Women In Refrigerators (5)

In our fifth and final roundup for Women In Refrigerators: 13 Years Later, our contributors are looking at life after WiR.

Our Princess Is In Another Refrigerator, by Fuck Yeah Black Widow.

The flipside of that is that people cry refrigerator, they invoke a powerful trope without thinking about its context, and it becomes a meme more than a critical vocabulary. Here’s the thing about superheroes: they punch things. People get punched. Danger is the genre’s middle name. A woman isn’t fridged just because she’s captured, and female characters need to triumph over impossible odds just like their dudelier counterparts, and sometimes, that shit is going to get bloody. To say otherwise is to cultivate a myth of feminine fragility. I once had an argument with a man about ladies getting bloody noses in his comics. At first I thought he was complaining about the visceral violence of it, how unsettling it was when that violence was applied to women. But then I realized he was just complaining because it made them un-hot.

the evils of the evil that men do, by supergabbie.

The reason I avoided took so long to read this was because of one very important detail: Felicia’s past was retconned to include a rape, in college. Yes, overcoming rape stories can definitely be empowering and inspiring to read. I can’t deny that is representation that is healthy, especially for survivors, when done respectfully. However I have yet to read a comic character rape-origin (and yes there are many) I thought was any of those things. Not that I’ve read every one, but still. Women do not need to have been raped or abused to become empowered or strong or significant. It does happen — btw, comics, it happens with men, too — and there is nothing shameful about taking power for yourself from something like that. Hell, some stories can even pull things like off well. (See Alias.) But the FREQUENCY in which it happens with women in comics is what’s appalling. It isn’t just characters that have it written in from the get-go: no. They take other characters who are independent on different merits and declare that the reason they are that way is because they were also raped, that this the ONLY way to derive strength and independence for a woman. Survival is an important thing to take seriously, and it’s just disgusting and insensitive to imply people need to suffer catastrophic violence to be relevant.

Women In Refrigerators 13 Years Later: time for an additional way to examine women in comics, by Sue of DC Women Kicking Ass.

Thanks to Gail Simone we have a name for what we don’t want in comics. And I think a lot of what we do want is because of her as well. I think we’ll be seeing lots of moments from her Birds of Preyrun which not only avoided the refrigerator it offered up plenty of “Bechdel test” passing as well.

I’m not sure a clear cut set of criteria for what it is that women want from superhero comics will emerge from this. Perhaps we may even left with in the same place as Supreme Court judge Potter Stewart in trying to describe what pornography is, “I know it when I see it.”

But let’s try to see them. Dig out your moments that make you want to keep reading female characters in superhero comics. Identify the moments that make you keep going despite the issues, the objectified asstastic art and the refrigerators.

If someone asked you, “show me what you want for female characters”, what would you show them?

As always, Sue is looking to the future. This sounds like a fun project!

So that’s it, ladies. Round one of Women Write About Comics is at an end. Look for a master post and some final thoughts (not from our sponsors) tomorrow.

Nominations will open soon for our round two topic.

Thanks so much to all of our contributors and readers, and everyone who’s helped to spread the word. You made this blog carnival a success. Your community spirit, positivity and genuine love of comics is inspiring.

Megan Purdy

Megan Purdy

Publisher of all this. Megan was born in Toronto. She's still there. Philosopher, space vampire, heart of a killer.

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