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BtVS and Consent Issues: Episode 3.15 – “Consequences”

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#1
This is a very well written review on the consent issues in the episode Consequences: Link

I particularly enjoyed reading this part:

“BUFFY: Alright. Look, I know that you mean well, Xander, but, um, I just don’t see Faith opening up to you. She doesn’t take the guys that she has a… ‘connection’ with very seriously. And they’re kind of a big joke to her. No offense.

XANDER: Oh, no! I mean, why would I be offended by *that*?”

Buffy doesn’t expect Xander’s feelings to be hurt by this, but the quick look Xander gives to Giles, and the bitter, sarcastic tone in his voice, indicates that he is hurt. Because Xander is on the receiving end of the “big joke” comment, he’s the only one who seems to think that it wasn’t a nice thing of Buffy to say. But can you imagine if the situation had been reversed, if Buffy had slept with a man, assumed they had a connection, only to have Xander reply that “the girls he sleeps with are kind of a big joke to him?” Willow and Giles would have jumped down his throat. But Xander’s not expected to be offended, because he’s a guy – he doesn’t care if Faith doesn’t take him seriously, because he still got laid, right?
 

WillowFromBuffy

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#2
Seriously, though, shouldn't Xander have been able to figure that out on his own? Faith threw him out naked.

Parker made the effort to bring coffee and make up an unconvincing excuse.
 
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#3
It was Xander's first time. He innocently believed that having sex with someone meant that they liked each other. He was naive. It probably explains why he never had sex with Cordelia. Sex is a big deal to Xander and he probably feels it shouldn't be done until people are in love or at least like each other.


  • Xander : Ah, right. It's just we hardly know each other. I mean I like you. And you have a certain directness that I admire. But sexual interc-- What you're talking about, well--and I'm actually turning into a woman as I say this--but it's about expressing something. And accepting consequences. (Harsh Light of Day)
 

WillowFromBuffy

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#4
It was Xander's first time. He innocently believed that having sex with someone meant that they liked each other. He was naive. It probably explains why he never had sex with Cordelia. Sex is a big deal to Xander and he probably feels it shouldn't be done until people are in love or at least like each other.
I totally get that. The way Faith just throws him out is quite horrible, especially considering he admits it is his first time, which is quite the admission. As far as I know, I have never slept with a virgin, because no one has ever told me.

I just think Xander should have realised that Faith was playing with him. If Parker had thrown Buffy out in just her pants, I think she would have realised that he did not care much for her.

Buffy's comment is quite cold, but Xander just seems silly.
 
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Black Thorn
#5
It was Xander's first time. He innocently believed that having sex with someone meant that they liked each other. He was naive. It probably explains why he never had sex with Cordelia. Sex is a big deal to Xander and he probably feels it shouldn't be done until people are in love or at least like each other.


  • Xander : Ah, right. It's just we hardly know each other. I mean I like you. And you have a certain directness that I admire. But sexual interc-- What you're talking about, well--and I'm actually turning into a woman as I say this--but it's about expressing something. And accepting consequences. (Harsh Light of Day)
I don't quite understand this. He didn't have sex with Cordelia, who he was in an exclusive relationship with, because he didn't love her enough, but he was willing to have sex with Faith after she literally told him it was because she didn't get a kill in? It's not like he knew Faith that well. I know he was attracted to her, and I understand why, post-sex, he might have had feelings for her, even though she gave no indication that she returned them, but I don't think I can buy that Xander had super high standards for who he would sleep with in terms of strong feelings at that point. To me, it seems more likely that his speech to Anya was a reaction to getting burned by Faith. He learned that for him, he didn't want to jump into bed with a willing partner.

Also, while I understand where the reviewer is coming from with that excerpt, I would hesitate to assume that things would be handled differently if the genders were reversed. Remember when the Scoobies had pretty much zero reaction to a member of the swim team trapping Buffy in his car and attempting to assault her in Go Fish? There's a similarity there, I think, in the way that it wasn't treated as seriously because Buffy was the stronger party (in the way a man would generally be assumed to be in real life). There's plenty of badness in this area to go around.

Also, and I'll just put my biases on the table, it's hard for me to get too worked up on Xander's behalf in the particular instance quoted from the review, given he dished out quite a few very harsh comments to Buffy about her experience with Angel. That doesn't justify it, but it does color my feelings about it.
 
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#6
How Xander thinks they have a "connection" is really sad to me, but maybe it's possible given his highly dysfunctional family and his familiarity with comics (which I presume have a lot of messed up shipping in them as well). I do think the writers intentionally reversed the gender trope between Faith and Xander, but only in a shallow way. And now that I think about it, I'm not sure if it's Buffy's own sensibilities or being passive aggressive that she threw in "kind of a joke" comment when I don't see that (I do recall Faith asking Buffy "never?" about Xander).

