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The Feminist Filter: The Pack

The mass of schoolwork is behind me (for the most part). I feel like celebrating by putting my Feminist Hat on and looking at The Pack. :)

Mission Statement:

This series is intended to outline the feminist text of each episode so as to provoke and encourage open discussion. It's not so much about making value judgments about events and/or characters but about analyzing the series from a feminist framework so as to see what patterns and themes emerge.

Rules:

1. If you do not consider yourself a feminist or do not see the point of dissecting a TV show from a feminist perspective, this is not the meta series for you. I don't mean this in a hostile way, however the intended audience of this series is feminists who want to turn a critical eye to the show.

2. This meta series is written well beyond a 101 level of feminism. If you are new to feminism, I ask that you please take a look at this blog for an introduction to concepts that will be discussed heavily here. To accommodate those who are still learning the feminist ropes, the first comment of each post will be open for basic questions. Anybody is free to take a shot at answering them.

3. If you begin to feel yourself getting defensive on behalf of a character (or the show), take a break from commenting. The outlines as posted are not meant to condemn either the characters or the show, but to contextualize the dialogue and events within the patriarchal cultural in which they reside.

4. BtVS is a constructed media. The characters are not actual people but are written, dressed, and directed by a team of outsiders. Criticizing a character for, say, having sex could be a sexist insult or it could be a legitimate criticism of the writers who chose to go that route with the storyline. There are nuances here when discussing a television show, and I ask that everybody be careful about exactly what's being discussed. A couple helpful terms are Watsonian and Doylist. "Watsonian" indicates that the discussion is taking place within the Buffy universe as if the characters are real people. "Doylist" indicates that the discussion is focused on the construction of the narrative and, as such, deals with the decisions of the writers and/or producers.

5. The key goal here is open discussion. I'm not presenting you guys with any brilliant insights; I'm just laying out what's in the episode. Feel free to discuss or disagree with me and others. Also feel free to answer other commenter's questions. The comment section is an open floor.



1.06 The Pack

I. The Tallies

Criteria for Bechdel Check: The episode must have a) two women in it b) who talk to each other c) about something besides a man.


  1. Bechdel Check: PASS on 4 counts.

  2. Deaths:
    Dead boys: 2
    Dead girls: 0


II. Agency

Criteria for Agency: Do the female characters a) exert power or influence over the plot b) through decisions based on their own characterization? Agency means more than providing information or support that helps the (usually male) characters resolve the conflict.

The Plot: Xander is possessed by a hyena spirit, along with a group of other kids. They begin terrorizing the school.

The Big Question:
If Buffy were taken out of this episode, would events occur in much the same fashion? No.
If Willow were taken out of this episode, would events occur in much the same fashion? Yes.
If Rhonda were taken out of this episode, would events occur in much the same fashion? Yes.
If Heidi were taken out of this episode, would events occur in much the same fashion? Yes.


  • Decisive Buffy: In the teaser, Buffy is the one who decides to check on Xander. This leads to her meeting with the zookeeper, which eventually gives them important information to figure out what's going on with Xander. Speaking of that, Buffy's the one who first begins to push for an investigation of Xander's behavior. When Herbert is eaten, Buffy goes to check it out, leading to her confrontation with (and subsequent capture of) Xander. She consistently calls the shots.


III. The Feminist Fine-Toothed Comb

Criteria: Do any of the characters engage in sexist dialogue or action, whether overt or subtle? Does it receive an explicit rebuke or does it pass uncommented on? Further, what can be deduced from the various gendered comments that are made by the characters?


  • Protagonists (Buffy, Xander, Willow, and Giles)

    1. It's interesting to track the way Buffy responds to the word "girl" in the series. In Act One, Xander approaches Willow and Buffy at the Bronze and greets them: "Girls!"

    Buffy gives a sarcastically confused, "Boy!" in response.

