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Has BtVS impacted how you think?

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  • Has BtVS impacted how you think?

    I realised the other day in a discussion about some historical events with my children that the show really has made me actively think about a lot of things in a different way and has taught me to consider factors in the lives of others in a way I just wasn't before. Not because of a total lack of awareness or a previous inability to consider others perspectives, but through prompting more conscious consideration of others' experiences generally and the huge impact and influence it has. And also the consequences of traumatic experiences and how the ripples of that continue under the surface. I think a great deal of my improved consideration of different experiences of social pressures and responses to issues such as sexual orientation, gender and race, as examples, has come through fandom discussions about the show too. Things that are removed from my own experiences but I've gotten to hear personal perspectives and accounts from those that relate to or consider the themes and plots from the show in a different way. I think perhaps it is why Earshot is such a firm favourite for me. For both acknowledging the reality of how people are distracted by their own life and their own pains, whilst at the same time showing the role that empathising and sympathising also has.

    Do you feel the show has impacted how you think generally, or about anything specific?

  • #2
    No...not because there's anything wrong or shallow about BtVS (there isn't - I can see how it's worked on/for you and I'm genuinely pleased for you ) but because issues such as trauma, race, sex, and gender are my starting point with any text. In fact, I only became interested in BtVS (again) when I realised I could use conceptual models of trauma I developed 20+ years ago to unpack it. My one regret is I didn't put it on the syllabus until a couple of years ago (a 3rd-year under-grad module called "Framing the Past" and I used Lessons). It's great teaching material for the reasons you mention.
    sigpic

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    • #3
      Originally posted by TriBel View Post
      I only became interested in BtVS (again) when I realised I could use conceptual models of trauma I developed 20+ years ago to unpack it.
      I'm genuinely pleased for you. Why do you think that was something that didn't strike you originally? Was it the age you were when you first viewed it or just not looking to pick it apart the same at first?

      I think getting a better awareness of white privilege and why my own perspective is unconsciously limited was probably an aspect of why I gained through fandom from discussing the show so much, it has just made me think about these things more in an every day sense. I think the show and the example the characters set in trying to do their best has made me consider my own choices and actions more generally, even though I've always been very self analytical. But I think I see worth in others more now too than I used to and, I hope, am less casually dismissive of people.

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      • #4

        I think (heh) my first reaction to BTVS began with the entire first scenes of that excitement of “new beginnings” that were represented so incredibly well, of a new school year in all the ‘fines’ one could sweat over to get and choose and hope were a little bit admired.

        I couldn’t believe it. It wasn’t assumed that “the privileged” were the protagonists of the “Cordelia set,” who I actually loathed in their “judgy; ” and THAT is exactly how I encountered “mirror, mirror.” Can’t say a thing without showing * you! *

        I could see what should have been “top dog” as a ninth grader in Middle School, (which I had) put down at the bottom of the heap, “a scrub,” once more.

        California and the Northeast Coast of New York/Boston/D.C. is “all about” money, which dictated power and influence, specifically. That is a failed idea in not saying “sometimes” within it.

        Of course, there is the fear of the “chain of shame,” in who one knew before; and how one “played” that might not “work” anymore. See Willow and Cordelia in the “softer side of Sears” and “MY MOM picked this.” Not because she was “off loading” blame, but appreciating the love it represented for her to have the dress. The change in the ‘parental units’ was not done well. It only showed teens making ‘networks’ with each other (because they understand) but also because the ‘future’ actually * does * belong to them. I think Cordelia would ‘pick’ what she wanted—which was strictly to upstage her friends and to show “HOW MUCH” ‘Daddy loves me’ when he really hasn’t the time to care about “that dress.” He was doing things to “keep up” himself or he felt entitled to “cheat” to get “more.” That latter in taxes to have a * duty * to lower them suggests to me, that ‘our system’ is itself one set up to maintain ‘greed.’ How American!

        So, fear and insecurity, begins with that “dark maw” of a door into the “unknown.’ Naturally, in the gray and in the basement of “no one nice” belongs here, (people who I know( : O) smoked cigarettes “down there’ in the “pipes” and did so in such places where Darla shows me, this is (a smile of Imagination) and also not a total “waste of space” soap opera. It is taking * kids * more seriously. This CW teen show of angst and meltdowns wasn’t going to be ‘Glee.’ Darla isn’t even a “human,” and she shows she has “two faces,” and is murdering people to death—a lot more than “trauma” to survive.

