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  • Does your sex influence your opinion in the Buffyverse?

    Ok, so I wanted to get some discussion going on this topic. When I first started watching Btvs/Ats, I did it alone and along the way formed my first opinions on charcters, storylines, couples, episodes, what have you.

    Being of the female persuasion, I found that most of my favorite episodes were the shippy ones that dealt with relationships, like Crush, I Will Remember You, Smashed, etc.

    Last year I brought my significant other into the Buffyverse, and I re-watched all of the seasons with him, and began seeing the verse through his eyes.

    It amazed me how different the male and female mind worked.

    Episodes that I loved (like IWRY) he absolutely hated and thought were boring and too 'mushy'.

    But episodes that I never really gave much attention to were some of his faves...for example, he LOVES A New Man...go figure?

    But we both name Spike as our favorite character, but I'm sure for different reasons.

    So what I'd like to discuss here is what your favorites are and how you think (or don't think) your sex plays a role in your opinions.
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  • #2
    Originally posted by LRae12 View Post
    Ok, so I wanted to get some discussion going on this topic. When I first started watching Btvs/Ats, I did it alone and along the way formed my first opinions on charcters, storylines, couples, episodes, what have you.

    Being of the female persuasion, I found that most of my favorite episodes were the shippy ones that dealt with relationships, like Crush, I Will Remember You, Smashed, etc.

    Last year I brought my significant other into the Buffyverse, and I re-watched all of the seasons with him, and began seeing the verse through his eyes.

    It amazed me how different the male and female mind worked.

    Episodes that I loved (like IWRY) he absolutely hated and thought were boring and too 'mushy'.

    But episodes that I never really gave much attention to were some of his faves...for example, he LOVES A New Man...go figure?

    But we both name Spike as our favorite character, but I'm sure for different reasons.

    So what I'd like to discuss here is what your favorites are and how you think (or don't think) your sex plays a role in your opinions.
    I do think it plays a role (which is why it bothers me that sex doesn't show up on BF along with rep points and such--thanks for reminding me about that as one of the things to ask about!). I think Spike is more popular in general with the ladies than the menfolk, lol, and that some of the female characters are more popular with make viewers than with females for similar reasons, lol. I also think female viewers are probably more into shipping and that there are more frmale hardcore shippers than male ones--but correct me if I'm wrong!

    I don't know if perception of IWRY has anything to do with sex though, b/c god knows I also find it boring and mushy as hell, lol, and I'm female!
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    • #3
      Originally posted by sherrilina View Post

      I don't know if perception of IWRY has anything to do with sex though, b/c god knows I also find it boring and mushy as hell, lol, and I'm female!
      Yes, but you also don't ship Bangel...for those who do, or did, most of them would claim this to be one of their favorite eps.


      (which is why it bothers me that sex doesn't show up on BF along with rep points and such--thanks for reminding me about that as one of the things to ask about!).
      Agreed. I keep looking for it when I read other posts, and it's not there...

      think Spike is more popular in general with the ladies than the menfolk, lol, and that some of the female characters are more popular with make viewers than with females for similar reasons, lol.
      Well, you would think, but I've also found that it seems that more female viewers prefer Btvs, while more male viewers prefer Ats. (Even though there are more female characters on Btvs)
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      • #4
        I would have to agree that my sex has influenced my Buffy-related opinions.

        For starters I have already admitted that I only gave the show a chance because James Marsters/Spike was appealing. And I am absolutely a shippy person. I pretty much want someone on every show I watch to be in the process of hooking up with someone else-can't help it. When I am not focused on a romantic relationship, I am still looking for relationship-related interaction. For example I love the watching Giles and Buffy form their unique connection.

        This is not to say that I expect all male viewers to be immune or uninterested in these things. No, I believe that there are many rather sensitive male viewers posting here. But I suspect that there are general tendencies that divide the viewers along gender lines.

        I grew up watching Star Trek (thus I come by my obsessive fandam tendencies quite naturally) and I found friends, attended conventions, etc with that crowd. Repeatedly I found an interesting difference between male and female trekkies. I, like many of the female fans, was completely focused on the relationship between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. I could recite lines from relationship-important episodes, describe the relationship using Vulcan language, and so on and so forth. What I couldn't do, and what I found many Guys able to do, is tell you anything about the engine on any of the ships or how many floors there are on the ship or the technological differences between the ships...I didn't care. The technology was just there as window dressing- the important part of the show (for me any show) was the character interaction. Clearly, there will be men who agree with the statement, Roddenberry would.

