. She's forced to let go of Lei, who then gets ambushed by Balrog; as the other two fight, Vega keeps dragging poor Christie like this and even uses it as a variation of a Neck Lift until Chun-Li and Cammy show up and save her.
  • Variation: in Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, one of Sergei Dragunov's interludes has him dragging a defeated Devil Jin by his horns.

Web Original

  • Second season of Cobra Kai: During the school-wide brawl, this is how Tory drags Sam onto the stairway.

Western Animation

  • Rapunzel in Tangled has this happen to her a couple of times, understandable since she has over 70 feet of hair. It even gets used as a gag at one point. She also uses it to subdue other people, notably when she ties Flynn up after he breaks into her tower.
  • Jimmy of all people does this to Nazz in Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy when he becomes convinced she stole his shampoo.
  • During Terra and Raven's mud fight in Teen Titans Terra briefly subdues Raven by grabbing her by the hair.


  • The classic "caveman dragging a woman by the hair" bit. The man finds a mate by clubbing her over the head and then dragging her off to his cave by her hair.
  • The heroine in Irish mythology Grace O'Malley had long black Rapunzel Hair and her father joked she wouldn't be allowed to become a sailor because the hair would constantly get caught in things. She took the joke a bit too literally and shaved her head before becoming a captain.
  • Alexander the Great ordered his soldiers to shave their beards so their enemies couldn't use them to grab onto.