When it comes to the ever-concerning question: which girl will Archie pick? The general consensus seems to be Team Betty. I guess it may seem obvious. Betty is kind and smart. She can bake and fix that oil leak in the jalopy. She’s always there to lend a helping hand, and she wears a ponytail so well. Betty, is, well, with the exception of her taste in men, perfect. She’s the everywoman and a total bore.
Growing up, the Betty & Veronica comics were my jam. I didn’t particularly care about Archie, but Betty, Veronica, and the rest of the gang were a continual source of entertainment for me–not to mention, most importantly, my entry into the glorious medium that is comic books.
I adore Betty. How can you not? But, I could never understand how she could let Archie walk all over her the way he did. Veronica sure as hell didn’t. She’s spoiled and snobby with just enough moments to make her redeemable, and she is larger than life.
On the spectrum of likeable and unlikeable female characters, Betty is the girl loved by men and women alike, and Veronica is a very specific type of unlikeable girl. The Cordelia Chases, the Regina Georges, the Santana Lopezs. They are super sexy, they are manipulative, and at the top of the social hierarchy.
Sometimes I love hating them, but usually I just end up loving them and cheering them on.
These women want power; they like power. They throw their figurative weight around whether it’s money, sexuality, and/or sheer will. No one walks over them, and they ask for what they want with no reservation. In most cases, they usually get it or, in some cases, don’t get it in order to learn A Lesson, but are back to their usual shenanigans by the next issue or episode. They are ruthless, but they show just enough traces of vulnerability to not be entirely deplorable. They make for great soundbites and take shit from nobody.
They are out to please only one person: themselves.
On the whole, this is generally not considered a socially desirable trait, but in the context of fictional media, these kinds of female characters are crucial.
Growing up as a kid who was accused of having too much attitude and told to smile, these badass bitches were a cathartic escape for my feminist angst. No, they aren’t archetypes of strong female characters or even feminist characters. They often work against other female characters at the expense of winning the male attention that solidifies their position in the patriarchy, but they also do this while being very “unfeminine.” It’s a contradiction that makes them compelling and so damn fun.