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Stoney
17-03-13, 07:23 PM
Power is a reoccurring theme throughout the shows (comic continuations too) but is it ever shown to simply be a good thing?

Buffy’s very nature as the Chosen One makes her powerful but it is shown to confuse, disrupt or plain disregard her personal life/choices, negating her ability to have what she sees as being ‘normal’. So is it really being shown as a good thing? For ‘the greater good’ sure, but for Buffy personally I don’t think it is. There are definitely things she likes/gains but on balance it is shown to have a very negative side which she feels personally.

Obviously both Spike and Angel had an evilpowered past. So whilst both vampires now are superpowered white hats, the drive towards redemption and fighting for the good is inextricably linked to the evil roots of their power and issues of the demons within remain. Giles has struggled with power in his past and it has come back to bite him on several occasions. Willow gained great power and it negatively expanded on a personality problem in control for her so is something that complicated as well as benefited her life. Cordelia gains the power of the visions to help fight the good fight in AtS. It has a positive effect on her, definitely plays a part in her character maturing, and although she wasn’t happy at first she gets to seeing it as a gift quite quickly, despite it being forced on her, but she will never be able to stop them being physically painful (I assume having only seen to beginning S2), so yet again with the negative. Tara is about the only person I can think of off the top of my head with power that didn’t have too much negativity around it. Although having said that, she felt disassociated/isolated socially and was manipulated and ostracised by her family too.

So when I look at Buffy’s angst about being ‘normal’ and my feeling that she needs to just learn to accept and be happy with her own normality I wonder if she ever will or, if she does, what new negative consequence will be brought up that is born from having the power of being the Chosen One.

Is it fair to always show power with an exaggerated or highlighted negative aspect? Ignoring the obvious notions of responsibility with power, blah de blah, why is positive power (non-evil) rarely shown as purely positive for the person wielding it? Is that just realistic or is it so that it isn't 'boring'? Should power ever be shown to just be good to have? Generally what do you think of the use/portrayal of power within the verse?

Dipstick
18-03-13, 03:36 AM
I've decided that since S5, there's been a general trend where Power in the Scoobies = Good in the odd numbered seasons and Power in the Scoobies = bad in the even-numbered seasons.

Of course, there are exceptions in every season. However, I really think that this is the see-saw.

In S5, Buffy makes a speech glorifying power in Checkpoint as a way to get shit done and her big playing card over the Watcher's Council. Buffy coronations her Scoobies as powerful players. Willow's ever-expanding power is presented as utterly crucial and necessary. Spike gets a true entry into the gang because his physical might makes him a good defender of Dawn. The Scoobies take a stand that Tara's family sucks and Tara shouldn't be with them because they demonize Tara for her power and don't let Tara use her power as Tara sees fit without shame. Giles and Anya's stock in the group rises because they control the magical ingredients.

Of course, Riley's power becomes bad and lethal and his fixation on regaining his super-soldier is presented as bad. Then again, the fact that Riley doesn't have superpowers on his own and has to become a kittenish damsley guy is also pretty humiliating and part of the text's way of showing that Riley is not well suited to be Buffy's boyfriend. Tara hardly ever misses an opportunity to insult Willow for her power. Dawns' power is the source of the season-long fight- but that's washed out by the fact that because Buffy has Dawn's Key power, Buffy can save the world.

In S6, power flips to bad. On Willow, power is pretty much all bad or IMO, not bad but textually coded that way. Anya becomes a vengeance demon again and that's terrible. Spike is less useful in fighting evil than S5. His vampirism is pretty much just a liability instead of an asset in their fight. Even Buffy's slayer powers don't seem as awesome without S6's lame villains. And the text insinuates that Buffy's slayerness contributes to her dysfunctional relationship with the people in her life.

Tara uses her power and she's presented very admirably. However, I don't think it's an accident that Tara uses her power less and to less dramatic ends in S6 than in S4 and S5. In S6, Tara only makes sparkly lights in, botches the spell to get out of Buffy's house, and unties the ropes binding Willow/Xander/Dawn in Normal Again. Meanwhile in S4 when she was used less, Tara moves the vending machine, floats the rose, switches Buffy's and Faith's bodies, reads Faith's aura, and has a seance with the dead children in Lowell's House.

The only one who really used DRAMATIC POWERZ and came off well was Giles at the end of S6.

However in S7, power's stock is up. Empowering all of the slayers is the way to cap the season and solve everything. Buffy emphasizes the importance of power continually and pressures Willow and Spike to use their power. The Coven in Devon are off-screen but presented as the Most Amazing Women Evah. Giles's new honorific is Dumbledore. Xander and Dawn resignedly agree that they do what they can without power but having superpowers is something great. Buffy claims leadership because she's a slayer. Even when Buffy is fired as Commander, the Potentials pick Faith as their new commander because Faith is a slayer- no matter Faith's record.

Again, there are reservations. Buffy refuses the Shadowman's power. Willow's power is necessary but frequently presented in a suspicious, "you dirty girl" way. Everyone agrees that Anya shouldn't be a vengeance demon anymore.

Comics Spoilers

S8 was more of a complex mixed-bag than S5-7 but the message did continually seem to be "Beware of Power". Power did get truly shiny moments. It was inspiring to see strong girls finding their power to change the world. Willow's spells were necessary and impressive. Dawn uses the power that she gets from the transformations to be impressive and not a victim of her ex-boyfriend.

Still though, the season makes it that Buffy, her army and Willow are all people to be feared. Willow must use her power- but the text keeps up "you necessary but bad, dirty whore" tones. Angel becoming Twangel with its enhanced power and the otherworldly superpowered CHAMPION way that Buffy and Angel shag and cause an apocalypse is a reason to hate power if it's part and parcel for why the two titular flagship heroes of the Buffyverse became so lethal and awful.

Now, we're in S9. I think that the season will be pro-power in fine Odd Season for the same reasons that I wrote last week.


Either way, I don't think Severin is going to get away with stealing Spike's and Illyria's powers permanently. I think restoring Spike and Illyria to what they once were will part and parcel of defeating this season's Big Bad.

Also I think that if there's any theme to this season, it's shaping up to be that it's the duty of heroes to take on whatever grander mission and powers make them special. Normal life or even, hedonistic lazy life is unacceptable.

The theme is assuredly that people should be protective and covetous of their powers and supernatural mission because it's needed for the world and because it allows beings to rise above pedestrian money-grubbing and TV-watching couch potato junk (or in other dimensions, magic-drugs and chasing literal snake tail) to something grander and greater.

Ending magic ended up making life a cruel joke for everyone. Xander dropped out of the fight to protect Dawn and that was a big waste as Dawn is dying. The Embodiment of Magic told Willow that she's inherently magical and should always be that way. According the writers, Buffy's shiny moment was turning down Kennedy's paycheck because that makes Buffy a Slayer with a capital S with all of the counter-cultural, anti-materialistic intonations there. Ahneed and Billy are the Secret MVPs of the season because they own and relish in the slayer legacy. Ahneed owns (ahem, in secret....) her superpowers and slayer legacy with honor while Billy is superpower-aspirational.

The theme is inherent in the fact that Severin tries stealing everyone's powers, making Buffy and Spike and Illyria to start, very righteously protective of the powers that are their birthright and siring-right because the Big Bad is trying to steal their power.

It's a klutzy theme. It took the last issues to materialize while the strongest seasons (IMO, 2, 3 and 4) made their themes clear right out the gate. However, the series still condemns Willow for being too grasping or whatever to get her powers (Willow) or makes vague criticisms of forgetting "little people" (Buffy) in an unfair manner that undermines their core themes.

However, the theme is clear enough for me to say that Severin CAN'T get away with taking Illyria's and Spike's power. And if he does for some reason, it's not a happy ending....at least for S9.

Stoney
19-03-13, 08:43 PM
I always struggled with seeing the spell to empower all the slayers as a good thing. Buffy spends seven seasons looking wistfully at 'normal' and then subjects every potential around the world to the same. It was an incredible violation and one of the most negative examples of power being wielded I felt. But I'm no fan of the end of S7, despite liking the season overall. It is one thing that I will always like the comics for because I found Chosen hugely dissatisfying as a series end, although this season has me twitchy at the moment, I see some good in S8 these days.

I would agree that they do swing on Willow each season as to whether it is a good or bad thing overall for her witchy powers but it is never shown as just a good thing for her to have them and hasn't ever been as from the get go she was showed misusing it, or at least using it naively. As I said I think Tara is the closest they ever come to showing powers as just being a good thing. Although perhaps there is comparative for some of the slayers.

Comic spoilerWe have seen in A&F that there are a lot of slayers who want out but there are some, like Kennedy, that I think purely embrace their power and happily work with it.
So perhaps the sheer number of slayers that now exists means that some can be seen to just merrily work with their power because we see the opposite with so many others that some can just be favourably powered up.

norwie
19-03-13, 09:06 PM
I always struggled with seeing the spell to empower all the slayers as a good thing. Buffy spends seven seasons looking wistfully at 'normal' and then subjects every potential around the world to the same. It was an incredible violation and one of the most negative examples of power being wielded I felt.

So... how do think about white men from the North empowering black men from the South? Was that "incredibly violating", too?

Artea
19-03-13, 09:28 PM
So... how do think about white men from the North empowering black men from the South? Was that "incredibly violating", too?What exactly did the Potentials need liberating from? They lived their lives just fine until Buffy saddled them with such 'amazing' gifts like demons hunting them down, prophetic visions urging them to risk their lives and the burden/guilt associated with having the power to save lives - and that is the best-case scenario in which they decide NOT to be an active Slayer. The 'empowerment' theme of S7 fails completely on both a literal and metaphorical level.

I will post again later with general thoughts on power in the Buffyverse.

Stoney
19-03-13, 09:32 PM
So... how do think about white men from the North empowering black men from the South? Was that "incredibly violating", too?

Sorry I don't understand the question, or at least can you be more explicit because I don't want to misunderstand the question? [if you are talking about liberation they just aren't comparable scenarios]

In case it helps, the thing that I found violating about the potentials all being called was that it wasn't necessary (at least on such an all encompassing scale), it forced nature, a change in their physical selves in a way that wouldn't have happened for all those potentials and they didn't have a choice and it wasn't something they could undo or choose to not have happened if it made them miserable.

norwie
19-03-13, 09:34 PM
What exactly did the black men need liberating from? They lived their lives just fine until Lincoln saddled them with such 'amazing' gifts like free labor market, food needs, housing needs, increasing racist violence, shortened life span...

"Freedom is the insight into the necessity."

Stoney
19-03-13, 09:40 PM
I really don't understand what comparative you are trying to draw here. The potentials weren't being oppressed. Without any personal action or choice their physical bodies and their ongoing lives were fundamentally and irrevocably altered and without any need/necessity for it to happen (if you can argue there was any real benefit even to those at the Hellmouth at least there was purpose there).

