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  • Female empowerment and men bashing.

    Where is the line, and what is female empowerment? Is that the idea that women are better than men? Is the final goal a world where the women are the new men and the men are the new women?

    I've sometimes trouble with the female empowerment message. I love the idea of the blond cheerleader that kicks ass, the super hero that looks like the stereotype victim. Only, my idea is that female empowerment should get the women next to the men, and not above them. So, BtVS/Ats rubs me the wrong way ... sometimes.

    Just some things in the shows:

    The strongest warriors are all female; Illyria, Willow, Buffy, Faith and the other slayers (and Cordelia). Angel, Spike and Connor are clearly less strong.

    We saw 3 gods in the shows ... again all three women; Glory, Jasmine and Cordelia.

    When something happens to a woman, it's rape ... if it happens to a man ... it's not. Buffy was very close to raping Spike in season 6, still everybody only remembers Spike attempted rape. Buffy is stronger, but that clearly doesn't count. Why, because the AR in SR is played as a rape *metaphor*, where the writers didn't want to do that when Buffy jumps on Spike. (I don't watch those scenes ever again, somewhere I did read that Spike said 'no' and Buffy did 'yes', but I've no idea if this is true)
    The issues around Faith taking Buffy's body is seen as rape and has a big story. When an old dude does the same to Angel, nobody cares and it's funny ...
    Or in a slightly other way, the good old spell to create/activate a slayer ... some black men do it, and it's rape ... two white women do it, and it's empowerment.

    In BtVS, the women of the core 4 get the big stories ... where Giles and Xander are there ... somewhere in the background after season 4.

    There is woman/woman action, but no man/man ... yes, we had the throw away line about Spike/Angelus, Giles/Ethan and the Dracula/Xander thing ... but that are just lines/vibes. No scenes, kisses etc. I don't know what this has to do with female empowerment or my point, but after Dru/Darla, Willow/Tara, Willow/Kennedy and Buffy/Satsu ... it's time for Andrew and ... a male somebody.

    BtVS has a lot of nekkid chest action for the men, where the women are showing much less. Spike and Angel are victims of sitting without a shirt somewhere and being not important besides being hunky.

    Buffy (icon for female empowerment) is the hero who makes mistakes ... but is in the end saved by the writers (maybe season 8 will be different). Angel (the male counterpart) is the anti-hero, falls on his face ... very often.

    The watchers, those evil men (and some women ... but those are less in the picture) besides ... the shadowmen were men ... who became the watchers. Isn't it fun how Buffy makes them look redicilous and how evil they are? Checkpoint, Buffy vs. Wesley, Helpless, Kendra the CoW worshipper ... all about CoW bad, Buffy pretty. The fact that the watchers have good points are ignored, just to make Buffy look strong.

    In the most of the relations, the woman is the one who moves on first, the one that has the strongest voice ... and/or the men lose their personalities and pine about the woman. (absolute low point, Angel in TGIQ, 5 years after the break up)


    Is this female empowerment, or is this just reversing the roles and do we need a male empowerment message now? Why can't there be some way in between? Or do I feel too bad for the men right now?
    Last edited by Nina; 25-07-08, 12:01 AM.


  • #2
    Female empowerment in the real world is about women being able to be equal to men, not about them trying to be better then them.

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    • #3
      I personally would say I am a equalitarian. I would say that I am a feminist, but the term is not very clear and there are too many people claiming to be feminist who think women are above men.

      A lot of this pisses me off. Sometimes Joss seems to be against men. I agree 100% with you Nina, in fact I discussed this yesterday at school.

      And the honest truth is that those who want equality are being set back by radical feminists like the one who posted the article accessable in the "Is Firefly Sexist" Thread because it gives chauvinists what they believe is tangible evidence as to the problems with women.

      I would say the following is Man Bashing.

      Originally posted by Nina View Post
      [I]The strongest warriors are all female; Illyria, Willow, Buffy, Faith and the other slayers (and Cordelia). Angel, Spike and Connor are clearly less strong.
      It is just a bit too much for me. Especially with these women occasionally doing things that are unacceptable for a man to do and getting away with. Especially Buffy
      Just because you are a woman does not necessarily make you any less strong than a man. And you can be strong in different ways. eg Physically and Emotionally; and you can abuse people in different ways.

      The Spike/Buffy Double standard is badly done. It annoys me.
      I can't continue right now. But it happens in the show at various points. And it'swhy many people where i live don't like the show.

      However you should remember what the reason for the show coming out was. Female empowerment is the point of the show. And that is expressed very well. It's annoying but I can deal with it. I don't really over care if that makes sense.
      "I never learned from a man who agreed with me.'" Robert Heinlen

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      • #4
        Okay, I just disagree with so much that has already been said, I am not even going to get into it... But all I'll say is... Illyria is a dude...

        And I don't really see why this is a big deal. You watch the series to see woman empowerment, same with Xena, Charmed and Alias. If you want men empowerment go watch House or Hercules... It is such a double standard (and I find it happends with woman alot more then they admit) but if it was the other way, like lets say Angel was the strongest and Buffy was weaker, then people would still be complaining about this... No one will ever be happy but Joss has made a fine balance, yes sometimes it tips, but in most of the series there is a nice balance.

