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Equality in the couples of the Buffyverse

MarieVampSlayer

Slayer musk: It's bitter and aggravating!
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Sineya
#1
Hi all,

So I was thinking about the different couples in the Buffyverse (because apparently I have nothing better to do on a Tuesday night) and how we as fans sometimes feel a character deserves another because of how they acted or showed their love. I noticed that I sometimes take one side more than another in my decision for example with Spuffy and Wesley and Fred. I love Spike and Wesley as characters and therefore want them to be happy and loved the way they want. For them that means Buffy and Fred being in love with them. But if I take their side, I am not sure that the best match for Buffy is Spike and neither is Wesley for Fred. This is not only reserved to men as the same argument could be said for S6 Willow and Tara. Now my questions to you is:

Do you have ship where you want a character to be with someone because you like him/her and not because she would be the best match for the other?
Do you think there is some inequality in the couples of the Buffyverse where one character clearly loves the other more than the other?
Do you think Spike, Wesley and S6 Willow are good matched for their love ones and if yes why?

Let's discuss!
 
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#2
I think Wes loved Fred a lot more than the reverse--though Fred did love Wes. I personally don't think they make a good match, though I wouldn't say such a match was hopeless or doomed (ignoring Whedon's influence, of course). I could see them as very close friends all the same, assuming Wes didn't get all bitter about it.

Only counting season 6 and back, Spike loved Buffy than the other way around, though Buffy was hooked on him similar to how Willow was hooked on the magicks. (Speaking of which, this thread inspired a question in me about why Buffy let Spike live at all in season 5--I'll put it in the Buffy seaosn 5 subforum--which I hope you chime in on as I'm curious about the headcanon people come up with...maybe something will appeal to me.)

Speaking very delicately and briefly on Willow, trying to avoid the automatic and pointless arguing, I'll just say that I saw Oz as a good match for her because he had a quiet, calming influence on her that she needed and was insightful which helped since Willow had a difficult time explaining herself more often than not, and both had a rare unconditional acceptance with minimal drama that is precious enough in real life and almost unheard of in TV land. And then Willow and Tara both helped each other through their weak spots through season 5 (I'll not mention season 6).
 
MarieVampSlayer
MarieVampSlayer
So happy I inspired you, I'm going to your thread now!
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#3
Do you think there is some inequality in the couples of the Buffyverse where one character clearly loves the other more than the other?!
I think all the Buffyverse ships have an inequality aspect to them. Not necessarily in the amount of love displayed from one partner to the other, but that there is always one dominant partner and one submissive partner rather than both partners being equal. The only exception would be Bangel.

I love Sprusilla but it is clear that Drusilla calls the shots in that relationship. Also, I think she loves Spike as much as she can, however, because of her insanity, her love is limited through no fault of her own eg Season 2 when she is sleeping with Angelus. She still maintains her relationship with Spike and shows affection towards him but has no awareness of how her actions are affecting him. ( I do think there are underlying issues with Angelus and Dru that were never explored so I don't think it's a simple case of she decides to cheat on Spike with Angelus).
 
MarieVampSlayer
MarieVampSlayer
That's why I love Bangel so much!

Taake

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Black Thorn
#4
In the book "Seven seasons of Buffy" there's an essay about how Buffy essentially drains all of her partners of their masculinity, or rather "sucks the testosterone" out of them and that is what makes her strong (I think it's called "The search for Spike's balls"), if one believes in that argument one could say that Buffy is always going to be in unequal (heterosexual, at least) relationships. I can't remember what the author argues exactly but it was pretty fun to read even if I didn't really agree with it, to my recall.


Do you have ship where you want a character to be with someone because you like him/her and not because she would be the best match for the other?
Do you think there is some inequality in the couples of the Buffyverse where one character clearly loves the other more than the other?
Do you think Spike, Wesley and S6 Willow are good matched for their love ones and if yes why?

Let's discuss!
Probably yes, yes, and then hm.... Wesley, no I don't think he was a good match. If you've listened to the podcast where I've re-watched Smile Time I pretty much hate how he treats Fred in it and his pining man-baby ways do not soften my heart. The only reason she suddenly "realizes" she's into him is so Joss can kill her more dramatically, but really, the match comes across as her playing with the idea of dating a friend she's not really into (because he's there) and an obsessive Ted-type character (of HIMYM) who'll hound a girl for half a century just because he's "decided" on the idea of her.

