Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Apocalypse Averted

Three weeks, seven seasons. What am I gonna do with my evenings now?

That last disk was pretty damn awesome. To start with, woo! with the crushes. I finally understand all the crushing on Spike. Kennedy has a very hot tongue ring. Principal Wood manages to survive (thought there was that moment where I did think my crush had doomed him).

I had thought the series might end with Buffy's death. Some sort of sacrifice to save the world thing. Granted, it had been done already, but I assumed somehow that she wouldn't make it. I like the multi-slayer concept better.

My first ever Buffy post asked if it was a feminist show. Now that I've seen them all, I think the answer is yes and no.

It's an amazing show. Women kicking some ass and saving the world. Facing the dark without fear. Leading the way. There were some amazing episodes that I really thought brought up issues in a very feminist way. The one that still sticks in my mind dealt with partner violence. And the entire plot line with Tara coming out was great, as was the football player who did. The Halloween-costume episode was a highlight as well.

Where I think the show was lacking was in the depiction of sex. First there was the use of the term slut, by both male and female characters. It became less frequent after the characters left high school, but didn't disappear. That seems to mirror real life - the power of the word slut definitely decreases once you mature past the age of 18 or 19. But the show never deals with the double standard that the word represents. Its use is never challenged on the show. Sure, the characters do grow. But as viewers we are never challenged by the show to think about what it means to call a girl a slut. It demeans and insults and shames and controls women. The characters on Buffy do this many times and no one ever has an "Ah-ha!" moment when they realise that it isn't acceptable. When you add that to the many other unhealthy attitudes towards sexuality that the show brings up - sex makes your boyfriend lose his soul, or brings to life deadly poltergeists - and the very feeble comments on the two attempted rapes on the show, I find myself unable to fully get behind the idea of Buffy as a feminist show. It's a feminist show that didn't go quite far enough.

But perhaps it sends a very important feminist message - many strides have been made, but the battles have not all been won just yet. Keep on fighting.

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