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Do I like Willow?


Was the question, when I posted a mini-rant on the Buffy Cross & Stake Spoiler Board, in response to a fan who says she hasn't liked or respected Willow since S3, because she's become a self-righteous bitca.

Not gonna post my response -- long and very specific to her post, which I don't think I have the right to copy here.

But in response to my post, Ozmandayus (evil B/X shipper tht he is) teased me and asked "Do you like Willow?"

My response (and not the rant I was *going* to do, but right now I don't seem to be able to concentrate on that) :

______________

Snerk.

But seriously--yeah, I do. But no more than I like Giles or Anya or Xander or Spike or... Okay, maybe a little bit more than I like Buffy.

I like *all* the characters. Not equally, true -- I have faves -- everybody does. Mine are (duh) Xander and Spike. Not because I slash them in fic, but because I have a soft spot for the characters themselves, individually. I also really like Tara, even though we know so little about her. I even liked *gasp* Riley. (I thought he was being a serious dumbass in S5, but I still liked him.) And I tend to like the supporting characters a bit more than I like Buffy because she's the center of all things -- and so the stuff about her on the show seems very obvious to me. I like the people who revolve around her, because their lives and problems are more subtle, and take longer to develop. But I like Buffy too.

I don't know why it's necessary for some fans to go out of their way to actively dislike Character X, in order to prove their love for Character Y. They're *all* the good guys. They have problems and disagreements with each other, but the bad guys are the monsters they fight, and the human beings who try to make their lives difficult. And even *those* bad guys are in a gray area -- can become friends, can become more than 2-dimensional.

In the little slash-fic-fandom-world I spend a lot of my time in, Buffy-bashing is rampant. GuyX and GuyY can't possibly have societal pressures, their own personalities, evil monsters, or some other conflict to make their romance difficult. It has to be Buffy who hates them, or hates one of them and therefore does everything she can to break them up, to the point of irrational, murderous behavior. Not every writer does this, but the worst offenders make me want to shake them and ask what show they've been watching. Buffy doesn't have to be a villain, Willow doesn't have to be a villain. Spike, or Faith perhaps, could be villains if a story is written in the right context -- during times when Faith wasn't trying to be redeemed, or with a take on Spike that he's faking, or finally chooses the dark side, etc.

Not saying that all is happy-happy joy-joy in Sunnydale -- they all have conflicts with each other, and none of them are perfect. But sometimes I get a bit tired of seeing any individual character bashed for actions that are either taken out of context, or could be compared with similar actions of the basher's favourite -- but because they're *not* Faith/Buffy/Angel/Spike/Giles, their actions are awful, while the others are, if not saintly, at least to be permitted given whatever extenuating circumstances there were.

Er. I think I may have just inadvertantly whined, "Can't we all just get along?" I must be shunned.

____


iroshi

2001-08-15 01:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

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<<And I tend to like the supporting characters a bit more than I like Buffy because she's the center of all things -- and so the stuff about her on teh show seems very obvious to me. I like the people who revolve around her, because their lives and problems are more subtle, and take longer to develop.>>

You've hit on the exact thing I've mentioned to friends. With Buffy, you always know every little detail of what's going on in her life. (Small exceptions, like not understanding the "Death is your gift" prophecy, happen...but only if Buffy herself doesn't understand them. The vast majority of the show is depicted from her point-of-view, really.) With the rest of the characters, there are hints, teasers, just enough to make you go, "Wait, what was that?! Why did she do that?" And it also points out one of the things I like the most about the show, how quite frequently, every little detail hints to something you're not going to find out until much later, much like real LIFE does. These are not just cardboard-cut-outs who exist only to further Buffy. They are created fully fleshed, designed to be real people, and *that* is what makes me love the show. The example that springs to mind is Tara deliberately flubbing the spell to detect demons, oh so long ago, because she honestly thought that she herself was part demon, and was terribly afraid that the rest of the Scooby Gang would find out. It made you wonder what was going on in the back of her mind, *why* did she do that? And there was no question that she had a reason. That, to me, made her a real person, with more on her agenda than just making Buffy and the Gang look good.

iroshi

2001-08-15 01:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

Minor oops -- forgot I was writing in html for a minute there, and my quote got destroyed between arrows.
slapping self upside forehead
I was referring to this section of your comment:
"And I tend to like the supporting characters a bit more than I like Buffy because she's the center of all things -- and so the stuff about her on teh show seems very obvious to me. I like the people who revolve around her, because their lives and problems are more subtle, and take longer to develop."

djinanna

2002-12-31 01:30 am (UTC) (Link)

Gosh, in the lj world, this is an old post. But I was poking through the right-hand column on your journal page and ended up here and ...

>>In the little slash-fic-fandom-world I spend a lot of my time in, Buffy-bashing is rampant. GuyX and GuyY can't possibly have societal pressures, their own personalities, evil monsters, or some other conflict to make their romance difficult. It has to be Buffy who hates them, or hates one of them and therefore does everything she can to break them up, to the point of irrational, murderous behavior. Not every writer does this, but the worst offenders make me want to shake them and ask what show they've been watching.<<

As a Spike/Xander fan, how could I have *not* read some of these fics? And ... aside from the egregious bashing of Buffy and/or the rest of the Scoobies (including, in several hideous incidents, *Giles*!) ... I've sometimes liked thes stories. Which make the Buffy-bashing (and etc-bashing) even worse ... those writers *could* write, and write well, but still they chose....

