Is Barbara Gordon really a Woman in Refrigerator?

#1 Posted by WolfMonkey (298 posts) - - Show Bio

Ok, so for those of you who may not be aware, the term "Women in Refrigerators" is used to describe a female character who was killed or had their lives otherwise ruined in order to advance the character and fuel the stories for a big male character. The first woman on that list is technically Gwen Stacy.  The character who first brought about the term, however, was Alex Dewitt, girlfriend of Green Lantern Kyle Rayner. When she was killed, her body was actually jammed into a refrigerator, thus the term.  
What I'm asking, is Barbara Gordon technically one of them? Her name is on their list. Her picture is on their wall. But is she one of them? Barbara Gordon was the original Batgirl, until she was shot and paralyzed by the Joker in order to break her father,  Commissioner Gordon. Now, normally the woman becomes the victim to strengthen the character of the leading character, aka Batman, but since Commissioner Gordon is still pretty big, I don't think that really matters. The reason I ask this is because after she was forced to give up her identity as Batgirl, she then went on to make a name for herself as Oracle, helper to Batman, his family, and many others throughout Gotham City. The Joker may have derailed her life for a moment, bt she managed to pick up the pieces and get back on a new track. It can be argued that, despite paralysis, her life wasn't really ruined because she was able to recover. The women in refrigerators all had their lives ruined. Does Barbara still belong on that list?

#2 Posted by KenTheProfile (402 posts) - - Show Bio

I would say no. She never was. It really did not push Batman to his goal or even Commissioner Gordon. I would put forth that she is only still around today because she became Oracle. a much more intresting charecter then Batgirl.
#3 Posted by xerox_kitty (15762 posts) - - Show Bio

Of course she does.  She was shot because of her connection to Batman & the Law.  It wasn't some random shooting.  It crippled her for life.  She's not only in the fridge, but she's chilling in the ice cube tray.

#4 Posted by jordama (4106 posts) - - Show Bio

It isn't that their lives were permanetly ruined and they never recovered, but because they had to go through the trauma in the first place
#5 Edited by FadeToBlackBolt (23238 posts) - - Show Bio

In the Killing Joke she was, after that, she wasn't, as DC used the incident to develop and improve Babs' character, not just the rivalry between Bruce and the Joker.

#6 Posted by Mercy_ (91871 posts) - - Show Bio
@KenTheProfile said:
" I would say no. She never was. It really did not push Batman to his goal or even Commissioner Gordon. I would put forth that she is only still around today because she became Oracle. a much more intresting charecter then Batgirl. "
But it was her connection to not only Batman, but to James that resulted in this happening. She (other than Alex Dewitt) is the very definition of a WIR. I like her better as Oracle, but that still doesn't take away from the fact that she is a WIR.  
 
@xerox-kitty said:
"She's not only in the fridge, but she's chilling in the ice cube tray. "
Nicely put. 
Moderator
#7 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23238 posts) - - Show Bio
@The Dark Huntress said:
" @KenTheProfile said:
" I would say no. She never was. It really did not push Batman to his goal or even Commissioner Gordon. I would put forth that she is only still around today because she became Oracle. a much more intresting charecter then Batgirl. "
But it was her connection to not only Batman, but to James that resulted in this happening. She (other than Alex Dewitt) is the very definition of a WIR. I like her better as Oracle, but that still doesn't take away from the fact that she is a WIR.  
 
@xerox-kitty said:
"She's not only in the fridge, but she's chilling in the ice cube tray. "
Nicely put.  "
See now, sorry but I have to disagree, she WAS the very definition. Alan Moore is a pretty big mysoginist, it's evident in most of his works, particularly the Killing Joke. 
Once that was done with though, Barbara has shown to be more than capable as a person and as a hero, moreso than when she had the ability to walk. Her crippling may have been gratuitious and pointless originally, but it has served a purpose to her character now, far more than it did Batman's or the Joker's. WIR involves the abuse of a female character in order to strengthen the story of male characters. This was the case, but it's not anymore. 
#8 Posted by SC (13349 posts) - - Show Bio
@FadeToBlackBolt said:
" @The Dark Huntress said:
" @KenTheProfile said:
" I would say no. She never was. It really did not push Batman to his goal or even Commissioner Gordon. I would put forth that she is only still around today because she became Oracle. a much more intresting charecter then Batgirl. "
But it was her connection to not only Batman, but to James that resulted in this happening. She (other than Alex Dewitt) is the very definition of a WIR. I like her better as Oracle, but that still doesn't take away from the fact that she is a WIR.  
 
@xerox-kitty said:
"She's not only in the fridge, but she's chilling in the ice cube tray. "
Nicely put.  "
See now, sorry but I have to disagree, she WAS the very definition. Alan Moore is a pretty big mysoginist, it's evident in most of his works, particularly the Killing Joke.  Once that was done with though, Barbara has shown to be more than capable as a person and as a hero, moreso than when she had the ability to walk. Her crippling may have been gratuitious and pointless originally, but it has served a purpose to her character now, far more than it did Batman's or the Joker's. WIR involves the abuse of a female character in order to strengthen the story of male characters. This was the case, but it's not anymore.  "
 
I agree with this. (that being said, I am not sure DH said anything that contradicts our stance either?!?!)  
 
