I’m not sure I understand your question. You ask “what makes you likable” as if I am Lois Lane. I am not, but I aspire to be as funny, brave, loyal, and smart as she is.
Before I discuss why I like Lois Lane, and why I think so many other people do, I want address your perception of Lois Lane as a “catty” person. To be catty means to be mean or spiteful towards people. I can’t say that Lois has always been a perfect angel. She, like most real people, has moments where she is unkind or loses her temper. I suppose whether one is capable of empathizing with Lois determines how harshly one judges her. In the Golden and Silver Ages of comics, Lois was often frustrated and angry with Clark Kent because he presented himself as unreliable, deceptive, and cowardly. For example, sometimes if Clark saw a woman being abused by men or something else terrible, he would faint or run away. While Lois might be uncovering evil and risking her life for truth and justice, it would seem to her that Clark was asleep, vomiting or, worse, pleading with her to stay put and let men handle things. A lot of her characterization is typical for the feisty female characters of that era which one could find pleasing audiences in films like His Girl Friday or Bringing Up Baby. However, Lois has moments which show her softer side as well.
The Silver Age saw the institution of the Comics Code and a push back against some of the progress for women earned during the war years, and the result was often outrageous stories with strong sexist elements. During these years, Lois had a few goals: earn respect and fame as a reporter, find a good husband, and prove Clark Kent was Superman. The last two were related, because if Lois could prove Clark was Superman she could remove an obstacle to their being together. If Lois was “catty” during this period, it was usually in situations where she and another woman were pitted against each other as rivals for Superman’s affections. Now, most people don’t love Lois because of the stories of this time period. But I know some whose first exposure to her character was in her book Superman’s Girlfriend, and the fact that she was a career woman who bravely stood up for her beliefs and took chances to bring down bad guys or get what she wanted was really appealing and inspiring.
Generally speaking, Lois Lane’s characterization matures past the zany stuff of the sixties and seventies, and once you get into the eighties and nineties, you see her more focused on her job. I imagine one could probably find a few scenes of her being mean in about a year of comics, but most of the time Lois’ anger was reserved for the villains she was investigating and taking down. Sometimes she would tease Clark, but it was mostly of the tenor that guys will often do with their guy friends. It’s not mean-spirited, just friendly banter mostly. There was a time in the first few years of Byrne’s run in the mid-80’s and 90’s where Lois got pissed at Clark for landing a job with one scoop that she, as a woman, had to land loads of scoops over many years just to get and a scoop which she later found out Clark lied and used connection to get (he had to mislead Lois and tell her he got the interview with Superman because they were step-brothers). Even this slight is one Lois eventually forgives Clark for, and they subsequently become even closer.
Once one hits the 80’s through current time period, the question of live action portrayals has to be considered (although there were earlier shows with George Reeves or Fleischer’s cartoon). That means Lois in the Reeve films, in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, the Bruce Timm animated series, Smallville, and Man of Steel. As with previous comic book incarnations, Lois in live media or animation is a mix of sassy toughness and noble vulnerability. The harshest she might get with Clark is good-natured teasing about his rural beginnings and brief flare ups of jealousy in the face of romantic or professional rivals. But Lois isn’t defined by those things. To see her only as mean is to make the same mistake that people often chide Lois for when they criticize her lack of attraction to the flaky, deceptive, and nerdy Clark Kent.
The beautiful theme underlying much of the Superman myth is to see beneath the surface. When Superman and other discerning readers or viewers look at Lois — really look at her — they see that she has a good heart. She believes in good things and good people, she’s a caring sister, and an ardent defender of those values and people she loves. She is brilliant at what she does. She doesn’t let up. She is funny and incisive. She’s surprising and exciting. She’s amazing, quite frankly.