    2. In Act Two, Buffy goes to Giles with her concerns about Xander. Giles' response encapsulates the continuing construction of masculinity as dangerous and mean: "Xander's taken to teasing the less fortunate? [...] And there's been a noticeable change in both clothing and demeanor? [...] And, well, otherwise all his spare time is spent lounging about with imbeciles. [...] It's devastating. He's turned into a sixteen-year-old boy. [...] Testosterone is a great equalizer. It turns all men into morons."

    It's common cultural thinking that testosterone has such a noticeable effect on guys such that it renders them with a cavemen mentality. Actual studies show that it's not quite as simple as that, and yet the harmful depiction of men as mean morons continues, justified by pseudo-biological factors. It allows for "boys will be boys" excuses for bad behavior while at the same time othering men who are not so coarse in personality.

    Buffy doesn't buy Giles' explanation: "I cannot believe that you, of all people, are trying to Scully me. There is something supernatural at work here."

    Giles is adamant, though: "Buffy, boys can be cruel. They tease, they, they, they prey on the weak. I-i-it's natural teen behavior pattern."

    Specifically, it's not just a "teen" behavior pattern but a "boy" behavior pattern, apparently. Such that an otherwise not overtly cruel guy such as Xander can inexplicably become a dull-headed bully. Such is the power of the testosterone.

    Giles, of course, ultimately ends up being wrong. By the end of the scene, Willow comes to share the news that Herbert - the pig - has been eaten. This behavior is not within the realm of "natural teen behavior pattern" for Giles and he begins to research on hyena possession, as prompted by Buffy.

    3. The end of Act Two has a prolonged bout of hyena!Xander's sexual assault on Buffy. He pins her to the floor. When she tells him to get off her, he asks: "Is that what you really want? We both know what you really want. You want danger, don't cha? You like your men dangerous."

    Putting aside the "chicks dig jerks" vibe, he's questioning whether Buffy really doesn't want him assaulting her. It's the "she really wanted it" school of rape culture wherein a girls' "no" can't be trusted. Instead, her no is a challenge for him to prove his dangerous personality because women are turned on by that.

    Xander furthers this thought: "Dangerous and mean, right? Like Angel. Your Mystery Guy. Well, guess who just got mean."

    In addition to the rape culture stuff, he's also citing common Nice Guy thoughts. Girls only like guys who treat them poorly. As such, a nice guy's only recourse is to become mean and treat girls like shit. This includes assaulting them and calling them on their bluff when they say they don't want it.

    This all melds together into the concept of masculinity that Xander seems to hold. Of course, Xander is possessed by a hyena, but his core personality underlies the possession. As such, his Nice Guy tendencies are turned up to eleven, as is his glorification of (and subsequent feeling of inferiority with regards to) the male ideal.

    As the scene continues, so does Xander: "Do you know how long I've waited until you'd stop pretending that we aren't attracted?"

    This is something that Spike will do later on in Crush: state with absolutely certainty that he knows that Buffy is attracted to him. It gets to the heart of male entitlement that they have the fervent belief that they can get any girl they want if they just make the right moves. It manifests in such a strong desire that she reciprocate his affections that he makes himself believe she does despite no indication that he's correct.

  • The Rest (Kyle, Rhonda, Lance, Tor, Heidi, and Mr. and Mrs. Anderson):

    1. The couple in the car that are attacked - Mr. and Mrs. Anderson according to the trancript - are having a stereotypical married couples' fight: "I didn't say she looks better than you, I said she looks better."

    What we're shown in the media of married couples is often rooted in gender stereotypes. In this case, we're getting the husband with the wandering eye and the woman upset because her highly valued appearance is called into question.


V. Points to Consider


  1. Buffy and Willow talk about guys in the beginning. In the conversation, Willow comments on Angel as a "dangerous and mysterious older man". How does this conceptualization of older "bad boys" being attractive to young girls fit into the feminist text? Does this romanticize these types of relationships? Is this a good thing? We'll revisit this question in the next episode.

  2. After being insulted by Xander, Willow tearfully talks to Buffy. Willow suggests that it's because of Buffy that Xander's being mean to her, however, she seems to carry no hostility toward Buffy for this. This neatly sidesteps the common TV/movie trope of girls being pitted against each other. Does the show continue to do this? When does it fall into this trope?