        Naturally, there is ‘what other people think—can I even get along at all kinds with these new “cliques” and interests to ‘join’ or not, types of questions, but mostly of me, probably, at the top of the list, determining how much effort would be required to *stay there.” I had no idea that Cordelia had to actually work to keep all that up when she is some ideal to many “fresh out of the shower.”

        The Outsider revealing so much in “finding her fit” and having * really serious * secrets was breathtaking.

        Buffy had these great talents, that left “book learning” as a secondary in ‘juggling purposes’—literally trying to keep from dying and yet compelled to meet a life she really wished she didn’t ever have to face; she lost that “world view” of ‘entitlement, security, safety, and unthinking privilege.’ She was on a journey to what and where and how and with whom??

        (Luckily, I got to arrange my classes so I had more time away from the school and all * those * pressures. I got to raid the library more and spend time on line with fans and read their own work! Who knew that was “free” fun and lots to consider in a great outpouring of talent and thought.

        I think my mom telling me if I got pregnant, she’d raise the kid was the biggest jaw dropper I ever had in my life, especially, since I hadn’t even dated.

        All that “churchical’ was thrown under the bus for a reality specific to my sex. (Glee handled this notion, but not fully, as that really is a separating life).

        That is also how I really considered the truth of sex when one is ‘finding their way’ and not actually ‘fitting in’ with the churchical crowd. THAT was a beacon to courage and to identity, which is why Willow was important to me, with her patriarchal Jewish roots, the gift of these people that education was so valued, as it is the only thing that doesn’t go in a suitcase, and her “wishing” that took on the structures/strictures of ‘messing with the natural order,” that was highlighted, even in paganism. A goddess was from myths I passed by, and they were terrible fickle, as well, but “made better natural sense” to me in ‘birth’ than “cooking up” the paradoxical Mary, necessary for a pure, person, in a not sexual union, using “the word” as the “physicality” to a * duality * of spirit and material.


        The fact that a slayer was black and female and “bumped off” so readily * killed me * as we have no idea of her sexuality, nor does she, and she * IS * black. Not just “the shadow” side, or the ‘past’ iteration in some internal struggle within Buffy herself.

        That is what * fandom * helped me with. I think Joss might have been going for the “mirror/mirror” idea used in ‘twins’ and “shadow” self, for myths, maybe.

        “The good” read “obedient” girl being bumped off for not “adapting” to “girl power” quite fast enough (was me) and was also a mirror to Buffy being capable of this “rebellion” for “staying out all hours.” Hoever, Buffy * did * “pay the price” to be herself, eventually, anyway, but also did “save them all” despite her truest faith in how she loved, shown also that she didn’t just ‘pick her friends’ to save.

        Whatever her treatment/status in the high school. By keeping faith in love itself , as her job, too, for her friends and even for the ‘impossible love’ for Angel, the man, she was given that “group of oddballs” to help her in the greatest crunch of her very survival. She did her job, her duty and the * way * she intended to do it: she included “them all” –THAT WAS THE LEARNING. They may seem to be oddballs to her group in their “privilege” that had kept them so ignorant; and even their own oddity to themselves, as they changed in life, status and other choices having power to guide or to control.

        Maybe the security of ‘lying like a rug’ for identity protection on-line gave me a permission to find other sources of solace in “stories.” Which brought me to the Odyssey and Orpheus and Eurydice.

        I believe I have mentioned my worship of Xander, so at ease, sailing on his skateboard, yet seeking out “security friends.” I was trying to peg his age around “owning a car” and the reality of “those kinds of cars” in the “Cordelia class.” (The poorer around here fix old wrecks, as “nothing is totally trash, as it * costs * to get rid of things,” as best able).

        I decided right then that a ninth grader has no business in a school with 18 year olds, who could and would do “adult things.” Including USA military service with guns that do one thing: kill people, yet also were a “white solution” to keep an “underclass” employed—at least off the streets, except parting with money in bars and supporting “reasons” for jails.

        The political discourse was nothing new, but it wasn’t wholesale “entertainment,” back then, like today, I would call terrible (omission/”cherry picking” or even dodging the question) propaganda obvious to me “back then.”

