More Than Just Who's Got the Power: Buffy and Bridging Gender Fault Lines

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Academic Commentary
Title: More Than Just Who's Got the Power: Buffy and Bridging Gender Fault Lines
Commentator: Kendra Washington
Date(s): early 2000s?
Medium: online
Fandom: Buffy
External Links: Gender, Archived version
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Contents

More Than Just Who's Got the Power: Buffy and Bridging Gender Fault Lines is an academic paper by Kendra Washington.

It is one of the many essays posted at Octaves.

Excerpts

She's strong. She's powerful. She's able to bridge large fault lines of gender in a single bound! Yet scholarly essays about Buffy as a role model for women tend to fail at recognizing her power as a paragon of morality and woman warrior. Although critics claim it has feminine weakness, B:TVS is a great example of a television series bridging through gender fault lines because of its heroine's actions and beliefs in ethics. The remarkable quality about Buffy is not that she has empowered herself and others in a Nietzschean sort of way, but how she has wielded that power for ethically good ends. Beyond that, Buffy is able to escape the trap of pragmatism and follows specific ethical standards in order to reach those ends. Each season, creator Joss Whedon and his staff were able to bridge those fault lines to varying degrees of success. They were able to consistently write engaging stories about Buffy's strength over the stereotypes of gender during the show's first three seasons. After Season Four of Buffy, writers tended to portray Buffy in misogynistic or less than heroic situations- with a much less successful attempt of playing reverse psychology on the audience. Despite that lost message, there were hints that offered hope for Buffy continuing to uphold herself as a bridge of strength between the gender gap. That reflection of Buffy's strength has continued even beyond her own series and lives on in the spin-off show of her vampire soul mate, Angel.