Dipstick
19-03-13, 09:46 PM
What exactly did the Potentials need liberating from? They lived their lives just fine until Buffy saddled them with such 'amazing' gifts like demons hunting them down, prophetic visions urging them to risk their lives and the burden/guilt associated with having the power to save lives - and that is the best-case scenario in which they decide NOT to be an active Slayer. The 'empowerment' theme of S7 fails completely on both a literal and metaphorical level.

What's your solution? The Buffyverse world is incredibly dangerous. There are typically one to two apocalypses a year. Demons can have free run of any place a single slayer can't be. An army of demon can take a town in a few hours. Until S9, the world's armies and police forces haven't lifted a finger to help (other than the US's secret operatives which are flawed). The US government, at least, knows about demons but suppresses the information from the public.

Is the solution that no one should have to fight so no one will fight and everyone will just wait for the demons to kill them? Is the solution to not make anyone a slayer and to just fight with a weaker, more vulnerable, more easily injured, less informed by visions and prophecy army and hope that spunk is enough to carry the day?

I will concede that it would be ideal if there was some spell that would empower only those Potentials that wanted to be slayers (and perhaps some sort of screening process to weed out the Simones and Gwens.). However, that doesn't seem to be magically possible.

Artea
19-03-13, 10:00 PM
What's your solution?For starters, they should have acknowledged that it's a decision for the greater good and that it will basically ruin these girl's lives. Show the 'empowerment' the same way it was depicted in 'Get It Done' rather than the silly, cloyingly manipulative montage we ended up getting.


I will concede that it would be ideal if there was some spell that would empower only those Potentials that wanted to be slayers (and perhaps some sort of screening process to weed out the Simones and Gwens.). However, that doesn't seem to be magically possible.Why not? Being able to choose which Potential Slayers are activated is no more nonsensical than the Scythe somehow being able to activate them all. The whole thing is a giant deus ex machina; logic was never an issue. But it never occured to the writers because they didn't want to do anything to dampen their happy ending and faux-political statement.

norwie
19-03-13, 10:43 PM
I really don't understand what comparative you are trying to draw here. The potentials weren't being oppressed.

Are you really trying to sell this? Really? Are we talking about "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", a show which is explicitly set in a horror movie world where young women are raped and slaughtered for the audience's amusement? A show which set out to subvert these "tropes" (more like sadistic fantasies).

A show where vampires rape young nuns, kill quaint little shop girls, where priests and bringers try to proactively kill every single girl and woman who ever might have an ounce of power?




Without any personal action or choice their physical bodies and their ongoing lives were fundamentally and irrevocably altered and without any need/necessity for it to happen (if you can argue there was any real benefit even to those at the Hellmouth at least there was purpose there).

And so were the slaves' lives. Reality is a horror story all of it's own - but slaves were not killed just for fun, you know. A slave was a rather expensive property, fed and housed. Yet, they were liberated without any of them giving their personal green light, without personal choice. They were thrown into the harsh and brutal world as non-fed, non-housed 'human resources' for the ever growing industry (of the North).

Life expectancy plummeted after the civil war, racist violence, murder and lynchings started after the civil war.

Liberty isn't about individual choice - that's the "liberty" of a 4 year old: "I only do what i want to do!" Individual liberty is only possible and only thinkable in context of societal liberty and the burdens it brings.

In the Buffyverse, slayers are a necessity. That's the burden society/world brings. Whoever is able to be a slayer is only free if she actually is a slayer.

That's liberty.

Artea
19-03-13, 11:08 PM
Are you really trying to sell this? Really? Are we talking about "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", a show which is explicitly set in a horror movie world where young women are raped and slaughtered for the audience's amusement? A show which set out to subvert these "tropes" (more like sadistic fantasies).

A show where vampires rape young nuns, kill quaint little shop girls, where priests and bringers try to proactively kill every single girl and woman who ever might have an ounce of power?You mean the same Bringers who managed to kill only a handful of Potentials while leaving the 2000 or so girls that Buffy ended up activating alone? :) Spike and the amulet saved the day, so there was no need whatsoever to mobilize the girls to defeat the First and its minions.
And are you really trying to build an argument based on the Buffyverse's extremely poor worldbuilding? It's a canonical fact that Buffy is one of the few Slayers who has lived past 20, and that almost every non-Slayer girl who is ignorant of the supernatural has a much longer lifespan than that of a Slayer.

norwie
19-03-13, 11:32 PM
Y
And are you really trying to build an argument based on the Buffyverse's extremely poor worldbuilding?

That's only the extremely poor worldbuilding of the horror/slasher movie - put your blame where it is due.

Ignorantia non est argumentum.

Dipstick
20-03-13, 12:02 AM
For starters, they should have acknowledged that it's a decision for the greater good and that it will basically ruin these girl's lives.

Being infused with slayer power doesn't "ruin" anyone's life. It makes some aspects harder (being exposed to horrors that already exist in the world through dreams) and some aspects easier (being stronger and quicker to heal).

Buffy was the One Slayer in the World who had to live on a hellmouth to fight evil. Buffy's life was certainly harder. However, it wasn't ruined and some of the worst aspects of her life (Angelus, her mother dying) had little to do with her slayerness.

Slayers still have whatever freedom they had before. They can study and vote (in a democratic society) and eat. They're usually attractive girls. They have the physical might to be amazing in sports or protection and they can take care of themselves. They can choose not to fight in Buffy's army and not to tell anyone that they are slayers. However, they do have targets on their backs and they get prophetic dreams that are usually true and can give them good warnings.


Show the 'empowerment' the same way it was depicted in 'Get It Done' rather than the silly, cloyingly manipulative montage we ended up getting.

I hated the sappy montage in Chosen too. S7 was incredibly lazy and poorly written. The slayer empowerment spell was necessary to stop an apocalypses- but it was clumsily shown as the Bringers ended up being as strong as a sandcastle. The empowerment spell DOES have empowering aspects but it also has difficult aspects. And after seven years of melodrama about how Buffy has it the absolute worst, it was beyond disingenuous to paint the spell as perfect at the last minute.

However, I really think that S8 saved the series-end by showing the downsides and upsides of the spell. It WAS shown as complicated in S8. Say what you will about S8, but I don't think ANYONE, with a straight face, can say that it was just a disingenuous sappy montage of how perfect and beautiful it is to have slayer army.


Why not? Being able to choose which Potential Slayers are activated is no more nonsensical than the Scythe somehow being able to activate them all. The whole thing is a giant deus ex machina; logic was never an issue. But it never occured to the writers because they didn't want to do anything to dampen their happy ending and faux-political statement.

It's much easier for me to believe that Willow can activate the Scythe to just empower all Potential Slayers. It would strain my credulity much more that Willow has this spell that can search into the minds of every slayer to determine if they'd be interested in it and then, this spell can rank between really wanting to be a slayer, being ambivalent but OK with it, sort of not wanting it and definitely not wanting to be a slayer and then make a perfect ethical estimate of who should get the power.

Then this miracle spell can filter out the best candidate to be a slayer based on mental health and personality. Not sure how this spell would deal with any grey area slayer- i.e. a Faith who was troubled but seemed good when she was called but had the potential for great evil but then had the potential to grow into Slayer Awesomeness.

It's very far-fetched. It's also the Mary Sue/Marty Stu spell. If you want moral complexity, don't you want a Buffyverse that deals with the fact that Danas and Simones and Gwens become slayers just like Buffys and Satsus and Kendras and Nikkis do?

vampmogs
20-03-13, 01:05 AM
Buffy spends seven seasons looking wistfully at 'normal' and then subjects every potential around the world to the same.

Not really. All Buffy does is give them power but she does not burden them with the weight of the world and they're not ordered around by a patriarchal Council. Buffy quite liked her super powers (see Helpless) it was her duties as The Chosen One that mostly came into conflict with her desired normalcy.

None of the Potentials-turned-Slayers are forced to fight evil. There are plenty of Slayers who declined Buffy's invitation to join the Slayer Army ("Eighteen hundred now, that we’ve counted. Almost five hundred working with us, in ten separate squads") and as we've seen in S9, most who had have now abandoned the organisation and no longer take up the fight. They refuse to even be called Slayers anymore. That's not a luxury Buffy ever had so this new generation of Slayers have radically different circumstances.

So I can't agree that Buffy subjects her life onto every other Potential around the world. Unlike Buffy, these girls had a choice as to whether or not they would fight evil and even the ones who did had it far better than she ever did. Not only did they not have to carry that burden alone but they had a leader who genuinely cared about them as opposed to an organisation who saw them as dispensable. To the Council Slayers were an "instrument" to fight a war. To the Slayer Army they were "family' (8.23). These girls had a “connection” that Buffy herself was still not allowed to feel (“Maybe you don’t get to. Maybe the leader, the girl who brings it all together, is the one that has to give that up”) and they had emotional support from not only their Slayer sisters but by funded counselling services and outreach programs (8.05).

I’m not saying the Slayer Army was perfect. It certainly wasn’t. And in S8 Slayers all around the world ended up being hunted down by Twilight’s forces whether they chose that life or not. But despite Twilight’s best efforts Buffy cannot be blamed for that. She is not responsible for the heinous crimes of others and we must not stop progress because there will be a blowback.


It was an incredible violation and one of the most negative examples of power being wielded I felt.

I don't feel it was and I can't agree with people who liken it to the Shadowmen in Get it Done. The difference between the First Slayer is that she was a normal girl who had this power forced on her. It was a foreign entity thrust into her body against her will. On the other hand, Potentials are girls who are born different with, well, the potential to be Slayers ("you are born with abilities other girls do not have"). And contrary to popular misconception, Buffy did not saddle these girls with Slayer nightmares as it's quite clearly stated in Damage that they begin having them as Potential Slayers. What Buffy did is awaken something that was already inside of them. It's a fundamental part of who they are and that's why I find the metaphor of being a Potential to be so apt.

No, not every Potential got a say as to whether she wanted this power awakened from within her, but not every woman got a say as to whether or not they wanted the right to vote. At the end of the day it's always a few that has to make a decision for the many and that's shown in Chosen too with Buffy giving a choice to the girls she could actually reach out to. And whilst the spell doesn't come without it's downsides (power being handed to those women who use it badly) it's certainly not enough for me to justify not doing it at all. I don't even have a problem with Chosen only focusing on the good sides of the spell. To all of the characters within the story it was a good thing, to help defeating The First it was a good thing, and of course it was a major moment for the protagonist and a good thing for her too. Now, if neither AtS S5 or BtVS S8 had explored some of the negative reprecussions of the spell that would be a different matter but they did, so it doesn't bother me that they didn't touch on that in Chosen as given the context of that episode it made sense to portray it as a positive and celebratory moment.

