Buffy: Friendships and Feminism

I haven't written about Buffy in awhile, partly because we've tailed off a little on watching the show. This wasn't by a spoken arrangement, and I'm not sure how it happened, but I'm honestly starting to find the show very depressing, and Husband keeps genuinely asking me things like "Why is Cordelia even there when they talk to her like that?" and "Why does Buffy stick around these people?" because just about every episode seems to involve people being terrible to Buffy and Cordelia, and I don't honestly know what to tell him because I'm wondering the same things. (And also I find it problematic that the answer to why Cordelia weathers continual emotional abuse from the boyfriend who broke her heart is because she wants to be around Wesley. Because fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.)

Last night we tried a new episode -- Earshot -- and I seriously wanted to cry when we hit this exchange early into the show:

BUFFY: It's just I'm scared, Will. There's this thing in me and I can't find it. I can't stop it. What if it changes me? Not just the way I look. All of a sudden I could be something that's not me anymore.

WILLOW: Yeah, woo hoo!...sorry, they spelled Percy, and, and, I have to show support-he's needy. But I heard what you were saying, really. And I would be frightened too, but I'm sure you're gonna be okay. 

I've mentioned before in Twilight posts how much it bothers me that S. Meyer crafted a world without female friendships, but if possible this bothers me more. Willow is a terrible friend; Buffy is genuinely and legitimately terrified about turning into a demon, and Willow can't be bothered to pretend even the slightest amount of support because she's too interested in her teaching projects. (And I will not even touch on the fact that Willow's interest in teaching Percy in this episode reads way too much like Willow is interested in Percy sexually. Because obviously women can only be interested in men in sexual ways, and the power dynamics between student and teacher should totally be combined with sexual overtones. Because fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.)

This is the same Willow who tore Buffy a new one because Buffy isn't constantly available to listen to every little problem that Willow wants to get off her chest. Which means that Willow requires Buffy to actively listen to Willow talk about the complexities of dating a werewolf, but Buffy can fuck right off if she needs to confide her fears about slayer side-effects to someone. And this is also the same Willow whose first thought upon hearing Buffy can read minds is to be upset because Buffy won't "need" Willow for schoolwork anymore and then to be even more upset because now Buffy will understand Oz better than Willow does.

Great! What a great portrayal of healthy female friendships, otherwise so very lacking in our popular media! I love it when female friendships revolve entirely around dependence and boys, because that is absolutely a very accurate portrayal of my friendships with other women. I use 'em when they need me, and I make damn sure they don't get too close to my man. Because fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.


Other pros about last night's episode: it was genuinely funny that Cordelia's thoughts are the same as her words. Cons about last night's episode: it was genuinely unsurprising that of course all of Cordelia's thoughts are selfish and shallow, despite it being repeatedly demonstrated throughout this show that she's a lot deeper than that. Because forget consistent characterization when we have a chance to shame a woman, because fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

Also super great: the episode starts with Buffy et. al. being really super duper mega concerned because they still don't know what the Mayor has planning. They know it's big, and they know it's bad, but they don't know what it is exactly because ultimately Faith didn't know and therefore couldn't spill the beans during the betrayal gambit. So naturally when Buffy learns she can read minds, she ... rushes off to Angel's in an attempt to make sure he didn't really enjoy kissing Faith, because one can never be too sure about boyfriends and their wandering cocks. No one even mentions trying to get Buffy close to the Mayor in order to pick up world-saving information, because WHAT DO YOU MEAN ANGEL'S PANTSFEELINGS AREN'T THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THIS SHOW? That's just silly talk.

So! Instead of a Buffy update, here is a three-part article on Buffy, Firefly, and Dollhouse that I found interesting. It's spoilery, and I'm not sure I agree with it 100%, but I found it thought-provoking and worthy of reading. So go read and be provoked (if you're into that sort of thing).


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