Let’s Find Another Way to Talk About Women in Comics

For those of you who don’t know, a bit over ten years ago Gail Simone coined the phrase “women in refrigerators” as a shorthand for describing how, in comics, all female superheroes come to a bad end. This was originally coined after Alex DeWitt — Green Lantern’s girlfriend — was stuffed in a fridge so that Green Lantern could have some feelings about things.

That was thirteen years ago, and sadly, we haven’t really moved hugely forward. There are things we can point out as good, but the bad examples really do outweigh them, in all media. We can point out instances of fridging in an instance, and the term is so widely used, people automatically know what it means. But we don’t have a term for the opposite thing, when women in comics are written in such a way that makes us jump up and down and point and say yes, this (other than, I suppose, “yes this”). So DC Women Kicking Ass asks, can we have that conversation? Can we figure that term out?

I think it’s time for another rule. I think we need to develop criteria or examples that represent the best of what women in superhero comics can be. We need a crystallizing moment, panel or set of criteria that can be said is the epitome of women should be portrayed in superhero comics.

But will the criteria be? What should we call it? What should it look like?

I haven’t seen much in the discussions that makes me want to take note — though there’s an awesome “won’t someone think of the men” which made me LoL forever — but yeah, I’m going to think about this. A way to highlight the positive and the awesome.

Leave a Reply