In which I address the idea that since Veronica Mars is a great female role model, it’s okay to mock feminists.
I can appreciate where Rob Thomas is coming from here. I do think Veronica is phenomenal–she’s smart, snappy, and real. She’s had a tough time and dealt with traumas including her own drug-induced rape, and while she’s certainly jaded, she’s capable of love, growth and generosity. She’s balancing appreciating and needing people with independence. I don’t, however, think that writing one such character gives a writer carte blanche with respect to every other female he creates, not least because that means that “strong, smart, snappy woman who deals with her baggage constructively at least some of the time” represents the exception to the rule, while women in general are either weak or responding to violence and bullying with violence and bullying of their own.
In addition, these are the only explicit feminists he’s created. Apparently it’s okay to be a strong woman, but as soon as you start identifying as part of the feminist movement, as caring about women’s collective strength in society or about systemic violence and oppression, you lose all of your functioning brain cells. I appreciate the moral ambiguity of the noir genre, but there’s a difference between not holding feminists up as sacred and untouchable paragons of virtue and turning them into mere caricature. The fact that the serial rapist shaved the heads of his victims made this even worse: do we really need to see these angry, man-hating feminists looking exactly like a conventional caricature of an angry, man-hating militant?