Buffy Swan Refuses to Suck

As I was watching the new Eclipse trailer, out of sheer boredom and a hint of curiosity, I found myself wondering why in the world two super-powered boys would fight it out over a girl clad in American Apparel who’s a hell of a downer.

How is there an entire film series devoted to one girl’s delusional obsessions of a fairy tale ending with a born-again killer? Sparkely vampires want to kill you, strapping werewolf shape-shifters want to keep you safe.

Do these Edward fans have a death wish and a yearning for abandonment? Is Bella Swan so heavily marketed as mesmerizing that it erases the history of the brazen blonde that came before her?

A long time ago, otherwise known as the 90’s, there was a series called Buffy the Vampire Slayer where a feisty girl from the southland slayed Urban Outfitted demons. This legendary show paved the way for multi-tasking girls who cheer by day, slay by night, and every once in a while hook-up with a tormented blood sucker.

Ironically, a woman writer crafted Bella to be a weak, whiney girl while a man, Joss Whedon, created Buffy to be a strong, focused woman not to be messed with. So as the Eclipse trailer faded, I wondered, what if Buffy took the place of Bella?

At the beginning of the film New Moon, Bella is dumped by Edward and barely says a word. Let’s start there. At the very least, Buffy would question why Edward was leaving and point out he has a bird‘s nest in his hair.

After some heated discussion and a bit of PG-13 worthy between the sheets action, she says adios. Instead of sitting in the same Lazy-boy recliner for seasons on end, drained like a bottle of Jack on a Saturday night, Buffy Swan goes to school, hangs with friends, works-out, and trolls the happening streets of Forks for deadly vampires preying on young girls and boat owners.

When confronted by a Bob Marley lovin’ vamp she pulls out her stake and fights for her life beside her hunky and hairy BFF. Granted her stake wouldn’t do too much good, but knowing her, she’d have Willow whip up a potion that would do the trick.

The discovery that Jacob has a wolf demon of sorts inside of him causes some major conflicts for the demon-killing Buffy Swan. She begrudgingly lets him live under the reasoning that the enemy of my enemy is my friend and heavy distraction by his bronzed, ripped hotness . The next night, Buffy and her new sidekick Jacob dispatch vampy Victoria during her routine patrol.

No slouch in the homework department, Giles provides her with research that the snobby Volturi vamps still exist and have been feeding off innocent, oblivious humans for centuries. Incensed and blinded to anything but the mission of saving the world, Buffy gathers her troops, including the wolf pack, and heads to the Volturi’s secret Vatican headquarters.

While focusing on a detailed briefing by Giles on her Virgin Atlantic flight, Buffy misses the drunk dial from Edward. Unemployed and friendless, the mentally unbalanced Edward decides it’s a perfect time for a roman holiday and books a flight. As Buffy was already well on her way there, she arrives with minutes to spare.

On colliding coincidentally with Edward, Buffy throws a shirt on him and loudly says (so onlookers can hear) that the Gay Pride parade isn’t until next week. The bystanders merely glance and go back to munching on their biscotti. Edward tries to persuade her not to go through with it, but Buffy, with an eye of the tiger, goes ahead undeterred.

She and her team veer the humans from their direct line into the Volturi’s den of death. Disguised as hapless tourists, the Scooby Squad meander in and fake a photo-op. As the vampires descend, they unleash their blow torches, wolf forms, magic dust, grenades, and crossbows and an epic battle ensues.

After minutes of edge-of-your-seat, 300-esque action, Buffy and her Scooby Squad exit as victors. Sure, there might be one or two werewolves dead, but they were demons anyways (according to Buffy). All in all the world would be saved and human tourists would live to stand in another hours-long line to catch a glimpse of Mona Lisa’s smile.

Outside the Vatican, Buffy finds a hidden Edward lurking in the shadows and they share a heated kiss. Buffy then breaks it off with Edward, realizing their relationship would never work. Buffy travels back to foggy Forks in first class style a little misty-eyed, but hell bent on ridding the world of evil.

Unlike the faux-feminist, weepy Bella Swan, Buffy Summers is truly an independent, career-minded woman who has a well-rounded life. Just because one part of Buffy’s life falls apart, doesn’t mean it’s the end of her world.

I recommend the mini-van driving moms lusting over Edward rent a few DVDs of Buffy for their suicidal teenage daughters if only to save money on Ambien and guarantee a high school diploma. Although, a truly devoted teenage girl would probably skip college altogether in favor of spending their days in a lazy-boy dreaming of lush meadows.

Hmmm, college sure is expensive these days… maybe Stephenie Meyer is just a recessionista at heart.

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  • Renilrr
    March 10, 2011 at 8:13 am

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  • 2o4tom
    September 19, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Isn’t the Mona Lisa in Paris?

  • Maria V
    August 17, 2010 at 3:36 am

    I don’t think anyone’s ever said Bella was a feminist — faux or otherwise.

  • twacorbies
    July 12, 2010 at 4:05 am

    I like your take on this, although don't forget that Buffy never finished College and season six was pretty much her being Bella. Though Buffy definitely wins overall, no question.

  • dragonyphoenix
    April 27, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Ironically, a woman writer crafted Bella to be a weak, whiney girl while a man, Joss Whedon, created Buffy to be a strong, focused woman not to be messed with. It’s my understanding that something similar happened with the Nancy Drew series. The man who originally wrote it put in strong, independent girl/women (I’m not sure how old they were anymore; older than girls but not quite women – I never know what to call that). Point? But his daughter, when she rewrote the books, warped the stories to make them helpless femmes. For example, in the Dad’s version, the car breaks down and George (Nancy’s female friend) fixes it. In the daughter’s version, a tree fell across the road and they had to leave the car and walk.