        ...

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        • #5
          you know, though... despite the strongest beings in the jossverse being all women... i'd say the smartest ones with real wisdom actually veer strongly towards the men's side (wesley, angel, giles, spike).

          they've made a lot of the women more brawny than the guys, but made the guys often having more on the brains and strategic planning front.

          and yeah, i HATE the word "feminist". the very word implies that the "femme" portion of the supposed "equality" message is more important. you don't see people calling themselves "masculinists" and claiming that they are promoting equality, do you? the very name as something other than "women are better" is a flawed argument. the name isn't about equality. that's why you have the word "equalist"... which i am happy to promote and call myself.

          and for all of buffy's physical strength, she'd be nowhere without a lot of people of both genders... and actually, heavily male on the wisdom and smarts front.

          the bashing of hank is probably one of the weakest loose ends in the franchise. he was actually not a horrible father in the early seasons... and joyce was not the perfect mother in the early seasons either. both had their flaws and points where they were actually the stronger parent. in fact, there was a theme in the early seasons of showing joyce as a bit of a reactionary alcoholic who had read one too many clueless parenting books. now, she was definitely a good person, but that doesn't mean hank was a terrible person. in fact, his actual APPEARANCES show something quite different--when she was bad, in particular. you also hear a very frustrated man that understood buffy's slayer thing as little as her mother did. joyce, in that period, seemed to be the calm one, but went to booze a bit (see becoming) and hank was quite harsh about buffy's hemery trouble, but cared in his own way (when she was bad), but felt like she was distant from him. simply, buffy preferred her mother--and a lot of it probably had to do with her change into being a slayer--her mother was a bit of a clueless dolt that allowed buffy a lot of leniency, whereas as her father was more upfront about trying to control the situation. hank complaining that joyce likes to make him into the bad guy probably had some truth. cheating isn't good, and that would be the wrong decision on hank's part, but it probably was more of a consequence than a cause.

          just a different perspective. a lot of children like the parent that allows them more freedom or are less demanding. that's both positive and negative.

          of course, what was once a father who was too concerned about what his daughter was going through, turned into one that didn't care at all. hank seemed more concerned about what was going on, imo, than joyce did.

          i'm an equalist... and i think there's actually a rampant problem in media of treating men as LESSER than women. how many shows and movies have you seen where the men are all wimpy, dumb males? feminist media has a tendency to raise up females by putting down males... and the way that they tend to raise up females is by making them take on male attributes rather than reveling in the strengths of femininity. it's not all bad. neither is masculine men a bad thing. men don't have to be turned into pussies and women don't have to be amazons to garner equality. men and women can be equally strong in all different kinds of ways.

          one thing that i did appreciate from joss was the writing of some men who were both mentally and emotionally strong. it's not just about physical strength. and one thing joss does write... or rather his writing staff... is strong men who have emotional depth without being turned into lame duck pussies. it's as important as women not all being dumb blondes screaming in alleys. the combination of btvs and ats probably did a lot to redress the balance of gender in the jossverse as an equalist whole rather than just one or the other. btvs verges towards feminine, ats verges towards masculine and together they are an equalist whole.

          "If there is no great glorious end to all this, if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do."
          "Nothing in the world is the way it ought to be. It's harsh and cruel. But that's why there's us. Champions."

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          • #6
            Totally agree with equalist argument. I actually didn't appreciate the message in Season 7's chosen as focusing on forcing physical strength on young women and passing itself off as female empowerment.

            One thing Joss does do well is represent his female characters as flawed, human individuals. They've all needed help and have been helped by both sexes in different ways. Angel been the brawn and saved the girl while Fred's used her intellect to save Angel in kind. Buffy has rescued Angel but Angel has also saved Buffy's life on numerous occasions (not to mention her friends).

            I think what's important is that neither failed to rise above the feminist stereotype. Buffy, wonderfully was called a hero by Xander. I choose to see this word as gender neutral term rather than a masculinised term.

            The other issue is what I call the David Fury factor. In another word when the audience is allowed to challenge the writers and concepts that seem readily accepted are turned on their heads. This is what I believe Btvs and Ats are supposed to do. Did Buffy do the righteous feminist thing in Season 7? Just ask Dana
            Spoiler:
            and Gigi and just look at Season 8


            Let us regard the Ats episode She. Over the top moralistic sermon on gender equality? Or morally ambiguous tale of the need for chaos in the world of subjugation, matching sentiments from different environments, demanding alternative levels of urgency. Suddenly the sermon doesn't seem so stuffy and we at least acheive balance.

            Angel and Buffy are taking responsibilities for the actions, often failing and sometimes making qualitive differences. To be honest, I'd add more value to one of Angel's soul saving moments to Buffy's saving the world with grand gestures, but that's a personal opinion. It doesn't negate what either of them did but it opens up the argument of which is more about what meaning we place on our heroes actions whether they be male or female.

