This trope is rooted in the female/male = passive/active dichotomy. Essentially, it's the idea men need to be out doing things to retain our sympathy and interest, but women can just sit there looking pretty, emotionally reacting to events, and we won't like them any less for it. Like most gender-based Double Standards, this is unfair and restrictive to both genders.
Part of this trope refers to how characters function to advance the plot. While male characters will be directly involved in the action, or manipulating the action behind the scenes in a comprehensive way, female characters, when they do take action, often take it in the form of inspiring, motivating or nagging a male character to do something.
1-3) In the Back to the Future films, female characters are only there to serve as Satellite Love Interests and victims to male characters. Not one of them has a active role in advancing the plot. In fact, they had to basically write around one (Marty's girlfriend Jennifer) because she was brought to the future in the end of the first film, but when they actually started making the second film they realized they did not know what to do with her. Rather then Retcon her away, they solved this problem by making her stay sedated for much of the film. See Back to the Future's entry under The Load.
4) Noah: The women don't really have a purpose in this film other than being wives and mothers, nor do they do much of anything. Best example of this in the film is when Noah is trying to kill Ila's daughters. Both she and Noah's wife both stand there and watch, instead of even trying to fight him. Ila doesn't even try to run away. If he had decided to go though with it, they would have just let him do it.
5) At the end of the movie, Hancock is off saving the world while his ex-wife and the only other super-human of their kind, Mary, is content living with a mortal husband and bringing up a mortal kid. Also, Hancock was always saving her whenever they were de-powered in the past.
6) A common criticism of the movie Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is Ramona's blandness, especially when she's compared to other female characters in the story. Incredibly, she can rollerblade through dreams, but plot-wise this is only significant as the way Scott first sees her. For the rest of the movie, her most impressive powers are her fighting skills (which aren't unique by any means) and her frequent hair-dyeing. The audience is simply supposed to accept that she is worthy of all the trouble Scott goes through to date her. Although, this is a case of Adaptation Distillation and All There in the Manual. The comic makes it clear that while Scott is pursuing Ramona and having all his adventures, Ramona is also dealing with some pretty serious issues of her own (particularly recovering from Gideon's emotional manipulation), something that's glossed over in the movie.
7) For a film that's ostensibly about female empowerment, the female characters in In a World... are remarkably passive in the two main romantic subplots:
Carol sleeps with Gustav when he hits on her despite not liking him much and seeming actively put off by the fact that he sees nothing more in her than that she's "pretty," apparently for no better reason than that it's less trouble than actively rejecting him.
Then she waits patiently while Demetri Martin's character goes through the awkward, halting motions of courtship rather than take any initiative herself despite the fact that there's an informed mutual attraction.
When Moe's attractive neighbor asks to use his shower, he actively attempts to sound out the sexual possibilities, clumsy as his attempts may have been. By contrast, his wife Dani merely smiles and blushes when an attractive Irishman flirts with her and eventually seduces her into cheating on Moe. When this causes a Second-Act Breakup, it is Moe, not Dani, that performs the grand romantic gesture that reconciles them.
Para outras listas de filmes (e séries) que contêm tropos clichês, consulte: