There’s a new upcoming show coming on The CW called Riverdale. Riverdale is, and I say loosely, based off of Archie Comics. In these comics character “Jughead Jones” is canonically asexual, and as of a few days ago I found out is also aromantic and touch adverse.
I will be honest I have never read the Archie comics, but I do plan to. But the one thing I do know is that Jughead Jones is unapologetically aroace, and is touch adverse. As I came to terms with being aroace myself the first ever canon aroace character I knew of was Jughead Jones. And of course when I heard that there was going to be a TV adaption of the comics called Riverdale I flocked to the idea that finally there was going to be a character on TV just like me. And well…
This is what this blog post is about. From what I’ve gathered from trailers and actor Cole Sprouse’s interviews, the actor playing Jughead Jones, is that Jughead Jones will not be aroace in Season 1. Especially with the amount that they have changed. From the trailers it portrays a more “sexy” and “horror” like tone, which I believe is quite different from the comics themselves. But if something, as big as aroace!Jughead, is canon it should stay canon.
Aroace Jughead means a lot to a lot of people. Why? Because at the moment I know of zero characters that are aromantic, or asexual, or touch adversed, let alone all three at once on mainstream American TV. I want to put something in perspective for a moment. Imagine growing up in a world that focuses on the “importance” of finding love, finding your soulmate, and sex. And then to find out that you are different from these people. That you don’t experience any of these. How would you feel? Because for me I grew up knowing of 3 sexualities: straight, gay, and bisexual. And these three were represented on TV, bisexuality not so much but I had heard of it. I grew up thinking that there was something wrong with me, that I was broken. Now imagine how I felt when I discovered that I wasn’t? Basically what I am trying to say is by having Jughead Jones canonically aromantic and asexual on mainstream TV will prevent more people from feeling the way I did. And to show that romance and sex are not the be all and end all. It will do something that no other show, that I watch, has ever done before. It would educate people, and it would finally give the aromantic and asexual communities their chance at representation on the small screen.
How hard is it to keep a canon aroace character canon in your adaption? Especially if you are showing canonically comic straight girls kissing in one of the trailers. If Riverdale is going to change their sexuality, which I’m not 100% sure on, it could be queerbaiting, how can you not keep the canon aroace character in your show. It isn’t hard. I’ve been thinking for a couple of days know to the reasoning behind it and the only things I can come up with is that they think having an aroace character will prevent them from getting high ratings because of the “sexiness” of their adaption, in which is aphobic. In all honesty I think having canon aroace Jughead would increase the ratings because I know of many aro/ace people who are dying to finally see a character like them on screen, so many of us would flock to watch the show. I thought finally, finally a character like me would be on TV. But I guess I got my hopes up too much.
It’s happened so many times where I’ve watched a show and characters that have described themselves as either aromantic and/or asexual without using the words “asexual” and/or “aromantic” have then been forced into a sexual or romantic relationship to “fix” the characters that haven’t felt this feeling that they “should” because it’s “normal”. And if Riverdale is doing this too, to an actual canon aroace character, you are showing us, the aromantic and asexual communities that we are broken and that we need fixing. And that’s the most unhealthiest thing to do, especially when some of us are just coming to accept ourselves for who we are.
I want to thank Cole Sprouse for the amount of fighting he is doing for the aroace communities, and him seeing the importance of this part of Jughead’s character. Many actors would probably have ignored it and probably pretended that this part didn’t exist. So thank you Cole Sprouse for fighting for us.
This has disappointed me so much that I really don’t feel like watching it anymore, I was going to watch it for aroace Jughead, but now that we probably don’t have it what is the point?
If anyone has any ideas on how we can inform the Riverdale writers and the CW on why it’s important to keep Jughead aroace please feel free to message me. Because I don’t want this to be something that is ignored. Aro erasure and ace erasure shouldn’t be ignored.