            This links in with people like Xander and Giles etc. Xander's empowerment of Dawn was more powerful in some ways than Buffy's. Both the male and female have been the Zeppos. Giles mirrors his dark past with female Faith and both have been marginalized (whether consciously or not) by the golden girl (or should that be person lol).

            I agree with the some of the problems with father and some of the roles men play in order to glorify the hero(ine) but like it's been said, I think we have enough wonder and glory from the most of our characters. The glory doesn't have be large and we as the viewer can place our own value in their actions. Angel is my favourite character. If he were a woman, I'd love him just the same as long as the character was more or less intact. What is great is that when Im watching (ats in particular) I find myself caring more about the their individual journey's rather than the political message being portrayed.

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            • #7
              Female empowerment should be about the empowerment of female values and qualities.Buffy, Xena, Emma Peel, and the others are young boys' wet dreams about girls who are beautiful and can kick ass. I confess I enjoy this stuff, but it is not remotely connected with the empowerment of women as they actually are. Yet we do need to see this theme somewhere. Jung thought it was the most important and necessary development in our culture.

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              • #8
                I think the feminist level can work on a number of levels, depending on how you view the show. Practically it works in a very straight forward sense, Buffy can kick some ass. For the viewers who don't want to go much deeper than that, I think that's fine. But for others who want to go deeper she's still all about female empowerment IMO. She struggles, she falls down, she's humiliated but she stands up every time. She's a real woman and a fine one at that, so I think Joss succeeded in that area.

                In regards to how she's treated over men, well I personally didn't actually see it that much. I've never honestly thought about it to great extent, other than the blatantly pointless shirtless Angel and Spike scenes which are just irritating. Though I've always believed feminism should be about making women and men *equal* not make women superior, which is the impression I get a lot of the time from some women, thankfully the minority.

                I preferred it when the whole feminist message was more subtle though. I hated season seven how they rammed it down our throats, I couldn't stand it. As someone who's never really viewed women and men all that different it had actually never been that evident to me Buffy was a feminist show, honestly it went right over my head. To suddenly be bombarded with all this propaganda struck me as really condescending and over the top. I was fearful it might continue in season 8, with perhaps the one piece of dialogue I've really disliked in the season when Buffy says to Voll about how people hate women and power being two words in the same sentence, I pretty much rolled my eyes. Thankfully Voll corrected her that it has nothing to do with that and we've been spared any more hard hitting feminist messages ever since.

                I have no problem with feminism, but I like it to be subtle, we don't need to be slapped in the face with it over and over again. It's silly and annoying and detracts from the story.

                ~ Banner by Nina ~

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Nina View Post
                  Where is the line, and what is female empowerment? Is that the idea that women are better than men? Is the final goal a world where the women are the new men and the men are the new women?
                  In terms of the real world, the goal of the feminism I'd subscribe to (though obviously, it's not a single movement, so subscribe is perhaps an odd word, since it's more my vision of things) is to allow women to live their lives as they choose (within the rule of law?yes Buffy, I'm looking at you, all Ocean's Eleveny with your slayers) and to determine their own paths in life. That doesn't come with any particular prescriptions as to how they should determine those paths. So, if a woman wants to stay home with a baby, or to become the President, or do a bit of both over the course of her life? that's all feminism triumphant, provided she's made those choices without feeling she has to just because she's a woman, and provided she's valued for performing those roles just as much as a man would be valued for the choices he makes in life.

                  So, equality is the goal, but also flexibility. Men and women should be able to make whatever choices that suit them, and not be looked down on for doing something outside the gender norm OR something that's very much within it. Men being homemakers, men being board members, or women being board members or homemakers? in an ideal world, no one would blink an eye at any of that.

                  My issue is with the idea that just because something is more commonly chosen by one gender rather than another, is that that norm becomes prescriptive ? and that typical women's roles become devalued. So, men who take care of the babies are seen as womanly? and that's seen as a BAD thing. Even though everyone knows men carrying babies = massively appealing. Or that Athena poster never would've been such a big hit in the 90s.

                  So, for me, it's all about anyone can do anything (if they want to), never mind their sex.

                  So, how does any of this apply to BtVS (will come back for Angel, I think it's a slightly different case)? Well, in Buffy in particular, I enjoy the flexible gender roles. It's not as simple as gender role reversal ? that has a limited appeal (though is always awesome in Shakespeare...mind you, that's never a simple role reversal anyway, what with the boys dressed up as girls dressed up as boys scenario). The male characters and the female characters take turns at playing roles that are "typical" male or female roles. But in so doing, I think they break down the notion of what's "typical".

                  Buffy never seems to me to be playing at being a man. She's just being Buffy, doing "girly" stuff such as saving the world from unspeakable evil. IE it's not typically girly stuff, and the notion of what's girly shifts around.

                  Xander's masculinity is also a flexible concept, which he acknowledges and makes jokes about: "I'm practically turning into a woman as I say this". By questioning his "man-ness" (can't remember what that's from?possibly Willow in Beer Bad?), he's not becoming less, he's actually being more mature and emotionally honest about sex. What men want and what women want isn't set in stone. Sometimes, Xander "turns into" a sixteen year old boy (or, ya know, a hyena), and is very much a "typical" male, but he's also sceptical of the notion that all men are the same. His relationship with Anya's very interesting in this way, as she's also learning more about the first-hand experience of gender roles, after seeing a skewed, vengeance-focussed "battle" of the sexes for years. In many ways, she's the most "typical" female, in the old fashioned sense, wanting a man to complete her, to define her? but she moves beyond this (and always is beyond it, really, given her very strong sense of her own desires, even if she's not so sure of her direction in life).

