Popular White Guy Fantasy = Dead White Ex

This is something that's been on my mind.  White guys, why is your ultimate white chick, you know...dead?

I mean, we're talking about women who are getting fridged (thanks Mojito Chica), before the movie even really begins, you know?  They die somewhere around the beginning of the show or TV series and their deaths are the at the core of the hero's cause...even if he strays every once in a while and fucks somebody else.  Now, about them being the "core of the hero's cause"...that reminds me of something.

White Women (almost) as Magical Negroes

Seriously, children?  Seriously?  Her job as the "best" female character is come back from beyond the grave in flashbacks and visions and shit to remind the hero about what he's doing and why?  Seriously?

Braveheart.  Mel Gibson's character loses his wife damn near 48 hours after marrying the woman and we only see her in dreams and visions thereafter.  She warns him of stuff and offers comfort during his execution.  He gets to fuck Sophie Marceau somewhere in between.

Gladiator.  Russell Crowe's woman never speaks a single line throughout this entire movie.  We don't even see her that much.  After her ass gets crucified and burned, and Crowe falls to his knees in mourning, we see her feet.  Good thing that, between the whole being a slave and being a gladiator, he gets to stop and make out with Connie Nielsen.  'Cause after losing his wife and son, you know...that's what really matters.

Spartacus: Blood and Sand.  Ole Sparty married him a working woman.  Seriously, y'all...she's got four very important jobs: be naked as often as possible, fuck Spartacus, get enslaved and then killed, and last but not least, show up in his dreams and basically remind him he's the gladiator-village idiot.

Good thing he's got a spoiled rich blonde bitch paying top Roman dollar to get his owner to whore him out like a farm animal.  Seriously...they make him put on a mask, remind him to keep his mouth shut, and fuck her up the spine.  And let's not forget that slave girl pathetically begging him to let her "feel [him] inside [her]" so she can experience "a pale shadow of what [he] once felt for her" - I shit you not.

Merlin.  Arthurian Legend 101, kids: Igraine, mother of King Arthur and wife of Uther Pendragon, outlives her husband and dies an old woman in a convent.  Yet in this latest bout of do-whatever-the-fuck-we-want, bitch dies 20 years before the show even starts, leaving Uther all bitter, dark, and emo, and executin' folks left and right.  Her being dead also causes creepy wraith-knights in raggedy-ass armor to show up uninvited to parties and shit, fuckin' everybody's vibe, tryin' to avenge her ass.

Huh?  Say what?

You know...I bet you the folks responsible for this trend are all fans of The Crow.  Problem is, I don't think they properly paid attention to that shit.  Eric Draven and Shelly Webster both got murdered, this is true, but remember: Shelly got beaten, raped, and hung on for 30 hours before she died, gettin' to say her last words and everything.  Eric, on the other hand, comes home to find his fiancee gettin' fucked up but doesn't even get to complete a goddamn sentence - you know, a simple, polite inquiry - before he's gettin' shot at, gettin' knives thrown at him, gettin' beat up, and being thrown out a motherfuckin' window.  I don't recall that shit happenin' to the aforementioned gentlemen, because if I had, I just might be a bit more understanding...feel me?

White Boys, Holla at Me for a Moment

What's with the pseudo-necrophilia?  Seriously...I wanna know.  Because more than other guys, I've watched/read/listened to white boys bemoan not gettin' any from their girlfriends and wives.  They're complainin' about black and Latino men takin' their women.  They're doing their damndest to keep Asian men out of the running now as well.  Meanwhile, they're fanboying these fuck-ups right here.  I actually went to see Gladiator with a guy (yes, he was white) and he broke down and cried when we got home.

