Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Please see our “About,” “Why Radfem?” and “The Gears” pages for additional information about this project.

Common themes represented here:

Femicide.  Images of supernaturally-powerful (and even non-supernaturally powerful) women exist against a backdrop of institutional misogyny that historically punishes powerful women, including the Burning Times.  Throughout the Buffy series, she is constantly threatened with her identity being revealed and justifiably fears the consequences of patriarchal control, specifically law and psychiatry.  References are frequently made to the “incidents” at her last school, where she in fact did get into trouble related to her powers and her role as the slayer.  See also Support patriarchal institutions (medicine/religion/law).

PIV-centric narrativeGoal is to “land a man”.  Femininity and male-pleasing generally; unattainable and unavailable men and spending vast amounts of time and energy “trying to change” unsuitable men into viable sexual and romantic partners.  Here, the vampire slayer is “soul mates” with a vampire.  Har.  See also Joke’s on women.

Reversal.  Women’s supernatural (or even natural) “power” does not make them politically powerful, and actually makes them more vulnerable to institutional patriarchal control.  Buffy is also under the control of various (male) Watchers and subject to their and practices and policies.

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3 responses to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

  1. DavinaSquirrel says :

    Women’s supernatural (or even natural) “power” does not make them politically powerful, and actually makes them more vulnerable to institutional patriarchal control.

    Excellent observation.

    Whilst I liked (most of) the show, it isn’t feminist, and there are a few cringe moments. Still, it beats the endless supply of damsel in distress (although BTVS does that too occasionally). Or female heros that have to be hawt and sexy – at least Buffy did go grunge for a bit.

  2. cherryblossomlife says :

    Yes, that’s so true. The more a woman displays natural powers (such as intelligence, sensitivity, empathy) the more likely it is that the patriarchs will use their system of power to clamp down on her. Psychiatry is a big one here, because its whole purpose is to shut up women whose natural instincts tell them that something is badly wrong with their situation. When a woman (let’s say a woman left alone with a newborn all day) seeks to change the situation (perhaps by getting a divorce and moving back in with her mother), the patriarchs insist that her mind is sick, not society. The more intelligent/sensitive a woman is, the more she will be seen as a threat, and the more the system will try to crush her. Plenty of women have actually gone insane this way.

  3. FCM says :

    mary daly said that psychiatry and gynecology were tools of gynocide. there have probably NEVER been truer words spoken ever, and there never will be.

    also, perfectly mundane “power” like that which is acquired through education and the licensed professions like medicine and law makes women directly accountable to generally male overseers and to patriarchal institutions and under their control 24/7. and education and the professions have been sold to us as the way out. they arent, of course.