Betty and Veronica: The Cultural Politics of Hair Colour

Betty and Veronica as drawn by Dan DeCarlo and Alison Flood.

Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge are not just rivals for the love of Archie Andrews, they are archetypes of two sharply contrasting ways of being feminine. The differences between the two is not as sharp as the traditional misogynist dichotomy between the virgin and the whore, but it does have some of the same overtones of separating the womanhood into opposing camps, one wholesome but unexciting and the other sexy but bitchy.

Betty is blond, the girl next door, kind of heart, often put upon but a good sport,¬† a bit insecure, attractive¬†although a bit dowdy in the way she dresses. The pathos of Betty’s life comes from the fact that although Archie likes her well enough, he also takes her for granted. The situation is explored in one of the very best Archie stories, Bob Bolling’s “The Long Walk”, which shows what the red-haired dolt and Betty were like when kids. The story can be found here.

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