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October 30 2002

National Organisation for Women criticise BtVS and AtS in their "Watch Out, Listen Up!" 2002 Feminist Primetime Report which covered the 2001-2002 TV season. AtS got an overall grade of D and BtVS received a C-.

Both shows received criticism in the Television's Truths and Lies section which looked at the myths US television is alleged to promote.

They both received a D- for Violent Content and AtS got a D+ in the Social Responbility category.

Though BtVS did receive an A in the Gender Composition and Diversity category.

I can see the reasons for this. Especially in the diversity
area. And I doubt that there is any high school in the country that
has such a high percentage of attractive students as Sunnydale
high. I actually enjoy these shows, however I wish more people in
american television had the courage to tell their stories with
people who are more representitive of what most of us look like.
The BBC does this with shows like "Keeping up Appearances" and
others. And I don't think they are hurt by having ordinary looking
actors.
Sheesh, where to begin! It always makes me angry when a group is so misinformed and then makes public judgements like this.

By simply looking at some of the category ratings for BtVS and AtS it can be seen how very little actual thought was put into this analysis. For the "Gender Composition and Diversity" category BtVS gets an A while Angel is mysteriously missing. But wait, in order to average out the the overall rating of C- and D, respectively, they both get a D- for "Violent Content" regardless of the fact that violence is an integral part of the show. How else is Buffy to "fight the demons, the mosters and the forces of darkness"? It would seen that NOW would enjoy watching Buffy stake those (mainly male) vamps as they try to suck dry some ingenue in an alley. And what about the Angel episode "The Thin Dead Line", a reverse of the "COPS" show that they rightfully hate. Worst of all though is the Angel's D+ for the "Social Responsibility" category(BtVS's rating is missing this time). There are too many episodes to name that have provacatively dealt with the issues that NOW wants dealt with on TV: "sexism, racism, poverty, sexual orientation, mental illness, education, reproductive rights, sex trafficking, even domesticand foreign policy." Just watch "Hero", "War Zone" or "Expecting" and it becomes very clear that Angel is very socially responsibly through its subversive content.

Maybe they just need to read some Slayage essays to understand where they went wrong. I think I will try to contact NOW to "enlighten" them to their mistaken analysis of both Buffy and Angel, two shows that would be frontrunners to their ideal image of television.

[ edited by the_zeppo on 2002-10-30 20:33 ]
you couldn't have summed up my thoughts better, very powerful writing there the_zeppo.
the_zeppo took the words right out of my mouth as well, Simon.
Well said, the_zeppo.

I do think NOW have a valid point to make about TV-land in general. The lack of gender and other diversity of the roles; the wimpiness of most female characters and the demand for skinny prettiness are all good things to point out.

But I think that NOW go very wrong in adding violence into the mix. I fail to see how fighting evil is in any way anti-feminist!! This actually hits one of my favourite sopabox topics, so bear with me...

It really pisses me off that modern so-called "feminism" promotes the old female sterotypes of being somehow all soft and people focussed and noviolent and intuitive and just all round saintlier human beings than those nasty coarse violent men (eww, boy germs). This is something the earlier feminists were fighting, damnit. Way way back 80 years ago, Virginia Woolf complained about the crippling requirements to be the "Angel in the House".

Damnit, men and women are equally human. Women are not saints. And I think girls fighting evil and kicking arse and hacking computers and being social misfits who speak awkward truth (yay Anya!) is bloody excellent.

*ahem* thank you for listening. Off soapbox now.

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