Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Problem With Urban Fantasy Fandom

As you know, I have been watching and reviewing Buffy The Vampire Slayer for a project that I am working on. I have written a review for each season, and each time I do so, some silly fan nonsense occurs.  I am of the belief that because we live in an imperfect world, that you simply have to say fuck it I like it from time to time, otherwise you would never be able to listen to music, read a book, or watch a movie or television for that matter.  There is however a line between saying fuck it I like it, and ignoring the multitude of isms that are perpetrated daily in our mainstream culture. It is more than possible to think critically about a text and still enjoy it. Warts should never disappear, because when they do, it means that we are internalizing an ism that is harmful, or we are openly and passively denying our various privileges.

On a post I wrote regarding the chaste lesbian relationship in season four of Buffy the vampire slayer, quite a few of the people who follow us on tumblr were upset, but one response really stood out to me.
Uh just so you know, the network that Buffy was airing on at the time, the WB, wouldn’t allow them to do anything more than hold hands. They weren’t allowed to kiss, they weren’t allowed to be shown in bed together. Joss Whedon wasn’t the culprit in that area, and what he did with their relationship with the boundaries set, was absolutely amazing to the point where Alyson and Amber got letters from fans saying they didn’t kill themselves because they were in that relationship in Buffy.
What the flying fuck.  Yes, to defend the fact that two meters of air were kept between Alyson and Amber throughout the season, except when it encouraged the sexual fantasies of a straight male, the author decided to invoke gay suicide.  My head began to spin. The rate of gay teens committing suicide is absolutely horrendous, and to invoke this to defend Buffy is unconscionable.  Something this serious should never ever be used as a ploy.

Even if I were to believe in the veracity of the above statement, how exactly does this change the fact that the relationship between Willow and Tara is unreasonably chaste in comparison to the heterosexual relationships on Buffy the Vampire Slayer? If people embraced the relationship, it was not because it was good, but because it was the best of the bad at the time.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer may have been progressive in terms of the GLBT community for its time, but it is far from progressive.

Finish reading here