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  • Question about the mechanics of the slayer line.

    There have been various discussions about the slayer line, how it works, what each slayer gains, what happens now all these new slayers have been activated etc etc. Strangely enough no one seems to question the implications of all slayers being female. Such as what? Well, the boundary between genders isn't always incredibly clear. Presumably if you are born male then you couldn't be a slayer, but what about FtM transsexuals and intersexuals? I once heard about someone who was genetically male, but her body didn't respond to testosterone. Could she be a slayer? If a slayer had SRS would he stop being a slayer? What do you think?

  • #2
    Well, the Slayer line being entirely female may have a phlebotenous explanation, but the purpose in fact of it being that way is that the Slayer is the metaphor for female empowerment on the show, which... doesn't have quite the same impact if men can be Slayers as well.

    But, there are many a phlebotenous explanation for it being designed that way -- there could be a particularly sympathetic quality to the demonic energy that gives the Slayer her power with the human female that doesn't exist in the human male. It could be that the Slayer's anonymity is of such significance in the population, that it was a better idea to guarantee it would be someone more likely to fit a demon's profile for a victim.

    There is no reason to think that anything other than biological womanhood can qualify for the powers of the Slayer -- I doubt the Shadowmen had the luxury of contemplating such... ambiguities.

    The statistical odds of finding a woman who has become a Slayer... even after "Chosen", really... also having the particular quality of wanting to change sex is probably a thousand fold longer than getting strike by lightning twice while holding a winning lottery ticket.

    And, honestly, that's the less fun side of this conversation.

    The short version of a Slayer's abilities are 1) strength and 2) prophetic dreams.

    If I were going to list the Slayer's powers more specifically, and based on observation in the show, I'd start with these --

    1. Enhanced strength
    2. Enhanced senses (visual and auditory, definitely)
    3. Enhanced reflexes
    4. Enhanced speed/leaping ability
    5. Weapon affinity
    6. Enhanced Regeneration
    7. Prophetic Dreams
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    • #3
      8. Enhanced endurance
      9. Enhanced aim precision
      10. Enhanced immune system (unless stressed, ie. Killed by Death)

      Hmm, what else...
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      • #4
        Originally posted by Anon View Post
        Presumably if you are born male then you couldn't be a slayer, but what about FtM transsexuals and intersexuals? I once heard about someone who was genetically male, but her body didn't respond to testosterone. Could she be a slayer? If a slayer had SRS would he stop being a slayer? What do you think?
        I would say that that someone who had gender reassignment surgery isn't neccessarily inclined to become a Slayer. I do believe in female/male minds, hormones, and such being born into the opposite body, or someone whom is a hermaphrodite (a combination for those who don't know.) So while I think it's entirely possible. It's not likely. Though that's actually a really awesome idea for a fic for someone who might like to think outside the box.

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        • #5
          The closest thing I can think of to evidence on this subject is in Fray where a slayer has a twin brother who somehow has a few traits from the slayer's powers. This suggests that if a slayer did decide to go for a gender change, they might be able to keep their powers afterwards.

          Originally posted by Amber View Post
          I would say that that someone who had gender reassignment surgery isn't neccessarily inclined to become a Slayer. I do believe in female/male minds, hormones, and such being born into the opposite body, or someone whom is a hermaphrodite (a combination for those who don't know.) So while I think it's entirely possible. It's not likely. Though that's actually a really awesome idea for a fic for someone who might like to think outside the box.
          The same thing had occurred to me, but I don't have the skill to pull it off. I've seen a few fics with men as slayers and no explanation that is even close to being as plausible as this one has been given.

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          • #6
            The closest thing I can think of to evidence on this subject is in Fray where a slayer has a twin brother who somehow has a few traits from the slayer's powers. This suggests that if a slayer did decide to go for a gender change, they might be able to keep their powers afterwards.
            Well, get right down to it, no surgery actually changes biological gender. A woman after reassignment is still, biologically speaking, a woman. So, if a potential Slayer, once activated, opted for the essentially cosmetic change that is the surgery, presumably, yes, she'd keep her powers.

            A couple other considerations -- if the Slayer powers are, in fact, designed for women specifically, being a substantially altered woman, if you will, might mean that the resultant Slayer would be significantly less effective.

            Alternately, if the very basis for potentiality is tied biologically to being a woman through hormones or gender specific systems like reproduction, then the surgery could destroy the potentiality in the process and thereby deprive her of either her status as potential or her Slayer powers.