But of course if Xander said that to Buffy say after Parker then he'd be the biggest jerk ever, and not just because he's Xander (in which reasons are combed for, others discarded, to "declare him guilty after a fair trial" that many like to do), but because the majority of viewers, and maybe writers, still see women as fragile things even if they're allowed to perform in these indulgent fantasies of being the one to beat up the monsters (and meanwhile, have someone like Cordelia tell Xander to practice "running like a woman"). Slayer strength and healing with an attitude to go with it? Pfft. Her hitting someone doesn't count (such a weak arm), women can't be that aggressive (so it doesn't count when they are because she's pretty when she's angry, not threatening), and if she's punched, then poor Buffy, even if she's dished out some damage already, which would only be the case if she's still seen in the "women and children" (that is "women are much like children") category--weak and inferior ultimately needing a man to protect them from the harsh world because they can't do it on their own, no matter how many super powers you give them (give them enough super powers and they still need male minions to bitch, moan, and cry to).
 
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#7
Xander respected Cordy and if they had stayed together longer no doubt at the right time they would have had sex
Buffy was on the rebound from Angel and thought Parker was a long term thing
Xander went into Faiths apartment knowing what was going to happen , he just wanted sex , she just wanted sex , it was just sex . Unfortunately Xander thought having sex meant more.... it didn't to faith ...but if she had offered again he would have .I dont think Buffy meant anything by her remark, Xander thought himself different as he already knew her , and was a sort of friend...... he wasn't
 

Meliza

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#8
I am hesitant criticizing the show for this, if others are going to see it that way but it brings to mind the trope of the bad, maybe damaged girls are the ones to have casual sex while good girls need to be in love and as we see of their conversations about love and dating Buffy was the good girl. While perhaps there was the shallow gender reversal in Faith using Xander for sex while he mistakenly thinks it means more (which we will see again with Buffy and Park) in a way it was not a reversal because it could only ever be casual sex if it was Faith, because good girls don't do that. So it was definitely a trope.

If you think about it, Cordelia was quit chaste compared to her characterization as a sexy flirtatious, would be wordly women. Which is not out of sync with her sexualization/objectivation, because the predominately male writers handle the portrayal of the lead actresses sexuality more parentally then the male characters, some idea of protecting her virtue. It must ahve been that because it never made sense to me why Wesley of all people was the one to have the one night stand and on screen sex scene. yet, predictably enough with the reproductive horror portrayals.

I also dislike the miming of first time experience , I see how it would naturally be the providence of shows aimed at teens but the decades of messaging have been no one can have sex without drama and consequences, Gilmore Girls set its self apart from other teen soap operas and even they did the virginity plot line which was disappointing cause I thought as a liberal show we were going to take it for granted Rory was having sex with her boyfriends, as a smart and importantly "normal" older teen who could use birth control but nope drama ilama and as a good girl waiting until college.
 
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WillowFromBuffy

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#9
Great post @Meliza

I think one of the reasons they made Chase so chaste was because they wanted to portray her as fish out of water in LA. She was no longer the popular cheerleader that all the boys were in love with. I always interpreted her "still a good girl" comment to mean she is not a virgin. You may not need to be in love to have sex, but I think I may be one of the few people that would have sex with someone that wouldn't stop talking about Willow while we were snogging.

Anya was a very sex-positive character. Her relationship with Xander got sexy fast and she made no apologises about her night with Spike. Kennedy moved on Willow pretty fast, and even though hardly anyone likes her, I don't think the writers wanted to portray her as damaged.
Remember when the Scoobies had pretty much zero reaction to a member of the swim team trapping Buffy in his car and attempting to assault her in Go Fish?
I don't remember the episode all that clearly, but should they have? She broke his nose quite easily.
 
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#10
I don't remember the episode all that clearly, but should they have? She broke his nose quite easily.
I don't know what the proper reaction is. But she wasn't attacked in the line of duty, she was on a date. And then Snyder and the coach blame her for it, and the coach tells her not to dress like she's going to a dance club. No one in the library expresses any sympathy; they are just annoyed by her complaining about it instead of focusing on the MOTW.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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#11
I don't know what the proper reaction is. But she wasn't attacked in the line of duty, she was on a date. And then Snyder and the coach blame her for it, and the coach tells her not to dress like she's going to a dance club. No one in the library expresses any sympathy; they are just annoyed by her complaining about it instead of focusing on the MOTW.
It is a bit messy the way Buffy is sometimes put in situations that would be terrifying for most people but seem like trifles to her. However, I remember now how Synder and the coach treated her and that she was quite upset by it.