        And so I generally accept easy magic answers and moderate plot issues without complaint, but find out of character moments completely jarring.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by LRae12 View Post
          Yes, but you also don't ship Bangel...for those who do, or did, most of them would claim this to be one of their favorite eps.
          Actually I do ship Bangel--for seasons 1-3 BTVS! I just don't like it after season 3 when it ends--I think Buffy is very annoying when she appears on ATS, and I think having a love interest who's not on the show is stupid. MOVE ON! I also have other reasons for disliking IWRY (though I think I did like Bangel at the time still, when I first watched it)--Buffy and Angel spend the whole time bickering (shut up--so annoying!), and the whole epp is so pointless and such a waste of time--we end where we began--I think epps to move things forward, thanks! And I don't like Angel having chosen to become a vampire....now he has no right to complain!

          Well, you would think, but I've also found that it seems that more female viewers prefer Btvs, while more male viewers prefer Ats. (Even though there are more female characters on Btvs)
          Yeah, that is a bit odd--probably b/c there's more action that's cooler looking on ATS (I mean, fighting the Beast, Angelus....I can see how a guy would liek that!). And maybe they identify more with ATS b/c there are more manly men on the show! (No offense Xander, but you are not a very manly man! ).

          But I have seen a facebook group called "Angel>Buffy" with the description "I mean, have you seen the guys?!"
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          • #6
            I liek the pink episodes becos I am a grl

            Seriously though?I'm not sure. I imagine some of the gender-play in Buffy, the role reversals etc might not sit well with someone who likes traditional gender roles ? eg Xander being the "weak" one, but that could apply to both men and women with conservative views on gender. Who probably wouldn't be watching Buffy anyway.

            I'm sure my gender influences the way I watch Buffy, as do many factors (class, age, nationality), but I'm not sure exactly what kind of influence it has. I wouldn't say I watch Buffy in a relating-to-Buffy way, because her Californian-ness gets in the way of that a little. I feel her pain, but in a general human way rather than a "sisters" way.

            Hmm?I'll have to think about this.


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            • #7
              Originally posted by Dorian's Kitten View Post

              For starters I have already admitted that I only gave the show a chance because James Marsters/Spike was appealing. And I am absolutely a shippy person. I pretty much want someone on every show I watch to be in the process of hooking up with someone else-can't help it. When I am not focused on a romantic relationship, I am still looking for relationship-related interaction. For example I love the watching Giles and Buffy form their unique connection.
              I have to admit, that I'm the same way...and I too love the Giles/Buffy ship. Helpless is one of my favorite episodes, and when I watched it with my significant other, he found it kind of boring...and I was like, but isn't it sweet the way Giles cares and comes to her rescue, gets fired, yadda, yadda, yadda...and he's like eh...I liked the crazy vampire.


              Originally posted by sherrilina View Post
              Actually I do ship Bangel--for seasons 1-3 BTVS! I just don't like it after season 3 when it ends--I think Buffy is very annoying when she appears on ATS, and I think having a love interest who's not on the show is stupid. MOVE ON! I also have other reasons for disliking IWRY (though I think I did like Bangel at the time still, when I first watched it)--Buffy and Angel spend the whole time bickering (shut up--so annoying!), and the whole epp is so pointless and such a waste of time--we end where we began--I think epps to move things forward, thanks! And I don't like Angel having chosen to become a vampire....now he has no right to complain!
              Oh, well I was only a Bangel shipper in Seasons 1-3 also, but I found that episode bittersweet because it finally gave Bangel a day of normality and happiness...and I think Angel needed that, and deserved that. Also I found it so tragic in the end that he was the only one who would remember, so it added another layer for him as a character within the confines of his own show without really affecting btvs. And when I watched it initially, I was still thrown that he left Btvs, I was having a hard time adjusting to S4 of Btvs, and that episode was a breath of fresh air because I think it gave me closure to the Bangel ship.
              Last edited by LRae12; 26-06-07, 05:50 PM.
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              • #8
                I honestly don't know. I'm not a very shippy person, but I do feel everyone's pain. I don't think that women and men somehow have completely different ways of thinking about things, but there might be factors in terms of attraction to characters and identifying with characters who share certain of your traits, of which one could be gender.
                And so I generally accept easy magic answers and moderate plot issues without complaint, but find out of character moments completely jarring.
                Strange, I hate both. I'll notice not only the absolutely jagged writing of Spike in s6 but how in "Him," when Willow is doing her spell, she holds the "s" in "son" way too long just so Xander can clap his hand over her mouth in time. There were a load of errors in BTVS (not as many as other TV shows), and I pick up and miss both kind equally it seems.

