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Synchronicity practically an avenger Relationship Status: I've got a total eclipse of the heart
practically an avenger
Jul 14th 2021 at 5:26:03 PM

Previous discussions: Trope Talk, Duplicate Tropes

Stuffed into the Fridge, going by its description, has four requirements:

  1. A loved one:
  2. Is brutally hurt/killed and displayed
  3. As a targeted effort by the villain
  4. To cause the hero pain.

However, Stuffed into the Fridge, or "fridging", or "women in fridges" is a preexisting term with significant offsite usage — colloquially, it is most often used as "woman dies to motivate man", AKA what we call Disposable Woman. FWIW, the Trope Namer included gruesome deaths along with maiming, rape, depowering, etc. — the main thread was violence against women to further male characters, as does our description:

The term came to be used more broadly, over time, to refer to any character who is targeted by an antagonist who has them killed off, raped and/or otherwise brutalized, incapacitated, depowered, or brainwashed for the sole purpose of affecting another character, motivating them to take action.

Results over at Sandbox.Stuffed Into The Wick Check (done by myself, ~War Jay 77, and ~Eagal) show significant overlap with Disposable Woman, "love interest gets hurt" examples that don't fit all four requirements (eg. no mention of brutality), or just have no context (linked in relation to a character, implying they died).

Results:

  • Correct (all 4 requirements): 8/50 (16%)
  • Disposable Woman (woman dies to motivate man): 8/50 (16%)
  • Love interest dies without being murdered by the villain: 5/50 (10%)
  • Loved one is targeted to hurt the hero, but without mentioned brutality: 5/50 (10%)
  • Literal bodies in fridges: 3/50 (6%)
  • Miscellaneous examples: 6/50 (12%)
  • ZCE/Partial context/stray potholes: 15/50 (30%)

I suppose the lynchpin question is, "Is it worth keeping the tight definition as its own trope?"

  • If the answer is yes, then should it be renamed, seeing as offsite use bleeds into Disposable Woman? (I think this is why there are so many ZC Es as well, when one says a character has been "fridged" they just link to SITF while they're at it)
  • If the answer Q1 is no or Q2 is yes, should we keep the old name around as a Fan Speak page or disambiguation, or merge it into Disposable Woman or another trope?

Apologies for edits, I realized I wasn't super satisfied with my initial OP.

Edited by Synchronicity on Jul 14th 2021 at 8:46:14 AM

Berrenta Winter is coming... from Texas Relationship Status: Can't buy me love
Winter is coming...
Jul 14th 2021 at 5:36:35 PM

Opened.

Still thinking about what is best for this one...

TRS needs your help!
Libraryseraph The Thief's Respite from Canada Relationship Status: Longing for Dulcinea
The Thief's Respite
Jul 14th 2021 at 6:24:30 PM

I think Stuffed in the Fridge should be a redirect to Disposable Woman, personally, and the current definition of sitf should be a different trope

Look, I'm just going to be super pissed if you all finally decided to give up the moment I switch sides.
WarJay77 The cutest little army from The Void Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
The cutest little army
Synchronicity practically an avenger Relationship Status: I've got a total eclipse of the heart
practically an avenger
Jul 14th 2021 at 6:48:44 PM

I personally think it should be a Fan Speak page that links to related tropes (Disposable Woman, The Gwen Stacy, Cynicism Catalyst, whatever we transplant the tightened examples to, possibly others). It's a well-used term, so it makes sense to keep it as its own page.

Jul 14th 2021 at 8:35:16 PM

^^ Btw, there's been a fruitless attempt to create a supertrope for these tropes.

SeptimusHeap from Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Jul 14th 2021 at 11:32:20 PM

I am not so sure that I would interpret Disposable Woman as the OP here does. That one plays up the fact that the woman has no importance except to motivate someone else.

"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." - Richard Feynman
Shadao Surprised Satoshi
Surprised Satoshi
Jul 14th 2021 at 11:45:51 PM

And what about Rare Male Examples? I recall there are examples in MCU where it's the male love interest who gets the treatment (namely Vision who dies and causes Wanda grief).

If Stuffed into the Fridge be redirected to Disposable Woman, a new name is needed for the trope page. Prepares something more universal?

GastonRabbit A real nowhere man from Robinson, Illinois, USA Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
Jul 15th 2021 at 4:36:56 AM

I like Synchronicity's idea of making this a Fan Speak page that lists related concepts, but I'd also be fine with redirecting to Disposable Woman.

Edited by GastonRabbit on Jul 15th 2021 at 6:37:11 AM

"I'm an instant star. Just add water and stir." —David Bowie
Piterpicher Dislikes soulless stuff from Poland, for real Relationship Status: Awaiting my mail-order bride
Dislikes soulless stuff
Jul 15th 2021 at 6:27:06 AM

I think this can be redirected, not sure about a new name. Any literal "body in a fridge" examples can probably be put under Body in a Breadbox, if they do involve a corpse (it is a sister trope).

Edited by Piterpicher on Jul 15th 2021 at 6:10:50 PM

Responsible for approx. 50% of idle game coverage, 20% of Big Fish Games, 8% of Japan-only adventure games, and putting smiles on faces.
Jul 15th 2021 at 8:55:26 AM

I prefer to make this fanspeak. This is a term that's so misused, even off this site, that I don't think we can make a trope about it.

Jul 15th 2021 at 9:09:53 AM

[up] We can, but it would need a name that doesn't have Disposable Woman connotations due to being derived from a website created for the purposes of discussing that trope. "Targeted to Hurt the Hero", maybe?

Complete Monster quotes cleanup
Jul 15th 2021 at 10:53:26 AM

I'm sure there's a significant number of users in the middle forum who'd be happy to discuss this trope, but I don't know how to advertise this thread.

