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"Fridging" is a bullshit concept

Either you reject the claim that female characters have or should have "agency" or we're not having the feminist media criticism conversation with you. Surely we are beyond "she wears those impractical/revealing clothes because she wants to; she seduces her way through life because she wants to". The flaws in this "reasoning" - I don't call forgetting that fictional characters are fictional particularly reasonable - don't only apply to the most obvious sexualisation.

It's worth being told that "no animals were harmed during the making of this film" because sometimes they are. But just because snuff films are real, it doesn't mean you need to be told that they didn't actually kill the main character's wife/daughter/whatever. When we're talking about a book or game, this line of criticism gets even more ridiculous.

I'm supposed to believe this is a feminist concern: Why is the woman character just killed off? Why is her death all about what the male character thinks and does in response?

... because he's the main character. The whole world actually revolves around him for the course of the story. He, of course, is also not real, for anyone struggling to keep up.

But I'm tired of these stories!

If what you want is female main characters, say so. Whinging about "fridging" isn't that.

Let me reiterate: nobody actually dies. In all your stupid "what if she lived and they were divorced" ideas, you haven't actually saved a life. You have just gutted a male character and 99% of the time failed to invent a good female replacement.

The real issue

There is a problem in our culture of treating women as supportive objects for men; as rewards. A story about a man avenging a woman, or driven mad by her death, goes against that.

She's dead. She's no longer useful to him. When she was his wife/lover, it's even more transparent: he can't fuck her any more.

These stories aren't stories about dead women. They're stories about men's love for women. A love that has to be about seeing her as more than a sex object.

This may be a common story, but it's not the classic story. Or reality. Men remarry faster than women after being widowed, today just as in the past. That's the story that makes people comfortable: a man replacing whatever woman he happened to be married to with a fresh one (even if she isn't dead: see men's vs women's rates of divorce when their spouse is diagnosed with cancer, or the 'mid-life crisis'). A story about a grieving widower may seem common, but it is counter-cultural. I wouldn't say it's feminist, but it's certainly not anti-feminist as some people insist on presenting it.

Why are you actually sick of these stories, then?

The worst answer is pretty simple: you hate women so much that you can't stand even a fictional story about a fictional man caring about a fictional woman who can no longer keep his fictional dick warm.

Or maybe you want to see women in more interesting roles. If so, do what fictional characters can't do, and act on it. If you want female main characters, say so. If you want tales of women avenging their husbands or wives, say so. Better yet: write them!

The real real issue

I am tired of shit tier Fallout New Vegas takes about Boone. Look, it makes me write articles.

This gif is by couriersbrain on tumblr who appears to have deactivated. Maybe they were tired of the "feminist" Boone discourse too, idk.

You can write your Carla lives AUs, go nuts, it's not my business. But it's not feminist activism. It's just a fanfic.

FNV has problems with its women characters, definitely. But they're: Cass is very obviously written by a man in a bad way, Veronica is the definition of passive even though she literally punches people to death, and Lily has like 3 lines, most of which are voiced by a man. That is why Boone as a well-written character gets your back up. But he wouldn't be so interesting - you wouldn't care about Carla so much - if he weren't widowed! You might as well do an Arcade-is-really-just-a-Follower AU...

If any of this criticism were genuine, people would be obsessing over Alice McBride, too, and they're not. Here's your living Novac wife, and she has one (1) total fic on AO3, and it's actually a Carla/Boone fic.

Hardly anyone seems to care about the closest female Boones in the game, either. We've got Ranger Ghost, Corporal Betsy and Christine Royce, and the latter two are also both canonically lesbians, if we're wanting female-centric stories! I'm not their only fan, but I see way more complaining about Boone than embracing all three of these women combined, and I didn't mean for that to sound like my new OT3 but I guess it is. I love Carla, too, but part of why is because she's dead and because that's awful. Fix-its are great, but mostly I prefer to focus on the female characters who actually appear in the game.

Ultimately I see this 'pro-Carla' brigade and the Carla haters as fundamentally the same. They've all decided that Boone and Carla didn't really love one another after all.

Widowers and romance

I've seen complaints about Macready in Fallout 4, too. The simple fact is that widowers are a romance trope, and it becomes obvious when you start reading romance books aimed at women in their 30s and above, and the men have fewer excuses not to have been previously married.

For a single father like Macready, it's the only route if we want him to be a fun romance option. Either he divorced the mother of his child, which makes him a piece of shit (more than the murdering for caps, complaining when you stop to rescue cats from trees - we don't care about that in the realm of romance) or she divorced him. She can divorce him because he's a piece of shit, leaving us with the same problem - or she can divorce him because she's a piece of shit, which is closer to genuinely bad representation for women than any "fridging", because ex-wives are routinely maligned in real life. So... don't advocate for this.

If you don't like the sexy haunted widowers, that's fine. All the more for me. But don't couch it as feminism, because it's not.