Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Halloween - some thoughts and questions

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Halloween - some thoughts and questions

    When Buffy is trying to persuade Willow to dress in something other than her 'Boo' ghost costume in Halloween she tells her, "It's come as you aren't night. The perfect chance for a girl to get sexy and wild with no repercussions."

    What do you think Buffy means by this? Do you read it as suggesting a costumed scenario allows for someone to be something they aren't, or that it enables them to actually let out something they feel they normally can't or shouldn't? Is it highlighting a sense of oppression that is on women or just that is part of how teenagers feel as they navigate society and the expectations of conformity around them?

    Also, in thinking about how the spell works, it is referenced more than once after this episode that Xander retains some military knowledge as a consequence of his time as a soldier. There is no suggestion however that there are any lingering effects for either Willow or Buffy. Or perhaps it is more that any lingering traces just wouldn't be of any use. Xander chooses to bring back to mind some knowledge from the spell that he gained, but the others wouldn't need or want to. The effect of Willow's was quite literal but it could still have worked on her own perception of self and what the costume represented. I tend to reason out Buffy's reduction of what noble women would have been like as a lack of knowledge and that it was this perception that informed how the spell worked on her. Xander's gave him a sense of confidence and success, and so he gained elements from his transformation that he would then choose to recall and retain. Or perhaps the remnant simply reflects that the spell was made for chaos and there was no real consistency in how it affected those wearing them. How do you reason the spell worked and why Xander keeps some military know-how?

  • #2
    Do you read it as suggesting a costumed scenario allows for someone to be something they aren't, or that it enables them to actually let out something they feel they normally can't or shouldn't?
    I think it's both - it's kinda carnivalesque...so for one day you're allowed to be something you're not - but if it's "allowed" how authentic is it? I kinda see Halloween as a mask beneath a mask (or a mask atop a mask). Real authenticity would be nothing under the mask. Gone is probably the most authentic expression of self.
    INVISIBLE BUFFY: Free of rules and reports ... free of this life. SPIKE: Free of life? Got another name for that. Dead. In carnival the rules are inverted (the fool becomes king) but they are still rules.

    Xander retains some military knowledge as a consequence of his time as a soldier.
    Alternatively, it's how he understands/reasons it then. In actuality, it's this:
    WILLOW Is this left over from your days in the Army? XANDER No, this is left over from every Army movie I've ever seen.

    I tend to reason out Buffy's reduction of what noble women would have been like as a lack of knowledge and that it was this perception that informed how the spell worked on her.
    Buffy's lack of knowledge or a lack of history...a lack of an alternative role model? How many noblewomen wrote their own stories (how many Slayers wrote their own story)?
    sigpic

    Comment


    • American Aurora
      American Aurora commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes, that's a great point - very carnivalesque.

  • #3
    Originally posted by TriBel View Post
    I think it's both - it's kinda carnivalesque...so for one day you're allowed to be something you're not - but if it's "allowed" how authentic is it? I kinda see Halloween as a mask beneath a mask (or a mask atop a mask). Real authenticity would be nothing under the mask.
    Then there's Willow who's adding in a layer with a mask under the mask she is wearing on the mask she always wears. I think it is uncertain as well how much the costume under the ghostly one is something that she chose which Buffy is trying to make her feel confident in or something Buffy encourages her to wear. And then there's the social acceptability of what masks can be worn greatly amplified by there being a shop that sells costumes. The sense of there being either an expression of something you aren't but also an expression of something you can't normally show is definitely all mixed in.

    And there's Cordelia, who we see in Earshot says what she thinks and in Halloween wears something that fits who she seems to be. But this feels like reinforcing an image that is in part who she is and in part a built persona to shield herself anyway.

    I have to admit I find the mix of potential motivations for outwardly dressing up fascinating.

    Alternatively, it's how he understands/reasons it then. In actuality, it's this:
    WILLOW Is this left over from your days in the Army? XANDER No, this is left over from every Army movie I've ever seen.
    Somewhat, and I really do like this point and how it links into his own interests and so his motivation for costume selection. But he does also seem to be getting some additional practical knowledge through the spell.

