Have been doing some research for my essay Mapping the Male Body: The Female Gaze in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (yes, yes, kassto and caraway_, I haven't forgotten), and have happily found a very well written essay on feminism in Buffy. Most of the stuff I've read always harps on about what a great feminist show Buffy is (I've always had my doubts), but this one actually looks at the character of Buffy as a feminist in a fairly negative way, and also raises questions about the negative representations of sex in the show (thank you Marti). Here are a couple of excerpts from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Body in Relation" in The Warrior Women of Television: A Feminist Cultural Analysis of the New Female Body in Popular Media, by Dawn Heinecken.
"While Buffy has engaged in some questionable acts over the course of the series, repeatedly she chooses to be 'good', preserving her status as hero. However, choosing good seems to involve suppressing and rejecting her sexual desires. It also suggests the lack of integrationof those qualities in herself which Spike represents."
"While Angel and Spike's journeys as characters are focussed around their struggle to move from the dark side ... the series reaffirms the notion that men are essentially monstrous and that this monstrous masculinity is desirable."
"The representation of sexuality in the series suggests that the body is untrustworthy, threatening to erupt out of control and thus in need of taming."
I haven't read all of it yet, but I'm happy to see something that actually questions the representations of feminism and sexuality in the show - I've always thought that what ended up on the screen was far removed from the 'feminist re-imagining' that Joss purported the show to be.
In other academic matters, I've passed another subject!! ::Begins dance of academic joy:: Only two subjects to go, only two friggin' subjects to go .... WOO HOO!!!