                  I'm probably painting too rosy a picture, and sometimes the male/female roles are less progressive? but then, that's just life. We haven't achieved a utopia in which women and men can take whatever roles suit them, and TV shows can only go so far before they start being utopian instead of representing people's lives as they are. Which I think Buffy tries to do, in terms of gender ? aside from the physical strength element (which is a metaphor), I think the nature of female and male experience is pretty fairly portrayed, though with an emphasis on exploring how gender can be more flexible than sometimes people think.

                  When it comes to sex objects?

                  Spike and Angel definitely get their tops off an unfair amount. But perhaps it's just affirmative action, as a corrective. Seen in the context of how much male and female flesh you get on telly, it's just a tiny amount of manflesh compared to the bulk of scantily clad women you see on shows. Still, does seem unbalanced in that respect. So, either we need more shirts for the boys, or fewer for the girls. What's the vote?


                  -- Robofrakkinawesome BANNER BY FRANCY --

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Wolfie Gilmore View Post
                    When it comes to sex objects…

                    Spike and Angel definitely get their tops off an unfair amount. But perhaps it’s just affirmative action, as a corrective. Seen in the context of how much male and female flesh you get on telly, it’s just a tiny amount of manflesh compared to the bulk of scantily clad women you see on shows. Still, does seem unbalanced in that respect. So, either we need more shirts for the boys, or fewer for the girls. What’s the vote?
                    I don't really see any imbalance. A topless woman is generally considered much more naked than a topless man, so a straight comparison of "how many nipples do we see" doesn't make much sense. The closest equivalent would be female backs or legs, no? And Buffy wears a lot of miniskirts (early seasons) and back-free tops (later seasons), so it does seem pretty evened out to me.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kassyopeia View Post
                      I don't really see any imbalance. A topless woman is generally considered much more naked than a topless man, so a straight comparison of "how many nipples do we see" doesn't make much sense. The closest equivalent would be female backs or legs, no? And Buffy wears a lot of miniskirts (early seasons) and back-free tops (later seasons), so it does seem pretty evened out to me.
                      Interesting point. A woman in her bra still looks more undressed than a topless man, do you think? I think perhaps it depends on the bra. Cropped top/sports bra or bikini top, looks more dressed, but a lacy bra, looks less dressed.


                      -- Robofrakkinawesome BANNER BY FRANCY --

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Wolfie Gilmore View Post
                        Interesting point. A woman in her bra still looks more undressed than a topless man, do you think? I think perhaps it depends on the bra. Cropped top/sports bra or bikini top, looks more dressed, but a lacy bra, looks less dressed.
                        Interesting point yourself. Acceptable level of public nudity definitely depend on regional and contextual norms, to some extent (cf public breastfeeding). By beachwear standards, I agree, a bikini top would generally be considered comparable to male toplessness. The context in the show is usually different though - Angel and Spike aren't in their underwear, they're working out or getting out of bed or some such, so it doesn't seem like objectification to me. A woman who sleeps naked wouldn't put on a bra when someone knocks on the door, so a similar scene for one of the female characters would seem less natural. But, yes, they could certainly have had Buffy wear something more revealing in her periodically featured workouts, fair enough.

                        When it comes to implied full nudity, I think the same applies. There are a lot more angles you can show a naked man from without making it "inappropriate" by US standards than for a naked woman. Case in point, the post-transformation scenes in "Wild at heart", where we see a lot more naked Oz-flesh than Veruca-flesh, simply because having him be in front of her was the only way to film those scenes and keep it "family hour style", as the scripts usually call it.

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                        • #13
                          It was recently pointed out to me that Buffy jumps rope in a ridiculously low cut top in "Lover's Walk". It might be the best scene in the televised seasons

                          Men are made more overtly sexual sport in the Buffyverse, it's just fact. Xander gets the slow pan-up in "Go Fish", Angel's shirtless tai chi in slow mo. Spike making Captain Kirk say "put a shirt on".

                          Where for the women... even when the sexuality is the focus, it's usually subdued. Like the camera lingering on Buffy's entrance in "When She Was Bad". The dress was not ridiculously revealing. The most gratuitously sexual Sarah had to play from a "just stand there and be hot" point of view was in "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered" with the raincoat, and really, it was pretty modest overall. Willow and Tara in Xander's dream, maybe. Dawn's dance in "Him". It just doesn't add up.

                          As for the role of men in the Buffyverse, I think Wolfie covered most of the important stuff to me. But I'd add that there *are* times when Buffy descends into misandry of sorts. All men are rapists and abusers is a thing that comes up a lot. All fathers are bad. Usually these are your Noxon-driven moments, her episodes or seasons, but it can pervade at times. The father thing is all Joss.