A characters definition is slippery slope in that regard. Some instances, moments for a character can tend to cast a shadow of their character no matter how much they have progressed past it. Not always for negative reasons either, its how people assign iconic value. Like Jean Grey and Dark Phoenix saga, I definitely agree that Bab's has come a long, long way and that many writers have taken a lemon, out of the fridge and made lemon juice... lol thats horrible analogy lol (so I think its perfectly valid to both consider her defining Woman in Refrigerators BUT, Woman in Refrigerators not defining her, where as with say Alex Dewiit it does define her, and probably always will.)
Moderator
#9 Posted by xerox_kitty (15762 posts) - - Show Bio

The fact that she "isn't anymore" doesn't mean she should be removed from the WiR list.  She's included on the list because of what happened...   
 
She's well & truly in the refrigerator & drinking all your milkshake!

#10 Posted by KenTheProfile (402 posts) - - Show Bio

@FadeToBlackBolt said:

"See now, sorry but I have to disagree, she WAS the very definition. Alan Moore is a pretty big mysoginist, it's evident in most of his works, particularly the Killing Joke.  Once that was done with though, Barbara has shown to be more than capable as a person and as a hero, moreso than when she had the ability to walk. Her crippling may have been gratuitious and pointless originally, but it has served a purpose to her character now, far more than it did Batman's or the Joker's. WIR involves the abuse of a female character in order to strengthen the story of male characters. This was the case, but it's not anymore.  "


Wow, I get your point but my real problem with this is your thoughts on Alan Moore. he is not a mysoginist. In fact  he is a feminist. when you consider that many of his works have a female hero. also just because he shows women getting hurt means nothing. From Hell is a complete bashing of victorian additudes on woman. and his work the Lost Girls is more proof, no mysoginist would ever write a work on the sexual awaking of young woman. I don't mean to jump on you but it 's this kind of that makes me mad. to many people use the word mysoginist for persons who are not. Sam Peckinpah, Sergio Leone, have been called this there not.  But lets talk about real mysoginist people like David Hume, Nietzche, and Tom Cruise 

#11 Posted by aztek_the_lost (28224 posts) - - Show Bio

If rising above the crap that puts them on the WiR list meant removing them, there would be others that should be taken off too, the point of the list isn't to just list current women who are being used in comics to further a male's story, it was to make a statement at the time. 
 
But without a doubt Barbara Gordon is WiR material, some of the others I don't necessarily agree with but having read Killing Joke, there's no way to deny it...first of all, Alan Moore had no interest in the project (read the introduction to the volume) so he definitely had no creative intentions of making Barbara into an amazing hero that rises above her misfortune. Moore is kind of known for abusing women in his comics. The abuse was thrown in as a minor scene that in and of itself wasn't really much of anything and was really only made important later when Joker was showing the Commissioner the photos. The part I don't understand is why her paralyzation was even considered canon, I mean they threw out the only revelation of the book that was of any importance (Joker's origin) but they kept a brief scene that wasn't even supposed to be anything more then a plot device for Jim in that one story.

Moderator
#12 Posted by KenTheProfile (402 posts) - - Show Bio
@aztek the lost: 
 
Is it not Strange that often sometimes the work one is best known for not something the artist actually likes?
#13 Posted by aztek_the_lost (28224 posts) - - Show Bio
@KenTheProfile said:
" @aztek the lost:  Is it not Strange that often sometimes the work one is best known for not something the artist actually likes? "
you mean Alan Moore and The Killing Joke? I do admit I find it odd...but eh, I didn't think the story was all that so it's kind of nice to know he didn't want to write it...I mean I don't like all of his comics and on average think he's a pretty good writer but Killing Joke being one of his most popular works? shakes head 
 
however, on that note, I think Brian Bolland's art alone makes the story worth it...and although I think it's a pity he never drew another comic for anyone else, it also means he became renown for covers of which he has made plenty of awesome ones and to me that is the Killing Joke's legacy 
 

Moderator
#14 Edited by FadeToBlackBolt (23238 posts) - - Show Bio
@KenTheProfile said:
"

@FadeToBlackBolt said:

"See now, sorry but I have to disagree, she WAS the very definition. Alan Moore is a pretty big mysoginist, it's evident in most of his works, particularly the Killing Joke.  Once that was done with though, Barbara has shown to be more than capable as a person and as a hero, moreso than when she had the ability to walk. Her crippling may have been gratuitious and pointless originally, but it has served a purpose to her character now, far more than it did Batman's or the Joker's. WIR involves the abuse of a female character in order to strengthen the story of male characters. This was the case, but it's not anymore.  "


