Pop-Culture | Posted by Becka W on 09/23/2010
Veronica Mars: One Badass Chick
I’m not sure how many other F-Bomb readers out there watch (or rather, watched) Veronica Mars, but I’m obsessed thanks to Netflix Instant Watch and a little bit of spare time at the start of the semester.
Veronica Mars, for those of you who haven’t seen it, was a television show that had three seasons from 2004 – 2007. It was awesome. Veronica was sassy, smart, and determined. The series initially revolved around Veronica sticking by her dad, Keith Mars, who was the former sheriff of Neptune, CA but was thrown out of office for his theories that Lilly Kane (Veronica’s former best friend/sister of her ex-boyfriend; daughter of the wealthy Kane family) wasn’t murdered by the man who came forward and admitted to it. Keith and Veronica lost everything they had and Keith started his own detective agency, Mars Investigations, where Veronica has an after- school job. As the series kept going, Veronica investigated a School Bus Crash in the second season and a serial rapist at Hearst College (her school) in the third season.
Veronica is more than just a modern-day Nancy Drew. She was a real expert in being a Private Investigator, unparalleled in her knowledge of people and the law, and on an almost equal ground as her father. She keeps her cool in dangerous situations, commands attention and respect when she walks in the room, and is relatable. She’s professional, tough, but still retains her femininity – she isn’t portrayed as some silly girl or as a butch, un-feminine girl. She kicks ass, takes names, and knows what’s up.
So what does this mean for us as women and girls? Sure, Veronica Mars was cancelled a long time ago. Just because I’m late to the game, however, doesn’t make it less important. In fact, Veronica is a feminist icon I feel we keep forgetting about in our discussions of women in popular culture – not just because she’s sassy and smart, but because the topics in her episodes explore issues that face women and girls today.
In one of the first episodes, it’s explained that Veronica is roofied and raped at an end-of-the-year party at someone’s house. She woke up without underwear on, with no memory of what happened the night before after someone slipped her the drink. Although Veronica is strong and independent, she shows us how devastating and scary the experience of being the victim of rape can be. She went to the authorities, but with little to go on, they couldn’t help her.
Later on, when Veronica finds out who it was that raped her she screams at him and takes him on head-on. While Logan (her boyfriend) comes to her aid, she is the one who confronts the man who wronged her. When she arrives at Hearst College, she is confronted with the plotline of the serial rapist. She vows to find the man (or men) responsible for the rapes and plunges head-on into the investigations; connecting with the rape victims along the way based on their common experiences.
Mars even takes on issues like racism, with Veronica’s friendship with Wallace and Jackie, both African-Americans who, particularly for Jackie, in one episode face false accusations of stealing money for the Senior Class Trip, which Veronica solves. It also tackles poverty and racism, with Weevil, the head of the PCHers, a predominantly Latino gang in Neptune, developing a friendship with Veronica (“V” as he calls her) who constantly helps clear Weevil of accusations or get to the bottom of the issue.
The one issue I had with the way Veronica Mars portrayed women is the way they portrayed the members of “Lilith House” – although mostly portrayed as feminists who care about the well-being of women on campus, the fact that they faked a rape in an attempt to get the fraternities kicked off campus seemed a little petty; even if the fraternities had a competition about who could sleep with the most women between the rush candidates – rape is a serious issue and a horrible thing to happen to a woman, and to fake a crime diminishes the legitimacy of the cause.
Despite this negative portrayal, the strong character of Veronica brings us back to how great this show was. Veronica is the strongest in her Criminology classes, a field dominated by men, and she gets A’s on her papers and even gets an internship with the FBI for the summer after her Freshman Year.
Overall, I loved Veronica Mars. Veronica is an awesome, hilarious, sexy, and strong character and a role model all women and girls should look up to. The show’s stereotype of the Lilith House, however, and their unintentional delegitimizing of their cause was not one I was very pleased with.
SO – what do you guys think? How many of you have seen the show? Love it? Hate it? Think it should have ended differently? Disagree with me? Agree with me? Leave it below!
Becka also writes for her own blog, Becka Tells All.
Read other posts about: Feminism, feminism and pop-culture, feminist icons, feminist portrayals in the media, teenage feminism, Veronica Mars, Veronica Mars feminist, women in the media, women's issues
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