Tag Archives: Women in Refrigerators

Storing Characters: If Not The Fridge, Then Where?

Not all appliances are created equal, and that certainly rings true for longtime readers of comic books. While some of us have discovered the phrase simply by taking part in the discourse that surrounds superhero titles, there are those among us who can remember reading Green Lantern #54, which featured the titular character discovering that his girlfriend had been murdered and stuffed in the aforementioned kitchen mainstay.

Since then [and thanks to Gail Simone] nofridging“fridge” has become both a noun and a verb, and occurs to a character when, according to TV Tropes, “[they are] targeted by an antagonist who has them killed off, abused, raped, incapacitated, de-powered, or brainwashed for the sole purpose of affecting another character, motivating them to take action.” It shouldn’t surprise you at all to learn that most characters who have been fridged are, you guessed it, women, and for the benefit of men to boot.

This particular topic made its way back onto my radar after an internet-response-to-comic-book-happenings debacle that I don’t want to get into [Brett White goes into what took place as well as the resulting backlash quite well, if you’re interested], where one of the listed grievances against a particular writer was that he had fridged a longstanding female supporting character.

Timothy O’Neil, whose blog has somehow missed making its way unto the links sidebar, tweeted the following with that in mind:

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“Rape”: Storytelling Device

In 2011 I wrote about rape as a term not to be used casually out of context. In 2012 I wrote about rape as a subject for comedy. In 2013, and in light of a few recent events, I am writing about rape as a storytelling device.

Mark Millar is famous for books such as Superman: Red Son, and Jupiter’s
Legacy
, but probably most well-known to the non-comic-book-reading-public as the man responsible for Kick-Ass and its sequels. He is also a writer who has featured rape in a number of his works. I’m not going to go through the process of listing them all, but instead am going to present a quote he gave regarding his opinion on using rape in writing:

The ultimate [act] that would be the taboo, to show how bad some villain is, was to have somebody being raped, you know? I don’t really think it matters. It’s the same as, like, a decapitation. It’s just a horrible act to show that somebody’s a bad guy.

Now I could begin quoting a number of very smart people who responded to Millar’s words, but this isn’t that kind of post. If a list of that sort is what you’re into, I’d like to direct you to this article on the Los Angeles Times Hero Complex. A better compilation of tweets and quotes about this specific subject would be difficult to find. Continue reading