Friday, March 10, 2017

My Weekend Buffy

If you were to distill “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” down to one scene, it would be the beginning of “The Gift.” The fifth season finale opens with a teenage boy running for his life into a dark alley. Behind him a vampire stalks, ready for the easy kill. And then a side door opens and this young blond woman pops her head out casually. The boy begs her to get help, or run. The demon thinks she’ll make a nice snack. She then proceeds to summarily kick his ass and save the boy. The cowering teen looks at her afterward bewildered and says, “How’d you do that? … You’re just a girl?” That’s right. Underestimate girls at your own peril, monsters.

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” turns 20 today, and it will go down in history as a show with a silly name that demanded we take women and girls seriously. The silly name, you see, was very much the point. The series was always about defying people’s expectations, specifically those placed on women and girls.

Over at Autostraddle several of the writers celebrated the show’s anniversary and discussed what the show meant to them, yours truly included. You can check it out right here.

What Buffy means to women, smashing the “just a girl” paradigm, is intricately bound to what Buffy means to me as a gay woman. Buffy was the first show to show me what it meant to fall in love as a gay woman. Not just what it meant to come out, not just what it meant to be gay. But what it meant to find someone you liked, fear they might not like (or love like) you, realize they do and then rejoice in your love. It was intoxicating to watch every week. It was, in so many ways, a lifeline. A validation that you weren’t the only one feeling those extra flamey feelings – or wanting to feel those extra flamey feelings. Yes, there was the whole tragic death at your true moment of happiness thing.

Buffy was also the first show to get me into TV fandoms. It was the first online community that I embraced and made me understand the power of loving a show together. Yes, I was a member of the Kitten Board. Hell, I even bought a T-shirt.

So for all those reasons, and for so many more, Buffy will always be the chosen show in my life. And it is a reminder that there is never such a things as “Just a girl.” We’re all extraordinary, in our own ways. And can – if given a chance – save the world. Maybe even a lot. Happy weekend, all.

4 comments:

Carmen SanDiego said...

Such a great show. For me "The Body" is the best episode of a TV Show of all time. Then there is also the "going through the motions " song, that is a perfect description of depression, the silent episode, and of course Willow and Tara.
Has it been 20 years? Man, I'm old.

Carmen SanDiego said...

More thoughts
- "Hush" is one of the best TV Show episodes of all time.
- decided that my next pet will be named Buffy. Will name all my pets after strong female characters from now on. Might get Xena to keep Buffy company. Current dog's middle name is Hermione.
- I got a student discount on the World War 2 museum in New Orleans because I was wearing my Sunnydale High School Tshirt. I was well in my thirties.
- Love Anya. Can't stand Xander. Or Spike.
- Visibility matters. Representation matters.
- They got the mustard out!!!
- She saved the world. A lot.

Scamp said...

Everybody's different. When the screen went black, I howled with disappointment and frustration.

Anonymous said...

I am definitely a big Buffy fan and it was such a great show about women. I used to have to watch BVS secretly when I was a tiny out teenager because my father refused to let me watch it after Willow came out...ya know...cause those gay characters were going to make me gay...er. The show meant so much to me then, a little gay surrounded by straight people, to see someone else who was gay made me so happy. I can't believe it's been 20 years!!!