Let’s be honest. If TIME Magazine has their way, the supposed dirty word of ‘feminism’ will be the next piece of vocabulary that gets stricken from the dictionaries.
Who am I kidding? TIME has really lost its relevance if the best kind of material they can produce is clickbait polls that seek to erase the ‘worst’ word of 2014. If the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer was still around today, I think the heroine of the story would have a few choice words to say:
“I’m the thing that monsters have nightmares about. And right now, you and me are gonna show ‘em why.”
We can all use a little more feminism (some of us a lot more) in our lives. Most of all our students. They need to see what a physically and mentally strong, fiercely independent, yet extremely protective, young woman means in this day and age. Students are saturated with media that tells them very much the opposite – that women are delicate flowers, often in need of rescuing, and incapable of making their own decisions. Current popular television series are largely lacking characters that exemplify the personality of late 90s and early 2000s Buffy that made watching so informative and empowering about how everyone should see real women.
Given the rash of issues with sexism and harassment lately in very public circles, I think we could all use a reminder of what good female role models are so our young ones don’t turn into toxic Internet-dwelling trolls with distorted perceptions of the female gender.
Below are some of the most important qualities Buffy has exhibited throughout the seasons that define feminism exactly as the dictionary explains it: equal rights for men and women alike.
- Buffy was on equal footing with Angel, a several hundred year old vampire. She did her own fair share of rescuing Angel when it came to the Danger Zone and she was never afraid to speak her mind, especially when a situation didn’t sit well with her.
- Friends come first, always. If Buffy was ever forced to choose, I knew exactly where her loyalties lay, even for the stuck-up fashionista Cordelia Chase.
- Her leadership abilities were always about being a boss, not a bitch. I absolutely abhor the double standard of qualities that would be considered boss-worthy for a male, yet ‘bitch’-worthy for a female. Buffy dispels those nonsensical notions quite handily by being the Scooby Gang’s rock whenever they need her most.
- She never stereotyped, even when others were eager to do so. Angel and Spike being the best examples, people were often quick to label the two of them ‘demons,’ but Buffy took the time to understand the real people behind the monstrous visages of these individuals and frequently made efforts to defend them against the Rileys of the world who saw everything in black and white, good and evil.
- Buffy is equal parts kickass and compassion. It is important for viewers to see her as not only a demon slayer, but a teenage girl who has feelings and cares for the well being of everyone around her. People are complicated, multi-layered beings and Buffy is no exception.
Every one of our students could benefit from a few choice viewings of Buffy: “The Gift,” “Hush,” “Once More With Feeling,” and “The Body” in order to get a better sense of what real women are capable of and the qualities not only little girls, but also little boys, should be striving to achieve as they grow to young adulthood and beyond.