Arrow, and the Disturbing Trend of Fridging Female Characters

arrow laurel lance black canary fridging female character death sara lance white canary moira queen shado marc guggenheim wendy mericle review criticism katie cassidy felicity smoak bye bye birdie emily bett rickards

“Fridging” is a term which is used to describe the death of a female character to further the development of and advance the plot for a male character. It is typically the bastion of the lazy screenwriter, given that it is a tired and overused cliché. You need only take a quick perusal of this TV Tropes page, or indeed the Women in Refrigerators website where the concept was first defined, to appreciate quite how proliferated our media has become with this hackneyed trope.

More to the point, though, there is often an inherent misogyny and sexism to this trope. That’s very much self evident, really; when a writer kills off a female character to further develop a male one, then the implicit suggestion is that her story is one not worth telling. 

Arrow has engaged in this not once, not twice, but at least five times – this is in a show which hasn’t even begun its fifth season yet. For obvious reasons, that’s not really something to be proud of.

So, my most recent article for Yahoo is about Arrow, and their habit of fridging female characters. For obvious reasons, regularly fridging female characters isn’t a particularly good thing, so the article takes something of a critical tone.

I would really appreciate it if people were to share this article. I’m quite pleased with it, as it goes; I think I make a fairly important point, and that it’s reasonably well articulated. It’s something I’d like to reach a fairly wide audience, so please do share this article if you can.

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2 thoughts on “Arrow, and the Disturbing Trend of Fridging Female Characters

  1. The fridging of Sara Lance wasn’t for Oliver, it was to make Laurel into the Canary. Which is why there was so much outrage, that Sara was brought back for LoT. It was such a misstep as Laurel already wasn’t well received by a lot of fans, and Sara was a fave. A mistake they compounded by not taking the time with Laurels journey to becoming the BC. People accused her of having taken her sisters life, they labelled her ‘insta-Canary’. Tying Laurel to becoming BC to her sisters death was unpopular

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    1. I would argue, of course, that the fridging of Sara was still in part “for Oliver”; her death set in motion every aspect of the plot over the course of the season, much of which did obviously affect Oliver. I do also think, though I don’t recall exactly, the death of Sara was part of the reason for his pushing away Felicity? I mean, initially it was the bombing of the restaurant, yes, but I think that Sara’s death then did also become relevant?

      Either way, fridging Sara was a bad idea, whether it was just for Laurel or for everyone; you’re right in what you’ve said that tying Laurel’s development into her sister’s death was not their best move. I do think, however, that Laurel’s actual development into Black Canary worked reasonably well – seeing her train with Ted Grant, and later Nyssa, were both well realised, as well as her insistence on following this path, despite Oliver’s reticence. True, the development could have been more measured, and a little slower paced to examine certain aspects in more detail, but I maintain that it worked reasonably well. (Or, you know, could have been worse.)

      Thank you for sending me this! I do like it when people comment on the things I’ve written.

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