Local Maximum
20-03-13, 01:56 AM
I do think that the series could have handled these issues better. But for the most part, I've always read that the two biggest reasons Buffy's life seems to suck more than anyone else around her are

1) that she is alone with her powers and has had a mission forced upon her, and
2) that we are largely in Buffy's POV.

Take Buffy out of the equation, everyone dies -- as we saw in "The Wish" and saw inklings of in "Bargaining." It sucks to be Buffy -- the loneliness, the knowledge that she has to sacrifice to keep the demons at bay. But it sucks a lot more to be not Buffy in a world with no Buffy around. Moreover, IMHO of course, Buffy largely does not really understand what it's like to be truly powerless the way those around her are. She understands the limits of her power, and she understands a lack of social power, but after she defeats the Master, it's only extremely rarely that her adversaries really instill fear into her, being afraid to go out and walk the streets alone. The ways in which Buffy is powerless are largely difficulties in owning her own power and recognizing which parts of the destiny forced upon her are unfair and which she needs to unshackle herself from. But these are not really about the power to protect herself (and others) itself so much as the narrative that it comes attached to, and it's clear(ish) to me that in Chosen Buffy is not expecting to hand down the Watchers Council directives without modification.

Her friends mostly are prevented from feeling the full effect of that, too, because of Buffy and because early on they sign onto the mission to help keep from being powerless, though they also opt out in ways that Buffy doesn't have the option of. Buffy has the double-edged sword of having strength and power and appointed destiny; her friends largely have the double-edged sword of weakness and intransigence.

I do think that the areas where I do struggle with loving Buffy fully are all centred around the power imbalance between her and those around her. I don't like the idea that is often put forward that her non-destiny-chosen human teen companions such as Willow, Xander, Dawn et al. are wholly in the wrong when there is friction between them and Buffy; that while Buffy's motivations are always pure, every time Willow (say) attempts to join a battle and try not to be powerless it's because of megalomanic desire for power and every time Willow opts out of a battle and lets Buffy handle it it's because she's selfish and wants to make Buffy protect her. It's really, really hard being the only person who is strong enough to fight the bad guys, but it's really hard having no control over your own fate either and being a designated damsel (either male in the case of Xander or say early!Jonathan, or female in the case of Willow and later Dawn and Cordelia to an extent too). That people read slayerness as a curse is maybe a failing of the show -- because I think it should be clear that slayerness sucks a whole lot, but sucks just a bit less than the alternative of being powerless.

I'd mostly say that Buffy and her friends all have trouble understanding each other, because the gulp between people who have power and know they are important, and people who are relatively powerless and believe themselves unimportant is great and hard to surpass. We are mostly in Buffy's POV, and as a result I zig when the show maybe wants me to zag sometimes and jump to the POV of the ones who, early in the show, have relatively little supernatural power. But what Chosen was meant to do, ideally, was to remove that gulf -- no longer have Buffy separate because of her power, but to draw people all over the world into the state of having the power to protect themselves and to express themselves in a world designed to hurt everyone. Willow does the spell because she's the person who was basically all damsel to be rescued by Buffy in Welcome to the Hellmouth and then grew to have power surpassing Buffy -- for both good and bad reasons, but ones which the show asks from us an act of faith to believe balance tips toward the good.

And that's how I read the indications about the darkness that lie within the slayer -- the idea that there is some demon essence or something within. There is real "darkness" within the slayer because there is always darkness associated with power, regardless of who wields it. If you have the power to make choices, you have the power to make the wrong ones. If you have the power to act on your desires, you have to work harder to discover what those desires are, than someone who follows what other people want them to be. But ultimately though Buffy struggles with it in s5-7 especially (and the series as a whole), and, as she says in Chosen, a whole lot of the time wished she hadn't been chosen with this power ("I didn't ask for it. I don't deserve it." - CWDP), it has to be seen as better than the alternative. It would be different in a world in which there weren't superpowered beings constantly out to kill you, in which it might be possible to trust in institutions to protect you; but the Buffyverse is not that world. Buffy struggled against her hatred of her power, and against the temptation to indulge in its dark side, and came out the other side. She has to hope that others will be able to do the same -- that the huge risks are outweighed by the possibility of huge benefits for thousands of people in the world.

This is my interpretation, but I'm aware that season seven makes it hard to know exactly how credible all this is, with the relative weakness of the Bringers and whatever, but I tend not to care about that all that much.

Artea
20-03-13, 02:01 AM
I don't feel it was and I can't agree with people who liken it to the Shadowmen in Get it Done. The difference between the First Slayer is that she was a normal girl who had this power forced on her. It was a foreign entity thrust into her body against her will. On the other hand, Potentials are girls who are born different with, well, the potential to be Slayers ("you are born with abilities other girls do not have").Being a Potential is for all intents and purposes the same as being a normal girl. These girls had to be informed they were Potentials, that's how normal they were. So yes, turning them into Slayers without their consent is still a violation. And you're trying to have it both ways. You can't chastise the Shadow Men for condemning a long line of girls to the burden of Slayerhood while celebrating that these Potentials were always meant to be Slayers.


And contrary to popular misconception, Buffy did not saddle these girls with Slayer nightmares as it's quite clearly stated in Damage that they begin having them as Potential Slayers.Retcon. Prior to that episode nothing of the sort was ever alluded to, so it's irrelevant when discussing whether the empowerment spell in 'Chosen' was good or bad.


No, not every Potential got a say as to whether she wanted this power awakened from within her, but not every woman got a say as to whether or not they wanted the right to vote.This is an amazingly flawed comparison. You do realize that voting is not something you're obligated to do, right? And that stepping in a voting booth once a year doesn't put your life at risk on a daily basis. What exactly does the Slayer activation spell accomplish for the feminist movement?


That's only the extremely poor worldbuilding of the horror/slasher movie - put your blame where it is due.

Ignorantia non est argumentum.Huh? Most horror/slasher movies revolve around a single killer who targets a few people - nothing like the Buffyverse. I have no idea what you're getting at here.


It's much easier for me to believe that Willow can activate the Scythe to just empower all Potential Slayers. It would strain my credulity much more that Willow has this spell that can search into the minds of every slayer to determine if they'd be interested in it and then, this spell can rank between really wanting to be a slayer, being ambivalent but OK with it, sort of not wanting it and definitely not wanting to be a slayer and then make a perfect ethical estimate of who should get the power.

Then this miracle spell can filter out the best candidate to be a slayer based on mental health and personality. Not sure how this spell would deal with any grey area slayer- i.e. a Faith who was troubled but seemed good when she was called but had the potential for great evil but then had the potential to grow into Slayer Awesomeness.

It's very far-fetched.Sure, but that's not what I had in mind. :) They could use the Potential locator spell to locate Potentials, ask their consent and then activate them. They ended up visiting them to recruit them, so it would be no more effort (less in fact).

Dipstick
20-03-13, 03:07 AM
I do think that the areas where I do struggle with loving Buffy fully are all centred around the power imbalance between her and those around her. I don't like the idea that is often put forward that her non-destiny-chosen human teen companions such as Willow, Xander, Dawn et al. are wholly in the wrong when there is friction between them and Buffy; that while Buffy's motivations are always pure, every time Willow (say) attempts to join a battle and try not to be powerless it's because of megalomanic desire for power and every time Willow opts out of a battle and lets Buffy handle it it's because she's selfish and wants to make Buffy protect her. It's really, really hard being the only person who is strong enough to fight the bad guys, but it's really hard having no control over your own fate either and being a designated damsel (either male in the case of Xander or say early!Jonathan, or female in the case of Willow and later Dawn and Cordelia to an extent too). That people read slayerness as a curse is maybe a failing of the show -- because I think it should be clear that slayerness sucks a whole lot, but sucks just a bit less than the alternative of being powerless.

Preach. Perfectly said.

I'll also add that one of the reasons why Buffy resented being a slayer was because it was a serious come-down from her prior standard of living. Forgive me for generalizing but white, affluent, heterosexual pretty American cheerleadery types from the 19980s-2013 enjoy the highest standard of living that women have ever enjoyed in the history of anything.

Having slayer powers could come in handy for women in Mali and Congo where warring men use rape as a battle tactic. Having slayer powers would come handy to every female victim of domestic violence. Having slayer powers could come in handy to every woman in a third world country who needs to walk miles carrying their children and giant buckets of water to have enough fresh water to drink during a single day. If a husband left a household permanently or temporarily, criminals see the household as a easy mark to kidnap the woman or her children for sexual slavery, impressing children as a child soldiers, or harvesting organs. Having slayer powers could come handy to a woman who isn't necessarily faced with violence but is dirt poor and doesn't have health insurance and could use an other-wordly healthy constitution and healing powers.

Of course the more backward a society, it may be important to women to cleverly hide their strength unless it's important and downplay it. Given the state of women in parts of the world, I wouldn't put it past a patriarchal society where men occupy all of the leadership positions to decide that some women are too strong and to hold witch hunts to find them or to order infanticide of female babies to keep women's numbers down. However, at least giving some women slayer strength could aid them in some way to choose how cleverly they use their power. And Buffy's organization seemed to give women from backward societies the opportunity to leave.

I always adored the passage in Harry Potter 3 when Harry's History of Magic textboom said that during the witch-hunts in Europe and New England, it was only a problem for Muggles falsely accused of being witches. Real witches could just do a charm on the flames to turn them painless and just pretend to shriek with pain and die but secretly escape once the Muggle crowd dissipated. It's empowering to think of magical witches getting the better of stupid mobs of Muggles- but then sad to consider that innocent Muggle women paid the ultimate price for being powerless in a world with both magic and people who feared and discriminated against magic.

We see things from a very Western, middle-class and formerly affluent POV through Buffy's eyes. Still, though, even Japanese comfortable Satsu still saw being a slayer as a release from the repressive mores of her country. Even white, upper-middle-class, American Willow wanted to acquire slayer-level powers. Note, the first spells that Willow ever cast was the protection spell for hers and Buffy's rooms (and Cordelia's car) to stop a unwanted strange strong man from creeping in their room while they're asleep and in their PJs with all of the normal predatory men connotations.

Yosso
20-03-13, 03:11 AM
Power is shown as a positive thing is when it is being used in the fight against evil. Buffy uses her power positively (and often gleefully) when slaying, the same applies with Willow pre-S6.

It's the abuse of power that's the bad thing. It's not the power itself (that's inherently neutral, neither good nor evil) but the application of it. Buffy's power may get in the way of her personal choices, but she does ultimately get satisfaction (or avoids feeling MASSIVELY guilty) when she defeats the monster of the week.

