Gwen Stacy as a Woman in Refrigerators


The recent article  about Gwen Stacy needing to die again made a reference to her being reduced to a woman in refrigerator. This made me think that putting her in that group is reducing her as a character, making her into a throw away character thats only purpose was to kill off to advance Spider-man, this simply isn't true though. She was a character for quit some time and would eventually die because of her connection to Peter like many characters, regardless of their gender. Not to long before her death, her father died because of Spider-man actions, this too developed Spider-mans character, but not in the same way. If it had been Harry Osborn, the best friend it would be different, he wouldn't be in a group like the woman in refrigertor. Is it just because Gwen is a women that died that she automatically becomes a Woman in refrigerator? When I think of the characters that are women in refrigerators, I think of characters that were throw away characters, only created to be killed off, Gwen wasn't that at all. 
 
24 Comments
24 Comments
Posted by Jotham
@jordama: I'd say it's not so clear cut, but she did originally die primarily to advance the conflict between Spider-Man and Green Goblin.
Posted by Mercy_

She has been reduced to that, though.  
 
Obviously being a woman plays a key role in being a WIR, but the fact that she is dying for plot's sake and because of her relationship with Peter Parker further cements that.  
 
Women in Refrigerator's are not always throwaway characters, in fact the vast majority of them are not. 

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Posted by primepower53
@The Dark Huntress said:
"She has been reduced to that, though.   Obviously being a woman plays a key role in being a WIR, but the fact that she is dying for plot's sake and because of her relationship with Peter Parker further cements that.   Women in Refrigerator's are not always throwaway characters, in fact the vast majority of them are not.  "

QFT
Posted by xerox_kitty


 

Stacy, Gwen : Dead. Cloned.

 

She is on the list.  She is the pinnacle example of killing off a female character in order to further the male character.  However, "Women in Refrigerators" sounds quirkier than "Thrown Off A Bridge Fodder".

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Posted by SC

I tend to find the term 'Women in Refrigerators' misused and even the original list (or at least the first I have seen) of examples had some flawed examples, but Gwen Stacy has always fallen pretty accurately under this term, but hey, I do get what you mean, remember a characters actions and history and their deaths and reasons for their deaths aren't the same thing. As others have mentioned its not always about how long a character is around, if fact that somewhat tends to make it more exasperating the longer they have been around. It happens to heroes as well, Banshee, just see Irish in Refrigerators (for other reasons) he got killed because the writer thought he had no fans and a death was needed to make a new villain look extra vile and mean. 

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Posted by xerox_kitty

@SC: Agreed.  Many reasons for characters appearing on the original list is simply "Dead".  It should be the way & reason a character dies that qualifies her to be included... But hey, it was part of the original list ;) 
 
It's the ones who are still alive that have it the worst, case in point X23, Siryn/Banshee & Wolfsbane.  Anyone who wears an X has it pretty rough. 
 

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Posted by SC
@xerox-kitty: I sort of like this age we are living with, with comics, well as far as I can tell, we can read more about writers/editors thought processes behind creative decisions and roast them or praise them accordingly *grin* because your right, a lot of the living characters get pretty rough treatment with plots for the supposed sake of drama, when surely just some clever and careful writing can illicit drama from even a few healthy character developments. I like and trust Peter David's writing but I am not expecting anything remotely interesting to happen to and with Wolfsbanes child. 
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Edited by FadeToBlackBolt

Women in Refrigerators is a flawed term. It's accurate when a character dies solely to make the animosity between a hero and villain more evident. Alex DeWitt is the most obvious and most accurate example. 
 
Gwen was never in a "refrigerator". She wasn't "Pete's gf who got killed". She was Gwen Stacy, honestly, after all this time, who cares about Alex DeWitt? No one. We care about her death. We still care about Gwen. It was done for story purposes, it was tacky and it was unnecessary. Everything about Gwen's death was necessary and more importantly, handled with reverance and care. 

Posted by SC
@FadeToBlackBolt said:
" Women in Refrigerators is a flawed term. It's accurate when a character dies solely to make the animosity between a hero and villain more evident. Alex DeWitt is the most obvious and most accurate example.   Gwen was never in a "refrigerator". She wasn't "Pete's gf who got killed". She was Gwen Stacy, honestly, after all this time, who cares about Alex DeWitt? No one. We care about her death. We still care about Gwen. It was done for story purposes, it was tacky and it was unnecessary. Everything about Gwen's death was necessary and more importantly, handled with reverance and care.  "
 
I understand its application can be flawed, but the creator of the term is very adamant about when its used and why and its not just when a character dies solely to make the animosity between a hero and villain more evident, I am misreading your point somehow?  
 
Gwen Stacy was Gwen Stacy, but many writers and editors have gone on to record explaining why she was killed and it wasn't so they could bring her back with a new ongoing book 6 months later with altered powers to revive interest in the character. The benefits were for the hero and villain dynamic and the social status of the hero.  
 
Fans caring has never really played a part of the definition as far as I have known? Plus its comics, and it being for story purposes is a valid defense of sorts, but it doesn't rule out of exclude it occurring for the characters as well, since the two are of course inherently linked. Oh back to being comics, how can things be necessary? lol Similarly with fans appreciate for a character, how the character is handled story wise has never had any bearing on the WIF banner either? I feel I have missed something with your post, plus the bit I underline reads contradictory? Did you mean Alexandra's death was tacky, or Gwen's wasn't? Or that the story of Gwen's death was, but the character aspect wasn't? 
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Posted by sora_thekey

Women in Refrigerators is not a list of "throw-away" female characters!!! 
Otherwise Alex Dewitt, the character for who the term was conned after, would've been an unnecessary character! She made an impact in Kyle Rayner's life... just as much as Gwen affected Peter's life.
Neither of these characters were throw-away characters

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Posted by jordama
@sora_thekey:
But she had only a dozen appearances at the time of her death, Gwen had over 100. Dewitt seems like she was only around to die and progress Green Lantern. Gwen was an established character that died just because of her connection to Peter, Peter loses characters regardless of gender.  
 