            The only fic idea I've ever contemplated for male Slayers were based on blood exchange -- a transusion between fraternal twins, for instance, that was taking place *at the very instant* the spell was performed. In that theory, the potentiality ties to the blood. I also thought you could get some mileage out of villains like a paramilitary torturing captive Slayers as a way to try to learn how to turn their (male) soldiers into Slayers and Buffy kicking all of there asses
            KingofCretins
            What?
            Last edited by KingofCretins; 24-11-07, 09:20 AM.
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            • #7
              I havn't read the rest of the comment so sorry if I'm repeating someone.
              I don't believe it can happen, since they are "chosen". They were made to be slayers. I think the slayer line was made to be one that can't made such errors. After all, it's magic.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                Well, get right down to it, no surgery actually changes biological gender. A woman after reassignment is still, biologically speaking, a woman. So, if a potential Slayer, once activated, opted for the essentially cosmetic change that is the surgery, presumably, yes, she'd keep her powers.
                XX is the most obvious one, but it could still lead to a slayer who was technically male.

                A couple other considerations -- if the Slayer powers are, in fact, designed for women specifically, being a substantially altered woman, if you will, might mean that the resultant Slayer would be significantly less effective.
                The less feminine you are, the less effective the spell is. Interesting theory, especially if you consider that it also works in reverse, making Buffy the epitome of femininity in the Buffyverse. Or do you think there's a threshold under which the powers begin to fade?

                Alternately, if the very basis for potentiality is tied biologically to being a woman through hormones or gender specific systems like reproduction, then the surgery could destroy the potentiality in the process and thereby deprive her of either her status as potential or her Slayer powers.
                Possibly. This would certainly do an effective job of ensuring that only women are chosen.

                I havn't read the rest of the comment so sorry if I'm repeating someone.
                I don't believe it can happen, since they are "chosen". They were made to be slayers. I think the slayer line was made to be one that can't made such errors. After all, it's magic.
                This, while not impossible, is the least satisfactory explanation I have ever encountered.

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                • #9
                  why is not satisfactory? I mean, if such theory would have happen, I think we would see it. I think it's logical that such thing can't happen because the line was made that way.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by omri View Post
                    why is not satisfactory? I mean, if such theory would have happen, I think we would see it. I think it's logical that such thing can't happen because the line was made that way.
                    It's too simple. "It's just like that" is right up there with Deus Ex Machina on the list of biggest cop outs of all time.
                    Anon
                    Hellmouth Tourist
                    Last edited by Anon; 24-11-07, 12:37 PM.

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                    • #11
                      maybe it is meant to be that simple. Not all things in the Buffyverse meant to be so complicated. The slayer is a metaphor. There are two theories for that metaphor: 1 is women inpowerment and the other one is women slavery (Women forced by men to fight). I don't think your theory fits in to that.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by omri View Post
                        maybe it is meant to be that simple. Not all things in the Buffyverse meant to be so complicated. The slayer is a metaphor. There are two theories for that metaphor: 1 is women inpowerment and the other one is women slavery (Women forced by men to fight). I don't think your theory fits in to that.
                        My theory? Which one? KoC came up with other theories that would mean that a slayer had to be female. Actually I think the term should be satisfying rather than satisfactory. Your theory isn't inadequate, but there are a lot of things it lacks.

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                        • #13
                          like I said I read your message only. It's only possible that if such thing existed (women trapped inside of a men's body, intersexuals), we would probably hear about it through comics or episodes and etc... I've read about the slayers alot and I've never witness it. I think you need to have quite an imagenation to come up with it. great job.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by omri View Post
                            like I said I read your message only. It's only possible that if such thing existed (women trapped inside of a men's body, intersexuals), we would probably hear about it through comics or episodes and etc... I've read about the slayers alot and I've never witness it. I think you need to have quite an imagenation to come up with it. great job.
                            Actually it would be a man trapped inside a womans body. It isn't so much imagination either. These people exist in real life, why not in the Buffyverse? The issue has simply never been addressed.

                            As for if they could become slayers, well why not? Simply saying because the shadow men made it so that they couldn't leaves a few questions such as how and why would they do this? Personally I doubt it would occur to them. Trans and intersexuals aren't common place and the odds of any of them becoming a slayer aren't that high to start with. Unless there is something else about the slayer line that prevents this from happening then there is no good reason why it can't happen, and the only reason why it hasn't would be the laws of probability. If there is something then what and how does it work?

