- by Kristen (NEW 21-Jun-2002)

Ostensibly, presents an inverted society in which female communities and friendships are championed, especially in comparison to the representations of masculinity in the series. Demonstrating a secure female family unit, Buffy lives with her mother, and in the later series, her "sister" Dawn. Buffy’s father left them when she was still a young girl. Whilst in the early seasons of the series, Buffy’s mother Joyce has no knowledge of her daughter’s extra curricular slaying activities, her later discovery of Buffy’s vocation allows the portrayal of a mutually strong and supportive female community. This motif of the absent father contributes to the ongoing theme in the series of a society that is potentially exclusive of men, as is suggested by the representations of strong female friendships, for example Willow and Buffy, and the homosexual relationship between Willow and Tara.

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This underlying patriarchal thematic construction in the series combines with character representation to deny a positivist feminist polemic in . When asked about the lavish employment of violence in the series, Whedon replied:

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On one hand, this can be seen as empowering; it combats the image of feminine fragility. Buffy can look after herself, and her strength allows her to meet her male foes on a plane of equality, thereby commending a feminist reading. However, this seems to me too superficial a reading, and subverting the adventure story in the way that Whedon does is not that simple. Problematically, he is creating a space in which violence against women is legitimized. Buffy has super strength and super healing capabilities, she can wisecrack whilst staking, her stylish hair, make up and clothes keeps her looking good in the heat of battle; all these assets added to the fact that as the ‘hero’ she will always triumph combine to make violence against her acceptable in the series. However, this contextualisation is not justification for violence against women. Indeed, it can be seen as a variation on the pornographers excuse that women participate in pornography because they want to; Buffy attacks and is attacked because she wants to in her role as Slayer. But as outspoken feminist Andrea Dworkin points out, what we are seeing is not necessarily what women want to do, but rather "the will of women as men want to see if’ (127). Indeed, the centrality of the image of Buffy as Slayer, as heroine, problematises feminist readings, as her role is encoded as a patriarchal rather than feminist fantasy. Although she could be considered heroic in the traditional epic sense in that she is fulfilling her destiny and following her fate as the chosen one, she is also a pawn in the hands of the Watcher’s Council, a British and inherently patriarchal institution which co ordinates and controls the training of Slayers. Buffy has no choice in what she does; she is coerced into her job by a standing patriarchal dictate. On a number of occasions, especially in the early series, she attempts to renounce her calling, only to find that she cannot.

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Kramer, Heinrich, and Sprenger, James.  Trans. Montague Summers. London: Arrow Books, 1971.

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Korsmeyer, Carolyn. “Passion and Action: In and Out of Control.” Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy. Chicago: Carus Publishing Company, 2003.

Vint, Sherryl. " "Killing us Softly’: A Feminist Search for the ‘Real’Buffy".  5. 9 Dec 2002.

Obsidian Fate Buffy the Vampire Slayer Diana G Gallagher

Willow is an example of the witch encoded according to male fantasies. As a witch she is portrayed as an exotic female deviant, exciting but ultimately flawed. Looking more closely at this idea, 1 would like to consider that way in which witchcraft becomes a metaphor for female deviancy in the series. It comes to represent both the lesbian relationship between Willow and Tara, and later Willow’s (and by extension woman’s) inability to handle power’ as she becomes ‘addicted’ to magic in a sustained witchcraft/drug analogy.

Whedon, Joss. Interview with Tasha Robinson. The Onion AV Club 37.31. 13 Dec 2002.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Wikipedia

By the beginning of the fifth season, Buffy and Spike are easily termed as enemies. Spike is still rendered harmless to humans due to a chip that has been implanted in his brain by the Initiative, and being that he is still a demon, one should wonder why Buffy does not dispatch him in his impaired state. As Richard Greene and Wayne Yuen put it, “Spike has utility. Spike has access to information about demon and vampire activity in the area, which at times prove to be invaluable to Buffy … Without this utility, given the long-term threat he poses, killing Spike would be just as permissible as killing a rabid dog that has been temporarily restrained” (2). They may be enemies, but are not entirely useless to the other.