William Pratt, Captain Peroxide, Blondie Bear, William the Bloody, The Slayer of Slayers, Spike: The character everyone hates to love, and loves to hate.
Spike is my favorite male character (Buffy Summers being my all time favorite, but I’ve already written like 50 posts on that, so). I used to call him trash, I used to love him apologetically and shamefully. But the more time I had with my thoughts, and the less time I spent around other peoples opinions, I realized how much I actually love him. And while I’ve been unapologetic about it for a while now, I would like to make it crystal clear exactly how great I think Spike is.
The “story of Spike” is a very feminist one, and being a raging feminist myself this is a topic of great importance. It’s also a topic that can lead to heated arguments, since so many disagree on what “feminist storytelling” actually is. When in reality it comes in a huge spectrum, with one kind not canceling out another. The “story of Spike” is simply one particular flavor of it, not more right or wrong than any other - just different. It’s also a very thought provoking (and anger inducing) one, which in my eyes is even better. So why is it feminist?
Spike’s a metaphor for a meninist turned feminist ally. It’s a long and messy road of making a decent, functional person, out of a misogynistic, sociopath.
The rape attempt is treated as the worst thing you could possibly do. So vile that it makes even a soulless, murderous, monster, question his ways.
He takes on the stereotypical role of “naive, love-sick, secret mistress”, which is almost exclusively reserved for female characters in entertainment.
The content is very self aware of his flaws, making it clear that his behavior is unacceptable.
Also, I’ve never seen such a drastic, yet organic, character development.
Spike would take baby steps in the right direction, then huge strides in the wrong one, getting beat down, built up, and torn back down all over again. And it all made it feel so very authentic. He didn’t better himself on a steady curve - he was flying all over the chart, making massive mistakes on his way, which took the viewers on a very intense emotional roller coaster of not knowing whether to hate or love him half the time. Other times hating him with such sheer intensity that you just knew it was beyond repair, then growing to love him again against all odds, crying rivers when he sacrificed himself in Chosen.
There are many more reasons why I find this character so wonderful, but to keep this post relatively short and to the point, I’d like to conclude with this:
The character “Spike” is art. Everyone wont appreciate him, everyone will interpret him and his story their own way. But the vast array of raw emotions he evoke in so many of us, the soul searching and questioning he forces us to do, is what makes him not only art - but a masterpiece, worthy of going down in history as more than just your “problematic fave”.