The Bad Boy Myth. Women love bad boys. Women love Spike. Women love Spike because he's a bad boy. Right?
The popularity of Spike is a phenomenon professionals and fans often explain as the irresistible allure of the bad boy. Google "Joss Whedon" and "bad boy" and you'll find descriptions of Spike's character. "Bad boy" becomes a shorthand descriptor of an incredibly complex character, but this oversimplification isn't the sole reason he's so popular. Time to let go of the Bad Boy Myth, folks, and consider perhaps it's the complexity and contradiction that's the real attention getter.