Definition & Origin
The term "Women in Refrigerators" was coined by Gail Simone in 1999 in reaction to a trend in comic books to have female characters be killed off so that the male characters would react or be motivated by their death. The incident most commonly referred to is from Green Lantern #54, where the titular character returned home to find his girlfriend murdered and her corpse stuffed into their refrigerator. Gail Simone went onto create the Women in Refrigerators website listing other female characters killed for the sake of plot in male-centric stories. The website offers the following:
These are superheroines who have been either depowered, raped, or cut up and stuck in the refrigerator. [...] Some have been revived, even improved -- although the question remains as to why they were thrown in the wood chipper in the first place.
The term has gone on to be adopted by fans in all forms of media, including video games, and has been expanded to either be used more broadly for killing off any character just for the reaction or to killing off characters of colour or LGBT characters.
For the purposes of this concept page, the following definition is adhered by:
Fridging occurs when a female character is brutally harmed or killed for the sole purpose of having an impact on a male character within the story. This does not include cases where the character is only temporarily believed to be harmed or killed, whether through trickery or illusion, but does include deaths that were off-screen and/or before the game starts.