• Thank you for visiting Buffy-Boards. You obviously have exceptional taste. We just want you to know that:
    1. You really should register so you can chat with us!
    2. Twelve thousand people can't be wrong.
    3. Buffy-Boards loves you.
    4. See 1 through 3.
    Come on, register already!

Did Buffy start the blonde hero trend?

Octavia

My arse is not pansy!
Joined
Jan 20, 2008
Messages
7,157
Location
Australia
Sineya
Was Buffy the first show with a blonde girl in the hero lead, or did she follow on from something before?
What blonde girl's followed on from her in the sci-fi genre?

Buffy started the blonde hero craze for me. No secret that I am a major fan of Clarke (The 100) and The OA.
 

AlphaFoxtrot

Scooby
Joined
Sep 11, 2017
Messages
1,057
Age
38
I would say Supergirl was first. Xena was earlier, which means Gabrielle would have been before Buffy. Unless you count the Buffy movie, but that didn't turn Buffy into an icon. But, if we are talking about late 90s telefantasy, then yes, any action blondes were probably derived from Buffy. Or Peta Wilson. Eh.
 

Hunga Munga

Potential
Joined
Sep 7, 2015
Messages
231
Age
49
Charlies Angels , Moonlighting , The Bionic Woman, Sapphire and Steel (on Youtube if you fancy ), off the top of me head :) . The Avengers had arsekicking ladies on television as early as 1962 .

Strong blond woman were not unknown doing heroic roles in television and these were all mainstream titles in their day.
 

white avenger

white avenger
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
15,522
Age
72
Location
rome, georgia
Buffy was Joss' version of the bad ass female hero in answer to the cliched image of the dumb blond eye candy girl in all the slasher films who basically had only two functions: to have at least one gratuitous nude scene, and to be very messily slaughtered, usually while being in or doing something that no sane person would ever do, given the circumstances in which she finds herself.
 
ILLYRIAN
ILLYRIAN
What does gratuitous mean?

ILLYRIAN

Druish Pervonian Wizard
Joined
Jul 5, 2007
Messages
6,991
Age
64
Location
Toodyay
Black Thorn
Originally the premise for the series was about a little blonde girl not being afraid to walk down a darkened alley by herself. It was absolutely nothing to do with the girl from The Avengers or Cathy Gale, neither of them are little or blonde. I doubt that she was the first but why did Joss Whedon point out about a little blonde girl. Could it have been Xena, it what weird world would she be classified as little or blonde? As for Gabrielle she'd have run away screaming rather than have gone down a darkened alley, or, can you imagine her against The Three? Supergirl may have fit the bill but wait! Nothing was said about her being a little blonde girl so forget her.
But Octavia also asked was she the first blonde girl in a hero lead, that depends on who you asked and does a red head (as Emma Peel above) get accepted as a blonde, that and Gabrielle wasn't the lead role.
What follows next is confusing though, why ask what blonde girls followed on from her in the Sci-Fi genre?

My belief is that one group of Spider like creatures does not put Buffy in the Science Fiction genre, Buffy was in the Horror (supernatural) genre. I never considered The Master or the First to be Science Fiction I had always placed them as Horror (supernatural).

Who is Clarke?
 
white avenger
white avenger
Gratuitous: : neither necessary, appropriate, nor justified. Gratuitous characters who serve no real function in or contribute anything useful to the narrative. Eye candy. Cannon fodder.

thrasherpix

Scooby
Joined
Mar 13, 2016
Messages
2,763
Age
37
Lots of blondes everywhere, especially for women. Because blond has come to represent purity, sometimes it's more effective to have a blonde screaming (especially a child), and not just in entertainment, which is probably why blondes were also victims as well as stars of the story and heroes, and have been for such a long time now. Even so, blondes with power (social, magical, political, martial, etc) have long been a staple.

Offhand, the first blonde I recall is from Jem and the Holograms. Not the first by any means, but first for me.

Hmm...which came first? Samantha of Bewitched, or Sabrina the teenage witch? At least on TV. (IIRC, Bewitched also somehow inspired Sailor Moon but my memory is too vague on that.)
 
ILLYRIAN
ILLYRIAN
Bewitched by a decade or two

DeadlyDuo

Scooby
Joined
Jul 29, 2016
Messages
7,067
Age
29
Not Sci-Fi or a tv show, but Jurassic Park had Ellie Sattler, and Hocus Pocus had Allison. You could argue the Sanderson Sisters (which included the blonde Sarah) were more of the leads but they were villains whereas Allison was a protagonist.
 