                          I would point out that I agree about a woman staying home and raising kids is a valid feminist choice, there are certainly vocal feminist groups that say otherwise, that it's just voluntary slavery yadda yadda yadda. It rears its head in the Buffyverse fandom when the idea of marriage or family ever comes up about Buffy.
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                          • #14
                            it actually goes both ways... a topless man is more dressed than a topless woman, but a bottomless man is less dressed than a bottomless woman. hence why you can show the "V" in a rated r movie, whereas that same area on a guy is way rarer and usually only in porn (whereas the former shows up in many movies in the "revenge of the nerds" vein).

                            a bunch of guys with no tops doesn't even rate on the nudity scale. whereas a woman in a sports bra is about equal to a nude male chest. on the other hand, you see a lot of female legs, backs, bra straps, cleavage, etc... male nudity they tend to focus pretty much just on the chest, whereas the female body tends to get the all-over, with the exception of a tendency to cover the nipples. the famous adam and eve fig leaves are still pretty much being the rule for what is considered acceptable or unacceptable.

                            also remember that btvs' imbalance was partially because the main star wouldn't do a nude scene (only one naked back shot), so the state of dress between the females and males tended to end up falling to the men to provide the titillation... and not because of feminism, but because smg wouldn't do it.

                            the angel nudity, however, didn't go HALF as far as the spike nudity. both had a lot (even wesley got in on the titillation in season 4--xander also had his speedo moment). i didn't ever really have a moment where the angel stuff really bothered me, but yeah, the spike stuff went WAY too far. and i've heard rumors that james marsters was not happy about it at all.

                            as far as female nudity... nina, cordelia and darla probably showed the most skin. some of cordelia's shirts seemed completely chosen for the express purpose of showing charisma's pregnant breasts. jenny mollen in smile time actually has a point where you can see the bandaid over her nipple--probably the closest the jossverse ever got to female full-frontal. julie benz's full back, thong strap and part of her breast shows up in reprise. emma caulfield also had a lot of lacy undergarments. amy acker also got a full back shot with a sliver of chest--also a pretty blatant up-the-miniskirt shot (supersymmetry).

                            i think most of the difference is people are immediately thinking of how little smg shows herself... especially due to how open the two male leads seemed to be. but there were other actresses that were less uncomfortable with nudity... just not the star.

                            i think the only one it definitely went too far with was spike, but it does correlate to the fact that part of his arc was realizing that he shouldn't put up with the way buffy was using him... thus, he actually makes comments about the use of his flesh in beneath you. the change from season 6 to season 7 wasn't just discomfort on buffy's part because of the AR. there was also some discomfort on his part with the way she used him.

                            and while the angel nudity was there, it was more scattered and not all in every episode of one season. the scenes where angel has his shirt off were in an entirely different context. spike's story was about sexual abuse. angel's shirtless scenes were usually him waking up or going to bed, getting patched up, etc... they weren't all sexualized scenes (though there were some).

                            and while the angel/darla scene in reprise is very possibly the most sexually explicit in either show (both david and julie show a lot of flesh), there wasn't a feeling of a character actually feeling exposed and viewed almost entirely for that purpose. another reason is that smg was always fully clothed in all of her scenes with james--which made him stand out more.
                            Last edited by NileQT87; 31-07-08, 01:27 PM.

                            "If there is no great glorious end to all this, if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do."
                            "Nothing in the world is the way it ought to be. It's harsh and cruel. But that's why there's us. Champions."

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                            • #15
                              Was it Sarah or a body double in the Angel/Buffy sex dream in 'Amends'? I know she had a no nudity clause in her contract but we see her back with Angel's hand on it, and it's probably the most bare we ever got from her.

                              I have no problems with nudity when it's needed to be there, as for example in sex scenes ect. But when Spike is just sitting on his cot with no shirt on in 'Dirty Girls' it's just stupid, as is some of his near full frontal nuddy shots in episodes such as 'As You Were' and 'Wrecked' which become rather distasteful. I just find them pretty pathetic really, and it’s the people on set who should take the blame. I don’t blame Masters for getting sick of it (it’s stated he did in the Dirty Girls commentary.)

                              I’m also pretty against the idea of thinking it’s ok because of all the other shows who expose women. There’s plenty of men who are watching Btvs and they shouldn’t be “rewarded” if you will, by a “haha we’ve been subjected to it for years so now it’s your turn” that doesn’t resolve the problem and certainly doesn’t make men and women equal.
                              Last edited by vampmogs; 31-07-08, 01:41 PM.

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                                It was recently pointed out to me that Buffy jumps rope in a ridiculously low cut top in "Lover's Walk". It might be the best scene in the televised seasons

                                Men are made more overtly sexual sport in the Buffyverse, it's just fact. Xander gets the slow pan-up in "Go Fish", Angel's shirtless tai chi in slow mo. Spike making Captain Kirk say "put a shirt on".
                                I think that those things are particularly noticeable because we’re so unused to seeing men offered up as objects on television, while the same thing happening with a woman, we’re a bit more neutral about that. I think AtS does the female sexualisation much more - hello princess leia outfit on Princess Cordy, for example…or Gwen’s outfits…though they do make fun of that sexualisation and so subvert it to a degree – Cordy saying “see how it brings out my breasts” about her necklace, for instance. Plus, Angel is all tied up and sweaty a lot too.