  3. This is the first episode in which Buffy is sexually assaulted. Xander had spied on her while undressing in Never Kill a Boy on the First Date, which is on the sexual violence spectrum, however Buffy had never fallen prey to an overt attack. How well does the show handle it? What do we make of Xander's collusion with Giles at the end where Xander pretends he doesn't remember what happened? Is the Slayer inherently immune to sexual assault due to her strength (as in this episode, she knocks Xander out with a desk)?



Comments

( 103 comments — Leave a comment )
rebcake
Apr. 30th, 2011 07:56 pm (UTC)
I expect you'll get some heated discussion about how much of Hyena!Xander was hyena and how much was Xander, but my take is like yours, that the possession magnified certain unpleasant traits that were already there. The collusion with Giles could have roots in gender solidarity, but Giles is pretty forgiving of youthful mistakes by all his charges, and we see the reason why next season. Too forgiving, probably, and he reaps the whirlwind with Willow in particular for this.


gabrielleabelle
Apr. 30th, 2011 08:25 pm (UTC)
Oh, I definitely expect some disagreement about hyena!Xander's nature. Xander, himself, appears to be a polarizing character in a feminist context. I look forward to what arguments people make either which way (I'm pretty middle-of-the-road in my judgment of Xander, personally). I think Xander's earlier Peeping Tom act toward Buffy lends credence to the view that the hyena possession just magnified some already-existing tendencies.

The collusion with Giles could have roots in gender solidarity, but Giles is pretty forgiving of youthful mistakes by all his charges, and we see the reason why next season. Too forgiving, probably, and he reaps the whirlwind with Willow in particular for this.

Good point. Though I think Giles' willingness to forgive in this instance is problematic given the nature of Xander's actions as they intersect with rape culture and all.
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gillo
Apr. 30th, 2011 08:22 pm (UTC)
I find this an inherently problematic episode because Giles and Xander collude at the end, not just in pretending that Xander has no memory of what he has done but also that he has done nothing he seriously needs to apologise for; his assault on Buffy was unsuccessful and therefore "doesn't count". It is never referred to again, unlike the killing of Flutie, so the show as a whole implicitly accepts that "nothing happened".

It is interesting to compare this with the AR in SR. What fundamental difference is there? Arguably Xander's possession renders him incapable of moral judgement, just as Spike's lack of soul does. Yet the subtext of the show invites us to see them very differently. Is this simply a function of greater sophistication in the later season or a get-out-of-sin-free card for Xander?
angearia
Apr. 30th, 2011 08:48 pm (UTC)
It's also interesting to consider how Xander views Spike because of the AR. There's a Jungian concept about how we like people who possess qualities we admire in ourselves, we dislike people who possess qualities we are ashamed of in ourselves.

Could Xander's hostility toward's Spike be partly a reaction to seeing himself in Spike? At different times, they both play the role of the Nice Guy who is entitled to Buffy's love and will sexually assault her to make her prove it. And both by Season 7 will have reached a more enlightened stage where they check their male privilege.

Xander's is the quiet journey (acknowledging his faults and letting go of past attitudes and insecurities) while Spike's is the more dramatic (fight back for his soul!).

Edited at 2011-04-30 08:50 pm (UTC)
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rebcake
Apr. 30th, 2011 08:44 pm (UTC)
Accidentally posted before I my other earth-shattering points were made. Tsk.

stop pretending that we aren't attracted

I'm actually on the fence about whether this statement is evidence of "male entitlement". I think it's pretty much a human thing to think that the people you're attracted to are attracted back. Isn't it called projection? It's actually a great element in human drama when that's not true, regardless of gender. We see it here with Willow being overlooked by Xander. In our society, girls are programmed to let boys make the first move, so it makes numerical sense that boys would get "reality checked" more often. It does look like entitlement to force the issue and refuse to be refused, however. Thinking it and even saying it: not so much. (I had forgotten how exactly Spike's script echoed Xander's in the ARs. To be fair, Spike had a bit more evidence that his attraction was returned.)

