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Is Tara a "strong" female character?

DeadlyDuo

Scooby
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@r2dh2 When I talked about radical feminism, I was talking about the real man hating SJWs who claim that every issue women face is because of men and men are bad etc. Whether the correct term for that is radical feminism or radicalised feminism or whatever, I don't know.

I just really dislike the connotations of the activation spell and the terminology of "are you ready to be strong" which excludes several main female characters.
 

r2dh2

Never go for the kill when you can go for the pain
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@r2dh2 When I talked about radical feminism, I was talking about the real man hating SJWs who claim that every issue women face is because of men and men are bad etc. Whether the correct term for that is radical feminism or radicalised feminism or whatever, I don't know.

I just really dislike the connotations of the activation spell and the terminology of "are you ready to be strong" which excludes several main female characters.
I know what you meant, but I think that it is very important to clarify this type of misunderstandings and miscommunications. We live in an increasingly polarized society because we clearly don’t understand each other. And at times it seems easier to give up trying to explain or trying to understand but it only creates bigger misconceptions and deeper divisions. I truly know nothing about feminism (except that nowadays it seems to be used as a negative term), but it was very very clear that you and @Myheadsgonenumb were talking about different concepts. I feel that exactly the same applies to the SJW term… what started with a positive meaning slowly transform into a pejorative term because we (the part of the society that didn’t originally knew the term) started attaching to it negative connotations. And if we ever want to coexist peacefully and happily again, we need to make an effort both truly explaining and truly listening to others.
 

thetopher

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Sineya
Buffy is an action show so, like it or not, there will be an emphasis on physicality and combat; seeming helpless little girl beats up big monster or vampire, defeats them, victory dance, whatever.
So 'strong female character' could mean to 'woman with superpowers'- Buffy, Willow, Faith, etc. Even Anya and Cordy become sword-wielding heroines by the end of their respective arcs.
In contrast I can't think of a time where Tara was in a fight on the show. Maybe the start of S6? She hit some demon-biker with an axe, I dunno.

...But tbh I never thought of Buffy as strong because she beat things up but because she was brave, smart, intuitive and decisive. She had mental characteristics that made her formidable? Basically a strong protagonist, gender notwithstanding.

So we can say that Tara developed characteristics that made her strong; she was also brave and smart and learned to stand up for herself and for others. She just had to develop over a while.
What she really needed was a montage of some sort, like all those physically strong characters get, then she would've been sassing right back at Faith in S4, instead we had to wait for her to sass in to Spike in S6 when she was protective of Buffy.

So yes, Tara quietly became one of the stronger female characters on the show, in fact the strongest in S6.
 

burrunjor

Potential
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Good points. I agree Tara is a strong character in other ways besides being tough, though her magic was nothing to dismiss either. She was able to escape a few powerful Demons with just her spells.

However yes in the real world she was the definition of a strong woman. She was what I like to call a Ducky.

Ducky is the character from Land Before Time. She is the heart of the group. She is always up beat, and makes every member of the group feel welcome even if they are shy, reclusive, or grumpy. You can never tell who her best friend is because they are all her best friends.

I've known a lot of women like that, I think they are very, very common. This bit from the Big Bang Theory was one of my favourite gags because it is so well observed.


That's basically Tara and someone like that is always incredibly strong, hence why they can be other people's rock and support. (I think Willow is like that too, but obviously Willow has more issues than Tara hence why her magic spiralled out of control. I'm not sure how Tara would have reacted if Willow had caught the bullet? What do you think she would have done? People say she would have accepted that death is part of the natural order, but remember she did take part in Willow's resurrection of Buffy.)
 

sweetiepie

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If you were to think of a "strong" female character, it's doubtful that Tara would spring to mind. She lacks confidence, she's the least violent member of the scoobies and she really got the short end of the stick when it comes to fashion. Yet ultimately she is probably one of the strongest female characters on the show. She survived an abusive family, her one kill was in the name of protecting Willow and she remained warm and kind instead of becoming cold and hardened. Tara has faced and overcome adversity throughout her life without falling into the depths of despair and yet her strength seems rarely acknowledged if at all.

In Buffy and other movies and television, it seems like a "strong" female character is only recognised by how violent she is or how confident she is, a point emphasised in Buffy with the "girl power" spell. We get the whole "are you ready to be strong" speech right before the potentials go into battle and the montage of the potentials being activated around the world shows several of them gaining confidence once they're activated eg baseball girl, the girl being hit etc.

I've said before about how the "girl power" spell isn't as "empowering women" as the show likes to make out it is due to the fact that it excludes several female characters because they're not "special" enough to have this "strength" bestowed on them. Tara easily displays more strength and fortitude of character than any of the potentials and yet she doesn't get to be "strong" by the show's standards and that feels like a massive disservice to the character.

Thoughts?
Tara is amazing. She possesses a quiet force.
 

Fuffy Baith

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After watching Dead Things and Older and Far Away, I think Tara is a strong female character. She may not be physically strong or imposing, but her strength comes from her ability to connect with people emotionally as well as her conviction for treating magic with respect. She stands up for Willow against Anya, she comforts Buffy at the end of Dead Things and she teases Spike about his "cramp" when he's jealous of Buffy and Richard. Tara is awesome in season 6, it's the best Tara making it even more sad that she dies.
 

thrasherpix

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I was just thinking of this thread last night when I saw the movie Willow again. I liked the rewatch more than I thought I would. For all its mighty warriors (including a warrior woman) and its incredibly powerful sorceresses, the hero is a trickster constantly fighting to overcome his fear. And he's the one to save the day.

He also displays what many would consider "feminine" traits like being very affectionate, openly crying without shame, etc. In terms of cultural definition, he was "more female" than the warrior woman or the sorceresses, and he also showed more genuine concern for the infant than the others, including the main female characters, who just saw future political possibilities by the infant's existence. (Not that I'm putting down the others, just saying it was interesting, and another example of how many story ideas today trumpeted as new aren't so new as they like to think.) ETA: Willow (that is the male trickster of the movie) actually reminds me a lot of Tara personality wise (insecurity, compassion that exceeds that of most people and often dismissed because of it, struggling to learn magic, etc) which is what reminded me of this thread.

That said, I still dislike how fast the warrior woman changes sides so fast over a guy who spouted poetry at her. But I've seen dumber and more unbelievable in Whedon's shows.
 
Last edited:
Myheadsgonenumb
Myheadsgonenumb
God I've not seen Willow in about 30 years! - does everyone get turned into pigs at some point or am I imagining that?
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