*shakes head*

So what is it?  Why is your ideal, worth-fighting-for, better-than-all-others white woman dead?  Is it the excuse-to-be-emo factor?  Is that it?  'Cause let me tell you something: that shit is unattractive, to the point of bordering on creepy.  It makes a woman stop, pause and think about that whole "80% of serial killers are white males" shit.  You know, that "70% of pedophiles in prison are white males" type of shit.  And before you flip out, understand that here's what I'm saying: shit like this merely reinforces the Weird/Creepy/Psycho White Boy Stereotype...or the Self-Indulgent Emo White Kid Stereotype - take your fucking pick.

Seriously, now...TV and film, especially in the case of white folks, is supposed to be all about fantasy.  Why fantasize about the love of your life being dead?  Remember all those grungy songs about ex-girlfriends who OD'd or slit their wrists?  WTF?  All those motherfuckers couldn't have had that exact experience all at the same time so...WTF?

Mind you, the examples I provided were just a few of the really popular ones.  I'm sure the rest of you have more of these in mind (Remember how in Jersey Girl, Ben Affleck spent seven years being loyal to and "still deeply in love" with his dead wife?  Come on now).  And by the way, POC who do films like these are few and far between, and when they do, they're copying off white folks while having absotively no clue what the fuck they're gettin' into.  They just heard it was a top-selling fantasy amongst white folks and figured they could make a quick buck.

Uh...no.

(Quick Addendum: When discussing this post, the focus is on 1) Western cinema & TV and 2) the woman being dead, i.e., the hero's woman is supposed to be the absolute bestest woman in the world, the ultimate love of his life...so where's the appeal in her being dead? Focus on her being dead, not the plotline her death generates).

Comments

  1. Just a note of clarification. Fandom at large tends to expand the definition of refrigeration to "the killing off a female character for the sole reason of eliciting a reaction from a male character." Here's someone commenting on the cumulative affects.

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  2. Wait, wait, waaait. I had NO idea this is a white thing. I thought it's universal- well, universal n the West- to have a hero lose his wife. Every other action movie starts with "they killed his wife (sometimes even kids)"- so that's his reason for revenge.

    I had no idea it was a white thing. Seriously. Now let me analyze this from both angles.

    If it is not just a white thing, then it's a handy way to give our hero a motive for revenge and make us sympathize with him. It's also a really uninspiring way to give females a "deeper" role, without giving them any meaningful role altogether. Remember, this trope mainly occurs in "guy's" movies, full of action etc or in comics- and both are still seen as a male thing and are targeted to men.

    Women here serve as a plot device to show out hero has a soul, is suffering, has a reason for revenge and to make us sympathize with him. You know, to show this testosterone & anger filled individual actually has a heart and is suffering, but without too much character development or necessity to have a meaningful or strong female character.

    If it IS just a white thing then all of the above, PLUS "fragile white woman" syndrome. They are so gentle, fragile, nice, polite, wonderful and delicate, white women, and you can't top that if they are, well, not around anymore. So the memory of them becomes even more precious and make them, in a way, even more better and delicate and wonderful in all aspects. Also, almost none of them died while actually doing something heroic; 9 times out of 10, the antagonist of the story killed them. Hence, the hero must revenge her death which is, in a really twisted an insulting way, a part of the "white women must be protected" trope, or seek revenge.

    It's actually supposed to be a compliment.

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  3. @ mojitochica

    Just a note of clarification: this post isn't strictly about fandom or fridging. They are mentioned because they are symptoms of a much greater problem.

    Mira points out the whole "guy's movies/comics". So even the guys who aren't nerds per se and lean more towards being "tought" or "ruggedly deep" are into this.

    @ Mira

    It's a white thing.

    Like I said, we do see it done sometimes in POC films, but a lot of POC in the West, when making films, are appealing to white audiences because they've been told all their lives that's where the money is. When POC movies are done without care for white audiences and with little involvement from white people, notice how differently they tend to flow. This is because non-white culture, language, and overall thinking take center stage.

    So your second hypothesis fits more accurately.

    Here's my main point, ladies: this is supposed to be white male fantasy. A guy sits down to watch a flick or TV to escape reality for a few hours. He gets immersed in a world of action, adventure, and love. Why then, imagine that his great love is dead? How is that an invigorating and fulfilling fantasy?

