Jughead Jones

Jughead Jones is confirmed to be asexual in this comic. Photo courtesy of Vulture.

Jughead Jones, a character originated in the Archie Comics, is asexual. His identity is confirmed in the scene above. The decision was widely acclaimed by people, as one remarks, “I’m so happy!”

People began speculating if the new adaptation of the comics, Riverdale, would have an asexual Jughead Jones. In one article, Actor Cole Sprouse remarked, “I hope that huge corporations like the CW recognize that this kind of representation is rare and severely important to the people who resonate with it.”

He advocated that Jughead Jones be asexual in the show, according to Teen Vogue. Sprouse did a lot of research on asexuality and was ultimately prepared to represent it.

However, Riverdale chose not to include Jones’s asexuality. This decision is harmful as it completely erases the character’s identity. While one can argue, that yes, Jones has romance, and has sex, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be asexual.

This can be true, but Sprouse himself said, “I think, in this show, he’s not aromantic and not asexual.”

Jughead Jones is such a character that defies both implicit and explicit representation. This defying is more so, a sad and common erasure of asexuality. Jones, in the Archie Comics, is confirmed to be asexual. He does not experience sexual or romantic attraction. Such a confession of sexuality is said in the initial image.

People applauded the Archie Comics writers for this decision. Despite this, the show, Riverdale, erased this ground-breaking representation. Jughead Jones in the show, is a complete allosexual. He is evidently sexually attracted to people.

The showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, in one article, spoke on this decision:

“I think all of the kids are discovering themselves, and a big part of that is discovering their sexuality, their sexual selves. Rather than have everything fully formed — for instance, we’re not going to start with Archie’s band or Jughead’s asexuality or any of the things that have become canon — those are all stops on the way to the journey until the show catches up to 75 years of Archie history.”

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

Aguirre-Sacasa tries to defend his decision by allowing the characters to discover their sexuality. Yet at this point, it has been five seasons, and there has been no mention of asexuality.

Rather, the past few seasons have done nothing but place a larger emphasis on sex.

The sad truth, once again, is that Jones’s asexual identity was erased. I believe that Jughead Jones is a case of what we call, “acebaiting” Acebaiting, as defined by a Tumblr user, “Siggy,” occurs when a creator promises or hints at an asexual character, and acts on no delivery (“Asexual Agenda”).

Although the showrunner did not explicitly promise an asexual character, he did not deny it either. I am sure many asexual people tuned into Riverdale, just to see if Jughead Jones would explore his asexuality.

“I really was holding out hope that they would keep Jughead asexual, even while he was dating Betty, I’d hope he come out as ace at some point,” one fan said (Corysande). As we see here, many people were hoping for this asexual representation.

When a mainstream TV show omits asexuality just like that, it sends a message that our identities as ace people do not matter, that they are not validated. This is especially important, considering how this is a show targeted towards teenagers.

In “‘Riverdale’s’ Asexual Erasure Can Be Harmful,” writer Jonno Revanche talks about how the lack of asexual representation is bound to have harmful consequences, considering the “self-worth issues that so many asexual teens face.”

Jughead Jones from Riverdale
Jughead Jones in Riverdale

What this also shows, sadly, is the flaws of the writers. Rather than write a story driven by complex characters and emotional intimacy, sex is the device instead. Even the LGBT couple, Toni and Cheryl, are reduced to lesbian erotica.

Riverdale has grown into a show in which bejeweled rockets and cult leaders make an appearance every week. We can obviously see that the show and the writers are merely (like most shows) motivated by the quickest money-grabbing schemes like sex more than the actual story.

Jughead Jones exploring his asexuality would have meant a lot to so many people and provide visibility for the LGBT community. Instead, we are left with a ridiculous plot of underage sex and stinted emotional intimacy.

Works Cited

K, Sara. “Ace Tropes: Eventually Revealed as Ace.” The Asexual Agenda, 10 July 2017, https://asexualagenda.wordpress.com/2017/07/10/ace-tropes-eventually-revealed-as-ace/.

Revanche, Jonno. “‘Riverdale’s’ Asexual Erasure Can Be More Harmful Than You Think.” Teen Vogue, https://www.teenvogue.com/story/riverdales-asexual-erasure-can-be-harmful. Accessed 19 June 2021.

“Riverdale”: Why Jughead Can Be Asexual and Still Love Betty Cooper | Femestella.

http://www.femestella.com/riverdale-jughead-jones-asexual-betty-cooper/. Accessed 19 June 2021.