                Of course, as Wolfie said, the characters' genders and personalities in Buffy aren't going to please misogynists, and it seems that other guys would like it just as much because the characters are realistic (and if you're uncomfortable with or feel threatened by strong women, you should probably have a long look at your beliefs). But perhaps some people just want to see someone with whom they can identify (age, gender, personality, past) in the lead role, which would draw some guys to Angel and some women to Buffy.

                Besides the obvious differences with regard to "the whole orientation thing," I think Wolfie's got it: Nearly everything about you influences how you watch Buffy, post on forums, do your job, etc. It's not a thing unique to gender. Being determines consciousness.
                Buffy: It sounds like it's difficult for you. Maybe your sister makes it hard for you to establish your own identity. You said she's controlling, she doesn't let you make your own decisions -
                Dawn: Yeah, and she borrows my clothes without asking.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by redrevo View Post

                  Besides the obvious differences with regard to "the whole orientation thing," I think Wolfie's got it: Nearly everything about you influences how you watch Buffy, post on forums, do your job, etc. It's not a thing unique to gender. Being determines consciousness.

                  That's true, and I'm sure if we looked deeper we could find many different personality traits would push us to view things one way or the other. But in general terms, I'm interested to find out if there's a common trend among men and women in their likes and dislikes.

                  Which leads me to ask if the posters wouldn't mind stating if they are male or female for the sake of discussion, since it's no longer listed under our avvies...
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                  • #10
                    Well, I think gender does have an effect. As a guy, I DO find myself liking Angel better than Buffy due to the noir settings and tighter plotting.

                    It may also dictate which ships I like. Both of Buffy's major ships were kinda out of herlequin romance novels. The impossible loves that burn with the fury of a thousand suns and all that. Angel was the Romeo and Juliet one, and Spike was the 'bad boy who gives it all up for the girl'. Blech.

                    I guess that was probably why I am a B/Xer. I identified with Xander a lot in the early years, liking the girl who likes someone else, and as I matured I still found that relationships built out of friendships were the ones that didn't end with one or both parties chugging on a bottle of Jack Daniels when the inevitable breakup happens.

                    The gender roles themselves didn't bother me in BTVS, outside of some of the REALLY anvil heavy parts of S6 and S7. My exception is Xander who was randomly completely feminized, or given to male bouts of rage. That happened rarely.

                    That said I almost consider the sex of the roles irrelevant on the show just so long as they are well written.

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                    • #11
                      I know being a man influences my view of the Buffyverse, but oddly enough, the most controversial opinion I have is usually being anti-Spuffy, and my argument is that Spuffy is monumentally un-feminist. My being a man doesn't seem to be at the center of that disagreement.
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                      • #12
                        Oh I'm sure that my gender had a lot as to who I liked and why I liked them. My favorite Ships were Willow/Oz and Spuffy. I liked both Seth Green and James Marsters (my fan-crush for James is BIGGER). I hated when Oz left for good.

                        The Spuffy related seasons 5-7 are my favorites and Oz/Willow ones in the earlier seasons.

                        And the Vampire theme was also a draw for me. I've always had a fascination with Vampire movies and genre. So the episodes of Dru and Spike - OH - and the flashbacks of the Vampires - they are some of my favorites.

                        And as the show was taken from a female POV (the hero being a Heroine) drew me to the show as well.

                        I liked the episodes when it was about Buffy being trained more as a Slayer and LOVED when more girl power - in Faith and Kendra - came aboard.