Many posters have suggested that Buffy's appointed destiny is a limiting factor to her life and one of the downsides of her power. I don't see this as linked to her power at all. She slays not because of destiny but because of moral obligation. If she didn't, she'd feel awful knowing Sunnydale was in chaos. The burden she feels is the fact she is the only one with the power; it's the solitude that is the major downside to Buffy's slayer powers, not the fact she's got super strength or has an 'appointed destiny'

Stoney
20-03-13, 03:33 AM
Are you really trying to sell this? Really? Are we talking about "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", a show which is explicitly set in a horror movie world where young women are raped and slaughtered for the audience's amusement? A show which set out to subvert these "tropes" (more like sadistic fantasies).

A show where vampires rape young nuns, kill quaint little shop girls, where priests and bringers try to proactively kill every single girl and woman who ever might have an ounce of power?

But the potentials in that sense in the verse are no more oppressed than any other person.


A slave was a rather expensive property, fed and housed. Yet, they were liberated without any of them giving their personal green light, without personal choice. They were thrown into the harsh and brutal world as non-fed, non-housed 'human resources' for the ever growing industry (of the North).

Life expectancy plummeted after the civil war, racist violence, murder and lynchings started after the civil war.

Liberty isn't about individual choice - that's the "liberty" of a 4 year old: "I only do what i want to do!" Individual liberty is only possible and only thinkable in context of societal liberty and the burdens it brings.

That is a really interesting comparable, I see where you are looking now. The only thing that differentiates I suppose is that the lives of the potentials pre-empowerment weren't necessarily in need of anything any more than any other person. The difficulties/horrors/unjust effects that you talk about as being potential negatives here happened under something that was a greater good, a correction to oppression as an overall 'wrong' that needed righting. The potentials did not need to become slayers and the episode failed to sell it as a greater good to me simply because their empowering didn't in fact save the day, it was the random amulet that did. If it had felt that the empowerment spell had to happen and was necessary then I could see the direct comparison.


In the Buffyverse, slayers are a necessity. That's the burden society/world brings. Whoever is able to be a slayer is only free if she actually is a slayer.

That's liberty.

I don't know, it is a sense of choice I suppose. I see what you mean but if you don't choose then you aren't empowered. I see vampmogs' point though that choice did follow and Buffy sure did enjoy aspects of her strength etc but it is fair, I feel, to say that becoming slayers will have ruined many of those women's lives and it just wasn't necessary. That is where my dissatisfaction I suppose keeps turning, they just simply didn't sell that there was worth to it happening, that it was needed (and yeah, the montage was naff).

vampmogs
20-03-13, 04:11 AM
If left up solely to the amulet they would have lost. Spike's amulet doesn't kick in until later in the battle so the Slayers were essential to the fight. Had they remained Potentials, the Ubervamps would have overwhelmed them in mere moments and Spike would be dust long before the amulet's mojo kicked in. I very much see the Slayers as equally essential to the battle as the amulet was.

In a general sense, I also think the world would benefit greatly from more Slayers. One girl against endless numbers of vampires and demons was always totally unfair.

Also, don't forget that all those Potentials around the world were still targets for Bringers.

Stoney
20-03-13, 04:48 AM
I don't see why, all the other non superpowered people seemed to be doing fine against the Turok-Han, and these were trained potentials. Chosen was just littered with inconsistencies/flaws that spoilt it for me and although there in principle they undermined the empowerment spell and just didn't sell its importance/necessity. I take your point about the Bringers targeting the potentials but that stopped once the first was stopped anyway. The Chosen 'One' never really worked as it always requires there only be one major threat in the world at any one point which just happens to be where the slayer already is, blah blah. It was always thin on that front so yeah, multiple slayers is world beneficial but the spell should have been sold better. I never liked the day being saved by something that someone just popped in to present them with either. I get virtually zero satisfaction from Chosen from the moment they step into the school, in fact, despite his emotional intent and willingness to sacrifice himself they don't even sell to me that it is necessary for Spike to burn or that Buffy would have simply accepted it and walked off.

vampmogs
20-03-13, 05:18 AM
I think there's a world of difference between the non-super powered folk taking on a handful of Ubervamps up above as opposed to the endless onslaught down below. I mean, I'm with you on the inconsistencies, but there's no way any of the Potentials could have successfully held off the Ubervamps without their powers. Even experienced Slayers like Buffy and Faith were being overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of them.

Stoney
20-03-13, 09:17 AM
If Buffy hadn't struggled so much to kill the first Turok-Han, it may have been believable that the newly 'activated' slayers would all be able to battle against them so effectively. Or a stray one that got through had just killed a couple of the non-slayers and had to be taken out by significant teamwork by the human fighters, then maybe it would have all felt significant and important that the spell happened. Ach, I don't know. I accept the overall story in Chosen just because it isn't ever going to get any better but it was an awful anticlimax to the TV show for those last 10 minutes or so for me. I am sure the way you describe the spell is how it is supposed to be taken, I just never felt sold on it as they didn't, for me, back it up. It is a bit like being told Billy is part of the team without any scaffolding to it. Well it isn't that bad, but it is a similar sense of dissatisfaction.

KingofCretins
20-03-13, 03:34 PM
Not every situation in which things happen to you without your permission are a violation. Push someone out of the way of a bus they don't see coming. Which ultimately is what the spell did. All those Potentials had a choice to make that they weren't even aware of, so a person aware of it made it for them. That choice was a) die in bloody chunks as the armies of the First swept the world, or b) become Slayers, with all the attendant headaches, as a byproduct of a plan to prevent (a). There was no (c).

Nina
20-03-13, 04:17 PM
When somebody else makes a choice for you, you don't have a choice. It's possible to argue that it was needed for the greater good, but taking away the choice of many girls and alter their body without their consent is a problematic metaphor for feminism IMO. And sadly enough that was the idea of the whole spell, it being a metaphor for the empowerment of women. Because as far as I know feminism is about having a choice concerning your own life, not about having superpowers.

I would also call it a violation because somebody else alters the bodies of unknowing women. Something that will change their lives, you have really horrible cases like Dana but also the girl who trained hard her whole life to be an athlete will see her dream to go to the Olympics fall apart. These girls have certain lives and being a slayer will change those, some for the better sure but others will suffer because of that choice Buffy and Willow made for them.

The spell was ugly and should've treated that way. If it's necessary evil to do something good, fine.... but treat it like that. Don't use it as a glorious and positive metaphor for feminism.

norwie
20-03-13, 05:14 PM
When somebody else makes a choice for you, you don't have a choice. It's possible to argue that it was needed for the greater good, but taking away the choice of many girls and alter their body without their consent is a problematic metaphor for feminism IMO.

I'll ask you the same thing i asked Stoney: Was the right to vote given to women (by men!) something "evil", too? Without asking every single woman beforehand?



And sadly enough that was the idea of the whole spell, it being a metaphor for the empowerment of women. Because as far as I know feminism is about having a choice concerning your own life, not about having superpowers.

As far as i'm concerned, feminism was never about "individual choice" - it is and has always been about power. Individual choice comes as a result of societal liberty - and societal restrictions. "Thou shalt not kill" trumps "but i wanna!".



I would also call it a violation because somebody else alters the bodies of unknowing women. Something that will change their lives, you have really horrible cases like Dana but also the girl who trained hard her whole life to be an athlete will see her dream to go to the Olympics fall apart. These girls have certain lives and being a slayer will change those, some for the better sure but others will suffer because of that choice Buffy and Willow made for them.

The spell was ugly and should've treated that way. If it's necessary evil to do something good, fine.... but treat it like that. Don't use it as a glorious and positive metaphor for feminism.

I know your ancestors banned Spinoza from being publicized in Amsterdam - but didn't times change a bit since then?

As i wrote earlier in this thread: Life means suffering. Liberty doesn't mean the absence of suffering, but the choice to do the things which have to be done.

Yosso
20-03-13, 05:34 PM
Although the fact the power was forced onto the Potentials is problematic, I still think the slayer female empowerment still works as a feminist metaphor.

There are many things people don't ask for in life which turn out for the best overall. I think the fact that the potentials are able to protect themselves against Bringers trying to kill them is a major advantage for themselves. And clearly, having more slayers is better for the greater good.

Feminism itself is not a perfect concept in reality, there are so many issues with it especially when comparing middle class, white, Western feminism to feminism in different cultures. Feminism isn't a universal easy to define belief system and in a similar way the way the slayer empowerment also isn't simply a 'good' thing. But generally, I believe the good outweighs the bad especially when it comes to the greater good.

Furthermore, feminism really means greater liberty. The way I see it having slayer powers gives greater liberty to women as it allows them to defend themselves. There's no obligation to be a slayer, to go out and patrol as the idea of being the Chosen One no longer exists. A potential turned slayer is perfectly free to choose to live a normal life if they want to.

Local Maximum
20-03-13, 07:30 PM
I do think that the biggest drawbacks of being a slayer in a world where one is not the only slayer are:

1) facing persecution/blowback -- but this is, as Norwie points out, kind of inevitable in any situation where people are empowered;

2) the fact that they face greater moral dilemmas about how to use their strength -- but again, same for any situation where people get power that they could have had earlier and are no longer reliant on others to protect them;

and 3) the slayer dreams and the like. This is obviously a big problem, and hard to deal with. But to me, I think that the way I read the show's mythology is basically this. The evil is out there. Slayers have dreams that alert them to it, so that they can't ignore it. And the choice every person faces, basically, when they find out about the evil, is to sign on to fight it or at least know about it enough to protect themselves from it, or to bury their head in the sand. That has been the case since The Harvest -- Buffy wants to pretend the vampires aren't a problem but they are; Willow & Xander sign on and Cordelia and her friends pretend that what they saw wasn't real. Cordy doesn't take long, to her credit, to come around. The "denial city" of Sunnydale is a bit of a dramatic/satirical device -- it's not fully believable that Joyce would so totally repress a townful of women breaking into her house to accost Xander along with her, for example -- but it is a representation of a real phenomenon, which is that people try to ignore/repress problems that they face, and/or attempt to face the "wrong" problems. To me, the slayer dreams are powerful and devastating, but they are alerting the slayers to the darkness that surrounds them.

I do think that people should have some choice about whether or not they face that darkness -- certainly, as Wesley puts it in Underneath, there are "truths we couldn't bear, not every day." But at its basic level I think that the slayer dreams are alerting slayers to the real danger in the world, and as tempting as it may be to be locked in a protected world where one can ignore those visions -- and as much as Buffy longs for it much of the time -- on the balance it's better to know than to not know.

