Extrapolated from another thread... Does FF7 really have a woman problem, though? I wanna go through these in a literary sense: Is Aerith really fridged? Y'know, I'm not sure she is. Let's grab the definition a second: "Fridging" (Short for "Women in Refrigerators") Refers to an act where the villain kills, maims, depowers, or rapes someone close to the hero in order to break the hero's spirit and attempt to make the hero chase him. What I want to focus on here isn't so much Jenova's intent in having her puppet version of Sephiroth kill Aerith (as let's not forget, the real Sephiroth is still in the crater at this point) - but more on Aerith's intent. She goes off alone for a reason, and she knows she's going to her death. In fact, it's key to her plan. This is hinted at throughout her dialogue once you leave Midgar, and in dialogue with Bugenhagen both before and after her death. Aerith "And let me handle Sephiroth." "It's only a matter of time before Sephiroth uses Meteor." "That's why I'm going to protect it. Only a survivor of the Cetra, like me, can do it." Deep within FF7's lore there's the note that there's something cyclical to the nature of the plot; that the original Cetra sacrificed themselves to save the planet, basically, and the battle between Jenova (via Sephiroth) and Aerith, the last survivors of the calamity incident, is basically a repeat of that: Sephiroth "Your ancestors escaped... They survived because they hid." "The Planet was saved by sacrificing the Cetra. After that, your ancestors continued to increase." There's a point to this, and it's one of the smarter things in FF7's plot, honestly; Aerith is the linchpin. She is absolutely key, and she is the resolution to the plot, not Cloud or his gang, ultimately. Their actions allow her plan to work, but without her plan and her sacrifice, there is no recourse. It's the whole point of the game. Cloud "...It's glowing." Bugenhagen "Ho Ho Hooo!! It's pale green!!" Cloud "...Aerith. Aerith has already prayed for Holy." "...After I gave the Black Materia to Sephiroth...... Aerith's words came into my dreams..." "She said, she was the only one who could stop Sephiroth...... And to do that, there was a secret here..." "That was Holy...... That's why, she had the White Materia. Aerith knew about here... and what she had to do." "Aerith has left us great hope. But, it cost her her life... her future..." "I'm sorry... Aerith. I should have figured this out sooner." "...You left us without saying a word...... It was all so sudden, so I couldn't think..." "That's why it took so long for me to find out... But, Aerith... I understand now." "Aerith... I'll do the rest." Cid "The big gift the flower girl left for us... It'd be sad if we didn't finish it!" Cloud "Thank you... Aerith." "Aerith's voice has already reached the Planet. Just look at the glow of the White Materia." And yes, the entire ending of the game, all that fighting, is to stop the 'blockage' in the lifestream, where Aerith is still praying from the afterlife (as indicated in the ending and in Bugenhagan dialogue) so that her plan can go through. Without her plan, everything is doomed all the same. I really don't think she 'lucks into it' - she spends a great deal of the early half in of her time in the game unaware, and especially in Cosmo Canyon speaks to the elders and learns, something she talks about. One thing she learns in particular is of the concept of the promised land. Aerith "The Cetras return to the Promised Land. A land that promises boundless happiness." "...You don't 'know' where the Promised Land of the Ancients is." "You search and travel, until you feel it. Like you just know, '...this is the Promised Land.'" It's shortly after this exchange that she seems to realise the truth. Some of this is lost in the crappy original English localisation, but some of it survives: post Cosmo Canyon, Aerith becomes particularly fixated on the future, constantly talking about "next time" -- almost like she's compensating, like she knows there won't be a next time. There's even dialogue from Tifa that points this out after her death, though the translation sort of botches it. (There's a great PC patch that offers a much more accurate translation than the original - recommended) Anyway. Was she Fridged? Well... I don't really think she was in the sense that her death isn't really what motivates Cloud, in the end. She also doesn't see her 'duty' as to Cloud (unlike, say, Luna), but she sees her duty to her lineage as an ancient and to the planet itself. She gives her life so that the planet might live, and the others follow her lead and assist her in executing her plan even after her death. I'd say she makes a noble sacrifice more than gets fridged. (Are Palom and Polom fridged, or do they make a sacrifice? Cecil certainly is invigorated by their death, but it isn't the purpose). So, that's Aerith strictly on the story side, but of course there's more to her than that. Even if we draw a line under it and say she was fridged, Aerith is a well-written, strong character for the hours you spend with her in the lead-up to her death. Apart from the unfortunate kidnapping jaunt she really does hold her own, and is snappy, smart and drives the party through the early hours. The other stuff -- I really don't have a problem with the Don Corneo sequence because that sequence actually shows Aerith and Tifa at some of their best in a weird way, with snappy dialogue and the like. There's some unfortunate undertones to it that are very 90s, but games like The Witcher are full of brothels and that sort of sexual threat to their women and that doesn't stop them being any less progressive; part of what can make a character like that is how they stand up to elements like that. Corneo's side-quest in Wutai is less acceptable by modern standards though, yeah. Scarlett and the slap fight are absolutely terrible, obviously. Tifa's design is questionable for a great many reasons (and they gave her a much more appropriate outfit in AC). Elena and Tseng? That's fine, like. Characters are allowed to fall in love. What's interesting about Elena is that she goes from incompetent sidekick who is a pain who they tut and shake their heads at to, in her final scene, being regarded as a 'true' member of the Turks because she's toughened up and grown. Now, admittedly, this comes through a validation of a man - she only seems to believe her own worth when Reno finally admits "You were a great Turk," - but one of the things that's interesting is that through her five or six scenes in the game Elena arguably has more of an arc than Luna in that she actually grows and changes from rookie to pro. The same is true of Aerith; she's a bubbly young girl who is trying to hide from and escape her heritage, then slowly learns and becomes wizened and aware of her duty and her fate. Her death is actually the culmination of that, and part of why it stings so is that you got to know her when she was more carefree and got to see her slowly change while trying to cling to her previous identity. There's a point to how, when she appears to Cloud for the last time, she knows she's going to her death but still finds the time to be playful. And yet she hardens and (presumably - with FF7's animation it's hard to tell) wipes a tear from Cloud's eye and says: "Let me handle Sephiroth." "And Cloud, take care of yourself." "So you don't have a breakdown, okay?" This is an enormous amount of character change from early on. Garnet sort of goes through a very similar change in FF9, also, but it takes her three discs and a crown to go from the princess sort of role to a commanding presence of sorts. Luna arrives into FF15's plot and exits it fully-formed, and I think that's an enormous part of the problem. The TLDR is that while FF7 has some representation problems I think Aerith is a pretty great character and I think pigeonholing her as 'fridged' understates the purpose her death plays in the whole story. There's no doubt that FF7 (and FF8, actually) have some enormous problems with how they deal with women generally, though. 9, 10 and 12 all rectify that enormously however, and FF13 is arguably a mad feminist tour de force in a good way.