You already know that I think the Slayers were created as anti-rapists, at least in the Doylist sense. Little girl + dark alley = traditional rape metaphor. I would put them at "8" on the sexual violence immunity scale, as their gifts are specifically designed to fight violent attack. However, every Slayer succumbs, usually violently, and usually sooner than later, so they are obviously not completely impervious.

I think that Buffy has an additional advantage against "date rape" that other Slayers may not have, in that she was not brought up with the patriarchal teachings of the Watcher's Council. Traditional Slayers, like Kendra, have been taught to submit to authority, which makes them susceptible to "attack from within", imo. (Seriously, if Xander had gone after an unchaperoned Kendra, demon-free, I can see her easily being bulldozed. *iz sad*) Buffy is the prototypical sassy American girl, who doesn't, um, lie down for anybody. For her to be in serious danger from sexual attack, she must either be de-powered (as in Helpless) or seriously injured (as in Seeing Red). It's part of her experience, certainly, but I give Buffy a 9.5 on the immunity scale. It's part of the point of her — what makes her The Slayer, not just a Slayer.
samsom
Apr. 30th, 2011 09:29 pm (UTC)
I'm actually on the fence about whether this statement is evidence of "male entitlement". I think it's pretty much a human thing to think that the people you're attracted to are attracted back.

I agree with this. When I was single and became seriously attracted to a guy, I had a strong tendency to believe they were attracted back, based on the strength of my feelings for them. In other words, they just had to feel something too, because I wanted them that much.

Because of this, I used to think I was very male in my attitudes.
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pingback_bot
Apr. 30th, 2011 11:14 pm (UTC)
Saturday, 30 April 2011
User froxyn referenced to your post from Saturday, 30 April 2011 saying: [...] [News/Discussion/Polls] x. wants an open discussion about The Pack from a feminist perspective [...]
eowyn_315
Apr. 30th, 2011 11:34 pm (UTC)
Such that an otherwise not overtly cruel guy such as Xander can inexplicably become a dull-headed bully.

...overnight? How obtuse IS Giles, seriously? Does the sight of zoo animals suddenly trigger excess amounts of testosterone or something? Most people don't change personalities overnight, lol.

As such, his Nice Guy tendencies are turned up to eleven, as is his glorification of (and subsequent feeling of inferiority with regards to) the male ideal.

In fact, the hyena possession is a chance for Xander to rid himself of his feelings of inferiority - he has more confidence and seems to be the alpha male of the pack, and he has enough power to take what he wants instead of always being rejected (except, of course, that Buffy's not a regular girl and is still stronger than him).

But at the same time,the show is undermining that ideal by portraying it as unpleasantly animalistic. Xander's not cool; he's an asshole. He's a predator... who eats the school mascot. And instead of getting the girl, he gets conked on the head with a chair.

Does the show continue to do this? When does it fall into this trope?

Off the top of my head, the only times I can recall women pitted against each other over a guy are Willow/Cordy over Xander (though that's one-sided, since Cordy doesn't know they're competing until it's over), Willow/Veruca over Oz, and then Willow/Anya over Xander (though that's not romantic from Willow's perspective). And Faith/Buffy, though there's definitely more going on there than just Buffy's boyfriends.

What do we make of Xander's collusion with Giles at the end where Xander pretends he doesn't remember what happened?

I'm not sure Giles actually knows what happened. He's not in the room when Buffy tells Willow about the sexual assault, so it's entirely possible that Giles doesn't realize exactly what he's colluding on. He may think he's just saving Xander some embarrassment about eating a pig and being a jerk.
ceciliaj
Apr. 30th, 2011 11:58 pm (UTC)
In fact, the hyena possession is a chance for Xander to rid himself of his feelings of inferiority - he has more confidence and seems to be the alpha male of the pack, and he has enough power to take what he wants instead of always being rejected (except, of course, that Buffy's not a regular girl and is still stronger than him).

