The show’s feminism was groundbreaking in that Buffy wasn’t just a strong female character – she was the center of the show and then some! She was a vampire slayer the world had never seen: former cheerleader, blonde, petite, and furious. She remains a subversive character even today, decades later. Here are a few enduring lessons from the world’s fiercest demon slayer yet.
You can slay no matter what you wear
Female leads in traditionally masculine roles tend to fall into hopeless stereotypes. Typically dressed in black corsets or leather trappings, it’s as if the costume must first scream masculinity before a woman is taken seriously. Buffy demonstrated that when duty calls, femininity is strength — it’s who you are, not a deterrent. And whether wearing a mini skirt, tights, or denim, women slay irrespectively.
The right to say no
Despite sometimes struggling with her fate, Buffy exemplified the art of saying no without further explanations. She said no to unsolicited male attention and refused to be placed inside a coffin. Throughout, she refused to sell out her friends or kill her sister. As one of the first television icons to speak her mind, Buffy inspired young girls the world over.
Buffy was the epitome of vulnerability. She articulated her emotions both privately AND as a vampire slayer. Buffy cried and made no bones about her frustrations – all while being the Chosen One. Even the defender of the earth needs a good cry now and then. Buffy showed us it was perfectly alright.
Celebrating complex characters
In retrospect, most of our beloved shows appear cringeworthy, to say the least. Most are seriously problematic. Buffy was one of the more progressive shows of its time. As a protagonist, she was playful, fun, and a feminist. Her character did not exist in binaries. She embodied complex storylines about women – from embracing power and femininity to being a survivor. Buffy showed the world that we are all and none of the things that define us. And that, for television (as well as life), was truly revolutionary.