Apparently, in a fight between Buffy and Edward Cullen, Buffy would win. That’s because she’s feisty where he’s gloomy. Plus, she’s filmed in warm colours. Obviously that makes her more powerful. *SPOILER ALERT*
In the wake of the (supposed) rediscovery of conservative gender roles in Twilight, the howling of Buffy fans is almost deafening. While Bella is mesmerised, perhaps even flattered by Edward’s obsession with her, Buffy won’t be a slave to male passions: she tells her stalker it’s creepy! After all the strength of kick-arse chick Buffy, how could Twilight become so popular?
The answer lies in Buffy herself. You can criticise Bella mooning over Edward if you want but in the end, Buffy’s not that different. Sure, she didn’t like Riley’s over-protectiveness, but she was a wreck when he left her. And she followed that one up with Angel. The vampire. But it’s OK, because he doesn’t kill humans. (Sounding Cullen-esque at all?) And her descent into destructive relationships only worsens with the whole Spike debacle. Slayer she may be, but you can hardly accuse her of good judgement in the men department. Yet, like any 3rd wave feminist icon, that’s the source of Buffy’s appeal. This “Barbie with a kung-fu kick” might take on the monsters of this world, but in the end, she just wants to be loved – at any cost, it would seem.
In fact, you could argue that for all Bella’s moaning and navel-gazing, she’s more upwardly mobile than Buffy. After all, by the end of the fourth book, she’s upgraded from dowdy human to strong, powerful, beautiful vampire. Meanwhile throughout the series, Buffy upgrades from ponytails to barrel curls.
I’ll admit, feisty Buffy is a more attractive option than emo Bella, but let’s not get carried away here. Buffy sits fairly and squarely in 3rd wave feminism, failing to challenge either traditional roles or the feminist assumptions of our society.
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.