    Buffy's lack of knowledge or a lack of history...a lack of an alternative role model? How many noblewomen wrote their own stories (how many Slayers wrote their own story)?
    Well the question of history being influenced by those that write it is always there. I'm not sure how much history reduces women to the degree Buffy's perception seems to give (if indeed her perception plays it's part in the spell). Or perhaps with the intention of chaos, the dress was specifically designed to create a damsel. I do prefer to try to find reason for the depiction that isn't it being intended as a true and fair one. I understand Angel somewhat supports it, but he is at the time trying to make Buffy feel better.

    That the watcher's diaries are the record left of slayers is an interesting observation. Finding a diary written by a slayer themselves would be a really interesting plot point. Arguably of course the S7 spell is about slayers defining their own stories.

    Comment


    • #4
      Xander says he could take disassemble and reassemble a rifle. I doubt he picked that from army movies. And he also attributes specific details of the local base to that spell. I doubt that any army movie released top secret info of local bases.

      I am not sure what practical knowledge that Willow or Buffy picked up. I guess I could see a throwaway line about Buffy knowing the correct order of forks on the table or some other social grace.

      I suspect that softer-side-of-Sears Willow is as much a costume as the ghost Willow or the sexy Willow. I find like in season 3 and 4 Willow became more comfortable with certain true sides of herself.

      Comment


      • #5
        Originally posted by PuckRobin View Post
        I suspect that softer-side-of-Sears Willow is as much a costume as the ghost Willow or the sexy Willow. I find like in season 3 and 4 Willow became more comfortable with certain true sides of herself.
        I love that moment in Restless when Buffy tells Willow to take it off and her clothes are turned back to the S1 outfit as she loses confidence and stands exposed at the front of the class with her book report. You're right of course, because that's about how she fears she's seen or fears who she still is really underneath. And that side of herself is a part of the whole. But perhaps also an image of herself that she had longer to feel more settled wearing. Yet is one that she breaks away from and is very linked to being younger and under her parents' roof.

        Comment


        • #6
          Originally posted by Stoney View Post
          When Buffy is trying to persuade Willow to dress in something other than her 'Boo' ghost costume in Halloween she tells her, "It's come as you aren't night. The perfect chance for a girl to get sexy and wild with no repercussions."

          What do you think Buffy means by this? Do you read it as suggesting a costumed scenario allows for someone to be something they aren't, or that it enables them to actually let out something they feel they normally can't or shouldn't? Is it highlighting a sense of oppression that is on women or just that is part of how teenagers feel as they navigate society and the expectations of conformity around them?
          I interpret it as Buffy saying that Halloween gives girls a free pass to dress and act sexily without society slut-shaming them. I do think Buffy is suggesting that this is something Willow has buried within as opposed to being something she isn't as she tells her "don't underestimate yourself, you have it in you."

          Of course, it's a bit naive to assume that people's judgement of women completely goes away on Halloween. Giles is somewhat judgemental when he views Willow's costume after all and when Willow picks up on this she instinctively wraps her arms around herself to cover her exposed waist. However, Buffy is right in saying that there's a certain expectation that women will dress provocatively on Halloween and that this will be viewed as normal as opposed to if Willow walked down the street dressed in her costume any other day of the year.

          What I find interesting is that whilst Buffy pushes Willow to dress more 'provocatively' she excitedly takes the night as an opportunity to dress herself more conservatively than her normal attire. Which leads me to believe that Buffy is far more excited about Halloween providing the opportunity for girls to act differently than they normally would, period, regardless of what that means. She pushes Willow to be more outwardly sexy because she perceives Willow as holding back that side of herself, not because she thinks all girls should dress sexily.

