What Cordelia Chase Taught Me About Bitches

Cordelia Chase was the first woman on TV who taught teenage me that being nice wasn’t as important as being whole.

Cordelia was mean. She was petty. She didn’t give two fucks about tact. Cordelia knew who she was and you needed to get on board or get out of her way. And the narrative didn’t call her evil for this — selfish, sure. In a way that she (mostly) grew out of. But never evil. Instead, her storyline progressed in such a way that these same character traits in a more developed light made her the heart of the Angel investigations team.

Angel didn’t want to charge people for cases, because he wanted to be a hero? Well, that’s great Angel, but rent in L.A. is expensive, your employees need paychecks, and when you are saving a billionaire’s life you can afford to charge him. It’s okay to run a business like a business. It’s okay to be mean sometimes.

Angel wanted to shut down the agency because of an existential crises? Well screw you Angel, you don’t even go here. We’ll start our own agency without you. It’s okay ignore your friend’s requests when they are asking you to do something you find fundamentally disrespectful. Angel tried to belittle Cordelia’s commitment to the cause, and she was not having that.

Wesley wanted Angel to work for his penance and take his time before being forgiven? That’s cool Wes, but Angel just got Cordy all of these amazing new clothes, and also she misses him, and she’d really rather just put the angst aside and have her friend back. It’s okay to let things go if that’s what makes you happy.

Cordelia was intelligent, confident, and ultimately a good friend. But she wasn’t concerned with being nice. When someone called her a “bitch” she owned that shit.

  • Cordelia: I’m not a sniveling, whiny, little cry-Buffy. I’m the nastiest girl in Sunnydale history. I take crap from no one. You think you’re bad? All mean and haunty? Picking on poor, pathetic Cordy? Well, get ready to haul your wrinkly, translucent ass out of this place, ‘cause lady, the bitch is back.

At a time in my adolescence where “bitch” was meant to cut to the core — bitches aren’t popular, bitches don’t get dates, bitches aren’t smart or funny or kind — the idea that someone could take the mantle of “bitch” and wear it proudly was a revelation. Cordelia Chase was there to tell me that bitch was only an insult if I let it be.

And also she made Angel do a happy dance. So.

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