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Tuesday, December 04, 2007/1:10 PM

Women In Fridges
Never Go Stale?

Ok, so today one of my co-workers (a fellow comicbook fan) showed me Gail Simone's 1999 blog about Women in Fridges. I know, she wrote the piece 8 or some odd years ago (nearly 9), but like Gail, I can't shake this topic.

I am sure that for those of you who have not seen Gail Simone's original story, it all sounds odd. Women in refrigerators?? Time for a Quick cliffnote: The term refers to the brutal treatment of female superheroes and/or the girlfriends of superheros (Be it death, torture, rape whatever) using an incident which happen to Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner's girlfriend. Apparently he returned home to find a his girl cut up and shoved into the fridge.

ANYWAY, Gail's complaint (well comment, not so much a HUGE gripe. Just a query really) was (and i paraphrase here): what is up with women in comics being treated like crap? The way they die, is rarely as honorable and noble as the way the male characters kick it. Often they are "inevitably being killed, maimed or depowered" (Simone).

Now I'm not going to argue with Gail Simone. She's a great writer and i enjoy her Gen 13 (and have just recently gone back to my roots, Wonder Woman... sweet lord it's been nearly 25 years!... thanks to her). She is right, women die HORRIBLY. BUT, it has been MY experience that in comics, EVERYONE dies horribly. After all, it's a comic book. They're practically soap operas.

Girls get stabbed, guys get stabbed. Girls get raped... well so far we've yet to see that in the male department... ok I'll agree there. Personally, I believe writers have grabbed onto the rape and or/abuse storyline simply because it is easy. I don't feel that it is meant to be a slap against women (no pun intended). Instead it's more of a cop-out. Such writers cannot think of a better (or a quicker) way to illicit sympathy from their readers and so they go...."uuuuhh and then he comes at her suggestively!"

Every year I tell my creative writing students, "If you want to make a character evil, have him kick a dog, child and/or a woman." But of course I warn that that this is NOT a good plot device. In fact it's a horrible cliche, BUT it works every time. So perhaps we should look at the raping/abusing of comic heroines as simply bad writers taking the easy way out and shake our heads at them in pity.

Obviously Gail was writing 8 years ago and since then much has changed. The treatment of women, IMO, has become less cliche. We have many prominent teams run by women such as: Heroes for Hire (Misty and Colleen), The New X-men (Surge), The Mighty Avengers (Ms. Marvel), and The Thunderbolts (Songbird or is the blond bitch... i get confused). Certainly we continue to have female heroes losing powers and being paralyzed, but honestly i think such instances are used now to enhance the characters' storylines. You can only watch Batgirl pounce on a prowler so many times. Now that she's in charge of her own little team, her character has been refreshed. I'm sure that in time the wheelchair idea will grow old and they'll find some miracle way to let her escape the chair. Until then we should remember that even BATMAN was tossed in a chair, crippled and escaped to fight again. How is her problem any different than his?

I guess I'm directing this towards many of the women who continue to be angry at comics and use this fridge idea as a their main complaint. All of these things (loss of powers, beatings) happens to both sexes people. Granted the men might go out in a more noble way (Bab's Gordon was shot point blank and never stood a chance, while batman had his back broken in a fight with Bane)... but that's comics for ya. I'm happy to say that in the 8 years SINCE Gail penned her complain, more girls have begun writing. This is the REAL way to let our voices be heard. While men like Bendis did a GREAT job creating females such as Jessica Jones; perhaps its time now for use to show the men what it really means to be a girl superhero. Gail Simone has now penned Birds of Prey (featuring a wheel chair bound Babs Gordon) AND Wonder Woman. She's decided to step forward and make our presence known and i for one am excited about that.

With that said, lets not get too angry at the our male writer counterparts for chopping up the ladies and putting em in the fridges. I've killed my own female characters just to get the plot going. This doesn't mean i lacked respect for them... far from actually. It simply meant that I felt it was time for a change.

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