Betty Cooper: Door Mat, Girl Next Door, or More?

Note: This post is crossposted on Maddo’s comics tumblog.

I follow Comically Vintage on Tumblr for the lulz to be found in out-of-context panels from older comics. Usually I get a chuckle and scroll on, but a few weeks ago I came across a post with the following image:

Image from PEP #192, April 1966

Maybe it stood out to me because I’ve been writing for this blog, but it really caught me off-guard. I had two simultaneous reactions: 1) I laughed at Jughead being humorously asexual and insensitive (as is his wont), and 2) I wondered what the hell Archie had done to upset Betty now. I probably haven’t picked up an Archie comic in a decade or longer, but my response was immediate and visceral. A decade-and-then-some younger version of me had suddenly surged to the front of my consciousness.

I sometimes forget the fact that the first comics I read regularly (outside of the Sunday funny pages) were the various Archie Comics digests–smallish paperback compilations of newer and older Archie Comics. Which is to say, I’d read them whenever my mother would indulge my sister and me and buy us each a double-digest at a bookstore or from the grocery store checkout lane. I treasured the joyful, and ultimately futile, struggle of trying to make a double-digest last. It hadn’t occurred to me until I saw the comicallyvintage panel that I might have a very different perspective on the comics as an adult. It was time for (cursory) research and reflection!

The Archie Comics series has been around since 1941, and the comics are still in production today, with dozens of offshoots focusing on different characters.  Continue reading


Five ‘L’s: Why We Use ‘Llllladies’

When discussing female human beings in the English language, one has several options. There are the standard terms: women, girls, ladies, young ladies. Then slang: chicks, birds, bitches, and some unsavory terms that don’t bear listing. And of course poetic phrasing like “the fairer sex.” I’m sure you could come up with many more.

For the purposes of this blog we needed an ‘official’ term–something that would include both women and girls without being offensive. Continue reading

For Fathers and All Men Who Raise and Guide Children

Father’s Day, like many holidays, is wonderful for some people and very difficult and often painful for others. Sure, we all have biological fathers, but many of us have never known our fathers or not been given the guidance and affection we deserve from them. Some of us were guided through adolescence by other male figures in our lives–grandfathers, uncles, friends, teachers, etc. Some of us have had the role of both parents filled by women. Many of us have lost our father figures. It sometimes seems that fewer of us have been raised and nurtured by men who are everything we could ask for in a parent than those who have not.

A father figure is often the first example of what a man is (and there are so many different kinds of men in this world) for a child. It takes a tremendous amount of strength to guide another human being in navigating the complex and often fraught path to adulthood.

So I’d like to share this TED Talk by Colin Stokes, wherein he discusses the role of a father in raising children in relation to the kind of media aimed at them. He stresses not only the importance of raising girls to be strong, but also raising boys to respect and honor them, which is a crucial point we often forget.

To all of the wonderful men who have given of themselves in order to raise strong, independent, confident girls, and boys who respect them, we express our sincerest gratitude.

-Maddo needs to go call her father now.

Pick-Me-Up: Ask a Grown Man


Ask a Grown Man” is by no means a new thing. It began a little over a year ago and is updated about once a month or so on Rookie, the online magazine for teenage girls founded by Tavi Gevinson (amazing underaged fashion guru and all-around great young lllllady). Basically, readers of Rookie submit questions and they’re given to a generally middle-aged male celebrity (or in one case, Tavi’s father) to answer informally on a webcam. “AaGM” makes me happy. These little videos are silly, charming, and often heart-warming. Watch one, some, or all of them, and I suspect you’ll end up with a smile on your face.

Maddo’s Top Three New Primetime Network TV Llllladies

Now that the network season has come to a close, we can talk about some of the llllladies in the shows that premiered in the autumn of 2012. Before going further, I’ll say that I’ve done my best to avoid any significant spoilers, but you can expect a level of detail consistent with a review.

In keeping with that, if you comment on or discuss this post publicly, PLEASE AVOID SPOILERS for the sake of other readers.

I think 2012-2013 was a great season for women on primetime network television. We’ve seen some great examples of female characters coming into their own or being introduced in longstanding shows, but I’m always sensitive to how shows treat women from the get-go, and there were quite a few new shows this season with wonderful female characters.

Here are my top three. I had to leave a lot of wonderful women out for fear of making my inaugural post even more unreasonably long, so I’ve included a list of other notable female characters at the end.

#3: Nora Clayton – Revolution (NBC), played by Daniella Alonso


For all its faults and its rocky start, Revolution has become a solid series with a promising future. Continue reading