It'd be interesting to compare this to Where the Wild Things Are, where iirc, both Buffy and Riley seem to suggest that it really wasn't that bad being coerced by supernatural forces into having lots and lots of sex. It goes back to the idea that, especially for men, more sex is always a good thing, which is then used to justify bad behavior. Which is not so cool, and it reinforces the whole "testosterone just makes ya crazy" line of thinking.
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vamp_mogs
May. 1st, 2011 01:39 am (UTC)
I’m conflicted about the end of this episode. I can see why people find it problematic that Xander pretends he doesn’t remember but on the other hand, Xander was a victim too. It seems kinda wrong to expect the victim to apologise for their actions when they were clearly ‘under the influence’ through no fault of their own, and they’d have never acted that way if they weren’t. In some way aren’t they both victims in that scene? It’s disturbing to even think about it but if Xander had managed to sexually assault Buffy he would have done so under circumstances where the Hyena stripped him of his own agency and that would mean he was violated too.

norwie2010
May. 1st, 2011 01:49 am (UTC)
he would have done so under circumstances where the Hyena stripped him of his own agency

I think this is highly ambiguous: The episode certainly leaves room to wriggle. He's not a totally different character all of a sudden, with different memories. We also get textual confirmation that it would be "normal" for him to act this way. On top of it, the theme gets repeated and repeated again, with different characters and it's never black and white (Angel <-> Angelus; Spike <-> soul!Spike; Willow <-> Dark Willow; etc.).

As i see it, Hyena!Xander still has agency. But! Under normal circumstances he doesn't act on it. Yay for him. But in this episode, his inhibitions get reduced and he does act this way.
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alexeia_drae
May. 1st, 2011 01:44 am (UTC)
I hope I don't make a mess of explaining this. Didn't get a lot of sleep this week. Here goes anyway.

One of the conflicts I have when shows includes sexual assault against a female character is whether or not it's necessary or helpful or there to titillate viewers (Next week on Buffy, watch as our heroine is nearly sexually assaulted!)

On the one hand, the number of women I've known who have been sexually assaulted in some way is greater than the number I've known who haven't. This is a sad fact of our culture. When it happens and a woman complains, she sometimes gets the 'boys will be boys' routine and is dismissed. So in some regards you can say it would not be realistic to have a show that does not include female characters being targeted for sexual assault.

On the other hand, at its most innocuous, shows are playing into gender stereotypes and reinforcing them. At its worst, show are glamorizing sexual assault and using it to titillate. This isn't to say that people assault other people because they see it on tv. However I think it has an effect on normalizing it and making people less willing to do anything about it because we accept it as a given in our culture that it happens.

When done properly a show would draw attention to the fact that it happens, it isn't right, and needs to change. Yet what does this look like in a show? People would naturally have differing opinions. Off the bat, I'd say how DS9 handled stuff with Kira and Dukat would be an example of a show that handled it well.

Buffy is more problematic for me and I can't explain why. I've never liked this episode and was shocked when I found it was considered to be one of the better season 1 episodes. I think part of it is the AR in this episode, yet I can't say what it is about it that makes me so uncomfortable or if it was handled well or not. The scene also resembled the time that I was sexually harassed at work so I think some transference gets in the way of me addressing it objectively.

So what differentiates a depiction of sexual assault from one that it there to titillate to one that shows how things are to one that shows how things are while denouncing it?



gabrielleabelle
May. 1st, 2011 01:59 am (UTC)
Oh, good point. Do you remember the previews for that one Voyager episode where Seven was all like, "He violated me." and everybody (me and Ford) thought it meant that she was sexually assaulted but then it turned out to be someone stealing her nanowhatits so in retrospect the preview really seemed to be trying to draw an audience in by hinting at a sexual assault as titillation thing which is icky.

Long sentence. Okay.

Anyway, you have an excellent point. We do need to consider what purpose the assault plays in the episode. In this episode, it leads to an act break (along with the eating of Mr. Flutie), so we go to commercial with the, "Will Xander rape Buffy?" question. That's always icksome. In the plot, it serves to get Xander away from the Flutie-eating, which would presumably be too icky for a main character to do (yet sexual assault isn't?). It also highlights Xander's feelings towards Buffy in a dark sense.

I don't know that it "glamorizes" sexual assault, but it mainly serves a utilitarian purpose in the episode without much recognition of, you know, the realities of sexual assault in it.
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pocochina
May. 1st, 2011 02:49 am (UTC)
Yeah, I have a hard time with this episode from a feminist perspective. I'm obviously not going to defend Xander's general Nice Guy tendencies.

And yet....something he didn't choose came in, destroyed his judgment, and it led to him being part of something he doesn't want. And when I think of it that way, obviously it's a lot more difficult to say "he should take responsibility for what happened, because I think it's what he really wanted." I think there's a valid read of the metaphysics which suggests Xander's basically been roofied.

Which, though it's easier on Xander in the short term, problematizes things considerably in a lot of ways. Arguably blurring the line between victimizer and victim at a time when there isn't a whole lot of complexity in the series seems irresponsible. For the question of the episode to be "how much of it is Xander" prioritizes his mental state over Buffy's emotional response; to ignore that question also reinforces a rape culture narrative which ignores capacity to consent. If it is pretty much Xander, then the sexual assault is brushed under the rug; if it's not, that doesn't just exonerate Xander, it means he's been victimized, too, in a much more insidious way. I don't mean to be treading the line of overall character defensiveness, just that I find the consent issues frustratingly complex.

"Xander's taken to teasing the less fortunate? [...] And there's been a noticeable change in both clothing and demeanor? [...] And, well, otherwise all his spare time is spent lounging about with imbeciles. [...] It's devastating. He's turned into a sixteen-year-old boy. [...] Testosterone is a great equalizer. It turns all men into morons."

The essentialism would be disappointing anyway, but it's especially a shame because I think Giles is using "testosterone" as a misleading shorthand for "social conditioning," which does facilitate terrible behavior in the way he's describing.

In addition to the rape culture stuff, he's also citing common Nice Guy thoughts. Girls only like guys who treat them poorly. As such, a nice guy's only recourse is to become mean and treat girls like shit. This includes assaulting them and calling them on their bluff when they say they don't want it.

I do think the episode does a chillingly good job of contextualizing that line of thought with violent behavior, even if it's walked back by what I see as the concerns over Xander's mental state.
gabrielleabelle
May. 1st, 2011 03:19 am (UTC)
I agree with everything you said. Thanks for articulating your thoughts on that. Very well-said.

The essentialism would be disappointing anyway, but it's especially a shame because I think Giles is using "testosterone" as a misleading shorthand for "social conditioning," which does facilitate terrible behavior in the way he's describing.

Do you think so? I'm not so sure on that. "Testosterone" is absolutely a reference to biology. I can't grok how it could act as shorthand for socialization in any sense.
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gabrielleabelle
May. 1st, 2011 03:21 am (UTC)
Good points. I think the problem becomes more notable in the aggregate when we get repeated instances of assault against Buffy that go uncommented on and unaddressed (until SR, of course).
lusciousxander
May. 1st, 2011 11:45 am (UTC)
I think they shouldn't have written an episode like this in S1 if they weren't going to deal with it properly. Then again, judging by Xander getting away with what happened in OMWF, I'm not sure if they'd written it differently in the layers years either.

It also doesn't sit well for me to blame Xander for what he had done while being possessed, I can blame him for lying about it later. But the actions themselves weren't his doing, he was forced to do them against his will, he wouldn't have done them in a normal state of mind. As Elisi once said, "the big difference between Hyena!Xander and ordinary being-a-jackass-Xander lies in the fact that Xander can do/say awful things, but they're usually in reaction to something else or he's lashing out because he's hurting. Xander doesn't do caluculated cruelty."

Maybe if they had Xander seeking the possession, like the zookeeper. If Xander chose to be possessed that would have been a different story.

