Buffy Summers

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Character
Name: Buffy Summers
Occupation: Slayer
Title/Rank:
Location: Sunnydale, California
Status: alive, again
Relationships: Family: sister Dawn, mother Joyce; Scoobies: Giles, Willow, Xander; boyfriends: Angel, Riley, Spike
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Other:
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Buffy Summers is the eponymous heroine of the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She is played by Sarah Michelle Gellar.

Character Overview

"Into each generation, a slayer is born. One girl, in all the world, a chosen one. One born with the strength and skill to hunt the vampires, to stop the spread of evil..."

"...blah blah, I've heard it, okay?"

('Welcome to the Hellmouth')

Created as an anti-archetype, the small, seemingly defenseless blonde who turns out have superpowers, Buffy is forever juggling life as a superhero on whose petite shoulders rests the weight of the world with the normal business of being a teenage girl... friends, schoolwork, dating. Early seasons revolve around her doomed romance with vampire Angel, all Romeo & Juliet in high school. She gets to die for the first time at the hands of his granddad. Later seasons focus on the trials of growing up, particularly when monks land her with an imaginary younger sister, her mother suddenly gets sick and dies, she dies for the second time, her best friend drags her back from heaven, and her father figure leaves her. It's all enough to make a girl shag her vampire stalker.

Fannish Engagement

Despite her status as eponymous heroine, Buffy came in for a lot of criticism, particularly for her treatment of Spike in season 6. Barb Cummings writes in a review of this season:

I started out this season with the assumption that ... I knew what kind of girl Buffy was, that for all her flaws, and they are many, she was essentially a caring person. By the middle of the season I was reluctantly convinced that I was completely wrong, and that the only thing Buffy felt for Spike was lust, loathing, and some kind of possessiveness which demanded he remain her devoted worshiper but denied him even the most basic respect in return. I'm willing to take the word of the writers that this was not what they intended, but the sad fact is, this is how it came off to a large portion of the audience--even those who are not Spike fans in particular. And that is not good.
This season Mutant Enemy made me hate a character I'd previously liked a lot. Even after she acknowledged that she was using Spike, Buffy kept on doing it, and by her silence encouraged her friends to do likewise. Because it was easy for her. Because she was afraid of what they'd say. This season Buffy became the worst kind of moral coward.[1]

Juleskicks defends Buffy:

Ultimately, I tend to think that one of Buffy's greatest crimes, in a show whose main characters are often social rejects, geeks, unpopular, awkward, outcasts, and in a world where people like Cordelia and Lilah are punished for being successful and confident and -- shock! -- even popular? Is that Buffy has some self-esteem. It's that she knows that there are things she does well. She knows that there are things that make her valuable. She knows that she is important.
And, again, in what is a great shock to all of us? She's not happy with it. ...
Buffy, like Lilah and Cordelia, shows us that beautiful, popular, talented, successful people? Do have pain. Just like people who aren't successful, or popular, or socially adept.
And god knows we can't have that.[2]

Buffy's characterization in fanfiction, from season 5 onwards, sometimes veered towards character bashing. She was often portrayed as rude, self centered, uncaring for her friends and abusive towards the chipped or souled Spike. Her behavior was sometimes the result of ignorance, that her friends or a Mary Sue OC corrected, but other times Buffy was essentially the mean girl villain of the fic.[3]

Wait, wait, you mean like those "Buffy gets mad and beats the ^&$^%*# out of someone who disagrees with her" stories? Or how about "Buffy is an idiot and easily manipulated" stories? I don't believe I've ever actually heard of anyone flaming a fic because it didn't bash a character enough. On the other hand, I'm beginning to see that Fanfic is a much, MUCH different beast from when I first dropped out of the running, back in season 4. [4]
I can't say fanfic had much of a part in making me a Buffy fangirl. But I was used to reading Buffy's a Bitch or Buffy Learns a Lesson About Spike's Awesomeness or Self Insert Going By the Name of "Buffy" fics. Nah, it took lots of fannish discussions and essays for me to come around on her character.[5]

Buffy bashing in fanfics often served to get together a pairing, often Spander but sometimes Spangel. However fics featuring Buffy as one half of the main (usually het) pairing also featured their fair share of Buffy bashing. See St. Spike vs. Buffy the Bitch for more information.

Fans of Buffy often distinguished between sometimes writing Buffy as a bitchy character, which she can be in canon, and writing Buffy OOC in order to bash the character. In fanfiction there are many fics which portray Buffy as a multi faceted and flawed character. There are also many fics which portray her as St. Buffy, a perfect character who has never done anything wrong and is not responsible for any of her poor choices.

Ships

The major ships are Buffy/Angel (Bangel), which was popular early in the series, and Buffy/Spike (Spuffy), which later overtook the pairing with Angel. [See the Spike article for details of attendant fireworks.] Buffy is also paired with numerous other characters including Giles in het, and Faith and Willow in femslash.

Notable Fanworks

fanfiction

Fanvids

**Vids not uploaded by creator

FanArt

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Essays and Resources

Archives & Fannish Links

References

  1. "All About Spike: Barb's end-of-season review-cum-letter to ME". Retrieved 15 February 2012. 
  2. "Idol Reflections: BtVS/Angel: Buffy Summers: And you are?". Retrieved 15 February 2012. 
  3. LusciousXander livejournal post 22 September 2006, accessed 3 June 2019.
  4. Comment on I don't hate Buffy. Guess I'm nuts. by M McGregor on Livejournal, Jan 21 2005. Accessed June 12 2019.
  5. Making of a Fangirl post and comment by gabrielleabelle on livejournal, Jan 2 2010. Accessed June 12 2019.