    When women of all skintones fantasize, we tend to knock out all our problems in a single thought - more money, nicer housing, better relatives, better significant other(s), prettier wardrobe, etc. - all taken care of in one blow. Our significant other(s) tends to be alive and well and right there with us, enjoying the sunshine and waves at the beach, or the soft firelight at an old chateau, high up in snow-dusted mountains. In short, we don't fantasize about - essentially - being in mourning.

    So why does the white mind go there in the first place?

    The issue of cause and effect is important to examine. White guys wonder why white chicks are soooooooo attracted to men of color. All I'm theorizing is that maybe shit like this is a part of it.

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  4. Well, let me see.

    In most of these fantasies, the hero is no without a woman. There's ALWAYS someone he has sex with. So he's not really shown in mourning, unless it's a socially acceptable emo thing or a wish to revenge his dead loved one. In other ways, he's just there, like any other guy, actively seducing hot women and having sex, and even breaking a heart or two (those poor women thought there was something more between them, but noooo, because they are not his speshul dead lady).

    I just think guys are not raised to think about romance. Yes, it is as simple as that. They are humans, and humans want and need love. However, (white) guys learn they must show this differently and that fantasizing about sex with hot women is better than fantasizing about a loving relationship with one of them. They must always look for more women to seduce. In short, they are not raised to fantasize about loving relationship with one person. On the other hand, there is a stereotype of "a special girl"- every guy has one (a woman they wanted to be with, or an ex they can't get out of their mind). Also, there is a sense of a loyalty, and white knight in shining armor, which says you must protect or revenge your precious woman.

    Combine these three and you get dead white woman. She makes our hero want a revenge. She is that one special lady. But, in order for him to continue to be all macho and womanizer- but not a cheater- she must be, well, dead. So he can show his feelings and loyalty but without being monogamous.

    Now, I don't know if your average guy fantasize about a dead girl, but it's clear it's more than acceptable form in many of the pure fantasy genres (comics, action movies). So there must be a connection.

    PS-The girl is always white, right? I guess so, but I just need to ask.

    PPS-To be honest, I don't think this trope exist in my culture, so maybe it's a western thing.

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  5. I've got to agree with Mira on this one. This is often a big plot point in a lot of "guy" centered movies, comics, video games, etc. I can think of quite a few Asian films that use this infamous trope or something effectively similar (Park Chan-Wook's "Cut", a horror film that is part of the Three...Extremes DVD, is an extremely morbid example of using the "hero's" wife as the motivation for the plot, and, though she is not dead, she is gagged, bound, and tortured throughout. Yeah, it made me vomit, a little bit, in my mouth and not really because of the actual cringe worthy bits).

    There's also "Vital" directed by Shinya Tsukamoto, here's the wiki entry:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vital_%28film%29

    So, as Mira said, it's not a white guy thing, I a perverse "male" thing for some reason. Really, it usually just strikes me as trite and pathetic, but there are people (men and some women) who eat this stuff up.

    Oh, and apparently white women dig on this fantasy in reverse?:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P.S._I_Love_You_%28film%29

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  6. Here's what I'm getting at: The hero's woman is supposed to be bestest woman in the world, the ultimate love of his life...so where's the appeal in her being dead? What makes a guy feel so great about having the best woman in his life be dead?

    Focus on her being dead, NOT the plotline her death generates.

    Now, I very well understand the temptation focus on the revenge factor, since her death tends to determine the course of the rest of the story...which is all the more reason we need to isolate and analyze this variable on its own.

    So you're a guy. You're fantasizing. Why start the fantasy with a woman you love above all, and then immediately follow that with her death?

    In other words, what's so appealing about killing her off?

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  7. @ Mira

    Combine these three and you get dead white woman. She makes our hero want a revenge. She is that one special lady. But, in order for him to continue to be all macho and womanizer- but not a cheater- she must be, well, dead. So he can show his feelings and loyalty but without being monogamous.