                                I’d say the “Go Fish” pan up is something more subverty than porno though, as it’s quite explicitly dealing with the *idea* of Xander as a sex object, not just making him into said object… and then subverting it by him getting all shy and running away in a very unslutty, awkward way.

                                But there’s no excuse for the nekkid tai chi. Especially because it’s so awfully cheesy I want to cry, which makes it not sexy at ALL. So it’s both unfair to men and women who like to keep their breakfast down.

                                As for the role of men in the Buffyverse, I think Wolfie covered most of the important stuff to me. But I'd add that there *are* times when Buffy descends into misandry of sorts. All men are rapists and abusers is a thing that comes up a lot. All fathers are bad. Usually these are your Noxon-driven moments, her episodes or seasons, but it can pervade at times. The father thing is all Joss.
                                Yes, daddies don’t come off well… though, Angel’s a good father, imo, even though Connor doesn’t agree. I don’t know that the “all men are rapists” thing is just about men though… I think everyone is capable of sexual violence in the Buffyverse. I don’t think Buffy gets suitably brought up on it with Spike, but Faith’s tying up of Xander is very much treated as a rape scenario, and a symbol of how dangerous she is. I think both she and Spike were portrayed sympathetically and realistically in terms of those attempted rapes/sexual violence – not “omgevilrapists!” but “these are people who have lost the plot, who can’t be proper people yet”.

                                I would point out that I agree about a woman staying home and raising kids is a valid feminist choice, there are certainly vocal feminist groups that say otherwise, that it's just voluntary slavery yadda yadda yadda. It rears its head in the Buffyverse fandom when the idea of marriage or family ever comes up about Buffy.
                                I think the idea of staying at home with the babies remains problematic for many feminists because the role is still seen as “women’s work” and not given the same kudos as going out to work. That’s something in the real world that needs correcting. So, at the moment, it’s hard to *feel* quite as feminist if you stay at home, even if the choice is a valid one, if you see what I mean… because people don’t treat you in the same way, so your choices aren’t supported and reinforced as good choices, from a feminist perspective. It’s a tough one.

                                Buffy herself hasn’t had to confront that yet, as she may be “mom” to Dawn in seasons 5 and 6, but she’s never going to be a stay-at-home mother while she’s the slayer – though, if she became a mother while fighting evil, she’d have an almost limitless supply of teenage babysitters to hand.

                                But there are some interesting comparison’s between Buffy’s “job” as the slayer (which is only performed by women) and the idea of “women’s work” - being underpaid (the slayer ain’t paid at all), not being recognised or given respect by society, not being part of public life because you’re hidden away/in the kitchen/cemetery (the slayer works in secret and isn’t rewarded with kudos by society, apart from the odd umbrella plaudit…
                                Spoiler:
                                well, for the moment anyway
                                ). Though she does get respect from her peers, of course… she’s formed her own “society” in which the slayer does get recognition, even if she’ll never be a lawyer or a doctor, as Dawn complains.


                                I’m also pretty against the idea of thinking it’s ok because of all the other shows who expose women. There’s plenty of men who are watching Btvs and they shouldn’t be “rewarded” if you will, by a “haha we’ve been subjected to it for years so now it’s your town” that doesn’t resolve the problem and certainly doesn’t make men and women equal.
                                Mogs, I think it’s something that’s useful to do a few times, to highlight what the typical experience has been for women for so long…not in a “taste of your own medicine” way, but more a “feel our pain”. However, in the long run, I agree that it doesn’t serve anyone’s interest if it’s just a tit (heh) for tat game.
                                Last edited by Wolfie Gilmore; 31-07-08, 01:41 PM.


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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Wolfie Gilmore View Post
                                  I'd say the "Go Fish" pan up is something more subverty than porno though, as it's quite explicitly dealing with the *idea* of Xander as a sex object, not just making him into said object? and then subverting it by him getting all shy and running away in a very unslutty, awkward way.
                                  No, it's turning him into said object and then running away from admitting it. It's BS in the same way that the Jewel "Intution" video is (she parodies pop star sexuality... in the process of dancing around under a fire hose. Socially comment all you like, darling, but you're clearly in the titillation game yourself). They still said "let's put Nick's (current) washboard on TV in slow motioin" and then dressed it up in subversive clothes.

                                  Yes, daddies don't come off well? though, Angel's a good father, imo, even though Connor doesn't agree. I don't know that the "all men are rapists" thing is just about men though? I think everyone is capable of sexual violence in the Buffyverse. I don't think Buffy gets suitably brought up on it with Spike, but Faith's tying up of Xander is very much treated as a rape scenario, and a symbol of how dangerous she is. I think both she and Spike were portrayed sympathetically and realistically in terms of those attempted rapes/sexual violence ? not "omgevilrapists!" but "these are people who have lost the plot, who can't be proper people yet".
                                  It's in "Beauty and the Beasts", "Wild At Heart", etc. Men are predatory figures in love and relationships. Spike declares, in his own selfish interest, that Buffy "needs some monster in her man", and, most troublingly, fans latch on to this -- even the empowered female icon needs a man who can give her a good throw. Men are primal and dangerous to women.