I agree with Yosso's point that the biggest problem Buffy faces is being the Chosen ONE rather than the calling that was forced upon her. I guess my feeling is that the One-ness of who she was is part of the same problem as the Watchers Council enforcing a rule that Buffy must always be responsible for the world around her. The two reinforce each other -- the idea that Buffy has to be responsible for those around her to a degree so great that it will basically break a person is what is enforced by the Watchers Council dicta; and, of course, Buffy really *is* that responsible, since she is basically the only person with the strength and skill yadda yadda. But being the Only One was a decision the original Shadowmen made, so that she could be more easily controlled. The way it works is complicated, but I think the idea was always that by keeping her isolated, she can be controlled so that the Shadowmen (and the Watchers, and indirectly the whole world) benefits from the power of the slayer without having to share her burdens. This is screwed up on many levels, because it means that everyday people (especially women) are basically unable to protect themselves from the dark, and that the slayer is overburdened to the point where she's got a short life expectancy.

Yosso
20-03-13, 08:16 PM
I do think that the biggest drawbacks of being a slayer in a world where one is not the only slayer are:

1) facing persecution/blowback -- but this is, as Norwie points out, kind of inevitable in any situation where people are empowered;

2) the fact that they face greater moral dilemmas about how to use their strength -- but again, same for any situation where people get power that they could have had earlier and are no longer reliant on others to protect them;

and 3) the slayer dreams and the like. This is obviously a big problem, and hard to deal with. But to me, I think that the way I read the show's mythology is basically this. The evil is out there. Slayers have dreams that alert them to it, so that they can't ignore it. And the choice every person faces, basically, when they find out about the evil, is to sign on to fight it or at least know about it enough to protect themselves from it, or to bury their head in the sand. That has been the case since The Harvest -- Buffy wants to pretend the vampires aren't a problem but they are; Willow & Xander sign on and Cordelia and her friends pretend that what they saw wasn't real. Cordy doesn't take long, to her credit, to come around. The "denial city" of Sunnydale is a bit of a dramatic/satirical device -- it's not fully believable that Joyce would so totally repress a townful of women breaking into her house to accost Xander along with her, for example -- but it is a representation of a real phenomenon, which is that people try to ignore/repress problems that they face, and/or attempt to face the "wrong" problems. To me, the slayer dreams are powerful and devastating, but they are alerting the slayers to the darkness that surrounds them.

I do think that people should have some choice about whether or not they face that darkness -- certainly, as Wesley puts it in Underneath, there are "truths we couldn't bear, not every day." But at its basic level I think that the slayer dreams are alerting slayers to the real danger in the world, and as tempting as it may be to be locked in a protected world where one can ignore those visions -- and as much as Buffy longs for it much of the time -- on the balance it's better to know than to not know.

I agree with Yosso's point that the biggest problem Buffy faces is being the Chosen ONE rather than the calling that was forced upon her. I guess my feeling is that the One-ness of who she was is part of the same problem as the Watchers Council enforcing a rule that Buffy must always be responsible for the world around her. The two reinforce each other -- the idea that Buffy has to be responsible for those around her to a degree so great that it will basically break a person is what is enforced by the Watchers Council dicta; and, of course, Buffy really *is* that responsible, since she is basically the only person with the strength and skill yadda yadda. But being the Only One was a decision the original Shadowmen made, so that she could be more easily controlled. The way it works is complicated, but I think the idea was always that by keeping her isolated, she can be controlled so that the Shadowmen (and the Watchers, and indirectly the whole world) benefits from the power of the slayer without having to share her burdens. This is screwed up on many levels, because it means that everyday people (especially women) are basically unable to protect themselves from the dark, and that the slayer is overburdened to the point where she's got a short life expectancy.

Exactly. One more way the Chosen spell is more feminist than not-feminist in that it breaks the misogyny of the Shadowmen.

I've not read the S8 comics yet, so I'm probably not as qualified to judge about the aftermath of the Chosen spell. But concerning possible persecution - is it not possible to simply hide your slayerness? Slayer persecution would be more akin to religious persecution than racial or gender related persecution, for the obvious reason that the slayers don't go round with "Slayer" stamped on their foreheads.

The increase in moral dilemmas is a good point. But it depends on the individual, Faith never used her slayer powers for the moral good. It was because she enjoyed the violence. Increasing moral dilemmas isn't a universal effect of the spell. The slayer dreams link strongly to the idea of increasing the moral dilemmas of the potential-turned-slayers. But don't potentials already have slayer dreams? Also, Buffy didn't really have many slayer dreams particularly in the latter seasons, so I wouldn't say it's a huge concern really.

Ignore me if any of my points have already been addressed in the S8 comics; I've not read them yet.

Local Maximum
20-03-13, 09:26 PM
Exactly. One more way the Chosen spell is more feminist than not-feminist in that it breaks the misogyny of the Shadowmen.

I've not read the S8 comics yet, so I'm probably not as qualified to judge about the aftermath of the Chosen spell. But concerning possible persecution - is it not possible to simply hide your slayerness? Slayer persecution would be more akin to religious persecution than racial or gender related persecution, for the obvious reason that the slayers don't go round with "Slayer" stamped on their foreheads.

Yeah, mostly I think slayers can hide their slayerness. Relatively minor spoiler:

There is at least one character in the comics who hid slayerness for a long time.

In the comics, again, relatively minor spoilers.

The main people targeted for persecution are "out" slayers. People do seem to have the option of refusing this. One of the open questions is how many slayers actually do refuse to be "out." One of the problems for slayers within the season eight universe is that the persecution of slayers doesn't really happen until slayers are already somewhat "out" -- which is not really Buffy's fault exactly....


The increase in moral dilemmas is a good point. But it depends on the individual, Faith never used her slayer powers for the moral good. It was because she enjoyed the violence. Increasing moral dilemmas isn't a universal effect of the spell. The slayer dreams link strongly to the idea of increasing the moral dilemmas of the potential-turned-slayers. But don't potentials already have slayer dreams? Also, Buffy didn't really have many slayer dreams particularly in the latter seasons, so I wouldn't say it's a huge concern really.

Ignore me if any of my points have already been addressed in the S8 comics; I've not read them yet.

The slayer dreams are something that is suggested to be a big problem with Dana in AtS' "Damage," and there is at least one comics character for whom the dreams seem to be a big big deal --

Gigi, who suggests that the nightmares drive her crazy.

Sticking to Dana, it is a big deal. I hasten to add though that Dana is partly traumatized because -- she lives in a world where terrible monsters exist, including human monsters. The slayer powers make her a danger to society, but she's already been victimized before the slayer powers start. That means that even "Damage," which complicates things surely, presents a situation in which the slayer powers make a situation complicated and maybe even worse, but in which the primary emotional pain associated with Dana is not from the slayerness but from something which happened before. The person primarily responsible for Dana's emotional damage and the damage Dana inflicts on others is the guy who killed her family and tortured her, not Buffy et al.

Which is not to say that Buffy et al. don't have a responsibility for dealing with the consequences of their spell. Regardless of whose fault it is that Dana is dangerous, she is made more dangerous to innocent people by the slayer spell, which is why Buffy et al. should take responsibility to try to help her manage her powers, in a way that they are uniquely qualified to do.

OTOH, Andrew Wells is not uniquely qualified to do so. So, yeah, complicated. My feeling is that the slayer spell was complicated and there are lots of negative effects, but it's preferable to the alternative. The more people (women, in particular) able to defend themselves against the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness which are legion and many, the better on net benefit.

I do want to add that there is something complicated about the fact that not all women "get" to be slayers -- if it's such a good idea for the potentials to be slayers, why not make every woman in the world a slayer, or every human for that matter? To me, the answer is that it was the potentials who were primarily targeted in season seven and the ones who needed the slayer power most to defend themselves from the attacks (as seen in Lessons/Beneath You), as well as the fact that by being potentially slayers, they are already somewhat in the crosshairs. Additionally, my read on season seven is that however the potential slayer mythology works (deliberately left vague), not everyone is a potential, and there is not enough mystical energy (or whatever) in the slayer line for every woman in the world to be a potential. I think the intent of the season, though it's ambiguous, is that the slayer spell unlocks the potential within all the potential slayers, but doesn't add new energy into the system -- just allows the potential slayers-now-slayers to access power they already "had" but could not access because only one slayer was active at a time. Making every woman in the world a slayer would be, er, a lot harder energy-wise. Besides -- Chosen as an episode is meant to create something of a revolution and to change the ground rules of the 'verse, but not to fundamentally change the whole planet as to be clearly not our own. It's not that much harder to imagine a world like our own with a secret fantasy element in which there are thousands of slayers in the world, but it is harder to imagine one in which every woman was one.

hayes62
20-03-13, 11:08 PM
Slayer dreams are also potential dreams. Damage makes that explicit but it's already there when Buffy tells the potentials in Potential:

You have inherent abilities that others do not have.You have the potential. You have strength, speed, instinct. You just have to learn to trust yourself.
Chosen works if it speaks to you (and it speaks to me) if what it says is this

Buffy set her people free
That's the hook, that's what's at the heart of the big rising music, the montage and the beginning of the beginning of a smile. She didn't give her people power, the First says it's about power but the First is a twister. By definition. It's not about power, it's about the freedom to use the power that was always theirs but denied them. They could dream the dreams but never live them.

Buffy set her people free
Her people, people like her. Not everyone because that's not her right, this is not an "all these people need is a nice, middle class, heterosexual (mostly), blonde honky" story. She can't set everyone free because freedom is something you have to do for yourself. She can't make Willow a better witch or Xander more extraordinary. All she can do is help the girls who have dreamed the same dreams she did, give them the choice to live them or leave them, to set her people free.

Nina
20-03-13, 11:09 PM
I'll ask you the same thing i asked Stoney: Was the right to vote given to women (by men!) something "evil", too? Without asking every single woman beforehand?
Did they alter the bodies of women to get that done? Are women forced to vote? Giving somebody a right is not the same as changing the body of somebody else without their consent. If you want to make use of a right, it is up to you. The potentials who got their 'powers' forced upon them do not have a choice in the matter. The only choice they have left is what they want to do with these powers; use them for good, use them for evil or try to ignore the powers. The choice to have no extra powers and be like they were before and do what they wanted to do (in some cases) is taken away from them.



As far as i'm concerned, feminism was never about "individual choice" - it is and has always been about power. Individual choice comes as a result of societal liberty - and societal restrictions. "Thou shalt not kill" trumps "but i wanna!".
Again you compare two completely different things. How can you compare a moral norm with the consent of a woman over her own life and body? Being a slayer is an amoral matter, you want it or not and neither choice is right or wrong.

Sure feminism is about the power-balance between men and women, but that has nothing to do with physical power. It's about women having the same chances, rewards and choices as men. Women should be able to live the life they want to live (within the moral norms). This 'empowerment' spell took away the choice of most of these women, they were altered by another person without their consent, and the concequences are life changing. Buffy and Willow took away the choice of these women to follow the path of being 'like everybody else'. I'll once again raise the example of the athlete who will never be able to participate in games or tournaments because of these new powers. A dream to win Olympic gold taken away by two strangers.


