She-Hulk’s Green Lantern Jab Tackles Superhero Sexism

Fridging is largely attributed to Marvel without it even knowing. 1973’s The Amazing Spider-Man is cited as an inaugural example with “The Night Gwen Stacy Died.” Even in the MCU, the fridging of Emma Stone’s Gwen in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 gave Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker a tragic edge in Spider-Man: No Way Home. You could argue that Gamora (Zoe Saldaña) was half-fridged in Avengers: Infinity War, while Vision (Paul Bettany) also got the same treatment – although both are expected to return. Frigga (Rene Russo) got fridged in Thor: The Dark World, and only last year, Vulture’s Brian Tallerico referred to the racial fridging of Lemar Hoskins Clé Bennett to catapult the story of John Walker (Wyatt Russell) forward in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

Beyond superhero movies, pretty much any James Bond movie has a woman being fridged. Even though this gave us the iconic scene with Tracy Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, it was reused with Vesper Lynd some 37 years later for Casino Royale. Christopher Nolan might be an acclaimed director, but he’s notorious for fridging his women in everything from The Dark Knight to Inception. The Walking Dead, Lost, and Game of Thrones are all serial offenders, and we’re betting the John Snow sequel series will see the brooding bastard haunted by the death of Daenerys Targaryen. Ticking two boxes, Buffy the Vampire Slayer leaned into both the fridging and “Bury Your Gays” tropes with the death of Tara in season six. 

As for She-Hulk, fridging is just another of the show’s social commentaries. Like Mallory Book (Renée Elise Goldsberry) having her hard-faced persona to deal with the male-dominated GLK&H, we’ve also seen Jen jilted after one-night stands, before her potential love interest Josh (Trevor Salter) turned out to be working for the Intelligencia. Like a meta fourth-wall break from Jen herself, the in-show sexism spilt over into real life when critics said Maslany’s Walters wasn’t “muscular enough” to play the character. Sure, we can make Star-Lord’s father a living planet, but live-action Jen not being as swole as her comic book counterpart is a step too far. We don’t think She-Hulk is too bothered though, as in episode 3, the writers used actual misogynistic comments that were made when Disney announced the series. 

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