The Buffy Question

Thursday, February 23, 2012

 Anyone who knows me knows I love Buffy. I love Buffy so much that even while I own none of the DVD's I've somehow managed to hold on to five or so of the books that used to come out, including the three volumes of the Angel Chronicles. And yet now when I look at lists like Rookie's The Rodarte Guide to Buffy the Vampire Slayer I have to wonder: just how much of a strong kick ass role model was Buffy?

(yes this means I've officially read too much commentary on the series and possibly too many articles on Jezebel, but there's no going back now)

Don't get me wrong - Buffy had her moments. She was the blond cheerleader who instead of running alone in the woods to get murdered, ran into the woods to lead her prey to their own painful demise. Time and again the world was saved by her single-handed determination to humanity; there were no acceptable losses because each life was precious and deserved a chance. But...but...

What's with all the man related melt downs?

Time and again throughout the series Buffy's biggest moments of doubt were caused by the absence of or problems with her current love interest. What's so bad ass about that? The most prominent example that comes to mind is that f*ck up from the ____ season Riley. He spent most of his time on the show being a dick, feeling like 'less of a man' because Buffy could do his job better than him. When his huge heaping pile of insecurities starts to crumble and he starts going to vampire prostitutes, what does he do? He blames it on Buffy. And then even worse she seems to BUY HIS BULLSH*T. Instead of telling him to take his ultimatum and shove it up his ass she walks away only to run after him in a dramatic moment culminating in her looking up at him and crying as the military helicopter carries him far FAR away from Sunnydale.

"Oh no I let my small penis turn me into even more of an asshole! Whatever shall I do?!"

I'm not saying I don't love Joss Whedon. I'm not saying Buffy and Angel aren't two of my favorite series to date and probably will be until I die. All I'm asking is did Xena seem to have these problems?

I didn't think so.

Toni said...

I think the biggest reason why Buffy was awesome was because even though she had all that power she was still inclined to make the same mistakes as any other young woman. Being a role model does not mean that you are impervious to bad decisions. Whedon succeeded in that he was able to make her character as human as possible, despite her gifts and the supernatural happenings.

Dana said...

I didn't think about it in that particular way but I do agree that her relatability had a lot to do with her not being perfect. Yet I still think that the way Buffy is portrayed handling relationship issues could have been better. Is it understandable that she might initially go against her instincts and date Riley? Yes. But I would follow that by saying that she could have been an even better role model if she responded to relationship problems in a way that did not include total meltdowns or acceptance of bad treatment.

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