The Women in Refrigerators Trope, Explained

Why do so many stories still stuff women into refrigerators? The “woman in a refrigerator” trope, or “fridging,” occurs when a female character is killed or hurt in order to motivate a male character’s story. The term, coined by writer Gail Simone, was inspired by a famous Green Lantern comic, where the hero’s girlfriend is murdered and stuffed inside his refrigerator. The question of what exactly constitutes a fridging can get complicated: does it still count if the woman is well-drawn before she dies, if male characters get injured or killed, too, or if there are other complex female characters in the story? Ultimately, the Fridged Woman trope is most useful not as a way to condemn individual stories, but as a touchstone for opening up important discussions about how women are represented onscreen. Here’s our Take on why this trope remains so common, and how we can bring the simplistic Fridged Woman out of the kitchen for good.