                        But I liked Angel too! (liked it more when Spike came on board) So, I really can't say it was the "Male" perspective vs "Female" perspective. I think as females we are used to seeing men in more authoritative or hero roles and so we embrace both male and female heros.

                        But I'm just weird that way - I also like James Bond movies... Go figure!
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                        • #13
                          Whilst I end up posting a lot on ships it usually has to do with Buffy because she is my favourite character.. oh and I'm a guy Ships don't really appeal to me, I love the show for its humour, plot, mythology, action and I don't mind the drama which is an achievement because most dramatic shows turn me right off.

                          I do tend to agree with the idea more females watch the show for the relationships whilst men are instantly attracted to the humour and action although it is perfectly fine if it is the other way around or both things interest you.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by bishopcruz View Post
                            Well, I think gender does have an effect. As a guy, I DO find myself liking Angel better than Buffy due to the noir settings and tighter plotting.
                            Could you expand a bit? Tighter plotting? What aspects of Angel's plotlines do you see as tighter? And why is tighter plotting more male? As to the noir ? what is it about noir that you see as particularly male? Not agreeing or disagreeing at the moment (well, I am in my head, but I want to agree/disagree with more evidence ) Do you think men like more stylised/formal modes of dialogue and general style?

                            That said I almost consider the sex of the roles irrelevant on the show just so long as they are well written.
                            Aha! I think you've hit on an aspect of the show where my gender really strongly affects my viewing. I can never see gender roles as irrelevant, because representation of women in the media or in art (and the places where those two things overlap) is extremely important to me?and I don't think it would be as important If I were a man. Given that so many shows place men as the heroes as women as merely the helpers ? and that's not historically, it still continues (often in bad shows, but still?). So, a show in which the main hero is a woman, and men are able to adopt caring/supportive roles is something very refreshing and important. I can't help but dissect gender relations in most things that I see, because gender has never been unproblematic or a "given" to me, in terms of my life and experiences. The idea that male = the norm and woman = other still persists, and people still have very strong ideas of what one should and shouldn't do as a man or a woman. I mean, hell, I have those ideas myself. I don't object to the idea that there are some important differences between men and women?but the idea of being prescriptive about it is what appals. For instance, when people say that Xander is "feminised", this is seen as a bad thing, rather than a neutral (or even a good) thing.

                            Originally posted by vampmogs View Post
                            Whilst I end up posting a lot on ships it usually has to do with Buffy because she is my favourite character.. oh and I'm a guy Ships don't really appeal to me, I love the show for its humour, plot, mythology, action and I don't mind the drama which is an achievement because most dramatic shows turn me right off.
                            You don't like drama? I bet you just haven't found the right one. Have you seen Deadwood? I beg you on my knees to try it

                            For me, it was the humour that appealed to me first and foremost, and the metaphors. The relationships grew on me after that I think. I don't see the attraction to humour as atypical of my gender though?spending time with women, I find the conversation is equally weighted between taking the piss and talking about feelings Or perhaps?the tendency to switch from the comic to the serious&emotional?perhaps that's more of a female thing? But I'm not sure. Buffy does that a lot ? uses black humour at times of extreme emotion. Is that particularly female? Maybe it's not. Maybe it's just human.


                            I do tend to agree with the idea more females watch the show for the relationships whilst men are instantly attracted to the humour and action although it is perfectly fine if it is the other way around or both things interest you.
                            Certainly is (see above re prescriptive attitudes to gender).

                            Someone earlier said something about nitpicking being more male?that might be true. I don't fret too much about things like costume continuity (oh noes! Buffy's got one more button done up than she should have a second after having one fewer!) or the ways in which maguffins work (cos, dude, the point of a maguffin is it don't hold up to scrutiny ). But character continuity, yeah, that does piss me off, when the writing seems to veer off piste and make a character do something out of character. Wider continuity issues are also important (plot arcs etc). Is that female? Hmm?


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                            • #15
                              I really dont know influence my gender has on my view of the buffyverse. I mean i know what i like and what i don't like but whether any of that comes down to the chromosones i can't really say.

                              Personally i, as a few have said already, was drawn in by the mythology of the verse and the sharp sweet/sour writing. I've never shipped anyone in particular (well cept for all the ladieeez with me; that's another story though)
                              and i tend to take the relaltionships at face value i.e buffy was with angel then she was with spike and... that's pretty much it.