As for Spike... it's complicated. I don't think it's a good match because I thought it ruined both characters in its execution. However, clearly at the time of like season 6-7 Spike gave Buffy something she needed. He was just always there, no matter how poorly she treated him, and then continued to be there. She didn't really have to think about his feelings, she could be selfish and focus on herself, because he kind of put up with anything. Basically she could be her worst self with him and not be afraid of rejection. So in that sense, it was a good match.

Season 6 Willow... ugh. NOooooo! No, she's not a good match for Tara. In the same season Buffy and Spike are beating each other up on the regular and still Willow is kind of worse because at least the Spuffy don't pretend like they're normal and healthy. Willow is really insidious and manipulative here, she's hiding from the real world and trying to create this perfect relationship by controlling her partner... it's icky. But because she has a pouty face she gets away with it because addiction. She put Tara's mental health at risk, Dawn's physical health... for her own selfish needs. I mean at least when Buffy was being selfish at the same time she was primarily hurting herself (and Spike, but vampire so counts less)
 
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#5
In the book "Seven seasons of Buffy" there's an essay about how Buffy essentially drains all of her partners of their masculinity, or rather "sucks the testosterone" out of them and that is what makes her strong (I think it's called "The search for Spike's balls"), if one believes in that argument one could say that Buffy is always going to be in unequal (heterosexual, at least) relationships. I can't remember what the author argues exactly but it was pretty fun to read even if I didn't really agree with it, to my recall.
Slated on other websites. "Dim-witted" is the consensus from a poll on one. I don't normally read popular/non-academic books but I've just ordered this out of curiousity. If your synopsis is anything to by, I don't think I'd agree either. Thanks for the link. ;)
 

Taake

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#6
Slated on other websites. "Dim-witted" is the consensus from a poll on one. I don't normally read popular/non-academic books but I've just ordered this out of curiousity. If your synopsis is anything to by, I don't think I'd agree either. Thanks for the link. ;)
The book overall is fun to read, but that particular essay is... mostly fun to read just to see someone argue it. :)

There is another one, a bit more academic, called "Buffy the vampire slayer & philosophy: Fear and Trembling in Sunnydale", I wrote about it here 3 years ago (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy; Fear & Trembling in Sunnydale and on) so I can't say I'd feel the same now, lol, but it was an interesting book! I wouldn't mind reading it again. Though it's flawed in that it was released around season 6 I believe, so it doesn't take much (if any) of season 7 into account.* But if you've ever wanted a Kantian, Platonic, Aristotelian etc take on Buffy, then this might be the place!


*(Don't take my word for it, I just have a vague memory of the essay Buffy in the Buff: A Slayer's Solution to Aristotle's Love Paradox only deals with season 6 Spuffy when fitting her paramours into this model)
 
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#7
Yeah - I've got that one - and you're right, it only goes as far as the end of 5. I'm not good with "pure" philosophy - I tend to like the "mash-up" of later theorists. ;) The Patricia Pender one isn't bad - that goes up to S7. In fact, I bought it because she's supportive of 7. There's also a (relatively)new one on Angel - I think it focuses on its literary sources.
 
Taake
Taake
Cool, might have to check out that Angel one!

EarthLogic

"she went as limp as an overcooked piece of pasta"
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Black Thorn
#8
In the book "Seven seasons of Buffy" there's an essay about how Buffy essentially drains all of her partners of their masculinity, or rather "sucks the testosterone" out of them and that is what makes her strong (I think it's called "The search for Spike's balls"), if one believes in that argument one could say that Buffy is always going to be in unequal (heterosexual, at least) relationships. I can't remember what the author argues exactly but it was pretty fun to read even if I didn't really agree with it, to my recall.
Wow. I'm surprised that the essay made it into a publication (even if it is a very popular/ analysis-'lite' one). I've skimmed excerpts from Seven Seasons before and decided it wasn't worth buying, but I'd forgotten about this piece. I have seen that argument a lot in fandom and I really hate it because, whether done knowingly or not, it actually reinforces the very patriarchal and misogynistic view female sexuality as destructive and threatening to male individuality. It perpetuates the demonisaton of female desire that has been a constant throughout history and at the same time disturbingly equates masculinity and power with 'balls' and testosterone, which is seriously insulting to men too. It's such a stupid article. If I didn't know better I'd think it was a satire of fandom arguments but no, she's actually serious.

