Numbers Game

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Rewatch: Week 1 Part 4

Joss Whedon is a feminist. He self identifies as one, it’s reflected in his work. This is a man who very fully understands the concept of dismantling the patriarchy. But do you want to know something that I’ve never noticed about Buffy before? (I was never really paying close attention before.) That as far as female characters go, they hugely outnumber the male.

This never struck me as odd before, because I’ve spent so much time in female dominated environments. There are five people in my house. Three of them are women. I went to an all girls school. My hobbies include reading teen fiction and musical theater. I work in fashion retail.

It isn’t that men haven’t been a presence in my life, I have more male cousins than female, I lived with my Uncle and his partner for the past year, my brother’s good friends have always been a large and inescapable part of my life, and I have a close relationship with my dad.  But generally my life is sort of feminine.

When it comes to major characters on Buffy, you have Buffy, Willow, Cordelia, and Joyce. Later, you get Faith, Anya, Tara and Dawn. As far as men are concerned, you have Giles, Xander and Angel. Later, Spike and Riley, if you can even count  Riley. There’s also Oz, but like Riley, his main function is as a love interest, to one of the female characters (one could also put Tara in the category. But you get my drift.)

Of course the women on Buffy are strong, but there are also just more of them. This in and of it’s self is a rare thing in popular culture. Yesterday I wrote about Sons Of Anarchy which also features prominent strong female characters (if in a hugely chauvinistic setting), but there are two of them, as compared to the seven main male characters. I’m a cultural feminist, so to me, a show like Buffy, which features likable strong women, and simply, and subtly features more of them than men is exactly the kind of thing that I like to see.

As a feminist, there’s one thing that I’ve heard over and over again, “Oh, so you hate men?” Then they chuckle. This is supposed to be funny, I guess, but it’s always bothered me. No, I don’t hate men. I love men. I have good friends that are men. I have a father, I have uncles and cousins and a brother. Feminism isn’t about female superiority, it’s about dismantling the patriarchy. And I’m in to the little things that help do that. More female characters than male characters on a television show is a little thing. But it’s a little important thing.

Just a Note: I actually couldn’t find a publicity photo where women outnumbered men. This is because publicity photos were handled by The WB, who were maybe a little less in to this than Joss.

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