9 Ways Veronica Mars Was Feminist As Hell
Ten years ago this year, Veronica Mars began its short but glorious three-season run — just long enough for it to establish its now-famous cult following. While the show gets a lot of attention for its obsessive fandom (and its successful Kickstarter film), it is not as well-known for its amazingly forward-thinking feminist politics. This isn’t surprising for fans who embraced its heroine’s rejection of social and gender norms, but to everyone who dismissedVeronica Mars as just another teen melodrama: Hey, you’re wrong! Here are nine feminist reasons why.
1. Veronica is a complicated person, and she’s recognized as such.
While this might seem like a given, it’s important to remember how often female characters are still defined by their relation to men, especially in romantic contexts. In the first episode, Veronica (Kristen Bell) explains via voice-over that her best friend Lilly Kane (Amanda Seyfried) had been murdered; that she’d been sexually assaulted at a party; and that she and her dad, by turning on the one percent and investigating a rich family for the murder, had been ostracized from the upper crust. Boyfriends come into play eventually, but her goal across three seasons is to catch and bring her friend’s killer to justice.
2. Veronica dodges the male gaze and struggles with the aftermath of assault.
The first thing we learn about Veronica is that she was recently drugged and raped at a party; in some ways, the rest of the series is about her attempt to regain a sense of control. She takes control of everything: She changes the way she looks and the way she dresses; she stops drinking; she works closely with her dad; and she stops taking b.s. from anybody, especially Weevil (Francis Capra). The two eventually become friends, and Weevil actually embraces the idea that women are his equals (and don’t need to hear about your hog, thanks).
3. The series depicts sexual assault directly.
And not in an after-school-special way. The series takes two full seasons to reveal the identity of Veronica’s rapist, and then more survivors emerge in the third when a serial rapist strikes her college. Sexual assault is discussed plainly, without euphemisms or whispers. When Veronica confronts her rapist, she doesn’t allude to anything; she stares him in the face and accuses him overtly: “You raped me.” She says the word we as a society are still afraid to say — and she says it as a teenager in 2005.
4. The series promotes self-empowerment.
We’ve all been Mandy, a season-one character whose dog is stolen and whose insecurity paralyzes her from lashing out. But we’ve also all been Veronica, who is frustrated when she sees a friend made to feel powerless by a male bully. You can never un-hear Veronica say, “Demand it.”
5. Veronica doesn’t “fucking care if you like it.”
She will not smile for you. She will not do anything for you. She follows her passion (private investigating) and ultimately comes into her own, meeting real friends, achieving real goals, and falling in real love, all when it suited her. So don’t tell her what her “over the moon” face should be (or you will see an even more serious expression). (Continued at the source.)