Though it's flawed in that it was released around season 6 I believe, so it doesn't take much (if any) of season 7 into account.* But if you've ever wanted a Kantian, Platonic, Aristotelian etc take on Buffy, then this might be the place!
Yep I have that one. You do have to be aware that it's been written before S7, which of course limits its outlook especially when it comes to Spike/Spuffy, because obviously S7 changes things considerably. I've seen the book's essay on Aristotelian love actually criticised elsewhere but clearly without taking into account the time of its writing.
 
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#9
Wow. I'm surprised that the essay made it into a publication (even if it is a very popular/ analysis-'lite' one). I've skimmed excerpts from Seven Seasons before and decided it wasn't worth buying, but I'd forgotten about this piece.
It was 1p on Amazon! I wouldn't have paid any more. :p Cheaper (since I'm at work) and easier than searching for it on line.
 
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#10
I bought 7 seasons of Buffy a year ago but I haven't had the time to check it out yet. Now I'm really intrigued about that essay. I'll try to check it out this weekend.

As for the original questions...

No, I don't have any ship like that. I always love both characters almost equally.
Yeah, some buffyverse ships are like that but maybe half of them?
Out of those characters, I honestly don't know... I do enjoy Willow/Tara a lot and for most of their time together, I didn't see any problem in their dynamic. Of course that changed in s6 but I don't think it happened because they weren't well matched.
 
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#11
The only ship I'm partial to is Xander and Willow, and that's mostly because I thought Season 7 might be pointing to that. It may have been, who knows, a lot of stuff got dropped by season 7. Writing a "Prince Phillip," as it were, a male character who is consort to a strong female character and without diminishing him, was still in its infancy then, and cannot be done reliably now.
 

joseph

Tara & Willow Forever.
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#12
Hi all,

So I was thinking about the different couples in the Buffyverse (because apparently I have nothing better to do on a Tuesday night) and how we as fans sometimes feel a character deserves another because of how they acted or showed their love. I noticed that I sometimes take one side more than another in my decision for example with Spuffy and Wesley and Fred. I love Spike and Wesley as characters and therefore want them to be happy and loved the way they want. For them that means Buffy and Fred being in love with them. But if I take their side, I am not sure that the best match for Buffy is Spike and neither is Wesley for Fred. This is not only reserved to men as the same argument could be said for S6 Willow and Tara. Now my questions to you is:

Do you have ship where you want a character to be with someone because you like him/her and not because she would be the best match for the other?
Do you think there is some inequality in the couples of the Buffyverse where one character clearly loves the other more than the other?
Do you think Spike, Wesley and S6 Willow are good matched for their love ones and if yes why?

Let's discuss!
okay I like Willow & Tara but if I had to choose, someone else for her it would be Xander form the second season you know when he was about to kiss her then buffy come back from her Summer, holiday.
 

badsister

Angel's Avenger
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#13
I have that mostly with Xander and Anya(i almost wrote Spike and Anya, wtf haha). I love Xander but in the end he irritates me a lot in later seasons. Though have to say it happened in the earlier season too but he always came through. But when it comes to his relationships with Anya, I'm pissed as hell! But even then I can't say they were not equal.
I don't even think Riley actually felt inferior to Buffy at some point, but that's a different story. But he did love her more than she loved him, so there's that.
 
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#14
As much as Xander messed up by proposing marriage to Anya and then flaking in Hell's Bells (no matter how much he was pushed--he was on a psychic ledge anyway--and that a vengeance demon would have to consider what happened to Anya just, and probably very mild justice at that) I considered Xander truly loving Anya, while Anya had a more selfish love for Xander. Xander was her vehicle to the selfish desires she had, though she did truly lust after him. I'm NOT saying Xander was a saint or that Anya was an exploitative sociopath, just that when it came down to it, Xander had more selfless love for Anya than the other way around...and I'll also go so far to say as Xander deserved better.

Yeah, I know I'm in the minority there.
 
