I started out this morning as I often do: being SCINTILLATINGLY WITTY* on Facebook.
[*Translation: trying to hold my own in convo with folks whose humor makes me snort-laugh my coffee on a disturbingly regular basis. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.]
A friend had posted a picture of herself all suited-up and business-y for a meeting on her campus. The picture was captioned: “Do you think my boss will ask about my feminist agenda?”
Blink, and you would (like I first did!) miss it. The tiny bit of flair she wore on her lapel, just like this:
I loved it so much, I went out and got my own. (From ShellsGlitterButtons on Etsy — be sure to tell Shell I said “hi!” if you stop by.)
Still, though. The unassumingness of a tiny pin might lack a certain je ne sais quoi, given context. I mean, if you’re serious about making the boss stand up and notice your agenda at the workplace, don’t you want something that will announce said-agenda’s presence with authority?
Riley: What . . . ARE you? Buffy: Capricorn on the cusp of Aquarius. You?
— BtVS, “Doomed”
* * * * * *
Buffy Summers — AKA, Buffy the Vampire Slayer; AKA, The Chosen One; AKA, She Who Hangs Out A Lot in Cemeteries; AKA, Slayer, Comma, The — was born in 1981, on either the 19th or the 20th of January.
Making this the week Buffy turns 34.
(And yes, this also means you now feel very, VERY old. Just in case anyone was wondering.)
For five of the six complete seasons of BtVS (Season 1 was a mid-season replacement), the last week of January meant an episode dedicated to celebrating the Birth of the Buff. These generally went terribly, terribly wrong.
My favorite Buffy birthday has always been — and shall forever remain — the first Buffy birthday: Season 2’s two-parter of “Surprise” and “Innocence.” (Cliff Notes version for any non-Buffy-addicts who might be reading: these are the episodes in which Buffy and Angel first consummate their relationship. . . and Angel loses his soul as a result.)
I’d like to make a few points about that:
That must’a been some damn good sex, to provide a moment of such “true happiness” that it manages to suck out the entire soul of one of the participants.
This is hands-down the best solution I’ve ever seen for a TV show which derived its narrative tension, up to this moment, in large part from the “will they? or won’t they?” sexual attraction between two lead characters. [Henceforth to be referred to as “The Sam and Diane Problem.”] Once it’s clear the characters not only WILL, they already HAVE, how to keep the tension and interest alive? Turn one of them into AN UTTERLY EVIL KILLING MACHINE, that’s how! And how better to announce the return of Angelus? Why, send him into an alley to suck smoke directly from the throat of a woman puffing on a cigarette, that’s how!
While I understand (and to some extent agree with) Jenny Trout’s point about the sex-shaming aspects of how BtVS treats teenage sex, I want to acknowledge how ground-breaking this season was, in terms of both recreating and challenging the Strong Female Character trope, when it aired 17 years ago. Yes, Buffy gets punished 19 ways from Sunday for sleeping with her boyfriend. But she grieves, deals, and moves on. And when Angel’s soul is restored to him in the final crucial scenes of the season finale, Buffy is still able to get her job done. And save the world by killing her true love and sending him to hell. (Of an apparently pants-free variety, based on how he returns from there, slime-slicked and trou-less, in Season 3.)
To be fair, I don’t know if Madéleine Flores, creator of the web comic Help Us Great Warrior!, thinks of her diminutive, headbow-adorned Great Warrior as a Strong Female Character. But, I mean, C’MON. Check out this cutie badass: