itsnotmymind (itsnotmymind) wrote,

Female Empowerment and Female Power: Chosen

I think the way Buffy the Vampire Slayer ended was just right for the show.

One of the reasons I've never really been interested in the BtVS comics was that I felt it was the perfect way to end Buffy's story (though I wouldn't have minded a guest star on AtS - oh, well). Of all my shows, it is the one that ended to my best satisfaction. Buffy not having to be the only one, sharing her power with other girls in her situation - that was the solution to the problem Buffy struggled with from Welcome to the Hellmouth to the end.

And it was not only beneficial to Buffy - I think it was good both for the new slayers, and the world at large. Some people wondered why Buffy would make other girls slayers when she saw it as so much of curse, when it meant they would die young. But in fact, making all the potentials slayers didn't give them those problems, it took away those problems from Slayerhood. All the new slayers will have choices that Buffy had never had before the empowerment spell. Far from dying young, they were safer than they were at the beginning of the season when they were being killed off systematically and had little ability to defend themselves. And now, the Hellmouth in Cleveland could have a slayer or two to guard it with plenty of slayers left over to watch other parts of the world.

And yet, the montage in Chosen leaves me cold.

It's supposed to be a beautiful feminist moment, but it felt to me superficial and phony. Too shiny, if you will.

Part of it is the nature of the empowerment. I am down with women being physically strong, in reality and fiction. But in the real world, at the end of the day, men as a group are more physically powerful than women as a group. I don't see that changing anytime in the near future. We don't have Slayerification in our world. And even in the Buffyverse, only a percentage of women can be Slayerified.

I have become increasingly disenchanted with the idea of making feminism about cool, badass women. I love badass women, in reality and fiction. I think it's important for all people to see many reminders that women are brave and smart and powerful. But ultimately, the cause of sexism was never women not being sufficiently badass. And feminism should be as much for women deemed weak as for those declared strong.

There's also the issue that not all women are empowered by the spell.

So now when I think of that "inspiring" montage, the girl hitting a baseball bat, the woman standing up to abuser, I wonder: Where are the images of girls abusing their power? We have many examples of female abuse of power in Buffy: Faith, Willow, Anya, sometimes even Buffy herself. But we don't see that in the montage of Chosen. AtS addresses the issue to some extent later, but that was a different show. In Chosen, it was a heartfelt and inspiring moment, presenting female power as something that will be used only for empowering moments.

And I just don't feel it.
Tags: btvs

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