About apologizing, it seemed that Xander was testing the waters in the end, checking if his friends were upset about what he'd done "I didn't do anything else, did I, around you guys or anything embarrassing?" That obviously doesn't excuse the lying, but it does show that he's ashamed and scared about confronting his friends about what had happened.

I do think that it's sad that rape in the show doesn't get a serious attention. It shouldn't pass by lightly, IMO even Spike's AR wasn't handled well.

gabrielleabelle
May. 1st, 2011 04:15 pm (UTC)
I don't know that I'd agree that Xander was "forced" to do those acts. I think he was definitely influenced by the hyena (and there's a whole bunch of interesting discussion about how that effects things up there in comments). However, as mentioned, he has spied on Buffy dressing while in full possession of his faculties, which is on the sexual violence spectrum. It seems to me that, more than forcing him to do anything, the hyena spirit lowered his inhibitions. It's something he wouldn't ever do while not possessed, though.
mikeda
May. 1st, 2011 12:34 pm (UTC)
One quick note.

It occurs to me that (with the obvious exception of Bargaining I) the agency question "If Buffy were taken out of this episode, would events occur in much the same fashion?" is always going to be answered "No". Buffy's decisions always have an important influence on the plot, except when she's dead for most of an episode.

(Am I missing another exception?)
gabrielleabelle
May. 1st, 2011 04:16 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure I follow your point, to be honest.
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(Anonymous)
May. 2nd, 2011 12:51 pm (UTC)

May be it could be a bit enlightening to compare Xander and Wesley in 'Billy', an Angel ep. dealing with the concept of so called 'primordial misogyny'. Different show but same writers and same plot with a few differences so it seems relevant to me.

Wes attacked Fred the same way Xander did Buffy. Fred stopped him before he could harm her(Fred's not a slayer BTW)

Wes blamed himself and had a hard time getting over it contrary to Xander. Wesley and Xander are both (more or less) from abusive families. Does it connect with their abusive behaviour with women? Are they -and men like them- so frustrated, angry at the unfairness of the world that once they're freed from all restraint they're more dangerous for women than 'normal' guys?

The Pack. People in pack have the feeling that they're almost invincible, protected by the others and they think they can do almost anything they didn't dare to do before. Would have Xander assaulted Buffy if he'd been the only one possessed by the Hyena?

Sorry for my bad English, not my native language.
gabrielleabelle
May. 2nd, 2011 05:52 pm (UTC)
Your English is excellent! :)

Fantastic point of comparison. I think BtVS, in general, works a lot with the "men are innately beasts" metaphor, which is...irksome. We'll get it several times in the next few seasons, especially with Oz. I don't know if it's Xander-specific, though he definitely succumbs to the continued metaphor.
pippind
May. 2nd, 2011 04:07 pm (UTC)
I just want to take a minute to backtrack a bit. I normally sit on the sidelines for these, because feminism isn't necessarily my strong point. (Now throw out some daddy issues,or how parenting effects the decisions of the characters, and i will debate until damn doomsday :P) That being said, I feel like from skimming through most of this people have went around in circles talking about Xander's lack of dealing with what he did. The one thing I don't hear is anyone questioning why Buffy doesn't do the same. AR is serious, from both sides. Even if she won the battle, emotionally she is still going to have something to show for it.

I mean, obviously on a show like this we are not going to see Buffy sitting down in a Psychologist's office, but I guess i just wonder if this is the beginning of a dangerous habit of avoidance for Buffy as well. How does this effect how she deals with AR, and sex as a whole for that matter, for the rest of the series? Just because she is strong enough to avoid any physical dammage in this circumstance does not mean that she is void of the emotional impact that AR has on anybody.
gabrielleabelle
May. 2nd, 2011 05:54 pm (UTC)
Indeed. I'm not sure how much of that is Buffy and how much is the show still being relatively new and not prepared to adequately explore such a topic. I think that's more a Doylist observation than Watsonian, personally, especially given the sheer number of sexual assaults Buffy comes up against during the series. The only one that appears to have any prolonged consequences is in Seeing Red.
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