My name is Emma. This is my feminism.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

on April 11, 2012

Let me start by saying that I LOVE this show, so clearly I am biased.  But I like to think I wouldn’t love shows that weren’t at least a bit feminist.  I have read conflicting things about Buffy from different feminist sources.  Some think it really does show female empowerment, while others point out problems with thinking that.

Some people think that it’s bad to show female super heroes in fictional places who have fictional super powers because it makes it seem like we have achieved what we need to.  There’s women super heroes, what more do we need?  The fact that she does her super hero-ing in heels and skirts with perfect hair and make-up doesn’t matter.  I get it.  It does matter.  Buffy isn’t a perfect feminist, but I think that’s the point.  She’s supposed to just be some girl who happened to be a slayer, and that’s what she is.  She gets progressively more hardcore as the series goes on, but she’s never perfect. 

One thing I remember bothering me is when Riley is first telling Buffy that he has feelings for her, he lists all the great things about Buffy, including that she is beautiful.  When he is done, Buffy seems to have zoned out a little, and says “You lost me around beautiful.”  So even for Buffy who is super awesome and badass, the nicest thing you can say to her is that she is beautiful.  Because if he had just said that she was smart and funny and strong and independent and confident and all the other things that she is, it wouldn’t have mattered if she wasn’t also beautiful.  Because above all else, that is what women want to be. 

But, despite a few little things like that, I really think Buffy does more good than bad.  It’s very open about sexuality, especially considering that it was made in the 90’s.  Women in the show certainly have their own sexuality, which I think is extremely important to show.  It also follows Willow’s realization that she is gay in a really positive way.  She doesn’t come out and then become a different person.  She’s still the same Willow, just with a girlfriend instead of a boyfriend.  

So yes, I realize Buffy is not perfect, but we have to start somewhere.  Making a show about a physically strong woman who is leading a group of men and women independently is a step in the right direction for sure.  Miss Representation points out that ‘you can’t be what you can’t see.’  We have to show strong women in media, even if they’re not perfect.  Even if some people think that means we’re tricking the world into thinking we have achieved equality. 

One response to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer

  1. […] my thoughts on feminism and media « Buffy the Vampire Slayer Apr […]

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