Mar. 21st, 2010

dipenates: (Xander - OMWF)
[ profile] gabrielleabelle  is nothing if not a provoker of thoughts on the Buffyverse, and there's a fascinating discussion going on over at her place about whether Xander is or is not an interesting character. (The jury seems to be coming down on 'is not'.)  This, as with so much her commenters write, got me thinking, and the subsequent tl;dr is a bit much to be contained in comments. 

Firstly, and obviously, it's a good thing that we're all interested in different things. Buffy fandom is incredibly rich precisely because we all have different views on a multiplicity of things, and the huge variety of opinions translates into an amazing bounty of fic that explains, amplifies, critiques and comments on canon. There is something truly awesome about knowing that you can read new  fic every day in Buffy fandom that will make you think about something you've never thought about before.

One of the thing that interests me about Buffy canon is its representation of  sex and gender. A large number of commentators and writers, many rooted in the traditions and culture of fandom, have positioned BtVS as a (third-wave) feminist text. From its opening scene, the show undermines existing tropes about who is and is not a hero(ine), monster, warrior, or victim. This undermining is frequently done along gender lines.

Whether BtVS can be said as a whole to succeed as a feminist text, it has places of both strength and weakness in the narrative arc and perspectives of Xander, who transitions from sexist Everyboy to (somewhat) enlightened Everyman between seasons one and seven. Moments in "The Pack" and "Consequences", particularly, undermine the reimagining of gender roles that the rest of the text undertakes.

Read more... )

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