    I'm really digging this, but we've gotta wonder about the morbid aspect. And before men say, "It's just a fantasy; it doesn't mean anything" - it is a powerful and recurring theme which - whether men like it or not - sends a message to women.

    I mean, why bother getting involved with a guy if his ultimate fantasy is for you to die so he can sleep with everything else in sight?

    When I was studying sociology in grad school under Dr. Elena Ermolaeva, she presented us with statistics which showed that more men in America actually want to get married than women do. Marriage is losing its appeal to women for numerous, already examined reasons, but I think Hollywood's influence on this is going unexamined because Hollywood - which is run by white men, by the way - consistently puts out films showing just how desperate "all" women are to get married and have kids.

    Cause...and effect, children.

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  8. I do think guys should answer this, but like I said, I think it has a lot to do with having one special lady but being a womanizer at the same time.

    You seem to forget this is not an individual fantasy- I don't think any guy actually fantasize about it. It's something producers, writers, authors of comics make as a situation for their hero. And not just them; this trope seems to be very old and appears in legends. So, it's cultural rather than individual. Why is this situation considered socially acceptable and particularly interesting should be our first question, not why individual guys fantasize about it (as far as I know, they don't).

    There are also a lot of female fantasizes that are rarely seen in media, and so many others that are portrayed in media but women don't actually fantasize about them. (The "guy cheated on me and now I'll get my revenge" trope- no woman actually fantasize about a guy cheating on her).

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  9. You seem to forget this is not an individual fantasy

    I'm not, and I'm perfectly willing accept its lengthy history, and varying faces in varying cultures.

    What I'm not hearing, however, is an explanation for the appeal. Because people pay to see this stuff, people support it and keep it going strong. So while it may not be the individual fantasy, it is a collective fantasy which is steadily financed and devoutly supported.

    But that's not my point. I want men to tell me what's so appealing about having a woman you care about die?

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  10. But that's not my point. I want men to tell me what's so appealing about having a woman you care about die?

    I think it's because that's tragic and people want to sympathize. Remember, hero's children are often killed along with the wife. His family is ruined, his life is ruined. If that can't make you sympathize with the main character, nothing can.

    On the other hand, there's rarely a reverse trope (I am aware of P.S. I love you, but it's used in a different way). Because losing a man, not to mention kids, is seen as more serious for a woman. So it's not something that would make her a hero in our eyes, she is expected to just die with him. The moment she starts having any form of life (sex life especially) she's not seen in such a positive light anymore.

    So I do believe culture understands a hero must suffer, and this is an easier way to do it. Plus, it's an easy way to make the whole story guy-centered, without strong female characters with, you know, actual character development. So many women fail to see this trope as a harmful one, the one that marginalizes women by making them a plot device.

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  11. @ Mira

    You just went back into storyline territory, which kinda illustrates where I'm going with this. It has to do with what you said earlier about men "not thinking" about romance. In truth, they're not really thinking about the woman at all.

    In essence, the male fantasy is this: "In order for me to be 'free', the woman I love has to die. My kids have to die. Everything which ties me into my responsibilities and day-to-day life has to die. I don't want to really think about this particular aspect, because I know deep down it's wrong and selfish, so I'll make it more about revenge and inspiration, so as to appear heroic and not an asshole.

    "But this doesn't change the fact my secret desire is that everyone who actually needs me and really do love me have to die before I can be truly be free and happy" - very self-centered, very selfish, and VERY Western thinking.

    The reason I'm focusing on Western cinema is that when we DO see this theme in other cultures, there's usually a cultural and spiritual aspect (unless it's some sort of snuff-like/fetish film). The hero often has some quest he has to fulfill with the intention of REUNITING with his beloved. Of the examples I gave in the post, only Gladiator & Braveheart somewhat fit that, because the heroes die and are hinted rejoining their beloveds in death.

