Summary: With Cheryl grieving her brothers death you’re the only one there for her, no one stands by her side. Her parents adore you but they don’t know the truth of your relationship with Cheryl either. With the danger of a killer roaming Riverdale, Cheryl’s ever more jealous and protective.
Characters: Cheryl Blossom x Andrews!Reader, Archie Andrews (mentioned), Jughead Jones (mentioned), Veronica Lodge, Betty Cooper, Penelope Blossom (mentioned), and Cliff Blossom (mentioned)
Disclaimer: I do not own Riverdale or the characters. I do not own the Comics either.
Warnings: Possible swearing, mention of murder, crying/grieving, implied romantic same sex (female) relationship, and allusion to oral sex
When you reached adolescence you promised yourself you wouldn’t label yourself anymore. You had a lot of labels growing up in the footsteps of your brother Archie, you were the only female in the house following your mom’s abandonment. You were stamped with labels that you didn’t care for.
The sexual orientation label was the one you hated the most with the words placing you in the world where it deemed fit. That’s why when Veronica had asked if you were straight, you admired her bluntness, you had shrugged not caring.
The next day at lunch after the tryouts for cheerleading you had placed yourself between Betty and Veronica. Cheryl was busy planning new routines and you wanted more friends that weren’t total bitches.
“You’re gorgeous!” Veronica grinned, “How do you get your hair to shine like that?”
AUGUST 11: But I’m A Cheerleader is released (2000)
On this day in 2000, the movie But I’m A Cheerleader was first released in the United States. Now
a cult classic, the movie tells the story of a young lesbian named Megan who is
sent off to a gay rehabilitation camp – or “homosexuals anonymous” as her
mother puts it. Despite the seemingly heavy subject material, But I’m A Cheerleader pokes fun at the concept of “praying the gay away” and is more therapeutic than any ex-gay camp could ever hope to be.
The first film from director Jamie Babbit, But I’m A Cheerleader is most remembered
for its genuine humor, John Waters camp-style sets, and the unforgettable chemistry between
its two leads – Clea Duvall and faux-lesbian icon Natasha Lyonne. Played by
Lyonne, the movie starts off by following Megan through her daily routine of
gazing longingly at the cut-out photos of models in her locker, cringing
through makeout sessions with her boyfriend, and, of course, attending
cheerleading practice. The movie’s titular line is spoken when Megan is
bombarded one day by her friends and family in a pseudo-intervention/reverse
coming out; to the accusation that she’s a lesbian, she can only respond “…but
I’m a cheerleader!” However, despite the obvious oxymoron of a lesbian cheerleader,
Megan’s parents insist that she drop everything and pack her bags for the
ex-gay camp called True Directions.
At True Directions, the boys fix cars, play football, and
chop firewood while the girls swaddle baby dolls, wear skirts, and
vacuum monochrome carpets in hopes to become True Men™
and True Women™
. Amongst all the madness, Megan finally
realizes that not only is she in fact a lesbian, but that she also kind of has
a thing for Graham, the only other girl at camp who is unconvinced by the
ridiculousness of these activities. With the stage set and the characters
positioned exactly how you want them to be, the story plays out in a perfectly
fluffy, romcom rhythm. The two girls fall in love by sneaking out late at night
to nearby gay bars and rolling their eyes at various True Directions tasks,
only to ditch the camp’s “graduation ceremony” and officially run off
into the sunset together at the movie’s climax. It’s not in spite of, but rather, because of this expected story line that LGBT folk have kept this movie on repeat well into the
21st century; rarely are lesbians given the type of aesthetically
pleasing, teeny-bopper story that But I’m
a Cheerleader has to offer, and much less one that continues to make you laugh
with each and every re-watch.
On the outside it looks like your average teen drama. But after
three episodes we are beginning to see the heart shine through the facade. It
is with this latest episode ‘Body Double’ that the show begins to break out of
the archaic formula that high school dramas have been created by. Although the
show began with some cringe worthy teen drama archetypes at least it is
self-aware in its stereotypical depiction.
Cheryl’s comments regarding Kevin Keller being the ‘gay best
friend’ and Beronica’s ‘faux lesbian’ kiss prove that the writer’s of Riverdale are aware of the stereotypes
they are portraying, they are commenting on them as they are being performed.
If this is in fact the case then why are they choosing to include these
Let me propose a theory. The writer’s know exactly what they
are doing. Presenting the audience with the stereotypical teen tale. One where
the pretty girls only kiss to garner attention, a gay character is only a two
dimensional punch line, and the ridiculously good looking football star is
fought over by two cheerleaders that put their romantic feelings above any
friendship. But with each passing episode Riverdale
shows more and more how it will be breaking out of these old fashioned
norms and putting them in their place.
Episode three forged B and V, a friendship that is stronger
than any crush, ‘they walked through the fire and survived’. They are women who
will not be pitted against each other, fighting for the attention of a man. But
come together in times of need, as strength and support. This episode is filled
with strong, intelligent women who have more depth than how they relate to a
man. They are more than just objects. Betty and Veronica fight back against the
male objectification that has been forced upon them by Chuck and his football
goons. Cheryl repeats the sexist adage ‘boys will be boys’ as a way to explain
why these young men feel it is acceptable to assign each girl a numeric value
and score themselves on their ‘conquests’. But Veronica puts Cheryl in her
place and the women of Riverdale High unite against the demeaning way they are
being treated by the male populous. Even Cheryl Blossom joins operation
#justiceforethel, which is justice for us all.
Betty explains so eloquently the struggle women today face,
“we’re objects for them to abuse. And when they are done with us they shame us
into silence”. But no more will these strong, intelligent, beautiful women stay
silent. Betty and Veronica enact vengeance for not only Veronica but for the
collection of wronged women in Chuck’s playbook.
Not only does this episode discuss sexism and female objectification
but it also talks to the patriarchy and struggle of women of colour. Josie
breaks it down for Archie explaining that he can’t “write [her] experience”
because he can’t possibly understand the struggles she has to face in life, “we
have to claw our way into the same rooms you just waltz into.”
Archie is a privileged white male, with so many doors open
to him, which he takes for granted. He strolls in to the Pussycat’s rehearsal
assuming he is good enough to write music for them. But what he fails to realize
is that Josie and the Pussycats are trying to use their music as a way to fight
the patriarchy, to empower women to stand up against the gender roles they are
forced into everyday, “I don’t care what you want me to be cuz it ain’t for you
and it’s all for me.” Live your lives the way you want to live them ladies.
Archie has rarely had to deal with this struggle. The closest he has gotten is
his father preferring him to play football then write music. So at least he has
a small insight into what Josie is trying to explain to him.
With this wonderfully feminist episode I am optimistic that Riverdale will put all of the other
outdated stereotypes in the trash where they belong. Hopefully next we will see
Kevin break out of the stereotype of gay best friend and actually show us who
he is as a person.