Fridging

Fridging

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Updated May 21, 2018 at 05:04PM EDT by Matt.

Added May 21, 2018 at 04:32PM EDT by Matt.

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Editor's Note: This entry contains spoilers for Deadpool 2; read at your own caution.


About

Fridging is a term used in cultural criticism, primarily in regards to comic books, to describe the act of killing, harming or incapacitating female characters for the purpose of motivating the plot. The term references an issue of Green Lantern in which the character's girlfriend was killed and stuffed into a refrigerator as a plot device. Cultural critics use the term to examine why the plot device has been disproportionately associated with female characters.

Origin

The concept of fridging was coined by comic book writer Gail Simone who launched the website "Women in Refrigerators" in March 1999.[1] The site hosts a list of female characters that have been "killed, raped, depowered, crippled, turned evil, maimed, tortured, contracted a disease or had other life-derailing tragedies befall her."

The name of the of the site references a moment in Green Lantern #54, published in 1994. In the comic, Green Lantern's girlfriend, Alexandra DeWitt, had been killed and left in a refrigerator.[2]



On the site, Simone clarifies:

"An important point: This isn't about assessing blame about an individual story or the treatment of an individual character and it's certainly not about personal attacks on the creators who kindly shared their thoughts on this phenomenon. It's about the trend, its meaning and relevance, if any. Plus, it's just fun to talk about refrigerators with dead people in them. I don't know why."

Spread

The term has been used in many conversations about sexism in comic books and popular culture, inspiring various pieces of cultural criticism of the plot device.[3]

On October 1st, 2013, Bowling Green State University Professor Jeffrey A. Brown wrote about the trope in the book Dangerous Curves: Action Heroes, Gender, Fetishism and Popular Culture.[4]

Deadpool 2 Controversy

On May 18th, 2018, the film Deadpool 2 was released in theaters in the United States. In the film, Vanessa, the character Deadpool's girlfriend, is killed in the first few minutes. The moment was criticized as an example of fridging. When asked about the criticism by the website Vulutre,[5] Deadpool 2-screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick claimed to be unaware of the trope.

"I would say no, we didn’t even think about it," said Reese. "And that was maybe our mistake, not to think about it. But it didn’t really even occur to us. We didn’t know what fridging was."

Some online, criticized the pair for saying that they were unaware of the trope, specifically because they wrote a movie that intends to subvert the tropes of many superhero tropes (examples below).


"We didn't know what fridging was" says one of the guys supposed to write a film that mocks comic books' tropes Clara Mae @ubeempress The quotes in this from the two screenwriters are, uh, incredible vulture.com/2018/05/deadpo both jaw-dropping and eye-rollingly unsurprising to read an interview with the DEADPOOL 2 writers where they say they hadn't even heard of fridging Deadpool 2 Writers Defend Treatment of Female Characters "That was maybe our mistake, not to think about it." vulture.com Oh fun story turns out I was giving the DEADPOOL writers a benefit of the doubt they didn't deserve. More the fool me. They'd never heard of fridging. Never HEARD of it. vulture.com/2018/05/deadpo t about those story decisions. W hether they worried about being s had in our back pocket th d for fridging Cable's family and 1g [Vanessa] back if necessa , Reese tells Vulture, "I would sa, we ran with that. And may en think about it. And that wasr ake, not to think about it. But it 1 have an issue with that. I en occur to us." Indeed, they wer this genre of criticism. We did-n't think that that'll be a lar dging was," Reese says. ut it didn't even really occu

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