Monday, May 9, 2011

"Still, I always feel this strange estrangement..."

"Once More, With Feeling"

In a fit of nostalgia, I pulled up the musical episode of Buffy. I do love that episode, and I definitely enjoyed the show when it was on. Bless netflix for carrying it. As I was watching, I began to realize why I could not understand or accept the popularity of Twilight. In Buffy, the main character is a teenaged girl who happens to save the world. She does this multiple times, and often goes completely unawknowledged by the rest of the world. Joss Wheedon created a character who was the complete opposite of her archetype.

As a modern day feminist, how could I not relate to this character? So often, the teenaged girl is portrayed as the victim, helpless and unable to save herself. She's the archetype always in need of rescue or protection. Buffy rarely, if ever, really needs saving. Instead, she saves others and attempts to live a normal life while doing it. It's not always a pretty or glamorous process, especially when vampires and demons have a habit of crashing concerts and high school graduation. In that sense, it's an exaggerated version of real life, which so often gets disrupted by events completely out of one's control. It's the same struggle modern women face every day, gritting our teeth against glass ceiling and limiting stereotypes that want to portray a woman as less than capable.

Given that Buffy's role model that came out during my impressionable teenage years, how could I find anything admirable about Bella? I'd watched one teenger grow from an insecure girl to a woman who accepted her fate and responsibilities and learned to do it with unsung thanks. (Okay, so they did sing once.) Then a new, classic archetype comes on the scene. Bella embodies the exact opposite of feminist values, in constant need of protection, passively waiting for life and love to happen to her. Life does not reward such people, it runs over them.That's why Bella's archetype is that of a victim. If I am to met my fate, I would rather do it on my feet and fighting. As Buffy does.


JJ said...

I refuse to have anything to do with Twilight. I read the first couple of books when they came out several years ago but became completely disenchanted with whiny Bella.

I watched Buffy this year after years of people telling me I would like it. (Had my doubts because I hate Firefly. Yeah, I said I HATE Firefly.) I agree with your points. Buffy kicks ass - literally and figuratively.

knitwit said...

I tried, I really did. I don't think I made to chapter 5 without wanting to strangle Bella. I finished book 1, wondering if I had missed something. No, I was only missing the 3 hours of my life it took me to read the book.

That said, I about died laughing over the fanflick someone made of a Buffy/Twilight crossover. I love the line they clipped from an episode, Buffy says "I kill vampires." I <3 her.

Welcome to Crazytown, where my friends have proclaimed me queen. Why did they do that you ask? For some reason, there's very little that I fear about knitting. Hmm, a dress in laceweight done in lace knitting written by vogue? Sounds great! I have very few inhibitions when it comes to knitting, and that sometimes ends disasteriously. Apparently, other people think this signifies a level of crazy that only the royalty can attain. Follow along with my escapades as I dive head first into all sorts of insane techniques and projects without much more than an "Oh! That looks pretty, I can make it!"

Those will probably be my famous last words.