• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

'Choose a text featuring vampires to analyse - it could be a film, a television programme, a novel, a short story, a cartoon, a comic book, a toy or even a news story. Then offer a feminist reading of your text, discussing how femininity is portrayed'

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Buffy the Vampire Slayer In this essay, the popular series Buffy the Vampire Slayer is explored through the intersections of post-feminism and post-modernity; and the manner in which this television narrative appropriates body rhetorics and narrative agency from traditionally masculinist meta-narratives in the horror and mystery genres. Moreover, how the fictional characters negotiate the politics of feminism and post-modernity in contemporary American suburban life is examined. Social and mystical powers (on the side of good) are matrilineal in the series: only females can be vampire slayers, only females can have supernatural powers, and only females can discern who the predators are. (The sole exception is the "Watcher," Giles, a decidedly femininised male.) Through the narrative frame of the series, each episode is grounded in the tension between the embodied female heroine and the varied embodiments of evil she and her friends encounter. Each encounter requires the heroine to count the costs of leadership (primarily for girls and women). The narratives illustrate that friends are family, because the traditional family unit has fragmented. Ironically, the story lines are steeped in television nostalgia, the public forum in which the idealized American family was imagined and perfected. (Owen, 1997, 81-83) ...read more.

Middle

The feminized adult female is well intentioned but largely ineffectual; her efforts to nurture and instruct frequently are framed as misguided or naive. For example, in the final episode of the first season, she mistakes Buffy's apprehension about death at the hands of a powerful vampire as teen angst over going to the prom. Giles hones Buffy's physical and mental prowess in preparation for the showdown; Buffy's mother buys an expensive (white) prom dress to boost Buffy's confidence. Throughout the episode, the dress draws ironic commentary from all the characters, including the murderous vampire king. "Nice dress," he sneers. Buffy's mother (known occasionally as "Joyce") functions as a measure of Buffy's struggle to conceal her identity as a slayer, and as an exemplar of how clueless suburban parents (especially mothers) are about the dangers their children face. Willow is conventionally gendered in most dimensions of her character: She is an excellent student, non-assertive, and concerned with the feelings and perspectives of others. She is the moral voice of the group, although she stutters and stammers through much of her dialogue. Her mode of dress and grooming is more childlike than any of the other teen characters. Significantly, however, Willow is re-gendered as a creative and fearless computer hacker; later in the series, she discovers additional creative powers through witchcraft. ...read more.

Conclusion

Buffy's power is domesticated by her oft articulated longing to be "normal"--to have a steady boyfriend (with all that entails) and to consume life uninterrupted by the demands of civic obligation. The narrative opposes the costs of leadership and political potency, with intimacy, stable relationships, and material comfort. The quality of a woman's private life is diminished by the burden she bears to participate in civil society. Moreover, in spite of Buffy's narrative agency and physical potency, her body project remains consistent with the re-scripted body signs of American commodity advertising. In other words, political potency is both imagined and reduced to matters of consumer style. A post-feminist perspective is constructed through Buffy's relationship with her mother, Joyce. Although Joyce and Buffy clearly enjoy benefits from the first and second waves of the American feminist movement, little is ever said about the history of women's struggle in American culture.(Bordo, 1992, 283) More to the point, Joyce is emblematic of parental and feminine limitation in the series. Buffy's strength and confidence are not learned from the vast experiences of past generations of women; rather, they are her mystical birthright as a slayer. The series plays at transgression; as such, it is quintessential television. But it remains to be seen whether transgressive play can challenge institutional relations of power. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Media section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Media essays

  1. The importance of feminism.

    That women were pictures inside the home shown with children, and being housewives. Where as men were seen outside the home in business settings in a wide selection of occupations. The problem with this is that the commercials reinforce the traditional role of women in society.

  2. Assess the claim that 'The News is selected according to the demands of the ...

    Classical Marxist theories would not agree with the claim that the news is selected according to the demand of the target audience. They would instead argue that all media output including news is decided and controlled by the individual decisions of media owners.

  1. Explain and Discuss Moral Panics.

    use of guns, and many objections were raised by members of gun clubs throughout the country, many of whom would be unable to pursue their hobby as a direct result of the introduction of the new legislations. Whilst it was clearly necessary to amend the law, shooting enthusiasts illustrate the

  2. I am going to examine how mass media representations of homosexuality have changed over ...

    He is made lovable with his childlike humour and his flamboyancy. Even though he is often the butt of most jokes, we usually laugh along with him. Even though the two characters are very different, they share one similar trait, they are gay and proud to be so.

  1. In this essay I will be discussing the relationship between stereotyping and representation.

    to fell more threatened if the person coming towards then is a black youth, wearing baggy trousers, trainers and a hoodie, rather than a white, smartly dressed, clean cut male. This is due to prejudgements we make of a certain person from what we see on the news for example.

  2. Are we influenced by TV and film? Briefly discuss the evidence and arguments for ...

    to prove that those that watch and enjoy violent films and television programmes will be more likely to carry out violent offences. F. S. Anderson collected the findings of sixty-seven studies that investigated the influence of television on aggressive tendencies in children, which had been carried out between 1956 and 1976.

  1. Media and The Sexualization of Young Girls

    In the pages of teen fashion and beauty magazines like seventeen and cosmo, tips on getting boys to notice girls are skillfully intermixed with the product placement that characterizes girls? magazines, so that advice on buying jeans, accessories, and cosmetics seamlessly linked to the relationship guidance that claims to help girls negotiate the complexities of love and sex.

  2. How Media, Advertising and Celebrity Culture Affects Female Body Image

    survey were 50% more likely to describe themselves as ''too big or fat'' and 30% more likely to diet than girls who watched television less frequently. Strong cultural identity is thought to be protective against eating disorders; there was only one case of anorexia nervosa reported on the island prior

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work