Of course, this is also the episode of the fish monster gang bang murder. That kinda makes you forget about Synder's gaslighting.
 
Grace
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Lotta badness in that one!

Meliza

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#12
Yes, any of the tropey things we can find are in the context of all things considered, at the time I thought Buffy was portrayed realistically and positively for a teen girl and if you think about it, supernatural aside still one of the more real portrayals that are out there. They don't make shows like Buffy and My So Called Life anymore or maybe they do and I am just to old to find them or them to reach me ha ha

I keep in mind on Angel, that this was the time before sex and the city was a thing, back then a double standard got applied to the single lead female, which Cordelia was for a while. I think Cordelia, as the in universe character who is attractive, confident and single should have had the waking up underneath the sheets love scene. That went to Wesley. Cordy ends up with terrible consequences, to be fair its not like Wesley didn't have consequences but it was not him getting punished and in a literal way as well for his actions.

Instead either Cordelia gets the protective Scully treatment in terms of sex, (well putting her in a bikini) or the poorly written, filled with issues mother treatment which come to think of it Scully also got. lol

It's complicated, that is why it helps to have women writers on your staff. @Grace, gotta love that reference haha
 
EarthLogic
EarthLogic
They had Mere Smith by S2 and Elizabeth Craft& Sarah Fain for S4-5, but they clearly needed a stronger female presence.
thrasherpix
thrasherpix
Women writers would be inclined to be even worse with this.

WillowFromBuffy

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#13
The thing that infuriates me the most is how Buffy was not able to deal with Parker in her head and realise that it did not matter that much, rather than hit him over the head with a stick.
 
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#14
The thing that infuriates me the most is how Buffy was not able to deal with Parker in her head and realise that it did not matter that much, rather than hit him over the head with a stick.
A lot of people would be like Buffy - unable to deal with the change in her boyfriend, but not for the same reason. She had the experience with Angel of her boyfriend turning evil because she had sex with him and this may be a triggering incident for her. I can definitely see her thinking, here we go again - is it always going to be like this? And cavegirl Buffy delivering a tree to the side of Parker's head - come on, that makes "Beer Bad" one of the best episodes of the season!
 

WillowFromBuffy

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#15
A lot of people would be like Buffy - unable to deal with the change in her boyfriend, but not for the same reason. She had the experience with Angel of her boyfriend turning evil because she had sex with him and this may be a triggering incident for her. I can definitely see her thinking, here we go again - is it always going to be like this? And cavegirl Buffy delivering a tree to the side of Parker's head - come on, that makes "Beer Bad" one of the best episodes of the season!
Well, I have two problems with it. First, you cannot beat people up in real life, just because they are mean to you. Second, does hitting him solve anything? I don't think we as viewers have any reason to believe she won't still be fixated on him an what happened. If Cordelia was still a Scooby, she would have told Buffy that it did not matter and that she should get over it. That is the only way to deal with these things. Buffy's feeling like she does partly because of Angel, but also partly because of ingrained ideas about how her sexual market value goes down each time she has a random sexual encounter.

Going back to Sosa Lola's question, it is a bit rich for Buffy to be so sardonic about Xander's feelings about Faith, when she reacts so similarly to Parker.
 

Meliza

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#16
Well, I have two problems with it. First, you cannot beat people up in real life, just because they are mean to you. Second, does hitting him solve anything? I don't think we as viewers have any reason to believe she won't still be fixated on him an what happened. If Cordelia was still a Scooby, she would have told Buffy that it did not matter and that she should get over it. That is the only way to deal with these things. Buffy's feeling like she does partly because of Angel, but also partly because of ingrained ideas about how her sexual market value goes down each time she has a random sexual encounter.

Going back to Sosa Lola's question, it is a bit rich for Buffy to be so sardonic about Xander's feelings about Faith, when she reacts so similarly to Parker.
You make a pertinent point, feelings need to be dealt with and importantly one can not solve things with violence although some try in real life, very good point, it could have been watching Buffy be strong, we were suppose assume in the metaphor of clubbing him over the head that she had gotten over Parker but great analyzing one can not accomplish that with violence, that is the opposite of overcoming, it is succumbing. We would love to see more of a exploration of everything we talk here because we love the show, they were filming a half hour episode. Interesting you picked up on the fact Parker made Buffy feel like a slut, goes to show it was a good girl characterization, good girls don't want to be sluts, this feels very 90s lol

"Buffy to be so sardonic about Xander's feelings about Faith, when she reacts so similarly to Parker."

