itsnotmymind (itsnotmymind) wrote,

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LJ Response to Tumblr Conversation - Spike's Soul and First Date

Been reading this, a conversation on tumblr about whether Spike getting a soul was noble or not.

My overall opinion: I don't disagree with rahirah's arguments, but I do have a lot of sympathy for Buffy in this situation. It makes me angry when fans thinks Buffy should be grateful for Spike getting a soul: It was ultimately good, but it was in many ways a terrible and horrifying thing. Buffy hadn't asked him to do that. Still, I would agree that Spike had some good motivations in getting it (the fact that he described it as what Buffy "deserves" is what initially convinced me that he was trying to get a soul, and not remove the chip as I'd heard from some fans). Also, I don't blame him too much for the extent to which he puts his choice on Buffy. I wish he wouldn't do it - but a newly ensouled vampire trying to find the balance between his demon and his humanity gets a certain degree of leeway from me.

One thing that particular makes me pause is the discussion of Buffy's agency when asking Spike to stay in First Date. Baumanhp dismisses it: "Also you can’t say “but see she asked him to stay in First Dates, that’s her showing agency!!” when that ignores a lot of the more problematic reasons as to why she does.[...] I’d argue it’s not real agency when it’s borne out of a dependence he has been encouraging in her since s6." Baumanhp argues that because Buffy has feelings for Spike, her agency is compromised. No sexist implications there!

The main argument seems to be based on the assumption that because Buffy and Spike had a dysfunctional relationship in the past, they couldn’t possibly have a more functional relationship in the present or the future. Buffy asks Spike to stay because she wants Spike to stay. That is her agency. When things were bad between them in S6, Buffy ended the relationship in As You Were. That, also, was her agency. Buffy's agency during their S6 affair is iffy at times, but it's worth noting that the sexual relationship continues as long as it does in part because Buffy doesn't want to acknowledge and take responsibility for her agency in the relationship. She has to move from "Why do I let Spike do these things to me?" to "I'm using him" before she can walk away. That's not to say that Spike doesn't exploit her and take advantage of her depression - he does - but Buffy can't walk away until she owns her own role, and her abuse of him.

In S7, the relationship between them has changed, because they have both changed, both taken a hard look at their own behavior, and decided to try to build a better relationship. I don't believe that dysfunctional relationships must always remain dysfunctional. And while I understand a lot of the problems that fans have with Buffy/Spike (particularly the lack of care of what messages are being sent about real life domestic abuse issues), for me that rebuilding after such horrible dysfunction is what I love most about them.
Tags: btvs, buffy is my girl

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