I know your ancestors banned Spinoza from being publicized in Amsterdam - but didn't times change a bit since then?
I fail to see what this has to do with it, but since you started... Spinoza's books were banned in Europe because he used God as a synonym for nature, a God without a will. So yes his books were banned in the 17th century (and the next 200 years). But at the same time Spinoza was allowed to write these books, to think these things, to meet other philosophers.... he had the choice to follow his own path and do what he wanted to do. Can't say the same for the girls who woke up one morning different from the day before and who have a new path in life forced upon them.


As i wrote earlier in this thread: Life means suffering. Liberty doesn't mean the absence of suffering, but the choice to do the things which have to be done.
Well to say it bluntly; you just invented two definitions for life and liberty that have nothing to do with the actual definitions. I'll leave life out of it because it doesn't really matter in this argument.

According to the dictionary liberty means:

a. The condition of being free from restriction or control.
b. The right and power to act, believe, or express oneself in a manner of one's own choosing.
c. The condition of being physically and legally free from confinement, servitude, or forced labor.
d. Freedom from unjust or undue governmental control
e. A right or immunity to engage in certain actions without control or interference.


Liberty has nothing to do with 'doing what has to be done', it has everything to do with having a choice about your own body and life. And the so-called empowerment spell took that away from the women.

But like with your Spinoza argument, I'm sorry but I fail to understand your point in reaction to my original statement.

I said that the spell was a poor example of an empowerment spell because the women in question had no choice in the matter, despite the fact that it's about their bodies and lives. Pumping up women without their consent isn't 'empowering' in my opinion, despite the rather literal extra powers they get forced upon them.

That it perhaps had to be done for the greater good and that there are things more important than a choice in such important matters.... that's another discussion in my opinion. I'm a firm believer in the principle of utilitarianism in big matters like these and I would agree with the spell being done. But I simply disagree with the spell being portrayed like it's empowering for these women.

Local Maximum
20-03-13, 11:28 PM
Hayes, I like your post and I like also how you hit on the "your people" aspect. On the other hand, I think the slayer spell is partly related to "making Willow a better witch." That is not a literal result of the spell, but it is a figurative result. Buffy's trust that Willow can do the spell, and that Willow's power is ultimately a net good despite the fact that Willow has a potential for evil, is part of what allows her to believe that potential slayers will ultimately be better for the power they are given. Willow is the first person within the television series that Buffy inspired to be stronger, after all -- Willow's ambivalent relationship to power starts when Buffy tells her she can seize the day.

Season seven is careful though to point out that not everyone will be (physically) transformed by Buffy's revolution and that's okay. Xander and Dawn (the main focus of this) will not get magical strength & skill, but they can contribute in other ways and are responsible for finding their own path.

On the slayer dreams -- comic spoilers

I got the impression that Gigi got more intense nightmares when she was called. I haven't read NFFY in a while, though.

vampmogs
20-03-13, 11:34 PM
Sticking to Dana, it is a big deal. I hasten to add though that Dana is partly traumatized because -- she lives in a world where terrible monsters exist, including human monsters. The slayer powers make her a danger to society, but she's already been victimized before the slayer powers start. That means that even "Damage," which complicates things surely, presents a situation in which the slayer powers make a situation complicated and maybe even worse, but in which the primary emotional pain associated with Dana is not from the slayerness but from something which happened before. The person primarily responsible for Dana's emotional damage and the damage Dana inflicts on others is the guy who killed her family and tortured her, not Buffy et al.

Yep. Not to mention that not only is the empowerment spell not responsible for Dana's dreams (she had them as a Potential) but it only becomes a problem because of Dana's mental instability, which is also not the fault of the empowerment spell. They become problematic to Dana because she can't differentiate between dreams and reality and that's the fault of the man who terrorised her.

Dana actually felt empowered by her calling ("You can't hurt me anymore"/ "Strong. Slayer.") which was bad for everybody else, sure, but good for her. I would entertain the argument that in the long run Dana's calling may been more bad than good for her, seeing as how it gave her to the power to act out and "become a monster", but that's all on the man who abused her. I actually think Spike was wrong to compare Dana to either himself or Angel (although I do love that scene for plenty of other reasons) because Dana can certainly plea insanity so I have a hard time blaming her. And I'd actually say that Dana's better off under the protection of fellow Slayers than people who had no understanding of why she was having her dreams and a doctor who was more interested in profiting from her illness.


Which is not to say that Buffy et al. don't have a responsibility for dealing with the consequences of their spell. Regardless of whose fault it is that Dana is dangerous, she is made more dangerous to innocent people by the slayer spell, which is why Buffy et al. should take responsibility to try to help her manage her powers, in a way that they are uniquely qualified to do.

Exactly. Buffy and Co. are responsible for the consequences of the spell and certainly in Dana's case there was some horrific consequences. But in regards to 'feminism' and whether the spell was better or worse for Dana, I'm leaning towards 'better' myself. Dana no longer felt helpless.


Are women forced to vote?

In my country, yes. It is compulsory to vote so when women were given that right (and some women fought against it, believe it or not) they didn't get a choice in the matter. Regardless, even in countries where women have the option not to vote the same can be said of Slayers. These girls don't have to be Slayers -- "They don't even call themselves Slayers anymore."


I'll once again raise the example of the athlete who will never be able to participate in games or tournaments because of these new powers. A dream to win Olympic gold taken away by two strangers.

What possible justification could anyone have for banning this girl from the Olympics? The power comes naturally to her so on what grounds can she be dismissed? This girl was born a Potential Slayer and with that comes "abilities other girls do not have." Not only is this explicitly stated in the text but we're shown it when Amanda instinctively knows how to combat the Bringer without formal training of any kind. So, if yours (or anybody else's) objection to this girl participating is that she has an unfair advantage, that would apply even before the empowerment spell, surely?

But I don't think you could ban her because it was how she was born. This girl was made with the potential to be a Slayer. She was designed to have that power. Which is why I can't for the life of me understand why people find it preferable that Buffy would maintain the oppressive status quo of the Chosen One and keep denying girls the power they were meant to have. You can't ban a person from sporting events because they happen to be more genetically gifted than the person next to them. Potentials are different from conception;

BUFFY
OK, Spike. (he lets Vi go; she walks up to Molly and Kennedy who are standing near Buffy) You're right. You don't have slayer strength. But that doesn't mean that you're not strong. You have inherent abilities that others do not have.

MOLLY
(taking notes on a pad) Not like you do.

BUFFY
No, not yet, but it's there. You have the potential. You have strength, speed, instinct.

Stoney
21-03-13, 12:10 AM
I find the idea of potentials as unfairly having their innate gifts suppressed and the empowerment spell removing the binding that was placed upon them an interesting pov. There still is the choice issue for me, that a change was affected without an option but accepting that it was necessary to win the battle (which I really don't think they conveyed well, but hey ho), accepting that, then I see it. I just wish they had made me feel it.

Yosso
21-03-13, 01:51 AM
Overall, I agree that the fact that there are more slayers in the world is more important for the greater good than the fact that some potentials-turned-slayers will be unhappy with the change. Also, the fact that the slayer is no longer the Chosen One but a chosen many is a stronger feminist message than the disadvantages of forcing slayer powers onto the potentials, IMO. The Chosen spell may not be empowering for every potential, in every case, but collectively it sends out a feminist empowering message.

To be fair, if a slayer doesn't want superpowers they could take medication to suppress it. If they consider their slayer powers an illness they could take a similar drug to the one Giles gave Buffy in "Helpless". Or they could try and have it removed magically.

TimeTravellingBunny
21-03-13, 04:29 AM
So... how do think about white men from the North empowering black men from the South? Was that "incredibly violating", too?Your comparison doesn't work. Freeing the slaves gave them some of the same rights every other human being had, as opposed to having been in a much worse position than other human beings. Empowering the Potentials... gave them superhuman strength that other human beings did not have, save Buffy and Faith, and still do not have. In other words, your comparison breaks down the moment you realize that it implies that "ordinary" human beings are the equivalent of slaves, with only a tiny minority of people being "free".



In the Buffyverse, slayers are a necessity. That's the burden society/world brings. Whoever is able to be a slayer is only free if she actually is a slayer.

That's liberty.
So what about the 99.99% who aren't Slayers and never will be? Are they free? Will they ever be free?

Giving power only to a tiny minority of women is hardly a feminist triumph. Using your vote comparison gets you a world in which only several thousands of really rich women are allowed to vote. Yay?

Now, I do think that the empowering spell was a good thing, since a handful of empowered women/Slayers who can fight monsters is better than just "one girl in all the world". But trying to present it as a great feminist triumph with an inspiring montage is problematic. And really, the entire metaphor of Slayer = empowered woman became problematic over time. Too much of equating superpowers with empowerment it makes it seem like "ordinary women" can't be strong at all, which is wrong on many levels.

Nina
21-03-13, 07:51 AM
Agreed, that's another major problem with the metaphor. Sadly enough that problem spreads all over the Buffyverse. If only they let Fred live to be the little bright spot for the 'normal' women. But nope, also Fred had to go down and come back as a God of Gods.



In my country, yes. It is compulsory to vote so when women were given that right (and some women fought against it, believe it or not) they didn't get a choice in the matter. Regardless, even in countries where women have the option not to vote the same can be said of Slayers. These girls don't have to be Slayers -- "They don't even call themselves Slayers anymore."
Okay, point taken. I thought voting was only a right (it is in a lot of countries) but fine, not everywhere. Still the main problem stays, nobody changes your body and having to vote once a year plays a minor role in your life. Becoming a slayer isn't something you can ignore.... it really doesn't matter how they call themselves or what they do. You have superpowers, that's a big thing and it influences your life every day. I'll come back to this.


What possible justification could anyone have for banning this girl from the Olympics? The power comes naturally to her so on what grounds can she be dismissed? This girl was born a Potential Slayer and with that comes "abilities other girls do not have." Not only is this explicitly stated in the text but we're shown it when Amanda instinctively knows how to combat the Bringer without formal training of any kind. So, if yours (or anybody else's) objection to this girl participating is that she has an unfair advantage, that would apply even before the empowerment spell, surely?
Because athletes want to win gold in a fair game? You would like to win a tournament because you can run faster than everybody else, not because the way your talent or because how hard you've trained, but because you have supernatural powers? It's no longer a fair game, even if others can point out why it's unfair.

About 'deserving power', that sounds like power is this great thing. Sure some want it, but I can't imagine all want it. Power by example comes with responsibility, can you still justify it to yourself that you continue to not use your powers to help people? You read every day that things happen you perhaps could've prevented, that eats you up. Like I pointed out, sport games are out of the question, at least when you want to have a fair game. You need to seriously work on your selfcontrol because if you get angry and you lash out you can even kill somebody. You need to make sure that others don't notice you have those powers because 'freaks' will get shut out easier. You need to be strong between the ears or you end up in the 'want, take, have' mindset.... and we've seen what happened with Doyle when he found out about being supernatural, he ruined his whole life. Who says slayers will do a much better job. Also potential problems (hu hu pun) like big powers liking slayers as their personal guards. What if you and your family are poor and W&H offers you a well payed job... you gt in sistuations you would never get in when you remained just a 'potential'.

