Fangirls in refrigerators: The politics of (in)visibility in comic book culture


  • Suzanne Scott Arizona State University



Fandom, Gender, Representation, Subculture, Transformative works


In 1999, Gail Simone circulated a list of female comic book characters who had been "depowered, raped, or cut up and stuck in the refrigerator," sparking a dialogue about gender and comic book culture that continues today. In particular, 2011 and 2012 have been marked by an exponential growth in conversations and criticisms surrounding the state of women in comics, both as producers and consumers. Through a survey of how scholars have gendered comic book readership, an overview of recent incidents that have renewed concern about women in comics, and an analysis of one transformative intervention in the wake of these conversations, this essay broadly discusses the relative invisibility of female comic book fans as a market segment and how fangirls are actively striving to become a visible and vocal force within comic book culture. This essay suggests that we are currently witnessing a transformative moment within comic book industry, comic book fandom, and comic book scholarship, in which gender is one of the primary axes of change.

Author Biography

Suzanne Scott, Arizona State University

Suzanne Scott is a Mellon Digital Scholarship Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for Digital Learning + Research at Occidental College. Her work on fandom within convergence culture, transmedia storytelling, and ancillary content has appeared in Cylons in America: Critical Studies In Battlestar Galactica, The Participatory Cultures Handbook, and the journal Transformative Works and Cultures.