Saturday, February 11, 2017

Women in Horror: Women of the Buffyverse Part 1

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of the most amazing shows ever on television, so I though I'd feature my favorite female characters to celebrate Women in Horror Month.

1) Buffy Summers

Of course Buffy is going to be first! Her whole existence is due to turning a horror trope on its head. A random girl is almost always killed in slasher films during the first few minutes of the film. She's always pretty but we never get to know much about her because she signals danger and introduces the killer. Joss Whedon turned this around and created an amazing character who would be equipped and able to fight back against evil. Her journey through the series is astonishing. She starts as a teen mourning her loss of a real high school experience and transitions into someone fully accepting of her calling to save their world a lot. Even though her romantic endeavors never turned out well, those relationships never defined her or broke her. I always thought season 6 was one of the weaker seasons, but we get to see Buffy dealing with much more real world problems like depression, grief, debt, and generally struggling in her normal life which we never really saw before. Buffy makes plenty of mistakes and be sanctimonious, but she never gives up. She always fights with everything she has no matter how hopeless it seems with pithy quips and fashionable clothes to boot.

2) Willow Rosenberg

Willow has a drastic character arc throughout the series. She starts off as a stereotypical nerd, but when you peel back some of her layers, she has unexpected strength. Her skills always help the Scooby gang at first with her computer and research skills and later with her growing powers as a witch. Her vulnerable moments are some of the most heartbreaking because of Alyson Hannigan's remarkable acting. Every time her face crumples, I can't help but cry. Willow goes through heartbreak and breakdowns but also periods of profound happiness and love. Her relationship with Tara blossoms organically and it was amazing to see that in a time when it wasn't as accepted as today. Her dark moments were the worst of anyone in the show except for some of the Big Bads. She had the strength to come back from that, kick her magic addiction, and become a functioning member of the gang again. In the depths of her addiction and leading up to it, she was insufferable especially to Giles, but still managed to stay likeable and relatable. Her relationship with Xander and Buffy is so strong that even murder and attempting to end the world can't break it. Willow constantly saves the day with her knowledge and inner power in conjunction with others.

3) Anyanka AKA Anya Christine Emmanuelle Jenkins

At first, Anya seemed like a replacement for Cordelia as the brutally honest person who doesn't quite belong. However, her journey learning what it is to be human and a part of society is an interesting aspect that the show had not seen before. After centuries of being a soulless demon who delights in violence and vengeance against men, it's hard to readjust to caring about people and finding her place in this alien society. She falls in with the Scooby gang mostly because they are the only link to her world, but then she makes lasting relationships and becomes a valued member of the gang. Her experience with demons gives her knowledge even better than Giles because she had hundreds of years of first hand experience. It's easy to forget why she doesn't understand social niceties and all the unspoken rules that we have learned over the years. Her reaction to Joyce's death is one of the most raw and emotional performances ever. She doesn't understand what death means in this new existence and doesn't know how to deal with it. I appreciate her frank attitude and her honest enjoyment of things like sex and money. It annoyed everyone else, but it wroked to break the stigma against women being enterprising in business and women being sexual. She is one of the rare people to go from enemy to friend and brings something unique to the group.

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