    But Western cinema is moving away from that notion. Those two films are already over a decade old. The "new" hero no longer intends to his be with woman again. Her death now equals his freedom. So once again, what message does this send to women who see it?

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  12. Hi, checked out your blog after reading your comments on SWPD, just started officially "following".

    Do you think the Pixar movie Up fits this pattern too? Not the violent death part, clearly, but the dead wife certainly fills the role of spirit guide/inspiration. Which means that kids are being introduced to this sort of story at an awfully young age.

    Here's my main point, ladies: this is supposed to be white male fantasy. A guy sits down to watch a flick or TV to escape reality for a few hours. He gets immersed in a world of action, adventure, and love. Why then, imagine that his great love is dead? How is that an invigorating and fulfilling fantasy?

    Women aren't seen as individuals in and of themselves. Their experience, their suffering doesn't matter; what matters is the impact that the woman's suffering has on the man. The only way this makes sense as a fantasy is if women are dehumanized to an extreme degree.

    I'm thinking that it's also an example of how Patriarchy Hurts Men Too. In that the fantasy they are being sold is not one that is fulfilling to full human beings, it ignores one's need for loving relationships. It is a fantasy about fulfillment as a Man, coming to embody a masculine ideal; a masculinity that has rejected all things associated with the feminine, that aspect of the hero's self having been symbolically killed.

    You may be familiar with this already, but in terms of Jungian archetypes, the hero (animus) always has an anima, who embodies characteristics that compliment his. It's yin-yang. The contrast is often assumed to be between masculine and feminine characteristics. The anima doesn't have to be the hero's significant other - examples are Princess Leia to Luke Skywalker, or Hermione to Harry Potter.

    Often, however, the anima is the girlfriend. When you ask what kind of fulfillment a guy would get out of having his girlfriend dead from the get-go, it seems to me that it is the fulfillment of being fully masculine, not being sullied by association with the feminine aspects of his anima. The appeal is being free of masculine anxiety.

    It would be enlightening if some guys answered this.

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  13. @ Marissa

    I concur wholeheartedly.

    Do you think the Pixar movie Up fits this pattern too? ...the dead wife certainly fills the role of spirit guide/inspiration. Which means that kids are being introduced to this sort of story at an awfully young age.

    YES. It fits. The spunky, sturdy young girl at the beginning grows older, grows more vulnerable, and soon gets offed, so the film becomes a boys' road trip.

    ...In that the fantasy they are being sold is not one that is fulfilling to full human beings, it ignores one's need for loving relationships. It is a fantasy about fulfillment as a Man, coming to embody a masculine ideal; a masculinity that has rejected all things associated with the feminine, that aspect of the hero's self having been symbolically killed.

    Thank you. Notice how heavily machismo these films and shows are becoming - 300, the new Spartacus, etc. All the men in Hollywood are stacking on muscles and trying to get more "rugged" and void of anything feminine. It's actually quite homoerotic, when you think about gladiators and warriors spending day in day out, naked to half-naked, sweaty and wrestling/fighting with each other.

    How come in shows so clearly geared towards a male audience - Spartacus, Oz, etc. - we see more male nudity than in shows aimed towards women? We rarely saw penis on Sex & the City but on those two shows I mentioned earlier, dick runs rampant!

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  14. @ Marissa

    ...in terms of Jungian archetypes, the hero (animus) always has an anima, who embodies characteristics that compliment his. It's yin-yang. The contrast is often assumed to be between masculine and feminine characteristics.

    ...When you ask what kind of fulfillment a guy would get out of having his girlfriend dead from the get-go, it seems to me that it is the fulfillment of being fully masculine, not being sullied by association with the feminine aspects of his anima.


    Your Jungian analysis is both deeply familiar and on spot, IMO. Here's another problem: just as Hollywood pumps out more and more films showing the supposed longing and desperation of women to get married, it's also pumping out more films steering men away from marriage and settling down. This sends conflicting messages to the audience, which naturally causes problems, especially if audiences are being exposed to such messages at a very young age.

