Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Buffy: Not the Only Girl in All the World

While I always thought that Buffy the Vampire Slayer had many strong female characters, an article that I read made me think more about this idea. The title of this article is "Why Buffy the Vampire Slayer is not a feminist show." Basically the author of this work argues that while Buffy is a strong, independent female character, all of the other female characters are weak and become victims of vampire attacks. I disagree with this argument because while there are many women who play victims in this show, men are equally represented as victims.

Throughout the many seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, there are men and female vampires, heroes, and victims. While Willow plays a victim in season 1, she is the strongest character in season 6. The first episode starts with a female vampire killing a man which sets the stage for strong female characters. Drusilla is also a powerful character, along with Anya and Faith. I don't see how someone could say that the only strong female character is Buffy because there are so many counter-examples.

The author of this article also argues that they do not show Tara and Willow having sex like they show heterosexual couples having sex. I do agree that their homosexual relationship is not as open as other couples in the show but this is not really an issue of feminism as much is it is an issue of homosexuality. I think this show does a very good job of portraying strong female characters and doing as much as it could with homosexuality.


  1. I agree Michele. I think the series definitely does promote the strength of women, not only through Buffy but also through Willow, Drusilla, Anya, and Faith. However, I also think Tara should be put into the group of strong women: she stood up to her family when they threatened her, and stayed with the people she knew loved and cared about her. This decision was tricky, as it is difficult to leave your entire family behind for new friends.

  2. I agree that there are many strong women characters in Buffy, one thing I do agree about with this point is that in the names characters who Buffy just saves during the 3 minute teaser at the beginning of the episode, almost all of them are female. I read one article which made the point:Only 34 episodes (23.6%) portray a successfully consummated bite. Of the 70 total vampire attacks, most are presented in real-time (n = 61, 87%), while 6 (9%) are present as flashbacks, or in a historical context. In 3 cases (4%), the bites occurred during explicit dream sequences. While much of the literature discussing the multiple facets of BtVS focuses on classic relationship dynamics, empowerment issues, feminist theory, and “girl power,” this statistical analysis of the vampire biting patterns and their chosen victims, offers another perspective entirely. This paper argues that through the vampire biting activities presented to viewers, traditional, heterosexual norms and values are consistently reinforced along with a disturbing pattern of female victimization. Not only do these statistics flesh out a mostly heterosexual coupling of vampire and victim, but a male-empowered world (albeit a demonic one) with the female characters who, more often than not, end up on the losing end of the fang.

  3. Of course women have to die, if only men died what would that say about the show? Oh I know - not very relateable! I feel that Buffy also pushed the boundaries for homosexuality, it tested the waters in regards to media.

    By having women be vamps they are showing how strong women could be, they have enough power to be villains!


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