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                            • #15
                              These people exist in real life, why not in the Buffyverse?
                              The actual percentage of them is very low, for one, for another... where's the demand for that story? There's a reason "Transamerica" wasn't a $200 million summer tentpole movie -- there's no demand in the market for it.

                              I'm also wary that any such story in the Buffyverse, be it TV or comic, would basically amount to nothing more than a Very Special Episode lobbing giant cheese anvils at the audience about gender body acceptance tolerance etc etc.

                              Couple that with the fact that it implicitly muddies the metaphor of Slayer as female empowerment to have a story about an Empowered Female that... wants to be a man (quite literally *has* penis envy)... and you've got a boatload of reasons not to do the story that have nothing to do with coming up with some phlebotenum to explain it.
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                              • #16
                                look, I don't think it's not possible entirely. Like in Fray, there was never a chosen one with a twin that the memories and such went to the boy and the skills went to the girl.
                                It's very confusing.
                                I really think the slayer line can prevents such thing, but I dunno how it works.
                                And there's really isn't an answear unless you ask the right man, Joss Whedon himself.

                                And if you said it is a men trapped in a women, all the more reason why not. The slayer line has something to do with a women, inside and out. I can't really put it in words, but it will be actually more logical that it will be a women trapped inside a men and not vice versa.

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                                  The actual percentage of them is very low, for one, for another... where's the demand for that story? There's a reason "Transamerica" wasn't a $200 million summer tentpole movie -- there's no demand in the market for it.

                                  I'm also wary that any such story in the Buffyverse, be it TV or comic, would basically amount to nothing more than a Very Special Episode lobbing giant cheese anvils at the audience about gender body acceptance tolerance etc etc.

                                  Couple that with the fact that it implicitly muddies the metaphor of Slayer as female empowerment to have a story about an Empowered Female that... wants to be a man (quite literally *has* penis envy)... and you've got a boatload of reasons not to do the story that have nothing to do with coming up with some phlebotenum to explain it.
                                  This would be part of the reason why the issue has never been addressed. It doesn't mean that they don't exist there.

                                  And if you said it is a men trapped in a women, all the more reason why not. The slayer line has something to do with a women, inside and out. I can't really put it in words, but it will be actually more logical that it will be a women trapped inside a men and not vice versa.
                                  That depends. Does the slayer line pick its candidates by physical gender or the gender they feel they are, or possibly both? If both then that would prevent transsexuals from becoming slayers, but this is far from certain. Given that everything in this thread is just speculation anyway I wasn't expecting definite answers.

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                                  • #18
                                    Well, I stand by my phlebotenum. Since the designed purpose of the Slayer mythology is female empowerment, I'm going to direct my phlebotenum on the subject toward the conclusion that, by one mechanism or another, the Slayer power is going to be realized only in women who actually want to be women.

                                    Exceptions in an extreme situation could be made, but I find it much more likely to come up in a situation like I suggested (a male twin, like in Fray, or someone experimenting trying to turn men into Slayers), which are stories that have a much broader audience intrigue.
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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Anon View Post
                                      That depends. Does the slayer line pick its candidates by physical gender or the gender they feel they are, or possibly both? If both then that would prevent transsexuals from becoming slayers, but this is far from certain. Given that everything in this thread is just speculation anyway I wasn't expecting definite answers.
                                      See, this is my impression: the slayer line comes from the physical gender, not how the person inside feels. I feel this became even more clear when in the comics
                                      Spoiler:
                                      Gigi states she's been having the dreams since her first tampon, indication the beginning of menstruation is the beginning of being chosen- also handy in terms of the idea "every potential slayer will be a slayer" but at least closing the door to the idea that there are going to be super strong toddlers throwing cars around in the terrible twos!

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Veverka View Post
                                        See, this is my impression: the slayer line comes from the physical gender, not how the person inside feels. I feel this became even more clear when in the comics
                                        Spoiler:
                                        Gigi states she's been having the dreams since her first tampon, indication the beginning of menstruation is the beginning of being chosen- also handy in terms of the idea "every potential slayer will be a slayer" but at least closing the door to the idea that there are going to be super strong toddlers throwing cars around in the terrible twos!
                                        Age does seem to be a factor. If it is physical then receiving SRS meay well result in loosing the slayer's powers. Having said that, this depends on if it's just a trigger to activate the effects or something required to maintain the powers.

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