It's not a beautiful gift for everybody, and I believe that not Buffy but the girls themselves should've had the choice if they wanted this. It's their body and their life... let them decide if they want to have some of these locked up powers in themselves be freed. That would be much more empowering. That's not possible, and like I said I'm not against the spell. But it's not empowering to make such a big call for other women without their consent.

hayes62
21-03-13, 11:00 AM
Feminism didn't only win women the right to vote. It was also behind changes that freed particular groups of women to realise their individual potential. For example, opening the universities and professions such as medicine to both sexes or allowing women to compete at the Olympics. These were not and are not freedoms that can be taken up by all women - not all women are academically inclined or gifted at sport. If you need a direct analogy to the activation spell then this is what I would go for. That doesn't mean that comparisons with universal suffrage are unfounded, there the resonance lies in the fact that freedom, like slayerness, can be a dangerous responsibility.

As for choice before the activation spell none of the potentials had a choice. However, much they may have longed to use the powers they dreamed of, to stand up against the demons, to make a difference, to be strong, with one exception they would never be given that choice. The one exeception only had the choice between accepting her calling or letting the world go to hell. After the activation spell they could all choose whether or not to use their powers.

Nina
21-03-13, 12:10 PM
But that last part is the big issue, you can't just go back and pretend you are not a slayer. It's not like you can turn off those powers/dreams/instincts/responsibilities. And that's why you can't compare it with something else. All those rights (education, voting etc.) are options and the woman herself is allowed to choose. A woman who chooses to stay at home and have 5 kids isn't less empowered than a female CEO who choose to work hard for that job. It's nice that women are allowed to work, but it's not forced upon them.

Being a slayer was an option..... spell yay or nay. And now Buffy made the choice for all these women. And now all the women can do is accept that it happened or pretend nothing happened. But 'pretending nothing happened' isn't the same as 'nothing happened'. Their bodies are changed and with that their lives, and even their identity if you want to make it extra dramatic.

Stoney
21-03-13, 12:49 PM
And I completely agree with you Nina, which is why it works better to think of them as being falsely and unfairly bound so their innate abilities were suppressed and kept from them. It is still removing a choice for the 'greater good' that was needed for the battle but at least it gives it a positive spin on what those who weren't in the battle were having happen to them.

Nina
21-03-13, 01:22 PM
I can see how it is a more positive spin, the idea that this is how it is supposed to be gives it a slightly different feel, I agree with that. But the lack of choice about their own bodies remains a problem, that in the past somebody else already made a decision for these women doesn't mean that it's okay to do it again. Now the women are violated twice in a certain way, two times somebody else did decide over their life and body. And because of the lack of choice for the women themselves (despite there being a choice), it's not empowering IMO.

Yosso
21-03-13, 03:47 PM
I'd just like to suggest that a 'feminist triumph' that applies to every single women on Earth just can't exist.

I'd like to compare the Chosen spell, to say the banning of the burqa in the Western World. (I hope this doesn't cause any offence, it's the closest comparison I could think of off the top of my head.) Just like the Chosen spell only directly applies to potentials, this ban only applies directly to Islamic women. Some people will say it's a 'feminist triumph' due to the fact it stops misogynistic patriarchal society from enforcing an item of clothing onto Islamic women. In a similar way to how the Chosen spell 'unlocks' the innate potential within the post-Chosen slayers.

There are many Islamic feminists who would be happy with the burqa ban, but also many Islamic women who would be against it as they value their culture moreso than the view of some Westerner dictating what they can and cannot wear in public. Just like how many potentials wouldn't be happy about being turned into slayers.

No course of action one could perceive as feminist is going to please every woman it affects. That doesn't undermine the fact that it's at least mostly a feminist movement.

Also, I would argue that a triumph that applies to a group of women (however small), equalising themselves with men can be seen as a feminist triumph. It's not about the number of women directly affected, but the ripple effect it has afterwards.

Back to the Jossverse, I generally think the advantage of being able to defend themselves from The First's Bringers (an attack from the Bringers is inevitable) is more empowering compared to the possibility that their lives will be inconvenienced by slayer powers. The fact that they're potentials already poses problems (nothing to do with the Chosen spell), but they have no way to resolve those problems by themselves without slayer powers.

Nina
21-03-13, 04:41 PM
I would say that a feminist triumph that applies for the whole world is dificult because of the many nations. But in a hypothetical world where it is possible to do something worldwide, I would say that the only true triumph for women will be giving them a choice. Let them all choose if they want to work/study/marry/have childeren/how they want to look like etc. That's why I don't see the ban of the burqa as a feminist triumph in any way because it takes away a choice. You don't fix a problem of women who are told to wear certain clothes by telling what a woman can't wear. That way two parties tell a woman what (not) to wear. The triumph for women would be if they can decide for themselves what they want to wear.

Good intentions or not, easier, safer etc. It doesn't change that one or two parties decide over the body of a third party. And that's why the third party will never be empowered, even if they are better off.

Sosa lola
21-03-13, 04:55 PM
I never saw the the burqa ban as a feminist movement, because you are depriving women of their right to wear what they want. I see it as a safety procedure or an act against Muslims, but not feminist.

Buffy's choice to turn potentials into slayers was a solution to win the latest apocalypse, I don't think she would have done it if it wasn't necessary. Though it does look like she saw it as an empowerment.

hayes62
21-03-13, 05:26 PM
But that last part is the big issue, you can't just go back and pretend you are not a slayer. It's not like you can turn off those powers/dreams/instincts/responsibilities. And that's why you can't compare it with something else. All those rights (education, voting etc.) are options and the woman herself is allowed to choose. A woman who chooses to stay at home and have 5 kids isn't less empowered than a female CEO who choose to work hard for that job. It's nice that women are allowed to work, but it's not forced upon them.

The potentials already had the dreams and the instincts before they were activated. Just as women (and men) can have the ability to go to university but choose not to go. They still have the native intelligence that would have let them go, it doesn't go away. Similarly an activated potential can choose not to be an active slayer. Why is this so difficult to understand?


Being a slayer was an option..... spell yay or nay. And now Buffy made the choice for all these women. And now all the women can do is accept that it happened or pretend nothing happened. But 'pretending nothing happened' isn't the same as 'nothing happened'. Their bodies are changed and with that their lives, and even their identity if you want to make it extra dramatic.
Being a slayer was never an option for the vast majority of the potentials before the spell. Before the spell only one of them would be chosen and it wouldn't be her doing the choosing. Would you be happier with a spell that removed their potenialness? Blocked the dreams, repressed the instincts. Would that make what the Shadowmen did better? It would feel like a violation to me.

Slayer strength is a metaphor but if people prefer to make it literal then it's worth remembering that most physical changes that have been imposed on women, from foot binding to FGM, have been tied (sometimes literally) to repression not activation (of their sexuality).

Nina
21-03-13, 06:16 PM
It's not the one or the other, saying that Buffy didn't empower the girls doesn't mean that what the Shadowmen did was okay. (or the other way around.) Both times somebody made decisions for/changed the body of another person.

I 'want' that the girls can decide what happens with their own bodies. At least when you want to call the spell empowering for these women. If something is completely natural and there is no choice for anyone (say illness, talents, characters like Connor and Gwen who are born with their powers this way etc.) it's a different case, but here was a choice and the choice wasn't made by the women whose bodies were changed.

Stoney
21-03-13, 06:20 PM
I can see how it is a more positive spin, the idea that this is how it is supposed to be gives it a slightly different feel, I agree with that. But the lack of choice about their own bodies remains a problem, that in the past somebody else already made a decision for these women doesn't mean that it's okay to do it again. Now the women are violated twice in a certain way, two times somebody else did decide over their life and body. And because of the lack of choice for the women themselves (despite there being a choice), it's not empowering IMO.

I agree it isn't empowering and choice, the simple right to exert your own, is. But the original Shadowmen violation of the First Slayer has been and gone. What now resides in potentials is a natural genetic that passes I think. If it is an inherent, yet dormant, side of these women then I think it isn't a violation of them physically for it to be awakened (anymore than any natural bodily maturation can be) but it is the removal of choice that still isn't fair/just. In that sense I have to force myself to accept that it was necessary to save the world, which whilst potentially unwanted for some is just tough luck.


Similarly an activated potential can choose not to be an active slayer. Why is this so difficult to understand?

It isn't difficult to understand but it isn't as if a slayer who chose not to be active would have no changes to her life from having been awakened. The dreams may be heightened, I don't know, but, even without that, they become a target from demons and gain strength etc. Pros and cons but permanent changes nonetheless.

As an aside, I don't understand why we are concerned about the Bringers, once the First is defeated the Bringers are no longer targeting potentials so that wasn't a 'plus', stopping the First stopped that, it just happened to correlate to the empowerment of the potentials. The spell removed their need to fight bringers by killing the problem, not because they had the strength to fight back, that is incidental.


Being a slayer was never an option for the vast majority of the potentials before the spell. Before the spell only one of them would be chosen and it wouldn't be her doing the choosing. Would you be happier with a spell that removed their potenialness? Blocked the dreams, repressed the instincts. Would that make what the Shadowmen did better? It would feel like a violation to me.

See that is the thing, to see being a slayer as a natural possibility for these women, an inherent part of them from birth that is released rather then forced on them. To remove that would also be a violation, the activation of it as the Chosen One just a destiny/duty/rite of passage? But it still changes the situation and, aside from the potentials in the hellmouth, they weren't required to save the world. Apart from those with Buffy the others were collateral activations which can only be deemed a 'good' thing if you see them as held back in an unfair way from their natural state before the spell. Even then, it won't change that some of them wouldn't have wanted it. I agree with Nina it isn't empowering to remove individual choice but at least if I see it as a natural potential they held within themselves it doesn't feel as bad/negative and the greater good wins out. I just can't see it as a positive thing full stop even if they have a choice then on as to whether they choose to fight.

KingofCretins
21-03-13, 06:25 PM
I never saw the the burqa ban as a feminist movement, because you are depriving women of their right to wear what they want. I see it as a safety procedure or an act against Muslims, but not feminist.

Opposite side of this issue (... mostly), and I am almost chompin' at the bit for someone to take it to the boiler room. I borrow a passage from an author I'm fond of -- President Obama made fawning speeches boasting that "I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal." How brave of him! But what about the Muslim women who choose not to cover themselves and wind up beaten, brutalized, and the victims of "honor killing"?... Ah, but that would require real courage, not audience flattery and rhetorical narcissism masquerading as such."

