rape culture

When You Are Engulfed in Blame: The Gender and Rape Politics of Veronica Mars

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(Author’s Note: Another essay from my Sex on TV class. This time, we picked a television show and analyzed its presentation of gender and/or sexuality.)


“I’m never getting married. You want an absolute? Well there it is.” Whose voice is behind the narration from the opening shots of this already neon-drenched neo-noir? No, not Phillip Marlowe, nor Sam Spade. Actually, the precocious, balanced voice comes from one self-described Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell), spinster, the titular character of Rob Thomas’ short lived teen mystery series. Giving his protagonist agency and a mind of her own is hardly the tipping point of what makes Veronica Mars such an excellent show. Thomas steeps his series in a world filled with economic discrepancy, gender inequality, and other button pushing aspects of life that make such a short lived television show so memorable. IN particular, Thomas brings two important things to the table: an incredibly smart protagonist who, nevertheless, is flawed and imperfect, making her all the more real, and a vilifying look at contemporary rape culture and the way it bleeds into how people treat sexuality and sexual assault. Veronica Mars remains one of the most fascinating shows for tackling these issues, even more so for being able to in the tiny window of time of three seasons.

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