NileQT87

Billowy Coat, King of Pain
Joined
Aug 2, 2007
Messages
418
Age
32
Location
San Diego, CA, USA
If you watch a lot of old horror films (even going WAY back--think of who's the victim friend and who's the heroine who figures it all out in the original House of Wax, for example), you'll see a lot of kind of dumb (or really, spectacularly dumb) blonde damsels that are a lot like Barbara in Night of the Living Dead (gets eaten by her creepy brother Johnny who was teasing her in the graveyard in the first scene, only to get killed--"They're coming for you, Barbara!"). Funnily enough, due to that film being accidentally in the public domain, it cameos on Spike's crypt TV in one episode.

The trope of the little blonde girl who isn't the brightest bulb and dies horribly is something tied very strongly to the old-school horror genre. And in the era of the slasher horror flicks, this character tended to be the one who got punished for sexuality.

SMG pretty much played on the reversal of her Buffy typecasting by playing the traditional version of the trope as the prom queen running from the baddie, only to get hack-slashed to death in I Know What You Did Last Summer. Likewise, Helpless echoes the same helpless little girl running performance, but with Buffy outwitting the monster with her smarts when she doesn't even have the brawn that is ridiculous in someone who weighed about 100 lbs. at that point--and later weighed even less. Note how the action genre often has dudebros making fun of trying to include women who aren't at all believable fighting baddies more than twice their size (and they're often right when it comes to non-superstrength examples or Hollywood casting people who have no business being in those NON-superstrength roles, unlike the original castings for Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley, who are amongst the rare good examples who look like they might survive without CGI and stunt double help). Buffy herself got a lot of stick for that from people who had never seen the show and thus didn't know about the superpowers part. Helpless removes the superpowers and makes Buffy have to deal with having only the strength of SMG. And after seeing the character normally, it's quite disconcerting.

As for little blonde girls with crazy power that they'd shock everyone with in a body that would be routinely underestimated, Supergirl is about the only one that comes to mind who is a superhero-type that predates Buffy. Pippi Longstocking is obviously a redhead and wrong genre, but the crazy strength displays from an unlikely, underestimated person are similar.

Samantha Stevens, Jeannie and Sabrina Spellman are all blonde women/girls, but they were all born as what they are or became it millennia before the story starts. Note that Mork (of Mork & Mindy) is very much the male equivalent of Sam and Jeannie, except an alien instead of a witch and genie. Mork and Jeannie have a whole lot of Manic Pixie Dream Boy/Girl in their makeup (the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors also got criticized from the Classic Who dudebros for having a lot of that and it appealing to women, as well). Jeannie and Mork obviously struggle a lot more than Sam to fit in amongst humans and they're really learning everything about being human from scratch. They make a lot of mistakes trying to fit in. Most of Sam's problems come from her meddlesome family members (mostly Endora) who just won't leave her alone to play happy housemaker with Darrin. All of them are insanely powerful and would be insanely dangerous if they weren't so sweet and well-meaning. Mork came closest to showing what these characters could unleash if they were actually angry (when he goes up against a group of racists). Ironically, he was a villain who was threatening to kill everyone by collapsing Al's Diner when he first appeared on Happy Days.

The superheroes in comics tend to be 1) aliens or some other type of inhumans (there's now a lengthy list of creatures that have become superheroes and protectors of humanity with the angst of the non-human, many who are immortal or severely separated from the human experience by what they are, who wants to be human in the fantasy, sci-fi and supernatural-horror genres now), 2) those with power from an inhuman source, 3) genetic experiments that made them mutant "freaks", or 4) rich and brainy types who use gadgets and have unlimited resources to bring them up to the power levels of the inhumans and mutants.

Buffy is a bit of a mix of 2 (think Spiderman) and 3 (think X-Men), but has that heavy dose of it having been done to her against her will and making her into a "freak".

The whole point of Buffy is that she's the expected victim stereotype in her genre. It's not just her size or hair, but that she has the personality to match. She's not the brightest student, she initially was a Valley Girl stereotype that has its own lengthy list of negative stereotypes about stupidity (speech patterns that also suggest it), status, wealth and frivolous consumerism, she's a former cheerleader/popular girl (who has her seemingly 'charmed life' ripped from her) and she has a lot of qualities that aren't commonly in the backgrounds of a lot of characters in the superhero genre, unless they were created to deconstruct it by making them the unlikely sort. The key part of her background and appearance is that she's often going to be underestimated as easy prey, because played straight, that's exactly what she'd be expected to be in the horror genre.
 
Last edited:
ILLYRIAN
ILLYRIAN
So, Buffy is a mix with Spiderman is she, I bet Angel and Spike would disagree with you.

