On shows created by Joss Whedon

Buffy the Vampire Dater

By Karthik Panchanathan, Siamak Tundra Naficy

The character of Buffy the Vampire Slayer has been heralded as an icon of modern feminism. Darker than ours yet still recognizable, Buffy’s world is balanced on a knife’s edge. Her constant vigilance is all that prevents hell’s legions from overrunning the earth. Buffy resonates with feminists because vampires stand in for the old patriarchy, while mortals like Xander, Willow, and Giles represent a new hope for gender equality. At the same time, vampires are akin to powerful and capricious feudal lords like in a gothic medieval tale, riding down from time to time to slake their thirsts and take what they wish from the peasantry. In this way, Buffy becomes something of a Joan of Arc, a teenage girl called upon by destiny to war against the darker powers of the world.

Perhaps because its world bridges the reality of today and the promise of a better tomorrow, Buffy the Vampire Slayer presents us with starkly contrasting images of men. At one end, we have mundane men like Xander, and like Giles, one of the aptly named “Watchers,” a passive and almost-neutered caste of males. At the other end of the spectrum, we have the monsters, creatures like Angel, primal and dangerous but (therefore?) sexy, and also like the Master, brutal, savage predators who are unsexy and (therefore?) unredeemable.

Given these choices, isn’t it strange that Buffy, our modern-day Joan of Arc, has chosen to romance the very monsters she was born to destroy-vampires like Angel and Spike? Using evolutionary psychology,  …

More from Karthik Panchanathan

More from Siamak Tundra Naficy

Stay Updated

on our daily essay, giveaways, and other special deals

Our Books

Subscribe via RSS