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Bisexual Willow

Okay so I’ve seen some posts around tumblr talking about biphobia/bisexual erasure regarding Willow’s character in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 

Buffy is my favourite show. Always has been, always will be. But, as a bisexual myself, I totally get that people watching the show now might have a problem with how Willow’s sexuality was handled. I mean, I do too - as much as I love Willow and Tara’s relationship (really, I do - they’re my FAVE), it does hurt a little that as soon as she started dating Tara in season 4, the show began to refer to her as gay, seeming to disregard and invalidate Willow’s previous serious relationship with Oz, with whom she had undeniably been very deeply in love. When Willow discloses to Buffy what she feels for Tara, she indicates that she has fallen in love with her, not that she is a lesbian, and avoids categorizing herself. To me, anyway, this all implies that Willow is bisexual and that the show was actively avoiding calling her that. And this is a problem for me.

BUT.

Not only was Willow and Tara’s relationship one of if not the first long-term same-sex female (“lesbian”) relationship on mainstream U.S. television (a MASSIVE deal for queer representation, by the way), but their relationship was (for the most part) an overwhelmingly positive one: soft, caring, affectionate, and consistently supportive. Also, as characters, Willow and Tara were neither over-sexualised nor de-sexualised (although an on-screen kiss didn’t happen until season 5, I suppose in an attempt to avoid major criticism).  A very important and positive model of a same-sex female relationship. I know that watching the show now, over ten years after it finished airing, we see problems with the queer representation in the show, but in 2000 when Willow’s relationship with Tara first began it was a pretty extraordinary thing to be shown on mainstream television and I am forever grateful for that!

I think we have to watch the show with an awareness of its context. Queer representation in mainstream television (although it is still very far from being perfect) has come a fair way since then, but that was one of the first big steps and even now there is extremely little bisexual representation in television. If the show were being made NOW, of course, I’d expect that they would have handled Willow’s sexuality a little differently (stating outright that she was bisexual, for example) but this was nearly 15 years ago.

So, try and be fair.

Dawn Summers Hate: A Rant

Someone on FB made the mistake of giving me permission to write a manifesto about why hating Dawn Summers is a crappy thing to do. So I did:

I think Dawn is written specifically to be “annoying” in certain ways, especially in season five when she appears and they want to lock down the little sister aspect of her character and push at Buffy’s limitations as she realizes something isn’t right. I have no issue with someone finding her annoying when she’s being annoying, because that’s a normal response and it’s woven into her character. A little off topic, but Dawn being a brat actually serves the storyline of Buffy thinking she’s an evil force in a couple ways. One, it (maybe uncomfortably) makes the viewer less wary of Buffy wanting to a times kill someone who, despite her surprise!arrival, seems to be a part of her family. Two, it underlines how much Dawn matters to Buffy when she does save her. And three, and maybe this is just me, I like how it nails home the messy concept of sisterhood in retrospect when we realize that Dawn IS Buffy’s little sister — sisterly relationships can be infuriating and obnoxious and sometimes people want to throttle their siblings, and that’s kind of scary to process. But it doesn’t mean we don’t want them in our lives, and don’t care for them deeply (in Buffy’s case, enough to swan dive off of a big ol’ platform).

So I don’t disagree with anyone that she can be obnoxious, or that she was written to be that way. But EVERY character is obnoxious, sometimes to the point of hurting others. Where I take issue is when her being “annoying,” e.g. being a 14-year-old girl, makes people use words like “hate” and dismiss her character entirely as unnecessary or a worthless. I think what bothers me most is that people defend their hatred by calling her whiny and dramatic, when she’s honestly just a teenage girl responding to a really traumatic series of events — first she learns she doesn’t really exist (LITERALLY a manifestation of the teenage fear that you’re not important/easy to ignore), then her mother dies, then her sister dies, then her sister comes back and is broken, then her sister goes completely crazy and tries to kill her, then her surrogate mother dies, then the apocalypse comes. Plus, you know, she’s a high school girl and that’s hard, yo. So sometimes she cries, and sometimes she shouts, and sometimes she gets upset. But, despite all of this, Dawn as a whole handles herself REALLY WELL. She’s plucky, smart, loving, and overall very kind. And frankly, no fan who I’ve seen rip into Dawn has convinced me that they would handle the shitstorm that girl endures anywhere as well as Dawn did. Ultimately, Dawn still shows up to every challenge, tries hard, and is a helper/fighter, all while still being a normal teenager. Dawn is amazing.