                              I do however like the metaphors, forshadowing and general deepness of a lot of the writing on the show but again i am one of natures meme hunters.

                              I do know that before i started hanging out here the feminist side of thing's would not have resonated all that strongly with me and i guess you can hang that on me not being female.
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                              • #16
                                I like both BtVS and AtS, but I much enjoy BtVS more. I think it's more to do because I like the characters in BtVS better, I can relate to them more. I love all the cast in BtVS, except Tara, I don't hate her, she just doesn't interest me. I love the AtS cast as well, but not as passionate as I love the BtVS cast.
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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Wolfie Gilmore View Post

                                  For instance, when people say that Xander is "feminised", this is seen as a bad thing, rather than a neutral (or even a good) thing.
                                  Well, I for one hate to see a man 'feminised". Call me old-fashioned, but I much prefer the Alpha-male. Maybe that's why Xander was always my least favorite character on Btvs, and I never even realized it until now that that's one of the reasons why. I don't like to see men being made out to be less than men. Don't ge me wrong, I think that the show revolving around a strong female lead is a great thing. But why does the male have to be feminized? Can't both sexes be strong 'alpha' characters without one being 'the girl?' Xander started out as the funny wise-cracker in the highschool years, but I really didn't like the direction his character took after high school. The 'loser' who changes jobs every episode, who's girlfriend wore the pants in the relationship. That really is a huge turn-off.


                                  I do tend to agree with the idea more females watch the show for the relationships whilst men are instantly attracted to the humour and action although it is perfectly fine if it is the other way around or both things interest you.
                                  Yes, see while I will always gravitate towards the romantic entanglements, the humor is the very next thing that keeps me hooked. In fact I probably wouldn't stay with a show without the humor, so I'm not so sure that's entirely a 'male' thing...
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                                  • #18
                                    I don't like to see men being made out to be less than men. Don't ge me wrong, I think that the show revolving around a strong female lead is a great thing. But why does the male have to be feminized? Can't both sexes be strong 'alpha' characters without one being 'the girl?'
                                    Wait, how does Xander being financially unsuccessful and not having superpowers make him "less than a man"? There are a billion men out there that have been unsuccessful pretty much their whole lives, and aren't given any power of their own. How are they "less than men"? And how does making someone unsuccessful equate to "feminizing" them? The only way to truly "feminize" someone is to somehow change their chromosomes, hormones, bone structure, or reproductive system. Both sexes can be "strong 'alpha' characters," but most of the time not everyone is successful. The whole point of the show is that men and women can be equally as strong or weak as each other, just because women are portrayed as emotionally unstable/physically weak and men are portrayed as emotionally stable/physically strong most of the time, doesn't mean they can't be the opposite. It's just as acceptable for men to break gender roles as women. Some people will be successful in capitalist society, some won't. No one is less of a man/woman because they don't succeed.

                                    The 'loser' who changes jobs every episode, who's girlfriend wore the pants in the relationship. That really is a huge turn-off.
                                    He saved the world (Grave), he was resourceful and used his skills the best way he could (The Gift), he always tried to do the best thing for everyone. Just because he was physically not as strong as the rest, "feminised," or whatever else you may want to say, does not mean he was mentally weak, or not useful, or "less than a man." Male crossdressers are men. Female-to-male transgendered men are men. Men who don't work or take care of their kids at home are men. Men who "bring home the bacon," so to speak, are men. Gay men are men. Heterosexual men are men. Emotionally stable men are men. Emotionally unstable men are men. "Sidekick" men are men. The same goes for women, that's pretty much one of the themes of the show.
                                    Buffy: It sounds like it's difficult for you. Maybe your sister makes it hard for you to establish your own identity. You said she's controlling, she doesn't let you make your own decisions -
                                    Dawn: Yeah, and she borrows my clothes without asking.