It just seems that saying that Gwen was a WIR that she loses who she was and becomes just a plot device.  
 
Posted by WolfMonkey

I kinda just asked the same question about Barbara Gordon. She, on the other hand, was able to salvage her life and still be important, whereas Gwen is still dead.

Posted by Primmaster64

Wasen't this created with Kyle's first GF?

Posted by daredevil21134
@Primmaster64 said:
"Wasen't this created with Kyle's first GF? "

As far as I know yeah
Posted by playdohsrepublic

Gwen was the original, the prototype, the model for all other WIR's ever. 

Posted by TheCrowbar
@playdohsrepublic said:
" Gwen was the original, the prototype, the model for all other WIR's ever.  "
It would've been called Damsel Off a Cliff if that were true.
Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir
@Primmaster64 said:
" Wasen't this created with Kyle's first GF? "
The term was coined from it yes, but it goes back much further
Posted by Mercy_
@Primmaster64 said:
" Wasen't this created with Kyle's first GF? "
That was the example that was used to coin the term. The concept of female characters being killed/abused/etc to further the plot goes back a long way, though. 
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Posted by xerox_kitty
@TheCrowbar said:
" @playdohsrepublic said:
" Gwen was the original, the prototype, the model for all other WIR's ever.  "
It would've been called Damsel Off a Cliff if that were true. "

The name "Women In Refrigerators" is quirkier & emphasises the fact that it's female characters who suffer for the benefit of a male character's storyline.  "Bridge Fodder" just sounds like a bunch of lemmings.
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Posted by lectriccolossus

somebody help me understand this, its called Woman In Refrigerators, how does that tie in to the meaning, ive heard of it before but the name of it is not clicking. Ayudame Por Favor
Posted by playdohsrepublic
@TheCrowbar said:
" @playdohsrepublic said:
" Gwen was the original, the prototype, the model for all other WIR's ever.  "
It would've been called Damsel Off a Cliff if that were true. "
It would have been if Gail Simone had been writing about comics at the time. But it was Alex Dewitt's death that made her write the "women in refrigerators" article that coined the term. But lets face it, Gwen has always been more important dead than she was alive. The whole W-I-R thing is that terrible things are done to female characters to advance a male character's story, increase animosity between him and his enemy and lead him toward some kind of  denoument. She ends up collateral damage to his autobiography. And almost every modern W-I-R has been influenced by the Death of Gwen Stacy.
Posted by Mercy_
@lectriccolossus said:
" somebody help me understand this, its called Woman In Refrigerators, how does that tie in to the meaning, ive heard of it before but the name of it is not clicking. Ayudame Por Favor "
Alexandra Dewitt was Kyle Rayner's girlfriend. She was murdered and left for him in his refrigerator.   
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Posted by SC
@lectriccolossus said:
" somebody help me understand this, its called Woman In Refrigerators, how does that tie in to the meaning, ive heard of it before but the name of it is not clicking. Ayudame Por Favor "
 
Hi 
 
Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, had a girlfriend, who was killed to advance the/a plot somewhat, her death would be emotional character fuel for Kyle, the circumstances of death being so extreme that one could have many, well in terms of writing, drama and all that, emotional highs and lows, revenge, etc, people like reading about these so writers write them. Its always been common in any story for such things to happen to advance the plot, or a character, as a story device its not new as I am sure you already know.  
 
The phrase Women in Refrigerators was coined because Alexandra DeWitt's Kyle's girlfriend was killed by a character called Major Force, and he had stuffed her body into a fridge leaving a note for Kyle, to check it. Such writing of characters happens a lot in any medium and has for a long time, but the person who coined the term, noted that in comics, female characters especially had/have it bad in this regard. Death in order to fuel more story changes or directions for male characters.  
 
Is that what you were looking for/does that help? Woman In Refrigerators = female character being metaphorically stuffed into a fridge because that act shall directly benefit a male character, hero, villain, or a story involving those male characters. We could contrast this with female characters who get killed because thats the story. Plus she will probably be back, like Jean Grey originally. 
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Posted by HexThis

When is it going to occur to people that the whole "you killed my girlfriend, prepare to die!" cliche has been done so very many times. There are countless action movies that begin on that premise, it's happened over and over again in comics, it's a total writer's crutch to add a dead girlfriend or dead wife into the picture, it's instant pathos. People are still under the impression it's so "dark" and so "tragic" and "unique" but it isn't really, even in Gilgamesh (one of the first pieces of literature) he avenges his girlfriend's death.

One of the primary issues with Spider-man as a character is that in order for him to advance, virtually everyone around him must be horrendously distorted. To keep his angst up, Gwen had to have two continuity-improbable twins, Mary Jane's whole relationship with him had to be retconned, Aunt May has been replaced by an actress to die a fake death...his evolution as a character seems to come at the cost of everyone else around him. It's a very self-centered, woe-is-me comic sometimes and I think it really hurts the franchise.

I see bringing Gwen back as a fascinating challenge, it would actually be a risk in storytelling rather than creating all this post-mortem melodrama.