Polygamy, Feminism, Responsibility, and the goddamn fridge: A response to zeroreq011 (part 2)

“Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.”- Cesar Chavez

Gaining Knowledge

People are quick to choose the easy answers for them, even when dealing with complex questions. This can becomes an even bigger problem when you factor in peoples tendencies to take the word of an authority figures at face value, no matter how little authority they actually have on that specific subject. Therefore it is important to arm ourselves with knowledge and to critically look at and question our own beliefs. So I’m try to impart some my knowledge on a few things, and hopefully, you use it to do just that and reflect.

But first…

The Goddamn Fridge

I’m just gonna jump right into why the “Stuffed in a Fridge” trope criticism is the dumbest criticism every conceived. There are 3 main reasons why it’s a dumb criticism in general:

1. It isn’t about woman (The Feminist Critique )

Was it lazy to kill off Uncle Ben? Was it “cheap anger” for Peter Parker or tasteless. Did it degrade his character? Would it have done any of these things if it was spider’s girlfriend instead(Let’s just say for the sake of argument this gf takes the place of uncle ben except all dialogue and actions that wouldn’t make sense if this was the case)? Hell no. Now alot of this is based on definitions so it’s important to know I’m referring to the popularized definition by Gail Simone  but the point remains, any character’s death regardless of gender can be used by the writer to inspire action from any character of any gender. With that established…

2. It’s lazy writing (Author critique)

That depends. Also everyone’s definition of “lazy writing” is different. Assuming this trope wasn’t presented from the beginning as bad, debates between what stories used the trope well vs badly would be much more prevalent as with other tropes.

3. Gruesomeness makes little to no difference

A dead character is a dead character. The gruesomeness of the death has more to do with the tone the author is going for, and not so much about the author attempting to get cheap thrills. Now you can complain about inconsistent tone, but that’s not a trope in itself (or at least that’s a different trope).

So the whole trope is pretty dumb, but even if you’re not convinced of that it still doesn’t apply to Re:zero AT ALL. As the genius himself Jeko stated:

“The vital things that makes Rem different is that, with time resetting, she retains her autonomy. Rem’s brutal almost-death was harrowing to Subaru not because it was a female figure being destroyed who then signified for him a motivation. It was harrowing because she represented his hope of the world having any acceptance of him. Destroying that hope with invisible hands, Betelgeuse took him beyond breaking point, and into the very depths of his pride. But ultimately Rem took Subaru out of his pride by /refusing/ his autonomy and forcing a masculine heroic ideal back onto a boy who had rejected it.

Re:Zero is conscious of going /against/ the ‘fridge stuffing’ trope. Though Subaru does wake from his paralysis with Rem being annihilated in front of him, he doesn’t then go on to succeed in ‘saving’ or ‘avenging’ Rem with that motivation powering him. That motivation, for a while, born from violence, only leads him into a blind rage, which accomplishes little to nothing.”

So there

Polygamy and Respect

“Your idea of ‘mutual respect’ is very different to mine; I praise and admire Rem’s decisions, and I think they offer a showcase for just how much strength one can display in servitude.”-Jeko

Now this following part is speaking directly to Zeroreq011 and the thing that got me to go out of my way to write a 2 part response blog. You said, quote-

“Harem arrangements are thought of differently/serve different purposes in otaku subculture than they are/serve in other countries where polygamy is prominent.”

How do you know that? On what basis do you make this claim? Because I’m pretty sure you get that from your own bias views of otaku and their viewing habits but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt for the sake of argument. How does that then translate to knowing how the relationship will development and what that means for other people, when you yourself both know nothing about the arrangement of these types of relationships and don’t even wish to consider fairly by your own admission? That you yourself “find harem/polygamy practices suspect” while knowing nothing about them, and even go as far as to suggest they are toxic merely because you feel you can try to impose whatever values you want just because you believe in them, makes you a bigot (by the tradition definition).

I think this, more then anything else you said, shows that you say what you wants to say about a show, not what you actually see or know as a matter of fact. Polygamy exist in every country, even if it’s not legal everywhere. It’s a type of relationship just like any other between consenting adults. There is nothing to be “suspicious” about at least on the whole. Are you also “suspicious” of monogamy? No? Why cause you grew up with it? That makes it the right or correct way and any other type of relationship is just a to…do what exactly? (I’m asking cause you were the one who said it’s suspicious).

Hopefully you and all those reading now see how ridiculous that statement is.

Cultural Relativism & the Responsibility of those with an audience

Everyone should practice empathy and cultural relativism. Empathy may not make you a good person, and I’m not saying it’s necessary for one to abandon one’s own culture, but I am saying humanity is better off with these qualities then not. We can intelligently discuss the advantages and disadvantages of polygamy, and we should, without dismissing any form of relationship.

And finally I believe people with audience’s should be wary of pushing there values on others. You can say “This is what I believe, if you don’t like it don’t read/watch.” but that is an entirely different thing from saying “You should believe this also”. When you have an audience you have influence weather you like it or not, no matter how small. Ultimately one can do what one wants when it comes to speech but to do so would be to neglect responsibility and you can’t just say “People should just come to there own conclusions and I shouldn’t have to take any responsibility for that” because people don’t live in a vacuum.

Closing thoughts

I’m glad I got that out. Since this post wasn’t ONLY about re:zero I technically didn’t break my promise 😀

Many thanks to my man Jeko, Couldn’t have done this without you! #Fuckthefridge


3 thoughts on “Polygamy, Feminism, Responsibility, and the goddamn fridge: A response to zeroreq011 (part 2)

  1. Years of watching harem anime where the friendship of the group is emphasized with how they all love each other conditioned me to like polygamy. So yeah, go harems!
    Just kidding, years of seeing divorces and people having second lovers conditioned me to believe that forcing monogamy onto everyone doesn’t really work that well.

    I don’t think you are attacking the fridge criticism from the right angle. Of course using character deaths to motivate in fiction isn’t bad because the dead one is a female. The criticism seems to be more about conflicts being just an evil big dude taking something from the hero (which a lot of times ended up being a female). So using the spider man example makes no sense, since that conflict is about personal responsibility and power. Unless you have seen some shitty critiques which use the argument in that female focused way.
    As JekoJeko puts it, the female thing and the evil dude is just a signifier that lines up often, not the core of the fridge criticism.

    I like the way you used images here, they made it a very fun read. I say this because I felt the difference, since I ended up reading zeroreq’s post right after.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s true that the fridge critique isn’t entirely bad but I’ve seen so many shitty versions (including the one mentioned in this post) that make its use almost meaningless to me. So while I did write based on my own experiences it was hyperbole to say it’s *never* justified. Glad you enjoyed the pictures that’s always the most fun part :D. And yeah I agree hopefully we all will begin to accept more open relationships and be more open minded to multiple partners. It just works better for everyone involved imo


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