Wow, I get your point but my real problem with this is your thoughts on Alan Moore. he is not a mysoginist. In fact  he is a feminist. when you consider that many of his works have a female hero. also just because he shows women getting hurt means nothing. From Hell is a complete bashing of victorian additudes on woman. and his work the Lost Girls is more proof, no mysoginist would ever write a work on the sexual awaking of young woman. I don't mean to jump on you but it 's this kind of that makes me mad. to many people use the word mysoginist for persons who are not. Sam Peckinpah, Sergio Leone, have been called this there not.  But lets talk about real mysoginist people like David Hume, Nietzche, and Tom Cruise 

"
His work on Watchmen and the Killing Joke is seriously mysoginistic. The only female characters are either sexually depraved and mentally weak (Silk Spectre I), basically there as eye candy and to serve as a link to humanity for a male character and jumping from one sexual partner to another (Silk Spectre II), or brutalised and objectified in the most repugnant way possible (Barbara Gordon). He may not be a mysoginist, but those works are mysoginistic.
#15 Posted by xerox_kitty (15762 posts) - - Show Bio
@FadeToBlackBolt said:
"His work on Watchmen and the Killing Joke is seriously mysoginistic. The only female characters are either sexually depraved and mentally weak (Silk Spectre I), basically there as eye candy and to serve as a link to humanity for a male character and jumping from one sexual partner to another (Silk Spectre II), or brutalised and objectified in the most repugnant way possible (Barbara Gordon). He may not be a mysoginist, but those works are mysoginistic. "
To be fair, you're citing two examples, one of which Aztek has already pointed out that Moore didn't actually want to write.  That leaves the Watchmen.  So one series in his prolific career doesn't mean that he's a misogynist. 
 
This thread has strayed into a debate about Alan Moore's work.  Not about Barbarba Gorgon. 

As both Aztek & I have pointed out.  The fact that Barbara has overcome the fact that she's been crippled does not mean that she comes off the WiR list.  Once you're on the list, you stay there.  The ladies don't come off the list because their life improved.  Otherwise we'd lose count of the amount of resurrected ladies who bounce off & back on the list.
#16 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23238 posts) - - Show Bio
@xerox-kitty said:
" @FadeToBlackBolt said:
"His work on Watchmen and the Killing Joke is seriously mysoginistic. The only female characters are either sexually depraved and mentally weak (Silk Spectre I), basically there as eye candy and to serve as a link to humanity for a male character and jumping from one sexual partner to another (Silk Spectre II), or brutalised and objectified in the most repugnant way possible (Barbara Gordon). He may not be a mysoginist, but those works are mysoginistic. "
To be fair, you're citing two examples, one of which Aztek has already pointed out that Moore didn't actually want to write.  That leaves the Watchmen.  So one series in his prolific career doesn't mean that he's a misogynist.  This thread has strayed into a debate about Alan Moore's work.  Not about Barbarba Gorgon.  As both Aztek & I have pointed out.  The fact that Barbara has overcome the fact that she's been crippled does not mean that she comes off the WiR list.  Once you're on the list, you stay there.  The ladies don't come off the list because their life improved.  Otherwise we'd lose count of the amount of resurrected ladies who bounce off & back on the list. "
Last line, X-K :)
#17 Posted by longbowhunter (7696 posts) - - Show Bio

No I dont think so.
#18 Posted by WolfMonkey (298 posts) - - Show Bio
@xerox-kitty: @aztek the lost: I'm not saying she should be removed from the list because without a doubt, in the Killing Joke she was definitely stuffed into a fridge. If I was talking about removing her I would have just done it myself and had my edit rejected by someone like you (by that I mean a moderator, because by all means that edit should be thrown out). I was merely asking if she should still be considered one today.  
That being said, i think @KenTheProfile has a good point. To paraphrase what he said, she was definitely in the fridge at one point, but I think she rolled her way out. You can't let her past define her. 
Not asking to take her off the list, just saying she threw out her membership card to that club.
#19 Posted by reaperkenswolf (39 posts) - - Show Bio
@jordama said:
" It isn't that their lives were permanetly ruined and they never recovered, but because they had to go through the trauma in the first place "
Actually, I'm pretty sure that WiR has the whole "Dead Men Defrosting" thing as the statement that even though men are also traumatized or killed for story purposes, they are brought back to "status quo" whilst very few women are. I disagree with this whole idea of Women in Refrigerators, though. The reason women seem to be so often targeted is because the death needs to provide motivation for the hero. Since often the hero is male, his lover and usually other members of his family are targeted. It's not about being sexist. It's about putting a fire in the hero. Joker did this in his attempt to drive Jim Gordon insane. If I remember correctly, JIm only had Barbara as a close person at that point, so it makes sense Joker would attack her.

Plus, if we are considering Barbara being able to walk as her "status quo" the only reason she has not been healed I believe is that DC is doubtful about how the community might take it since she is considered a role model of overcoming a handicap. I, for one, think that her being able to walk again would allow her to achieve even greater heights now that she was able to do so much as Oracle, but that is a discussion for another forum. Terribly sorry for my little rant, there.

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