Arrrgh. And grrrr.

But ... being all psycho-analytical, as I am wont to be (it's the English major in me, forcing me into odd feats of textual analysis), I've come to the conclusion that at least some of these writers genuinely perceive Buffy (and/or the others) to be the evil bitch queen they portray her (and/or the others) as.

Or, to put it in Buffy-speak -- transference, much?

Xander and Spike turn into an Everyman-substitute for the author, who has Popularity Issues probably dating back to high school (which may not have been that long ago, actually). And Buffy (and whoever else) turns into the Evil Bitch Queen of Popularity who ruined their hs existence.

Kinda like Cordelia started out to be, in first-season Buffy, before we got to know her. (Okay, and after we got to know her ... pausing to mourn the loss of much-loved bitchy Cordy.)

Also being a Joxer/Ares 'shipper (from the Hercules/Xena universe), I can tell you that the same thing happens with Gabby-bashing (and Xena-bashing and Herc-bashing ... Iolaus tends to get better treatment). Sometimes by the same authors. And it seems to be the same "transference of Issues" phenomenon. Plus, there are a lot fewer Joxer/Ares writers who give Gabby et al a break from being evil bitch queen of the universe. (And ... they *could* be using Callisto for that. *whimper* Uh -- we all have our Issues, after all, and I miss the *real* evil bitch queen of the Herc/Xena-verse.)

Any way, that's my take on the situation. Most of these writers truly *aren't* watching the same show we are. (But then, it's my opinion that we're *all* watching "a different show" from each others, just by virtue of what we each uniquely bring to the viewing, and how we each uniquely react to the characters and events. Just, some "different shows" are more closely congruent than others.)

mpoetess

2002-12-31 05:36 am (UTC) (Link)

Heh. Yes. Word.

Wow, that was deep and thoughtful. But yeah. (Mind you, my fic reading in the hercuverse has pretty much been limited to Xena/Gabby -- but I've read the plaintive tales of several writers on the subject of Gabby-bashing by Joxer slashers. In that case, to me, it's almost bizarre -- because Gabby not loving him is what *makes* him open and available for slash!

Um. I may have Spuffy issues showing here. ;-)

djinanna

2002-12-31 10:40 am (UTC) (Link)

>>Wow, that was deep and thoughtful.<<

Thank you. *dimples* But it's only because I've been thinking a *lot* about this issue for ... since before I even got a LiveJournal. Because, as a Joxer lover, there are times I want to beat Gabby's bitchy little face in, even though I also love her and understand her side of it and can imagine how annoying/frightening it can be to be the object of such strong unwanted devotion. So when I came across Gabby-bashing, at first it was "yeah, that's right, that's how I feel about it, too" and then it got ... *way* over the top and I realized "hey, that's not what I'm thinking at all". (On the other hand, *any*and*all* Zeus-bashing, I'm *sooo* there for.)

And then, found the Spike/Xander stuff that Buffy bashed. And, having some serious Issues with Buffy's treatment of Spike in s5, I was "yeah, that's right, that's how I feel about it, too" there, too, and then it got *way* over the top there, too, and I realized "hey, that's not what I'm thinking at all" there too.

Now, Buffy and Gabby have not acted perfectly in all instances -- but neither have Spike and Xander and Ares and Joxer.

I once did a compare'n'contrast [tm] of Buffy-verse/Smallville-verse.

Now I'm starting to think I should do one for Buffy-verse/Herc-Xena-verse. Or maybe Spike/Xander sub-fandom/fanon -vs- Joxer/Ares sub-fandom/fanon. There are so many parallels, from Xander:Joxer as abused children, to Spike:Ares being semi-reformed bad guys, to Buffy:Gabby bashing, etc.

Or maybe I shouldn't. Since it's the same writers in both fandoms, and I could be calling a flame-war down on my head if any of them are at all self-aware, since a lot of the parallels come from my Personal Issues of Writer/transference theory.

mpoetess

2002-12-31 10:59 am (UTC) (Link)

/me does a quick mental roundup of who writes both hercu-slash and buffyslash, and nods head rapidly. Perhaps best not. ;-)

Yes -- I was down with bitchy!buffy at the beginning too -- or not so much bitchy as the Buffy who along with the rest of them ignores Xander. Because I came into that subfandom towards the end of S4, and there was a *little* bit of truth in it. But even so, the ones where Buffy was actively hateful made me feel sick, in ways that I couldn't quite explain. I think it's the part where some of the stories were otherwise *good* , as you said, and it made me feel embarrased to...be playing in the same sandbox with people who could honestly view her as being this way? Or not honestly view her that way, yet do it to her for teh sake of the story, and not care.

djinanna

2002-12-31 11:09 am (UTC) (Link)

Oh *pout* the darned thing *did* post prematurely. I thought I'd hit "stop* fast enough. (Darn computers, you *want* 'em to post something, it gets *eaten*, you *don't* want to post something, it posts multiple copies ... *gribblecreeb*

>>/me does a quick mental roundup of who writes both hercu-slash and buffyslash, and nods head rapidly. Perhaps best not. ;-)<<

Uh -- yeah. *grin*

>>the ones where Buffy was actively hateful made me feel sick, in ways that I couldn't quite explain. I think it's the part where some of the stories were otherwise *good* , as you said, and it made me feel embarrased to...be playing in the same sandbox with people who could honestly view her as being this way? Or not honestly view her that way, yet do it to her for teh sake of the story, and not care.<<

*nods* Yes, exactly. Both of those.

