Thursday, April 26, 2012

Buffy's Image: Attractive, Yet Feministic

     Today in class, we talked about how the WB's influence caused Buffy's image to be concurrent with what was "hip" and "cool" at the time of the show's release. The network pushed for the show to be centered around a young, beautiful, popular girl rather than a nerdy girl like Willow. It did this to appeal to the mainstream teenage outlook and attract viewers as a result.

     I agree that over-sexualizing Buffy takes away from her feministic force, but I disagree with the outlook that a woman is strong, intelligent, and independent can't also be beautiful. Sure, Buffy is attractive, but she is also much more than her pretty exterior; she is powerful and fierce, something that is relayed no matter the outfit she's wearing. 

     In society today, attractive women are often dismissed as being ditzy and helpless. This really upsets me. A woman's looks should not deter from her strength. Just because she cares about herself and wears nice clothes does not mean that she is any less independent, intelligent, or powerful than a "nerdier-looking" woman. Society's idea that attractive woman are ditzy directly opposes its idea about attractive men. When a man looks polished, perhaps wearing a business suit, he is automatically assumed to be more powerful than his less classily dressed counterparts. Society tells us that a man in a suit must be a man of power; he must be a CEO at a big company, a VP at J.P. Morgan, or at the very least, a wealthy small business owner. Attractive men are thought to be well-off, making them seem more powerful. This is in direct opposition to society's assumption that attractive women are ditzy and helpless rather than intelligent and powerful. 

    A woman's looks should not even be considered to measure her strength. For true equality in society today, we should look at distinct character traits and one's actions rather than looks and gender when determining an individual's capabilities. I didn't completely agree with our debate in class today. Sure, WB was influenced by mainstream society's views, but I don't think that there is anything wrong with having an attractive female be a feministic character. It defies common gender stereotypes, thus adding to the show's overall feministic appeal. 


  1. It’s interesting to me how society perceives a well-dressed women to be just pretty and ditzy, but definitely not strong and independent. Perhaps this is due to the very same reason you stated about wealthy and powerful males wearing a suit and asserting their power through their outfit. Societal stereotypes assume that men are the primary breadwinners in a household. Therefore, if a woman is seen wearing nice clothes, it could be possible that people automatically assume that there must be a powerful male figure that provided the means to dress the woman so nicely. If you account for this assumption, it would seem that women who are nicely dressed are going against feminism. However, it’s sad that society can’t see that a woman who has her own power should be able to assert it in the same way!

  2. Though I agree that attractive women can be seen as ditzy, I would argue that a really attractive guy, depending on the way he is dressed, can be judged as an jackass. Think about the stereotypical frat boy. I don't believe that this type holds true but I say that attractive men when not dressed like a classy or nice guy can be seen in a negative light same as less intelligent woman.
    As for the suits, yes you assume awesomeness from a guy in a suit, but I think a woman in a classy suit and is good at walking in heels can be just as intimidating (in a good way. I just don't believe that it is still ingrained in society that I women cannot be beautiful, powerful, and strong without a man. Yeah, there are still inequalities but there has definitely been progress in societal expectations.

  3. I find this to be very true as well, its often times the double standard, woman dress nicely or are into the latest fashion and they can be considered ditzy and written off as someone who spends her time shopping, however if a male is dressed nicely he is regarded for his good taste in clothing and regard for his appearance. This is merely another gender standard that simply needs to be broken. Overall, I would easily agree with you in stating that Buffy deserves much more credit for making through her teen years with some sense of the outside world, particular in pop culture and fashion, while still managing to be this kick ass character who is strong and powerful at the same time.

  4. I believe that people wouldn't be as inclined to watch the show if Willow was the slayer instead of Buffy. This would be due to Willows personality rather than her nerdy style. If Buffy were dressed as a nerd then we still would want her as the slayer because of her leader type personality. Willow, though intelligent, lacks an edge that is needed to be a strong main character, at least in the first few seasons. I think an interesting question to ask would be, what if Cordelia was the vampire slayer? Would the show get as many viewers or would Cordelia having power in the social scene and vampire world be too much for an audience to handle?

  5. I agree that that it is Buffy's personality that attracts all its viewers, rather than her choice in clothing. Although Giles may be Buffy's Watcher, her personality and determination to protect those she love allows her to independent and self-reliant. In the episode "The Gift", Giles suggested to allow Dawn to be sacrificed for Glory's ritual; however, Buffy was determined that no one will harm her. It was then that she realized what it meant when the first slayer from “Restless” said that death was her gift. Her willingness to sacrifice herself to protect her sister and the rest of the world shows her true identity as a hero.


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