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2017: The Demise of Machida

TarasBoyfriend

Unwilling disciple of Eyghon
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Sineya
“Reptile Boy” is the fifth episode in the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Its plot centers around Cordelia and Buffy attending a college party. Of course, the episode has to take a dark and supernatural turn. This comes when the two girls are drugged and the audience discovers that the fraternity is also a cult who sacrifice young women to a serpent-like monster, Machida. This may be the most direct example of female victimization in the series. This episode is a pretty direct criticism of rape culture. (One scene actually involves a student initiating an attempt to take advantage of an unconscious Buffy.) When analyzed further, this episode can be seen as a pre-existing allegory for the #MeToo movement and the increased awareness of sexual misconduct than began in 2017.

Years ago, I found it tough to believe that an entire fraternity would allow these horrible sacrifices. One assumes that throughout the history of this organization at least a few members would have defected. However, given recent information, I no longer feel this way. These past months have shown us that intense pressure and fear of ridicule can cause people to stay silent and allow things they would never wish to allow. This can be the case for victims and observers alike. We get a glimpse of the mindset of hopelessness through the previous victim, Callie. When Buffy and Cordelia awake in the basement fearful and wishing to escape, Callie says, “No one's going home. Ever.” This shows that she has given up hope after being in this horrible situation for some time. I don’t think anyone can blame her.

Callie doesn’t have many lines in this episode but the information she conveys is very relevant for the purposes of this analysis. She continues, “Look, one of them's different than the others. [Looks at Tom] Nicer… He’s the one to watch out for.” Tom is a character who was seemingly kind and protective of Buffy earlier in the episode. Surely enough, it’s hard a hard bit to swallow when he turns verbally abusive and it is clear that he is one of the chief actors within the cult. This is similar to recent sexual misconduct claims in that the perpetrators are often those we would never suspect. This was addressed by Sarah Silverman when she said, in part, “It sucks, and some of our heroes will be taken down, and we will discover bad things about people we like, or in some cases, people we love… But I believe with all my heart that this moment in time is essential. It's vital that people are held accountable for their actions, no matter who they are.” Silverman is referring to Louis C.K. but the sentiment is applicable to many other situations.

As in most episodes of the show, Buffy does not save the day alone. Though she may be the slayer, she gains strength through support from others. Angel, Giles, Willow, and Xander all have part in the fall of the evil bro-god Machida. Perhaps this is an insightful Joss Whedon telling us that the fight against sexual misconduct is not just a female plight or a fight just to be fought by the victims but that it requires the awareness and participation of all people. In 2017 many Hollywood stars and politicians came forward and took a stand against sexual misconduct. Terry Crews even came out as a victim himself, demonstrating that no one is immune to this problem.

At the end of “Reptile Boy”, Xander informs the Scoobies ( and the audience) that, “a surprising number of corporations, whose chairmen and founders are former Delta Zeta Kappa’s, are suffering from falling profits, IRS raids... Ooo, and suicides in the boardroom.” This draws parallels to cases of sexual misconduct often being committed by people in powerful positions, who are now experiencing a decline in popularity due to awareness of these actions. Machida himself used his power to harm women and thus thrive. All too often this is the case in real-life, for victims of sexual misconduct, regardless of gender. However, Buffy shows us that if we can work together, we can overcome these difficulties.


Sources Cited


Crews, Terry (terrycrews). “This whole thing with Harvey Weinstein is giving me PTSD. Why? Because this kind of thing happened to ME.” 10 October 2017, 12:47 PM. Tweet.

Sandberg, Bryn Elise. “Sarah Silverman Addresses Louis C.K.'s Sexual Misconduct: ‘It's a Real Mindf---".” The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Nov. 2017, www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/sarah-silverman-addresses-louis-cks-sexual-misconduct-a-real-mindf-1059117.

Whedon, Joss. Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 5 (Reptile Boy). California: The WB, 1997. DVD.
 

Octavia

My arse is not pansy!
Joined
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Sineya
Nice work :) I dont have anything educated to add.

These past months have shown us that intense pressure and fear of ridicule can cause people to stay silent and allow things they would never wish to allow
This is why I set myself up as a target by expressing human emotions that attract ridicule. I don't fear it, I invite it - and learning to deal with it strengthens me for what is to come. I know the direction my life is going will attract ridicule, until I die. I choose to be a spiritual, single female, a crazy bunny lady. Money and fame is not my driving force, living a healthy, happy life is. The men and women in my previous living arrangement were stuck in a patriarchal bubble and had no room for those who challenge the norms.

