Women in Refrigerators is a site by comic book writer Gail Simone, created in March 1999, to list super-heroines who have been "either de-powered, raped, or cut up and stuck in the refrigerator" in an effort to illustrate that female superheroes are disproportionately likely to be brutalized in comic books, usually to further the character arc of male super heroes. It also spawned the infamous Women In Refrigerators meme, which has sparked a number of controversies regarding the subject.
Women In Refrigerators is the Trope Namer for:
"Tropes in Refrigerators":
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The original criteria of "de-powered, raped, or cut up and stuck in the refrigerator" are this, especially as de-powerings rarely are more than merely temporary and can serve to demonstrate that the de-powered character is good enough to succeed even without superpowers, as classically demonstrated by Storm of the X-Men. Some of the site's character list entries take this further by including things like "ceded name to a male superhero", "developed benign breast tumor", "revealed to be a clone, reverted to a more primal Atlantean form", and "needs major therapy" (what superhero doesn't?).
- Disposable Woman: The site's character list does not include just superheroines, but also supporting characters who were hurt or killed in the course of superhero stories. It also includes some characters who were not actually killed, but retconned out of existence and one — Elastigirl — for being the only member of a killed-off group of superheroes who at the time (1999-2000) had not yet been brought back from the dead.
- Double Standard: The site's thesis is that there is a Double Standard against superheroines: women with superpowers are disproportionately subjected to death or "life-derailing tragedies".
- Society Marches On: The character list includes one of the first transgender people in superhero comics: "Shvaughn Erin (turned into a man)". These days that listing would lead to accusations of transphobia.
- Stuffed into the Fridge: The original site focused on just the treatment of women in comics but over time, other sources have added men to the list (particularly gay men), creating the blanket term "Stuffed In The Fridge" to cover more ground. It is based on a notorious incident early in Kyle Rayner's period as main Green Lantern, when his Muggle girlfriend (not a heroine) was murdered, and her corpse literally left in their refrigerator by a villain to torment him. (According to Word Of God, the comic was not intended to suggest that she'd been dismembered, although the art left some readers with that impression.)
- Unbuilt Trope: This site started the debate about Stuffed into the Fridge, but it did not yet provide a workable definition. The list is a disparate enumeration on the general theme of "bad things that happened to female characters" and mixes what would later be termed "fridging" in a strict sense with heroic deaths of major characters (e. g. the Silver Age Supergirl during Crisis on Infinite Earths), flashback stories about characters already dead (Bruce Banner's mother), temporary de-powerings and various comparatively minor changes.