                                  I think the idea of staying at home with the babies remains problematic for many feminists because the role is still seen as "women's work" and not given the same kudos as going out to work. That's something in the real world that needs correcting. So, at the moment, it's hard to *feel* quite as feminist if you stay at home, even if the choice is a valid one, if you see what I mean? because people don't treat you in the same way, so your choices aren't supported and reinforced as good choices, from a feminist perspective. It's a tough one.
                                  Oddly enough, it's that feminist quarter that does more to emphasize the idea of it being treated as woman's work and being less worthy than entering the workforce. I don't think that anywhere in the First World will you find that men aren't hip to the idea that women are now *choosing* if they stay home or not. Indeed, Tim Allen does a great bit that women (again, in the First World) have far more choices of lifestyle than men do. He runs them down in various combinations of working, not working, getting married, not getting married, having a poolboy, not having a poolboy, or perhaps marrying the poolboy. Men, on the other hand, he says "we can work... (holds his breath while thinking)... or penitentiary, basically".

                                  Buffy herself hasn't had to confront that yet, as she may be "mom" to Dawn in seasons 5 and 6, but she's never going to be a stay-at-home mother while she's the slayer ? though, if she became a mother while fighting evil, she'd have an almost limitless supply of teenage babysitters to hand.
                                  Honestly, I think Joss should go for it at some point in Season 8 or Season 9. Especially given that he had Andrew hang a lantern on the Slayer/Potential vibe as being allegorical for womanhood/fertility/motherhood. I don't think it would be a sharkjumper if he was planning around it.

                                  But there are some interesting comparison's between Buffy's "job" as the slayer (which is only performed by women) and the idea of "women's work" - being underpaid (the slayer ain't paid at all), not being recognised or given respect by society, not being part of public life because you're hidden away/in the kitchen/cemetery (the slayer works in secret and isn't rewarded with kudos by society, apart from the odd umbrella plaudit?
                                  Spoiler:
                                  well, for the moment anyway
                                  ). Though she does get respect from her peers, of course? she's formed her own "society" in which the slayer does get recognition, even if she'll never be a lawyer or a doctor, as Dawn complains.
                                  Excellent observations, never thought of it that way. Men make the money, women kill the vampires. And, oddly enough, if you go back to the original metaphor of vampires and demons as "life's everyday little problems", then the women kill the vampires idea really holds up as a discussion of how unappreciated that role of wife and mother is for women that make the choice to take it on can be.

                                  Mogs, I think it's something that's useful to do a few times, to highlight what the typical experience has been for women for so long?not in a "taste of your own medicine" way, but more a "feel our pain". However, in the long run, I agree that it doesn't serve anyone's interest if it's just a tit (heh) for tat game.
                                  Nah, I want equal time. MOAR naked womens!
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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                                    No, it's turning him into said object and then running away from admitting it. It's BS in the same way that the Jewel "Intution" video is (she parodies pop star sexuality... in the process of dancing around under a fire hose. Socially comment all you like, darling, but you're clearly in the titillation game yourself). They still said "let's put Nick's (current) washboard on TV in slow motioin" and then dressed it up in subversive clothes.
                                    I agree that it was meant to make the ladies swoon, there's no denying it but I don't really have a problem with it because it was played for comedy. It was your typical teen drama slow mo with sexy music, only they cut it with a "Xander!" and he quickly is pulled out of that world, and back to Xander world where he runs and hides for something to cover himself with. It's played for laughs so I don't really mind it.

                                    Funnily enough, the scenes where nudity is meant to be *obvious* such as the Xander slo mo scene, or Buffy in nothing but a raincoat with the sexy sweaty 'Bold and the Beautiful esque' music playing in the background, I'm fine with it. It's meant to be noticed. But when we're just getting near full frontal shots of people walking around nude as if it is the norm, episode after episode, that's when I think it crosses the line.

                                    It's in "Beauty and the Beasts", "Wild At Heart", etc. Men are predatory figures in love and relationships. Spike declares, in his own selfish interest, that Buffy "needs some monster in her man", and, most troublingly, fans latch on to this -- even the empowered female icon needs a man who can give her a good throw. Men are primal and dangerous to women.
                                    I think 'Beauty and the Beasts' somewhat redeems itself by having both Buffy and Willow go against Faith's idea saying it isn't true and that it's an awful generalisation. That and the fact that Angel doesn't harm Buffy (at least at the end) but in fact saves her life and then proceeds to hug her and cry. If it'd had been Angel attacking Buffy for the entire episode with no pay off, I think I'd see it differently.

                                    Nah, I want equal time. MOAR naked womens!
                                    Either that or just less naked dudes. Seriously, I don't need more naked women on the show I'd be happy with a healthy balance of minimal flesh for both genders.