Though, actually, I feel slightly *less* upset by the ones where the author doesn't *always* write the character that way, can obviously see there's more to the character than her negative traits, because I can view it as fic-as-commentary/critique of the canon text. (Um, would "text" be the right term for television/motion pictures?)

The ones where the author is obvious unable to grasp Buffy's good points, obviously is demonizing her without realization of what she's doing, is taking out her Issues unconsciously -- those are the ones that really *disturb* me. And, usually, they're also the ones that end *way* over the top, with blood and guts and entrails, and Spike and Xander as cozy serial killers living happily ever after.... *blech* *shudder*

djinanna

2002-12-31 11:02 am (UTC) (Link)

>>Wow, that was deep and thoughtful.<<

Thank you. *dimples* But it's only because I've been thinking a *lot* about this issue for ... since before I even got a LiveJournal. Because, as a Joxer lover, there are times I want to beat Gabby's bitchy little face in, even though I also love her and understand her side of it and can imagine how annoying/frightening it can be to be the object of such strong unwanted devotion. But on the other hand, I have some serious Issues with Gabby's extremely biased hatred of the gods, and her and Xena's part in diety genocide (bitches killed Hades...). So when I came across Gabby-bashing, at first it was "yeah, that's right, that's how I feel about her, too" and then it got ... *way* over the top and I realized "hey, that's not what I'm thinking at all". (On the other hand, *any*and*all* Zeus-bashing, I'm *sooo* there for.) Cause, aside from her attitude/treatment of Joxer in particular and the gods in general, I really adore Gabby.

Then, the same thing happened with Buffy-bashing in Spike/Xander fic. And, having some serious Issues with Buffy's treatment of Spike in s5, I was "yeah, that's right, that's how I feel about it, too" there, too, and then it got *way* over the top there, too, and I realized "hey, that's not what I'm thinking at all" there too. Cause, aside from her treatment/attitude towards Spike, I really adore Buffy.

Now, Buffy and Gabby have not acted perfectly in all instances -- but neither have Spike and Xander and Ares and Joxer. They wouldn't be as real to me, as beloved by me, if they weren't all so complex. The unbalanced demonization of some characters and the glorification of others (I keep expecting the Pope to sweep in and canonize Xander in some of these stories -- urgh, no pun intended!) that makes me want to scream!

And the worst thing is -- these are the writers that write the *long* stories, with actual *plot* and the smut sprinkled in on top rather than being the whole point of the story (especially in Joxer/Ares). And that's my favorite kind of story. Though balanced character development is of the good, too.

I once did a compare'n'contrast [tm] of Buffy-verse/Smallville-verse. Now I'm starting to think I should do one for Buffy-verse/Herc-Xena-verse. Or maybe Spike/Xander sub-fandom/fanon -vs- Joxer/Ares sub-fandom/fanon. There are so many parallels, from Xander:Joxer as abused children, to Spike:Ares being semi-reformed bad guys, to Buffy:Gabby bashing, etc.

Or maybe I shouldn't. Since it's the same writers in both fandoms, and I could be calling a flame-war down on my head if any of them are at all self-aware, since a lot of the parallels come from my Personal Issues of Writer/transference theory.

>>because Gabby not loving him is what *makes* him open and available for slash!<<

Yeah! That's brilliantly put. How do they not *get* that. And how do they (Buffy and Herc-Xena) also not get that certain stories (that love spell thing on Xena, the Xeppo on Buffy, etc) are exaggerations for the purpose of dramatization? That the issues have been raised and resolved. Yeah, could be raised and re-examined, but they're not *all* that the character is. ((grrr! arrrgh!!))

>>Um. I may have Spuffy issues showing here. ;-)<<

Heh, don't "we" all! And for me, there's also my long-standing adoration of Ted Raimi, whether he's a be-spectacled linguist in uniform on a submarine (*squee* Tim!!!!) or a crazed serial killer or a code geek for the government or a hapless random customer in Evil Dead III or ... now I'm missing him as much as I'm missing Armin Shimerman!

But I do sometimes comfort myself slightly with the thought that it's not *just* S/X 'shippers who Buffy-bash. The delusional hordes of Angel/Willow and Angel/Cordie 'shippers can also get pretty hard on the Buffster.

Nowadays, I'm watching the same phenomenon developing, in a *much* muted way, with Lana on Smallville. Of course, Lana *deserves* our scorn. ((said with full awareness of the irony *wink* of my words))