Ethan Reigns
Ethan Reigns
I'm in the same minority. Maybe it isn't a minority after all.
sosa lola
sosa lola
I'm in the minority, too.
badsister
badsister
i think they both were pretty selfish. both just didn't want to end up alone that's all.
MarieVampSlayer
MarieVampSlayer
I actually agree...:)

Cheese Slices

Take it easy, Joan
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#15
What often bothers me with Xander/Anya is his condescendance towards her. He too often treats her like a child/ idiot, and that's one of my pet peeves when it comes to relationships (fictional or not). Buffy/Angel also have that at times (although it could be argued that Buffy is a child for most of their relationship, but still).
However, I don't think @thrasherpix take is untrue either. Ultimately there were many reasons why Xander/Anya were never going to work.
 
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#16
What often bothers me with Xander/Anya is his condescendance towards her. He too often treats her like a child/ idiot,.
The thing is Anya DID act like a child and an idiot. She was rude to everyone and embarrassed Xander by talking about their private time to everybody when Xander clearly didn't want that. I can't blame Xander for being upset with her at times.

It does bother me that the writers dumbed down Anya's character. I would much prefer if Anya acted her age, her relationship with Xander would have been ten times more interesting.
 
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Sineya
#17
I never see equality within couples in real life, so the inequality does not bother me. In fact, it would be weird to see equality and it would nullify any drama that comes from differences in perceived power or differences of opinion between them. I can't think of a couple where one does not love the other more. All couples seem to have inequality like that.

In answer to the OP's questions, I thought Buffy and Xander would have made a good couple because he was not put off by her greater strength.

There are some people who should never be in relationships. Spike and Drew were something of a match but not Spike and Harmony or Spike and Buffy. Wesley seemed to belong with Fred as much as he belonged with anyone so it was OK but not something eHarmony would have chosen. S6 Willow loved Tara but I can't say her love was any healthier than Spike and Buffy. Her level of control and desire to make things work her way means she had no healthy relationship that season and actually, I prefer her with Kennedy, who can break through Willow's defenses.
 
badsister
badsister
i had to google what is 'eharmony'.

Cheese Slices

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#18
The thing is Anya DID act like a child and an idiot. She was rude to everyone and embarrassed Xander by talking about their private time to everybody when Xander clearly didn't want that. I can't blame Xander for being upset with her at times.

It does bother me that the writers dumbed down Anya's character. I would much prefer if Anya acted her age, her relationship with Xander would have been ten times more interesting.
Oh no I agree that it's mostly because the writing for Anya is wildly inconsistent, and that whenever they write dumb Anya who doesn't understand basic stuff, Xander as a character suffers as a result as well. I'm ok in these instances with him patiently explaining things to her, but sometimes it's borderline mean-spirited, like he's laughing at her expense.
 
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#19
IThere are some people who should never be in relationships. Spike and Drew were something of a match but not Spike and Harmony or Spike and Buffy. Wesley seemed to belong with Fred as much as he belonged with anyone so it was OK but not something eHarmony would have chosen. S6 Willow loved Tara but I can't say her love was any healthier than Spike and Buffy. Her level of control and desire to make things work her way means she had no healthy relationship that season
I agree with all of this (though Spike and Harmony is a bit of an odd one in that they shouldn't work yet somehow the actors made it work, though it was definitely an unequal relationship).

and actually, I prefer her with Kennedy, who can break through Willow's defenses.
I can't agree with this. Kennedy was terrible for Willow because Kennedy was only using her as part of a power play.
 
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#20
I know sometimes I like a character so much that I might lose sight of what is best for the other character when it comes to shipping, but for the most part I like stable couples. They can have their drama and ups & downs, but I never really enjoy toxic relationships because it usually ruins both characters in the end.
However, I still do it sometimes but not really with Buffy characters.

I think Riley loved Buffy more than she loved him, because I don't think she really loved him at all.

Wesley was a terrible match for Fred. He didn't love her, he loved the idea of her. He put her on a pedestal and that is not love, that is idolizing someone.
Fred/Gunn were a much better match.

Spike was also a terrible match for Buffy. He just wanted to conquer a slayer. He was obsessed with her, and obsession is not love. Maybe he gave some of what she needed (an escape), but really that's just like if Buffy had resulted to using drugs as her coping mechanism, instead she was using sex with a soulless vampire. What Buffy really needed was someone like Angel to help her through her depression and show her how strong she really is.

S6 Willow is also a terrible match for Tara. She manipulated her the entire season. Again, manipulation is not love it is control.
I do not think Willow & Tara were always a bad match, but this season they definitely were.