The reason I love Lois is because I struggle with shyness and perfectionism. I’m deeply idealistic, but too often I let my fear of being judged — either for making a mistake, saying the wrong thing, showing my anger, or being aggressive — hold me back. Her sheer audacity is what won me over. She doesn’t have super powers or embody some sort of ideal of womanhood set forth by a society that too often wants women, ideal women, to be either submissive beauties or stoic warriors. To me, Lois is audacity and passion. Wit and optimism. She represents freedom to me. For someone like Superman to love a woman like Lois always felt like such an affirmation. In fact, Clark’s wedding vows are excellent expressions of why Lois is lovable:
"Though the world sees a strong and independent woman, I’ve never known someone with such gentle grace and more pure heart."
“Lois, I have loved you from the moment I saw you. I love your humor; your passion. The way you dive right in… even when you shouldn’t. Because you refuse to just watch the world. You demand that it be a better place, and because of you, it is.”
Reducing Lois to just a “catty” person unworthy of even being liked, seems like such an unfair and unfortunate approach to her character. There is just so much more to her than that. I apologize that I can’t sum her all up in the span of a Tumblr response. If you’d like to explore her character more, perhaps a visit to fuckyeahlois would be helpful.
I also open up this discussion to my followers who, if they have their own reasons for loving Lois or counterarguments which challenge the notion of Lois as a catty individual, I hope will feel free to share them as responses to this post.
This is a great response but let’s get to the hard truth here: this question is rooted in sexism.
The bottom line is that “catty” is a gendered term linked to the way that women are punished and leveled with a stigma when they fail to act in a way that society has deemed appropriate for a female, while, at the same time, punishing them for the very culture that oppresses them. With all due respect, it’s a load of horseshit and I am immediately suspicious of people who judge women using that viewpoint and term. This term shouldn’t be in your vocabulary unless you are questioning why we are taught to level it at women.
The truth is that if Lois Lane were a man, this wouldn’t even be a conversation. Men are allowed to be overly aggressive, ambitious, snarky, rough edged and flawed without getting leveled with crappy judgements for it. When women act that way they are painted as catty bitches. When men act that way, they are “rogues” “rebels” “flawed hero figure.” They are allowed to hold grudges and have moments of weakness where they say the wrong thing as we all do. But, no Women are catty bitches. They are called selfish or mean. And if they aren’t also a sex object for men in a sexy outfit? Ha! Forget it. Then it’s even worse. Bc there is nothing culture hates more than a woman who does and says what she wants who isn’t set up to be appealing to straight male gaze. Lois Lane has been an aggressive career woman from Day #1 and she’s a character who has survived 75 years of changing roles for women and emerged victorious. Millions of women around the world grew up inspired by her bc she was one of the first examples of a woman who went after what she wanted (both in work and in love ) without apology for it.
But honestly forget the answer because I reject the question. More than anything, it’s disturbing how often arguments against Lois in favor of this Superman/Wonder Woman stuff are rooted in this sexist horseshit. It’s also ironic given that Lois is an actual human example of the kind of womanhood that Diana is fighting for when she comes to the world of man. Lois is a woman of power surviving in patriarchy without the privilege of physical superpower. That freedom that Diana is fighting for for women to assert their personal power? Lois is actually doing it. She’s a living example of that message in human form. These two women should love each other. So it’s really pretty funny when people who claim to love Wonder Woman don’t seem to ::get:: that idea.
I love Lois Lane and Wonder Woman because they are two sides of the same coin. Wonder Woman is the dream of a world where we have conquered patriarchy and we can literally be the most powerful beings in the world and Lois Lane is the reality that patriarchy is real, humanity is hard but we can keep trying with whatever we have been given even if that means we stumble and fall down. She is the human idea that both Superman and Wonder Woman are actually fighting for. She’s also a woman in a man’s job which has a specific tie to why we have Wonder Woman to begin with. The idea that humanity has fight in them and the idea that a woman could be something other than what men tell her she has to be. Someone doing their best, day after day, to make a difference with the gifts she was given which, as is the case with most people, don’t include superpowers. She’s it.