Society IS so dismissive of the lifelong abuse many women, even women in developed countries, are exposed to daily. To an extent I see the #metoo movement as damaging, encouraging women to feel victimized by natural human (animalistic) behaviour. There are many who did suffer true and disabling trauma due to male sexual abuse, but then there were also the very privileged uni children who jumped on the bandwagon claiming that a pat on the bum or a wolf whistle or being "misgendered" constituted a traumatic experience. It washed out those who truly suffered, downplayed the true victims and elevated those who wanted the fame and attention. We have not made any changes thanks to #metoo but it has made women look like a bunch of petty whiners, that deserve be dismissed. (I hope my tone comes across correctly here, I am not saying that women's trauma should be dismissed but that there is a line between trauma and natural human interaction)

I feel for those who have really, truly suffered at the hands of violent males. I feel for the children in hollywood, like Eliza, who were used, so young. Those who did this won't pay for it, they already are ridiculously rich and have lived the high life. If we look at the history of rich men, they are never brought down, and have the financial ability to disappear if they are found out. Seeking "treatment" for the new mental disorder of being a man who has no desire to control his desires.

I like that you have tied this into BTVS and I hope to read more like this. Even though Joss was a dick to those closest to him, his art does have the opportunity to address this culture.
 

thrasherpix

Scooby
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I actually wouldn't find it hard to believe. It's not just fraternities, but many privileged members (of which Hollywood is but one). The conspiracy of silence around jocks and cheerleaders is just as intense (even when the predators are female, or the victims are male...even I was initially surprised how the male on male sexual abuse by high school jocks on newbies in "hazing" was ignored in the Texas Bible Belt--with whistle blowers ostracized at best--when I'd think the churches would at least want to stamp down on the guy on guy sex for puritanical reasons, but the conspiracy of silence and the retaliation against whistle blowers was as intense as anywhere else).

When vile girls (and at least one old woman) started spreading slut rumors about me when I was 13, my grandmother panicked. Because if I got that label then many males could and WOULD sexually abuse me and worse. I don't feel comfortable sharing her own personal story (from before I was born), but she knows from experience (though my mother has a funny-sad story of overhearing 2 men arguing outside her window after church which of the 2 men were more godly than the other, and thus the more deserving to get into my grandmother's pants, and both men were also married, which might be why they both ran when my mother, then about 12 IIRC, yelled out her window a bunch of stuff about them and their wives).

Granny had an older cousin of mine, male, make some explicit threats of what he'd do to anyone who harmed me, no matter how right with Jesus they thought they were (and his goal would be to make them commit suicide after he was done) and enough in the extended family stick together and he had some wild and crazy friends so I think that his doing so may have very well saved me from sexual abuse there. And when I faced a similar sitch in another school, male friends stood up to the males who harassed me (though it was again girls spreading the rumors and those were for me to deal with as I saw fit). Let's hear it for the males who do stick up for females, as well as note that some females will gladly put other females there either out of sadism, or a desire to please her man (or sometimes church, protect the family image, etc).

Though oddly enough, one woman that pretended to be a man online became extremely sexually harassing online to other women:

https://deadspin.com/teen-girl-posed-for-8-years-as-married-man-to-write-abo-1820305588

Even she doesn't seem to know why she did it...just seemed to thing to do, I guess.

I spent some time as a kid as a runaway and met other kids fleeing sexual abuse and exploitation from church, school, and home, and there were plenty of seemingly respectful people out looking for sex from us (whether paying for it or trying to take it by force or some other pressure), some not caring our ages or even specifically looking for those who are underage. Spending time with a PTSD group as an adult, and going to self-defense courses for women (and a couple of other things I could mention, plus a church opposing a bill to hinder sexual trafficking say very negative things about that church to me), also caused me to get a view of the world that the metaphor of Machida and its frat-cult works for me.

It is a metaphor, of course, but other than the demon it's not that far-fetched to me. It's not like groups like that open it all up for some new recruit, they get tested and groomed themselves, and can be put into a position of blackmail as much as their victims can be, and if they try to stop it then they can face much of the same treatments as victims who come forward.

I find it ironic (or maybe moronic is the word I want) that we live in a society that wants to sanitize the media children are exposed to (at least sexual wise) and yet are downright reckless with putting their children into precarious positions in which they can be the target of a sexual predator, and then ignore it (assuming they didn't arrange it in the first place) when a kid speaks up, whether it's the victim of school hazing among jocks or like ED.
 
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