Monday, April 9, 2012

The Original Buffy

Obviously I love Buffy, but I also think the movie it was based off of is worth mentioning. Made in 1992, Buffy the Vampire Slayer didn't go well by critic or box office standards. It is a cheesy movie, but I like the concept. In class the women we’ve usually talked about, especially Batwoman, were strong, confident women that then took on the identity of a strong, confident superhero. Buffy, on the other hand, was a slightly snobby shallow teenager. She is like that in the show, but there we meet her after she has already taken on her role as Slayer. Movie Buffy is almost equivalent to the Cordelia character. In the movie we get to know her before she found out her “destiny” or whatever.

Buffy was a cheerleader in the “popular” crowd. She was a little ditzy and loved shopping. I think this is an interesting concept for this personality to become the one girl to fight the forces of darkness. The plot is a complete girly-girl forced to accept an enormous amount of power. She didn’t want power, but learns to grow into her responsibility. This idea is different that Wonder Woman or Batwoman. Diana was born a strong goddess who liked the idea of controlling her powers. Kate Kane was badass before she became Batwoman. I would consider Batwoman and Buffy’s original personality to be almost opposite extremes.

It shows that you don’t have to fit into the badass role in order to be “super”. Spoiler, movie Buffy still beats the bad guy. Obviously she grows as a person as she learns more about her new role. She becomes less stereotypical blonde, but she stays a cheerleader and dresses up for the prom. She never completely changes as a person. She grows but she is always the girly girl whose job is to fight Vampires.

This movie didn’t do that great, but hopefully just because it wasn’t made super well. I would hope that people would support the idea of Buffy. It shows that you don’t have to fit into an archetype to be super. The damsel in distress character can become the hero. A girl can be exactly who she is, even if that is a little ditzy, and do something important. Girl power is girl power. She doesn’t have to be a badass or butch girl to be strong. 


  1. Coming from someone who hadn't watched a full episode of Buffy in his life, I found her character to be interesting as well. Logically, she resists the responsibility again thrust towards her in Sunnydale because she fears another expulsion due to vampyr activity. And like a normal sixteen-year-old girl, she only wants to fit in as a normal sixteen-year-old girl. Her sassy, annoyed attitude remains the same regardless of whether she's fighting vampyrs or spending time on campus, but the interesting thing is that Buffy re-accepted the role of Slayer so quickly, despite her desire for normalcy. Once she understood that a great evil was en route and she was the only one capable of stopping it, she stepped up to the plate in order to help her new friends and avoid the apocalypse. I find this strange because this responsibility is not traditionally part of the sassy-ditzy-girl personality. Perhaps this is due to her Slayer status. Perhaps she desires to fit in so badly that she's forced to protect her new friends from death. Perhaps she's actually very intelligent, and fully grasps the magnitude of the Hellmouth situation. Whatever the reason, it makes for an intriguing protagonist and an addictive first couple episodes.

  2. I agree with your post. It is refreshing to see a regular girl, one that wouldn't otherwise be viewed as powerful or independent, become the heroine. Buffy starts off as a regular, "weak," girl, and throughout the movie, she grows into a strong, "super," girl. This shows an opposition to the normal gender barriers. Usually, the ditzy, pretty girl is weak and not competent. Buffy proves that girls can be strong, no matter how they look or act in public. Women are just as powerful and independent as men.

  3. Looking at the clip, I think it didn't become successful for the fact that it wasn't well made. However, it is nice to see Buffy like that. The cheerleader is the last person one would expect to be a hero. I would expect that cheerleader to be vapid and too focused on herself to care about anyone else. It's also nice to know that the cheerleader becoming a superhero is not totally abandoned by Whedon. Cordelia was a first a cheerleader who existed in a hierarchical structure, but eventually grew out of it, as she now is slaying vampires with Buffy. It speaks to an idea of populism in the female world; any women can be a superheroine if they choose to be.

  4. It seems that in class we seem to focus a lot on how feminine qualities of women undermine feminism. However, I love the message in Buffy that a cheerleader who many people would not expect to have the strength or intelligence to defend herself and others is the one who becomes the superheroine! I’m also so glad that Buffy was able to become the slayer without completely letting go of her girly-girl identity. Her character is so different from the other characters we have studied that didn’t seem able to become a superheroine without sacrificing some of their feminine qualities. But shouldn’t that be the ultimate superheroine—a girl who can become a superhero through who she really is, not a girl who becomes a superheroine because she takes on an identity of what society would perceive as somewhat “masculine”?

  5. I agree with your last statement. I especially love Buffy because she can fight and save the world while still be concerned about boy issues and her nails. It just goes to show how strong of a hold she has on her own identity and will not let that go no matter how the circumstances change. Given sacrifices and changes had to be made, Buffy ultimately stays true to herself. In the episode "Becoming," it shows a flashback of how Buffy was before she turned into the slayer. She was everything your stereotypical cheerleader could be, much like in this clip. Seeing her like this, you come to appreciate her character and her growth even more. She defies the social stereotype of dumb, blonde cheerleaders by outgrowing it.


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