To me the rather sweeping dismissal of Dawn both in and out of the fanbase is just reflective of society’s urge to dismiss the emotions and cares of teenage girls. It’s a serious issue in society overall. Teenage girl “things” like boybands and TV shows are frivolous, teenage girl’s interests are dumb, teenage girls are so dramatic without reason, etc. Distilling Dawn down to nothing but ‘annoying’ ignores how she is ready to die to save the world, her complex and fascinating relationship with Buffy, her selflessness when she isn’t in the spotlight (e.g., when she gives Amanda the sword in ‘Potential’), and how hard she fights, to the point that she refuses to be ushered to safety when the apocalypse is coming. Because Dawn has some irritating moments, it’s somehow okay for her to be stomped on because “she’s just an annoying teenage girl”. She’s a growing human being and a TOTAL BADASS but, like, she screams a little so we can just ignore her positive qualities, right?

This outlook is literally the OPPOSITE of what the show is trying to teach about young women, and how people should be responding to teenage girls, and it really, really bothers me. People might think it’s in good fun to hate on Dawn, but IMO, it matters greatly how Dawn is perceived and treated, because it’s indicative of a much larger attitude toward real-life girls and women.

So. Uhm. Everyone should love Dawn Summers. End stop.

5

GUYS! I just found all my old Buffy fan art starting in around 2003 (when I was about 16) to around 2006. There’s over 150, but I thought I’d post a sample of some of the worst and then best/newest. I find the progression really interesting and I’m laughing so hard at these first arts!!!! 

As you can see from the last one, that’s when I discovered making manips and have never looked back ;)

Tumblr posts that have me puzzled...

I have saw a few tumblr posts or “confession” posts saying that Xander Harris wasn’t a nice guy. Really what show were you watching?

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All TV shows are subjective of course. Xander in my eyes has always been a nice guy .Not without flaws but still a nice guy.

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I believe he used humor to deflect his true feelings and mask insecurities. He mostly wanted acceptance and love that he didn’t receive at home from his parents.

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He also stayed in relationships that weren’t good for him just so he wouldn’t be alone. Also gave all he had in those relationships only to be mistreated.

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He would do anything for his friends, 

Yeah totally a “bad guy”.

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LOL,Are you seeing this terribly mean guy?

I’m beyond tired. I’m beyond scared. I’m standing on the mouth of hell, and it is gonna swallow me whole. And it’ll choke on me. We’re not ready? They’re not ready. They think we’re gonna wait for the end to come, like we always do. I’m done waiting. They want an apocalypse? Oh, we’ll give ‘em one. Anyone else who wants to run, do it now. ‘Cause we just became an army. We just declared war. From now on, we won’t just face our worst fears, we will seek them out. We will find them, and cut out their hearts one by one, until The First shows itself for what it really is. And I’ll kill it myself. There is only one thing on this earth more powerful than evil, and that’s us. Any questions?
—  Buffy S7E10

I couldn’t go to sleep because i have upsetting finn/clarke - spike/buffy parallels running around in my head AND IT’S SO UPSETTING

like so not the relationship, just the death scene, but was i the only one???

Finn and Spike are usually in no way comparable but in this one moment i could see it. These are both men who are entirely motivated by love, they feel most passionately and act most irrationally. Their moral codes/ethics are centered entirely around the people they love most.

Spike was a creature the epitome of ‘evil’ before Buffy, and his desire for her to see him as a good person pushed him to actually become one (this literally becomes manifest in his quest for a soul). Finn instead is broken by his passion for Clarke. When he thinks he has lost her, his anger and frustration knows no bounds, and disillusioned, he believes initially that his actions were just in cause of her. Anything to get her back.

Then comes the redemption. This is important for both characters because it is the first truly selfless action Spike has ever carried out. The final proof that Buffy changed him for good, he has to die saving the world, he can’t ever ‘get the girl’. This is the proof that his goodness is no longer a means to an end, passion is no longer his motivation. For Finn, one of the most compassionate characters early in the series, it is not easy to live in the shadow of the acts he’s committed. But by taking responsibility and turning himself in, he takes the first step which will not lead him closer to Clarke, but cut him off from her forever. Earning her heart perhaps but lost in all ways he will live to see.

And don’t tell me Clarke’s “I love you too” and Buffy’s “I love you” right before the moment of Finn/Spike’s death didn’t trigger something. Both men have shown no restraint in loving as passionately as they do. Both Clarke and Buffy have been unable to reciprocate the sentiment up til now. At the moment of death both our heroines are able to openly return the feeling, now with nothing to lose. Maybe slightly out of pity, some comfort to a dying man, but very much so with feeling. It is clear at this point that Buffy Summers loved Spike, and Clarke loved Finn Collins.

Spike replies with “no you don’t, but thanks for saying it” and Finn with “thank you, princess”. /thankyou/ whether they believe it or not. As men, who loved with their entire core, men with every action, every motivation determined by passion and desire, this exactly what they needed to hear.

For men who loved so fervently, and in the end died selflessly for it, it was worth it.