To be fair, the majority of the cast were female (only two male main characters by the end of it), and plenty of male characters died just to move the plotline along and motivate the female protagonist (Jesse, the TV room full of boys in Prophecy Girl, etc.) But yeah, deaths like Tara’s are still a BIG issue for me.
Disclaimer: I’m about to be extremely disagreeable, but I just can’t let this slide, sorry!
To be fair, the majority of the cast were female by a very small margin. (I read an article a while back, which I can’t find at the moment, that very succinctly explained how Buffy gives the impression of having a mostly female cast, but that’s barely the case in most of the seasons.) That’s still not a lot, even if the male/female ratio was higher than most shows at the time.
Let’s break down the MAIN characters per season, shall we? (credited as such)
3 female characters (Buffy, Willow, Cordelia)
2 male characters (Xander, Giles) (Angel as a recurring character, so it’s practically a 1:1 ratio…)
3 female characters (idem season 1)
3 male characters (idem season 1)
3 female characters (idem season 2) (Faith was only a recurring character)
4 male characters (ideam season 2 + Oz)
2 female characters (Buffy, Willow)
5 male characters (Giles, Riley, Spike, Xander, Oz)
So you see, it’s only during the last two seasons that the majority of the cast were truly female…
To be fair, the number of male deaths - like the ones you mentioned - pale in comparison to the number of female deaths (minor or even nameless characters like the ones you mentioned) that were used to further the plot or to serve the arc of a male character (Darla, Sandy, Theresa, Katrina, the girl from Beauty and the Beasts, these are just a bunch of examples that come to mind off the top of my head…)
To be fair, even if we take into account that the number of main/regular female characters was slightly higher than that of male main/regular characters, the ratio of main character deaths is still overwhelmingly higher for women. Only two main male characters were killed off, and they were brought back (three if you count Jesse, which I don’t.) Four female main/regular characters were killed off (Buffy, Jenny, Tara, Anya) and only one was brought back, for obvious reasons (she’s the title character, duh!)
I love this show to death, but I can’t help but call a spade a spade…