Lovefool 09.03.12 | Gender Flop

Lovefool’s most anticipated comic of the summer finally arrives, but the results fail to bring the whole point of "Reversedale" home.


Oh, nerdlings. You are the most patient and sweet and lovely readers in the Universe. I feel like I don’t tell you that enough, but you are, and so here I am, telling you that.
So, having said that, I apologize for the unexpected break week. I think, deep down in my heart of hearts, that I vaguely expected it but I was hopeful. I had half a column written before I dove into the swirling tide of last weekend but, alas, it just didn’t pan out. Which is to say I was in the fair STL for Loufest, which kept me busy, and then I interviewed Matthew Sweet the day after I got back but only found out that was on for sure on the way home from St. Louis. The interview should see the light of day sometime soon, by the by. (I know, read that one again. And keep your eye out for A Very Special Lovefool in the coming days – I’m confident we’ll have to split the interview into a two parter because, frankly, it’s just going to be too long, otherwise. That Matthew Sweet is a nice dude, incidentally.)
But, either way, I think those might be kind of side reasons to why my column didn’t get done. The real reason it didn’t get done is because the gender-swap issue of Archie (Archie #636, by Tania Del Rio, Gisele, and Rich Koslowski) finally came out and, really, it was a little bit of a bore and I wasn’t sure how to address that. I guess that’s how I’m addressing it. The gender-swap issue of Archie came out and it was a bit of a bore and I’m not sure how to write about it.
Sabrina and Salem were interesting but mostly just because I love them. The Riverdale gang were their usual selves, causing Salem to change them over while they slept in the first place due to a fight about who had it easier, boys or girls. So they all woke up as boys or girls, whatever they’re not, and most of the characters commented that something seemed weird and a few of them did something about it, with a few exceptions. Archina and JJ, Jughead’s cool alter-ego, just went about their business. Reggie, as Regina, pulled pranks and still got in trouble. Of course, she was surprised by that because she thought she’d get away with it because she was a girl. (Gina, this is 2012. Girls get in trouble, too.) Ron, Veronica as a boy, gave Billy, Betty’s boy self, a ride to school, where he said that today seemed like Inception or a dream, prompting Ron to go ambush Archina to pitch some woo, which didn’t go so well because Ron tried to take Archina on a shopping trip because she was just wearing jeans and a polo with heels, much to his (and my) dismay – who wears heels to school with jeans and a polo? Seriously. SERIOUSLY. Girl needs some Chucks. And don’t even get me started on where the heels came from since everyone woke up with their own stuff in their closets. That, on the other hand, does lead to an interesting question since Gina wore a dress to school. But, anyway, Archina, in the one great moment of the book that didn’t involve Snarky Magical Cats, looks at him and is all “Umm…?”, which is absolutely the correct response when some stupid boy is all like “Gosh, you don’t look nearly girlie enough, let me take you shopping.” It’s the correct response when anyone tries to take you shopping because you don’t look girlie enough, actually, if you’re doing your thing.
Which is probably why I liked Jughead’s alter-ego, JJ. I bet she was wearing Chucks. She seemed cool but mostly because Jughead is pretty chill. Let’s see, what else happened? Billy tried out for the football team and kicked butt, leading Ron to try to get into the action to woo fair Archina. It didn’t turn out well because Archina, once again showing large amounts of sense, was like “Wtf are you doing? Get off the field, dork.” And then Gina flirts with Ron, which is actually delightfully weird when you’re reading it. I mean, I know that Reggie has a thing for Veronica in their normal genders and no one knows that they’re all swapped around but, still. It made me grin a little.
Eventually, in the end, everyone gets swapped back by Sabrina at a show put on by Josie and the Pussycats’ alternates, Joey and the Junkyard Dogs, having learned absolutely bupkis about how the other side lives. Sure, Archina kind of wobbled in her heels and Billy discovered that he could be a football star but, two weeks later, they’re laughing about the weird YouTube video parody that features people who look strangely like them.
So what’s the message here? Are we supposed to walk in the other side’s shoes and have new experiences, or are we supposed to be who we are even if who we are isn’t who we are anymore? Either way, I’m not sure what I was expecting but I know I didn’t get it. Archina could’ve taken that opportunity to tell Ron off. Ron could’ve decided to show his skill in another way without competing directly with Billy on the football field. Honestly, I think my problem is everyone acted exactly like themselves and nothing was changed or learned and I walked away from the whole thing feeling strangely unsatisfied. I mean, I know dudes who are a lot like me who still manage to put their own uniquely male stamp on the things we collectively experience because a guy and a girl in the exact same situation will not have the exact same results, which is what happened here.
Unless, of course, you’re Gina, in which case you’re still going to get detention. | Erin Jameson

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