From the moment she was called upon to become the Slayer, and thus shoulder the weight of saving the world (Again!) Buffy the Vampire Slayer wrestled with understanding not only her place in the world as a superhero, but also finding her place as young woman tasked with such a role. Should her power be rooted in something different than our traditional masculine notions of strength? Or is power simply power—void of gender and value? In this Olio, we will examine Joss Whedon’s creation, Buffy, and analyze the significance of the slayer’s struggle to fight evil while remaining “just a girl.”
Through discussion and the viewing of a few clips, we will look critically at the show’s overarching narrative, asking ourselves: Was Buffy truly a feminist icon? If so, what kind of feminist? Radical? Liberal? Marxist? What does it mean that she alone held power that others had no access to? That she used violence to solve problems? That in the eye of the struggle, she often found herself alone, having more in common with the evil she was fighting than with the good she was trying to protect. Why, for example, was she so hot for vampires? We will discuss and debate whether, in the end, Buffy reconciled these dilemmas as she saved the world (Again!). Finally, we will ask ourselves what lessons we can learn from the slayer as we navigate modern patriarchy and capitalism.
“Every once in a while, a novel reminds us of why we still need them." - Megan O'Grady, Vogue