Bangel vs Spuffy

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Ship War
ShipWar: Bangel vs Spuffy
Date(s): ~2002 - 2005
Location: Fandom and pairing specific message boards and lists, Livejournal
Fandom: Buffyverse
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Bangel vs Spuffy is a ship war in the Buffyverse fandom, between fans of two Buffy Summers pairings: Angel/Buffy (better known as Bangel) and Buffy/Spike (better known as Spuffy). This war took place primarily on fandom specific message boards and on Livejournal.

About

In early seasons B/S was considered a crack ship by many, and the fans of this pairing were few in number. B/A on the other hand had been the dominant pairing for Buffy since season 1. As Buffy/Spike became more popular (around season 4?), many Spike and Spuffy fans were unwelcome on general message boards and lists. This pairing was controversial in the fandom and many fans did not understand the appeal. So Spuffy fans created their own dedicated sites, archives, message boards and lists for their pairing. B/A fans also created their own fannish infrastructure at this time, even though their pairing was more accepted in general fandom spaces.

In season five, Buffy/Spike emerged as a potentially serious canonical rival to Buffy/Angel. When their relationship was consummated in season six, the fandom went bonkers. There were intense Spuffy vs. Bangel shipping wars. B/S fans scoffed at B/A fans for being stuck in an adolescent fairytale; B/A fans accused B/S fans of valorizing an unhealthy and often brutal relationship.

Ship manifestos were written, allegiance-bearing icons were brandished, and much, much fic got written.

Some B/A message boards became visibly more anti-Spike, and Spuffy centric boards were very anti-Bangel. New message boards sprung up, as fans splintered from older boards that weren't vitriolic enough in their hatred of a particular character or ship.

Imagine the worst Tumblr Discourse you’ve ever seen, and then imagine that going on 24/7 at dozens of boards, mailing lists, and social media platforms, for YEARS. Fan groups would camp out on their private boards and snipe at each other. People would sign up with sock puppet accounts at rival boards and spy on The Enemy. Every board had its own spoiler source, some reliable, some not, and everyone was violently invested in proving that their favorite character or ship was endgame. [1]

The ship war intensified following the AR (Attempted Rape) scene in Seeing Red, with Spuffy fans been referred to as rape apologists. On both sides, dedicated sites parodying opposing ships were created. One Spike/Spuffy parody site, created by Ducks, focused almost exclusively on the AR scene from Seeing Red, and is believed to have resulted in a Cease & Desist letter from Fox.[2] BNFs who were outspoken in their views received hate mail and death threats.

You've got both sides calling immature names, both sides proclaiming law and thereof, both sides stating they're right, etc....

Here (Babble Board), B/S fans are called Spuggies, Sparklies, Rapist lovers, Spuffytards (which I personally hate this one cuz I hate any negative connotation associated with a mental handicap), etc.... Other boards B/Aers are called pedophiliacs, Quacks, Ducks with attitude problems, etc.....

Both sides ARE right. Plain and simple. *MY* opinion is right...to me. It's all about what you believe and feel. [3]

Spuffy and Bangel fans were also involved in clashes with other opposing ships. Bangel fans clashed with Cangel (Cordelia/Angel) fans during season 1 and 2 of Angel the Series. Both Bangels and Spuffies disagreed with Spangel (Spike/Angel) shippers.

This ship war also featured regular and early uses of the term Anti. Boards, fans and sites often self-proclaimed themselves to be anti-Spike, anti-Spuffy, or anti-Bangel.[4][5][6]However the term was also been used to deride opposing shippers.

I do get annoyed with the way certain parts of fandom choose to label me an 'Anti.' Ha! As if one negative word could ever sum up my complex feelings about the storylines and characters on this show! I'll take Duck as a label over Anti any day.[7]

Aftermath

In 2004, news of the cancellation of Angel the Series encouraged some members of previously warring boards to come together and create the SavingAngel campaign.

Years after the shows ended fans continued to discuss and disagree about these pairings. Ducks' 2006 Associated Content essay, Messages About Sex and Violence in the Buffy/Spike Relationship on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with its focus on how Spuffy ruined the narrative of female empowerment, reignited fandom debate.[8] It quickly garnered a response from another BNF, Moscow Watcher. Her essay "Buffy the Vampire Slayer": Future is Now was as expected pro-Spuffy, but also claimed Ducks was been hypocritical in her condemnation, as her Spuffy fanfic often featured violent sexual scenes.

References

  1. ^ rahirah responds to 'oh jeez really?? i had no idea how bad the drama was back then', 2019.
  2. ^ C&D letter and BtVS sites Tumblr post by rahirah, 2019.
  3. ^ Shipper/Board Wars.. Is one coming? comment by Dawny, July 2003.
  4. ^ Examples include: Ducks pseud/nickname The Anti Joss. Redemptionistas refering to other fans as anti-redemptionists here and the site Big Bad Forever been referred to as a site for Spike anti-redemptionists here
  5. ^ Customer review on Amazon for tie-in novel Blood and Fog, April 30, 2003. If you are a rabid Anti Spike don't be put off either.
  6. ^ Discussion on Stranger Things December 2004. Includes comment by Miela, "There were a lot of antis on the WB forum tho'", and response by Tojoson, "i saw many anti-cordy and semi anti-cordy posters, comment about how they realised how much she was missed, and how much the character contributed to the show. but that only lasted a couple of weeks, then they went back to their old bashing ways."
  7. ^ Commeny by verbalgirl77 on Babble Board thread "Leather Pants and Other Cures for Fandom Diseases." May 18, 2003, accessed June 22, 2019.
  8. ^ Discussion of Ducks and Moscow Watchers' essays on Whedonesque,August 07 2006.