NileQT87

Billowy Coat, King of Pain
Joined
Aug 2, 2007
Messages
418
Age
32
Location
San Diego, CA, USA
Huh? That's not even what I said. Though I'm hardly the first to suggest that Buffy Summers has some similarities to Peter Parker, the teenage superhero who still has to deal with being a normal teenager. Joss acknowledges Kitty Pride as an influence on Buffy, by the way. Buffy is mostly in the mutant human category (but not everything in her is human and it's not hardware either--she's not the Bionic Woman or Wolverine kind of mutant). Her powers are depicted in the early seasons as a body violation, which is why Chosen sucks on so many levels.

Angel is absolutely in the category with the inhuman superheroes (and unlike a lot of the romantic drama vampires he gets compared to, he's an actual superhero, despite the horror genre origins) who seemingly want to fit in with humanity and be part of the human experience (arguably are in love with it even beyond love interests) but are apart from it because of what they are. Clark Kent, the 10th Doctor, Castiel, etc... are all in there with him. They tend to be pretty existential on how they view their parts in everything and they really try to blend in with their found families/friends (but are in some way always on the outside looking in). Spike is a different archetype entirely (was more of a "wacky neighbor", to start with--his sitcom counterpart when in his earlier role prior to being a love interest would be the likes of the Fonz).

Jeannie comes to mind as having both a heavy dose of the dumb blonde clichés (owing much to Lucy Ricardo minus the blonde and minus the superpowers, though Sam and Lucy have the homemaker similarity, whereas Jeannie and Mork are more Manic Pixie life-disruptors even with the lovesickness) and very near totally omnipotent powers. Farrah Fawcett in Charlie's Angels also tended to play up the dumb blonde role in addition to being powerful. So the extreme dichotomy between surface looks and extraordinary power isn't Buffy alone, even though her inspiration is from horror genre clichés. Obviously, Buffy's dumb blonde Valley Girl stereotypes lessened greatly after the movie and a bit of the early seasons. Sabrina and Buffy also have the teenagers-with-superpowers-who-think-about-human-things-like-dating similarity. Smallville-era Clark Kent basically made Superman into Buffy. The Roswell teens (Max, Michael and Isabel) were much the same.

Dumb blonde with omnipotent powers not to be underestimated!:
But this stock character in sitcoms was not just a male-gaze fantasy girl (gender reversed!):
 
Last edited:

ILLYRIAN

Druish Pervonian Wizard
Joined
Jul 5, 2007
Messages
6,991
Age
64
Location
Toodyay
Black Thorn
NileQT87,
your post starts, Huh? That's not even what I said.

What are you referring to?
 

white avenger

white avenger
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
15,522
Age
72
Location
rome, georgia
Back to the original question


Was Buffy the first show with a blonde girl in the hero lead, or did she follow on from something before?
There was this lady

Sheena, Queen of the Jungle is a fictional American comic book jungle girl heroine, originally published primarily by Fiction House. She was the first female comic book character with her own title, with her 1937 (in Great Britain; 1938 in the United States) premiere preceding Wonder Woman #1 (cover-dated Dec. 1941). Sheena inspired a wealth of similar comic book jungle queens. She was predated in literature by Rima, the Jungle Girl, introduced in the 1904 William Henry Hudson novel Green Mansions.

First published in 1937, she almost predates Superman.

Edgar Rice Burroughs' Jane, Tarzan's mate, was blond in the books, though she was most often the one eing rescued, rather than the one doing the rescuing. In one book, however, it was her knowledge of primitive skills (tought to her by Tarzan, naturally that allowed her and several less experienced men to survive until rescued, so that would probably count as a heroic lead. As has been pointed out, Supergirl predates Buffy, and there were two members of tho old Justice Society of America from the '40's and 50's, lack Canary and Dinah Drake, plus Susan Storm from the Fantastic Four, and, lest we forget, Joan of Arc was usually depicted as having blond or light brown hair.
 

ILLYRIAN

Druish Pervonian Wizard
Joined
Jul 5, 2007
Messages
6,991
Age
64
Location
Toodyay
Black Thorn
Spike tried to be like Buffy but got Peroxide instead. And he reckoned the other guy was Captain Blockhead!
 

Hunga Munga

Potential
Joined
Sep 7, 2015
Messages
231
Age
49
According to the Guinness Book of World Records :D ....the first (blonde) female action hero in a lead role on television was Annie Oakley in 1954.


Thing is , television heroines may not have been that influential on the birth of the Slayer . Joss Whedon has said that the X-Men's Kitty Pryde character (1980-) was a major inspiration for Buffy .
 
Top Bottom