"All [his] actions were selfishly motivated.Everything he did, he did out of a love for a woman who could never love him back. Plus, you can tell it's not going to have a happy ending when the main guy's all bumpy."
- Tara, Buffy the Vampire Slayer 5.14 Crush
I'm re-watching Buffy
at a slow-but-sureish rate, and this quote suddenly jumped out at me- I hadn't noticed it before. This textual reference is pretty much why I love the show. And the quote itself goes a way towards explaining why I never liked Spuffy.
On the way to work today you can guarantee I will swing by the comic shop and pick up 8.12. I may even go early enough to sit down with a cup of something and read
the thing before work, but that never works because there's always something
for me to do when I turn up, and I have to do it because I'm me. Nevertheless, I did read the 'spoiler' sdelmonte
alluded to in the NY Times, and which catalyst2 transcribed in full
yesterday. So, yes, here I am blogging about a comic issue I haven't read yet. HOWEVER I am well aware of this and am not passing judgement on the issue yet. I hear it's good; I expect it to be good.
So, Buffy sleeps with a woman. Nice.
The part of the NY Times
article that stood out to me was this:
Numerous fans appreciated Willow's revelation. "When it became clear how much this meant to people, we knew we could not take it back," Mr. Whedon said. "O.K., this was a life change."
Not so for Buffy. "I whouldn't even call it a phase," he said of her intimate moment with Satsu. "It's just something that happens."
This is OK! It happens! Female sexuality in my experience and opinion is a fluid, adaptable thing. Very very few people are at either end of the Kinsey Scale
, or dead set in the centre. Young women of our age* experiment - that word has implications I don't like - we explore
and push our limits, especially sexually, because we have to reconcile the conflicting messages society is sending us about what is and isn't OK about sexuality. [It's OK to be gay, but it's icky; It's OK to be a virgin, but you're missing out/socially backward; It's OK to like sex but degrading to be promiscuous; It's OK to explore but kinks are dirty; It's OK to not be that fussed about sex but it means you have a disorder; You will be treated like a sexual object but ostracised when you play to this treatment.] To have this acknowledged - to have a nominally straight woman sleep with another woman just as one of those things is awesome: it really is. YAY JOSS.
On the other hand: I'm also vaguely disappointed. Mostly by the polarisation of the whole thing with respect to Willow. Now, I wasn't a vocal fan back then, but I remember one thing: I didn't
appreciate Willow's 'revelation'. I would have if it had been a different revelation, but a character who was in love with a man, in her own words,
realised [she] was gay
(6.16: Hells Bells
). With Buffy, it looks like it's a straight woman who has a one-night thing. You're either gay (except for one two-year relationship with fiction's most popular werewolf) or you're straight and fool around. I'm disappointed because - there's no middle ground.
I shouldn't be disappointed. It'd be naff as all hells if Buffy, with her history what it is, suddenly went: OMG BI. But the problem is- Buffy
was where I went for people of my own age to identify with, even to the extent that re-watching it now with the hindsight of both canon and
my own experience, allows me to see new things I hadn't seen before (and not just Quasimodo-Spike analogies.) For ages after Willow started seeing Tara, I was insisting:
Willow's not gay, she's BISEXUAL, dammit
, not just because the evidence was right there (people Willow had been in love with by this point: 2, gender ratio 1:1), but because I was (am) bisexual, and I wanted - wanted hard
- to identify with that in Willow.
Bisexual characters are woefully short of the ground in fiction- a qualitative scan down the shows in this list
in Wikipedia show that they tend to appear in :
- LGBT-oriented stories, where it's just 'hey look, there are bis, too!',
- soap operas for the OMG DRAMUH
- Comedies, because bisexual=funny.
Official televised Doctor Who slashfic Torchwood.
OR they make the list because of a one-off for-the-shock/drama/lulz situation in which someone shocks other characters by sleeping with someone not of their 'preferred' gender. (Joss, I'm looking at you again). There are very very few - and I can't think of any, offhand, truly identifiable, normal "one-of-us look they're people too" characters who are truly bi. What I mean by that is there are no bisexual characters that I - as a young woman who defines herself in other ways too but is still bisexual - there's no character I can identify with in that way.
Oh, except Angela. I'm not poly, but she comes closest to a character with a sexuality I can see myself in. But webcomics have low readership, and I'd like to see a more high profile character.
So, yes. I'm perfectly fine with Buffy and Satsu. I think in theory it's perfectly IC and I'm looking forward to reading it (Drew Goddard was never my favourite Buffy writer, but he's not terrible). It's just that Buffy burned me once by denying the possibility of bisexuality. I don't want it to happen again.
OK, enough of that rambling. There are other Joss-penned things to discuss while I have this window open: namely, The Dollhouse, and why I'm not sure if I will watch it.
The drama, stars Dushku as Echo, a member of a group of men and women who are imprinted with different personalities for different assignments. In between tasks they are mind-wiped, living like children in Dollhouse, a futuristic dorm/lab. A group of people, known as "Actives" (or "Dolls"), have had their personalities wiped clean so they can be imprinted with any number of new personas and hired out for particular jobs, crimes, fantasies and occasional good deeds. When not imprinted, the Actives live, childlike and unremembering, in a hidden facility nicknamed "The Dollhouse". Although the Actives are ostensibly volunteers, the operation is highly illegal, and under constant threat from a determined federal agent on one end and an insane rogue Active on the other. The story hinges around a greater and more subtle threat: Echo, a female Active, begins, in her mind-wiped state, to become self-aware."
So, it's a show about mind control - which already makes me feel uncomfortable, and with the strong implication of rape (in that the 'dolls' are often hired out for 'fantasies'. The story hinges around a brothel/slave dealership. I've seen the character listings, and TBH I'm worried that I might not feel sympathy for a single one of them.
I'm not saying the whole thing is going to be gratuitous sex/violence/story of the week pornography. I trust Joss a little more than that
.It's just that I suspect, with mind control being such a predominant theme, that every single episode might invoke the kind of reaction I got with Jubal Early and Kaylee, with no let up in between. And I don't know if I want to sit through that every week.
- well, that's my fear, anyway.
* Buffy Summers the character has a birthday a month before my own. One of the reasons Buffy is so important to me is because we developed from girls to women concurrently.