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Chose an episode of any teen TV programme of your choice (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and identify the generic conventions of this TV text.

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Introduction

Chose an episode of any teen TV programme of your choice, and identify the generic conventions of this TV text. As part of your answer, discuss how the text constructs gender identity. Briefly introduce your research method and refer to relevant secondary literature where necessary. Genre is a way of classifying and identifying a group. "Individual genre texts are the product of the society - as expressed by the institution and audience expectation - and the history of the genre" (Lacey, 2000, p.143) Genre analysis looks at genre and places it in its social and economic context. It shows us the habitual and formulaic ways of media production. Genre analyses are important because it contributes to and formulates our understanding of the role played by genre in the production, circulation and reception of popular media texts. "Genre analysis situates texts within textual and social contexts, underlining the social nature of the production and reading of texts" (Chandler, 2004) I have chosen an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BVS) ...read more.

Middle

The vampires in the text represent the threat of adulthood. All the vampires are adults, while it's the job of the teenagers to overcome these problems. As Plyden writes "The girl Slayer fights against the problematic of growing up in a patriarchy, with her interior conflicts expressed as literal demons and vampires which she must slay" (Thompson, 2002). Another key convention within the text was the issue of alienation. The central character and her friends are all different. None of them are particular popular, while the central protagonist is seen as weird and out of place. She is best friend with what are usually described as geeks. One of her friends that bring about a key point in the analysis is Xander. He is man who is protected by a woman. His fate and well being are decided by a woman, Buffy. Buffy is superior to him, which causes him to struggle with the concept of masculinity. Xander's role as the damsel in distress to Buffy's knight in shining armor goes against traditional teen drama generic conventions What's interesting is that in teen dramas of the 50's this was never the case. ...read more.

Conclusion

Through the text femininity is conveyed as a forceful strong identity. Buffy is stronger then all the men she meets both physically and mentally. However Buffy is not empowered by past feminist movements in the text. She is empowered by herself. Indeed Karras writes that "Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy's relationship with her mother can be understood as a metaphor for the tenuous relationship between second and third wave feminists"(Karras, 2002) Buffy's mother feels angry at the fact that Buffy doesn't take full use of the rights she now has to the feminist movement of the 60's. In conclusion Buffy the Vampire Slayer contains generic conventions of the teen melodrama. Teenage anxieties such as friendship, love sex and growth to adulthood are all shown. However coupled with this are conventions of the horror genre such as the iconography of blood and crosses, as well as the idea of monsters and otherness. Yet BVS also manages to defy convention by establishing its protagonist as an all powerful, strong willed women. "Buffy as an open-image hero expose stereotypes and coded symbols that shore up a rigid war-influenced gender system in an attempt to chart new meanings for womanliness and manliness" (Early, 2001) ...read more.

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