        Buffy herself is not a person I would hang with. I never fit in because I did like “stories” and that doesn’t “make a dime” here. Football is king and the whole ‘job of women’ to compete with each other, and * against * each other to be in the “meat market” of approval for men made me “LOATHE,” with the passion of ten thousand suns, all things “Cordelia. ”

        I thought cheerleading as a horror of, at the very best, ‘fleas hopping around on a hot plate,” and just had to ask “why” but other “Glee shows” gave me an insight into how much work and how dangerous it really is.

        However, re: Cordelia, who I just can’t fathom the lack of supportive writing for * her * “great changes” on ATS, to be subjugated like that, didn’t track for her. Yes, Angel was the worshipper of power, I think she was supposed to “mirror?” with “Jasmine; ” and then suddenly to grinning like an idiot in her car. The phone call ‘helped’ because she was already dead.

        Anyway, I changed and learned to ‘love the world’ “as it is,’ in seeing us, most def , ‘in it’ altogether, like it or not. Those who ‘grab for themselves’ with the use of ‘influencers’—what the heck—to justify “yea for me, and hell with you” is * NOT * freedom, at all. Freedom is responsible to the whole. That si what is different in the world, we * KNOW * what we choose can “shift the world.”

        I can’t stand the cowardice of cynicism as the face of ‘wisdom’ and ‘power’—which Buffy really showed there is a true difference, in epic display. The best part is that people changing can be “making anew” and I do think BTVS tried to show that with “soul” interventions that actually only provided deeper and greater pain, to “paying the cost” * with the will to do so * in the face of death, that iself is another change within the paradox of ‘life/death’ and taught me we are indeed * precious * because we do know, we do will, we do dare, and each person makes the journey to understand *why * we keep silent. That is the right for each and every one of, and that is what is human.



        P.S. Magic basically has 4 parts: to know, to will, to dare, to keep silent.” Learned this stuff during Buffy. The last part is the part of magic that is “keep silent.” While I don’t think I am “religious” and even rather think it is the “root of all evil,” I think Buffy’s journeys, and those of her friends that have their own journeys, and yet act as mirrors and show “paradox,” is *not * always a “gray area; “ it is a possible ‘truth’ that needs deeper “research” and a wider heart to “see” what * is * and not just what is a “reflection.”

        HUGS!\
        sybil
        p.s. Because there must be one when one is a blabbermouth and has never learned the lesson of "keep silent," I learned to pay attention to credits, especially writers, composers, not just for celebrity, but to find other work and representations for such people who have such prowess, creativity and even standing to carry a vision. I do agree that "standard operating procedure" can be deadly, however. But that might be my war with "cynicism" as I am ignorant to the realities that constrain 'joint efforts.'

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        • #5
          sybil Love your point about a resulting sense of responsibility and potential contribution and influence.

          I have always followed writers in a casual, if I notice a name I recognise, way. Have there been other works/shows that you have gone on to find have meaningfully impacted you that tie to BtVS?

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          • #6
            It's really hard to answer this question as a fan of the show over twenty years. Perhaps it has, but there were so many other things at play, it's difficult to say the show had a definite affect more than anything else.

            I'd loved tv shows before I saw BtVS, but this writing was like nothing I'd heard before, it was new and quirky and clever. So I would say that the show made me want better television, with better written shows, characters and stories. It made me compare everything else I watch to Buffy, and mostly find it lacking. So yes, I can definitely say it changed how I think about television.

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            • Stoney
              Stoney commented
              Editing a comment
              Raising your expectations for television itself. I love it.

            • Priceless
              Priceless commented
              Editing a comment
              Pretty much, yes. It is the best show ever

          • #7

            I guess I am the worst in actually "growing" in all aspects of "moving on." I will never tire of teh "completeness" promised the B/A story, and my frustration is that it was never actually finished. (I love "becoming" but I also understand "paradox" as a measure of things I also find true).

            I was a one man type of woman (and he turned out to be my actual rapist, but I did get my 'one true love" becasue I got to choose and that meant "taking it all on for life."

            (and yes, I prosecuted--I had proof, obviously. That iis why I absolutely 100 percent abhor ANY law restricting a woman's "choice" about pregnancy at any time. Period. Robot bodies to offload an unwanted pregnancy of whatever characteristic don't seem to be in a man's participation for 100 percent care and 100 percent support by the entirety of the population.

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