          I've seen my fair share of criticisms towards Buffy here and the way she pushes Willow into a costume she doesn't feel very comfortable with. However, I think Buffy is right that Willow is repeatedly hiding herself and whilst dressing provocatively in a way that makes her feel uncomfortable may not necessarily be the only answer, neither is hiding under a white sheet when you lament that nobody notices you. I also personally love how genuinely excited Buffy is when she stands in the mirror besides Willow and gleefully says that she "can't wait to see the boys go non-verbal when they notice her." So often in media women are depicted as being at each other's throats as they succumb to jealousy and vie for attention of men. It's incredibly refreshing and heartwarming to see Buffy so happy to push Willow into the spotlight to get all the attention and her unwavering belief that men will fall head over heels for Willow because she really is so amazing and a "dish." I love their friendship

          ~ Banner by Nina ~

          Comment


          • #7
            Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
            I interpret it as Buffy saying that Halloween gives girls a free pass to dress and act sexily without society slut-shaming them. I do think Buffy is suggesting that this is something Willow has buried within as opposed to being something she isn't as she tells her "don't underestimate yourself, you have it in you."
            I agree that there is definitely a positive intention to what Buffy is saying to Willow and I think she understands when Willow chooses to go back to being ghostly. Her disappointment is for Willow.

            Of course, it's a bit naive to assume that people's judgement of women completely goes away on Halloween. Giles is somewhat judgemental when he views Willow's costume after all and when Willow picks up on this she instinctively wraps her arms around herself to cover her exposed waist. However, Buffy is right in saying that there's a certain expectation that women will dress provocatively on Halloween and that this will be viewed as normal as opposed to if Willow walked down the street dressed in her costume any other day of the year.

            What I find interesting is that whilst Buffy pushes Willow to dress more 'provocatively' she excitedly takes the night as an opportunity to dress herself more conservatively than her normal attire. Which leads me to believe that Buffy is far more excited about Halloween providing the opportunity for girls to act differently than they normally would, period, regardless of what that means. She pushes Willow to be more outwardly sexy because she perceives Willow as holding back that side of herself, not because she thinks all girls should dress sexily.
            I agree and it is that mix of breaking from societal expectations. For Buffy as the slayer, the expectation is that she will be strong and a leader. She does get to escape that in her own choice of costume and this is where that element of her own perception adds in to the change perhaps.

            The element of social expectations is always a factors in Larry's story too. His choice to dress as a pirate and the aggressive behaviour he then exhibits towards women feels like it was a continuation of the mask he wears at school anyway, when he's leering and making sexual comments. So there's definitely a factor that social expectations remain regardless of Halloween and can still impact choices.

            As Halloween isn't the same big event in the UK it's interesting to hear that there would be an expectation women would typically dress provocatively. Halloween is getting more commercialised here but it still focuses mostly on the kids, so you don't get this so much. But I can see that the female costumes lean towards that tone over being ghastly/scary like a lot of the male targeted costumes do.

            Comment


            • #8
              I always saw Buffy's encouragement as a positive thing - she's not trying to embarrass or harm Willow. In her mind, Buffy believes the costumes allow Willow to blossom and break out of predefined views of herself as an unattractive wallflower. Willow is a beautiful young woman with intense low esteem issues and Buffy is hoping that play-acting may work as a therapeutic tonic to cure Willow's negative view of herself.

              What I love is how Willow makes the decision to go as a shadow of herself - a negation of her own body as she dresses in an outfit to completely disguise who she is. But when things take a turn for the worse, Willow forgets momentarily that she is 'dressed to be sexy' because she's intent on saving her friends. And this sudden self-confidence and true sense of self makes her a thousand times more attractive regardless of what she is wearing.

              The show also seems to imply that this is true because Oz REALLY notices her when she crosses the street.

              Comment


              • Stoney
                Stoney commented
                Editing a comment
                Of course his fascination is heightened by the huge contrast to the costume she wore during Inca Mummy Girl when he noticed her the first time.

            • #9
              I thought Buffy would have been more inspirational if she let Willow be herself. That's who Willow is, and I thought Buffy would have known that instead of the pressure her to be sexy for what reason? I believe that the original BOO outfit was traditional, aesthetic, and unique it's was so Eskimo part 2.

              Comment


              • #10
                Marti Noxon overhauled Halloween's script. So it was her BTVS debut as staff writer.

                Comment

                Working...
                X