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                                      No, it's turning him into said object and then running away from admitting it. It's BS in the same way that the Jewel "Intution" video is (she parodies pop star sexuality... in the process of dancing around under a fire hose. Socially comment all you like, darling, but you're clearly in the titillation game yourself). They still said "let's put Nick's (current) washboard on TV in slow motioin" and then dressed it up in subversive clothes.
                                      I'm not sure about that? but perhaps that's because I think speedoes (those tight swimming trunks, do you call them speedoes too?) are inherently comic, and therefore not sexual? Except on Daniel Craig, for some reason.

                                      It's in "Beauty and the Beasts", "Wild At Heart", etc. Men are predatory figures in love and relationships. Spike declares, in his own selfish interest, that Buffy "needs some monster in her man", and, most troublingly, fans latch on to this -- even the empowered female icon needs a man who can give her a good throw. Men are primal and dangerous to women.
                                      I agree about the evil!rapist boy in Beauty and the Beasts, he's very crass and after school special style.

                                      I don't agree that Buffy DOES need some monster in her man, I think that's just Spike's spin on it, because that's what he wants to believe (being a monster, and wanting Buffy, he has an agenda). I think she may *think* she does for a while, because that was the model of her first love, but I think that Riley failed as a boyfriend for her, not because he lacked monstrosity, but mainly because she wasn't all that open to love after having her heart smushed by how things turned out with Angel. What Buffy wants now is?well, an open question, and I think she's not looking for anything specific, but I have a feeling her next boyfriend, if we see that, will break the mould.

                                      Ok, I'm now basically wanting her to get together with Xander in the end, so that may be wishful thinking.

                                      Overall, the presentation of men in Buffy is not that they're dangerous to women, or beastly. Some of them are sometimes, but then so are women (as in my Faith example). Xander and Giles and (sometimes) Spike and non-werewolf Oz are very supportive and caring. I don't think Oz's werewolf nature is a way of saying "all men are beasts" in the long run, either. I think that it's presented as a more human thing than a male thing ? Veruca's actually the more dangerous wolf. We are all beasts, men and women both.

                                      Warren is a typical misogynist, but I don't think he's supposed to represent all men? he's a sad, pathetic shadow of a man.

                                      Oddly enough, it's that feminist quarter that does more to emphasize the idea of it being treated as woman's work and being less worthy than entering the workforce.
                                      Not really. Talk to almost anyone at a party, male or female, and say you're a stay at home mother, it's likely (though of course not impossible) that impressed like they would be if you were a captain of industry. It's something that's a problem for society in general, not a feminist problem or a female problem or a male problem in particular.

                                      I don't think that anywhere in the First World will you find that men aren't hip to the idea that women are now *choosing* if they stay home or not.
                                      Yes, people know that it's a choice, definitely. But you will also always find men and women who don't respect women or men who stay at home as much as they respect people who work (though of course you will find people who do as well)?but we're a capitalist society, after all, and money talks, as does visibility out in the world.

                                      Honestly, I think Joss should go for it at some point in Season 8 or Season 9. Especially given that he had Andrew hang a lantern on the Slayer/Potential vibe as being allegorical for womanhood/fertility/motherhood. I don't think it would be a sharkjumper if he was planning around it.
                                      I'm losing track of how old Buffy is now? I'm guessing?wait, she was born in 1980, right? Or 81? So, by the comics that's?.2005? So, she'd be 24 or 25? So I'm thinking it'd be another 4-6 years perhaps, before she'd be having the babies? But it'd definitely be interesting. And, of course, she's someone who might be more likely to fall pregnant by accident, given that she's used to having sex with vampires and contraceptives being less of an issue She might also be inclined to have babies younger, given that she's lived with a sense that her life expectancy will be shorter overall.


                                      Excellent observations, never thought of it that way. Men make the money, women kill the vampires. And, oddly enough, if you go back to the original metaphor of vampires and demons as "life's everyday little problems", then the women kill the vampires idea really holds up as a discussion of how unappreciated that role of wife and mother is for women that make the choice to take it on can be.
                                      I'm betting there's a good essay on this somewhere on Slayage?must hunt one down. If the slayer is a metaphor for a stay at home mother?who's the baby? The world? Buffy-as-Gaia? Betting there's an essay on that too.


                                      Nah, I want equal time. MOAR naked womens!
                                      So, perhaps an Equal Access to Nakedness Act needs to be instituted? Having the legal training, you can draw it up, after much discussion over whether a female nipple counts for as much as a male testicle perhaps? (I really wish I could be a fly on the wall of a censor's discussion of such things, must be hilarious).


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                                      • #20
                                        Spike and Angel definitely get their tops off an unfair amount. But perhaps it's just affirmative action, as a corrective. Seen in the context of how much male and female flesh you get on telly, it's just a tiny amount of manflesh compared to the bulk of scantily clad women you see on shows. Still, does seem unbalanced in that respect. So, either we need more shirts for the boys, or fewer for the girls. What's the vote?
                                        Exactly. If Spike and Angel had walked around totally naked for all seven seasons it still would have been a drop in the ocean compared to the kind of thing women have been expected to do/be depicted as on TV as a whole.

                                        And still are for that matter.

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