- “So I say we change the rule. I say my power… should be our power.“
- ―Buffy when she chooses to share her power with the Potentials.
Buffy Summers affected the lives of an entire generation who watched her journey from reluctant teenager to one of the greatest fictional heroines of modern time. In the 90’s to early 2000’s, Buffy the Vampire Slayer captivated audiences with the tale of a girl given a charge that wouldn’t ordinarily go to a female figure let alone a pretty blonde. Created in response to the idea that girls had monsters to worry about in the alley, Joss Whedon flipped that notion on it’s head by making the pretty blonde what the monsters were afraid of. The title said it all, that this girl with the peculiar name would function as a teen Van Helsing entrusted to protect humanity from the supernatural.
Over the course of seven T.V. seasons, Sarah Michelle Gellar portrayed the slayer as she took on the end of the world while tackling high school with her ragtag group of friends. They’d later venture into adulthood while still taking on the apocalypse in various forms from vampires to little sisters. Initially, there was studio doubt that a show could be carried on the name of just one character but so many factors made Buffy accessible to viewers.
What made Buffy so relatable was that she wasn’t just a girl but a teenager dealing with very real teen problems. She’s not the smartest girl or the most popular but she found herself having to take on the responsibility of standing against the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness. With the guidance of a Watcher, Buffy would be trained to kick ass and still have to deal with growing up like all those around her. Buffy would save the day by standing up for the marginalized youth who’d become lured by the evils of the world they lived in. Her classmates would often feel invisible or have boy problems and because of the Hell Mouth underneath the high school these experiences would become incarnated through various horror tropes in monster of the week style of the series. More often than not, it’d involve dusting some vampires all while learning some pretty important life lessons.
One of Buffy’s struggles was how the burden of her charge would clash with her personal life. The love story between her and the vampire Angel would also go down as one of the greatest in television history (Spuffy be damned). A strength played between them was that she was never dependent on him. Even when she lost him multiple times, she didn’t just curl up into a ball and stop fighting. She’d bounce back and recover no matter how hard it was for her. It often would get super tough, like the time she kinda had to kill him when he went all evil.
As the show evolved and the characters grew up, Buffy would go on to become a role model for the modern working woman. One of the ways she’d cope with tragedy would by losing herself in getting the work of the chosen one done and becoming ruthless–more slayer than woman. She showed how the hero’s journey was hard and not only full of glory. Buffy faced many loses and sacrifices while saving the world a lot. However with the help and love of her friends, she’d get reeled back into the world of the living.
Buffy broke a lot of archaic notions about women and taught us many invaluable lessons. We learned to never lose hope and keep fighting to maintain a balance between duty and family.
And most importantly we learned that everyone has the potential in them to be a hero.