Guys, we know this might be hard to believe, but TV is sorely lacking in strong female leads. For every Carrie Mathison or Buffy Summers, there are about 20 Hank Moodys and Walter Whites—and even when there are strong female supporting characters, much of the time she’s branded as a cold bitch for not pandering to the male leads.

This is why Veronica remains such an important character in modern pop culture. Here’s a girl who’s young, and used to be more or less a sheep to trends and the popular, rich kids at her high school. Then, a few unimaginable tragedies occurred—her best friend was murdered, her father lost his job as sheriff, her so-called friends all branded her the town pariah, her mother skipped town, and she was drugged and raped at a party filled with kids who used to be her friends—and Veronica changed. She didn’t wallow in self-pity, turn to drugs or alcohol, or fall into some other self-destructive spiral, as some would be wont to do.

Instead, Veronica kept going. She wasn’t going to let people walk all over her, because she knew she was better than that. Snd she didn’t crave anyone’s approval to feel self-assured.

That always seems to be the thing with female characters in popular culture—they need affirmation, and usually in the form of a man. Veronica was perfectly fine being who she wanted to be and doing what she wanted to do, social and romantic relationships be damned.

And also, she’s a marshmallow. —TG