    Disguised as hapless tourists, the Scooby Squad meander in and fake a photo-op. *Laughs* Sounds a bit more like Leverage than Buffy.

    I haven’t seen or read any of the Twilight stuff but a friend watched it for his granddaughter. As a vegetarian, he was appalled that the werewolves were calling themselves vegetarians when they ate people. He ranted/waxed amusingly on how kids were going to go to vegetarian restaraunts and expect meat.

  • Spottyblanket
    March 17, 2010 at 11:44 am

    The metaphorical aspects of Buffy vs Real life were beautiful. The episode The Body was heartbreaking, real heartbreak–not the fluffy mills and boom bariety that Twilight seeps. The irony being that way before Twilight became popular, Buffy Season 8 (comics) had a leading villian called…bum bummmm Twilight. Who is ever way cooler and more itense than the horrible scrawl that dominates the popular book section in WHsmiths these days…

  • pelirrojaX
    March 16, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Excellent Post! There was a fascinating article in Time magazine in 1998 entitled ‘Is Feminism Dead?’The answer, according to Time was a resounding ‘yes.’ Are modern woman increasing harking back to a time where they didn’t have the option to pick up a stake or brief case and head off to their life outside the home?

    Choosing to stay home and do the uber difficult job of ‘mom’ is amazing. Choosing to run a multi-national corporation is also amazing. The important thing is that we have the choice. And we only know we have the choice (outside of government laws, freedoms, etc.) by seeing role-models make those choices. Bella Swan is a frightening role model for the teens and tweens (and all those aging soccer moms) today. She has an unhealthy emotional relationship with an older man and subsequently destroys many of the people around her before (emotionally and physically damaging herself in the process — she hears ‘voices’ that’s not A-1 normal unless you’re the Chosen One and even then), in the last book, things kinda turn out ok.

    As a woman who wants it all — fame, fortune, fuzzy slippers, maybe some kids — I love Buffy! I love options! And I love seeing Buffy try some things that work and fail at others. She isn’t perfect but she tries to make life better for herself and those around her. Seeing Bella mope for months is scary and having someone who hasn’t been through any adult or long term relationships see that that is somehow ‘normal’ makes me worry that the next generation of women won’t realize they have any options. And if they don’t think they have any, then they won’t exercise those options. And then go read ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood.

    And don’t hate me BUT: BTWs Mona Lisa is in Paris. =)

    • Diane Panosian
      March 16, 2010 at 3:54 pm

      I don’t hate you at all for pointing out the Mona Lisa is in Paris. Fair enough 🙂

      Your reply is staggeringly intelligent and well-rounded. I completely agree that to be a good female role model doesn’t mean you have to be solely career focused. Of course Bella would be depressed after Edward leaves- it’s the only thing she has going on in her life. I’m grateful I live in one of the few, if not only, times in history where women have choices.

      Rock on, more girl power to ya!

  • Anonymous
    March 16, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    if you ever read the books you might actually get it! 1st off buffy is not like most young girls…where as bella is. not everyone has the gift of what looks good or how i would look cool with this hair do. i know that i felt as if i could relate to bella at some level. where as for buffy i just wish i could do what she does and be just as good. i never really watched the show, however from what i do know of it she is not a normal teen..where as bella is. if you dont get then maybe you just need to read the books. if you can’t handle the reading part try listening to it!

    • pelirrojaX
      March 16, 2010 at 1:22 pm

      Take some of your own advice and watch Buffy.

      I read all the Twilight books (and have seen the first movie), watched all the Buffy shows and am reading the graphic novel.

      Buffy is a normal teen thrown into unusual circumstances. And she putters her way through daily life sometimes doing a great job and sometimes totally sucking. Throughout everything she tries to hold on to a sense of being ‘normal’ and amasses friends, some questionable boyfriends and has personal tragedy strike all while not-studying for midterms.

      Bella might be a typical emo teen. Someone who is so obsessed with her own patheticness that she can’t appreciate the nice people around her. She doesn’t care about her dad, her mom (who although flighty still cares for her) or the town who she’s had such a big effect on simply by moving in. Instead she gets obsessed by one guy and turns everyone’s life upside down.

      I hope that Bella doesn’t speak to most girls. I was in Pakistan 2 years ago when Eclipse was released there and while in a bookstore (about 5 feet wide and about as long) these 4 teen girls rushed in and almost killed the other 3 teen girls holding the last copies of Eclipse. I understand that the tortured soul and young love thing is appealing. But particularly in New Moon Bella shows the unhealthy side of teen depression.

      If people can appreciate that is fiction, wonderful, enjoy. BUT I think way too many women are waiting for their ‘Edward’ to show up and make them feel special. Just because you don’t think you’re pretty or smart or whatever doesn’t mean that you’re not worthwhile. More women need to know that and not wait for a man to tell them.

      • DJ
        March 16, 2010 at 1:48 pm

        @ pelirrojaX…
        Excellent reply. I loved Buffy but one of my favorite things about the show was that I did not always like her or her decisions. Sure, there were times when she was down and ‘woe is me’ but through it all, she never let someone define who she was…

        While I do like the Twilight movies (the books are meh) your description of Bella is right on (and, coincidentally, Buffy’s weepiness over Angel was some of the times that I liked her least…though the fact that her ‘good’ boyfriend became a murdering pyschopath that murdered her teacher and tormented her friends is definitely where I can excuse Buffy’s depression…) In fact, the two characters that I like the least in the Twilight series are Bella and Edward. In that regard, I think it Meyer has done a wonderful job creating supporting characters that I can still follow and still care about.

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