    It would be nice for more men to answer this inquiry. I talk a lot about the negative effects of white privilege on white people, but I think we also need to talk about the negative side effects of institutionalized sexism and misogyny on men.

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  15. In the interest of having a male (if not white male) opinion, I asked my bf for his thoughts, and his take was that having had a wife/family allows the hero to be identified as a Real Man with Real Responsibilities, and then the killing of his wife/family allows him to be freed from those responsibilities, so he can do Real Manly stuff like commit acts of violence and fuck random women. The fact that the dead ball-and-chain also happened to be the love of his life is just the side effect of the inability to have the hero in a marriage that is not ideal.

    This whole thing seems like it would be the natural result of the conflicting messages you were talking about.

    Notice how heavily machismo these films and shows are becoming - 300... It's actually quite homoerotic...

    This is getting off-topic, but one of the things that bugged me about 300 was how overtly homophobic it was. The good guy banged his wife before going off to war, and the bad guy indulged in deviant sexuality.

    Back on-topic, but sticking with the homoerotic thing, if the love of the hero's life is a dead woman, then there can be no question of his sexuality, but he's free to participate in homoerotic displays of masculinity. It's a safe fantasy.

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  16. This is deep--I don't really have all my thoughts together yet, but this post did make me wonder about the similar trend of the single father in all types of movies (almost everything Disney, chintzy sitcoms, etc.)--there's some benefit to the man being single/the woman being non-existent, but I'm not sure what it is.

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  17. @ Marissa

    ...if the love of the hero's life is a dead woman, then there can be no question of his sexuality, but he's free to participate in homoerotic displays of masculinity. It's a safe fantasy.

    Fascinating. The "I'm not gay, I'm just interested in getting naked, seeing other men naked, and wrestling them" argument. Hm.

    ...but one of the things that bugged me about 300 was how overtly homophobic it was.

    The comic book writer who penned the original story is actually an open homophobe and sexist. I found his choice of Ancient Greece to be ironic since they were huge fans of homosexuality.

    @ Jasmin

    ...there's some benefit to the man being single/the woman being non-existent, but I'm not sure what it is.

    His "freedom".

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  18. Looks like you've already covered most of this, but go ahead and toss my two cents in.

    It's a pretty common story archetype going back to Greek Myths, Shakespeare and the like. Pretty common in Asia mythology and media as well. Its the whole "hero has his ties to the material world cut to free them to journey into the spiritual world." Hero's journey thing. It can be any "family," wife, kids, parents, uncle, dog, coworkers, etc. Its usually a "push to adventure" thing plus the whole "cannot abandon real world responsibilities"

    The opposite of this is of course, the family of adventurers like the Fantastic Four or the Ninja Turtles, which tend toward a "actively seeking adventure as a group" vs "lonely hero seeking revenge."

    Lastly, why we picking on Spidey above, he usually has a pretty extensive extended family who are only occasionally killed.

    That being said, yeah, shitty writing is shitty writing and shitty action flicks feed towards the misogynistic, homophobic hate filled populace way to much.

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  19. Ladies, you are right! It's gotta be it: his freedom. Dead wife gives him the ability to be free to go on adventure. Because leaving your wife (family) and running away from responsibilities are not seen as a good thing, the wife is fridged so he could be both responsibility-free and sympathetic.

    I also think it is important whether a story includes the motive of reuniting with the dead loved one. There are some European (white) stories that do include this, but not many contemporary ones. This is a very important thing to think about.

    As for Disney, that's another story, because it's not really about a dead wife, but about dead mother. We can always count on the "orphan appeal", but there's another thing. I always assumed they chose to remove mothers from the stories because heroines should be the most beautiful and special women in the story so a mother would be a distraction. Another harmful trope to think about, right?

    PS-I don't know what to say about "Up". Yes, there is a dead wife, but the overall message is different and in a way unique (I don't remember many movies or novels with such a point), so I don't know. I also have no idea how kids interpreted the movie.