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                                    • #19
                                      Could you expand a bit? Tighter plotting? What aspects of Angel's plotlines do you see as tighter? And why is tighter plotting more male? As to the noir ? what is it about noir that you see as particularly male? Not agreeing or disagreeing at the moment (well, I am in my head, but I want to agree/disagree with more evidence ) Do you think men like more stylised/formal modes of dialogue and general style?
                                      I think that the overall arc of Angel's character was stronger, as well as the arcs for the other characters. I will say that in S2-3 of Buffy, even with the fillers, I felt that the show was tightly plotted as well. From S4 onwards the seasons seemed to progress haphazardly, with frequent bouts of characters going OOC at times, and at others the characters just seemed to be treading water.

                                      Wherein, S3 of Angel was very tight. The show kept moving, the characters didn't stagnate, and while I was surprised by the actions of individual characters, I never felt them to be far outside the realm of how they had been presented to us. Wes was an idiot for kidnapping Connor for example, but I could see him doing it. Holtz was probably the most interesting villain in the 'verse outside of Angelus.

                                      As far as the noir thing, I think it was the stylized sets, the feel of hopelessness, the overall look and feel of the show. Going by general experience most of my female friends didn't like that as much as that feel of Buffy, and I have seen a similar break online.

                                      Aha! I think you've hit on an aspect of the show where my gender really strongly affects my viewing. I can never see gender roles as irrelevant, because representation of women in the media or in art (and the places where those two things overlap) is extremely important to me?and I don't think it would be as important If I were a man. Given that so many shows place men as the heroes as women as merely the helpers ? and that's not historically, it still continues (often in bad shows, but still?). So, a show in which the main hero is a woman, and men are able to adopt caring/supportive roles is something very refreshing and important. I can't help but dissect gender relations in most things that I see, because gender has never been unproblematic or a "given" to me, in terms of my life and experiences. The idea that male = the norm and woman = other still persists, and people still have very strong ideas of what one should and shouldn't do as a man or a woman. I mean, hell, I have those ideas myself. I don't object to the idea that there are some important differences between men and women?but the idea of being prescriptive about it is what appals. For instance, when people say that Xander is "feminised", this is seen as a bad thing, rather than a neutral (or even a good) thing.
                                      Xander's feminization isn't inherently bad, it becomes so when they take the worst qualities of gender stereotypes and apply them to him haphazardly. This didn't happen all the time, he was the emotional core of the group, but he was also the one who 'fought like a girl' screamed more often then not, and became less 'strong' for a good period of the show.

                                      I prefer a level of equality to my characters. I like strong female AND male roles. Wherein towards the end we were given male villains that were more CLEARLY mysogenist, and more male characters that filled the traditional female roles (Andrew). I just didn't like it, especially when a character is redefined to fit into a particular role, like Xander was. It seemed like the writers were consciously TRYING to do the reversal of gender roles, where in earlier seasons it was more organic.

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by redrevo View Post

                                        He saved the world (Grave), he was resourceful and used his skills the best way he could (The Gift), he always tried to do the best thing for everyone. Just because he was physically not as strong as the rest, "feminised," or whatever else you may want to say, does not mean he was mentally weak, or not useful, or "less than a man." Male crossdressers are men. Female-to-male transgendered men are men. Men who don't work or take care of their kids at home are men. Men who "bring home the bacon," so to speak, are men. Gay men are men. Heterosexual men are men. Emotionally stable men are men. Emotionally unstable men are men. "Sidekick" men are men. The same goes for women, that's pretty much one of the themes of the show.
                                        well, duh, of course they're are still genetically male... I only meant that as a female, it bugs me when they make the male seem weak...bishopcruz summed it up nicely here:

                                        Xander's feminization isn't inherently bad, it becomes so when they take the worst qualities of gender stereotypes and apply them to him haphazardly. This didn't happen all the time, he was the emotional core of the group, but he was also the one who 'fought like a girl' screamed more often then not, and became less 'strong' for a good period of the show.

                                        I prefer a level of equality to my characters. I like strong female AND male roles. Wherein towards the end we were given male villains that were more CLEARLY mysogenist, and more male characters that filled the traditional female roles (Andrew). I just didn't like it, especially when a character is redefined to fit into a particular role, like Xander was. It seemed like the writers were consciously TRYING to do the reversal of gender roles, where in earlier seasons it was more organic.
                                        So obviously I wasn't stating that Xander wasn't a 'man'...but that the way the writers wrote his character bugged me, because it was unnecessary.
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