This site will work and look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Oh, I'm gonna go to the special hell."
11944 members | you are not logged in | 24 July 2014












September 20 2007

"Third Wave Feminism and Television". This 2007 collection of essays includes one titled: "Female Heterosexual Sadism: The Final Feminist Taboo in 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series."

The link has a review that discusses the essay in more depth. The author is my sister, and we've been arguing all day.

An interesting read, but I'm curious what point are you fighting with your sister? It seemed a good article with several well-made points?
I'm very curious now to read the essay and hear more about the discussion between you and your sister.

The Buffy/Spike relationship *was* very complex and imo it's impossible to gain true perspective of the dynamic between them by just factoring in a handful of epis.
Did your sister write the review- or the essay reviewed?
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

I'm just sayin'.
Did your sister write the review- or the essay reviewed?


Yes, do tell.
I'd probably stay away from the Buffy article (not saying everyone else has to, just me). Nothing against it, but arguing over that ship is too much of an emotional investment for me (not to mention that you can still find discussions about it on various boards). And hell, I wasn't even around for the original arguments. The essays on Oz and Six Feet Under look really fascinating though.
I think I may have missed the second wave. Bogus.

Sounds interesting but it also sounds like there will be virtually no cigars in there at all (or if there are the focus will be on the weird and wonderful places you can stick 'em ;), the old hammer/nail problem - which sometimes gets a bit wearing for me.
Does anyone else have the mental image of Joss and the rest of the Mutant Enemies exchanging high fives in the writer's room when they finally broke the last feminist taboo?

ETA: "At last! Female heterosexual sadism! In prime time! And the surprise twist: Neither one of them dies."

[ edited by Pointy on 2007-09-20 17:07 ]
This looks really interesting.
I had to look up third wave feminism, which apparently started in the 90's and encompasses a more post-structuralist feminine identity. Now I have to look up post-structuralist.

Anyway, (from what I've gleaned from the review) on the basis that Joss might be punishing Buffy for entering into a S&M relationship with Spike, wouldn't make as much, if not more sense, to argue that it was masochism on her part more than sadism?
Which is, like, well second wave.

Please enlighten us on the arguement between you and your sister!
My sister is Carol, the one who wrote the book chapter. I think she would disagree with Pointy. She thinks that BtVS characters who did anything akin to S&M and/or had sex for fun without any emotional ties ended up getting punished. In other words, she thinks Joss upheld mainstream norms and did not break taboos.
Lone wolf: Feminists disagree about whether they, or their ideas and actions, should be broken down into "first wave," "second wave" and "third wave." For example, I generally don't use those terms.
I don't see Spike and Buffy's relationship as primarily s&m. It seemed much more a mix of lust and great physical powers. Sometimes more than a lamp gets broken.
My main disagreement with my sister is that I think almost all romance leads to heartbreak in BtVS, whether people have a quickie on a table or are engaged to be married. I never got the sense that the show was telling us how we should conduct our sex life, except to say that people should be considerate of each other.
I have more of a funny image in my head rather than a position on whether taboos got violated. The chapter sounds interesting. My general impression is that J an the MEs had an ambivalent attitude toward S&M.

ETA: Interesting idea that their ambivalence regarding S&M can be seen as part of their more general ambivalence regarding relationships.

[ edited by Pointy on 2007-09-20 21:10 ]
Well, speaking as a guy that has had a number of relationships of various length over the years, some based on love and others based on pure lust, I can say with absolute certainty that the ones that ended with the most heartbreak and pain were the ones that involved the actual feelings. I'm still friends with quite a few of the girls that I slept with in a "no strings attached", great sex for the sake of great sex, kinda way no matter what we got up to in the bedroom but I rarely ever speak to the girls who I actually once had serious feelings for, usually due to the relationship ending on such an emotional note. That, for me, is where the real "punishment" is involved.

Say what you like about casual sexual relationships but, providing the proper precautions are taken at the time, they are way easier to live with than actually dealing with feelings.
As I understand it, the first wave of feminism in the US began among women active in the abolitionist movement (I don't know how it started in Great Britain). It culminated with the achievement of suffrage after WWI, and then went into a decline. The second wave may have started with the publication of books by Simone de Beauvoir and Betty Friedan, acquired energy from former New Left activists and the gay rights movement, and lost momentum when the Equal Rights Amendment failed to pass. I don't see a great difference in strategies or ideas between the waves. Same ocean, different waves.
I don't see Spike and Buffy's relationship as primarily s&m. It seemed much more a mix of lust and great physical powers. Sometimes more than a lamp gets broken.
My main disagreement with my sister is that I think almost all romance leads to heartbreak in BtVS, whether people have a quickie on a table or are engaged to be married. I never got the sense that the show was telling us how we should conduct our sex life, except to say that people should be considerate of each other.


Suzie, I agree with you. Many's the time I've heard or read that getting involved in the Buffyverse always proved tantamount to being set up for pain. Though not in those words, exactly.

Still, I'd like to read your sister's article, along with the rest of the book.

And Pointy, as always, you make me chuckle.
I couldn't find a link to that specific essay (??) but due respect to Suzie's sister, if she based her conclusions on a few episodes, I don't see how she could possibily have gotten the point of this most complex of all BtS relationships, or of the character development that brought Buffy to the point of indulging in the season 6 sexual sadism with Spike most tellingly immortalized in Dead Things.
For a really in-depth look at this episode .... and thus the crux of this issue in the show, & the Buffy/Spike relationship up to this point, in season 6, which was the vehicle for exploring the issue .... you can't beat Steven S. DeKnight's "Episode Dissection" article in the April/May issue of BtVS/Angel magazine. It's just brilliant.
Hey, SangChaud!

You need to log in to be able to post comments.
About membership.



joss speaks back home back home back home back home back home