To wit; I don't think anti-covering statutes are a particularly cohesive metaphor for the Slayer spell. Maybe if you expand the metaphor substantially, and deem that being a unactivated Potential at all is to live in an objectively, institutionally oppressed state comparable to a cultural norm that, contrary to myth, is only a generation or two old that expects women to be almost entirely covered up for the good of society. And in that context, I'd be even more in favor of the spell than I already am in its own context.


Buffy's choice to turn potentials into slayers was a solution to win the latest apocalypse, I don't think she would have done it if it wasn't necessary. Though it does look like she saw it as an empowerment.

I don't think the idea ever would have occurred to Buffy without the pending emergency. I'm not sure I don't think she'd have been in favor of it had it occurred to her any old day, though. Like you say, she doesn't see mass activation as a violation.

Yosso
21-03-13, 07:55 PM
I would say that a feminist triumph that applies for the whole world is dificult because of the many nations. But in a hypothetical world where it is possible to do something worldwide, I would say that the only true triumph for women will be giving them a choice. Let them all choose if they want to work/study/marry/have childeren/how they want to look like etc. That's why I don't see the ban of the burqa as a feminist triumph in any way because it takes away a choice.

Many see the ban of the burqa as enhancing women's choices as it prevents the religious impositision of an item of clothing they may not want to wear. It all depends on the point of view of the individual woman really; every case is different. Enhancing choices for all women won't satisfy every women.

I see allowing the potentials to become slayers enhances their choices to defend themselves when they will inevitably need to when Bringers attack. They can choose to use their slayer powers or not to. They have more options with slayer powers than remaining powerless potentials.


Being a slayer was never an option for the vast majority of the potentials before the spell. Before the spell only one of them would be chosen and it wouldn't be her doing the choosing. Would you be happier with a spell that removed their potenialness? Blocked the dreams, repressed the instincts. Would that make what the Shadowmen did better? It would feel like a violation to me.

Very much agree with this.

I see the Chosen spell as making the best of a bad situation. The whole system of slayers and potentials isn't the most feminist of systems but the Chosen spell allows the potentials to actively change their situations, despite the fact that they may not want to at first.



As an aside, I don't understand why we are concerned about the Bringers, once the First is defeated the Bringers are no longer targeting potentials so that wasn't a 'plus', stopping the First stopped that, it just happened to correlate to the empowerment of the potentials. The spell removed their need to fight bringers by killing the problem, not because they had the strength to fight back, that is incidental.

The Bringers are important because if Willow had never cast the Chosen spell, the potentials around the world would still stay potentials and would still be targets for the Bringers.

Stoney
21-03-13, 08:03 PM
I get that, I'm just saying it was a side benefit because they didn't cast the spell to enable the targeted potentials to be able to fight annnnd... even if they had thought of that it is irrelevant because the spell enabled them to beat the First and thusly removed the threat of the bringers as a consequence.

norwie
23-03-13, 01:15 PM
Well to say it bluntly; you just invented two definitions for life and liberty that have nothing to do with the actual definitions. I'll leave life out of it because it doesn't really matter in this argument.

As much as i'm flattered i have to say that i didn't "invent" these definitions - Immanuel Kant did. And Existentialism uses Kant's definition of freedom. And Joss Whedon is a self acclaimed existentialist.

So, to say it politely i think there is no common ground in further discussing this together as i reject your reductionist view on core issues of the human condition wholemindedly.

Have a nice day. :)

Yosso
23-03-13, 05:29 PM
I get that, I'm just saying it was a side benefit because they didn't cast the spell to enable the targeted potentials to be able to fight annnnd... even if they had thought of that it is irrelevant because the spell enabled them to beat the First and thusly removed the threat of the bringers as a consequence.

That's a fair point :)

MikeB
23-04-13, 05:25 AM
All caught up.




* In the fight in “Chosen” (7.22), Buffy preferred to have Slayers as her army instead of mere Potentials. Buffy never forced any new Slayer to be an “active” Slayer.


* Something that is made canon later on applies to earlier stuff as well.


* Buffy Summers was the Slayer on The Hellmouth. Nothing suggests that all Slayers dealt with apocalyptic threats; in fact, Vampire Slayer suggests that probably most Slayers about only dealt with vampires until that Slayer was killed.


* Given the context, I don’t find the Slayer visions much worse than being forced to know about the horrible happenings that go on in some places in the world. In a sense, they’re better because the Slayer knows that she can actually do something about some of the horrible happenings in the world. A Slayer can kill a vampire or a demon and thus save human lives.




Stoney


Power is a reoccurring theme throughout the shows (comic continuations too) but is it ever shown to simply be a good thing? Yes. Power is what allowed Buffy to beat the Mayor, beat Adam, beat Glory, and beat the First Evil. Power is the only reason the Fang Gang was able to kill the Circle of the Black Thorn.


Buffy’s very nature as the Chosen One makes her powerful but it is shown to confuse, disrupt or plain disregard her personal life/choices, negating her ability to have what she sees as being ‘normal’. This applies to many very powerful people. The President of the Untied States doesn’t have a normal life.


* With Buffy, it’s clear that if she never became the Slayer, she could have simply lived a shallow life. She probably would have continued to have shallow friends, she probably would have married some rich guy, and she may have had her own career that wouldn’t compare in importance to being what she eventually became as the Slayer.


* Liam was a drunken lout with seemingly very low self-esteem. Angelus became someone ‘great’. Being a vampire allowed Angel to eventually be with Buffy and have whatever he had with Cordelia.


* Spike clearly considers his life got a lot better after he became a vampire. He was relatively happy in his Fanged Four era, he was on a ‘honeymoon’ with Drusilla for around 98 years, and then he got to have a relationship with Buffy.


* If not for the Watchers’ Council, Giles could have simply ended up a grocer or curator of some museum. His life as a Watcher was more fulfilling and worthwhile than if he wasn’t a Watcher. Giles didn’t have a family, but nothing suggested he couldn’t have one. And he did have an ‘adopted family’: the Scoobies.


* If not for witchcraft, Willow probably would have ended up a professor or a computer programmer. Compare that to being with Oz (Buffy gave her the confidence to approach Oz), being with Tara, saving the world, and becoming perhaps the most powerful person in the world.


* Without her association with the Scoobies, Cordelia probably would have ended up very badly. Angel only hires her because he already knew her from the Scoobies.


why is positive power (non-evil) rarely shown as purely positive for the person wielding it? Is that just realistic or is it so that it isn't 'boring'? Should power ever be shown to just be good to have? Generally what do you think of the use/portrayal of power within the verse? Besides maybe the Guardians, those in the Buffyverse with power aren’t “purely good” beings. Even the Powers That Be at-most are simply interested in Balance between Good and Evil. Others with power get it from demon spirits (Slayers, vampires) or are demons themselves. The only “god” we’re introduced to seems pretty much simply to be classified as a “god” because of the level of immense power she had.

* Most with power in the real world aren’t purely altruistic, so it’s realistic that in the Buffyverse most with power aren’t purely altruistic.


* Buffy likes having the power of the Slayer, but if someone could step in for her so that she could live a normal life, she’d perhaps go live a normal life.


* Willow stayed in Sunnydale because she wanted to stay with Buffy, continue helping in the fight against evil, but also because she wanted to become a more powerful witch.


* Giles liked helping Buffy as long as he had some influence over her and his mission. When he didn’t have influence, he betrayed her (BtVS S6, BtVS S7, BtVS S8).


* The Watchers’ Council is good, but it mainly risks the Slayer’s life.

________________________________________________


The potentials weren't being oppressed. If they had been made Slayers earlier, not so many would have been killed by Bringers.



Dipstick


I've decided that since S5, there's been a general trend where Power in the Scoobies = Good in the odd numbered seasons and Power in the Scoobies = bad in the even-numbered seasons. Hmmm.

BtVS S5: Buffy gets a fake sister and that puts her and the all the other Scoobies (and Spike) at risk to be killed by a hellgod.

Tara endangered the Scoobies by making them unable to see demons.

Drusilla is able to kill a bunch of people and almost kill Buffy.


BtVS S6: Willow does bad things. Anya became a vengeance demon because Xander dumped her at the altar, but her being a vengeance demon again ultimately became a good thing in BtVS S6. Willow goes Dark Willow because Warren accidentally shot Tara and Tara died. Willow is ‘saved’ by getting even more power and Xander still loving her. Spike is able to save Dawn in “Bargaining” (6.01-2) because he’s a powerful vampire.

BtVS S7: the whole world is in danger because the First Evil decided Buffy being back created an opportunity for it to try to take over the world.

So, I disagree with your premise.


Spike is less useful in fighting evil [in BtVS S6] than [he was in] S5. His vampirism is pretty much just a liability instead of an asset in their fight. Huh? Spike being a vampire is useful whenever he fought vampires and demons. If not for Spike, Dawn would have perhaps died in “Bargaining” (6.01-2) and Buffy would have likely died in “Once More with Feeling” (6.07) and become Sweet’s wife for eternity.


Even Buffy's slayer powers don't seem as awesome without S6's lame villains. Huh? Buffy kicks ass in BtVS S6. She seems more powerful than she was in BtVS S5.


And the text insinuates that Buffy's slayerness contributes to her dysfunctional relationship with the people in her life. Buffy being the Slayer is the only reason she had any of these relationships.


Giles's new honorific [in BtVS S7] is Dumbledore. Huh?


* BtVS S8: the only problem is Twilight.



Artea


You mean the same Bringers who managed to kill only a handful of Potentials while leaving the 2000 or so girls that Buffy ended up activating alone? We don’t know how many Potentials there were initially.


Spike and the amulet saved the day, so there was no need whatsoever to mobilize the girls to defeat the First and its minions. Those UberVamps could have gotten to Spike and Buffy didn’t know what the amulet would do much less how effective it would be.


They could use the Potential locator spell to locate Potentials, ask their consent and then activate them. Given the time constraints in “Chosen” (7.22), this notion is untenable.



Yosso


Faith never used her slayer powers for the moral good. This wasn’t true at the end of “Who Are You?” (4.16) and hasn’t been true since she decided to help Angel in AtS s4.

MikeB
20-09-18, 10:31 AM
All caught up.

All said regarding writers, producers, actors, directors, viewers, readers, etc. are what I remember, my opinions, etc.




It seems I included nothing from BtVS S8, and Season 9... VERY VAGUE SPOILER REFERENCES BELOW:





* I consider Spike should have kept Beck, Spider and Co., and his bugship.



* I consider Willow should have kept the Seedling inside her. She could then make Buffy SuperBuffy again. And either give Spike more power or not.

The comics would have a much better end if Willow, Buffy, and Spike ended the series as immortal superbeings capable of protecting the Earth from any supernatural or natural threats.