Yes, while Parker intentionally lead Buffy on to believe it was something more and Xander just assumed it but then by putting Buffy in the same position, it was a undoing of the gender trope they previously subverted, particularly because it worked to enforced her characterization as a sexual goody two shoes, as good girls would be. Of course it is not sexist and completely normal to be hurt from somebody using you, I'm only explaining what function it served in the story intentionally and perhaps subconsciously.
 
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WillowFromBuffy
WillowFromBuffy
Well said!
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#17
Well, I have two problems with it. First, you cannot beat people up in real life, just because they are mean to you. Second, does hitting him solve anything? I don't think we as viewers have any reason to believe she won't still be fixated on him an what happened. If Cordelia was still a Scooby, she would have told Buffy that it did not matter and that she should get over it. That is the only way to deal with these things. Buffy's feeling like she does partly because of Angel, but also partly because of ingrained ideas about how her sexual market value goes down each time she has a random sexual encounter.

Going back to Sosa Lola's question, it is a bit rich for Buffy to be so sardonic about Xander's feelings about Faith, when she reacts so similarly to Parker.
We are not dealing with Buffy as the complete person we know. We are dealing with someone who has been chemically stripped of her higher faculties and the veneer of civilization. (Stripped of faculties at a university - someone could pick up on the dual meaning of faculty here.) In this state, she enters the fire to save Willow because at some primordial level, she knows that Willow is her friend and wants to save her. She sees Parker and knows, again at a primordial level, that he is a dishonest guy, so she hits him with a tree. I doubt Cordelia would have been any help - we see no evidence of sexual activity in high school - yes she did have a spot where she parked with boys but she had the sexual horsepower to be able to deny them access - and she is just as likely to add to Buffy's sense of devaluation as help her get over it. The major sense of devaluation came later from Spike when he said, "I see you let Parker take a poke. Seems you didn't know him all that well."
 

WillowFromBuffy

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#18
We are not dealing with Buffy as the complete person we know. We are dealing with someone who has been chemically stripped of her higher faculties and the veneer of civilization. (Stripped of faculties at a university - someone could pick up on the dual meaning of faculty here.) In this state, she enters the fire to save Willow because at some primordial level, she knows that Willow is her friend and wants to save her. She sees Parker and knows, again at a primordial level, that he is a dishonest guy, so she hits him with a tree. I doubt Cordelia would have been any help - we see no evidence of sexual activity in high school - yes she did have a spot where she parked with boys but she had the sexual horsepower to be able to deny them access - and she is just as likely to add to Buffy's sense of devaluation as help her get over it. The major sense of devaluation came later from Spike when he said, "I see you let Parker take a poke. Seems you didn't know him all that well."
I am not having a go at Buffy. I am just annoyed that the writers chose to resolve the Parker arc in that fashion. It is not a resolution at all. Hitting Parker does not help Buffy in any way.

Cordelia would have realised that the only way to "defeat" Parker would have been for Buffy to accept what had happened and not make such a massive deal out of it. Some of the people you meet in life are going to be douchebags. If that had been Buffy's worst sexual experience, she would have been very lucky. Unfortunately, there were worse things to come.
 
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#19
I am not having a go at Buffy. I am just annoyed that the writers chose to resolve the Parker arc in that fashion. It is not a resolution at all. Hitting Parker does not help Buffy in any way.

Cordelia would have realised that the only way to "defeat" Parker would have been for Buffy to accept what had happened and not make such a massive deal out of it. Some of the people you meet in life are going to be douchebags. If that had been Buffy's worst sexual experience, she would have been very lucky. Unfortunately, there were worse things to come.
I'm not sure the Parker arc got resolved at this point (or maybe ever). Cordelia was just as likely to be one of the douchebags you mention as someone to provide help for Buffy. I think schadenfreude (the delight at someone else's misfortune) would have taken over in Cordelia's mind. We know nothing about Cordelia's sexual history on Buffy and see only a little on Angel.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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#20
I'm not sure the Parker arc got resolved at this point (or maybe ever). Cordelia was just as likely to be one of the douchebags you mention as someone to provide help for Buffy. I think schadenfreude (the delight at someone else's misfortune) would have taken over in Cordelia's mind. We know nothing about Cordelia's sexual history on Buffy and see only a little on Angel.
I believe that this is the last time we see Parker, and I think we are meant to see Buffy hitting him as the end to that story, but it is a very unsatisfying conclusion that does nothing to resolve Buffy's problem.

Willow is all about feeling all the feelings, therefore, I don't think she was the right person to help Buffy deal with this. As for Cordelia being schadenfröhlich: Cordelia can seem cold at times, but she does have a great capacity for empathy. I really likes the scene in Helpless, when Buffy asks Cordelia to drive her home, and Cordelia immediately snaps out of her ice queen persona and simply says, 'Of course."