Women Write About Comics: Women in Refrigerators, 13 Years Later

The panel which birthed the term "Women in Refrigerators" from Green Lantern

As you may have noticed if you read GeekMom and GeekDad regularly, I’m a passionate reader of superhero comics and have been since I can remember.

But, being a woman (duh), it’s impossible to miss the issues with the portrayal of female characters over the years.

Nowhere was outrage more consolidated than in a site called Women in Refrigerators. WiR tried to detail the various deaths, depowerments and violence against women in superhero comics and how different it was from the violence and death directed at the men.

It wasn’t ever meant to be a comprehensive list of bad things done to women in comics. Instead, it was created to start a discussion, point to happenings and say “so, why do you all think this happened?”

Now, Women Write About Comics has asked comic bloggers this week to write on a single topic: Women in Refrigerators, Thirteen Years Later. They already have a number of links of with sometimes divergent points of view on the topic.

I have somewhat of a unique perspective on WiR in that I’m a co-moderator for Gail Simone, one of the founders of WiR, both on her current forums on Jinxworld and her previous forums at ComicBookResources.com. Simone is under contract for DC and has written Birds of Prey, Secret Six, Welcome to Tranquility, Wonder Woman, Superman, and several other titles. That’s somewhat of a big flashing light that things have changed since the site went up.

But they haven’t changed completely.

When people came to the forums to yell at Gail Simone for being an uppity feminist or claim that she hated men or that the whole site was idiotic, I had to deal with them. Over and over, Simone merely directed people to the site, claiming that those who were yelling about WiR probably hadn’t read it fully. If we could really move past WiR, those people would never show up.

So, I think before I can talk about WiR now, we need to go back to the site: Women in Refrigerators. The most interesting part isn’t the list or the fact that women were badly served by many superhero storylines.

Most of us here know that already.

It’s the page of respondents, a list of comic creators commenting on the issue. And, wow, do many of the male creators unload on their colleagues. Read Mark Waid’s response in particular. A sentence:

Most males are fans of or in comics because they’re social misanthropes who can’t get laid or can’t keep girlfriends and they’re pissed about it on some level. There’s the famous — and true — anecdote of the Hellcat story that consists mostly of her being beaten to a pulp by a man, a story that BY THE *WILDEST* COINCIDENCE was written by a man in the middle of harsh divorce proceedings.

This is Mark Waid, who wrote Kingdom Come.

So, things were bad. Have they changed?

Yes and No.

Read the rest of Corrina Lawson’s post and comment over at GeekMom.

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