Velma in Fashion ?

A recent Lens Crafter's commercial had this girl on.... 

  Is Velma in Fashion?  

  What will Daphne do!





It does not stop there!

Consider this recent article from Spark 

Velma Dinkley: Girl Archetype?
Jennifer Amey

"Look around you and count how many young women you see wearing Velma's chunky glasses and ubiquitous orange turtleneck."

Not long ago, I read an article on "the perfect mate" in which a guy described how he changed from chasing Veronicas to being "a Betty man."

Now, I love old Archie comics as much as the next person, but the over-simplified Freud-for-kids stereotypes of women as either Veronica (foxy, but fiendishly fickle) or Betty (dependable, but docile and dull) is a wee bit tired, to say the least. It's the old Madonna/whore thing once again, where women are given two options: exciting and evil—running off with whomever makes the best offer at that moment—or saintly and stupid, happy to wait eternally for a boy who spends his energies (emotional as well as physical) chasing after someone else.

Which of those are you? I'll take neither of the above, thanks.

But surely, surely, pop-culture must have more to offer? Surely there must be a retro-cool cartoon character for a 21st century fox, such as my humble self, to relate to?

There is. Velma Dinkley.

Forget your Archie comics, and re-read the gospel according to Scooby-Doo. The two females from that cartoon, Velma and Daphne, once again fall into the categories of fox and non-fox, but in this instance, they work together (sisterhood, yeah!). There is no competition. There is no backbiting. There is none of the bitchiness some men like to equate with femininity. They even eschew the blonde/brunette dichotomy: each girl is a redhead. One is strawberry, one chestnut, but nonetheless the old stereotype is neatly avoided.

Daphne... those legs! That hair! She may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer (although she is the most sharply-dressed), but she has a good heart. She is loyal to Fred, but sees him (and treats him) as her equal (which he is, being handsome but not excessively bright).

But it's Velma we relate to. Velma is smarter than the lot of them, but doesn't suffer the sin of pride. Or envy. She may not be a supermodel, but she does have curves. She's the one boys have secret crushes on (to quote John Likeglass, who has spent thousands of hours researching Velma for his fan page, "I saw this feisty girl with glasses ranting and raving. It was Velma, and I've been hooked ever since!"). She's the one you could look to as a kid and say, "Yeah, that's me, smarter than the rest of them, smirking occasionally, but we can still all work together."

That's the best thing about the show. Aside from proving that you can be entertaining and ignore the usual stereotypes at the same time, the characters built on each other's strengths in an environment so non-competitive as to be almost communistic. The fact that they always solved the mystery, working together to foil their inevitably greedy foes, could almost be seen as a comment on the ineffectiveness of capitalism versus, if not communism, perhaps a milder version thereof.

Fourierism, anyone? As Emerson wrote: "society, concert, co-operation, is the secret of the coming paradise. By reason of the isolation of men at the present day, all work is drudgery. By concert, and by allowing each laborer to choose his own work, it becomes pleasure… The hyena, the jackal, the gnat, the bug, the flea, were all beneficent parts of the system; the good Fourier knew what those creatures should have been, had not the mould slipped, through the bad state of the atmosphere, caused, no doubt, by these same vicious imponderable fluids. All these shall be redressed by human culture, and the useful... dog... shall take [his] place." Could Scooby-Doo himself be this "useful dog" of whom Emerson speaks?

But perhaps I'm reading too much into all of this.

At any rate, the triumph of Velma and Daphne over the one-dimensional Betty and Veronica can be seen in the rise of the Scooby aesthetic over the last five years. Look around you and count how many young women you see wearing Velma's chunky glasses and ubiquitous orange turtleneck. They've also thrown on Daphne's foxy gogo boots. Hey, it's the 21st centuryno reason why we shouldn't have our Scooby-snacks and eat 'em too.

Copyright © 2001 Jennifer Amey. All Rights Reserved.

Jennifer Amey is a writer living in Toronto.


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