R.I.P. Archie: Why Archie comics are bad for girls

by Jessie K on April 9, 2014

130927224616-archie-02-horizontal-gallery

I started reading Archie comics when I was 9 years old and quickly became obsessed. I was fascinated by the mysterious teenage world it depicted, where boys and girls dated, went to dances every weekend, smooched in the backseat of old cars and jockeyed for position in Riverdale High’s precarious social hierarchy. I was most mesmerized by Betty and Veronica, Archie’s two competing love interests who were also best friends with amazing wardrobes (the characters never wore the same outfits twice).

Yet when I found out Archie is slated to die in an upcoming issue, I didn’t get down on my knees and start weeping. On the contrary: It’s time for Archie and his gang to ride his red jalopy off into the sunset. Because even though the comics may seem like a relatively wholesome, innocuous diversion for kids, the lasting impact is more insidious. It was only after I was well into adulthood reflecting back on my Betty and Veronica fixation that I realized I wouldn’t let my girls read those comic books today. Click here to find out why.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan April 9, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Reply

I was always a Betty fan and yes reading them now they seem very, very dated however I think as far as bad influences go kids and especially girls are exposed to much, much worse at very young ages just by having access to an iPhone. I’d still way rather my kids pick-up that comic and read it, then go to the video games. I also think that the comics are a great talking/ learning opportunity between parents and kids. I actually like reading stuff to my kids that was written for kids 20, 30, 40 years ago because children’s literature didn’t feel so whitewashed. So much of it is grittier and there is ample room for discussion.

Karen S. April 10, 2014 at 9:05 am

Reply

I really like your idea of reading to/with kids and having a discussion about what’s changed and what hasn’t. They definitely are grittier. We have several books from my childhood and when we read them I have mentioned that people used to think differently about certain things/ideas. Good way to turn something like female empowerment and how to treat others into a learning experience and way to open the dialogue without making it sound like a lecture. And before kids are old enough to really understand those concepts and rationalize them, I think it’s great to find books with good role models that they will want to emulate. Which I think is the problem with those Bratz dolls and the like. They target younger children before they really have the capacity to understand why caking on makeup, wearing suggestive clothing and acting like brats is not appropriate behavior.

Jessie K April 10, 2014 at 10:56 am

Reply

Great point!

sarina April 10, 2014 at 9:52 am

Reply

I read those comics as well.. Not sure I ever picked a side. I guess I understood that the characters were just that.. highly idealized charicatures .. not “real”. I guess one could also complain that they made men all look like dopes that would fall for anything with a pretty face.

In reality.. there is a bit of everything in everyone right?? Some nice, some mean.. some lazy.. some industriousness.. some gullible.. etc… It does seem that most characters for young children’s “literature” is fairly one dimensional.. it gets more complex as they are older.. but early on.. generally.. it’s good or “bad”.

Jessie K April 10, 2014 at 10:58 am

Reply

I must have started reading Archies too young because I was totally disillusioned to discover that high school was not like that presented in the comics. Ha!

Dirk Krinkle April 10, 2014 at 6:58 pm

Reply

When I read this I was like, “wahhhhh!” — then I discovered Archie is dying is some alternate Riverdale universe wherein the characters are primarily adults. I’m pretty sure Archie is alive and well in the “core” comics.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: