Smeyer, You Need To Back Off of Buffy

I think she’s more of a typical teen than people give her credit for. She’s a little more withdrawn, she’s quieter. But there are so many girls out there that don’t know kung fu. And if a guy jumps out of any alley they’re not going to go at him with a roundhouse kick.source

Well, there’s an idea out there that to be a strong female role model you have to know kung fu and the whole line of Prada products from that year, and I think you can be a strong person by just being who you are and being really strong mentally. I don’t think Bella gets enough credit for just knowing who she is, [possessing] her confidence, and also making some really tough decisions.–source

Stephenie Meyer: stop fucking ripping on Buffy Summers.

No, I don’t care if you’re going to claim that’s not what you meant to do and you respect Joss Whedon and you TOTALLY mean to watch Buffy at some point. Shut it. You are lying through your fucking teeth. Because you keep coming back to this whole thing where you insult women who know martial arts and yet are aware of trends in fashion.

“Well, I’m not exactly quaking in my stylish yet affordable boots…”~Buffy, “Once More With Feeling.”

This whole thing goes hand in hand with what Random wrote about Stephenie’s apparent belief that you either know kung fu or you wait for a sparkly stalker to save you, there is no in between. And as someone who spent 7 seasons drinking in life according to Buffy, the vampire slayer, it pisses me off to see her have such a nasty attitude towards women who CAN defend themselves. Because apparently, they are the weird ones, there’s something WRONG with them.

Fuck. That. Noise. Because you know what? Buffy had superpowers, but that isn’t what made her strong.

Buffy’s strength comes from, believe it or not, being who she is and being strong mentally. Her refusal to obey the Watcher’s Council (who we find out later were created for the express purpose of controlling The Slayer because they were afraid of powerful women…when they were the ones who gave her the power in the first place), her insistence on having friends and a social life (In face, it’s generally when Buffy faces a challenge WITHOUT her friends that she’s in the most danger), her determination to accept that she is the Slayer but at the same time not be nothing BUT the slayer (there’s an exchange in the comics where she and Willow, her best friend, discuss Buffy dropping out of college and Willow begs her not to because if she gives up on Buffy, all that’s left is the Slayer…and in the Buffy Versus Dracula episode Dracula keeps calling Buffy the “new killer” and Buffy keeps insisting she’s more than that), THAT’S part of her strength. And more often than not, it’s those things, not her super strength, that ultimately save the day.

In Season Three’s “Helpless,” she is actually stripped of her powers in order to pass a test every Slayer is put through on her 18th birthday…one many other girls have failed, assuming they LIVED to the age of 18. Buffy is forced to face a psychotic vampire who, through a series of extremely messy circumstances, ends up holding her own mother captive, with the plan of luring Buffy to him, making her a vampire, and forcing her to kill her mother. Buffy manages to defeat the vampire, by herself, without her super powers, by utilizing her mental strength and quick thinking.

In fact, we’re shown that the perks of being the Slayer are not enough to make you into a strong person. Kendra, a Slayer called when Buffy briefly died in the Season One finale, was raised and trained as a traditional slayer: away from her family, depending on herself, totally focused on the kill. She is killed at the end of Season Two, despite having the same powers and abilities as Buffy. In Season Three, we meet Faith, the Slayer called after Kendra’s death. Faith is Buffy’s shadow, proof that being the Slayer doesn’t mean you’ll be the hero, and proof that you can be physically strong and still emotionally very weak. Faith is manipulated by the bad guys, she gives in to her rage and anger and becomes a murderer and then Buffy’s enemy. It’s only through seasons worth of self-realization that she comes to realize that being the Slayer isn’t just about mystical powers, it’s about being a strong person underneath it all.

Through it all, Buffy maintains that she is normal. In fact, at the end of Season Five, after she dusts a vampire, she has this exchange with a kid she’s just saved:

Kid: “H-how’d you do that?”Buffy: “It’s what I do.”Kid: “But you’re… you’re just a girl.”Buffy: “That’s what I keep saying.”~The Gift

Buffy doesn’t consider herself a “special” case. She considers herself the “normal” girl, despite all the powers and everything else. And the thing is, part of her strength is helping others find and develop their strengths. She encourages Willow when her friend begins taking up witchcraft…which eventually leads to Willow becoming one of the most powerful witches in the Buffy universe (pleae to note: there is both a good and bad side to power, the show always manages to remind you of this). During the Seventh Season, she takes her younger sister Dawn (a mystical construct…long story…) under her wing and starts teaching her how to protect herself and how to find her own power. Dawn shows her stuff later in the season when it’s believed she’s a potential Slayer…and then further shows what she’s capable of after she finds out she’s NOT. And with Xander, Buffy’s longtime friend and occasional admirer, she is always clear to recognize his strengths and thank him for fighting beside her when he is the one in the group with no superpowers, with no greater calling, just a desire to do what’s right.

And at the end of the series, empowering others is how she saves the world. When confronted with an evil she cannot face and an army of girls who will eventually be Slayers but are still minus the Slayer Magic, Buffy decides that she doesn’t like the rules anymore, that they’re unfair and there’s no reason she should be the only one with power. And since Smeyer is so fond of saying feminism is about “choice,” here’s Buffy’s take on choices:

So here’s the part where you make a choice: What if you could have that power… now? In every generation, one slayer is born… because a bunch of men who died thousands of years ago made up that rule. They were powerful men. This woman is more powerful than all of them combined. So I say we change the rule. I say my power… should be our power. Tomorrow, Willow will use the essence of the scythe to change our destiny. From now on, every girl in the world who might be a slayer… will be a slayer. Every girl who could have the power… will have the power… can stand up, will stand up. Slayers… every one of us. Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong?~Chosen

Let’s assume for one second that “the power” is a metaphor. Because let’s face it, IT IS. The idea is that every girl out there has the potential within her to be strong, to fight against what is threatening her, to stand her ground. And the choice we make is whether or no you will tap into that power and be strong. It’s a choice YOU make, not your creepy ass stalker vampire boyfriend/husband, it’s not something you only obtain by turning into something else. You yourself, as you, have that power and all you have to fucking do is search yourself for it, because in the end THAT is what will make the difference. Choosing to be strong has fuck all to do with kung fu and Prada and everything to do with demanding you be treated well by the people in your life, fighting for your right to live your own life, knowing you are more than someone’s property, being able to stand on your own if need be but at the same time knowing you sometimes have to ask for help. Being strong is knowing your limits, but being strong is also knowing when to push them. Being strong is asking for help but not hiding behind others. Being strong is facing your challenges head on with everything you have inside of you and knowing that win or lose you have fucking fought.

Buffy Summers empowered me. I have chosen to be Chosen. And I hope every other woman out there does the same.

And while I have a mean roundhouse, I have no idea what’s stylish in Prada this season.