Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mortal Emotions

After watching the Buffy the Vampire episode "The Body," I noticed some reversed gender roles between Anya and Xander. After Buffy's mother passed away, some of the scooby gang met up in Willow's room to get ready to meet Buffy at the morgue. While everyone seemed to be freaking out, it was very interesting to see how Anya and Xander responded to the situation.

Anya thought it was very strange that Xander cried earlier that day while she herself seemed very contained and acted like nothing was wrong. Anya kept asking explicit questions such as, "Is the body going to be cut open?" Everyone looked at her oddly because not only was she acting like a stereotypical male being interested in a dead body, but she was also acting almost completely unemotional towards the situation.

Meanwhile, Xander acted more like the female in the situation by being completely distracted and double parking in the street and by comforting Willow. However, it's not as simple as Xander and Anya playing reverse gender roles. Anya does not understand mortal behavior, while Xander is just expressing normal human behavior. Because of this, however, it does seem that Xander is acting more feminine in the situation.

Towards the end of the scene, it seemed like their roles went back to being stereotypical for a small period of time when Anya cried that she just plainly did not understand death and when Xander punched the wall out of anger. This did not last long, however, and Anya went back to asking strange questions while Xander wanted to be there for Buffy.


  1. I see what you're saying with the reversed roles when Xander cried, but other than that I don't really agree. I think Anya just doesn't understand and Xander comforted Willow and Buffy because they are his best friends and he needed him. I didn't really see it as gender role reversal.

  2. I agree with Brittany that Anya just didn't know better. Although Xander does show some of his tender sides in that episode, I think it is more of a natural response of a human being (not just of a woman) when he/she has lost someone he loved and cared about. Even though we didn't really get to see many episodes that somehow delineated what kind of relationships that Joyce and the Scooby gang might have had, we could assume that Willow and Xander grew really close to Joyce because she was after all Buffy's mother. Dealing with death is hard enough as it is, and even though the stereotypes do play a role in how different genders react to death (to a certain degree), it is the similar emotions that people go through.

  3. I don't think this was necessarily gender-reversal, I actually think Xander acted like a typical guy would be expected to act in this situation, especially with punching the wall and expressing a lot more anger than sorrow. It's true that Xander did cry, but he didn't cry in public or break down with a group of people, he did it in the privacy of his own home. In fact we didn't even get to see Xander crying in this episode. Maybe if Xander cried at the morgue or in Willow's room, I would see what you meant. Also I don't think Anya acted like a man would in this situation, she was just emotionally detached and confused.

  4. This is an interesting point. I agree with the comments that the divide between Anya and Xander is more focused around human vs. emotionally detached non-human, but this can be similar in a way to gender roles. It is a lot more acceptable in society for a woman to react to grief in an emotional, human way while men are generally expected to be detached, in the way an ex-demon like Anya is.

  5. I do not think that it was gender reversal because Xander was just naturally reacting to a loss of a person he cared about and just because he cried that does not mean that he was adopting "female" behavior. Anya just did not know how to react since she had never dealt with death before.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.