Veronica is the only good part of ‘Sierra Burgess Is a Loser’
She’s the only reason why I managed to finish watching the movie
by Nian Hu
You're not really supposed to root for the mean girl in the classic high school movies, but sometimes you end up stanning them anyway. Regina George from Mean Girls, Heather Chandler from Heathers, Sharpay Evans from High School Musical — they all have terrible personalities, and yet you end up liking them anyway.
I suppose that's part of the unique charm of the high school mean girl. Even when she viciously calls you ugly and dumps mashed potatoes on your head in front of the entire school, you still can't help but have a bit of a girl crush on her. Sure, she punched you in the face, but it was awesome.
However, that's not the reason why I stan Veronica, the designated mean girl in "Sierra Burgess Is a Loser." I stan her because she is a pure, sweet, and beautiful queen who deserved better. In fact, I will argue that Veronica was the most interesting and sympathetic character in the entire film and the only reason why most people kept watching this trainwreck of a movie after the first fifteen minutes.
Let's look at the evidence, shall we?
Veronica is a complicated, three-dimensional character who comes from a troubled family
Veronica isn't your ordinary one-dimensional rich, pretty, and privileged mean girl. Sure, she's pretty mean for no good reason in the beginning of the movie and makes some jabs at Sierra for her weight and appearance — which is obviously not cool.
However, it soon becomes clear that she comes from a really troubled family background. As she explains to Sierra, her dad divorced her mom for a 22-year-old and left the family in financial ruin. And her mom, heartbroken over the fact that her husband left her for someone much younger, became an overbearing pageant mom who takes out her insecurities about "fading youth" on her daughters.
When Veronica explains to her mom that she's skipping cheer practice to study, her mom scoffs, "Oh, that's gonna get you far with the boys." Then her mom sternly tells her that she can't skip practice anymore. "You know what happens when gymnasts stop practicing, right?" her mom warns. "One day they're these these cute little firecrackers and the next day they've exploded out of their Lycra."
No wonder, then, that Veronica derives so much of her self-worth from her physical appearance. She has literally been bullied by her mother into prioritizing her appearance over academics. In light of these disturbing family dynamics, it becomes clear that the body-shaming insults she launches at Sierra are less motivated by cruelty and more motivated by the toxic ideologies that were fed to her by her mother.
She is a vulnerable person with deep-rooted insecurities about her intelligence
While it's true that Veronica is a conventionally beautiful girl who has very little to be insecure about in that department, she knows that her physical appearance will only get her so far in life. Beauty fades — a lesson that she watched her mom learn the hard way.
That's why it bothers her so much when her college boyfriend Spence dumps her because she isn't smart enough for him. Later, we overhear him admitting to his friend that he only said that to make her feel insecure. But it's clear that his comment profoundly affected Veronica.
Over and over again, we see that her intelligence is a sore spot for her. When she struggles to understand Plato's philosophy during one of her tutoring sessions with Sierra, her younger sisters repeatedly taunt her with cries of, "Moronica!" Veronica runs out of the room in tears. "It's pointless," she says hopelessly to Sierra. "They're right. I'm Moronica."
And that's why Sierra's revenge prank was so unbelievably cruel. The revenge plot in these movies only really works if it's framed as the one and only time the popular girl was made to feel small and inferior. But when Veronica gets humiliated as "Moronica," in front of the entire school, it's not satisfying because it reinforces all of the things that she is already insecure about. It just feels mean and unnecessary.
And yet, despite all of this, Veronica is actually a very kind and generous person
Despite her many insecurities and her troubled life at home, Veronica is deep down an extremely nice and genuine person. It doesn't take her very long at all to warm up to Sierra — and once she becomes friends with Sierra, she is fiercely loyal to her, even at the cost of social suicide.
When she brings Sierra to a party with her, her best friends are understandably baffled and confront her about it. "She's not that bad," Veronica insists. "She's actually kinda cool." Her friends aren't convinced, and they unceremoniously dump her — because Sierra Burgess is a loser, and "only losers hang out with losers."
And even after Sierra betrays her in the worst possible way and broadcasts her most humiliating moment in front of the entire school, it takes very little for Veronica to wholeheartedly forgive her. Sierra sends her an utterly pathetic song that sounds like an incel anthem, with sad and self-pitying lyrics like "Rose girls in glass vases / Perfect bodies, perfect faces / They all belong in magazines / Those girls the boys are chasing / Winning all the games they're playing / They're always in a different league" that demonstrate that Sierra has achieved absolutely no character growth whatsoever throughout the course of the movie.
Yet, despite never receiving a proper apology from Sierra and being forced to listen to a truly terrible song, Veronica not only forgives Sierra and becomes best friends with her again, but she also tells Jamey that Sierra is the most amazing girl in the world and that he should ask her out to prom. So at the end of the movie, Sierra gets literally everything she wants handed to her simply because Veronica decided to be the bigger person.
Far from being a mean girl, Veronica was actually the kindest and most sympathetic character in the entire film. She deserved so much more, and I demand that we give her recognition for being the only redeeming quality in this otherwise pointless, problematic, and mind-numbingly predictable movie.