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  20. @ akantis

    Not picking on Spidey. The pic just worked.

    @ Mira

    About "Up" - it fits because he finds a note from his wife thanking him for the adventure he gave her (their marriage) which absolves him of any guilt to go on one for himself. Granted, it is more positive because he's old, not sleeping around, and talks extensively about his wife. But it's also already prepping kids for films when they're older which will lack a strong female character.

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  21. @ Everyone

    Also, I'm very concerned with the notion of killing off the kids in some cases - Gladiator, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, etc. - because while I understand that spouses may come and go, children should not be so easily dismissed.

    A man grows tired of the married life? Fine - many women do too. But his children are an obligation he has until the day he dies...unless he's a total deadbeat.

    And this is another reason why I tend to think of this as a white Western trend. From Memory-Alpha:

    Originally, [Star Trek: DS9] was to end without any ambiguity as to whether or not Sisko was going to return to his corporeal life - the answer was a definite 'no'. The idea was that...if he married Kasidy Yates, he "would know nothing but sorrow." The sorrow was that he was going to have to leave his unborn child behind, and would never get to be with her after her birth...However, a day or two after the shoot, Avery Brooks called Ira Behr and told him he wasn't happy with the scene. He felt that having a black man leave his pregnant black wife to raise their child alone carried certain negative connotations that he wasn't comfortable with...As such, the scene was rewritten and reshot so as to clarify that Sisko will return some day.

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  22. @Moi: I agree, the fact that children are killed off as part of the hero's primary motivation is terribly troubling. But then again, what greater commitment exist for an adult than caring for their offspring? *Sarcasm on* Surely you can't be suggesting that the hero be tied down and his quest to avenge his dead wife left tied up because he has an obligation to take care of his children. That's preposterous! When a man goes down the path of badassery he can have nothing holding him back and making him appear *le gasp!* human!*Sarcasm Off*

    I feel it's as Marissa has suggested. Hyper-masculinity and Patriarchy are making a caricature of the "ideal" man for the viewer, just as they make it appear as though all women should long to be married. These forms of media, in a way, are simply another way of buffering masculinity so that the "male image" is not threatened and hindered by "weakness" (i.e.- what is considered the feminine). The death of the wife and child/children of a hero is symbolic of removing anything that would make the hero "weak", as after the death of his family he, presumably, voids all emotions other than rage, anger, and aggression.

    That is why, I believe, this trope is so popular. Like many entertainments that use aggression as the primary motivation for drawing a crowd (football, the Call of Duty video game franchise, etc.), this trope is another face for what makes a "true man". And a "true man" does not cry, mourn, or remain faithful to the dead; A "true man" kills, eats, has sex *perhaps even a gratuitous amount of it*, and kills some more while spouting off cheesy one liners in the name of vengeance. And most importantly, a "true man" does all of this alone or with a "band of brothers" *Sorry ladies, more often than not girls are not allowed unless they're the hero's new love interest or an object for objectification*.

    Anyway, that's just my opinion.

    P.S.: That's not the case in all films that use this trope or something similar (like the ones I previously mentioned), but I think this is what you were getting at, no Moi?

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  23. Pretty much. In the end, what's so great about having the love of your life die is that you don't have to deal with her anymore.

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  24. Memento is a great example that shows how creepy and sick the Dead Wife Motive can get.

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  25. Let's not forget The Red Violin.

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  26. I hate how "death" is a screenwriters substitution for character development. In movies all a characters personal motivations are traced back to one single defining event.

    It's such lazy writing writing. And it gives a really unrealistic portrayal of grieving.

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  27. Plus I don't like the obvious implications of how "the Male Fantasy" is to be completely free of any personal responsibility to anyone other than themselves, but to still be seen as good/noble and not as a loser/deadbeat. This is masturbatory wish fulfillment at it's best, something that happens in comics a lot, which irks me.

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