I'm not happy with the tight definition when offsite use is a little looser regarding the details. What I usually encounter is something like "Character, who's usually a woman, makes no significant contributions to the plot except get killed/maimed to motivate the hero, who's usually a man". IMO, if this gets folded into Disposable Woman, that trope should be renamed because the description claims a man can be Disposable Woman.

(Funny that this thread opens soon after "fridging" is briefly discussed on a big trailer/promo thingy a day before.)

Edited by Tabs on Jul 15th 2021 at 10:57:39 AM

Jul 15th 2021 at 12:10:51 PM

[up]The original definition of fridging was supposed to be when a hero's love interest was specifically targeted by the villain to messes with them. So "a love interest dies to motivate the hero" is misuse of the term. The fact that people have different interpretations of what the term means suggests it's not a good trope name.

WarJay77 The cutest little army from The Void Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
The cutest little army
Jul 15th 2021 at 12:13:57 PM

I'm coming around to making it a definition only page.

Wick Check Project - Troper Wall - Currently working on: Witch Species
Synchronicity practically an avenger Relationship Status: I've got a total eclipse of the heart
practically an avenger
Jul 19th 2021 at 3:29:01 PM

I don't know how to advertise this thread.

I've honestly just butted into relevant threads and linked it (eg. I did that for Transgender and the LGBT discussion in Yack Fest).

Jul 19th 2021 at 6:33:46 PM

I would keep it, but alter the definition to fit the real critique behind the name, and separate it into Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 (Watsonian): Villain kills off or severely hurts a woman (esp. love interest) whom a male character is close to in order to hurt or motivate that male character.

Type 2 (Doylist): Woman whom a male character is close to (esp. love interest) is seriously hurt or killed for the plot purpose of hurting or motivating that male character.

Itís different from Disposable Woman in that the womanís sole purpose is not necessarily to die. In fact, it can be even more grating and insulting when this is done to a female character who had an interesting story stole role that was cut off just to give the male character angst.

If the womanís injury or death is part of their own storyline rather than being about the male characterís story it is NOT this trope.

If both a characterís parents/parental figures are killed off to hurt/motuvate them or drive their plot arc, it is NOT this trope.

This is a specifically gendered trope due to the criticism being precisely that it works disproportionately in this direction. Male character being killed off to motivate a woman would be an inversion.

Edited by Galadriel on Jul 19th 2021 at 6:34:49 AM

Jul 19th 2021 at 6:38:39 PM

I think it is one of the single most famous tropes in existence and pretty one of the obvious ones that people think of when describing a storytelling device. I think it should be a YMMV perhaps but certainly kept.

Author of The Rules of Supervillainy, Cthulhu Armageddon, and United States of Monsters.
WarJay77 The cutest little army from The Void Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
The cutest little army
Jul 19th 2021 at 6:44:08 PM

[up][up] I disagree with the "split" idea because at that point you might as well just make two separate tropes. The two meanings you gave aren't compatible, or at least aren't the same concept since one has an in-universe meaning.

Edited by WarJay77 on Jul 19th 2021 at 9:44:31 AM

Wick Check Project - Troper Wall - Currently working on: Witch Species
Synchronicity practically an avenger Relationship Status: I've got a total eclipse of the heart
practically an avenger
Jul 19th 2021 at 6:47:17 PM

[up]What would the definition of the YMMV be?

[up][up]This less tight definition also seems like a workable distinction from Disposable Woman.

Jul 19th 2021 at 6:58:37 PM

I think Stuffed in a Fridge should be limited to when characters with their own stories and agencies are eliminated for male development. Basically, it's not enough that Uncle Ben dies, it has to be Catwoman or Mary Jane.

Author of The Rules of Supervillainy, Cthulhu Armageddon, and United States of Monsters.
AlleyOop Relationship Status: GAR for Archer
Jul 19th 2021 at 10:11:43 PM

Absolutely keep it. It's notable and specific enough that many people have been able to identify such a recurring pattern without it being chairs. I'm OK with splitting it into two separate tropes if need be, but I am strongly against untroping it.

My understanding of Disposable Woman is that it often refers to women who serve little purpose other than to die to motivate the hero, but many cases of Stuffed into the Fridge involve major and well-developed characters who play much more prominent roles than a Disposable Woman would. Thus they are not equivocal.

Edited by AlleyOop on Jul 19th 2021 at 1:26:08 PM

GastonRabbit A real nowhere man from Robinson, Illinois, USA Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
Jul 28th 2021 at 6:05:25 PM

[up]Nobody said it was Chairs. The argument for making it Fan Speak was that the concept was already covered by other tropes. Fan Speak does indeed fall under the Not a Trope category, but something can lack trope status without being Chairs, such as everything in the Trivia and Audience Reactions categories.

(This post isn't meant to be a vote on anything; just a comment regarding previous discussion.)

Edited by GastonRabbit on Jul 28th 2021 at 8:10:25 AM

"I'm an instant star. Just add water and stir." —David Bowie
selkies Hiatus Relationship Status: Star-crossed
Hiatus
Jul 28th 2021 at 9:32:46 PM

I'm with turning this trope into an index. I'm against untroping it, too, because it's a well-used and known term.

PageAction: StuffedIntoTheFridge
11th Aug '21 9:09:52 AM

Crown Description:

Stuffed in the Fridge's usage suffers from an unclear distinction and overlapping usage with Disposable Woman and offsite usage with a different definition than our narrower one ("fridging" = "a woman is killed to motivate the hero"). What should be done with the page itself? Note: if "keep and refine definition" wins, the scope will be decided on in another crowner.

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